Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Wonderfully Amazing Worlds of Thaddeus Thackray

Thaddeus Thackray was not the name of his choosing or indeed the name given him by his parents, but it came to him in early June and insisted on staying.

Thaddeus was at this time one year, two months, three hours and twenty minutes of age, so in his defence he lacked the intellect to argue his case against taking a name so brazen in its need to become part of him at this time in his life, that, and the fact it did ask him oh so nicely as only a good name could.

Elijah Benjamin son of Patricia and Zackary Benjamin was diagnosed autistic; this was ridiculous of course, but understandable under the circumstances.

Thaddeus’s mind was developing in a way Humans rarely experience, he understood who he was and reached out to explore the world with his mind.

By the time he was 18 months old he found to his amazement, he could effect events around him; with his educational aid being the television his nanny sat him in front of every day, he developed a fascination for the Bats featured by David Attenborough on the BBC, ‘oh how intriguing,’ he though, and what curious mammals, sleeping in the day upside down no less, and only active at night where the eyes they were born with were of no use to them what so ever, so he reached out to find the tiny minds of bats living in the loft of a house some 300 metres away, ‘Who are you?’ They asked, as you would expect from a Bat rudely awakened.

‘I am Thaddeus Thackray IIII’ He told them; now dear reader…this means of course your reading the Earth addition of this Galactic best seller in its 7 Zillionth publication, as you see Thaddeus’s name now insists on being The Fourth as One Two and Three have not been born yet… I know what you’re thinking, ‘why isn’t he The First?’ Well it’s this linier thinking that’s held you and your Planet back for so long, and in this addition of the book  I find myself having to make this very clear, It's annoying really, because we all know Earthlings are needy. Needy Earth! they call you, "Oh we have terrible storms, do you think we may have caused it?" Well Dah!... "Oh woe the air we breath is poisoned!" Dah! again... "Who can save us? We have made a bit of a hole in the ozone layer....Ooopsy!" and you wonder why over species avoid you like the plague, but I digress, you may continue.

‘We don’t know what a Thaddeus, bla bla bla is!’ said one of the bats who felt the need to say something and in doing so demonstrated their short attention span when it came to long names.

‘As I said I’m… well never mind my name... I would just like to ask, why do you sleep in the day time?’

Thaddeus heard four bats giggling while another, who was jealous that these bats answered first replied, ‘Do we look Crazy? We sleep in the day time so as to feed at night, then birds don’t catch us, or they’d peck us they would, it’s only those Freaky owls who hunt us at night and that’s bad enough thank you very much, Those sneak freaks are silent and deadly like a flea’s flatulence, and those blighters are smelly, let me tell you.” At this the other bats nodded and one spat, “Freaky Owls!’ Just to add gravitas to his brother’s statement.

‘Oh I see, that makes perfect sense thank you, now could you pop over just to prove you can fly in the day?’ the 18 month year old asked.
‘This is why we don’t talk to Thad’s.’ a third bat interjected.
‘That’s fine; I didn’t think you could anyway.’ Thaddeus said knowing this would goaled them into action.

Elijah’s Mother Screamed so loud as the troop of bats swooped in that it made Thaddeus jump.
She ran from the Kitchen frantically flailing her arms above her head still screaming hysterically.

“Zack!! Flying vermin… Flying vermin!, do something! Before they poop over everything!”  
“Guano over everything you mean, it’s Spanish you know… the word not the poo,” and Zackary Benjamin leaped into action by screaming and waving his arms just as frantically as his wife.

Thaddeus made a mental note…. ‘Bats!’ only he spelt it as three squiggles and a line struck through the centre, ‘are hilarious!’
Well he is only 18 months old and unaware of the human alphabet, so when you think about it, three squiggles and a line does look very surprisingly Bat’ ish.

Zack, happy in the knowledge his actions helped clear their humble home of these meddlesome Bats, sat down hard onto the settee, ‘did you see that Elijah? Bats!’ but to his dismay his son just stared out blankly as he always did.

Valerie Speck at 17 year old nerdy type, only took the job of Nanny, to help her pay her way to travel and work in America, a land she was convinced, was full of opportunity and riches.

"I’m so sorry Mrs Benjamin I opened the Kitchen window while I was heating Elijah’s milk." She said in horror at the unexpected event.

“I was scared out of my wits Valerie, but I can’t see how anyone would know bats would take advantage of such a thing as an open window! I’ve never known the like… it’s not natural.”

Patricia put an arm round the shaken girl and led her back into the kitchen where she made her a refreshing cup of tea. “No harm done, now I must leave for School Valerie, so will you be able to manage?’ the young girl holding her tea cup in both hands as if to gain strength from its heat, nodded then blurted “I’ll be fine, I think… yes I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine so don’t worry Mrs Benjamin you must leave or you’ll catch all that traffic!” She never knew this of course, she only heard about such things on the radio.

“Very well, you have my number should you need anything, but please do try to call during the afternoon break, it's imossible enough to teach children anything, what with all the paper work we spend hours at home preparing without having a lesson interupted, so call only if you need to,” Elijah’s mother replied with concern in her eyes, then turning to shout at her Husband, who was still sat in the living room, “Come on Darling, I will drop you at the Paper.”

The Paper now mentioned is The Evening Oracle, where Zach provides the daily cartoon, which was the only satirical observation on life in current affairs of said papers News.

Thaddeus at two realises he must connect with his family and surroundings in some way, so I will leave it still the day he makes eye contact with his parents to describe them.

Thaddeus was still talking to the Bats… they had such a wistfulness about them that made him smile.

Zack’s sketch pad was full of captured moments of his son and before he rose to fetch his jacket he drew with some satisfaction his smiling baby boy.

He bent and spoke to Thaddeus, “if I didn’t know better young man, I’d say you found your mother and I running round like lunatics very amusing,” then he kissed his son’s forehead and left to join his waiting wife in the families only car, a 6 year old purple Renault Scenic.

The Bats continued chatting to Thaddeus through the years, which was an immense delight to him.  

Jim Benjamin was a scallywag, a heart breaker, thief, an Adventurer, sailor, pirate and astronaut, in other words he was a writer of some acclaim.

Zackary is his only son, and he's spent every affernoon for the past few months, sat at his Fathers bedside squeezing his hand in an attempted to comfort his thermally ill father.

The Doctor said two to three months was about as much time as he could see for his Father, and with diabetes, cataracts, on top of the already diagnosed weak heart, bowl cancer and leukaemia, three months looked to be an optimistic view.

“I’m sorry to inform you you’re Father has developed an infection, which will in some cases lead to pneumonia.” The nurse said, hardly the greeting he was hoping for.

“Oh good god no! Is it serious?’ Zack asked knowing any infection with leukaemia killing the immune system was Serious, but he said it more as acceptance then any need for confirmation.

“We are keeping a close eye on it and attempting to make him as comfortable as possible.” And she gave Zack’s arm comforting squeeze as she left him.
"Well Dad! how are you today?" but Jim was in a world of thought, locked out from the outside world in a comatose state.

‘Hello Grandfather,’ Thaddeus began as he always did in greeting.
‘Ah young Elijah how are you, my spur clanking cowboy?’ the mind of the old man asked.
‘Well as you know Grandfather I’m Thaddeus now, and I believe I’m very well indeed.’
‘Oh but of course my dear Thaddeus, how silly of me to forget such a name with a smiley face in every D of it.” His Grandfather replied in joyous conspirator’s collaboration,

‘May I ask about the spurs Grandfather?’
‘You most certainly can…as you are in need of them to add some tension, for today it’s the shoot out at the O.K. corral, you are the outlaw Tom Mclaury with a bristly chin and I’m Doc Holliday, limping due to some dastardly deeds of your brother Frank, what will you do? if you walk you will give away your location, and the clinging spurs will sound like alarm bells to your anguished mind., it's a quandary isn't it?’

‘Ah yes, but as I’m ducking and diving by the horse troth, full of water so fowl I wrinkle my nose as I shout… ‘You’re going to get yours Sheriff! And that motley gathering you choose to deputise!’
In real life The Gunfight in the Old West lasted some 30 seconds but in the minds of the two opposing parties, seconds can be hours and hour’s days.

While these adventures took place, the son of Jim held his father’s hand desperately hoping his heavily drugged father understood his worry,  and was somehow aware he was not alone, as he spoke gently to him.
With some mumbled words and even grinning given in response, the son’s eyes filled with grateful tears.

“That’s right dad… keep smiling, I wonder where you are today…past or present?”

Then the Evening came when Jim made Thaddeus promise to exit his self imposed shell, and take notice of the real world and things around him so those who loved him would see, and it would bring joy to their hearts at a time of great sadness.

He did this by passing on his son’s sorrow into his young grandson’s mind.

‘I’m so sorry Grandfather, I wasn’t aware how much my lack of connection hurt my parents so.’ The saddened son of Zack replied.

With that Zack’s father turned to wave at a beautiful woman dressed in what Thaddeus believed to be the clothing of the 40’s, ‘is that Cheeky Chops Grandfather?’
‘Yes Thaddeus wave to your grandmother.’

Thaddeus enthusiastically waved with both arms at the beautiful woman wearing a red dress gathered at the waist with a brown leather belt, fastened with a brass buckle, as she stepped from her cloud, with her beautifully wavy auburn hair lifting on the pleasant breeze, and she flicked it back as she introduced herself to her grandson.

‘You must be Thaddeus, I’ve heard a lot of lovely things about you… did this rouge call me Cheeky Chops? He’s been calling me that since we were 5.’
‘Yes Grandmother he did,’ Thaddeus chirped, smiling so happy it made the old man Grin.

‘Oh dear me no that will never do, I’m Jessie remember that... Jessie, not Gran, nore Grandmother or Nan,’ the kind looking woman added with a chuckle that put a sparkle in to her gleeming green eyes, then she bent to kiss Thaddeus on the forehead and put a Jaffa cake in his hand, ‘try it! You'll love how it tickles your tongue.’ Jessie said whinking.
Then standing upright she turned to the man who has been the Love of her life, taking his arm as she lead him over the threshold of his imagination, onto the waiting cloud, now glowing with every colour of the rainbow.

After a brief and loving kiss they spun the cloud round, giggling with childish glee as they moved like surfers on a tandem board, to face the young boy. ‘Remember what I said Thaddeus! This is our last adventure my boy, and Oh what a charming comrade you have been these last few months, I don’t know what I would have done without you, we leave you with love in our hearts for you and your parents, you have your fathers eyes, give him a hug for me, he's made me so proud to be his father, and your mother is a delight, and so perfect for him...Then after a hearty… Cheerio!’ And they were gone.
All Thaddeus felt was undying love and the sound of laughter.

Zackary seeing his father grinning was full of joy as he sat holding his hand so tight he felt the strong beating of his father’s heart, until that moment all went suddenly cold.
Patricia sitting next to her Husband gripped his other hand.

They both heard the last gentle breath leave the terribly thin body, like a whispered last farewell and Jim was gone.
"I think he's gone!"
"I know...but he looked at peace." Patricia said.

The machine that had been assisting Jim’s to breathing sounded in terrible alarm.

 Zackary was beside himself with grief, sobbing uncontrollably as Patricia clung to him,  squeezing hard when she felt those tears pouring from his soul, she joined him with sorrowful tears of her own, that flowed for  Jim and her poor husband’s broken heart.


They froze in shock.

It came from the pushchair and they both looked disbelieving as they saw Elijah with arms up stretched begging to be lifted.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Adventures of Avon Sagan and the crew of the Aura, Series One The Xian Curse.

The Adventures of Avon Sagan. 

Thousands of years have passed since Earth, the planet thought to be the origin of the human kind died, now humans colonise any livable or  remotely livable planets they can find, and over the millennia they have spread the remains of the species throughout  what was once the unknown reaches of the galaxy. Man was to discover that beyond this galaxy were uncountable others.
Humans have learnt the hard way, how to share these galaxies with other species who were themselves  in various forms of advancement.
War was inevitable but now considerably rare, mainly because those with the advanced weaponry annihilate those that didn't.
So Man had to fight his instincts to dominate all he surveyed in order to survive, trade and negotiations with others for co-existence was the only way forward.

Planetary life was on the main bearable and the aim of any species, but for the few who never felt the need to put down roots space life was the norm.
Such is the life for the crew of the Aura.

So let us join these misfits at the Nursia system, where it’s cold sapphire darkness filled the Aura's view screen, stars have been drawing the imagination of man since he first viewed the heavens, but now it's the common backdrop for this crew and all the awe has gone, these stars in particular looked to have been scattered like hand thrown corn and surrounded the gaseous cloud called Jade’s belt, which twisted outwards a spiralling smoke as if from an unseen fire, with its reds, greens and purple wisps,
So in this lonely spec of Space the Aura looked to be motionless, like some discarded sugared Almond from a race of sweet toothed giants, but this relic was Captained by none other then Avon Sagan.
Now what could I tell you about Avon Sagan, that hasn’t been told throughout the known universe a thousand times over; well Hannah Fletcher could tell you all you need to know but I’ll attempt to describe this rambunctious scallywag, for I know dear reader you crave information and who am I to deny you this?

Avon’s friends are few, which is of his own choosing and he was thankful for it, as he’s beholding to no one but his crew.
At thirty six years old, Six foot three (1.9m) with an athletic build, he was a formidable character, the dark tussled hair has never seen a comb in his lifetime and this sits atop his slim but rugged face, the curves of that face are only broken by the square jaw line, his distinctive but not overly large nose divides the green eyes that would seem to pierce right into you when he had his inquisitive gaze on you... He would claim to be an honest man; others would call him a rouge and Pirate but he would prefer to be called a Privateer.
Avon has no living relatives to his knowledge and this vessel he calls home was inherited from his late Grandfather who acquired it 120 Earth cycles ago...  To be totally honest, and I can see by the way your gripping the page I need to be, Avon has never called it home, he calls it Aura, which isn't strange as this is what happens when you name something; like "Hello, I'm Malcolm and I live at Seaview," or some such silly name people give to their homes. 
The Aura was already extremely old by the time Avon's Granfather acquired it, and the exploits of the Aura and Fabien Sagan are legendary, the scared paint work could have been blue or grey but years of space dust and meteor fragments had polished most of its surface to a golden shimmer, the metal is unknown as is whomever built the ship but it was defiantly none human…this race now lost in the eon’s of time since it’s construction controlled it’s systems telepathically in a language which was as much a part of Avon as Avon was to the ship. It was a symbiotic relationship, each needing the other to survive the constant dangers of space and he commanded this vessel without conscious thought.
Another secret of the ships longevity was the extraordinary ability of its metal to renew and repair itself like a living organism.
Avon had never experienced the joys of planetary life, this was the only life Avon knew since birth, so answering the needs of the Aura were second nature; you’d not describe Avon as timorous, His Stubborn belligerence and total disregard for authority or his own safety is something that would apply however, as for brave, no self respecting Sagan has ever run from a fight... but this isn't bravery it's an inbuilt stubbornness to yield, and to be honest you wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of their rage.

Avon trained in all forms of the fighting arts has no fear, this was a family skill past down from  generation to generation, his Grandfather was a fearsome man in his own right. These ancient methods are known to a very few, and considered a lost art, and in this universe you are unlikely to meet anyone with all these skills, after all who needs to learn these rather tiresome arts when those with the gun feel anything more than squeezing a trigger is over exuberance.
Avon wore the uniform of a Galactic Captain from the old Earth Fleets. He discovered it in an old chest under the bed in his Grandfathers cabin, now his cabin, the jacket was a navy blue with gold insignia at the collar and cuffs, with a scarlet centre, to hide the blood from the men its said, and had a line of three gold buttons at each sleeve. These matched the ten larger buttons that travelled evenly down both sides of the jacket front.
He also wore black cavalry trousers with red twin piping down the outsides that ended at his leather bound gravity boots with there five silver buccaneer type buckles, these boots looked heavy but were in fact light as air and twice as comfortable… the sensory systems gave the wearer the equivalent gravity of Earth, that long dead forsaken planet of his ancestors and overcame the weightlessness of space, not that they were needed while on board the Aura but should the need arise to inspect the outer hull or board other less sophisticated craft they became invaluable.
A black leather belt held the holstered phaser and the curved hilt of the plasma sword at his waist.
The Galactic Fleets were a thing of the past, the colonies out grew the effectiveness of any central forces and build forces of their own to guard and protect their planetary systems. Avon wore the clothes for his love of style, plus he thought it made him look heroic.
Also on board this fine vessel was Pip, with jet black slicked back hair, hazel eyes, and slender nose, firm mouth gave him the simmering looks that would melt many a young girls heart, and he also had the advantage of youth on his side at twenty one years old, he’s five feet ten (1.8m) and also a skilled fighter, due to the training of Fabien and now Avon.
Pip preferred the all in one suits used by the old Zytonian Navy, a grey and blue camouflage patterned suit, used on planetary night missions with the same boots worn by Avon, he wore an ancient samurai sword at his waist and on his opposite side he had a Thaygon Phaser rifle strapped to his right thigh, Pip Braddock was from the hostile Zyton System, where you fought to live.
The Zyton System had 7 planets with humanoid life forms the fifth of these was called Destra, this having a harsh environment that no one in there right mind would choose to live on, but being rich in precious metals and stones it gave men the incentive to try, many generations had fought and died there, it takes a tough breed of men and women to survive this unforgiving planet and it had little in the way of law enforcement. What didn’t kill you would feed you, as the old Zyton nursery rhyme will tell you. They did however have some of the most lavish space stations ever built in any system, families made rich by the mining of Destra lived on these stations and in doing so built a thriving community of station dwellers, it had 312 space stations on last count. Each family had its own interpretation of the Law so clashes seem to happened on a daily basses
Fabien had rescued Pip then five from a fierce battle between two rival families, but while returning to the ship with the crystals needed for the Aura’s Stardrive, the shuttle had been cut in two from a blast that came from a vessel already docked at the station. It took some impossible manoeuvres from Avon to get his Grandfather still clutching Pip on board, but at the loss of his Brother Damien and both parents, Hurcual and Nemera.
Hannah Fletcher had witnessed it all from the observation deck on the ship; she was another stray the family found on their travels. She stayed with Fabien who was badly wounded and the boy, while Avon beamed onto the ship and killed everyone on board, first by surprising the six bridge crew with the speed of his attack, then disabling weapons and setting the ships self destruct, a sizable part of the Space stations docking area was also damaged.
It’s impossible to beam crystals as they disrupted the beaming process and many a ships been lost attempting it, a shuttle is the only way for safe transport and now shuttle 3’s shattered remains floated around the Aura in a burning spiralling storm.

When Avon returned to the ship Hannah  was shocked to see the hate had not yet receded in his eyes, this wasn’t the cool headed Avon she knew, this was a scary twin as he stood over his Grandfather.
He had a fresh phaser burn, that was now a vivid red, scarring his chin, “They would of fired on us Hannah, you know that,” he said, when he saw the fear in her eyes.
“Yes I know,” she answered reassuringly.
Hannah is beautiful, her raven hair cut in the classic Telorian bob, gave her an exotic look, with clear blue eyes that shone with youth, and at five feet four (1.62m) she still looked every bit as capable as Avon, her purple uniform seem to be made from space with what looked like stars gleaming over it’s surface, making the cloth a glitter as she walked, she also wore the silver Telorian battle breast plate, with its ornate engraved patterns on the armour. Like Pip she also favoured the Samurai swords and she carried two. One half the length of the other. And two holstered laser pistols at her waist on crossed belts. The boots didn’t look like they belong to this outfit but as they are standard issue for this crew so you can over look this fashion foe par, with those pal blue eyes and the golden skin of a Telorian, Hannah is a woman you’ll not forget in a hurry.
Fabien blamed himself the for loss of his family, it took him three months to recover from his injuries and he used his 10,000 year old sheathed samurai sword as support as he never gained full strength to his right side. Avon now his only living relative took on the increased training he had to endured knowing his Grandfather was preparing him for a the time he’d be the last of the Sagan’s.
The Aura can carry a crew of fifteen, it had four shuttles now three, and 14 life pods due to one chamber being empty when Fabien found it, these would only be used in extreme emergencies, so it’s believed the former owner abandoned ship for whatever reason, for fear of his or her life.
From the outside the Aura looks golden, it’s smooth surface showing no windows, docking ports or access at all, it was as if making these visible spoilt it’s curved lines, and perched up top of this oval hull held a silver dome at its centre, this is the observation deck, again there are no external windows the whole dome was like a bubble in space from the inside, But no one could view into it from the outside. it just looked as smooth and as the metallic body, on very closed inspection outer hull and dome contained ancient symbols raised from there surfaces by thousandths of a millimetre, some of the old paint work clung on stubbornly as if to stake it’s claim to be there, it takes an agile mind indeed to master all it’s systems but this crew of three are more then a fair match to a Phellentine Battlecruiser or two, with a complement of one hundred and fifty crew, and you don’t want to mess with a Phellentine Battlecruiser if you had any sense or need to live.

Maybe Avon should have avoided the meeting with the Holy Order of The Seventh but when did he avoid anything.
Now I’d better tell you the story of the Seventh or you’ll be wondering what all the fuss is about later, won’t you.
The Holy Order of the Seventh is a religious group following the teachings of the seventh Brother of faith.
It is said the Seventh Brother saved the lives of the Selig system by giving his life that others may live. He gave himself up to a race called the Xian.
The Xian were a warring race who moved from system to system taking technologies and any treasures they could find, their lizard like green eyes gave them an evil look, the eyes looked even more intense due to their grey rhino like skin, with large bullet shaped heads and no neck, on long bodies and strong muscular legs and arms all armour clad.
The Average height of 7’ feet made their very presents scary.
They always kept ahead of their intended foes with advanced weaponry and dominated every system they entered, they ruled with an iron fist, leaving their own governing bodies in their wake, backed up by the formidable armour clad armies, these men fought as one, unyielding and they would soon crush any rebellion to their leadership.
It wasn’t all bad for the people though, once order was established some even became the richer from the experience, by the new trade the Xian bought.
The one thing you couldn’t have under their reign was freedom, the majority of the people were no more then slaves, some would say this was agreeable as this brought education and medical advances, but Freedom is something that has been fought for since man first hurdled a rock as a weapon.
The Xian Home World was the red planet Xiantus
The Seventh Brother travelled to the Xian home world, telling them they should leave the Selig system or The Xian will be humbled by the hand of the one god, who would show no mercy...
Well you can do many things but threatening the Xian meant death.
After a brief and some would say unnecessary trial at the highest court of the realm, he was taken to a place of execution, where the Seventh Brother was stripped of his robes and they found he wore a golden shield strapped to his chest, the shield with its religious symbols and artistry depicting stories of the Selig God, it was about to be removed when the Brother asked, “do you fear my God?”
This brought laughter to the surrounding Xian’s gathered in the arena, “If you do not fear my God then allow me to wear his words.”
A guard taking a knife from his belt was about to cut the shield free when,
 “Stop!” was shouted down from the main gallery...
The Xian Emperor Turus Tec walked down to the Brother looking him in the  eyes and his grey face creased in a big grin... “You think you can mock us with your ancient mumbo jumbo?... If this is the symbol of your ridiculous beliefs,” he said while placing a hand on the shield, where he felt a tingle in his finger tips that forced him to pull his hand back quickly, hiding his shock,  “then we will destroy it! Along with You!” He finished.
“Thank you,”  was all the Brother uttered, and the entire audience to this mans death erupted into laughter again…
“Stand ready!” The captain of the Guard ordered at the 6 men of arms; and the armour of these Xian’s shone like flames on its silvery surface, under the bright Xiantus sunshine lit by its two suns.
It would have only taken one soldier to turn this monk to dust as molecule disruptor would literally blow him away. But now the 6 Xian soldiers with bullet shaped helmets over their bullet shaped heads with their long horizontal slits for the eyes stood motionless awaiting the order to fire.
“On My Word Fire! you will fire!” The Captain said, “ Take aim!” the 6 men lifted the disruptors to their shoulders… FIRE!!
The Brother’s Body dissolved into dust as did the shield but before the shield vanished it glowed like molten gold, it was so bright all the viewing public closed their eyes and turned their faces away as if they were looking directly into the sun itself, when the grow lessened they all looked to see the Monk and his shield were no more.
Then ripples of golden dust emanated from the precise space occupied by the Seventh and as it touched the surrounding Xian they in turn also turned to dust, within 3 hours there wasn’t a single Xian on the planet, all that remained were the slaves or members of others races, not a single building was harmed it was just as if the whole Xian race ceased to be!.
It took several years to spread through the surrounding systems controlled by the Xian but one by one this once powerful race turned to dust, even those that converted to the order of the Seventh, in the hopes of finding salvation.
The remaining armies once ruled by the Xian disbanded and returned to their own systems, those that did try to keep the old Xian order were soon over run, and a new life for those who had been controlled for hundreds of years began, of course without the Xian some of their advanced technology was lost, as was the advanced medical skills but each race now advanced at their own pace as before.
Over many millennia even the buildings of the old Xian race returned to nature because nature is always there biding it’s time waiting for Man or any other race that came, to slip up and then it would restore everything as it was.
“We want you to find an artifact for us,”
“Oh really!” Avon said eyebrows rose in his best disbelieving face,
“We have been told you are a very resourceful man and ….let me see, how was it put to us...? Ah yes, and you have no fear!” The Monk in his blood red robe of the seventh opened his old winked eyes wider, “Where you will be going, be sure, there will be plenty to be fearful of, and much danger,” Avon had to stop himself coming out with the old adage I laugh in the face of Danger and even changing it to I chuckle at fear, didn’t make it sound any less of a cliché in his head.
“So you know all about me eh?” He said, shifting on the flat rock the Monks use for seats, “did anyone mention I like payment too?”
“Ah yes… indeed they did, and you must believe me when I say, what I have for you is beyond price,” the Monk chuckled softly, and nodded his head to Avon’s inquisitive gaze. (The one that could look right through you)
Avon was slightly put out that he never got his chuckle in first,
“Now listens here my Monkey friend, what you believe to be priceless isn’t going to be of much interested to me. I mean look around you have rocks for chairs, a pillow would be priceless at the moment.” He leaned to the right this time still trying to get comfortable on his Fricken Rock, “look I’m a busy man, the crew and I are due some RnR, it’s very nice of you to think of me old man Buu…” as he was about to finish his statement and leave, The Monk said “We believe the knowledge we have will be as precious to you as the artefact we ask you to seek, is to us!”
Now intrigued Avon sat back on his rock, forgetting the discomfort as his interested was heightened, “Well now, is that so,” now impatient he added, “Well lets have it! Give me this wonderful knowledge with all speed! Oh… this Fricken rock I’ll have a flat backside when this chat is over,” he remarked.
“How would the knowledge of who built your vessel, The Aura I believe you call her, and not only can we prove that this is the race you seek, we also know where you can find them.”
Avon blinked for a second as he took this news in “Them! Are you telling me they still exist?... Oh My Giddy Gods!!”  He was thinking how long his Grandfather spent trying to find Who had built The Aura, he would of given a limb, ok maybe not his limb but he would of given a limb for this knowledge, so who was Avon to turn away from this. They could refurbish the worn equipment, maybe fit a Jacuzzi!
“I’m not saying I believe you because, hey we just met, and so what I mean to say is. I don’t believe you.”
The Monk Chuckled to himself again.
Damn Avon thought, that’s two Chuckles to my none, I’m losing this battle of wits. Reaching into his robe, that got the reaction of eww, from Avon, ‘now what’s he going to pull out?’ He said in his head.
“This is a manuscript from a play, only no one can read it except you!”
“Well how do you know it’s a Play?” said Avon now smiling at how cleverly he caught the Monk out.
“It has a PICTURE of a man in costume, on the front.”
“Well ok but that still doesn’t make it a Play does it.”
“And,” added the Monk, “it says this is a play, written in English at the bottom.”

"What? Give me that thing, and talking of plays, where did you go for negotiation skills Rada Centauri?  I think you like a bit of drama yourself, come on hand it over wise guy." The smiling Monk handed him the manuscript, "So?" the Monk replied

Sitting back with the script in hand Avon’s eyebrows almost cleared his forehead completely as he started reading."
“This is something you are familiar with yes?"
"Familiar!" he laughed, still reading the words that were usually only formed in his mind. "I should think everyone knows the works of Billy Shakespeare, this is a script for Richard III, now Monk, even you know Richard III, maybe this race had a fascination for mans ability for self destruction."
"Indeed it also says that in English on the back…Are you satisfied?" the Monk gestured to the script, "You can clearly see it is a match to the builders language you know so well, the builders of Aura?" he trailed off waiting for the gobsmacked Avon to reply but Avon had already touched the communicator on his wrist.
"Hannah check the data banks for trade with the Unie" the communicator projected a hologram of Hannah sat at the main console, "Unie?" she quizzed "Who the Frick are the Unie?"

"Just do it" then he added, "Please," as a after thought.
"Ok, checking........Hum.. Nothing… no wait? As I thought nothing! What were you expecting?"

"I’m not sure at this point Hannah, will you doubled check all systems to find any reference to them, I will beam out shortly to explain, don't worry about calling me back if you find anything, we can talk about it when I return, Tell Pip we will have two guests for lunch"
"Will do, over and out." Hannah said signing off.
"Well" enquired the Monk, "Do we have an agreement?"
"We will discuss it over Lunch" Avon raised his eyebrows again but not as far as last time as he added, "Monks do eat I take it?"

"Yes as strange as it is to believe we do eat" he pointed to the hooded monk sat quietly in the corner of the chamber, "This is Sol" he will be travelling with you." Avon now standing turned towards Sol, "Now wait a Fricken cycle old man, I never said anything about being a passenger liner." Avon's mouth was open slightly as he looked in disbelief at the Old Monk,
"Sol is part of this, and how shall we put it, This collaboration! We consider this undertaking of the utmost importance and maybe even be beyond your, Ahh considerable talents Mr Sagan, Do we have your agreement?" the Monk replied head down and then looking up at Avon, in that, do we understand each other look.

"Ok we can talk about it on the Aura."
Now it was the Monks turn to ask a question, "How did you know there would be two of us joining you?"
Avon laughed "Old Man, didn't anyone tell you I'm a genius!"
On the Aura as you would expect, everything was pure white and pristine….. Well that’s what you Might have expected, but what you get on The Aura is a crazy day at a Steampunk fair.
The bronze looking interior looked like it was held together with a million rivets the surfaces a muddy gold. The walk ways a florescent jade as though under floor lighting had been installed but this was the natural state of the smooth metal like surface.
“Please take a seat,” Pip said as the Monks entered the function room… also known as the dinning room, technology centre and training room, this was the relaxation area of the ship, a place of silent study or combat, as you’ve no doubt guessed it’s the none flight essential room,  on a ship of the old Earth, you’ll probably call this the captains cabin situated under the beating heart of The Aura’s Bridge; even if the protective force shields clasped this room and that of the main bridge above, was heavily shielded with the strange organic metal, a sheet of this metal 6mm thick 60cm sq would be as light as old Earth A4 paper. But a strength unmatched by the best Phellentine armour plate.
Pip spun the bucket style seating with it’s red leather upholstery round to allow the old Monk to sit, he then offered the hooded companion a place, “Sol is it?” Pip asked. Sol bowed to Pip and said “Thank you” in a soft voice that seemed at peace.
Then nodded before accepting the offered seat that sat directly opposite his master The Old Monk.
The younger Monk lowered the hood as he sat, revelling long jet black hair, he was 19 years old with dark blue eyes and a slender face, and His features had the look of innocents. The blood red of his robes made his tanned skin look even darker. He was five feet eleven (1.803m) and by far the tallest of the Monks Avon had met on the surface.
Now with the hood no longer covering his head the gold ornate head band with its one red ruby at its centre was visible, and on closer inspection you would have observed the religious script engravings that completely encircled the band. It looked like something a prince of an older time would of worn and maybe to this religious sect he was a prince, because Sol is a direct descendant to the Seventh Brother of faith.
Now from what we have learnt from the story of the Seventh, I bet your guessing this head band held some secret power, and you’d be right but that will be revealed later.
So the guests ate and talked politely of trivial matters and agreement was met that Avon and his Crew will help find this lost chalice, until Sol said, “Do you know the Phellentine 7th Fleet Captain?” Well that was a conversation stopper and everyone except the two Monks stopped eating.
“Why do you ask?” Then after a pulse Avon continued with, “Vanlak F Praetor admiral of the 7thFleet is someone you wouldn’t want to meet, we may have bumped into him from time to time shall we say and I can tell you one thing his reputation for being the meanest son of a Salian Pirate isn’t exaggerated.”
“Well my Father wishes us to relieve the Admiral of a certain individual called Mellitus Boniphus an exiled Brother of the faith.”
“And what’s he to us?” Hannah asked, “Ex Monks come ten to the dozen, it’s difficult enough trying to trade with a Phellentine let alone surviving the encounter, with Praetor you just as well shoot yourself and save him the trouble.”
Avon  laughed…remembering the last time Vanlak crossed his path, he and his Grandfather managed not only to slip passed his battle Cruiser, but pulled off a sweet deal after acquiring a considerable amount of the Admirals fuel, thus allowing a Gwen fleet to escape the Phellentine blockade. He swore to kill them both on site.
The old Monk stood “Well Mr Sagan I believe that concludes our talk.”
“What do you mean? Concludes our talk,” his gaze shifted to both Monks in turn looking for signs of the deception…the old Monk looked to Sol and bowed, “Sol we trust your judgement on this endeavour, help Mr Sagan obtain the chalice and return to us soon.”
“I shall Father.”
Pip’s eyebrows arched in surprise “So he’s Daddy now?” and laughed.
“Actually Yes he is” said Sol.
“What?….well what I really meant is,” Pip scratched his head searching for what he really meant, then squinting inquisitively at the old Monk, “isn’t Father just part of your religious thing?...you know, I thought like, father where art thou?”
He still looked puzzled.
“So you’re part of a religious sect that allows sexual relations?” Avon said amused
“We may marry if we wish, oh… your puzzled by your own ignorance of us I see, how would we continue our faith without the family lineage?”
“Whatever” Avon replied, now bored by the father son sentiment, “I personally don’t give a Salian monkey’s ass what you weirdo’s get up to, Now where can I find the Unie?” he set his jaw firm in his; don’t give me any nonsense stare….
“You’re so mistrusting Captain, we will give you what you’ve been seeking on completion of your task,” Sol said then added, “Boniphus we believe hid The Chalice Mr Sagan under the orders of my great grandfather and only he holds the key to its location.”
“Oh I see” said Avon sighing … “So what you’re not telling me is this Mellfist.” “Mellitus,” corrected Sol.
“What ever the frick his name is, he’s being sought by others including Vanlak, Who probably knows everything by now, is that right?”
“You’re very astute Mr Sagan, we did approach others with your skills and they unfortunately concluded that working without us would yield more profit.” said the old Monk but before he could finish.
 “And for Fricks sakes stop calling me Mr Sagan, Mr Sagan was my fathers name OK?... so we weren’t for first choice?”
The old man shrugged.
“Well you know how to make things harder to achieve don’t you… tressmires pits (The tar mines of Tressmire) this could get sticky.”
Both Monks nodded.
“Good… Now listen I need to know everything! If we’re to help you, this little snippet, that seemed to have slipped your mind could get us all killed!”
The old Monk smiled, “Ah Yes as I was saying Mr…Ah…Avon” he looked to Avon to see if this term was more agreeable and it appeared grudgingly to be so.
“We fear others as well as those who betrayed us, are after the knowledge Mellitus holds, this is why we must retrieve it quickly or every known universe could be in great danger.”
“Oh so now it’s the whole known Freaken Universes at stake, Well why didn’t you say sooner!” then shouting Avon added “I COULD HAVE CANCELLED THE FREAKEN PUDDING!”
He stood, took a deep breath and tried to calm himself….. “Ok ...well it appears this is going to be far more trouble then I anticipated, I’m pondering now, if this information is worth our lives, let me think” he closed his eyes a second, “so you say you know the builders?”
“Yes” said the old man.
“Well I think, I can over look this lack of intelligence for their location.”
“You will be given this information on completion of your mission... Avon,” he almost said Mr Sagan but the Monk corrected himself.
“Yea yea yea, so you keep saying” Avon replied.
“But,” continued the Monk, again reaching into his rode and produced  a white spiky ball no bigger then a golf ball, “To show our good intentions and to honour this undertaking, I will introduce you to tig.”
“What the Freak?” Avon responded, he looked towards Hannah and Pip who were both smiling at each other in amusement at how absurd this toy looked,  what good was a spiky ball? Was the unspoken words between them, and how was a tiny piece of some weird ping pong game going to compensate them for their time….
“You’re giving me a Ball? …called tig?
“This is no ball Mr Sagan sorry… Avon, this is a proximity device, it will mentally graft itself onto the mind of this ships captain, which is you… it has many uses, the alien captains of their time who piloted these ships used such devices to maintain the ships systems, so they could free their minds for other duties, think of it as the captain’s log with benefits, for instance it will constantly record and store data, such information as our meeting will be stored because I had it with me when we met, it can also be used as a probe and once it’s imprinted on you, it will never work for anyone else, unless you command it… it’s part of this ship Avon and it will be a great asset to you, even I am not aware of all it possesses, it may teach you more about this ship then you could ever know.”
Sol interrupted with, “I believe it to be a computer of some kind, it will communicate telepathically only to the one it’s imprinted on, I also surmise it will have total access to all your systems and main computer, surely this is adequate to show our good intentions.”
Avon took the devise as the old Monk reached out, “really?” Avon looked from the Old man to his son, “Aren’t you the chatty one all of a sudden,” then as he held the ball it suddenly struck out with it’s spikes entering his palm and Avon felt as if he’d grabbed a red hot poker made from cactus.
Pip and Hannah instantly put their hands to their swords.
Avon hissed through his teeth, “Wait!” then still with a searing pain that distorted his voice he added, “This better be interesting old man!”….He held up his free hand up to reassure Pip and Hannah, still grimacing, now they all watched as the ball first glowed red then blue to green… settling to an amber glow
“What the Freak?” Avon exclaimed, as he tried in vain to shake the device off, but it only made the tig clamp itself even deeper into the flesh of his hand, then Just as suddenly as the pain started it now subsided, to be replaced by a warm tingling in his finger tips, the hairs rose on the back of his neck and a cold chill ran down his spine.

Tig detached itself, then  began orbiting around Avon, hovering round and round just two hand widths from his head, Avon heard babbling then ‘Yez … yez, yez.’
Ok stop that he thought and ‘Yezz,’ in what to Avon sounded like a robotic voice replied.
Avon found with just a thought he had total recall of the entire encounter with the Monks in every detail, including things he’d not noticed, in total clarity.
“Wow…this is totally cool!” and all that information passed in a nanosecond.
Weapon! The warning in his head showed a scan of Sol and as he turned to face Sol the scan overlapped so he was able to see every concealed weapon on Sol’s body, this process again took nanoseconds, and to all those who observed him since the device was activated was the time it took Avon to say, “Wow…this is totally cool!”
“You’re packing quite an arsenal under those robes of yours aren’t you Sol?”
But Sol just smiled happy in the knowledge his point was proven.
At the command hide given in thought only……tig vanished “oh this is awesome, the Tig has a stealth mode” Avon said to Hannah smiling.
“As you can see Captain, Tig is now part of you…it will enhance you in ways you could never imagine,” Sol said, he also looked satisfied that the gift was well received.
“I don’t know about that Sol, I can imagine quite a lot.”
“No doubt you can,” Sol replied.
The old Monk bowed, “I must return to the Chapel it’s time for prayers, I wish you all a swift journey and with Gods help you will return to us soon.”
“May the 7th bless you my son.”
The parting over, the old Monk returned to the chamber where he and Avon first met.

In a Galaxy Far away…. (Yes it does happen) a team of 10 mercenaries, the meanest scared faced bunch of pirate scum money could buy, had already been sent on the same mission to retrieve the exiled Monk, the leader of this shambolic group is the Celorian Messa Sarktec, a race with grey scaly skin as hard as armour and Messa has a reputation of getting what she sets out for, she’s a grey mean fighting machine. Her Black hair was plaited half way down her back, where the scabbards of the crossed swords met. Messa’s cat like yellow eyes were unblinking as she looked into the eyes of Seth, the man who’s attempt to relieve her of command had just ended badly, she slowly withdrew the sword she had thrust through his throat and into his skull, and his limp body slid down the bulkhead wall. “Get rid of that, sling his stinking carcass out the airlock” she spun round at Fadda and Peke who we’re still frozen in shock at the speed of the attack, “Now!” she screamed waving her hand in rage as she carried on to the bridge.

Well that leaves 9 who are already closer to the Phellentine 7th Fleet then the crew of the Aura.

With Stardrive at full the Aura arrived an hour behind the Mercenaries ship The Cuffa 213.
The Cuffa Crafts were built for speed and the military of Celorian used them as troop carriers and were made to withstand a heavy barrage... the objective was to land as many troops as possible during the first stages of attack.

"So we're here... this fleet use mines to protect the ships and they will attack anything none Phellentine, so we have to find a way round them, My Grandfather used to mask the ship with a fake signature, but they are on to that trick, we will be cut to pieces if we try it." Avon informed Sol.
"Ah... then I suggest you ask Tig for a suggestion."
"Really! That’s your best advice? Ask a computer? Your tactical skills amaze me no wonder you've lived to be so young."
"Try it...what have you to lose?"
"Fine!" Sighed Avon, "Tig..." then he was interrupted by Sol, "use your mind... you will get used to it eventually."
"OK!.." and with his mind he asked, 'Tig...observe our situation,' and the word 'Tig' entered his thoughts in acknowledgement.

'TIG... The information I've gathered would suggest stealth mode will be the most effective.'

"We have a stealth mode?"
"We Do?" replied Hannah and Pip at the same time.
"Snap!" said Pip, with a self congratulating smile at getting the snap in first.
"It's hardly surprising Avon having witnessed the Tig using It." surmised Sol.
"That's fair." Hannah agreed.
"Alright... according to Tig the mines will not detect us in stealth, so it's reasonable to conclude the fleet won't see us coming either," and with his mind he ordered stealth mode engaged.

Unseen by those onboard the lettering surrounding the ship started glowing with a florescent blue light…then as if reading an incantation the words lit up one after the other at such a blinding speed the Aura looked as if it had been wrapped in a silk cocoon by a space spider who intended adding it to it’s larder for sustenance later.

If any of the crew stood on the observation deck they would have witnessed this event as the words flashed round the dome and the hull of the ship, but the only thing noticeable was some flickering on the view screen, and they all assumed it was cause by the stealth engaging.
"Here goes nothing... take us in Pip."
"Aye Aye Captain, we have engines at 000001 parsec speed."
"There's no need to speed Pip, just edge us in slowly."
"Aye Aye, slow it is."
There was no sign of the other ship... the fleet with it's massive carriers and cruisers filled the screen.
"There," Pointed Avon, "Take us in to that bilge rats ship."

They came alongside the massive hulk of Admiral Vanlak F Praetor 's flagship and it filled the view screen completely, and they attached the Aura like a flea on a dogs back.

"That was easy!" Pip Pipped in.
"Yes and I hate that," said Avon, and he had the uneasy feeling they were being watched.
“Hannah, put the detention deck on screen.”
“Aye Aye Captain” she spun in her chair, “on screen now, was there any level you had in mind?”
Avon studied the screen, wondering where a sick minded individual would imprison the Ex Monk.
“You could send in the Tig Captain, do you remember Sol said it could be used as a probe, so let’s probe!” Pip said smiling.
“Brilliant! Well remembered Pip.”

And Tig vanishes in the blue beaming light to board in stealth.

On the screen it was evident some sort of siege was taking place on board the carrier, the security detail of 30 were attempting to gain access the level 5 from the south end but the corridor breach doors looked to be on full lock down, and carrier crew had five to unlock or break through before they could engage with the mercenaries, and the Northern and portside of the detention levels were inaccessible due to the Cuffa craft with 213 painted on it’s hull protruding into these lower levels of the ship.

“Well that seems a haphazard way to get through the Fleets minefield… they must have hit the carrier at speed, like a torpedo.” Hannah observed.
“An effective barricade though…so why haven’t the crew’s security team beamed in to gain access?” Sol asked.
“Because,” Avon offered, “the Cuffa ship uses beam blocking as standard, we won’t be getting into that level in a hurry, we would have to fight off the whole crew before we could even think about charging into the Cuffa crew.”

“Well that was a wasted trip then.” Pip remarked to no one in particular.
“We can gain access Avon,” Sol said, but you need to manoeuvre the Aura alongside that lower level, so we can get behind the three aiming the bazooka canons at the access doors.”
“Ok, then what are you thinking we can drill a hole?” Avon asked.
Sol smiled and said, “No we will walk through.”
“Yea…right, that’s going to happen, move us down Pip, we are going to walk through these paper thin Bulkheads, on second thoughts...” And Avon ordered Tig to return and manoeuvre the ship.

"We need to get our war faces on, Sol stay right where you are we'll be right back."
When Avon returned Sol said, "Are we off on a date?"
"You! your wearing makeup, is this so weird ritual I need to know about?"
"Oh, now I understand, we do have this tradition of wearing war paint to help strike fear in our foes," Avon relied satisfied he'd made an impression.
"Well your looking fabulous." Hannah said, unable to hide her amusement, she was wearing her usual three black finger strokes down her face, with the middle strip travelling the length of her nose and down to her chin.

"What the Freak is wrong with you two? Sol I can possibly understand but you... you know our ways."
"And usually I wouldn't say a thing but your paint has strayed to your upper eye lids, it looks like eyes shadow."
"Really?" Avon walked to the view screen and set it to internal view... then he was saw himself and laughed, "I do look quite fetching don't I, well it can't be helped now we are set."

As Pip returned he open his mouth to say how lovely Avon looked when Avon cut his off, "Shut up Pip or you will need a real plaster across your nose." because Pip wore a white strip 23mm wide across his face, and travelling over his nose.

"You'd have to catch me first darling," he said instead.
They all laughed and Avon shrugged, "Who knows I may keep it as a look." he laughed as Hannah and Pip were wondering if he was being serious, but the typical laugh gave him away.

As Tig lowered the craft and set down on the level Avon had selected, Sol with outstretched right hand placed it against the wall, and as he concentrated he said, “lower please,” then his body tensed, “Here, this is the entry point, stop here.” He said turning to the others, then in his quiet calm voice they were becoming accustomed to he told them," Listen! you must do as I say, I need you all to hold on to me, if you let go while we are walking you will be forever part of this ship or the other."

Then he started chanting “trec puc coom, Trec puc coom, trec puc coom.” over and over, while Hannah place a hand on Sol’s left and Pip and Avon took his right.

The stone in his crown started to glow as he step through the hull of the Aura, although the three were tempted to resist they swallowed a last breath and followed Sol through one hull and in through another, to the three it feel like walking through silk curtains into a summer days heat, that blew into their faces.
“Ok, let’s not do that again,” and Hannah looked green and about to vomit as they step on to the Admirals deck.
“It’s disorientation… it happens, it will pass.” Sol reassured her.
Hannah fell to her knees just as a sword passed over her head, Avon was the first to react and he kicked Messa back 4 metres backwards, where she struck a guard rail hard and tipped over the side falling to the next level, where she landed on her feet.
“Bitch!” Hannah screamed and she jumped over the rail to follow her down.
“Pip move move move, fast, come on move it.” Avon ordered.

Sol was already throwing two three spiked discs towards the Bazooka crew, one struck a Big Veeda warrior in the base of his neck killing him instantly while the other struck the back plate of Peke’s armour where it stuck fast.
Peke was unharmed and turned in a furious rage firing his laser rifle at Sol, who was upside in mid air as he somersaulted across the chamber, and catching the returning disc while he did so, the blue skinned, shark faced warrior fell from his level backwards with his evil razor sharp teeth gnashing as he fell.

Pip followed behind Hannah while Avon ran at the two remaining bazooka crew.

Peke and the other Veeda warrior turned to face Avon, Peke, still firing his weapon cut a jagged black scar across the bulk head wall following Avon’s back.

The Veeda made the mistake of trying to turn to Cannon onto this new threat.

He died as quick as his brother, when the Plasma Sword sliced him in two, and with an upper stroke Avon managed to remove Peke's Rifle with both his arms still attached, cutting him from the elbows down, followed by a vicious kicked that sent the stricken soldier against the doors he was thought to defend, and with a loud clash of Armour on metal he slid to the floor like a limp doll.

Avon turned still running towards the other deck Sol had just landed on, just to see him Sol frozen in thought.
"What's wrong?"
"It has occurred to me, why would they ram their ship into the carrier, knowing they would never be able to back it out after the breach locking fluid had effectively cemented them in?"
"Oh....damn! I should have thought of that..." he touched the communicator, "Pip! return to the ship, I've a feeling the beam will work on this level, but ready yourself, we have guests on board."

"I'll be sure to give them our warmest greeting." Pip assured him, as he hit the retrieval stud at his sleeve, nothing happen! "I can't comply Cap' we're still being block!"

"Right...that would happen... there's nothing we can do about it now, I see you below us, where’s Messa?"

"She slipped into the detention bay, two of her thugs are holding the door shut, but Hannah cut her, she's going to need medical attention."
"Yea, Right I'll make that my first priority when hell freezes." Hannah could be heard saying over the com.
We're coming down... Sol and Avon landed lightly on their feet, hardly making a sound.
Avon looked through the glass portholes into the adjoining corridor to the detention cells.
"Who's that?" Thug one asked of two.
"I don't know but he's looking fabulous!"
"Isn't he just."
Both thugs from a clan of Tyrrell 6's Station cluster, wore a Tartan sash from a bygone age. Carrying broad sword phasers set to kill, they insured no one would pass alive, should anyone get passed the doors.
Mc Nish had long dark hair, bushy eyebrows and a face that's been hit so many times everything looked broken, with his round fat lipped face pressed against the left porthole he blew a kiss at Avon, daring him to try getting passed, his bearded and Ginger hair colleague laughed out loud, until Avon's fist punched the glass, sending the shattered pieces into Mc Nish's face and eyes, making him an impotent threat.

Screaming out he made it clear with some terrible language that he was blind.

Mc Greggor took a step back as the doors were pushed open and holding up his hands, "There's no need for anything hasty here... I'm not prepared to die for a flippin Cup!"

"Fine!" said Pip, stooping to retrieve Mc Nish's weapon, and setting it to Stun shot Mc Gregger who collapsed to the floor next to his old pal.
Talking to himself, although Sol assumed he was talking to him, Avon started to count, "Messa had 10 members to her bunch of cutthroats when I last met her, we've taken out three, two here...and Messa so that leaves four unaccounted for, I'd guess they wouldn't have sent less then two to my ship, so where are the other two?"
"With the Monk obviously." Hannah concluded.
"Pardon?" Avon asked still in thought.

"Erin Spectre!" suggested Pip.
"Erin who?" Sol asked puzzled.
"OH YES ERIN SPECTRE! perfect make it happen Pip." Avon ordered.
Still puzzled Sol could only look on as the three of them stood at the detention cell doors.

"Knock Knock!" Avon announced in clear view of the glass.
Then a device hidden within the doors Exploded taking the three out with it.
The smoke was chocking, and the gapping hole where the doors once stood was torn with burnt jagged edges.

"Well that went well I thought." laughed Pip.

"Indeed, how rude of them to be so aggressive to cold calling...Who knew?" Avon added.
"So let me get this straight...." Sol interrupted, "This Erin has something to do with Hologram Technology?"
"No! not just something," Pip said still beaming, "She is a Hologram techno genius... she's changed the gaming world forever!"
"A waste of time.....gamers, so annoyingly." Hannah said with conviction as she walked into the room.
"Think of it as mind combat training Hannah," Avon said after her, "with real time reality so real you know your there," Avon informed  the still unappreciative young woman.
"Not impressed Captain." she called back.

Avon stood at the opening to the detention bay and Messa was strewn on the floor under the blood smeared wall where her body slid down, she was unconscious but not due to her rapid loss of blood, but because of the opening wound at the right side of her head, she had been shot with a hot bolt gun, and looking towards the Large man at the desk he saw the hand gun was still smoking, Avon squatted beside her and felt her neck, she was still breathing but not for much longer at the rate of her decline.

And to everyone's surprise the man smirking at them as they entered was the Admiral of the fleet.... he was cupping a  golden upper skull like a half cut ball.

The last of Messa's thugs who was manning  another Bazooka canon was also shot in the back of the head but he was seriously dead.
"If you ask me," Avon said shrugging his shoulders, "This party really got out of hand, you people need to avoid each other."

"Well when they said the Monk had the location in his head I didn't think they meant it literally... I mean, look at this beautifully etched map of our universe, this would be the envy of any science museum." Vanlak Said, he voice booming in the 5 metre by 4 metre room.

"Haven't you got a Fleet to run?"
"I've decided to Retire Sagan, when these thugs entered my ship, all I wanted was their crushed bones under my boot... but what I've learnt fascinates me. this is Priceless as you no doubt know, you filthy pirate."
“Enough of the sweet talk Tubby, we’re not here to barter, why are you here?”
“this is my Flagship you buffoon!”
Not here here….. I mean here in this section, how did you get passed this crack team?”
“Oh…that! Well as much as I hate to admit it they caught me off guard, and beamed me here from my cabin where I was sleeping.”
“Well you certainly seem to be on top of things now… so what happened?”
“They got careless and left this gun," he said pointing, "within my reach, but I’m not here to answer your Questions!  I'm going to take your ship and run! but I'm curious... how the satin's pits did you get on board? do you have the beam encryption codes?" When all Avon did was rise his eyebrows  The Admiral shouted, "How did you get on board?”
“I’ve learnt some new tricks that I’m not prepared to share…it’s a secret and if you tell it’s no longer a secret and that's not how secrets work, is it now.”
He looked to Hannah who was examining Messa.
"Would you say Messa is the type to be careless with a weapon Hannah?"
"Only when she's pointing it at me... but if you're asking would she allow one, anywhere near this Gorilla, I'd say no way." Sol stepped forward…. “Allow me to speak please.”
“Fill you’re boots Youngster. It’s your show.”

Avon stepped back out into the corridor, where he paced with frustration at his apparent lack of cool around that arrogant  skunk breathed megalomaniac.

“What’s wrong Cap?”
“Nothing Pip…. I just need to think.”
“Right’O, I’ll leave you to it Captain.”

“Tell me Mr Praetor, what do you want?”
“Is that any of  business yours? I've no need of you, or your childish questions.”
“I’m no child Mr Praetor.”
“And it’s Admiral to you Sonny.”
“Didn’t you not just say you are Retired?”
“Oh I see Sagan has another smarty ass in his mists!”
“I represent the owners of the item you feel so priceless, so I’ll ask you one last time, What do you Want?”
“What a insolent 
Child you are?, are you a lost brother of this scum?" He asked indicating Avon with his thumb, "How dare you even look me in the eye… I could crush you like a bug!”
“I very much doubt that Mr Praetor, but never the less I am prepared to make a deal with you for the Map.”
“How would a Trillion Gold Bars suit you….BOY!”
“We have no need of wealth Mr Praetor, so if this is all you require, then you shall have it.”
“REALLY?” called Avon from the hall.
“Yes Really.” Sol answered back.
“Fine! Carry on.” Avon uttered in mock agreement.
“Well Mr Praetor do we have an agreement?”
“And why should I trust the word of a boy and his Pirate friends? Eh? Do I look a Fool?”
“I could answer that.” Offered Avon still pacing.
“Shut Up Scum!”
“Where would you like this Gold sent?”
“Sent?... I’ll take it with me in the Aura.”
Avon step back into the room in a rage…”Over my dead body.”
“You will not be taking the Aura Mr Praetor, be assured of that… but I can provide transport if you need it.”
“I’m betraying the Fleet…Of course I NEED IT!”
“Raising your voice Mr Praetor doesn’t bring your point across any firmer, You will have a ship and your Gold, but to get it you must come with us.”
“Deal! He said spitting into his hand and offering it to Sol, who declined to shake it.
“Fine!” Praetor said wiping his hand down his uniform, “We are in agreement, you would never get passed the quarantine of region 23 anyway, not without my connections.”
“These things can be discussed on board…” Avon said in annoyance, and stooping over Messa he removed a small remote from her belt. 
“I suggest you hang onto something!” he said shooting a grappling bolt into the deck as he fastened the wire to his belt. 
Hannah and Pip had already done the same.
Sensing what was about to happen, Sol wrapped the sleeves of his robes round  Avon’s wire.
Avon didn’t care if Praetor was ready or not, he pressed the remote self destruct to the Cuffa. And the whole detention deck levels decompressed… sucking anything no screwed down into space… 
Pip Ducked as first a chair then three cabinets flew passed.

Avon saw that  Praetor was unfortunately still with them.

“Hannah Beam us back.” With a flick of a switch on her cross belts Hannah locked everyone on to a transport beam and while the room still screamed with escaping air the six were transported to the Aura under a blue shimming light.

On board they discovered Two of Messa’s men frozen in an energy field.

Without worrying about their fate Avon beamed them into the corridor full of the Admiral’s crew.
Quietly he thanked Tig, who was becoming a valuable asset to the Aura Crew.

“That will teach them to keep such bad company, speaking of which get Messa into the Med Bay… I think she has information we will need.”
“If she survives and I do mean If, with the head trauma she’s received I doubt she will have any memory of  who she is or what’s taken place.”
“We’ll soon know Hannah…plug her in and let the Med Aid deal with her.”
“Aye Aye…I’ll let you know, I’m going to stay with her.”
“Fine.” He looked to  the Admiral, “As for you, I haven’t decided what to do with you yet, so until then, hand Sol the map and Pip will show you to your cabin.”
“The huge man was about to disagree when a nod from Sol indicated it would be for the best.”
“It had better be better then this Scum bucket of  bridge!”
“Don’t you Worry I’ll see you get the best scatter cushions.”
Grunting the Admiral complied, following Pip.
“Pip! Lock the door when you leave.”
“Aye Aye Captain.”

“I don’t like this one bit Sol, there’s something fishy going on round here, I wouldn’t trust that man under any circumstances, he’s hiding something… he’s a career Officer… this stinks big time, his predecessor was vaporised on a deck cannon for less, and the dashing Admiral was the one pushing the Button.”
“I understand your worries Avon, I will handle him, but he was right about one thing, we will need his contacts to get through the quarantine, or we will be obliterated as a threat of contamination, because we are going to the Xian Home World.”

"We could use Stealth."
"Not for the length of time would take to pass the two light year parameter, the Galaxy is too afraid of the consequences to risk another out brake of sudden death, we would be detected."
"And you think he could make it happen?"
"Do you have any better idea?"
"Fine, so we wait and see, either way I'm watching him like a Terran Falcon."
"If you feel it necessary."
It's very necessary if you expect a good out come to this venture."

"On my way Hannah," He patted Sol's head, "now you go play nice with that Tub of lard, we need to know what he's up to."
"You can count on it Avon."
As the doors of the Med Bay slid open, Avon saw Hannah studying a blood sample on the view screen.
"Well whats got you so concerned?"
"Take a look for yourself." And Hannah back off the view to show the whole body internal scan.
"Well I see a strong heart beat, the blood flow looks fine, treatment to the head is looking good, with some cell regeneration healing the wound."
"Well she's looking OK to me...Ahh....now what is that? can you zoom in?"
Hannah zoomed in and the screen was full of blood vessels pumping blood through the body with some additional help.
"Nanites, I should have known, she always healed fast didn't she."
"They are doing more then that Avon... they have been and still are re sequencing  her DNA, what ever she is, she's not Celorian."
"Can you find her real DNA pattern anywhere?"
"I found a small trace which explains her unusual eyes, it appears she is Bristitarian."
"Are you sure?"
"As sure as jammy toast always falls jam side down, Why are you looking so strange?"
"Do you remember the Gwen Fleet?"
"What, the story you told us of the blockade?"
"Yes... Well what I might not had mentioned when the Fleet first encounter the Phellentine 7th Fleet, the cruisers protecting the transport ships abandoned them in order to protect their Carriers, and Mr Charming sharing the delights of this ship destroyed every one of the unarmed ships, and one was carrying the last known members of the Cat people... The Bristitarians."
"You mean he wiped out an entire race?"
"He wiped out more then a Million lives on those transports, and yes he could have wiped out the whole race, we many never know if others survived."
"So someone must have picked up survivors? do you think they may have changed her DNA to save her?"
"One thing I do know, if anyone picked up survivors The Admiral wound have had them blasted out of airlocks... This isn't to hide her DNA, someone wanted to enhance her Body to make a weapon out of her, Celorians are the most feared fighters ever encountered, they are hard to kill, and heal fast."
"I don't understand?"
"I'm saying She was altered to make her a formidable soldier, if it was to hide her true species, whoever changed her could have chosen a thousand other more pleasant races... this was thought out by someone who wanted to control his or her own force."
"Your just guessing, it could have been to protect her and make sure she could defend herself."
"Hmm, maybe but my gut feeling is the one behind this body altering has been using her from the start, this could be bigger then we imagine, lets just say you wanted to make a fortune, but you wanted to maintain the appearance of being a humble servant, or Politician, you could effectively make yourself invaluable and insure your never suspected of any wrong doing."
"Wow! where did that come from? we only have this vicious woman, who's hounded us for Like.. Forever! and now you think she's a puppet? I'm not buying it... she's one mean bitch."
"I know your gut's never wrong, which is even more worrying when you think about it, most people use their intelligence to make these assumptions."
"Is she going to live?"
"Yes I think so, she's a tough old bird, but as I told you her memory could be impaired after suffering such a severe trauma to the head,  there's no tell what she will remember."
"These nanites effecting her DNA, can you disable them?"
"To disable those I will have to disable them all, including the ones responsible for keeping her alive."
"That head wound is healing right?"
"So the nanites saved her but they are not doing any more then the Med Aid can cope with... Disable the nanites."
"If you say so... but she'll never survive a shot like that again without them."
"Well she will have to learn to be like us then won't she."
"Oh harsh, OK I'll  get on to it, you know her appearance will change right?"
 "Yes... let her be 'au naturel' as nature intended, it works for the rest of us."
"You did get out of the wrong side of your bed this morning didn't you Mr Grouch."
"Your funny."
"And your weird."                                                                             .