The Mercenary

Women, what the Red sun and White sun tortures us with.  I’ve never understood these human creatures. I find our race to be much more fitting.  As an androgynous race with asexual reproductive capacity, it has never made much sense to the Elivik mind that humans have not evolved to be more efficient in these matters.  Men want women safe and women want to be able to protect themselves, and when they are capable of protecting themselves…it scares the living hell out of everyone involved.

From the Journal of Otly 

She had just stepped out of the shower and the water slowly trickled from her short soft hair, down her long, graceful neck, and slowly inched its way down her bronze- tanned skin.  The droplets left small rivers running down her body, shining like pure crystal as it twinkled in the glow of the halogen lights and morning sunshine from the morning’s first sun. The woman’s skin glistened in the lights, allowing it to shine with a tempting, luscious gleam to it.  She possessed an hourglass figure with a narrow pinched waist. She did not possess the softest of curves on her hourglass frame – it was a ripple of quiet muscle befitting a top gymnast or a parkour participant.

The woman gazed out her bathroom’s deep-set circular window at a small blue bird that was singing cheerily on the seal.  She stared at the hopping-singing, rather cheery little bird for a moment and then glanced past it to the monstrous Cordaun Mountains that stretched out across the horizon.  The red sun was at its zenith and the white sun had begun its rise. A sandstorm was swirling in the south; it was going to hit the city most likely within nightfall or else the first or second moonrise.

She took a large, white co-cotton towel from its hook, glancing at the onyx raven tattoo on her back right shoulder.  It looked like a bird of prey in a swoop, just about to catch a small rodent. On the left foot, middle talon was a golden crown with a small inked jewel.  It had been there since she was twelve, since her father had died suddenly. It depressed her just a little to see her skin so blemished because of what happened in her past. She took a deep breath and allowed it to ease the resentment out of her. It had been a long two days of grueling work and now she just wanted a break, and to get rid of the headache brewing at the back of her brain.

She slowly patted herself dry.  Then, after vigorously rubbing her hair down, she let the towel sink to the floor in a pool of soft white cloth. She basked in the warm steam that had gathered in the bathroom sauna. She reached her hands over her head and stretched up onto her toes, bending her back to release tension in a particularly sore muscle.  A burner bowl of compressed herb-coals in a corner helped keep the small room steamy-warm and sent a soothing scent of listara and single into the small room.  

The woman walked over to it and allowed it to warm her still glistening body as she worked lotion into her soft bronze skin.  After finishing with this small daily ritual, she sauntered back to her bathroom counter. She looked into the mirror hanging in the bathroom. She stood there for a second before the glass fogged over – there seemed to be a cool zone and the heat from her body in the already damp environment created a layer of mist on the glass surface suddenly.  With a soft hand towel, she wiped at the steam that was perspiring on her mirror. Staring back at her was a woman that had almond shaped green eyes the color of a pasture on one of the farming planets, and short, cropped auburn hair. She was an average height for a human woman, around 5’6″.

She turned away from the mirror and picked up her clothes from a wooden stool that stood in a corner of the wood paneled bathroom and slipped the outfit on.  Her clothing consisted of a dark, tight fitting hunter green tank top made of soft co-cotton fiber weave and a pair of tan pants that were comprised of a rough slavwool market weave. A garrote made its way into a small overlapped pocket at the base of her spine.  She slipped on her favorite soft leather boots and tied the laces halfway up her calf, and slipped two small throwing daggers in their sleeves in each boot before pulling the legs of the pants over the tops of her boots. Even if she was within her own home, it always felt reassuring to have a minimal amount of her arsenal on hand. She went back, picked up the white co-cotton towel on the floor, and dropped it in the hamper in the last corner of the bathroom.

Bong … Bong…Bong! The sound of the doorbell traveled up the stairs and invaded her bedroom and bathroom.  She rubbed her hair down a little with a bit of water to dampen it and from a bottle she poured a small palm full of the cream-colored gel.  She started vigorously to rub the gel into her hair as she left her warm cozy bedroom.    

Great! I just took a shower and got clean and now I have to get dirty all over again.  Alright, so I just got back from the court and through the dustiest capital in this galaxy and now someone has to get me to open up to this sandy mess of a planet all over again!  She grumbled to herself in frustration. She wanted a break, which was all she was asking for. She had just had a tiring two days, and for that matter, the last week was not very great either.  

Her shoes clicked down the large marble, front hall staircase.  The redhead came to the foyer and opened the massive Gogo oak door to a man in a brown shirt and ghastly short-shorts.  The insignia on the collar of his shirt and the manila envelope in his hands told her that he was a simple deliveryman. Holding her patience in check, she said to him as politely as she could muster, “Yes, how may I help you?”

“Um, sorry ma’am to be di-disturbing you, but a Mr. McAlister has r-requested you to meet with him at his mansion to-today,” he stuttered nervously.  He looked to be about eighteen, a couple years younger than she was. He had blond shaggy hair with ocean green eyes. Acne flecked his face badly. She glimpsed down at the envelope in his hands.

Licking his lips, he continued on, “He also sent this letter to be de-delivered to you,” a little tentatively he handed her the letter.  Nodding his head to excuse himself, he turned and walked back down the front sidewalk, stopping to sniff a bright yellow rose from one of the hybrid rosebushes that lined the walk. The roses were specially engineered for such dusty climates as Chima.  There were areas where water was abundant, easier for roses to live, but the capital is in the western hemisphere, northern section, one of the driest areas overall on the planet.  Before she closed the door she watched him start his van and drive off, sure that he was gone.

“Finally, we might just have our man,” the woman whispered to herself. With a quiet glee, she ripped the envelope open, slipped out the letter, and scanned it quickly.  She walked across the white sand-marble hallway, past the front entrance staircase, and through an archway right behind it.

The archway led to a reading den.  Bookcases upon bookcases two stories tall were lined with antique novels from Earth.  They were brought over on the Subgalaxia with the colonists.  She had finally acquired almost every novel from the ship.  Each one of the five hundred people had been permitted to bring the better part of a dozen books with them when they came. That did not include the books and other media that the staff and crew of the Subgalaxia also packed into ship’s storage.  Some had been lost or destroyed, or else the price was just too high, but she had attained over two thousand of the novels and media materials brought to the Colga Galaxy.

Along with the novels from Earth, she possessed many of the ancient books of the Colga Galaxy. From poetry to autobiographies and everything in between covered the Gogo oak book cases.  Some of the bindings needed to be replaced, but the books were so old, it would be horrid to damage them with an unknowing bookbinder. She ran her hand along the tops of the books on the middle shelf of one of the bookcases that was near her favorite chair as was her habit when pondering over mail.

She sat down in a large plush, brown, leather chair, picked up the small black phone receiver, and dialed it.  As she waited for the person on the other end to answer, she took the few pages of the letter over to her scanner and scanned the hand written letter into the computer for safekeeping.  

“Hello,” a woman’s voice sounded over the earpiece. 

“We have our man,” She whispered into the receiver.

…..

“I have called all of you here to ask you to do me a…favor,” the man behind the desk announced, steepling his long hands with fashionably manicured nails.  He had blond hair that was slowly beginning to turn white and was balding on the crown of his head. He had a narrow face with sharp cheekbones and a slightly hooked nose. Piercing grey eyes disturbingly stared out from under thin eyebrow ridges at the gathering.  Tallness was his probably his only becoming feature.  

Most likely, a sand Elivik, but he looks unusual for an Elivik.  The woman thought to herself.  He was more muscular than most Eliviks that she had come into contact.  Sand Eliviks, Lef Eliviks, tree Eliviks or any of the other sub-species of Eliviks were typically tall, gangly, and very much on the thin side; those were some of the trademarks of the species.  This man had to be half man, half Elivik though. He would have never been able to get the muscles that bulged under his tight fitting suit even with excessive weight training and muscle toners otherwise.

“You are all the best of the best for what I have planned.  Each one of your talents will come in handy, maybe even some of your hidden talents,” his sharp teeth snapped.  His grey eyes pierced into each person’s brain as if to search out some dark secret and extract it forcibly if not painfully from them.  He was creepy enough to raise hair on a person’s neck; slimy would be the best word to describe the man. Taking a breath, he continued, “Back to business.  I have recruited you all for this one reason: I would like you to look for twelve gold coins,” he blinked at the blank faces before continuing on, “There are no true markings on them.  They have no face, plant, or animal, anything directly to identify them as a monetary unit.  

The coins were separated long ago and I wish to unite them once again,” he stretched back in his chair, the squeak of the leather loud in the massive room. He languished there in silence for a second before leaning over his desk once more.  He cracked his knuckles and brushed at his thinning hair. “As you saw in the hall downstairs, I am a numismatic. I have collected thousands of the ancient coins, but I decided finally to start collecting the post-Subgalaxia landing planetary coins.  I thought that getting these twelve coins would be perfect for starting my collection,” he smiled, a glint to his eye, like that of a vermoder pondering the best way to dispatch and consuming its prey. There was something more to the coins that he was not telling them and it made the woman’s stomach roil at the conceit in his eyes. The woman looked around at the circle of men to see what they what their body language could tell her in regards to their thought on this filth of a man and his information.  Some of them had blank stares, others looked confused, but not one of them seemed truly to grasp who this man was and what he was capable of doing.

“A favor?  Really? Well, if I’m not getting paid, I’ll bid you gomxen” one of the men scoffed, rising to leave.

“Sit down!” McAlister’s voice boomed in the room, startling everyone in their seats.  “You’ll be paid, and paid well for obtaining these coins.” The blonde settled back into his leather upholstered seat uncomfortably.  He adjusted the neck of his shirt as a bead of sweat rolled down the side of his face. McAlister glanced around the room at the rest of the group.  The dim light in the far back of the room hid the faces of the group. It felt like a den of thieves and bandits had gathered secretly to take over the government or some other illicit operation, he should feel right at home, so why was he so distressed? It had to be from the woman in the room who was glaring daggers at him.

“But how do we know what these coins look like?  Couldn’t we just find twelve coins in our houses, modify them, and bring them to you?  You did say that they had no identification marks. They’re just blanks. All we have to do is get some gold, melt it down and make them the right size, and then bring them to you,” one of the men rumbled before Mr. McAlister could continue speaking.  

The man was short, definitely a Sho’ren.  He had brown, dread knot hair that stretched into a multi-chord braided beard.  His clothes were as rugged as his hair, green slavwool pants with holes and patching and a brown long-sleeved slavwool shirt that hung loosely on his muscled chest.  The cuffs were ragged and there were several areas in the tail of the shirt and collar where the fibers of the weave had worn thin. A heavy double padded slavwool and leather vest held a long holstering clip along the back for a rather heavy ax that he now had resting at his feet.

His bass voice was rough, not like a man who smoked, but like a man who had spent his life on an ocean before.  He did not appear to be one who would be on a ship though, quite obviously by the Jeck ax. What are we doing, hunting whales? The woman thought as she checked the papers that she was given at the door and as she thought, her guess was right on track. This Fado Quel was a lumberjack in the Gogo oak forests of Counto.

She furtively peered around at the different people that were sitting around her.  An Elivik sat next to Mr. McAlister’s cherry wood desk. He was at least seven feet tall.  His hair seemed to change color from ginger to brunette to blonde as he moved his head. Blue eyes that were so light that the irises looked white, like white globes with single solitary black dots right in the middle stared out from beneath the silky smooth locks of hair.  He had a sharp nose and slashed mouth. His face was long and thin like the rest of him. Past those distinctive features, he was rather plain.

From the dark tan, the woman guessed that he was sand Elivik.  The Elivik species was known more for being nocturnal by nature.  The sand Elivik had adapted to its environment on Chima when it was shipped from the Casawa Galaxy as a slave alien.

There was a strange knowing look in his eyes, like centuries of knowledge and it bore into the woman’s head.  He could not have been nocturnal anyway. The nocturnal Eliviks had brown or green eyes while the diurnal Eliviks had blue eyes.  

The woman looked down at the papers that were in her hands, and started to flip through them quietly so as not to draw attention to herself. She found the page with the Elivik’s photo clipped to it.  The title readOtly son of Hosh.  He stated himself as being twenty-three, having copper hair, blue eyes, and standing six foot seven.  From the paper she also found that he was a glass maker. Sand Elivik possess the ability to conduct heat in their hands at extreme temperatures, thereby making it possible for them to manipulate sand into glass.  The Lef also have this ability though their proficiency lay with metals. She reminded herself to keep a watchful eye and a bit of distance. She did not often have to interact with the Eliviks. They tended to be rather xenophobic and stayed within their own private colonies.

She was just about to do a quick analysis of the man sitting next to the Sho’ren but Mr. McAlister began talking again. “Mr. Quel you will know what the doubloons look like soon and I don’t think that you are one to be tampering with such precious objects.  Anyway, there is one interesting marking on the coins. It is a little blue marble, about the size of a one-cent piece from Earth. They are embedded into the coin and they will not come out – do not break them, and do not smash them. The coins were specially made by a team of two, a Lef and a sand Elivik to make sure the casting was successful,” Mr. McAlister said to the Sho’ren, but then cast a smile in Otly’s direction.  That left a puzzled expression on the Sho’ren’s face.

“Um, Mr. McAlister, you have gathered us all here but you haven’t introduced us.  If we are going to all work together then we must know whom we are working with. Papers are good and all, but…” gently prodded one of the men.  He had short clipped blond hair and blue eyes the color of the sky. He sat in between a brown haired man that looked to be his twin and the sand Elivik.  He was a military buff, with a ranger’s uniform and a hard-earned tan from several years of infantry service with the Emperor’s planetary guards.    

“Oh, yes, I almost forgot.  It would be polite to introduce you all to your fellow partners, wouldn’t?” McAlister asked with a hardy chuckle.  Sweeping his hand around the room, a dramatized gesture, he started to introduce each person by name, “Fado is sitting upon my left, Otly is next to him, Wain and Rew are next. Let’s see if I can get this correct, Honfu, Penen, and Gotre,” he stopped to see them nodded, then continued, “are sitting next to them and Isis is there at the end.  Does that answer your question Mr. Rew?”

              “Ehhum, I was the one who asked the question, sir.  Actually there is one more thing, who is the guy sitting next to her?” the blond haired guy, Wain asked.

“Oh sorry, that’s Patch.” McAlister answered casually.  Everyone else was still staring at the woman. She nodded her head toward them, but then looked to Patch.  He really was one of those people that seemed to blend into the woodwork too easily. She had not really even noticed him sitting there next to her.

“There’s a girl in our midst…” “What’s she doing here?” “What’s going on?”

“I know that having a girl on the team sounds unusual and is…generally considered bad luck – but she’s got her talents, which may become useful to you,” Mr. McAlister explained with a smile.  Her cheeks flushed pink at how he had described her. “Each one of you is useful to the team to finding those coins,” he said with a bit of enthusiasm.  The men did not seem pleased about the situation, unfamiliar with working human females – such domestic, docile creatures usually kept in check by their male counterparts.

A repeated, light chiming sound traveled from down the corridor then.  “Ah lunch, just what I wanted,” Mr. McAlister said, rubbing his hands together.  He brushed his hair away from his eyes, he got up from his plush, overstuffed leather chair that sat behind his large cherry desk and walked to the door to let the group out.  

They followed him down a large set of marble stairs to a large dining hall.  He motioned for them to take a seat around a large oak table, and wait to be served.  Three women, dressed in drab gray servants uniforms and starched white aprons, with two or three silver platters in their arms came out of a swinging door to the side of the room.  They set the platters before the group then left the room.

Mr. McAlister took the smallest silver platter from the table, “I’ll be back later,” he bowed slightly at the waist, and then left the room.  

…..

“Well he introduced us by name but I guess we should introduce ourselves further,” Wain said with a pleasing smile, “let’s start with the one at the head of the table.” He pointed up the long table to the Sho’ren.

“My name is Fado Quel.  I am a wood-Sho’ren. I am one of the few that are able to handle a Jeck ax to its full, immeasurable power,” Fado grumbled.  He did not appear pleased to be picked on first. He noticed that some of the people were giving him funny looks. “A Jeck ax is usually used for cutting the Gogo trees on Counto.  It’s mammoth in proportions to a general ax that humans use. Many Sho’ren aren’t strong enough to handle them either. It’s also used heavily in the battle arenas and general…warlike situations, all of which I have participated in, so let’s all get along and not torment me too much about my height, ‘m‘k?,” Fado flexed his iron biceps to prove the point.  Fado glanced at Wain, his eyes slid over the blond man’s face, asking if he needed to continue.

“Alright, next,” Wain waved impatiently as he stared at a leg of roasted legosa bird.  He had filled his bone china and silver-filigreed plate with native vegetables and fruits, skipping the meats. A quick evil glance at his brother was all Isis needed to fill in that Rew and Wain were practicing in a diet that Wain was not willingly onboard with. He lifted his crystal goblet and a servant who was standing by filled it with deep purple Chewba-berry wine.

“My name is Otly. I am a sand Elivik.  I’m a glass master… yeah. I make glass, but I have a proficiency in checking the clarity of the material.  McAlister brought me on board to make sure that the coins we find are genuine. I can check the structure to make sure that at it’s actually been shaped by an Elivik.  I’m looking forward to working with you. Not much, huh?” He was stuttering. He wiped his locks from his startling eyes and licked his thin lips. He looked down at his plate and across the long table. Eliviks were not much for socializing outside of their colonies, being faced with conversation with a variety of humanoids was a daunting task to him.  His plate was full with wild grain and cactus turkey. Platters full of steaming loaves of bread, chilled fruit, and warm bowls of vegetable soups and meats stretched from the head of the oak table to the foot, a feast fit for the suns themselves.

“Oh, that’s okay.  Let’s keep things moving.  I need to know who everyone is if I’m supposed to lead you through this mess of a mission McAlister is seeing fit to send us on.  Next,” Wain motioned down the table with a sweep of his silver fork. The white sun was shining through the massive two story windows and partially blinding him.  He smiled at Isis with a bright, white, sparkling smile and winked at her. She blushed under her olive bronze tan and turned to look at Patch who was circling his food around his plate. She rolled her eyes and tried to shrug the feeling off.  If that was all that was going to occur on this scavenging trip, then she might as well rethink her plans.

“I’m Rew and the obnoxious one who keeps calling next is Wain, my brother.  We’re twins, only born ten minute apart at birth,” he smiled proudly. “We’re mountaineers.  We’ve been climbing since we were what, twelve, Wain? We’ve been to the summit of almost every single mountain in this galaxy, wouldn’t you say Wain,” Rew said with an endearing smile.  Wain nodded before swallowing the mouth full of roasted veggies that he had been chewing on. “Fine, fine, bro, next.” The guy seemed to enjoy taking charge of situations.

“See, told you,” Rew poked fun at his brother.

“Ah, shut up.  I hate this, Rew, let me have my meat back,” he quipped. 

Rew gave him a stern gaze. “You lost that bet, you’re stuck with plant food for the rest of the month, or do you want to be a sore loser?” Rew came back at him.

“Sore loser is looking more appetizing by the minute,” Wain grouched.  Rew cast a glowering gaze at his brother that could wither a flower. Wain gulped.  He turned back to the individuals sitting around the table. “Back to the subject.” The two brothers looked exactly the same except that Rew had brown hair and Wain had blond almost white hair.  Probably a really good dye job, Isis thought to herself.  Rew had a shaggy mop of hair.  It wisped out at his ears and at his neck.   Wain had his hair trimmed about an inch above his head in a bur cut.  It looked like it had been teased so much that it stuck up on its own without gel or moose needing to be added.  She looked to the group of Ipty brothers when the youngest started talking.

“I’m Honfu, and this is Penen and Gotre.  We are Ipty fliers of Cosmos troop 501. We’re brothers.  I’m seventeen, a new flier, or a Rook,” he motioned to himself.  He was short about two feet tall, tiny really, with long strait black hair with a white stripe birthmark in it.  His brothers sat on either side of him. Penen had tight curly orange hair and was taller that the other brothers at about three foot four.  Gotre was the same height as Honfu, but rather stocky and thick in the neck. He had flaming red curly hair that was cut close to the scalp. “Once an Ipty hits seventeen he is considered a rook.  Penen is eighteen, he’s a junior, and Gotre over there is nineteen, he is a master flier,” Honfu was still speaking proudly. “I’m not really sure what our function is in this group dynamic right off hand, but assuming that no one else in this group has the ability to fly, we’re probably going to be the go to for height related things,” Penen added. “Well, I don’t know about you two fools, but I know Iwas called in because of my geology background, at least that what I was told by McAlister when he called me up.  I asked him if you two could tag along for recommendations on promotions for the both of you when we all got back,” Gotre responded to the two brothers. Honfu looked a bit dejected and Penen slumped in to his chair, arms folded over his chest. Apparently, the two younger brothers did not want anything to do with the military anymore and promotions were not on their highest agenda.

Isis had been studying the three men closely.  She noted the golden skin tone that was not quite human.  For her line of work and all the places and people she had seen, she really did not know that much about the humanoid specie and she was beginning to regret it. The political intrigue she dealt in was that found in the royal court – primarily populated by humans.  Her marks had almost exclusively always been human competition. Humanoids, though potentially dangerous, could not possibly hope to gain rule of the Colga Galaxy due to the dragon codes. Humans were the only creatures known to have any telepathic link to the creatures, and thereby the only potential threat to the imperial throne.  She glanced down at the paperwork that lay in her lap and her galatron strap. The galatron printed out a line of information on its screen and her eyebrows just slightly rose in surprise and interest at what it spewed forth.

Ipties have natural gold skin, not bronze, but gold.  They grow to an average height of two feet five inches, on one rare occasion growing to four and a half feet tall. They have the ability to crossbreed with Sho’ren.  Ipty naturally possesses a set of wings spanning nine feet on average. Ipty grow into its set of wings that it was born with by the age of sixteen. Generally, the child is through “flight school” to begin learning how to use his or her wings.  After flight school the child serves in the planet’s air force for seven years before being allowed to continue with a civilian job.

Isis looked up in time to realize that Wain was about to call on her. “Next.” A quick beat of her heart and a bit of a dry mouth told her that she was nervous; she took a subtle breath to calm her nerves. Speaking in groups was not her norm. She preferred to hide in the background, unobserved and unobtrusive.   “My name is Isis. I am twenty-one. I’m a mercenary for hire. McAlister did not supply me with an explanation as to what I would be doing directly. At least four individuals at this table, and you Wain, are all military trained, so I know that youall aren’t going to need your butts saved. I have proficiency in a vast array of weaponry and rather adept at infiltration.  I will say here and now though that I am not the best in the industry, though I do try. I say this that way if something stupid happens, thenyou aren’t trusting me to be some miraculous annihilator or something that can just get rid of any attacker. Believe me when Isay I don’t know what I’m doing here,” Isis was rather quiet and confident in what she said, surprising her colleagues.  She sat back down with a slight bow. “A what?” came a cry down the table. “A mercenary?” “A human female?” 

“Well, there are alwaysother reasons for a woman to come on a trip like this,” Rew grumbled under his breath.  The room quietedinstantly, the temperature going up a few perceptible degrees. Isis’s eyes fell on the man. He found himself analyzing the depths of death in that look.  His brother kicked him under the table. “Brilliant way to start an already awkward evening, brother. Now if you’re done being an idiot, apologize to the woman who could probably more than effectively emasculate you and we will continue with our introductions,” Wain demanded quietly of his brother.  Rew recoiled at the rebuke, knowing he had set himself up for this trouble. He could not help it. What was wrong with hoping for some entertainment on the road. When his brother and he had gone on long trips with groups like this before, there had always been company to keep, it was just how this kind of thing worked.  Isis was not that bad to look at either. She was small in build, not quite beautiful, but cute at least. She was not athletically built, she did have curves that begged to be examined. So what if he was horny this early in the evening. It had been a few months since he had sought company.

  A shaft of light blinded Rew, startling him.  Isis had her hands lying on the hilt of a small knife that had not been there before, its point twirling on the table.  Her chin rested deceptively still on top of her hands, a whimsicalsmile stretched across her face, slashing eyes pinning him to his chair. “I can assure you men that I am not here for that reason, and will not be of any service in that regard.  I get paid too well to fall to such low standards. If you need to speak with McAlister about retaining such entertainment for this trip, Iwill not be offended by the extra company.  Just make sure she can cook‘cause I suck at that,” Isis said flippantly at Rew. Tension rose in the room. Otly and Honfu’s faces had already turned a brilliant scarlet. Such talk by a woman that was not a courtesan was outside of their social norms.  Rew shifted in his seat uneasily. “I’m sorry about that Isis, it just that…” Rew trailed off.

“Ido believe that it will not be necessary as respectable gentlemen to put you in such an awkward situation as to keep us entertained or to keep company with such an individual,” Fado reassured Isis.  In a flash that no one saw, the knife had disappeared from Isis’s hand and she was again eating daintily from her plate like nothing had happened.

“Next!” Wain called, trying to move the conversation onward.  He was rather indifferent to who or what that woman was. She was apparently not accommodationsfor the trip, and was quick with a knife, strong willed, quiet spoken, and…different.  He liked that in a woman, for once meeting one with more than just the domestic gene permeating her being. 

           “My name is Gage Yendarma Patch.  I’m a botanist and zoologist. I am like a doctor, well not really.  I’m not qualified for surgical work on animals. I specialize in specie finds and preservation of their environment and themselves.  I’m probably here to make sure that you don’t eat anything poisonousand don’t get yourself stung,” his face was turning a shade of pink.  Poor Patch, such a nervous disposition.  He’ll have to get over that quickly.

Mr. McAlister returned just as dessert was being served.   “Gentlemen, I am pleased that you have decided to go on the search for the twelve doubloons.  They have a special meaning to me and I do need them. I will be sending you to Zutana. You will, along with supplies and supervisions, be sent with a Canto.”

“What, those hybrid man-horses?  Is that what you are talking about?” Fado guffawed at the proposition.  What could they do with a Canto? Horses seemed like a descent concept of transportation, but to be sent with just one seemed rather futile with the amount of supplies each one of them would probably be responsible for carrying.  Isis knew that Fado’s reaction was a little over exaggerated but she was right in there with him in wanting to know if they were really going to add another humanoid to this group. Rew perked up, hoping against hope that it was a harem mare.  Mr. McAlister nodded his head dismissively. Fado crossed his arms over his chest and humphed. “Canto tend to be useful as translators, and I’ve come across one that I believe will be most capable in serving you,” he answered.

After a while of discussing different matters about the journey to come, Mr. McAlister left them, saying that he would see them early in the morning.  Several maids ushered the guests to rooms that they would be staying in that night. Isis followed a thin, shrewish looking maid who had muslin gray hair and a beak for a nose.  She showed Isis to a heavy wooden door and opened it up with a key that looked to be centuries old. Looking closer at the door, once the maid was gone, Isis noted the door bolt to be one of the newest security locks made yet.  So, to disguise the power lock they had an old fashion key made for it.  I wonder why he has such locks on his inside doors?  She was paranoid about this for a few minutes then shrugged it off and went to check out the accommodations that came with the room.  The room was not that big, but it was nice and realistic. There was netting on the windows and around the bed to keep the small sand chii out of the rooms.

She had the top most room of the large mansion.  It was a lovely bedroom. Next to the western wall was a reclining chair with a small table and reading lamp along with books and a small ottoman in front of the chair.  Many of the windows around the room connected so that most all of them pointed to the rising sun, leaving an open relaxed feeling.

She slipped out of her clothes, shaking dirt from the co-cotton fabric, and then flopped down into the goose down comforter on the bed, closed her emerald green eyes and listened to the purring whiffs of wind coming in the netted windows.  She felt the day’s excitement slowly drain out of her. Before long she was sound asleep in the peaceful bedroom.

The next morning after an early wake-up call and breakfast the team’s training began.

…..

Isis stood in the midst of a vast subterranean chamber.  It contained within it a menagerie of weapons and training apparatus.  Off to the left was a large glass sided current pool that ran the length of the first third of the room.  Facing it, on the right, were punching bags, straw men and aim-boards. This area ran the full length of the chamber, with small walled units that held weapons to be used in the divided spaces.  Lazguns, pikes, darts, stars, and other small hand-use weapons took up the first half of the units, about twelve spaces total. The remaining twelve units were sealed for explosive and fire weapons training.  Behind the current pool were spaces set up for flight simulation training and a chamber for environmental stress training. This would have taken time and lots of money to put this together. It looked more like a special ops training ground. Everything appeared brand new too, obviously just installed. It was hard to believe that this man-Elivik would spend so much just to train a group of humanoids to go after a set of coins.

The group was two hundred feet below McAlister’s mansion.  They had been awakened at the early hour of four in the morning, when the red sun was just beginning to set.  They had a meager meal of fruit and porridge before being sent into a service elevator. They had not been provided the opportunity or luxury to even be fully dressed.  Isis, feeling lucky, had fallen asleep at least with her undershirt on and her pants, which she had put on an hour into her stay at the mansion guest room when she had needed to find the Jack-and-Jill styled restroom that she had ended up sharing with Patch.  Her feet, bare, felt the wax used on the floor of the subterranean hall.

The men had a varied fair. Between the Elivik and the Sho’ren they all had various amounts of clothing on, from the Ipty brothers who had slept in their now wrinkled trousers and flight vests, to Wain who came into the dining hall pulling up his pants.  Fado, the old goat, had been up and dressed for hours before the servants had called, if he had ever even slept. The Gogo oak forests were on a 45 hour day planet with a 22 hour daylight time frame – he may just have had planet-lag and not noticed the sleep period change over.  Fully dressed and groomed, he looked ever the put together Sho’ren, ready for battle or work. His Jeck ax nestled at his side, he stood confidently with his arms crossed over his barreled chest, waiting. Otly, probably the unluckiest of all, stood chilly before the group in little less than his fashion of undergarment and his pouch of glass sand.  Ever resembling an albino lizard, his skin had gone almost transparent in the cold. He stood shaking, an audible clatter of teeth echoing in the chamber. He held his hands against his heart, probably warming himself with his heat generation.

McAlister stood proudly before them, his hands on his hips, feet splayed wide.  He at least had got the memo to be dressed for a hard day’s work; then again he was the one who had come up with this “fun” day.  “Do you all know why I’ve brought you here?” he boomed, repeating his line from the day before. Wain and Rew groaned, but the rest remained warily, wearily silent.  “Oh, now come on men! You’ll be here for the next two or three weeks, so get to loving it!” McAlister was excited. He led them up and down the length of the chamber, showing them the various training zones.  He did at least point out a series of smaller rooms off to the back, including a shower room and restrooms, to Honfu’s relief, who disappeared quickly into it.This is going to take a while. Isis mused to herself morosely and she went ahead and threw herself into the first of the training booths to run the mainline tests that McAlister wanted to see from the whole group. She might be a mercenary, but she was more than that, and ever aware, she willingly kept some of her talents hidden.

RT @ThorntonGibsonK: I can’t wait to read what happens next in The Kavordian Library! – #scifi, #fantasy, #webseries #books

We need the bees hoodie
We need the bees hoodie
by Kavordia2

I am a writer and artist working through the Kavordian Library series. I write sci-fi, fantasy, lgbt romance.

2 Comment on “The Doubloons: Ch 1

  1. Pingback: The Doubloons: Prologue | Kavordian Library

  2. Pingback: The Doubloons: Ch 2 | Kavordian Library

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