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The Observer by Tucker Spolter 

Chapter 2

Sagra sat in same chair in the center of the chamber known to every citizen of Lakal as Council of Equals. The chamber was empty except for Sagra, his only son Hanar and third child Tyree. His progeny did not sit at his side. They were not invited to. They stood together, in front of Sagra. Almost at attention. Hands behind their back. Heads bent.

      “And now OUR. . . My shuttle is gone. . . “ Sagra glared. Hanar and Tyree stepped backward.  “AND, you both are absolutely certain she didn’t return to the Erebus before it left orbit,” he added with a hiss. . . “I am waiting.”

     For the first time Hanar lifted his eyes from the floor. “Sir,  we thought everything was going as planned. Krista entered the shuttle with a smile. Tyree and  I—“

     “She said she wanted some alone time,” Tyree interrupted. 

      Hanar shot his sister a vicious look. 

     Tyree waved it away with the palm of her hand.  “Father, Krista wanted to say good-bye to her friends,  I know it.  Sometimes we women need to cry alone.” Tyree turned to Hanar and executed a faux courtsey.  “So sorry to ever interrupt you my dear brother.  Please continue with your most enlightening narative.”

     “Stop with the sibiling bullshit!” Sagra scowled at his children and let an uncomfortable silence prevail before he nodded to Hanar.  

     “Sir, we couldn’t act while the Erebus was still in orbit. But then Krista shut the shuttle door.  We pretended to wait patiently.  If she decided to leave then what would happen in the future would happen. . . But Father, when we left this chamber . . . and we were we walking back to the shuttle. . . I . . .” Hanar looked at his sister for confirmation.  “We were confident Krista had decided to stay on Iuama. She isn't stupid.  She knew if she left, there would be dire consequences for everyone on this planet. ”

     “And now she’s decided to fly around and take the grand tour of Iuama.” Sagra wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead. “And none of those damn metal eating bastards . . . What do we call them?”

     “Feris bugs, Father.” Tyree answered politely.

     “Yes, those damn things. They drooled and shit on every piece of metal we brought to Iuama. We have to get control of that shuttle before anyone else does.  And before those damn things start snacking on its metal components.”

     “Remember, Feris bugs travel in packs.  And they’d have to find it first. Krista and the shuttle have only been on Iuama for a little more than one turn.”

      “Besides, Father, Krista seems to be a gentle, responsible woman. She is unaware of the importance of her shuttle and all it contains.”  Tyree stepped forward and with a daughter’s edge to her voice. . . “I mean no disrespect . . . but, I believe, if you hadn’t sent Rechat and his Blue Capped cohorts to the shuttle . . . “


     Sagra rose. . . Leaned forward,  “Do not raise your voice to me young woman.”   Sagra pointed to Hanar. “Last time your brilliant sibling injected her with Malc.  A wonderful introduction to the first person to step on Iuama more than a hundred and fifty years. 

Don't you start to --”

     Hanar stepped in front of his sister. “That was my fault. I made a bad decision. A decision I have tried to atone for.  But Tyree is right.  Be before Rechat’s arrival at the shuttle, everything did seem to be going our way. . . When the Erebus’ fusion engines engaged and the lights flashed, we knew Krista had decided to stay.  Moments after the Erebus disappeared we knew we had the shuttle. We had Krista’s goodwill and her

expertise.  She even appeared in the portal of the control center. I think I saw a few tears. . . Which were reasonable under the circumstances.  Moments later she waved and motioned that she would be joining us soon. ”

     “Father, Krista was smiling,” Tyree added. “At least until the moment Rechat and his gang of clowns appeared. They were patient for a bit, but not for long. Rechat pulled out a Tineke club from somewhere and started whopping it against his thigh. His group of Blue Caps egged him on by cheering. That was all the encouragement Rechat needed. He strutted to the side of the shuttle and started beating the club against the side of the hull. Other Blue Caps joined him.” 

     "I saw Krista appear in the portal,” Hanar said. “But she didn’t appear scared. . . She appeared angry.”

     “Furious is a better word,” Tyree said.

     “And just after I got the club from Rechat the shuttle’s engines kicked in and—“

     “And enough.” Sagra paced slowly.  “Now find her. . . “ His eye’s roved from son to daughter and back again. "Where would a tourist – locked up in a starship for who knows how long –  go on her first few days on a tropical planet?” Sagra rounded the

table and approached his son and daughter.  “Any ideas? Where would you go?

      "The beach. . . The ocean.” Hanar offered.

      “I agree. Go.” Sangra pointed to the exit.  ”Go both of you and  take a fewclose friends. Travel light. You can reach the beach in eight turns. Find Krista and the shuttle before those damn Feris bugs do. Her shuttle is the ultimate weapon against the

Violators. “ Sagra rubbed his chin. “Maybe bring back a few little packages for our gene pool while you’re at it.  Oh, my wonderful children DO NOT DISAPPOINT YOUR FATHER.” 

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