• T. Mark Mangum

Mr. Mason and the Carions, Josiphus Wander, Part 3


Josiphus Wander is a Gelk. The Gelk, from the planet Gelk, are of Taosan Descent. About 3,500 years before Harshtain, the 1st of the 14 included worlds, was invited to join The Grand Taosan Galactic Empire, Taosa colonized Gelk. On a day almost 100,000 years ago, five colonies of 50,000 Taosan explorers, each was established on Gelk. The colonists arrived on Gelk with five million tons of supplies and equipment per colony. Computers, food, motorized vehicles, tools handheld and powered, but of most importance, they arrived on Gelk with all the knowledge that The Grand Taosan Galactic Empire possessed. That is how they were left and left they were. This colonization was a multi-millennial experiment. How long would it take these five colonies to grow, advance, merge, and develop a world government, sophistication of society, technology, and purpose, that would allow them to build spacecraft, contact, and visit their ancestral home? The answer is 23,485 years. But the specifics of that adventure are for another day contained in an 84 volume set of history books called, The Taosan’s of Gelk. There is no proper way to say someone is from Gelk without talking a little bit about the Taosan colonization of Gelk.

I met Josiphus eight years ago when he hired me to teach him everything I knew about owning and operating an Adventure Travel Guide. The Empire required new guides to have two years of Mentorship with an established guide before obtaining their license. So when Briesta Provins told me that day on the Brie, that Josiphus had tried to kill me, well, shocked is an understatement.

Just Five Years ago, Josiphus and I were adventuring together as we set up his operation on Bracus-5.

“Josiphus,” I yelled! In a single motion, I rolled into a fall, grabbed a sword lying on the ground, gained my feet, threw the sword to Josiphus, spun, and blocked the attack of the ruffian who hounded me.

Josiphus, who had been fighting an armed opponent and doing well, I should add, caught the sword, spun, and parried the attack of his oppressor. Shortly after that, Josiphus would dispatch the man with the skill and patience of a true master fighter.

My foe and I continued our dance. I allowed him to gain the advantage to boost his ego. Then the right opportunity presented itself. Believing I had lost my footing, he attempted a thrust which I blocked, then spun coming out of the turn on his right side and slightly to his rear. Instead of flowing with the forward momentum of the overextended thrust, he awkwardly swung back at me while trying to turn his forward momentum to face me. My arching blow landed midway between shoulder and elbow biting to the bone. He dropped his sword and fell, contorting his body around the gaping wound.

“Mercy, Mercy,” he screamed, pushing his body away from me with his feet. The protocols were clear; Taosan law prohibited me from dispatching the unarmed assailant. I should as best I could render medical aid.

“I raised my sword above my head and stepped toward the man; soaked in his blood, he was pale and barely moving.

“Timothy,” Josiphus said loudly and firmly!

I stopped, lowered my sword, and smiled. I was waiting for Josiphus to stop me. As the benefactor of Bracus-5 and my apprentice, I was testing his knowledge and resolve. I was happy.

A month later, on the ship, we reminisced.

“Bracus-5 is a fine world, Josiphus. It should afford you and your clients many years of adventures, travel, study, and knowledge.”

“Yes, it is, thank you, Timothy. I would not be here if it weren’t for you. I owe you.”

“Yes, you do,” We laughed and sipped our brandy.

Today I was going to see Josiphus at the detention facility to talk with him about the situation. I sat with my drink in hand to review the court proceedings that I missed while being attacked by the Carions with Briesta. I brought up the recording and passed it to the primary monitor.

“What is next, Ms. Frein,” The Prime asked?

“Next, your honor, we have Case Number 24–16–12.31, Mr. Josiphus Wander, assault with intent to kill,” Ms. Frein, the DSCS-5 Court Clerk, said.

“Is Mr. Wander present,” The Prime asked?

“Yes, your honor,” Ms. Frein answered.

“Does Mr. Wander have counsel,” the Prime asked?

“Yes your honor,” Ms. Frein responded again. The typical courtroom dance between the artisans played out.

“Is the reported victim present,” the Prime asked?

“No your honor, but the reported victim’s statement is in the file for the prosecution,” Ms. Frein responded.

“Ah Hem,” the Prime cleared his throat! He stood and looked side to side taking in the courtroom. “Call the case to the record,” The Prime bellowed! Then he sat.

Ms. Frein handed the file to Officer Talbert. Officer Talbert grasped the file in one of four long muscular tentacles the Rel used as arms, the sizable circular suction cups that adorned the underside of the appendage folded around the folder, keeping it closed and the contents inside. He moved the folder to the podium in front of him and sat it down. Flexing his other tentacles that he was resting on, his body rose as if to stand. He opened the folder, the suction cups doing the work of fingers in an unbelievably agile way considering the tentacle’s size. The Rel of Frelbin are magnificently agile with their tentacles and suction cups.

Officer Talbert, the Rel. A large Hexapod that uses its two back tentacles as legs, the other four as arms, began reading the case file into the record. His large body containing his ocular, auditory, and oral organs flexed and quivered as he spoke.

“Mr. Wander did strike Mr. Mason with a steel baton, eighteen inches long and three-quarters inches thick. According to the medical officer, the single strike left the victim comatose with an open wound, bleeding, his skull fractured and swelling in his brain. The medical officer states that without immediate trauma care, death would have occurred,” The Hexapod finished reading the file, closed the file, and leaned back into the coils of its five other tentacles.

“Ah Hem!” The Prime again as custom demands rose. “Defendant! What say ye,” The Prime bellowed! He sat.

“A professionally dressed Taosan seated next to Josiphus stood and spoke. “Honorable Prime, the defendant pleads Not Guilty. While he did attack Mr. Timothy Mason, and while the intent of the attack was to Kill Mr. Mason, Mr. Wander was not of sound mind or judgment. Mr. Josiphus Wander is being extorted and was under duress at the time of the attack. This duress, we present as extenuating circumstances and beg the mercy of the court and the victim,” Counsel Repix said.

Repix continued, “Mr. Wander and Mr. Mason have a past professional and familial relationship. Once Mr. Wander realized what he had done, he overcame his lapse of reason and judgment. Concern and remorse consumed him, he did not flee, and he does not now attempt a facade of justification for his actions. He surrendered himself to the authorities and has since been greatly relieved by the news of Mr. Mason’s recovery.

“Ah Hem! The Grand Taosan Galactic Empire shall hear these extenuating circumstances. Additionally, the Empire shall hear the conditions of extortion and duress,” Bellowed the Prime! Standing and then sitting.

“Honorable Prime, Mr. Josiphus Wander is the Benefactor of Bracus-5 as an Adventure, Travel Guide. Two months ago, on or around the Galactic Date 10M.15K.551.T385764, a group of citizens, calling themselves the Carions, conducted five, as evidence shows, illegal raids upon Bracus-5. They pilfered precious objects belonging to sentient native beings, harvested wild animals, and most egregious of all kidnapped the sentient native being, known as Princess Chelise Storm, of the Kingdom of Dal. Princess Chelise has yet to be recovered. Her location and her condition are unknown, though the evidence shows that she is alive,” Repix paused, ensuring to give the Prime opportunity to interrupt if he desired. Seeing no indication the Prime was moved to question, he continued. “A representative of the Carions, A Gleb, his identity is unknown. Contacted Mr. Wander in his communication, it was made clear that the Princess would become an exhibit piece of a collector unless Mr. Wander agreed to kill Mr. Mason, the evidence will show this to be so,” Counselor Repix said.

“Ah-hem! Counsel will provide the Empire with the evidence of extortion,” the Prime bellowed! Rising before speaking, then sitting as was customary.

“Honorable Prime, please observe the monitor. The recording is from Wander Adventure and travel associates’ logs from Galactic Date 10M.15K.551.T385800,” Repix said. Then sat as the video played. On the screen, A Gleb presented the princess Chelise to Josiphus and his group of adventurers, made the threat upon her life, and then presented the necessary task to gain her freedom. The Gleb and his cohorts were armed with the advanced technology of the Taosan Empire and had a ship in orbit that transported them and their hostage away once they delivered their ultimatum. The recording ended. Counsel Repix remained seated and quiet.

“Ah Hem! Does The Grand Taosan Galactic Empire, have any knowledge of the group, presented as the Carions, outside the events and proceedings of this court?” The Prime bellowed and enunciated the question.

A Lothian from Ashtroth, the 13th included world, stood from his desk behind Ms. Frein and spoke. “Honorable Prime, according to the Central Data System, there are thirty-two reported incidents and complaints against a group called the Carion. The first some seventy-eight years ago, the most recent just two weeks ago. Of note, your Honor, if I may? He paused, looking to the Prime, who nodded. “The most recent incident reported by Ms. Briesta Provins indicates that the victim of the case before us, Mr. Timothy Mason, was present upon her ship named in the complaint. Mr. Mason himself filed a complaint against a Gleb identified as Galtis Riel of the Carion, and information scans in a separate complaint a day before Ms. Provins’ complaint,” The Lothian said.

“Ah Hem! Does The Grand Taosan Galactic Empire wish to present evidence to the Prime!”

“Honorable Prime, we are satisfied with the presentation of evidence by the defense and trust that the Honorable Prime will provide judgment devoid of flaw and bias,” The Prosecutor Counsel said.

“Ah Hem!” The Prime rose and pressed a button. A blaring of trumpets sounded, ending in a deep, ominous tone that vibrated the monitor. “Be it known to the inhabitants of the 14 included worlds and to all those who dwell within The Grand Taosan Galactic Empire! Concerning the charges against Mr. Josiphus Wander of Assault with intent to kill, this court finds him guilty! However, The Grand and Merciful Empire recognizes the plea of extenuating circumstances and thus commutes the sentence of death. Proclamation of supplementary sentencing shall be postponed until receipt of the victim’s statement of desire,” The Prime proclaimed! Once again, pressing the button and initiating the music of proclamation.

Stunned, I sat with my empty glass in hand. The events with Briesta and now Josiphus have a common element. The Carions.

“Why in the world would these Carions want me dead,” I said out loud to myself in my empty ship.

“Computer,” I asked?

“Yes sir,” the ship’s system responded.

“Contact Joe the dockmaster please.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Mr. Mason, what a surprise, what can I do for you,” Joe asked?

“I need some information if you don’t mind. I’m curious if Mr. Josiphus Wander has a ship docked here at the station? If I remember correctly it would be a Pracis, Model 3d5,” I said.

“Well, Mr. Mason, Sir, that, that, is confidential information,” Joe said.

“Joe, the man tried to kill me, I’m going to see him shortly, If I know this information, I can use it to help me judge his truthfulness,” I said.

“Docking station C-3,” Joe said.

“The connection has been terminated by the receiver,” the computer informed me.

“Computer,” I asked?

“Yes, sir.”

“Send the following message to Briesta Provins and Hombre at Mason Adventure and Travel Services. You folks are not going to believe this. Watch the attached video and stand by. Computer, attach a link to the Josiphus Wander Court file and send,” I directed.

“Yes sir.” A few moments passed, “Message sent.”

I then entered the CDS and found my complaint from the attack, Briesta’s subsequent complaint, and the court recording, I placed them in a data package along with a new complaint and sent it to the office of the Regional Prime on Gelk.

I found the form to submit my statement of desire. Please consider an immediate release with a sentence of location monitoring and meetings with counselors. Thank you. I submitted the request and left for the detention center.


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.

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