Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght(4)

By: Cathryn Cade



“As am I,” Sirena retorted. “However, I trust Jag not to harm her. And, my guards will maintain surveillance for her safety.”

Craig nodded. “Yes, the holocams will alert us to any distress on her part. Sirena’s guards will go in if needed, and sedate him.”

Mra nodded. “Very well. I presume we should all go back to our duties, and await your report?”

“Yes, carry on. I’ll see you all at our normal star fall meeting.”

The company rose and filtered out of the room, the doctor casting one regretful glance back over the top of his head at the empty holovid space.

“Mating habits of the different species are so fascinating,” he murmured.

The Serpentian hissed good-naturedly, flicking her forked tongue at him as she passed. “I could show you some really fascinating ones.”

He tittered, his eye stalks waving.

“Rascal—you know I am nearly two hundred years old. Now off with you, and torment the younger men of the crew.”

“Yes-ss. I believe I will.”

The male gazes shifted as one to watch her saunter away, hips swaying.

* * *

In a small, dingy room high over the docking bays of Port Seattle, Earth, two young human males huddled before a large computer screen. With sallow skin, hair and clothing unkempt, they presented a sharp contrast to the two Pangaeans who stood behind them. These two were clad in expensive sportswear, their sleek hair glowing with enough chlorophyll by-products to light the room with an eerie green glow.

“The tracking device shows that Pyl is in his shared berth on the Orion,” one of the Pangaeans said with satisfaction. “That means he made it through the physical inspection. They would never have let him on board if they suspected.”

“Yes, and if he had been caught removing the bomb, he would be in the isolation unit.” One of the humans scratched his dirty blonde hair. His eyes glowed with the fervor of fanaticism. “So we’re on track. We wait till the Orion is too close to the asteroid belt to turn back, and then we make our demands.”

“If they don’t agree to stop the mining of the fossil fuel deposits on Pangaea, we detonate the bomb, and destroy their navigation system,” added the dark one, with the relish of one repeating favorite lines. “We may’ve lost the eco-wars on Earth II, but Pangaea is a second chance to show the capitalist-techno combines that we will never give up!”

Behind them, the Pangaeans exchanged a glance.

“Yes,” one of them said smoothly. “We will reawaken the galaxy to the importance of being one with our environment, instead of raping it. With your help, we will win this time.”

“Yeah!” The two Earthlings gave each other an exuberant high five, and one reached for his tube of energy drink, guzzling it and belching loudly.

The Pangaeans retreated a short distance, distaste clear as their hair stood straight out.

“We must be getting back to our office, before we are missed. Nels, Rat, you have everything you need here?”

“Yeah, except bring some more of this WarpRev energy drink when you come back, okay?” The blond human waggled his empty can over his head without turning from the computer. “This stuff is great—I hardly need to sleep.”

“And some more of those Chlorochili chips—the spicy dark green ones,” added the dark youth. He turned, but the Pangaeans were already gone.

He frowned, then leaned back in his chair to prop his feet on the table beside the computer, but lifted one hand to his mouth, gnawing on an already short, ragged nail.

“Hey, Nels, those two ever sort of give you the heebie-jeebies?”

“’Course they do.” Nels shrugged, clicking the controls. “They’re not from here, man. But they’re cool—they’re for the cause. Hey, you want to see if the spy cams are up on board the Orion? Pyl was supposed to tie into the vid-cam system.”

Rat sucked on his finger, now bleeding. “Sure.”

A moment later the computer holoscreen, a huge glowing square hovering before them, divided itself into a neat grid, with a multitude of different views of the inside of the space cruise and transport ship the Orion, bound for Bryght with 365 passengers and crew, and a shipment of precious chlorodyne ore.

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