Category: Snazzle


Fire of Truth


“Von, you knew Papa when he was a young hynerian. What was he like?” asked Kyra.

“He was unlike any hynerian I ever knew, one of a kind. His exploits on Zael were legendary,” said Von.

“I know, heard the story a thousand times,” laughed Kyra.

“As great as Ji was, he knew he needed a native to take the Tao to another level, and there was no one, and I mean absolutely no one, that could have done what Zeke, your Papa, did for the order. Did he ever tell you about the Fire of Truth?”

“Never heard of it Von.”

“Ahh, well, it is all you need to know about Zeke. In the days after Ji handed him the reigns . . .”

“Sorry to interrupt your story Von,” interjected Snazzle, “but I think you might want to look at this transmission I’ve just picked up from the target area.”

Catagories: Story, Von, Kyra, Zeke, Ji, Snazzle

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Recon

“Rog, get your crew in the Pod. Food is running low. See what you can find,” said Kyra.

Rog didn’t hesitate. “Snazzle, set the coordinates and fire up a little Mari Boine. Reagákeahtes would be a good choice.”

“Rog, damnit, could you fly straight for once,” snapped Em.

“Sorry Em, sometimes I just get a little carried away. Nice [censored] by the way.”

“Rog! Keep your eyes on the horizon.”

Return?

“Yul, do you read me,” said Rog.

“Loud and clear darlin’. I must say I don’t think your voice has ever sounded quite so good. ETA?”

“Slap that homing vector on my little pod Yul and I’ll be onboard before you forget just how good I sound. Should I expect a little–”

“Uhmmm, let me think about that. No.”

“You were breaking up on me Yul, was that a yes.”

“You’re incorrigible you know that.”

“So I’m told. An acquired taste I’d like to think. Can you put Kyra on?”

“She’s in with Kieran at the moment.”

“Let her know we got the medicine. Have Trev meet me in the landing bay. And tell him to be careful. This stuff doesn’t like sudden movement.

“Roger that Rog,” laughed Yul. “You know I always wanted to say that.”

“Very funny hon. Not now Snazzle,” said Rog.

“Rog,” interrupted Em, “I think you better take a look at the monitor.”

“Yul, what the . . .”

“Rog, are you there.”

“Yul, lock on. Yul, can you hear me. Yul?”

“Damn, Em. Hang tight. Snazzle, manual override. Now Snazzle!”

Night Flight

Editors Note: Summation of the story is two posts down for those that would like an audio executive summary. This chapter goes back a few days in time. Rog and Emy have embarked from Bravo-Four-Zero in search of the medicine Keiran needs to survive. The chapter below Measured in Seconds has not yet occurred.


“Rog, do you know what you are doing.” said Emy.

“M, darlin’ I could land this bird on a teeler at full throttle with my eyes tied behind your back.” Rog’s grin conveyed complete overconfidence in his piloting abilities. “Hang tight pumpkin, I’m about to nest our little egg.”

“I’d prefer not to be someone’s omelet,” Emy shot back. She had lost her sense of humor about the same time the G-forces of Rog’s night descent had threaten to spoil the memory of the first hot meal they’d had in some time.

The flight through the Tear and down to Neraj had been spectacular. Approaching the atmospheric Tear reminded Emy of sailing through the locks on the western approaches of the Nusian peninsula on Hyneria. Her father had captained some of the largest sea going vessels and often took Emy with him. Sailing the oceans was not all that different to Emy than traveling through deep space.

The Nerajians were a rather insulated civilization. Their usually dense atmosphere and unpredictable Tears made many travelers reluctant to visit. Lack of sunlight caused most of the planet to be barren and many felt contributed to the diminutive size of the species. The average Nerajian stood only three-quarters the height of a Hynerian.

Rog and Emy were greeted like long lost family. The Nerajians had the medicine they needed but only one location was considered safe enough to house both the viruses and the agents of retribution, as the healing medicines were called in world. Three hours flight through the barren desert stood an impenetrable fortress. Here, they would find what they needed.

“Rog, do you see what I see?” asked Emy, her fear of Rog’s flying replaced by a very bad feeling about the change in atmospheric conditions. Just a few minutes before the night sky had been as clear as day. In what seemed like seconds the sun, moon and landscape turned an eerie shade of blue as if they knew something her and Rog didn’t.


“Uhmmm, yea, M. Not sure what’s going on but hang tight. I’ve got a visual on our fortress. Snazzle, locate and lock on their landing beacon. Conditions are deteriorating fast and I’m going to need . . . ”

“Rog, there is no landing beacon being broadcast,” said Snazzle.

“Impossible Snaz. Check another frequency.”

“My scanners have quadrupled checked every possible option. The fortress is not broadcasting a beacon.”

“Sunavabeeeotch!” said Rog, dragging out the expletive for dramatic effect. A little adrenaline rush in Rog’s mind was better than three shots of southern snoot and two lap dances in the back corners of the Purple Pampus back home. Emy did not share the sentiment.

Atmospheric Tears moved fast. Perfectly clear night turned to bluish overcast and then to darkness with high winds in a matter of minutes. Rog and Emy didn’t know it, but getting the agent of retribution was going to be the least of their troubles.

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Rog’s body took over. Hands and feet instinctively made decisions. The small pod whipped in one direction and then another. Warning indicators blared, red lights lit up the panel, yet still he pushed the vessel. Better to die with your teeler boots on as his dad liked to say back on their ranch. And by Janus, if this storm was the end of them, if wouldn’t be because he didn’t do everything in his power to save them.

Besides, he had too many stories to tell on just how they had secured the needed medicine and Rog loved to tell stories. As a little boy, his dad had entertained him and his brothers around the campfire many a night. Rog picked up the skill without ever knowing how valuable a good story teller could be on a small vessel traveling through deep space. The last twenty-four hours had given him enough material to last for weeks.

Getting through the atmosphere, making contact with those little creatures called Nerajians, the secret medical base they had to find in the dark of night, deals brokered and negotiated, and now the complications of getting back to Bravo-Four-Zero. Saving Kieran was important, and sure would score a lot of points with Kyra, but these stories were just too good not to tell.

“Rog, Pandoras are requesting steering lock on our vessel,” said Snazzle, the pod’s onboard computer.

“Screw that, no time,” shouted Rog as he maneuvered the pod between electrical bands, any one of which would have destroyed the small vessel.

“Rog, the Pandoras say without their lock, we will be destroyed in this storm. They are demanding control now. Otherwise, our deaths will not be on their hands.” Snazzle almost sounded alive and his tone certainly implied he placed more trust in the Pandoras than in Rog’s skill. Emy couldn’t help but smile at the look of disbelief on Rog’s face.

“Rog,” Snazzle calmly repeated, I believe now means now. Shall I give them control of our vessel?”

About that time a bolt of electricity grazed the ship. Power blinked, lights flickered and Emy, who no one had ever heard raise her voice, shouted. “ROG!”

“Alright, alright damnit.” Rog’s shoulders slumped in that fashion that said don’t blame me for what happens next. Nerajians knew these storms inside and out. They had established incredibly huge and powerful vectoring beacons around the planet. The storms were not common, but when they did occur, any vessel not immediately controlled by a vector tower had little to no chance of survival.

Rog and his crew were going to make it, make it back to the surface of Neraj. The blessing was mixed. They would survive but the clock was ticking for Kieran. Forty-eight hours was only an estimate and they had less than that now.

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