I am satisfied... ever since the meeting of the sho'gan vin council, I have been in a slump... Mirvenne's chapters disgust me in their mediocrity... but nothing like a litte chaos to liven things up! Read on, and once the excitement starts, you'll forgivemy slump!


Chapter 27

Mirvenne sat at the long stone table next to Yenne, across from David Morrison, who looked uncomfortably at the food as it was served. Chavve glanced at her now and again, but not too often, for which Mirvenne was thankful. She started to wonder how long it would be until Chavve found out that she was hiding something- it had to happen sooner or later, but later better then sooner. She started to wonder, then snapped her thoughts back under control. In addition to Chavve, there was also two other mind readers at the table. They had nowhere near Chavve's power- indeed, even Chavve would have been considered weak 200 years ago, by modern standards -but they still had that dangerous talent.

The first course was Winter Grain bread with stoneflower nectar to dip the bread in. Winter Grain was a type of grain grown on Aravil that got its name because most planets could grow and harvest it year ‘round. The next course was a type of stew called maja, which was always a favorite of Mirvenne's. She almost laughed out loud at David, who had no idea how to use his stone utensils, which were like flat circles of stone of varying sizes. It was most comical, really.

In a way, Mirvenne was sad to see them go; but they were going to have a dangerous life, and it was not their fault. When you were near people such as her friends, danger also came to you. Mirvenne knew it was shallow and felt horrible, but she would feel safer when her friends were gone.

And, in short time, they were gone, and Mirvenne noticed she missed them even as they walked through the door. Of course Yenne stayed for a while longer- it was her house- but soon she was left alone. With Chavve. Sighing, she hoped the Leader of Valavan would not try to fit in another lesson before dark.


Bantu Basha wandered the streets of Yenne's home village with indifference. He had said it was nessecary for someone to stay behind and guard the ship, and it had been true, but nothing had happened all day. Even a Krigoni could grow tired of staring at his toes, he told himself, and had left the ship. Once it was locked, of course.

The street merchants, reserved in comparison with Ingor's, were here and there, but mainly the square was deserted. Bantu felt the chill of early winter evening as he walked. Suddenly, he heard something behind him. Uncomfortably, he turned down a side street, into the warehouse district.

Yenne's town survived as a stopover for merchants, and there were many warehouses, both occupied and abandoned. Bantu felt intensely paranoid. Someone was chasing him. He started to run, very swiftly indeed. But someone behind him was chasing, and laughing. Bantu ducked behind an alley. He heard footsteps, pounding suspiciously like a heartbeat, coming faster and faster, closer and closer. He fled from the alley.

The growing evening shadows leapt out at Bantu, and things unseen tried to grab him, but he ran, never seeing a soul. Finally, with his last breathe, when the thing who had laughed so darkly at him was about to overtake, he yelled out for help, the abandonment of na'vo, and collapsed.


Drumond Kasarien stepped out over the fallen body of Bantu Basha. Kneeling carefully, he turned the young Krigoni over partways, and removed a tiny dart from the nape of his neck. He had probably not even felt it go in, or noticed it as the hallucinogen took effect. Dragging the Krigoni to a place where he would eventually be found, he holstered his Ion Pulse Rifle almost fondly, and wished he dared use it. This was Perry's style of doing things, not his. But the orders, they had been explicit, and he had no choice but to do what they said, however insensical they appeared at the time. He hated this. Drumond Kasarien was the foremost military strategist of his time, but here he was doing the work of petty thieves, and with no gain from it what so ever. He was going to go back to Planet Arctica and strip Dantu's hide into pieces! Suppressing an animalistic growl, he stalked away from the body, wondering if Sarenne was about.


Zrarch pounced upon Tellorn, and for the third time today the Myren received painful cuts from the claws of the Chrarkae. Collapsing, the Myren wheezed a laugh through his pain, a laugh that grew until it echoed around the deck of the insect's ship. Nine Chrarkae were gathered around him, now useless black collars glinting, and each was taking out their revenge. Not to kill- Tellorn had to be brought before the Great Hive -but to discipline. Zrarch looked at his comrades in a puzzled manner, and their thoughts collaborated to the conclusion that he was insane. They let him be, after this- the insane were always isolated - but Tellorn did not see this. The Myren's grey eyes were squeezed shut in mad laughter. He knew who was to blame for his current situation- those five cadets. Yenne Valavan, Shaylor McConnor, Bantu Basha, David Morrison, and Anto Klarisen. Those names burned into his brain. They would pay. His rasping giggles did not subside for a long time.

Chapter 28

David Morrison stood in the square by the fountain with his four friends, grinding his teeth with impatience and trying not to tear at his hair too badly. Bantu was late. He had said he'd be here at supper time, but the sky was now darkening, and theheavens above Aravil were a foreboding dark grey. The air was chilly, and it felt like snow to David. In twenty minutes it would bedark, surely. The square was deserted, aside from the wind, and the only signs of life were the yellow lights that shone from some of the small windows in houses far distant from where the travelers stood. The air smelled like woodsmoke. Where was Bantu?

David could take it no longer; the tall Krigoni was overdue by an hour and a half and David wanted to get off of Aravil before night fell completely.He stood up on the step he had used to address everyone this morning. "All right, let's split up into groups of two or three and look for Bantu. In half an hour meet back here!" He stepped down and grabbed Anto by the arm. "Let's go." he said irritably, in a voice that made white puffs of mist before his face.

He and his Velexian friend walked around almost aimlessly, when everyone else in town was inside. The whole town felt deserted and hollow, and cold. "Bantu!" They called out to their Krigoni comrade, but there was no answer except the gusting movements of air. The ever constant wind howled down the empty streets which magnified the noise of the wind, and increased the silence of everything else. "Bantu!" Wishing he had brought a coat, David turned to Anto. "Did he say anything about this to you?" he asked almost accusingly. Anto looked at him levelly.

"No." was his only reply, and the hurried on down the stone streets with stone houses. It was rapidly darkening, but David saw-or thought he saw- a plume of smoke rising far distant. "Anto? Do you see that?" he asked unsurely.

The stocky Velexian looked up to where David pointed, and was about to answer when a howl of pure animalistic terror muted to a buzz sounded. Both cadets looked at each other in a puzzled fashion, and once again they were about to speak when the buzz crested into a roar and crowds of panicked people spilled over onto the street the two cadets had been glumly walking down. "Run!" David yelled as the crowd approached. All the faces, predominantly Aravillian but with some other races mixed in, were frozen in pure panic.

David ran as fast as he could, legs pounding on stone, and soon he was gasping for breath. Why wasn't physical education part of the standard curriculum at the Explorien University? David ran, and no matter how quickly he sped, the rioting crowds came nearer and nearer to his heels. David looked over his shoulder for Anto; his Velexian friend was no where to be seen. Just as the crowd was about to swallow him up, David ducked into a alley, which he was sure to thank God very much for. The crowds ran on by, animalistic faces set with one grim purpose- to run away as quickly as possible. David watched as they ran by; then squeezed his eyes shut and leaned against the wall. A noise he had never heard before in his life bolted him up again.

From his vantage in the shadow-full night was only minutes away -David could see one of the strangest processions alive chasing after the crowd. There were the Chrarkae, he recognized them at least, and a Velexian-not Anto- with greying hair, of all things, but the rest seemed like nightmare made flesh.

Lithe man-like creatures around six feet tall and dressed in black marched swiftly, but they had no faces. Just smooth white, pasty skin unbroken by any facial feature. No mouth, no nose, no eyes, nothing. David wanted to throw up. On their shoulders perched small lizards with red wings and phosphorous-green eyes that glowed. David assumed that the man things controlled them. Suddenly, one of the lizards turned its head to regard the alley, and eyes flared even brighter green. The thing darted for David's hidden position, and David threw up his hands for protection. The talons on the things legs were not small. But after a few seconds of eyes shut, David hesitantly opened them again. There at the end of the alley stood the faceless one, who had stayed behind the others with his lizard. Only, the lizard bent over to where the ear was supposed to be, and made some noises, and the faceless thing wheeled sharply on his heel and moved on. David waited until they turned the corner until he emerged. What were those things?!

He was about to run back to look for Anto or Anto's remains, when he noticed the corner of the building. There were scorch marks there that smelled of phosphorus and sulfur, and small columns of black smoke rose from them ominously. David remembered the seconds before he had squeezed his eyes shut, remembered the red lizard's wing brushing against that very wall. Shuddering suddenly, he turned and ran the other way.


Shaylor McConnor walked around aimlessly, trying to maintain calm, but his present situation was too much like a nightmare. He had been searching for Bantu, calling out and watching, looking for any sign that the Krigoni cadet was near. Then, while turning a corner, they saw something that stunned them. There was a huge, komodo dragon type creature facing them. It snarled and bounded towards Shalor, Yenne, and Audua, who were dumbstruck for a few seconds, but then wisely ran for their lives. Unfourtunatly, everyone had called "Follow me!" at the same time, and had run in different directions. He had seen no other living thing since then.

Shaylor was in the warehouse dictrict, a place his parents had forbid him to go when he was younger and lived here. "I'm not a child anymore," he thought to himself. "I'm an Explorien, with vital knowledge, and it needs to get to people who can do something about it!" He was determined to make it to the Explorien High Commander and tell her what was going on.

Suddenly, man like shape was before him. Kneeling down hastily, he rolled the body over. Bantu. For a second he feared the Krigoni was dead, but soon he heard a very faint heartbeat. Breath was barely passing through Bantu's thin lips. Shaylor quickly took him hold of him by means of underneath the arms and dragged the unconciously Krigoni into an abandoned warehouse. "He needs somewhere warm, and dry, and safe." he thought. "Relatively." he added after a moment.

He tried to remember the first aid course he had taken in first year studies, but he knew nothing about medical stuff, and he could not even remember the correct recovery position for Krigoni's. The different physiologies of differnt species made general medical matters much more complicated, and hybreds like Shaylor were another think to consider.

Sighing mentally, Shaylor could only come to one conclusion. He would have to leave Bantu here while he left the large, empty warehouse to search for the others. Preferabbly Audua; she had some medical knowledge. He stuck his head out of the door to peer down the stone street.

Audua was unsurely looking around the corner about one hundred and fifty feet to Shaylor's left. "Audua!" He tried to hiss, but she was too far away. Instead, he made a gesture, and the small Ingori woman darted up the street and into the warehouse. Shaylor looked behind her, to see if anyone had seen, and then shut the door firmly.

"Audua!" Shaylor exclaimed.

"Shaylor!" Audua exclaimed at the same instant. They looked at each other, and spontaneously entered into a comforting hug. "Have you seen anyone else?" Audua said hopefully. "I have not been so happy to see anyone in my entire life." she added.

"Not a soul, and I feel the same about you." Shaylor said. "Bantu is here, though." Audua's face lit up, then dropped as she saw the Krigoni lying on the stone floor, with Shaylor's cadet jacket rolled up as a pillow underneath his head.

"Oh, Shaylor!" She ran forward, and after a quick inspection, announced. "He is alive, but barely. I need to stabalize him, and quickly." She grimaced as she turned out pockets that were somehow hidden in her complicated white robes. "What I would not give for my medical kit right now. Blasted thing."

Shaloy was curious. "Are you a doctor?" he asked.

"I am, sort of. My parents made me go to medical school for five years on Lengrum, but then I rebelled and started my own trading business home on Ingor. My parents sort of disowned me, for making such a drastic change in a time of no change, but Medecine is so boring." Audua talked while her two-thumbed hands worked rapidly.

After a time, she stopped whatever she was doing. "I believe he was injected with a drug, possibly Teraquil, or a high dose of Karadextrahybromide solute." Shaylor did not ask what those things were, because he probably would not understand the answer. "He needs a general serum, but I left that on StarRunner... we need to give him lots of water until he is concious enough to walk with our support. Well, I'll settle for lucid, at this moment. Shaylor, get water." She ordered, but not unpleasantly.

It took fifteent minutes for Shaylor to find a water pump, in the end of the warehouse, and an unused mug. Muttering about sterile mugs, Audua accepted, and when she had poured it down Bantu's throat at a painfully slow rate, she thrust out her hand for Shaylor to run and get more water.

They were a wonderful team, but Bantu was a long time coming around. He could only speak in a mumble, and thought that what was happening was a dream, but soon Audua and Shaylor were able to support one side each of the tall Krigoni and slowly make their way to StarRunner.


Yenne of Clan Valavan felt worse then useless. First, she had abandoned her friends when that nightmare creature had appeared, then instead of looking for them, she had run back to StarRunner like a worthless coward. Berating herself fiercely in her mind, she did not go out to look for the five-five!-missing people, which made her berate harder.

Suddenly she heard something. Wishing Anto was here-only because he could open the weapon's locker, she told herself- she stuck her head out of the doorway. Shaylor and Audua were walking with Bantu supported between them.

Running out to them, she gasped. "What happened?!" Shaylor looked at her, and told of finding Bantu and partways reviving him. Audua gave her a dirty look when Shaylor was not looking. Stupid cat. Yenne almost looked shocked-she had never indulged in racial slurs before.

As soon as Bantu was injected by Audua with a clear yellow fluid, Shaylor stood up from his chair. "I'm going back out." he announced solemly.

Audua and Yenne both gasped at the same time, then looked at each other, and Yenne triumphantly went first. "Shaylor, you can get killed out there! I saw one of the faceless things rip a woman near in half!"

Audua said much the same, but with a sourer expression. How could Yenne's friend like that woman!? Shaylor said nothing, but went to the weapons locker. Yenne was shocked when he opened it. Anto had shown Shaylor and not Yenne? He holstered an Ion Pulse Rifle, a little awkwardly but with a grim expression. Audua practically simpered over to his side and took him by the arm- of all things!-and they left StarRunner, with a last comment for Yenne made by Audua. She told her to watch Bantu, and then mouthed ‘He's Mine!' at her. Or maybe she was licking her lips absently. Anyways, Yenne was evene angrier when they left.


Anto Klarisen tried to remain calm as he systimantically walked throughout Yenne's village, trying to find Yenne, or David, or anyone. Also, he was trying to avoid those creatures that had nearly captured him when he had fallen behind David, trying to stay ahead of the mob. He hated running, and he was absolutely no good at it. Suddenly, he heard a growling like the sound one of the Komodo Dragon things had made, and ran towards the nearest corner. He never thought what could be aroundthat corner...

He bumped into a stone wall, that turned out to be Shaylor. He was holstering Anto's Ion Pusle rifle, and looking very much like a commando. Audua was standing behind him, with a two-thumbed hand over her mouth, hiding laughter, and David did not bother to hide his smile. Scowling, he brushed himself off and picked himself up, and joined in the small group.

"Are you OK?" David has the tact to ask, and Anto nods. He did not like to follow people much... but Shaylor was in a gungho mood, it appeared, and both Audua and David were docile sheep. They went back to StarRunner, and in the dead of the cold Aravillian night, the left. Shaylor did get through to Mirvenne; they were alright and safe, something the six travellers would never be again.



I'm back in full force! Finally.... I hope you are enjoying this.... can you guess what will happen when our travellers return to the Explorien Central Command? Bwah ha ha ha its not what you might expect! Urgh.... I have to add paragraphs! (shudder.... the dullness!) Go to my index and sign the guestbook goddarnit! Well that's it until I'm motivated again.