Canto 152 – Ged on Mingo
The Ancient Red Dragon starship popped out of jump space to find the planet Mingo bustling with activity. The spaceways around the heavily industrialized planet were crammed with merchant ships of every kind, from gargantuan, cigar-shaped mass haulers to the smallest of independent beetle-shaped personal transports. It wasn’t that no one noticed the dragon-shaped vessel as it arrived from the complex gravitic web of outer space; it was more a matter of everyone being too busy to care.
Three system defense boats came out to look over Ged’s Ancient spacecraft, but as they scanned it and found it was not alive, they quickly lost interest. It had no weapons that registered on any kind of detector. The human signatures on the routine life-scan would tell the transport police that nothing about this unusual craft suggested it was hostile in any way.
“Ged-sensei, we have arrived at the place your girlfriend is hidden,” said Billy Iowa, coming out of his clairvoyant trance. “I see her in the palace below, the one called David King’s Hall in the Ruined Palaces District.”
“It is a shame we don’t have any computer database available on this ship,” remarked Ged. “I suppose even if it did, it couldn’t tell us anything about Emperor Mong or his planet Mingo.”
“We have to get down to that palace and save her,” asserted Junior, looking determined.
“Don’t get ahead of us, Smurf,” growled Alec. “What are the Ruined Palaces?”
“It’s a place where the buildings have all been attacked at one time or another,” said Billy, looking with his inner eye. “Their damage has been preserved as a part of the decor of the buildings. David King’s Hall is one of the three biggest ones.”
“Whoa,” said Alec, half-laughing, “why would they rebuild something and make it look like it’s still ruined?”
“An evil sense of humor,” said Phoenix. “It’s like something Bres might do.”
“You put Bres down too much!” said Alec, suddenly hot.
“No, he can’t be put far enough down, Alec,” answered Phoenix coolly. All could see the air begin to sizzle around the Phoenix.
“Yeah, whatever.” Alec backed off from the subject.
“We do have to go down there,” said Ged at last. “We need to be prepared to use our Psion powers. We know what rot warriors are, but we have no experience of what they can do.”
Taffy King, who had only been looking at the back of Rocket Rogers’ neck before, spoke up. “I grew up around them.” Her blue snake’s eyes glowed with angry fire. “They are like robots who don’t work right. They lurch around and stumble into things, but when they are ordered to fight, they do it one hundred to one. They overwhelm the opponent with bone-headed force.”
“What are they really?” asked Sarah innocently.
“Re-animated skeletons,” offered Rocket. “I’ve seen them before on Bradalanth Colony. They are bones and circuits and some patches of leathery skin. Mechanoids with no brains.”
“Monsters!” moaned Hassan Parker.
“Remember, young ones,” said Ged, “they are easily defeated because they cannot think for themselves. As long as we work together and let no one get overwhelmed by numbers, we should be able to overcome them. I worry more about what other problems may arise as we try to get past Emperor Mong’s living minions.”
“Geez, you sound like an old holo-cartoon show!” remarked Phoenix.
“You disagree with something?” Ged was suddenly a bit annoyed.
“Oh, no. You are right. It just sounds so cartoonish!”
“So, what will we do, Sensei?” asked Junior carefully, afraid of rousing more ire from Ged.
“Sarah? Can you help us see the distant places Billy can sense?”
“Yes, Sensei.” Sarah was capable of transferring images from one mind to another.
“Jackie, if you see the place, can you teleport us there one by one?”
The pretty, brown-skinned girl smiled at Ged for the first time in a while. “You know I can!”
“Well, then, that’s our way in.”