Part 22: Jan 28 2157 - Of Monsters and Marsupials
Let's get that monster off our ship.
I manage to make it to Alpha Cerenkov without any alien encounters.
VIDEO: RETURN OF ZEX
Captain, it is good to see you again. You Humans are so interesting, so... beautiful. You know, I have many pictures of your species! I keep them on my walls to... inspire me.
Ah, a most excellent piece of news! My chiton rasps and moistens with excitement! I have been looking forward to this for so long! Hee! Hee! Hee! My subordinates stand ready to receive the beast from your ship, Captain. Effect its transfer and then... we shall give you the Maidens you desire.
Oh yes, no problem. Even now my subordinates are bringing them up from the surface. So let's not waste time. Send that delightful beast over, immediately!
Captain, Captain, we are both creatures of honor. If I say that the Shofixti Maidens are on their way up from the surface, then they are. You will have them shortly, accept my word... now please, Captain, the beast?
Really, Captain! My honor is impugned! You have maligned me and I am deeply hurt. I thought we had built some trust between us, different though we may be, but no, I perceive now the same bigotry and misunderstanding which brought our two species to war! This was our chance to cement a good relationship between Human and VUX. With my influence, the High Council could easily have been swayed to view the Human cause in a more favorable light.
Ah! My new child is on board. Such a big one, isn't he!?... and so frisky!
I am delighted beyond words that you have given me the beast, Captain, but I am afraid that there has been a slight change in our plans. Regrettable, but necessary. Oh, my beautiful, luscious human, I had thought that the hideous, violent monster you have given me would complete my collection of Ugliness, my Menagerie of Monsters... I was wrong! YOU, my human love, are the most vile, the most fierce and wretched! My collection could never be complete without you. I need you, Captain.
But alas, I fear you will not give your consent willingly. Am I right? Therefore, sub-commander DAX, terminate communications... warm up my modified Intruder. Engage the Precursor warp nullifier. Hee! Hee! Hee!... prepare for battle!
Sub-commander? Why has my main console become inoperative? The transmit mode is locked!
What do you mean the central system computer is damaged? How!?...
...the Beast!?... Escaped!!
No, Sub-Commander, this is impossible. It couldn't escape from our strongest containment system
IT'S WHAT?!! Decks five and six?! Eleven Crewmen!!
Sound the alarms, you fool! Where is it now?! Engineering, report!... Engineering?!
Sub-Commander, seal Bulkhe-- Sub-Commander... are you listening to me? What are you staring at?
PAY ATTENTION, Sub-Commander! Give me a report on its posit-- WHAT ARE YOU STARING AT!... behind me?
WH- Wh- what- wh- AIEEEEE!!!!!...
Here we have a planet devoid of sentient life.
There's an energy signature on the surface, but first I spend some time cleaning out the alien life. It's all very valuable species.
IN THE VUX COMMANDER'S MENAGERIE WE HAVE FOUND WHAT APPEARS TO BE FUNCTIONING CRYOTANKS CONTAINING A DOZEN BIPEDAL CREATURES. WE CAN'T BE SURE, BUT THROUGH THE TANK'S FOGGED VIEWPORTS WE THINK WE CAN SEE YOUNG SHOFIXTI FEMALES INSIDE THE FREEZER UNITS. WE HAVE TRANSFERRED THE CRYOTANKS TO THE LANDER AND ARE RETURNING TO THE SHIP.
---- END OF REPORT ----
That was easier than I was expecting.
Pit stop on the way to my next destination to fill up my fuel tanks.
Now to have a word with Tanaka.
Nothing new to report, sir.
I guard the homeworld. I seek revenge against its destroyers, the Ur-Quan and their vile battle thralls. I await the return of the hero Daikon and the rebirth of my species.
On my way home, I encountered a VUX Intruder. Before I destroyed it, the VUX was able to affix some of those vile limpet things to my ship, and I had to return home at a greatly diminished speed.
I did find one thing interesting though as I skimmed through the edge of Yehat space. I dropped into Zeta Sextantis to re-charge some of my depleted energy cells, so I moved into the extreme inner system. There, right next to the sun, I found a very strange planet... it messed up my sensors somehow. That's why I could not recognize your ship at first. I'd never seen a planet like that before, so maybe you should investigate?
During my battle with the VUX, I decided to employ the weapon. But I guess I used too much gusto, and the switch broke.
My people blew up the sun, heh, heh, heh! Or at least they caused it to flare like a nova, destroying the many hundreds of Hierarchy vessels that had invaded our system to enslave us Shofixti.
I wasn't here when they made the sun flare. I was assigned to a Yehat squadron as a forward scout performing a deep recon in Mycon space. We were sent to investigate reports of unusual Mycon activity around Beta Brahe. I was the first ship to enter the system.
My scanners showed a small fleet of Mycon clustered around the planet conducting a test of some device. The unit was small, not even half the size of my ship. When the Mycon activated it a glow began to radiate outward. I crept closer, to get a better look. Suddenly there was a flare, like a newborn sun, blinding me and overloading my sensors.
When I recovered my vision, hours later, the Mycon and their device were gone. I was able to affect repairs on my sensors and depart the system, but I had been cut off from my squadron, and had to travel home alone.
What might that be?
I am intrigued, Captain, but what are you talking about?
Great leaping mounds of happiness! You shall be honored forever, Captain, as the savior of the Shofixti race! I have been granted the ultimate reward, er.. duty. This humble warrior will take the Shofixti maidens you possess, gently wake them, and then perform ribald feats of unsurpassed fertility! With their consent, of course.
Our people shall be reborn! Your name shall be recorded in our most sacred writings for all time! Thank you Captain, and farewell... I have urgent business to attend to.
They'll be busy for a while.
In the meantime, it's off to save the Umgah! But first, I'll hang out here for a bit.
It has been so many years since I last visited your Earth, so long since I glided across your open fields under the light of a full moon. Tell me of Earth. Tell me what I have... oh, I forget myself... how silly. You were born on the distant world Unzervalt. I have visited there much more recently.
We are many places, at many *times*. This place is an easy place... one of the ten easy places. At different times, we explore different easy places. That is our way.
Oh! I can see from the look in your eyes that I have confused you. I am silly. Please disregard my words.
We seek to trap *Nnngn*, but they dart and leap. YOU cannot trap *Nnngn*... do not even try. I do not think you can even touch them; you are not quite solid enough.
Why we let them go, of course! *Nnngn* do not like to be confined! Captain, these things we talk about... they are unimportant to you... they are as dreams. Our words should address your universe... not ours.
You are curious. That is a promising quality. How can I describe our relation to Humans?...
Never doubt our motives, Captain. Your well-being is of paramount concern to every Arilou. Surely you know, that it was the day after Humanity joined the Alliance Of Free Stars that we appeared in the open for the first time. This was no coincidence. We wanted to protect you. Once we saw that you were...well, safe, we decided to tend to other business for a short while.
Believe me, Captain, we have known each other for a very long time. You might even say that we knew the first human.
With ships and weapons... blood and bones... no. Too many shipmates were forcibly... discorporated.. in the last conflict. Our cooperation is not necessary. You are the focus. However, knowledge transcends reality perimeters, and this we can share with you.
An example: to discover the nature of the red probes, seek creatures who inhabit a world with no surface.
That was unproductive!
Now to pay a visit to the most dangerous lifeform in the galaxy.