Ga ha ha ha!

How could I be so cruel to David? I bet that hurt, that fall. Anyways, I bet yuo're all dying to see the 'heartwarming' (a reader's words, not mine) conclusion... but HA! I'm gonna leave you haning after a little time with Shaylor. I spent the rest of these two chapters with Rhendra (the response to her has bene overwhelming) and Dantu (an equally overwhelming response, but thios time it was sorta expected 'cause he's the main bad guy for the time being) Anywho, read on!Ohmahgawd, a line!

Chapter 38

Bantu Basha and Shaylor McConnor sat in Bantu's quarters, recently redecorated to suit Bantu's tastes, wich seemed to run heavily towards sterile silvers and black metals. Bantu was at his computer, and Shaylor was there only as courtesy, he was sure. Bantu had little to do on the journey home, being the Computers expert, but now he was in full ‘helpful' mode. Bantu Basha was a very emotional being, but he hid it well around people who offended, or people he did not trust, and sometimes he hid it just to keep in practice, Shaylor was sure. A Communications Explorien was needed for authorization to make a search, but once he had entered the codes, it was all he could do to sit back and wait. He had little understanding of computers, just enough to use them, and not understand how they worked.

Bantu was sitting at the computer right now, patching into the main network, and Shaylor took the time to survey the room that was given to his older Krigoni friend.

The air was very damp, like on Krigon, the wettest planet known, and slightly warm, to Shaylor's skin, but then again he had been raised on Aravil. It was the same size as Shaylor's rooms, down about ten levels, but Bantu's had no window with a view, much less a balcony like Yenne. He did have several other extra features to make up for it, like a small fountain, not two feet high, on the western wall. Shaylor frowned at that- it seemed Bantu was getting the favored features -but then again it was very possible that Bantu had had that put in himself, in order to help create the atmosphere so reminiscent of Krigon.

"Shaylor." Bantu said, interrupting Shaylor's inspection of the rooms. "Shaylor, look at this." No matter that he trusted Shaylor; Bantu's voice was still chilly, a late fall instead of dead winter tone. Shaylor turned his attentions to the computer screen, glowing in the dim light that the Krigoni seemed to prefer.

A small red dot blinked almost fitfully on the screen, the entire cutaway view of the Central Command. Bantu zoomed in, to the underground sectors, then zoomed in. "He's right next to the Central Drop, down in Sub-Level 13." Shaylor said incredulously. "Can we get a view of him with the cameras?" He asked hopefully.

Bantu pressed a few buttons rapidly, then shook his head. "No, he is in an area not covered by security cameras." Shaylor and Bantu looked at one another, and suddenly a bird called outside, a nightcaller, as the Velexian name translated, a bird who was nocturnal, and hearing him call was supposed to mean bad news, especially in early morning, which was what it now was. Shaylor was not very superstitious, but it was sufficient to fan his sparks of worry into flames.

"Lets' go." He said urgently. "He might be in trouble. Get Yenne and meet me on the Ground floor. We're going underground."


Rhendra scowled at the rough-hewn wood table, then sneered at the others who sat uncomfortably around it. She was very good at sneering. This was a meeting of the small coterie of assassins and other sho'gan vin members that she had group to her, useless pawns all. She was intelligent enough to know there was space for only one leader in a group; another ambitious person like her would defeat her entire purpose.

Rising sinuously, like a viper from its den, she stood, and surveyed her small group. This was her army, her army in her quest to topple Dantu and take his place on the Dark Council of the sho'gan vin. Every member of the sho'gan vin had been promised immortality, and power, but Rhendra knew the closer to the top one was, the more quickly one would receive these. Also, if everyone had dreams of ruling a planet for themselves, then there would only a small group who would have power over others. Rhendra was astute enough to realize this, realize that staying on as a mere assassin would gain her little, while her witless colleagues toiled with the vain hopes of ruling one day. She pursed her pouting lips in an impetuous manner- another thing she was good at - and reflected on how useful this belief was, how so little would be accomplished without it, but in her weaker moments of exasperation she was still tempted to hurl the lies fed to them into her colleagues collective face, and watch, smirking, as their dreams and hopes crashed in on them. But in order for her to succeed, she would not, could not, have them desert her. One such as Dantu would have been pained by such an admission, but she knew that using people when nessecary was not something to feel shame about.

Shaking her head, short curls of jet black hair bouncing, she turned to face the others. What a time to be lost in thoughts, letting events outpace her. Turning to face the six - just six! - others at the table, she sneer once more, then spoke in a loud voice. By now, the others knew enough not to interrupt her as she spoke, and she allowed herself a small smile, also impetuous. "What do we know?" She demanded of the closest one to her, a male Terran with light brown hair and a cruel set to his face. He had the look of a brawler, and also the look of one less then intelligent.

"Um... we know little, Mistress. Our Masters tell us little." Rhendra wanted to punch him. Of course, the people she had gone after as informants and spies were the ones who worked for the 13 members of the Dark Council. Like Dantu, every member had three personal assassins, but Dantu suspected Rhendra too much for her to go questioning him. That suspect was not important, for the time being, as Dantu saw her as intelligent, which was true, ambitious, which was also correct, but foolish, which was a fatal miscalculation on his part. "Um... Dantu's Future Plan is much of a mystery." He finished.

That of course was the purpose of the meetings here, to uncover the meaning and purpose of Dantu's Future Plan, the plan that would lead them to the promised power and glory, the plan of how to make future events fall out the way the shoganarlan vi wanted them to. Rhendra scowled; the fact that she and never even met the Leader of the sho'gan vin rankled her. It was known he worked with Kobol, whose main task was the Freedom Device, the machine that would free the Dark Being, who gave the shoganarlan vi his powers. Indeed, Rhendra suspected that the leader was perhaps a dead body reanimated by the Dark Being while he was imprisoned in an alternate reality. Not truly imprisoned; that reality was his natural domain, and he would never have been aware of this one except for an accident during a trans-space experiment near Aravil that had opened a pinhole between the two. Kobol's machine would rip that open, while Dantu's plan would ensure that the Universe as it would be suited the Dark Being. Dantu also received numerous reports form Aravillian Prophets. The actual plan, however, was a black shape. Something about 2 dangerous male Exploriens, and their four friends, but who, or what, they were, and what danger they posed was beyond Rhendra. She would not stand idly by while others receive the reward of immortality, though. She would not stand idly by.

Sighing mentally, she reviewed in her head what she knew, how her scheme's were progressing. Sarenne and Drumond were working together, for what she did not know, but it was probably to take down Dantu, just what she was trying. An alliance with those more powerful then you was risky, but perhaps their plots could be used to advance Rhendra's own. Kresov and Kobol had an ongoing rivalry; by extension Kresov hated Dantu. Perhaps that could also be used, as well. Rhendra snapped one word, "Dismiss!" then put her Cloak of Shadows into invisibility mode- a Cloak of Shadows was a technology unique to the sho'gan vin and it allowed one to be invisible, by a matter of bending light. Sho'gan vin science had moved by leaps and bounds over the twenty years since the beginning, while the science of the forces of ‘good' remained largely stagnant. Ignoring the blurring that resulted from the slight bending of light around her serpentine body, Rhendra stalked out into the hallways. She had work to do.

Chapter 39

Dantu Dabei sat comfortably in his new apartments deep in the bowels of Planet Arctica. Three weeks he had been gone from Space Station Sagittarius now, and he had never felt o free, so safe, only because he no longer had to explain ever unexplainable death that had been nessecary in his other works. He still wore his Centurion's uniform- being promoted and raised more quickly then anyone in recent memory gave him too much pride just to throw it away because he would never be a part of the Explorien's again. At least not until after the Day of Freedom, when the Dark Being would enter their reality and place Dantu- and the rest of the sho'gan vin, of course; well maybe the higher ranking ones -above everyone else, give them the gift of immortality, everything. Dantu felt a pang of impatience. This was the reason that his Vorgon colleague Kobol was not very popular on Planet Arctica now. His Freedom Device, the machine that everyone was waiting on, experienced only delays, while the other Head of Research and Development, Kresov, an Ingori, made only advances, well ahead of schedule. Kresov only worked on weapons and torture devices, but his Weapons X and Weapons Y- and also the upcoming Weapon Z -were more powerful by far then the weapons possessed by those they would soon be fighting. But no matter how slowly the Vorgon's research moved, no matter how impatient Dantu was, he was glad of the delays. It gave him time to fully flesh out the Future plan. That very Plan had been in existence well before Dantu had even know of the sho'gan vin; indeed, Dantu had still been a child when it was conceived; but the woman in charge of it three years ago had made the mistake of ordering David Morrison and Anto Klarisen throw into deep space, when their elimination was crucial. Dantu know received many reports form Aravillian Prophets who mistakenly believed that their reports went to the Exploriens, and he picked up the pad he kept well guarded, the computer pad whose contents never changed.

And from the Blackness come two lights The Hope of the Good rest on the beacon The Hope of the Pure rest on the glimmer The Future rests on a blade This verse was printed neatly, but secured by as many passwords and precautions that Dantu could conceive of. Accompanying it was a sketch of the two ‘lights', as the old woman put it. A black haired Terran with an irreverent air, and a short, stockily muscular olive green Velexian with a staid, determined look on his face. Dantu recognized them as easily as he recognized his own face in the mirror. They were the dangerous ones, the ones who could ruin everything. By all means it appeared they themselves did not know this, but before the Freedom Device was ready they had to be eliminated.

Dantu stood, eyeing the flask of the Terran substance alcohol that lay on his table. He badly wanted a drink. Events were spinning out of control, and that was always a danger, one that Dantu did not want to face. Instead of picking up the container of vile tasting fluid, though, he raised his right arm, the one that still had his P.S.E unit clipped on. Dialing the device to communications, he dialed up Havien, Sabrak, and Rhendra, his personal assassins. "Meet me in my apartments in ten minutes." He said simply. They could be here in five, but he needed time to prepare for Rhendra. Cursing the day he had chosen her as a personal assassin, he hid everything of importance and set out the frivolous useless objects he used to make people think he was preoccupied with such matters as family, and such. A useful diversion, misleading people, and if this deceit did not have an apparent purpose, it was good to practice fooling people. Rhendra was not gullible.

He counted out five minutes. At the exact 300 second mark, he barked out "Rhendra! Appear!" He knew that Myren snake was here. She had probably run to be here as soon as possible, so as to spy unseen on her Master. A sigh came from nowhere, then the air coalesced into a female form, and Rhendra stepped seductively out of nothing. The natural set of her mouth was a pout, but she was also well dispositioned to sneers and grimaces as well. Dantu had tried to discipline her for this the first time it had happened, but he knew now, bitterly, that discipline would not work with a person such as Rhendra. He just motioned her to stand while he took the only seta in the room, and apparently lounged waiting for his other two assassins.

Sabrak appeared form the air almost reluctantly- he had heard Rektullians had a myth about a great warrior who could make himself invisible, and assassinations by Sabrak were always done under cover of the Cloak of Shadows. Havien was only about twenty seconds behind him, and he clunked out into vision in a workmanlike manner, neither trying to appear seductive, nor showing any reluctance to leave the security of invisibility. Neither of his two male assassins were very intelligent, but Havien was nominally smarter then Sabrak.

Dantu did not waste time with pleasantries or any other sort of greeting others used for those beneath them. "You are to double efforts to have those two killed. No, triple them!" He did not care if frayed nerves showed. The fate of his predecessor would also be his fate if he failed in this. "Sabrak, the latest reports link those two and the four traveling with them to Myri. You are to travel there. Expect orders from me when you arrive." Sabrak, stupid as always, did not feel the need to ask how those messages were to reach him, nor where on Myri he should go. He just saluted, then slowly melded with the background. The door opened and closed as if on a breeze, and Sabrak was gone. "Rhendra, I want you to go to Velex, and try to intercept these people before they leave." Rhendra's mouth actually gaped, but it was an indolent gape.

"I am a wanted criminal, you are aware. Sending me to Velex practically assures my arrest. Send me to Myri. It is my home; I will do a better job then that great lunk Sabrak." Her voice was not it's petulant self, actually shaking when she spoke of arrest. There was little mercy for murders among the Explorien Planets.

"Obey my orders, Rhendra." Dantu wanted very much to smirk at the Myren snake as she sulkily stepped back into an invisible state and left, slamming the door on the way out. He did crack a grin once she left, but quickly masked it. He trusted Havien more then his other two spies, but not enough to justify a display of emotion, according to na'vo. Not that his current work left much room for honor, but he tried to fight for the scraps. Havien look a question at him. "You are to stay here, with me. I will have things to occupy you, do not worry. Now, go see to those arraignments I mentioned earlier." Havien was as loyal as Sabrak, but he possessed a little more intelligence, making him the assassin of choice for personal bodyguard. Not that that phrase had ever been mentioned. Once Havien had left, he went to the table, and downed the remaining contents of the flask. He was dancing on a razor blade, but the rewards would justify the present dangers. He would not end up like his predecessor, though. Not ever.