Canto 117 – The Bogey… and Probably Not Humphrey Bogart
Ged and Shen Ming walked slowly back to the Administrative Offices in Shen Ming’s Tower.
“You really can’t tell me anything more about this whole Avenger thing?”
“Ah, Ged-sensei, you know how it is for old men… especially really old men more than five hundred. You forget stuff… you have hair growing out of your ears… you fart more often than you would really like…”
“No, I really don’t know about that yet. I am older than I look, but I have not yet experienced aging as you have.”
“And you will not. If I know anything at all about Psion shape-changers… and I probably don’t know anything, you will not age because your cells refresh themselves constantly with your ability.”
Ged nodded. He wasn’t sure how much he believed it, but he knew it was a possibility that he had even sensed within himself.
“How old is Bres the Black Spider?”
“Him? This I do not know. He appeared in Kiro five years ago, having possibly come here from space in response to the White Spider Prophecy.”
“He thought he was the White Spider?”
“No. He wanted to see the White Spider killed and the Prophecy defeated.”
“I hope so, Ged-dono. At least as well as I see.”
Suddenly, Hassan Parker was running towards them at full speed, completely naked except for his red fez hat and his red courtesy towel.
“Ah, so… the naked child approaches,” said Shen Ming with an Alfred E. Neuman grin.
“Ged Aero-sensei! You must come quickly! There is a bogey in orbit!”
“Humphrey Bogart is in orbit?” asked Shen Ming.
“No, no… an unidentified…” Hassan had to stop and catch his breath. He dropped the towel as he panted.
“Ah, a very beautiful child. But not so very smart, I think. He never seems to remember to wear pants.”
“Take your time, Hassan-kun. Tell us what this is about.”
“…an unidentified space craft of strange design… in orbit… maybe connected to… the intruder.”
“Ah, connected to the Avenger it is not…” said Shen Ming. “Master Jai Chang has never been off this planet.”
“Who spotted the intruder?” Ged asked.
“I was sent to tell you by Naylund Smith-sama. He’s in the newly built spaceport, at the Super-Rooster on landing pad seventeen.”
“We have seventeen landing pads already?” Ged gaped.
“The Ancient Hammer of God builds things very fast,” said Shen Ming. “We borrowed it from your planet Don’t Go Here, you know.”
“Ah… Ancient artifacts again. I worry sometimes…”
“Ged you must go and investigate. This lovely little Space Nudist is a good telepath, is he not?”
“Yes. Only Sara Smith is better on this planet.”
“Very good. I will take Hassan to help me find out why Master Jai Chang put on the helmet and where it came from. You go defend the planet from terrible intruding space creatures.”
Ged hesitated momentarily. There was something concerning about what Shen Ming had recently said and done. But what he should do about it, and what it might have to do with the White Spider Prophecy… well, he was afraid to ask.
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