Mr. Mason and the Carions
I awoke to a pounding headache. My vision was blurry, I was thirsty, and a bit sick to my stomach. Apparently, I had fallen asleep on my side with my arm raised above my head so I was smelling my own unique body odor.
As my vision cleared, I rolled onto my back and stared up at the ceiling. I realized I was not looking at my ceiling. I tried, through the pounding, to recall where I was and how I had gotten here. It was no use, I did not remember, and the harder I tried the more intense the headache became.
What I realized not through a clearing head, but through the sense of movement, was that I was on a moving ship! This realization was very concerning to me because it wasn't my ship. That meant I was moving further and further away from home, property, and safety.
I rolled over and got out of the bed. My head was still throbbing with pain as I stood. My adrenaline kicked in and I began to feel better, just in time to realize I was naked. Now for most folks, nudity, a splitting headache, and the realization that they had been kidnapped, would cause them to sit on the bed and cry. I decided that this meant, whoever shanghaied me, wanted me to walk around naked. I walked to the compartment door pushed the exit button and entered the hallway. I turned left because it felt as though the ship was heading that direction. You have to have many years under your belt to be able to feel the direction of movement in a vessel equipped with inertia dampeners. I do.
I walked down the corridor and with every step my mind cleared and soon I was remembering leaving Lavander and Lucy’s club on Deep Space Colony System-5 with Ms. Briesta Provins. But, after that, all memory was gone, until I woke up here on this ship.
I came to another corridor and turned right. When I got to the Pilots Station the door was closed, so I pressed the button. Since it was locked, an alert sounded. So I pounded on the door.
When the door opened, Briesta had gotten up from the pilot's station and was walking toward me. Tellis sat in the Co-pilot’s chair. “Tellis,” I said, flipping him the bird. Tellis was Briesta’s Co-pilot and all-around idiot boot licker.
“Darling, you seemed to have lost your clothing. My My, let us take care of that,” She said. She gently brushed by me in the entranceway, continuing to strut down the hall.
I gave Tellis a final glare and full frontal then turned to follow Briesta. “What the hell is going on here Briesta, where are we going?”
“Well, dear, at the moment, despite the temptation, we are headed to the maintenance section to retrieve your clean clothing,” She said continuing to saunter down the corridor.
I caught up to her and grabbed her arm turning her to face me. “I mean, why have we left DSCS-5? My ship is there and why don’t I remember anything after leaving the club yesterday? Why am I naked!?” My head had started to hurt again.
Facing me now she shuffled in a bit closer, I could feel the fabric of the black flight suit she wore against my skin. “Well darling, that is different from where are we going, now isn't it,” She smiled? She bent the arm I had hold of and lightly brushed my exposed parts as she turned and walked down the corridor.
It took me a minute to regain my senses. For it had only taken a second for me to lose myself in the light blue pools of her eyes. I turned and followed her, shaking off the ache that insisted on coming back to my head.
“So darling,” she began while still walking in front of me. “If you recall we had just finished a drink and decided to enjoy each other's company in the privacy of my ship. As we left Lavender and Lucy’s, Josiphus Wander, stepped from the bar and clobbered you With his baton. You were out cold laying there bleeding from the head, it got all over your things.” Briesta spun the yarn.
Reaching up I rubbed my head. “Wait, I didn’t see Josiphus? Why would he hit me?”
“Well of course you didn’t see him, darling. I’m sure you wouldn’t have let him hit you, had you seen him. Anyway,” she said as we entered the maintenance section. In front of the laundry unit, she bent over opening it to retrieve my clothing. “After stunning him into next week with my Stun gun, the medical station was called, they treated you, and I had them bring you here,” she turned and handed me my stuff. She paused again to stare into my eyes. “Isn’t it marvelous how well we can put things back in order? Not even a scratch left on that handsome head of yours? However, you being knocked unconscious is most likely the reason you don’t remember anything.”
“Wait, why have we left DSCS-5? Why would Josiphus hit me? Dang, I’m so confused, and my head still aches.”
“well my dear get dressed, come to the Pilot’s Station and we can start to figure this out. Stop by the dispensers on your way and grab some food and water, and some pain reliever. That should help you feel better,” Then she walked away.
Needing to clear my mind, I followed her advice going back to the room, taking a shower, and dressing. I found in the room once I looked, the weapons I carry with me whenever I travel away through Dark Space. I put them on and headed to the Pilots Station. Tellis wasn’t there so I took the Copilot’s seat.
“Darling, how well you clean up. Are you feeling better,” Briesta asked?
I sat and turned to her. “Enough of the darlings and the subtle seductions. Where the hell are we going? I don’t like being taken away from the security of my very valuable property.”
“Now Timothy, you make me sad. It sounds as if you think I’m up to no good. I told you what happened. I have some business on Jeseper-9, it will be quick. I didn’t want to leave you alone on your ship in your condition,” she said.
I poked a few buttons on the control panel in front of me, I entered the Grand Taosan Galactic Empire’s, Central Data System. Everything that happens to you at the hands of an official system, like getting medical care at DSCS-5 is recorded there. The System is also available along any semi-regularly traveled Dark Space Route. The route between DSCS-5 and Jeseper-9 was one such route. After putting in my encryption code, I searched the system and found what I was looking for. The record was there, Mr. Timothy Mason, Taosan, of Taosan Descent, Resident of Fleen, in the Taosan System Orb, Licensed and Sanctioned, Adventure Travel Guide, received emergency care for an extreme head wound brought on by blunt force Trauma. “Hmmmmmm,” I said.
“Darling, you really don’t believe me. I’m not so sure I like you anymore,” Briesta said. A frown forming on her face.
I started to feel guilty. But I had only known Briesta for a year and only in passing as she made her way to some far off location and I made my way to a different far off location. I punched a few more buttons doing another search of the CDS, Sure enough there it was. Mr. Josiphus Wander, Taosan, of Gelkian Descent, Resident of Celpes. Being held in the DSCS-5, detention center for Assault. The victim; Mr. Timothy Mason. Scheduled to appear before the DSCS-5, Prime in 12 hours.
“Ok, beautiful, I’m sorry and thank you. You know the galaxy is a harsh place. You can’t really blame for wanting to be sure especially since my memory of the event is nonexistent,” I said looking at Briesta. “So what is this business you have on Jeseper-9? Do you think we can make it back to DSCS-5 so I can sit in on the Prime’s review of the Assault,” I asked?
“Well, I think you will be very interested in this Tim. I have obtained from the Sieks of Broslin a recently deceased Quill from Obspar-3. The Grand Taosan Galactic Empire Museum, on Gelk has accepted it as a donation from me and will clean, assemble, and display it.”
“A Qill! Very interesting and cool. When will you be taking it to Gelk,” I asked? I leaned back in the Co Pilot’s chair, still wondering why Josiphus had attacked me.
“After I return you to DSCS-5 my dear but I don’t think we will make it back in time for the Prime review. You can submit a statement over the CDS, I have already given them my statement,” She said smiling at me.
We obtained the Quill specimen and were on our way back to DSCS-5 when a jolt, a rumble, and a murmur rocked the ship and alarms started sounding.
“What the stars,” Briesta shouted turning to her console?
I did the same pushing buttons attempting to ascertain what was happening.
“Tellis, report,” Briesta ordered.
“Ma’am, a Gransdorin Battle Cruiser has entered our wake and has enveloped us with a dampener field. I had to reduce power so the system didn’t trigger an emergency engine shut off,” Tellis spoke with an anxious voice.
I punched some buttons as Briesta punched some buttons and soon the vibrations halted. I threw the video feed of the attacking ship to the main screen, it was huge.
“Attention, attacking vessel, who are you, and what do you want? Release us immediately,” She demanded.
“This is Galtis Riel of the Carions. Power down and surrender your cargo, do so now and you and your ship will not be harmed,”
“Carions, really,” I asked!? I thought that they were just a myth. Now I knew better.
Tellis came over the communication system. “Ma’am it looks like if we don’t shut down there will be a power system’s overload, I’m not sure exactly how they are doing it, but it is happening.”
“Krillvarest,” Briesta cursed in her native tongue. “Powering down, you Flarex! What cargo do you suppose we have,” she asked?
I punched some buttons on the console scanning the attacking vessel. “I’m sending the scans and a complaint to the Grand Taosan Galactic Empires’, Quadrant Prime. It will allow us to, track them later,” I said as I punched the panel.
“Now place the specimen you received from the Sieks on your transporter platform and we will phase it to our ship. Do this, and all will be good, you can go on your way,” the voice identifying itself as Galtis Riel said.
“What specimen,” Briesta attempted a bluff.
“Ms. Provins, do you think me a fool? I do not make mistakes, I know what you have and when you got it. If you like I can come over there and meet you in person. However, you won’t like the encounter I promise, ” Galtis threatened.
Then, suddenly, the Corion shipped moved away, opened a Dark Space Window, and was gone.
“What the hell?,” Briesta asked? “Tellis, report.”
“I’m not sure, wait, sensors show that the transporter station was activated about two minutes ago,” I said waiting for Tellis to report.
Nothing happened. “no?” she said. She got up and walked out of the Pilot’s station. I followed. Before long we were running toward the cargo bay.
“Ship, where is Tellis,” She asked out loud?
“The Co-Pilot has left the ship using the transporter the destination was the Gransdorin Battle Cruiser that was recently at close quarters with us,” The ship system responded to her request.
Reaching the Cargo bay, Briesta opened the compartment where we had stored the Quill specimen. It was empty. “Tellis, I can’t believe it,” She said. “He has been with me for 8 years.”
*********************************** TO BE CONTINUED ********************************
Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.
T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.