MERCY [NOVA AFTERMATH],
CHAPTER 4: KORTA MORTEK
Ghethe was not worried about any investigation in his life because he had an excellent cover,
and he had taken great care to hide his tracks. The persistence of the authorities, however, was exceptional.
When he had met with the Sector Commissar he reasoned that the intention of the Batlan Administration was only
to harass the Zelhane Ladies, as a trivial revenge gesture against the Empire. The comnode messages, however,
showed that there was a lot more than that.
Particularly interesting was the fact that someone having executive powers was coming from
outside the Batlan Federation. According to what Ghethe and everybody else knew, Batlan Federation intended to
replace imperial ruling. Surprisingly, the messages from the Sector Commissar revealed that there was a stronger
pole of political power, hidden somewhere in the Imperial Worlds! That information was extremely important,
therefore Ghethe decided to find out of what was all about, and to even meet, if possible, with that terrible
That night he went on studying the best options for refueling and for rest on route to Dubar.
He consulted with Naiollah’s database which he was able to access from his apartment using an encrypted secure
comnode channel. Ghethe discovered many interesting options, some more tempting than others, though he decided
that their first stop would be Weyla, because he longed for years to visit that particular System.
His intention was to benefit as much as possible from the treasure-finding expedition to become
good friends with Zelhane sisters. Ahlane, in particular, was such a beautiful and well educated Lady that, by
being friend with her and by protecting the two Ladies, he felt that he was a lot better person. He was blessing
his luck for the opportunity of being in such proximity to the two Ladies during the following one hundred
twenty i-std. days, and he promised to himself to behave exemplary!
Ghethe asked Naiollah to present all the data she had regarding the Imperial Family. He already
knew something about Ladies’ unique physiology, but it was always wise to study more.
He found out the Zelhane sisters had a dark-blue blood, due to the presence of a specific
copper isotope in their blood protein used to transfer the oxygen, only that characteristic was nothing out of
the ordinary. The interesting aspect was the fact that all the feminine descendants of the Zelhane Family kept
their entire ancestral genetic code and, occasionally, with insignificant additions coming from the father side.
Therefore, all Zelhane Ladies looked and they were physically the same, possibly, like the first Zelhane Lady
who was born millennia before!
Although there were a few other Ladies in the Imperial Worlds resembling physical appearance of
the Zelhane Ladies, what was remarkable was the Zelhane unique physiology. The Zelhane Ladies represented a
mystery, a genetic aberrance within all Imperial Worlds, since they had a fantastic compatibility to
procreate—presumably—with any race known!
The masculine descendants always kept father’s genetic characteristics, while the feminine
descendants looked and were alike, appearing to be the perfect copies of the unknown, original model. Psychical
qualities were, of course, different for each Zelhane Lady, because they were based on particular life
experiences. In addition, Zelhane Ladies’ antibody protection was unusually robust. They reached physiological
maturity around the age of thirty, and their life span was one hundred forty i-std. years—compared to the Lioth
System average of one hundred twenty.
Only the Ladies of the Zelhane Family inherited the Imperial Succession Rights. Excluding the
Accident, if Emperor Kytel had no daughter descendant, then Ahlane and her husband became automatically the next
Empress and Emperor. The official ruling power, however, was always represented by the Gentlemen additions to
the House Zelhane, after they changed to the Zelhane family name.
Ghethe continued studying the Imperial Family history, and later he went to bed. He dreamt all
night that he was walking along the shore of an unknown sea holding hands with Ahlane . . . They talked a lot
about something extremely important, though he was terribly confused . . .
Early in the morning Ghethe looked for information regarding a meeting with
Professor Hordbel Costart at the University of Korwatan, Social Psychology Department. He found out from a
public relations aide that Professor Costart could be contacted each morning at the University during the next
eighteen local days. Ghethe asked for an appointment, and he got it for the following day.
He embarked on restoring Naiollah’s supplies. From time to time he met at the ship with Zelhane
Ladies, as they had their own agenda. Ghethe did not tell them about the police surveillance status; instead, he
tried to locate the agents assigned to them. They were two young Ladies in a parked transport vehicle having a
casual discussion. He managed to approach them, pretending he was looking for directions, then he implanted the
agents with a strong desire to protect and help the Zelhane Ladies.
His next target was to contact the agents assigned to him. They were two nice Gentlemen, and
Ghethe succeeded on becoming such good friends with them, that they started working for him with great
enthusiasm, totally disregarding their fairly poor physical condition.
At noon they enjoyed lunch together. The agents proved to be quite hungry, as a direct result
of the intense physical activity, though very happy and openly proud of their glorious achievements! With the
additional help he got, Ghethe managed to finish in that day most of the work needed.
The same thing happened to Zelhane sisters. They became friends with the two agent Ladies who
literally begged to help on cleaning. Next, the agent Ladies set about washing and scrubbing with such zeal and
determination, as if their entire life depended on that!
Ghethe had been very cautious with his mental suggestions to ensure that, if asked later, none
of their new friends would remember anything, and particularly nothing about their visits to the ship. In the
evening he took from Naiollah two small devices, round in shape with one self-adherent side, then he went to the
apartment one hundred thirty-one where Zelhane Ladies lived. They were out. Consequently, he worked on mounting
one device on the inside of his own entrance gate.
Zelhane Ladies arrived later in the evening. Ghethe inquired about their works on Naiollah, and
they told him, very pleased, about the new friends they made. He asked for permission to mount the device he had
brought on the inside of their entrance gate, then he instructed them on how to arm and disarm it by remote
whenever they left the apartment. The Ladies took it as a security system, therefore they did not ask too many
Next morning Ghethe woke up relatively early for him, and he went outside to locate
the new sets of agents. He was pleased to discover the same agent Ladies assigned to Zelhane sisters, waiting
impatiently for them to come out.
The ones in charge of his surveillance were different; therefore, he used again little mental
suggestions to become best friends. Following, they had breakfast together, then they drove to the University of
Korwatan. Once there, Ghethe asked his new friends to take care of the Xoretta in his absence, and he left to
meet with Professor Hordbel Costart.
The semi-transparent gray ceramic walls of the old University brought amusing, though also
nostalgic memories to Ghethe, as he had to walk for a while looking for the Social Psychology Department.
Mr. Costart was a tall thin man of about fifty i-std. years old, with black hair, dark skin,
and small black eyes. The man had the attitude of a well educated, though a cunning person. After they exchanged
the usual meeting pleasantries, Ghethe thought that Professor Costart could have better been a lawyer.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Dakka?” asked Mr. Costart with a broad artificial smile.
Ghethe explained, “I came to you, Sir, as the Legal Representative of Miss Mlane Loh Zelhane. I
would like to know the reasons for her year-end examination failure.” The smile ended abruptly.
Ghethe used the few moments of silence that followed to investigate the true cause of Mlane’s
examination failure from Mr. Costart’s memories. He discovered that Professor Costart had been told to fail
Mlane on purpose, by the Dean of the University, and that Mr. Costart had a despicable character!
“Her performance in the year-end examination thesis is under the graduation limit, Sir,”
explained Mr. Costart in a cold voice and a stiff attitude.
“Would you mind showing me her thesis, Sir?” asked Ghethe as politely as he could.
“I am afraid I cannot . . . Yes . . . I am delighted to show it to you, Sir! Please, allow me
just a few moments,” said Mr. Costart, then he started searching feverishly through his databases.
Ghethe took some time to study Mlane’s thesis, while Professor Costart was enjoying some
wonderful inner thoughts. Ghethe concluded, “It looks to me this is not a bad thesis, Professor.”
Mr. Costart agreed jovially, “Oh, yes; it is a very good one!”
“Then, could you please do me a favor and perform all the work required to change the failing
grade into the proper one?” asked Ghethe.
“I am very much honored to do it, Sir, and I shall start right away!” promised Mr. Costart with
great enthusiasm, and he immediately commenced to performing the tasks.
Ghethe felt no remorse for manipulating Mr. Costart, because he was restoring, in fact, a well
deserved justice. “Please make sure, Professor, that Miss Zelhane finds out the good news as soon as possible,”
advised Ghethe before he left.
“But of course, Sir! I shall contact her without delay,” promised Mr. Costart with his long
learned large smile and, indeed, his right hand was already working—all by itself!—on the comnode interface.
Outside, the two agents were challenging each other towards achieving the brightest shine on
various surfaces of his transporter. Ghethe worked them hard, the entire day, to finish with Naiollah’s
In the evening, Ghethe and his escort met with Zelhane Ladies and their agents, and they all
went together for a happy dinner which lasted well into the night. The agents proved to be very nice people for
companionship, and the time was pleasingly sprinkled with all sorts of specific and very comic police jokes.
They sang together many funny songs, and they laughed a lot, then they went home while, of course, the agents
were escorting them.
For some time both Zelhane Ladies were well aware about the true designations their new friends
had, only they were also knowledgeable about Imperial Investigators’ mental powers. That particular circumstance
made agents’ behavior to appear even funnier!
They left their escorts outside the building after long and emotional good-byes. Once on their
floor, they discovered two men, one at each entrance gate into their apartments, working hard with sophisticated
“What are they doing, Ghethe?” whispered Mlane. Both Ladies appeared to be very scared.
“They are trying to break in, Mlane, only they are trapped inside a closed mental loop of
thirteen i-std. seconds, due to the devices I mounted yesterday inside the gates. They should be exhausted,
because they must have worked their way in since morning. Please, disable the loop with the remote I gave you
Mlane freed the man working on the gate of their apartment. He appeared to be almost depleted
of physical powers, and terribly shocked to see them coming. He collected his things, he saluted politely, and
then he left. Ghethe did the same thing with his man, then he asked the Ladies if they could spare little time
in a discussion.
When they were all seated in Ladies’ apartment with glasses of a sweet dessert wine in front of
them, Ghethe said, “As you can see, Ladies, there is a strong police activity around us, and it looks to me way
more persistent than normal. I have no idea who is behind all these, and why, but do not worry because I shall
find out. However, we should be ready to leave as soon as possible, if we have to. What is the status of your
“We have finished cleaning and with most of the food supplies. I estimate we need another half
a local day to conclude,” replied Ahlane, then she asked in her turn, “How are you doing?”
“I am done with my part. Ladies, you should have your things packed, and be prepared to leave
on a very short notice. Do not take too many things with you, because we have sufficient time to do plenty of
shopping on route, at each stop.”
“Are you finished with our travel plan?” asked Mlane.
“Yeah, sort of. I decided only on the first stopover, and I have a few good options for the
other two. We shall select the next supply Systems depending on how the situation may develop,” answered Ghethe.
He paused for a while thinking hard, then said looking perplexed, “This persistence from the Batlan
Administration bothers me a lot because it doesn’t make sense!”
“Maybe it would be better if we leave now, Ghethe,” suggested Mlane in a worried voice.
“Leaving is not a problem, Mlane. What is important is to get as much information as we can. My
intention, Ladies, is to even delay our trip in order to find out . . . something.”
“What if they arrest or kill us, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane, also greatly worried.
He explained, “They will not kill you, My Dear, because it seems they used you as a lure to
find me. Therefore, they shall need you even more in the future, as a leverage of coercion.”
“Do you think they know who you are?” asked Ahlane.
“No. As I said, only a few people knew I was more than a Scientist, Prime Assistant in
Neurophysics. Please, do not talk about this to anybody, Ladies.”
“Of course we shall not. I feel . . . a little scared,” confessed Ahlane, while looking for
encouragement in his eyes.
Ghethe tried to inspire them with bravery, “Now, Ladies, please understand that what we intend
to do is not an easy job, and there will be many tense moments into the future. You need to find the strength
and the power to fight within yourself, although I shall always be near to protect and help you.”
“Wouldn’t it be wiser to abandon everything, and to continue with a normal life, Ghethe?” asked
The memories of the past years of hardship helped Ahlane to feel perfectly contented with what
they already had, with Ghethe’s help. Therefore, the only thing she wished for her future and Mlane’s was a
peaceful normal life.
Ghethe appeared to be a very well mannered Gentleman. In time, if he continued with his nice
behavior, he could become even a . . . a very good friend. Ahlane felt, somehow, attracted to Ghethe—although
she would never admit it, not even to herself—mostly because he had, sometimes, the eyes of a lost child when he
was watching her. Nevertheless, Ghethe was a powerful man, and both she and Mlane needed his protection and
friendship in that terrible corner of Universe full of madness, interests, and politics.
“I do not believe they would let us live a normal life, Ahlane. The way things are, it looks to
me that somebody wants something from us,” answered Ghethe with sadness. His wish was that both Ladies would be
happy and at ease; therefore, the fact that he had no idea of what was happening, and who was in control, made
him feel annoyingly uncomfortable.
“Maybe they want the treasure, Ghethe,” ventured Mlane in a timid voice.
“No, My Dear, it is not possible for anybody else to know specifics about the treasure. It may
be they have a few vague clues, though we should keep the secret. Of course, if your lives should ever be in any
danger, Ladies, we shall trade the treasure,” promised Ghethe.
“We got ourselves involved into very dangerous things, Ghethe,” remarked Ahlane slightly
“No, Ahlane. When I visited the Sector Commissar, I understood that you were involved from the
very beginning. All your hard life and poverty have been imposed on you on purpose, in order to attract someone
like me to help you out.
What we need to do now is to discover who is behind all these, and why,” explained Ghethe
“Oh! You mean, they used us all that time?” asked Ahlane with both surprise and indignation.
He tried to reason with her, “Yes, Ahlane, but you should understand such things: they are
politics. Given your special position, there was no way for you to avoid them because you have been involved
into the highest level of politics since the day you were born.”
She replied nervously, “Ghethe, I hate politics!”
He pleaded, “Any honest being does, Ahlane, but we have to live with it. Politics is not that
difficult to live with, My Dear, especially if you have someone like me to help you out. Think, Ahlane, that it
could have been a lot worse.”
“Talking about worse things; I want to thank you, Ghethe, for helping me pass the Social
Psychology exam,” said Mlane smiling gratefully at him.
Ghethe smiled caringly at her in response, then explained, “Your teacher failed you on orders,
Mlane. I studied your thesis, and you did very well. You deserve to pass, and the new grade is exactly your true
Ahlane said with determination, “All right! I see those people are controlling our lives, and
this has to stop!”
“I shall stop them, My Dear, only we have to be very patient and wait for the right time. What
I did, during the past two days with the agents assigned to our surveillance, was to provoke their superiors, so
that I can get in contact with them and find out something. Oh, I forgot to mention, Ladies; there are two more
teams of agents assigned to supervise the team that works directly with us.”
“Oh, Ghethe, you made them very angry!” concluded Ahlane worriedly.
“I know, Ahlane, but do not worry, My Dear, because I can handle them all. What I need is to
discover those that are hiding and are out of my reach,” explained Ghethe.
He left soon afterward, after deciding to finish the next day with all the preparations for
It was daybreak, and the City Commissar Koptke Lavan was sweating heavily. He was
thinking the terrible Korta Mortek individual had the eyes and the attitude of someone capable of anything. He
had no doubts that, if Commander Mortek intended to kill him right there, in the police building, he would do it
and nobody would ever care about that!
Three Batlan years before, the General Police Commissar of the Batlan Federation had personally
introduced Commander Mortek to him, and Koptke remembered perfectly clear that the General Commissar himself was
very scared that day. He knew that Mortek was an ex-Imperial Commander, therefore he had the famous imperial
military biochip implant which gave Mortek powers that defied imagination!
“Your Excellency, I forwarded my first report to you as soon as I found out the Zelhane sisters
had been contacted,” motivated the City Commissar while feeling great discomfort due to his uncontrollable
“You are telling me nothing in your reports,” concluded Mortek disgusted, then he asked in a
forceful voice, “WHO IS this man, Ghethe Dakka?”
“Everything we know is, he is a citizen of the Herral and Lioth Systems; he has three degrees
“I know that. What else?”
“As soon as he became the person of interest, we have assigned a permanent surveillance team—”
started the City Commissar.
Mortek interrupted him angrily, “Do you know what your surveillance team did? They carried
loads for him; they polished his transporter; they enjoyed dinner together, AND THEY SANG STUPID LITTLE SONGS
You had people assigned to break into their apartments: a thirty i-std. seconds job which they
managed to make it an unsuccessful mission of an entire day! Can’t you see that this man is controlling your
Learn from me, Commissar: I assigned another surveillance team to watch yours, and then I
assigned a third set of agents to watch the second one. Those Scientists people have all sort of devices that
can amplify and induce mental suggestions.”
“I understand now, Your Excellency, thank you, Your Excellency, but there is nothing we can do.
We cannot even report everything that happened because we would appear to be a bunch of idiots,” motivated the
“Don’t you people use mental shields?” asked Mortek furiously.
The imbecility of the regular police forces always irritated him a lot. He considered that one
single Imperial Guard was capable of doing the job of ninety police officers. As for the fighting aptitudes, the
comparison made no sense. It should take about one i-std. hour to any of his Guards to clear the entire Korwatan
City Police Headquarters. Mortek thought that was an interesting experience to witness . . . one day.
“I haven’t even heard of them, Your Excellency—” started the City Commissar defensively.
“Perfect; I have to take care of this problem myself! Send him an invitation to you for this
morning, and call a medical team in attendance because I intend to squeeze the entire truth out of your precious
Mortek was furious. For three i-std. years the Qualosa Guild was waiting in fear that some
powerful Scientists could have escaped the Nova, and Ghethe Dakka was one of those Scientists to come into the
open. Mortek had seen three-dimensional images of Ghethe Dakka, and he felt revolted. Although Ghethe Dakka was
an athletic-built man, he was just a pygmy compared to him, and to most of his Guards. However, that Ghethe
Dakka was the kind of a person who had determined the formidable forces of the Qualosa Guild to postpone their
Invasion plans for three i-std. years!
Mortek was not a fool, and he did understand that technology could be extremely powerful even
in the hands of a child, but he also knew how to deal with those fainthearted Scientists. First, he planned to
scare Ghethe Dakka well, and in order to do that he was going to cause pain—much pain!
“Yeah, it is going to hurt a lot!” promised Mortek in his thoughts, with satisfaction.
Ghethe received the invitation to meet with the City Commissar at breakfast time. He
contacted Ahlane and told her about the meeting, then he advised her to finish as soon as possible with all the
preparations for departure.
While driving towards the City Police Headquarters, Ghethe began developing a vague feeling
that something bad was going to happen. It was a very beautiful morning, and his attention was involuntarily
distracted by the sight of a nice flower, a beautiful bird, or an interesting tree. It was an old feeling he had
had since childhood: it was a sort of a warning which reminded him that, regardless of what would happen next,
life was still wonderful and going on . . .
When he entered the City Commissar office, Ghethe noticed the man of power in an instant. The
City Commissar was an ordinary middle age man, maybe even a nice person, but only a puny soldier on a great
battlefield. Ghethe focused his entire attention on the officer dressed in a black Imperial Guards armor and a
large dark-red mantle. Almost immediately he sensed the presence of the complex mental shield, and he became
extremely cautious with his mind probing to prevent from triggering the ultra-sensitive contamination sensors.
“Mr. Dakka, could you please tell us something about yourself? Who are you, Mr. Dakka?” asked
the City Commissar visibly nervous.
Ghethe looked straight into the eyes of the man in a black amour, then he made a slight gesture
with his head towards the City Commissar.
“Thank you, Commissar. You may leave now,” said the officer in a firm voice. After the City
Commissar left the office, he turned towards Ghethe, smiled, then said, “I see we can understand each other
perfectly well without words, Ghethe Dakka.”
“These people have no need to find out about our little secrets, Mister . . . May I have your
name, please?” replied Ghethe in a relaxed attitude.
The officer remained thoughtful for a while, and Ghethe watched him carefully. He was over
fifty-five i-std. years old, tall and very strong, and it was clear that he had a high commanding rank. The man
had short, dark hair, dark-blue eyes, and a square face with tanned skin and strong lines. Most amazing, the man
displayed a strange, disturbing, ancient-fashioned thin moustache above a rather large mouth! Only a few
civilized people could grow that much facial hair, and almost nobody dared exhibiting it since it was considered
a rude social attitude.
“Yes, why not. My name is Mortek—this is, Mr. Mortek for you. Now, tell me what I want to know
about you,” ordered Mortek, also with relaxation.
“I am a Scientist, Prime Assistant at the Neurophysics Department on Naxel. I mean, the
ex-Planet Naxel,” explained Ghethe.
“Aha! I was certain you are one of those psychic Scientists. What is that, ‘Prime Assistant’?”
asked Mortek looking interested.
Ghethe kept on forcing the mental shield, only he had to do it with great care, to prevent the
alarms from triggering; otherwise, he could lose everything. Slowly, he started sensing something. He answered,
“Prime Assistant is one step higher than Section Senior level, Sir.”
“I suspect that means you are fairly good,” speculated Mortek with a sarcastic smile.
Ghethe saw that his name was Korta Mortek, Commander of the Imperial Guards class twenty-eight,
and the man was following a plan . . . to restore the Empire . . . to a military structure . . . a slavery one .
. . under the leadership of a Scientist! He answered, “Yes, I am very good.”
“Really! Then tell me, Ghethe Dakka, why are you helping the Zelhane sisters?” asked Mortek,
and his smile changed into a grin.
“I am afraid I cannot help you with this one, Sir,” replied Ghethe while changing to a stiff
posture, for the sake of the act.
“Ooh, but you will, my dear little Scientist; you will. Let me see your right arm, please,”
said Mortek politely, with a large smile.
After a short, calculated hesitation, Ghethe stretched his right arm slowly towards the man. He
had sensed that Mortek was hiding something very important about the Accident. Mortek coiled his gloved fingers
on his forearm, then started squeezing hard. Ghethe could have stopped him in an instant, or he could have
completely annihilated the pain, though he decided to suffer in order to present a genuine spectacle, therefore
to see as much as possible from Mortek’s memories.
“Tell me now: what is your business with the Zelhane sisters,” demanded Mortek in a dour voice,
while watching Ghethe attentively. He enjoyed a lot those adrenaline-strained moments of life.
“I am buying from them . . . ah!” The pain was almost unbearable, but even more painful was the
fact that in Mortek’s mind the Accident was not an Accident: IT WAS GENOCIDE!
“What are you buying from them?” asked Mortek. He was very glad his method was that efficient.
“Ah! Data . . .”
Ghethe’s answer came as a surprise, because Mortek knew very well there was nothing more
valuable than data. He asked with great tension, “What kind of data?”
“Research . . .”
“WHERE IS that data?” asked Mortek with concentration while squeezing Ghethe’s arm harder.
“I don’t know! They know, and we are going to go and get it from someplace . . . on a Planet .
. . Ah, ah!” The pain was excruciating, therefore Ghethe had to fight extremely hard to suppress his instinctual
reflexes of protection. The Accident was a Genocide, and the Scientist had planned it!
“Now listen carefully to my words, little Scientist. I am going to let you free, to go and get
that data, and then you shall bring it to me, or I will squash you like a filthy nothing you are. YOU HEAR ME!”
Ghethe failed to take any action to suppress the pain that followed since his intention was to
display a vivid scene for Mortek. He heard the bones of his forearm cracking, then he blacked out.
Mortek looked with satisfaction at Ghethe’s body on the floor. He had excellent news to bring
to the Guild, and the Doctor was going to be very pleased.
After a while, Mortek thought that, if Ghethe Dakka could bring him some strong, new
technologies, something against mental control, that would definitely be the most important. He looked in doubt
at Ghethe for a moment, then he left the office.
woke up on an antigravity suspended medical bed, and he noticed that three people in blue uniforms were working
gently on immobilizing his arm. Another man, wearing a disposable white uniform and an anti-contamination facial
mask, said in a kind, assuring voice, “Do not worry, Ghethe. It is a clean fracture, and we have glued the bones
back. Try to make no efforts with your right arm for the next three or four local days, then it is going be as
good as before.”
“Where is Mortek?” asked Ghethe in a frail voice. He felt terribly dehydrated.
The City Commissar replied from a nearby place, outside Ghethe’s field of vision, “His
Excellency is gone, Ghethe. He told me to tell you, to remember his words: he is watching you.”
“Tell him to come back! I must talk to him!” shouted Ghethe angrily, then he tried to get up by
pushing away the people around him.
“Do not move now, Ghethe!” warned the man with a facial mask in an alarmed tone of voice, and a
few pairs of hands struggled to pin him down.
“He is already gone, Ghethe, and you should be thankful for that. He could have killed you,”
said the City Commissar with compassion.
Ghethe felt very weak, and his soul was totally broken. That was an unbelievable criminal act:
billions of people, three Planets with good living conditions, a triple Star System . . . the Council and the
Chief Scientist . . . the Emperor! Ghethe had to fight very hard to restore his mental balance in order to start
thinking rationally. He asked faintly, “May I have little water, please?”
“We shall bring you some in just a few moments, Ghethe. You have to rest perfectly motionless
right here for one local hour, and then you will be free to go home,” promised the man with a facial mask.
While resting, Ghethe thought of what to do next. He intended to contact the Zelhane Ladies and
tell them everything he had discovered, because he felt he would get sick if he kept the news secret. They were
very nice and compassionate Ladies, and Ghethe was very glad he had someone to talk about the terrible crime he
Later, he tried to reach them on comnode from his transporter, and he felt greatly relieved to
see Ahlane’s smiling face.
“Oh, Ghethe, what happened to you? You look very pale,” wondered Ahlane beginning to be
“Ahlane, are you all right?” inquired Ghethe in a lost voice.
“Of course, we are. What happened TO YOU?” asked Ahlane nervously.
“Are you onboard Naiollah?”
“Please, come home. We shall pack our things, and then we leave Batlan.”
“What is wrong, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane in a restrained composure, hoping to get an answer from
“The only place safe to talk is Naiollah, Ahlane. Until we are all aboard and in space, I
cannot tell you anything. Please hurry,” replied Ghethe, then he closed the connection.
He drove home. Once there, he started packing some cloths, and all his technical equipment,
while waiting for the Ladies to come.
“Oh, Ghethe, what happened to you?” asked Ahlane worriedly when she saw him with an immobilized arm.
“This is nothing, Ahlane. Please, pack everything and let’s leave, Ladies,” replied Ghethe in a
“What do you mean ‘nothing’? Is your arm broken?” asked Ahlane with a beginning of irritation.
“Yes, it is broken, but please believe me, Ahlane: this is really nothing, and it does not
“On the contrary, Ghethe Dakka: it matters very much, and you are not going to make any effort!
Mlane; please watch him while I pack. See that he doesn’t move not even one finger!” said Ahlane in such a
determined voice that Ghethe started being a little scared of her.
“Ladies, please, I can take care of myself,” protested Ghethe timidly.
“We can see perfectly well how you take care of yourself, Ghethe Dakka. Please, do not move,”
replied Ahlane in a firm voice, and Ghethe discovered surprised that it was quite impossible not to conform.
The Ladies finished loading their vehicle, then they helped Ghethe in. Since they had about one
local hour of drive time, Ahlane wanted to know what happened to his arm.
“A man broke it,” explained Ghethe reluctantly.
“By accident?” asked Mlane.
“No . . . intentionally,” replied Ghethe hesitantly.
“And you let him do that to you?” asked Ahlane in disbelief.
“I had no choice,” motivated Ghethe defensively, only he did not explain why because there was
too much to talk about.
“YOU had no choice?” wondered Mlane, and both Ladies appeared to be very scared of that
“Who is he?” inquired Ahlane quickly.
“His name is Korta Mortek, Commander of Imperial Guards,” replied Ghethe feeling sick
pronouncing that name.
“Oh . . . I think I heard that name before . . . Commander of Imperial Guards . . . Oh, Ghethe,
he must be a terrible man and very powerful,” said Ahlane with fear and compassion in her eyes.
“He is indeed a terrible man, way more than you can imagine, Ahlane, but let’s wait to get to
The Ladies helped Ghethe out of the vehicle, and then to enter Naiollah. They took great care
that he is seated securely in the Main Salon, then they started to unload the vehicle.
“Are you ready to leave, Ladies?” asked Ghethe when the Ladies were finished with all
“Yes, Ghethe, we are,” answered Ahlane.
“Naiollah, are you set for a long interstellar travel?”
“I have over eighty-eight parts per unit on all essential inventories, therefore I am geared up
for long interstellar travel, Ghethe.”
“Naiollah, take us to the Weyla System at one fifth speed, and keep monitoring the space at
your maximum scan limit.”
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