Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
Earth and star wars joining
The Ebon Hawk writhed as she fled the Sith Fleet.
Carth growled, his hands directing our desperate flight from the Sith Task Group.
We had been homeward bound from Lehon when the Leviathan class warship had dragged us from hyper space. The light freighter had leaped into flight, dodging the seeking tractor beams from both the Interdictor and the two cruisers with it. There had been an ionized meteor field off to one side, and Carth had dived into it as we ran. Bastila was checking their course as Carth threaded the needles she gave him. The smaller ship was faster here, as long as you didn't forget some rock the size of your fist...
There was a clang as something smaller than a fist ricocheted away. Carth was desperately programming, but I wasn't sure if it would do any good. “Jump, Carth.”
“You don't know where we will be afterward!”
“We'll be alive.” I said.
“There is that.” He commented. Behind him the nav-computer flashed as it took damage from a near miss. Then he slammed the hyperspace command button flat.
It was a timeless and at the same time familiar leap. The ship shuddered then came back as before. We were safe in hyperspace, or so it seemed.
Bastila came aft as Carth continued working. “The Nav-computer is locked at 32 days duration for the jump.
“Thirty-two days?” Mission yelped. “That would carry us right out of the galaxy!”
“Perhaps as far as the nearest neighbor, if we're heading the right direction.” I commented. All right, what we can deal with first. Zaalbar, do we have enough food for all of us for a trip of that duration?”
“No.” Zaalbar growled. “If all of the Jedi go into deep meditation, we have enough, but if all of us are cognizant, we will starve in two weeks.”
“Will Sasha be all right with you if we go into stasis?”
“Amma Mata-” I touched the girl. She fell silent, looking at the woman she had called stepmother all this time.
“My daughter, you have not yet progressed to deep mediation as we will need. So you must stay awake.”
The girl looked at me, then nodded. “Chu, Amma Mata.”
The Jedi met in the cargo bay. I looked them over, Bastila, Jolee, Juhani. “Are we ready?”
“Of course I am. Need a nap after all of you kids.” Jolee commented.
Juhani snorted the growling laughter of her people. “A month without listening to him complaining? Sign me up!”
Bastila laughed. She had mellowed in the time since her redemption. “I am ready, my love.”
I sat in a tailor seat, hands cupped upward on my knees. “Let us begin.” The others joined me, hands clasping. Our bodies slowed, breath coming once every ten minutes, pulse settling to less than one heartbeat a minute. Around us the others worked trying to repair the damage done.
I floated. I felt the ship moving, different now; we had dropped out of hyperspace. I felt new joy in the knowledge, only recording it. My heart began to speed up, my breath hitched, another breath between the measured breaths of before. My hands squeezed, and an interminable time later Jolee and Bastila replied to that nonverbal call.
My eyes opened, and a moment later both Jolee and Bastila returned to wakefulness. Several seconds passed, then Juhani was also awake again. Each stood, and went to discover how things had gone. Having half of the crew in stasis had eked out the supplies for the others, but it didn't mean it was pretty. We found Mission and Zaalbar in the lounge, both looking as if they had not had a good meal in half a dozen days. Carth was unconscious at the controls, gaunt with hunger. Sasha and Canderous looked up as the Jedi entered the cargo bay. Neither looked ill-used, in fact Sasha looked as she might have gained weight. HK stood in the passageway; he had caught part of the EMP that fried the nav-computer, and no one had bothered to reinitialize him.
“Bastila, take the controls. Jolee, see what remains of our supplies. We need to prepare to re-feed our crew. Juhani, checked the med-stores and see if we have electrolytes we can use to help.” I returned to the lounge, picking up Mission first. The girl grumbled, but didn't awaken. Her bones felt like sticks in a papery mass of flesh. I carried the girl to the starboard berthing area, laying her on her bunk. Then I returned to the lounge. Juhani and I carried Zaalbar to the port side berths.
Jolee trotted up. “Almost nothing. Some Canthis bird sides, enough to feed them up a bit.”
“They went through the dietary supplements. We have none remaining.” Juhani reported.
I nodded. “Get everyone strapped in. Bastila will take us in.”
I went forward, Bastila taking the controls. Juhani and Jolee took Carth away as we considered the blue-green planet ahead of us.
“The northern hemisphere.” She commented. “A better chance of what we need.”
“Do it.” I ordered. Bastila shoved the controls forward. We plunged toward the Northern hemisphere. It came closer, then closer; we were over the ocean to the east of the continent. I felt my chest ease. Maybe-
“Missile lock.” Bastila commented drily. I saw a flash of a missile firing, and Bastila had already maneuvered to avoid it. The missile was aimed at where we had been, the explosion a faint flash as we delved deeper. Then suddenly there was not one but dozens shooting up from the sea at four locations within a few tens of kilometers of each other.
“Bastila...” I gritted out.
“Those three-” She motioned at some of the ships, “-are out of the way, and we'll outrun their fire. It's that one we need to worry about. Some guns might help...”
“Understood. Jolee, man the upper turret.” I ran toward the center line where the access to the gun turrets were. Jolee leaped upward and climbed like a monkey as I dropped down. The seat enclosed me and I flipped the activating switches. There were almost a hundred lurid red icons closing, and I spun the guns onto the targets. The pulse lasers raved, and the icons flashed and vanished. Some had climbed above us, Jolee's fire winnowing them as we pushed closer to the ship firing at us. There were less than a dozen remaining when we screamed over the ship at less than a hundred meters.
It was an interesting viewpoint; The gravity generator had me sitting upright as if I were where Jolee was, so I was looking up at it.
It was an ocean going vessel with a flat forward end and a boxlike superstructure. A small white object on the port side facing toward us began firing projectiles that whined off our shields. A matching unit on the starboard side raved at us futilely as we dove lower.
I climbed back to the deck, walking forward. Bastila was serene as she lifted a little higher. “They are trying to track us with some kind of microwave tracking beam.” She adjusted a control on the electronic warfare console. “Hetrodyning their frequency.”
I took the copilot's seat, taking over on the jamming and looking at the coast ahead of us. The landmass arched in a sweep that was almost a semi-circle. “Land is rising ahead of us.”
“Eggs, grandmothers, sucking.” She replied. The ship lifted a little more, and we flashed over the night covered coast. There were rolling hills ahead of us, and to the port side I could see a meandering river.
I switched to surface scanning, our frequencies were a different, higher wavelength, so they would not detect them. I was looking for... “Bastila, starboard ten degrees, a small town. We can land far enough out and be able to resupply.”
She merely nodded. She slowed, turning slightly, and we passed over the small town like a giant raptor bird. “There, a small shopping complex. Far enough out that we should not be noticed.”
“Land a few kilometers away. We'll take the swoops.”
She brought the Ebon Hawk in smoothly, grass wavering as out lift and drive jets howled. I went back to the lounge. Mission was looking around with a confused expression. She seemed to see me, but then her eyes skated over my face. Zaalbar was in fetal ball, groaning. He looked as if he hadn't eaten in a week or more; possibly true, because he, like Juhani was primarily a carnivore.
Sasha came in from the cargo hold with a pair of Canthis bird fillets in a pan. She started the cooking unit. “These will be done in a few moments. I will make the other two as Juhani and Zaalbar eat these.” I nodded. Raw Canthis is an acquired taste, even for a carnivore.
Canderous came in with half a dozen emergency rations. “I found these stuffed in a parts locker. Enough to get a couple of them on their feet at least.”
“Good work. Bastila and I will take the swoops and check out the store five kilometers away. Once we have figured out what we can attain, I will send Bastila back to pilot.”
“Not good.” Canderous commented. “She's the pilot. I'll go with you.”
I nodded agreeing. The ramp went down as he shoved the first of the swoops down it. We had 'midnight requisitioned' a second one from the Republic fleet at Lehon. I switched it on, seeing it lift up humming on contra-gravs I climbed aboard, and motioned. We shot across the grasslands toward our destination.
The shopping complex was small, half a dozen stores, none of them open. One was a larger square building with a lattice across the doorway entrance. We parked, letting the bikes settle to the paving. I walked up to the door, seeing a blocky section on a loop of steel holding them closed. Canderous took out a vibroknife, and I stopped him. It was a simple mechanical lock. “No need.” I visualized the interior, the Force creating shaded areas of material. I nudged it, and the lock opened. I unthreaded it, and we slide the latticework back. The clear doors had another lock, and I reached in, seeing another design. I flicked it open, then stopped. On one of the doors there was an electronic device linked to the local wired communications lines. I fused it, and pushed the doors open.
I was greeted with a cornucopia of supplies. My mouth watered at the sight. Jedi meditation and stasis will sustain a body for a long time, but the body kept working, and I felt as if I had not eaten in three days. I stepped outside, eyes sweeping the highway that flowed past the shopping complex a few kilometers. Traffic was light. Yes it might work. I pulled out my com-link. “Bastila?”
“Yes, my love.”
“Lock onto this signal. We will be in the large building with the open doors. We have enough to feed all of us for a long time, but it will take time to load it. Can you fly in without lights?”
“Why do you keep asking foolish questions?”
“Just get here fast.” I turned. Canderous had moved into the store and to the far left where hundreds of bottles waited. He had opened one holding more than a liter and a half of liquid. He was slowly sucking down the entire bottle with sounds of appreciation. “Damn it, Canderous.”
He lowered the bottle wiping his chin. “What?” He asked like a child in the candy aisle.
I sighed. “There are some kind of storage carts outside. Grab one and fill it for transport.” I turned, then sighed again. “Yes, you can finish that bottle.” I walked to the center line aisle. To my right were utensils and cleaning chemicals. We could do without those. Directly to my right was a display of fruits. I went out, got a storage cart and brought it in. I began loading them into my cart. If there was a bag or box with more than four items, I loaded it into it. There was a pile of red fruits by themselves, and I thought about it before picking one up to bite into it. Tangy juice and a jelly of seeds were within it, and I purred in delight. Unfortunately they had not bagged them. Spying a small carry basket I filled it with the delightful fruits. There were enough for three of the carry baskets and I placed the last in the cart as there was a rush of hot air, and the Ebon Hawk landed just outside the door.
I had found a tray of heart shaped red sweet vegetables, and had eaten one, plucking the small green stem away as Bastila, Jolee, and Sasha came down the ramp.
“Jolee, give them fruit. We need-”
“Dannika!” I turned. Canderous had moved two aisles from where he had been. He had opened a jar with a four legged animal's picture on it, holding it out. I sniffed. Cooked animal flesh in a meat tea. He motioned, and I saw row upon row of flasks able to hold perhaps a half liter. I plucked one from the shelf, and opened it, sniffing. Another animal.
“Sasha, take these.” I grabbed a carry basket, filling it to overflowing. “For Juhani and Zaalbar.” I ordered. The girl took the basket and ran outside. “Each of you pick a row. Take the larger containers only.” They gathered storage carts and began. I took one, and went to the aisle beside where Canderous had begun his binge.
Sasha came back, and ended up running back aboard with juices. Some were a pale gold with a fruit on the outside, the others were three different ones with different fruits, one a pale gold in color, another yellow with red meat, the last blue colored orbs on a single stalk. These I directed for Mission and herself.
It all sounds wholly organized, but it was not. We Jedi had not gone a week or more without food like the others, but we felt hunger too. I looked longingly at a large canister with a reddish brown glutinous mass that reminded me of Merdai stew, but I could not find a way to open it without a vibroblade or lightsaber. I felt a tap on my arm, and Bastila handed me a pincher with a small metal blade and a wheel attached to a rotating handle. I clipped it on the canister as she showed me, and by turning the handle I was able to remove the lid. The mass didn't smell like any Merdai I had ever tried, but then again properly made Merdai stew is different every time. A nearby rack offered plastic bags full of differently shaped fried vegetable matter that were perfect. I opened one with wide square pieces that scooped it up and conveyed it to my mouth. Another bag gave me triangular shaped pieces of the same vegetable that were also good for this purpose. A third gave me round shapes of the same vegetable just as well suited. I sat in the aisle, the huge can of Merdai Stew in my lap, three different open bags of fried vegetable, and fed.
I saw Dannika hunkered down over a can of some kind of reddish brown glutinous mass, shoveling it into her mouth with all aspects of delight. I shuddered, moving to the aisle next to hers. This was juices and dried goods so I chose the larger bags. We didn't need to take everything, just everything we needed. There was an array of containers with fruits, some with peels and other peeled, and I picked up one can thoughtfully. It looked like a Corellian Halo fruit, but was peeled with the center cored out. I retrieved the opening tool and a delightful fruit smell rose to my nose. I plucked out a piece, and ate it. Delicious.
I found myself digging deeper, pulling another then another slice of this delicious fruit out. Part of me didn't want to think I was as desperate in my love of this fruit as my love was of that nauseating mass.
Really I thought my mothers had more control! Bastila was wrapped around a canister of fruit, and Amma Mata around one of some meat and spice sauce. I took my cart into another aisle. There were pack upon pack of smaller portioned delights. I noticed one marked with discrete squares, and I reached up. It was beyond my grasp and I said a couple of Mando'a bad words before I used the Force to bring the package to my hand. I ripped open the bag, and found within a couple of dozen or so smaller packets. Infuriated, I peeled one of them open, and looked at the square within. I bit into it, then paused as both fruit and a deeper flavor overwhelmed me.
Really, what were we mortals to do? Dannika had devoured part of a canister of some brown goop, Bastila stuffing fruit into her mouth as if tomorrow would never come. Even Sasha seemed entranced by something in the package she had opened.
But we Twi-Lek were made of much sterner stuff! I drove my cart toward the rear of the store. Off to my right there were shelves of the vegetable crisps they have coveted; I steeled myself and looked to the refrigerated containers they had ignored. We were starving and they were feeding as if there were no tomorrow!
I looked into the refrigerated compartment with their clear doors. On the bottom rack were pieces of meat almost the size of my chest in some kind of plastic. I bent and began pulling them out, putting them in the cart. I had almost filled it when I noticed oblong rounded boxes in a freezer area. I tossed a dozen of them on top and pushed the cart out and up the ramp. I handed one of the blocks of meat to Juhani and another to Zaalbar, both of whom ripped them open and began devouring in discrete bites, though big Z's bites of course were bigger.
After stowing the meat I started to put the boxes away, one, showing a scoop of something multicolored in a dish. Intrigued, I opened it. The concoction inside was striped in two different shades of brown with a strip of white on the end. I ran a finger along the frozen top, and licked it. Delicious. I did it again, but after the third time it just wasn't enough. I walked into the lounge, grabbed a spoon, and dug in.
Sasha came in with a smarmy grin on her face, pushing her cart back to the cargo compartment. A few moments later she came back, a small square in foil on her hand. Curious, I took it, peeling the foil open. The brown square inside smelled wonderful, and I bit into it, moaning at the taste. Sasha's grin got larger, and she pulled a large bag with more of them from behind her back. “all mine.” She said.
I dipped the spoon into the icy confection, and held it out. She took it, thrust it into her mouth, then froze with a delighted expression. I took the spoon back. “All mine.” I replied. She looked heartbroken, then held out the bag in mute offering. I got a bowl, dishing some of the frozen delicacy into it, pushing it over before her before I reached in and grabbed about half a dozen of the wrapped squares.
I looked at the canister. I had eaten about a quarter of it, and felt, not full, but satisfied. I picked it up, going to the next aisle. Bastila sat on the floor, slipping another piece of fruit between her lips. Her fingers up to the palm were smeared with the juice from the canister, and she gave me a guilty look.
“Good?” I asked, nodding toward the canister.
“Oh my yes. Almost like halo fruit” She picked it up, drinking some of the liquid. That explained why her hands weren't soaked to the wrist.
“So is this.” I replied, setting the canister down, my arm setting down the three bags of crisps.
“I don't know how that can be.” She shivered. “It looks revolting.”
“Well don't knock it if you haven't tried it.” I scooped some of the meat stew into a crisp.
“I have no intention-” She stopped talking as I stuffed the loaded crisp into her mouth. She chewed speculatively, then smiled. “Yes it is quite good. We must have it again aboard ship.”
“Sure, as soon-” She used my own tactic, stuffing a fruit half into my mouth. I chewed, eyes closing. Yes, so like halo fruit. I felt her press the canister into my hands, and I drank. The liquid, some kind of syrup from the taste, flowed down my throat.
We stood, hands gently touching. I pointed at a white plastic sausage skin with a picture of some kind of ground meat on the outside. “I think that is the meat in it.” We backtracked, and I went down an aisle full of ground herbs, then tapped one. “And that is the primary spice they use.” She took down the canister, and sniffed it, then nodded.
Carth came in with a cart, and began loading large blocks of cheese and bags of shredded cheese into it. Bastila and I took carts back to our specific aisles, and began loading. I had told them to take only the large portion canisters and bags. Canderous had cleared every box and bottle from his area, now he started at the back of the store, taking large boxes and dropping them into his cart. Juhani and Jolee came, and Juhani packed carts as Jolee pushed them into the ship. A few moments later T3 rolled in. He squealed at Jolee, who paused to remove the electronic devices on the counters. Suddenly someone screamed in horror.
I stood in the cargo hold, emptying carts into our storage containers, canisters into the round and rectangular ones since they didn't need refrigeration, cool items into the coolers, frozen goods into the freezer compartment. We were getting a lot of food, enough to last the entire crew for our return... If we could make it in one jump.
Sasha came running in with some small plastic squeeze bottles, a slew of smaller jars, and that same grin. She held out the brown one, upending a red one over her mouth. A thick red liquid ran into her mouth and she moaned appreciatively. I did the same, and the taste was like the brown squares. I gave the same moan, and we packed these in our own special container.
There was a gasp and we turned. A human stood there, eyes wide he stared at Sasha, then with a horrified look, at me.
“Can I help you?” I asked. He looked at me again, eyes widening, but obviously didn't understand basic. He replied in a gabble I didn't understand either. Then, as if he'd entered a room and found it full of cannocks, he backed away. After three steps he stopped because he had backed into Zaalbar.
In horror vids you have a moment when the character, usually someone about to die, feels the presence of the monster, and has to see it just once before they die. He made the same slow motion turn, then had to crane backwards to look into Zaalbar's face. He shrieked, then ran toward the ramp. Zaalbar watched him run, then looked at me. “Was it my breath?” He asked curious.
“I don't think so, Big Z.”
I heard the scream, and raced over to the ramp of the ship. A human male staggered down it, falling to his knees at my feet. He froze, my boots before his eyes, then he slowly looked upward, stopping on my face. Bastila came up on my right, Juhani on my left. His eyes leaped to each face, freezing on Juhani.
“Who might this be?” Bastila asked.
“Probably the owner.” I hunkered down, and he flinched backward.
You can gain a language using the Force; a good thing when you remember that Basic is not the only language in our galaxy, and there are even planets full of humans where it is not spoken. If you have time, you let them speak to you as I had done with Sasha, allowing your mind and theirs to connect on a subconscious level until suddenly their language is just there perfectly understood. “Bastila, Juhani, get Jolee and Sasha so we only need to do this once.” I reached out and touched his forehead with my finger. He tried to flinch away but I controlled his muscles so he could not. He was unable to flee, unable to scream. I soothed away his terror, and felt him on hands and knees, relaxed.
The other Jedi gathered around. I reached out to Sasha. “Hold my hand, daughter.” She did as Bastila touched my forehead and Sasha's. Juhani reached in, her hand warm against my neck as she joined hands with Jolee. He touched Bastila's forehead with his other hand.
I reached in finding his language center, and it flowed from him into me, then into the others. Oddly there were two languages so I copied both. When I felt we had found all there was, I looked up Jolee and Juhani pulled back, then Bastila, finally Sasha.
I freed the man's muscles. “Are you all right?” I asked.
He shook his head frantically. “Who are you people?” He looked at Juhani, then at Zaalbar and Mission who had joined us. “What are you?”
I stood, helping him to his feet. “We are but stranded travelers gathering supplies so we can continue our voyage.” I told him. “We found your store and have in-gathered what we needed.”
“But...” He stared at the denuded wine and ale section, then at the harrowed cheese aisle, finally at the empty racks in the cooler. “But you didn't pay for it!”
“We were going to leave goods in trade.” I handed him a five credit chip. “I do not think our money would be of value here. Juhani, some of the extra crystals.” She nodded, trotting aboard the ship She came back a short moment later with a dozen lightsaber crystals. We had already filled every space in our own sabers, so there weren't many; nine red ones, a couple of blues, and one violet. I poured them into his hand. “Our thanks. We will be going.”
We trotted aboard the ship, and lifted the ramp.
The sheriff walked through the store in amazement. It looked like a frat house had torn through it. Partly emptied bags of chips lay in one aisle along with an empty can of pear halves, some of the syrup was still there. The meat locker and frozen foods sections were completely bare. Every where else it had been picked through almost fastidiously only the larger portions had been taken; except for the two candy aisles that looked like Sherman's march to the sea had gone through them. “So let me get this straight, Mister Hernandez; you drove up and saw some sort of UFO parked at the front door. You looked on the ship and found-” he looked at his notes, “a blue girl with some kind of soft horns around her neck, then bumped into something that looked like a Sasquatch. When you fled, you met two women and a-” again with the notes, “-human sized cat woman.” They touched you head, and suddenly you could understand what they were saying. They paid you with those jewels,” He motioned to the crystals that a deputy was examining. “Is that what happened?”
“Yes, Sheriff Thomas.”
“Are you sure?” He asked gently. Hernandez snarled.
“Check the surveillance tapes if you don't believe me! Madre de dios!”
“Sir?” Deputy Fredericks came from the office. “I think you need to see this.” Thomas nodded, walking back to the office. There were DVRs recording every aisle, and Fredericks sat at the desk, bringing up one monitor. “Front door, approximately two hours ago.” He started the playback. A man and a woman, both in oddly designed clothes were at the door. The woman knelt, and the lock dropped off in her hand. They removed the security cage, then the woman stood, touching the lock. She paused, a hand running along the edge of the glass door, and something sparked then arced in a spray of smoke. “Security system went down when she did whatever it was. But no tools in her hands.” The doors were forced open, and they entered.
The woman wore a black formfitting arrangement of straps and strips, her hair a bright red. The man wore something that screamed military fatigues to go with the pistol on his right hip. They spoke, but he couldn't understand the language. The man went directly to the wine aisle, picked up a bottle of California Port, and upended it over his mouth. The woman was speaking into some device she had plucked from her belt, then spoke to the man. They talked for a moment, then she went out to get a shopping cart, pushing it down an aisle as the man finished the heavy wine and set the bottle down reverently. He also got a cart.
A few moments later dust sprayed into the building as something landed outside. “Don't have a visual outside except for the doors.” Another woman dressed as the first had been but her outfit looked like brown suede leather. She spoke with tie first woman who was in the soup aisle. They cleared an entire shelf of meat teas into a cart and the second woman pushed it outside. A young girl came through the door as the first woman found the Mexican food aisle. She looked puzzled at a can, then the other woman walked to the utensil aisle, coming back with a can opener. The first woman opened the can, and slid a finger along the top of the contents. Her face took on a dreamy expression, and she ripped open the bags that now lay almost empty in that aisle, sitting with the can between her knees and began shoveling the food in with obvious delight. The second woman returned going into the canned fruit aisle. She picked up a number 10 can of pear halves. After opening it she sniffed it, then delicately plucked one out. Her face was ecstatic as she bit into it. Like her friend she sat and began shoveling the fruit into her mouth.
The little girl paused in the first candy aisle, then gestured. As they watched in amazement a bag of some pretty fancy chocolates floated down, and she opened it. It took her a moment, but soon she was on the floor cooing with delight as she stripped foil from her prizes, stuffing them into her mouth.
His jaw dropped as a man in a robe followed by a blue-skinned girl just as had been described came in pushing carts The man started in the fruit section, filling the carts as the blue skinned girl headed to the back, tossing hams and unsliced lunch meats into hers.
Now it was a swirl of motion; another man in a different military uniform with a really ugly orange jacket came in, starting at the back where bottled juices were. Now the cat woman appeared. She wore a robe something like the man did, and she went to the meat locker and began filling her cart. The little girl got a cart, fastidiously picked up her trash, then looked up. She reached out as if grabbing, and the uppermost shelf began emptying itself into her cart as if an invisible giant had hooked his arm behind the products, and passed them hand to hand into the cart. Once her cart was full she sped off with it. The blue girl was back. Now that he thought of it, her clothing had a military cut to it, though it was a jumpsuit. She started into on the ice cream aisle, taking all the half gallon and larger boxes. The old man had denuded the produce section but taken only the packaged fruits and vegetables. Now he was in the chips aisle, loading the cart to overflowing with tubs of dips.
Everyone was busy at it now, completely organized but silent. The woman in the Mexican food aisle had joined the other in the fruit aisle. They spoke gently, as if lovers. The woman with the chips dipped some of the food out, and stuffed it in the other woman's mouth. That woman chewed, saying something as her hand dipped to grab another pear half, which she stuffed in her friend's mouth. They both savored the experience, then shared the syrup. They walked back to the meat aisle, and the older woman motioned first to a five pound chub back of ground beef, then at the spice aisle where she picked exactly the right spice.
Now; Thomas paused the replay. A seven foot tall furred being came in, a bandolier hanging from a shoulder. He pushed two carts and by himself he cleared the rest of the meat aisle. Then he pushed one cart towing the other out the door. A moment later the two women stiffened at a scream. They leaped to their feet, moving impossibly fast to stand at the door as Hernandez fell to his knees. The one in the black knelt, touching his forehead. Hernandez froze as if all of his muscles had locked up. The woman spoke, and the two women with her went past, returning with the little girl and the old man. They touched each other, and several minutes passed. Then the woman lowered her hand.
“Are you all right?”
He shook his head frantically. “Who are you people?” He looked at the cat girl, then at the Sasquatch wannabe then at the blue-skinned girl. “What are you?”
She stood, helping Hernandez to his feet. “We are but stranded travelers gathering supplies so we can continue our voyage. We found your store and have in-gathered what we needed.”
“But...” He stared at the denuded wine and ale section, then at the harrowed cheese aisle, finally at the empty racks in the cooler. “But you didn't pay for it!”
“We were going to leave goods in trade.” She handed him a plastic coin. “I do not think our money would be of value here. Juhani, some of the extra crystals.” The cat woman nodded, trotting aboard the ship She came back a short moment later with a dozen crystals.
The spokeswoman poured them into his hand. “Our thanks. We will be going.” They trooped out, then there was a blast of dust.
Thomas leaned back. “Pull all of the disks. I need to make a call.” He pulled out his cell phone. He paged through the contacts and chose one.
“Camp Stonewell switchboard.”
“I need someone in intelligence right now.”
“Sir, it's three in the morning.”
“I know that, you twit. Tell them a UFO with at least three different alien species landed outside the Smart and Final here in town and ransacked the place.”
There was a pause. He knew his ID showed on their caller ID, so they had to know he was the sheriff. “Hold please.” There was silence. Thomas was glad they didn't have Muzak when on hold. It took seven minutes before another sleep fogged voice. “Colonel Bates, Intelligence.”
Sheriff Thomas, Mescalero County. Did they tell you what this call is about?”
“Something about aliens shopping at the Smart and Final's in Togara I believe.”
“That's it exactly.” Thomas told him. “And we have evidence on DVD disc.”
There was deep sigh. “All right. Sheriff, this is what I need for you to do; first, I'm declaring a Darkstar emergency. You, your men and the owner are to stay there and keep everyone else away. I'll have a squad there ASAP.”
We lifted straight up, and Carth was guiding us as Bastila scanned the ground below us. “There, Carth. A wood line large enough to conceal the ship.” He nodded silently as he scanned the area himself. Carth was a belt and suspenders kind of guy.
“Big enough.” He agreed. “Flight controls have been repaired, but the nav-computer was fried. I can do this by hand, but it might be a bit rough.”
“Do it.” I ordered walking aft. T3 had the two large devices open, and was plucking segments from their circuits. “How goes it, T3?” I lifted the pad as he squealed a long electronic diatribe at me. It seemed there were a lot of parts he could modify to rebuild the nav-computer. But he needed a lot more.
I felt the bump as we landed. I sat in a tailor seat, taking circuit boards and dismantling the parts T3 needed. Carth and Bastila came from forward, and both joined me as T3 marked each circuit part for us to dismantle for him. “Canderous, keep a sensor watch for us. This will keep us busy for a while.”
Zaalbar and I will start a meal.”
“More Merdai?” I asked.
“We have several canisters of it, both with and without legumes in it. When he has time, T3 can analyze the mixture without legumes so we can duplicate it later.” Mission replied. “But we have large blocks of meat, and cooking one up will do for now.”
“And vegetables.” I commented. “Mustn't leave out a food group.”
“I agree. There are some kind of white tubers that will go with it.”
We divided the work up easily. Mission and Zaalbar were busy with cooking something that smelled delightful. Juhani and Jolee joined us in stripping out usable parts that T3 was now combining on a new circuit board.
Sasha worked to help Mission, carrying tubers both raw and in large cans as Zaalbar slathered a sauce on the baking meat. Sasha switched to bringing snacks. We ate cake covered in the brown liquid both Sasha and Mission craved. Once I tasted it I understood why. The last of the usable parts were removed and we took what remained to the recycling unit; there wasn't much remaining we could use immediately. Now we sat, sampling the teas of this world as the trio making dinner worked their magic. Finally they delivered the feast to the table, and we ate heartily. Slabs of meat surrounded by vegetables in green brown and white garnished the meat and we stuffed them down avidly, the meal washed down with some kind of brown ale. It ended with both squares of the brown confection, and bowls filled with icy multicolored swirls. We all finally relaxed in repletion.
“Orders?” Carth asked.
“Any packaging that we can't eat in the recycler. Who wants first watch?”
“Me.” Canderous said, picking up another bottle of the brown ale. “Wake who next?” Carth raised his hand silently, then Bastila. I raised my own, followed by Juhani. “all right.”
“T3, do you have enough extra parts to start on HK?” He squealed so vehemently that I raised my hands. “Sorry, I was just asking!”
We settled down, Bastila spooned to my front Sasha curled up to hers. We fell asleep all in the same bed and content as we drifted to sleep.
We came awake almost together about seven hours later. I felt full, replete. All was right with my world. Bastila snuggled against me, and I wished I were a male so we could consummate that relationship. On the other side of her Sasha awoke. She did not have the same reaction, but she turned in our arms, kissing Bastila on the cheek. “Amma tu che Mata.” she whispered.
“Please, stop calling me that.” Bastila sighed. “My love?”
“I am here.”
“Why weren't we called for guard duty?” She asked.
“I have no idea.” I replied. We adjourned to the lounge where Sasha first got cups of tea for all of us, then curled up against my side. All three of us sat sipping appreciatively.
Carth came from forward, grabbing a cup for himself. “T3 was able to salvage enough for about ten percent of our nav-computer. We'll need more to fix HK and the computer but he's scored us a place to look.”
“Show me.” I ordered. The desk top holo flared. The woods we were hiding in were inside the fenced off enclosure that popped up, but several buildings inside it flared.
“Each of these buildings has some of their computers we can scavenge. He figures five or six of them should be enough.”
“Good. The sooner we're gone, the sooner they will forget us.” I replied.
“So, which building do we hit?”
I looked at the military base as if plotting an attack; which when you think of it, we were. I tapped one. “This has enough computer supplies to take care of our needs. This building in between... What is it?”
“The information we have is that it is a club where the enlisted personnel can drink.” Carth commented. “If we were to infiltrate it before the Ebon Hawk arrived, we can keep things quiet.”
“Define we.” I asked.
“You and Bastila, Canderous and I.” He reported.
“all right. HK is still down?”
“Yes, but he's up to 60 percent at the moment.”
“Not enough to limit his killing anyone he runs into, leave his disconnected.”
“Understood. The rest of us will be raiding that building tonight.”
Last edited by machievelli; 08-28-2011 at 11:10 PM.
Reason: Needing editing