MERCY [NOVA AFTERMATH], CHAPTER 1: NOVA

M1-0
     The bright light of the Herral Star appeared suddenly on the reflection window, as the gray-brownish stormy clouds scattered away. Ahlane thought the window was too small, and the image was reflected, refracted, and refocused by the optical guides too many times for a reasonable image, but that was the maximum of a luxury they could afford to pay for. She said, “Please, Mlane, look at me when I talk to you.” After Mlane began watching her, Ahlane asked pleadingly, “What are we going to do, My Dear?”
     “I shall try to get a job.”
     “Oh, Mlane! You are still minor on Batlan, and do not forget that it is almost impossible for me to find a job with this recession. Why haven’t you asked me to help you?”
     “Mr. Costart failed me on purpose!” confessed Mlane revolted, and then blue color shades started sneaking on her round, still juvenile cheeks.
     Ahlane went on reading again the official comnode message: it said that Mlane needed to improve her Social Mathematics skills. She thought that there was no way they could afford paying a second examination fee. “Tell me what happened, My Dear,” said Ahlane in a soothing voice, although Mlane could easily detect many worries in Ahlane’s caring eyes.
     Mlane turned the Laxa Cube she was playing with on its “Charge” side, and put it on a nearby surface, then she changed her position to face Ahlane. She started explaining with restrained patience, “I studied a lot, Ahlane, and I am confident I compiled a good thesis, but Mr. Costart, our Social Psychology Professor, failed me intentionally. He is the same person who asked me where I come from . . . and then he said that I am a nice . . .” After a brief, hesitant pause, she ended in an exasperated tone, “Oh, I told you about that!”
     “I know you are a good girl, My Dear. We shall find the money, somehow, and then we should study together,” promised Ahlane in her sweet voice, then she went to embrace Mlane.
     “You could try talking to Mr. Costart. Maybe it is just a mistake,” suggested Mlane with veiled desperation. She loved Ahlane very much, and she felt a lot of sorrow for all those additional troubles she had involuntarily created.

*

M1-1     Ahlane and Mlane Loh Zelhane were sisters, and the nieces of the Emperor Kytel Voh Zelhane. Unfortunately, the Emperor died in a terrible Accident which not only that it ended his life, but it ended the imperial ruling as well! Many said the Accident had been a fate retribution of some sort, because the Imperial House had departed far away from poor people’s needs. Others said that it was an historical lesson, and that too much scientific development was not very good.
     The immediate and the tragic results of the catastrophic Accident were a widespread economic recession, the fracture of the Empire into more than three hundred independent Administrations and, of course, a few isolated Civil Wars and Interplanetary Fights. The Accident happened three i-std. years before, precisely when Emperor Kytel and all his relatives were celebrating in a large Family Reunion the tenth birthday of little Prince Nassary. Without any warning, one of the smaller Stars of the ternary System Lioth went Nova, thus ending five hundred sixty-four i-std. years of a peaceful and prosperous development for a cluster of two hundred thirty-six Planetary Systems.

     Ahlane had managed to obtain an exceptional permission to absent the Reunion, therefore she was in Korwatan City, on Planet Batlan, at the time of the Accident. It happened that her sister Mlane—who was a student at the famous Korwatan University—was sick in bed with an epidemic influenza.
     The two Ladies had lost their parents when Mlane was very young, and they grew up into the family of their uncle, Emperor Kytel, whom they loved like their own father. They cried for many days following the tragic Accident, then they started being very scared of their own future.

M1-2
     The Batlan Planet belonged to the Herral Planetary System, and it was the capital of the Batlan Federation—a commercial and political group of thirty-two prosperous Systems. Following the Accident, Batlan Federation was regarded as the strongest remaining power in all ex Imperial Worlds. The only pressing need they had was a military Fleet to protect their Federation, because the Imperial System Lioth had been the only System allowed to have military forces, and most of them had vanished within the Nova.
     Soon after the Accident, the few surviving Units of the Imperial Fleet became overnight a greatly prized commodity hunted by many. Consequently, Batlan Federation managed to acquire, with great sacrifices, fourteen Super Destroyers and thirty-seven Destroyers, each equipped with the necessary number of Interceptor-Proctor ships.
     The truth was, all those impressive Warships were not much of a military force, only the true power of the Batlan Federation resided in their economic strength and political stability. Almost all the Systems of the past Empire were looking towards the Batlan Federation as to a future political leader.

     At the time of the Accident, Zelhane Ladies were living in Imperial Palace, in Korwatan City. Nine Batlan days later, however, they had been officially asked to leave the premises with their personal possessions only. Their private Imperial House Spaceship had left without warning three Batlan days after the Accident, then their Guards and Companion Ladies went away without notice, though taking almost everything that had any value.
     The two Zelhane Ladies had to sell a few valuable possessions they had been left with, then they moved into a modest cubical rented unit. They started waiting in front of many closed official doors, in order to obtain their Batlan Federation Citizenship, therefore it took them one and a half Batlan years to become registered citizens. Following, the Ladies commenced receiving a small regular stipend for support, and that allowed them to plan modest goals for their immediate future.

     A few senior Professors from the University of Korwatan having stronger imperialist sentiments helped Mlane to get a scholarship. Although Zelhane Ladies lived at the lowest limit of Batlan poverty, Ahlane hoped that Mlane would eventually get her degree, and then their life should have improved. From time to time Ahlane managed to find some work at the University—mostly editorial tasks and translation of documents from various Lioth dialects into Imperial Standard—but, unfortunately, not as a steady job, although she continued looking for one day by day, and year after year . . .

     The only father and mother Mlane remembered was Ahlane. Each of the two sisters loved, stimulated, and cared for the other as much as they could, because they were frightened, alone, and very poor in an alien World.
     Ahlane was greatly concerned about Mlane’s examination failure, as she was sensing a general trend of colder relations with the Batlan Administration officials—while they continued asking questions about embarrassing details of their past life. In addition, it was progressively harder for her to find work, plus she had heard of a possible rent increase! She knew that Mlane was a good student, and she had studied a lot, but if she was not wanted at the University anymore . . .
     She thought they had to be brave, and to continue fighting for their survival. She decided that both of them would cut and sell their hair.

*

M1-3     It was a splendid morning with a golden sky in Korwatan City. Ghethe Dakka enjoyed more than anything else to wake up early, and to walk for a couple of local hours the gently sloped alleys of the “Morning Dew” Park. During those early hours, he knew he was almost the only one savoring the first, warm, soothing rays of the Herral Star, and the wonderful aromas of the seasonal flowers, except for two strange Ladies he had noticed a few times before. The Ladies were dressed in cheap—although very decent—dark-blue Halem dresses which covered all parts of their bodies, though allowing for the scarce ultraviolet radiations of the Herral Star to penetrate the fabric.
     In that day it happened that they met face to face when he abruptly turned the corner of an alley. Somewhat surprised, Ghethe said the usual, “Good morning, Ladies,” with a slight bow.
     The Ladies appeared to be a lot more surprised. One of them cried, then they drew closer to each another.
     “Please, excuse me if I frightened you, Ladies. It was totally unintentional,” tried Ghethe to calm them, and he smiled politely while departing.
     “It is all right, Sir,” replied one of the Ladies.
     Ghethe ceased his motion and turned back surprised. He said, “Excuse me please, Ladies, but I couldn’t help noticing that you have a strong Nottam accent. I lived most of my life in the Lioth System, therefore I am very pleased whenever I meet survivors of the terrible Accident.”
     “On what Planet did you live in the Lioth System, Sir?” asked the taller Lady. She had a bit drawling musical voice which sounded incredibly pleasing to Ghethe.
     He answered, “I lived mostly on Naxel, My Lady,” and then he felt a strong desire to find out more about those unknown mysterious Ladies.
     Vaguely intrigued, the same Lady inquired, “Are you a Scientist, Sir?”
     “Yes, My Lady. Please, excuse my insistence, but there are so few survivors left, and most of them are struggling so hard to live in these alien Worlds, that I would like to offer my assistance. My name is Ghethe Dakka.”
     Both of them remained silent, and Ghethe understood they were afraid to reveal their identity.
     “Did you hold an imperial position, Sir?” asked again the Lady with the wonderful voice.
     Ghethe looked around, then he sent a mental scan: there was no curious mental presence in their proximity. He answered in a lower voice, “I was Prime Assistant at the Imperial Neurophysics Department on Naxel, My Lady,” then, after a short hesitation he added, “and . . . Imperial Chief Investigator of the Science Division.” Ghethe regretted the words he had said almost as soon as he ended them. However, he was driven by a very strong subconscious tendency to be particularly sincere in his dialog with those unknown Ladies.
     “Oh! Then, you have already read our thoughts, Sir!” replied the musical voice surprised, and a little bit accusing, appearing to be not quite pleased with the news.
     He rushed to assure her, “Oh no, My Lady, I would never do such thing! We have—I have a strong ethical education, and a few good manners left.”
     The Ladies remained silent for a while, not knowing what to do and holding hands, then the shorter Lady said in a girlish, crystalline voice, also slightly drawling, “We are Ahlane and Mlane Loh Zelhane.”
     “Mlane!” protested the taller Lady worriedly, then she dragged the other one away.

M1-4
     In the moment he heard those names, Ghethe’s brain froze numb with surprise, and his heart stopped working for a good while. He recovered and rushed after them. “My Ladies! Your Highnesses! Please, wait!” cried Ghethe desperately. They stopped, and he asked deeply troubled, “Where is your Escort? Where are your Companion Ladies?”
     “They left a long time ago, Sir. Please, leave us alone,” explained the taller Lady in a sad voice. It was obvious she disliked continuing the dialog with a strange person.
     “No, I am sorry, but cannot leave you, Ladies! Please, allow me: I am your loyal servant, and I want to help you!” Ghethe was very scared he could lose them, and he was well aware of the begging tone of his voice. His humiliation, however, was totally not important.
     “The Empire is gone, Sir, and there is nothing left to help,” replied the taller Lady in a firm voice.
     Ghethe’s heart was beating very hard, and it still had an erratic pace. He said imploringly: “For me it shall never be gone, My Lady! Please, allow me to help you!”
     “But we do not know you, Sir!” replied nervously the same Lady.
     He insisted, “You do not necessarily need to know me, Ladies. Please, I am just your faithful servant!”
     “And don’t you think we should know you, even if you were a servant?” asked the taller Lady again.
     Her voice was a bit more considerate, therefore Ghethe collected himself. He said, “Yes, you are right, My Lady. Please excuse me for this. It has been such a terrible shock to me when I heard your names . . . Even now, it is so hard—I thought the entire Imperial Family has perished! Please, allow me to escort you, Ladies, because I only want to offer my help.”
M1-5
     Ahlane studied the man in front of her. He was tall and athletic built, in his late thirties. His hair was short, chestnut in color, and he had a relatively square face marked by milder features, as it is specific to intellectuals. The man belonged to the red blood races, with a lightly tanned skin, and he had attentive brown eyes, and nicely proportioned nose and mouth.
     Overall, Mr. Dakka was a rather . . . handsome man. In addition, he seemed considerate, and he appeared to be honest. His clothes were elegantly tailored out of some expensive natural fibers in shades of gray, which showed good taste, and also a modest display of his social status.
     In his eyes imploring for some consideration, Ahlane could clearly see that he was greatly afraid he could be rejected. She thought that his insistent altruist help offer revealed, in fact, generosity and kindness. Overall, the man had demonstrated that his manners were sufficiently decent, and he had a respectful attitude towards them.

     She agreed timidly, “You may accompany us, Sir . . . for a little while.”
     The immediate danger of losing them was past, and Ghethe felt great relief; however, he intended to consolidate that first small step. He said, “Thank you very much, My Lady. There is a nice cafeteria, not far from here, which I know it is open at this time. Would you, please, consider having breakfast together, Ladies?”
     Both of them remained silent, delaying their answer for some time. He insisted, and then they agreed.

     They went together to the cafeteria, then they took seats at a table surrounded by orange shrubbery in blossom with clusters of tiny blue flowers, delicately scented. Ghethe brought the breakfast for everybody, and then the Ladies lowered their hoods and face covers.
     Their beauty stunned Ghethe for a good while! He fought very hard to regain control of himself, then he asked timidly, “Excuse me, Ladies, for being too intrusive: why are you wearing those face covers?”
     The taller Lady explained, “We have been advised to wear them when we are in public places by the Batlan authorities, for our own protection. My name is Ahlane Loh Zelhane, and this is my sister, Mlane Loh Zelhane.”

     Ahlane was about thirty i-std. years old, and she had a wonderful hair—silver, with shades of blue, specific to the Imperial Family Ladies—which was cut very short, and that allowed to be seen a superb head, neck, and shoulder line. She had astonishing crystal clear purple-violet irises, and her direct eye to eye contact demanded only a total honesty and a perfectly decent behavior. Her face was vaguely triangular, very delicate and touched by bluish to pearl-white color shades, with a small pointy nose and superbly contoured pale-blue lips, and with her spellbinding though also intimidating eyes positioned in a slight “V”. To Ghethe, Ahlane was not just an exceptionally beautiful Lady; her general attitude, her manners, and her particular looks made her frightfully beautiful!
     Mlane appeared to be of twenty i-std. years old, also with her hair cut very short, and she was the perfect, young copy of her sister, except for a permanent innocently ironical smile, and sparkles of curiosity and joy in her superb, extraordinary eyes. Both Ladies were of medium height, though Ahlane was a shade taller. The proportions of their bodies, however, were impossible to estimate due to the shapeless Halem dresses they wore.
     Ghethe noticed the genuine characteristics of the Zelhane Family in the features of the two Ladies, therefore he continued being deeply shaken by that fortuitous encounter. They had breakfast in silence, then they ended it with refreshing fruit drinks. He asked the Ladies, very politely, to tell him what happened to them since the Accident. Both of them tried to negotiate the topic for some time, then Mlane started and Ahlane finished the story.
M1-6
     When he heard about their deprivations, Ghethe became profoundly revolted. He said, “Ladies, I have a few Batlan Credit Accounts belonging to the past Imperial Neurophysics Department, and I urge you to start using one of them right away.”
     “I do not know if that is legal, Mr. Dakka,” objected Ahlane looking distrustfully at him.
     He tried to reason with her, “These are secret accounts, My Lady, and nobody knows about them, except me. I shall transfer the amounts into your Credit Account, and this is a perfectly legal operation. If somebody asks about it, please, say only that it was a private transaction, then let me know.”
     “Thank you very much for your offer, Mr. Dakka, but I am afraid we cannot accept any money—” started Ahlane suspiciously.
     “Ahlane!” interrupted Mlane looking dismayed.
     “Ladies, please, allow me to explain this situation. These accounts belonged to the Imperial Neurophysics Department, and they were issued for my personal use, as Imperial Chief Investigator. I was, and I still consider that I am, a servant of the Empire, therefore the money actually belongs to the Empire. Now, since you are the only heiresses of the Empire, Ladies, it means the money belongs to you, legally.
     You do not get money from ME, Ladies; you are taking back what is ALREADY yours,” pleaded Ghethe, and he accentuated, a little, a few words in order to stress their importance.
     Ahlane replied hesitantly, “Mr. Dakka, you have a way of convincing . . . Are you certain you do not try to influence us mentally?”
     “Oh, My Dear Ladies, please be absolutely confident that I shall never touch your brains with my thoughts. Let me put it this way: I am your loyal servant because I honestly consider myself to be your servant. Therefore, I shall help you with anything I can. I am ready to offer even my life if it has to be that way and, please believe me, I am going to do it gladly.”
     Ahlane started in a caring voice, “Mr. Dakka, you are a very nice person, but you do need to understand this reality we live in today. The Empire is gone, Sir, and—”
     “Excuse me for interrupting you, My Lady,” said Ghethe, then he waited for a few moments to scan the surrounding areas for any curious presence. He continued in a whispered voice, “The Empire still exists, Ladies, and you two have a legacy to accomplish. We cannot discuss about it now, here, but mind these words, please: as long as you do exist, the Empire itself exists.”
     Ahlane replied also whispering, “Are you implying that we, my sister and I, could rebuild the Empire, Mr. Dakka?”
     “No, My Lady, you two will never be able to rebuild the Empire. With my help, however, yes: we will!” said Ghethe, and he ended his words with great assurance in his attitude.
     Mlane remarked in her crystalline voice while smiling doubtfully, “You seem quite confident on your powers, Mr. Dakka.”
     He took a few moments to find the right answer, then he said in his normal voice, “Ladies, it depends only on you to make the New Empire a future reality. However, regardless of your intentions, I am going to help you whether you want it or not.”
     “Are you threatening us, Mr. Dakka?” asked Ahlane jokingly. The truth was that, deep inside her soul, she was blessing her luck for bringing on their path the help offered by Mr. Dakka. Even more, she started hoping that their fate was going to improve.
     “Oh, My Dear Lady, how can you say such thing? I told you that I am ready to sacrifice my life to help and protect you.”
     He appeared to be offended, therefore Ahlane regretted her words. She said, “I am sorry, Mr. Dakka. I was only joking, though I think it was poorly inspired.”
     Ghethe replied quickly, with consideration, “Then please excuse me, My Lady. I understand that this is an unexpected surprise for you—and for me too. Therefore, until we know one another better, there could be little suspicion, naturally. Now, do you have your Credit Account with you, Ladies?”
     “Why? Do you intend to rob us, Mr. Dakka?” asked Mlane jokingly
     “Ha, ha! No, My Dear Lady,” replied Ghethe amused. He explained, “I intend to transfer to you a small amount from my accounts. May I have it, please?”
     Ahlane paused thinking for a few moments; then, with renunciation in her gestures, she handed him her Credit Account. She asked timidly, while avoiding his looks, “How much do you intend to transfer, Mr. Dakka?”
     “I would like to transfer to you, Ladies, all imperial accounts that I have in my temporary possession. That is a sum of over two billon Batlan Credits, but we do have to be careful not to draw too much attention. What do you say about four hundred fifty thousand Batlan Credits for this first time?” proposed Ghethe.
     Both Ladies remained speechless and scared for a while, because they had managed to survive with a little over six thousand Batlan Credits per Batlan year. Ahlane had been expecting to one or two thousand Credits; that sum of hundreds of thousands scared her a lot!
     “That is enormous, Mr. Dakka! Do you think it is wise?” asked Ahlane whispering.
     He explained, “Yes, it is, My Lady. On second thought, I think it is better to transfer nine hundred thousand—just in case, if something happens to me. In this way, you should be secure for a good while.”
     “It is way too much, and someone is going to ask questions for certain—” started Ahlane worriedly.
     Ghethe interrupted her in a relaxed attitude, “And you will direct them to me, My Lady. In addition, I would like to invite you to move from the place you live, into the building I live, because I intend to be near, to protect you day and night from now on.”
     “Mr. Dakka, you really do not have to bother!” replied Ahlane nervously, still very scared.
     He pleaded, “My Dear Lady, I know this is unexpected and it is hard for you, but think that you are the surviving legal heirs of the Empire! You two represent now the entire Empire with hundreds i-std. years of history, of might, and of glory! Even this Batlan Planet belonged to your Family once: don’t you want it back?”
     Ahlane looked into Ghethe’s eyes for some time, and she saw sincerity, hope, and trust. She concluded that he was, most likely, not mature enough to understand the existing situation. She replied, “I do not know if we want it back, or if we CAN have it back . . . Please understand, Mr. Dakka: the Empire is gone!”
     He explained smiling kindly at her, “Not to me, My Lady. I intend to restore the Empire, and I do not see who, or what, could prevent me. Of course, I can only hope that you will cooperate to my honest efforts, Ladies, once we become better acquainted.”
     “Maybe, Mr. Dakka,” replied Ahlane cautiously, because Ghethe’s words came only to confirm her previous conclusion.
     After transferring the sum of nine hundred thousand Batlan Credits into the very thin account of Miss Ahlane Loh Zelhane, Ghethe asked for their comnode codes and he gave them his. He said, “I shall try to buy an apartment which I know it is for sale in the building I live, and then I contact you again, Ladies.”

     Ghethe called his ground transport vehicle by remote, then he drove them to their address. Once there, he refused to leave until both Ladies accepted to use his vehicle. He pleaded, “Try to understand that your lives and personal security are extremely important for the welfare of one trillion people, Ladies. Please, let me know as soon as possible if any official person, or anybody else, is contacting you from now on.”

*

M1-7     The meeting with Zelhane Ladies changed Ghethe’s life dramatically!
     At the time of the Accident he was following a minor investigation in Hoka System. He remembered well the shock of the first Nova news, because all his life died in those moments: his friends were all gone! The entire Planet Naxel, the home of the Imperial Neurophysics Department; the famous Planet Dene, the home of the Imperial Subatomic Research Department; and the grandiose Planet Nottam, the home of the Imperial Family itself: THEY WERE ALL GONE! An enormous Planetary System of three Stars, sixty-one Planets, thirty-five space-colonies, and over nineteen billion lives had been wiped out in an instant! The most advanced Civilizations of the Empire had disappeared without a trace,in a burning cloud of stellar dust!
     Ghethe hated himself for surviving the Accident, and then he hated the entire Universe for allowing the Accident to happen. He abandoned his investigation since it had no more legal grounds, then he went to his birth Planet, Gora in the Herral System, to recollect himself. He decided to start with a new life, to forget everything, therefore he indulged himself in all sorts of entertaining activities: playing sports and gambling, tasting good foods and fine drinks, and even enjoying the company of a few, better educated Ladies, from time to time.
     Two local years later though, he started feeling bored of too much communality. He moved discreetly to Korwatan City hoping the great metropolis, the Capital of the Batlan Federation, would offer new and unexplored grounds for his endeavors. He became bored even faster on Batlan, therefore he decided to restart with a well organized life, and to continue with his long abandoned studies of the Subatomic.
     After meeting with Emperor’s nieces his life got new values. He was, possibly, the strongest surviving power in the entire cluster of Systems belonging to the past Empire, except he had no legal and moral grounds to enterprise anything. However, if he had the official support of the two Ladies, as the official heiresses of the Empire, and with some favorable circumstances, he could do almost anything. Eventually, the most important aspect was that he had a new purpose in life: he would try to restore the Empire, as a respect gesture honoring the memory of all innocent victims who had vanished into the Nova Accident.
     Above all, the Ladies themselves, as persons, had caused an abrupt change in his life because Ghethe was a fine psychoanalyst of women—especially of the very well educated ones. The two Zelhane Ladies were so nice they had impressed him beyond description! He suffered thinking of how terrible it had been to the young and inexperienced Ladies to be brutally taken from their brilliant secluded life, and to be ruthlessly thrown onto the street, into the nightmarish existence of dire poverty . . .

*

M1-8     Ghethe spent the rest of the day trying to contact the owner of the building in which he had his apartment, and he managed to book an appointment for the next day. He was terribly anxious to have the two Zelhane Ladies close, under his protection, though he knew he had to work with a lot of tact, and plenty of patience. In the evening he received a call from Ahlane.
     “Mr. Dakka, you said you wanted to know if someone would contact us—”
     She appeared to be worried, and Ghethe felt that a sharp talons claw was holding his heart. He interrupted her quickly, looking concerned, “Of course, My Lady, what happened?”
     “Well, I am invited at the Police Station seventy-eight to account for the money transaction,” explained Ahlane with transparently restrained reproaches in her voice.
     He felt relieved, because that was a minor problem. He said, “Excellent, My Lady! When and with whom do you have to meet?”
     Ahlane watched him in doubt for a few moments, then she asked, “Do you really think this is excellent news, Mr. Dakka?”
     He explained, “Yes, it is, My Lady, please do not worry about anything. I shall go there in your place, and I am going to solve any possible problems. Even better, from now on if any official persons want to discuss with you, tell them to contact your Legal Representative: me.”
     “Are you certain that is what you really want, Mr. Dakka? You have done, already, way too much for us.”
     “Yes, My Lady. Please, allow me to record your explicit consent, because it will give me the power to act as your Legal Representative.”
     After some additional reasoning, Ahlane accepted Ghethe as their Legal Representative, and he recorded—very happy!—her consent and Mlane’s, plus all the data he needed for the meeting.

*

M1-9     Next morning Ghethe went to meet with the Sector Commissar, Mr. Jolte Kolas, in the modern and spacious Police Station seventy-eight. That building was an enormous, sixteen floors in height elliptical body supported by nine, transparent, nicely arched pillars which also housed the access elevators. Ingeniously curved lines and gentle angles were greatly admired all over the Batlan Federation in that period of time, and they defined the local, general artistic style.
     Before being admitted in, Ghethe had a lengthy conversation with Mr. Kolas over the local comnode explaining his legal rights to assist his clients. In the end, it was only his lawyer diploma obtained at the Korwatan University which appeared to bear some weight, as an argument, to the Commissar.

     Ghethe entered a spacious office on floor seven having some of walls made of transparent crystals, and that allowed for a magnificent view of Korwatan City. The Commissar was rather plump around the belly for his medium height. He was a middle age man with a long bald patch on top of his head, surrounded by little rare, short cut, red hair. His face was round with pink skin, and he had small, blue, piercing eyes.
     Mr. Kolas appeared to be troubled; he said, “I had no idea, Mr. Dakka, that Miss Ahlane Loh Zelhane has a Legal Representative. Could you, please, explain to me, since when and why?”
     “Yes, Sir. I am the Legal Representative of both Zelhane Ladies since yesterday, when I had the honor to transfer into their account the sum of nine hundred thousand Batlan Credits,” replied Ghethe in a relaxed attitude.
     “You said, nine hundred thousand Credits, Sir?” accentuated the Sector Commissar in disbelief.
     “That is correct, Sir.”
     “Could you, please, explain to me, Mr. Dakka, the origin of such enormous amount of Credits?” asked Mr. Kolas while watching Ghethe attentively.
     “I would be very glad to do it, Sir, but only in front of the Batlan Justice Board. As you probably know, financial transactions are both private, and GUARANTEED secret issues,” replied Ghethe while smiling politely.
     “Oh, I see. Please be aware, Sir, that we may have to come to that point in the near future,” warned the Sector Commissar with pointed looks, trying to read Ghethe’s reactions.
     He replied in style, “I shall always be at your disposition, Sir. We are prepared to spend with the Board’s procedures even nine hundred million Batlan Credits, if we have to.” Ghethe’s intention was to discourage the official persons in charge from further harassing the Zelhane Ladies.
     “Nine hundred million Credits! Who are you, Sir, and why are you telling me that?” asked the Sector Commissar with irritation, though also perplexed.
     “That information was not addressed to you, Sir,” replied Ghethe smilingly, then he turned his looks towards an almost invisible mirror dot on the wall, somewhere at his left side, ingeniously camouflaged by the tapestry.
     “How could you—” started the Sector Commissar in a lost voice.
     “Sufficient to say that I have a very special training, Sir,” interrupted Ghethe with relaxation.
     “How special?” inquired the Sector Commissar quickly, hoping to compile a more interesting report.
     “The most,” replied Ghethe casually.
     “The most?” asked the Sector Commissar.
     Mr. Kolas appeared to be fairly confused, therefore Ghethe explained briefly, “Yes, Sir, the best one possible. Now, in the future, whenever you need to talk to any of my clients, I would like that you contact me instead, at this comnode code.” He gave his comnode code, then he worked a little on Mr. Kolas’s mind in order to end that meeting fast.
     “Oh, thank you, Sir!” replied the Sector Commissar looking very satisfied.
     “Is everything clear now, Sir?” inquired Ghethe.
     “Ha! It couldn’t be clearer, Sir!” assured the Sector Commissar happily.
     “Do you still require my presence, Sir?” tested Ghethe.
     “Oh no, Sir! Please, allow me to help you out,” replied the Sector Commissar courteously, except that was, in fact, Ghethe’s wish.

     Mr. Kolas showed the way out while being very happy, though quiet all the time. Ghethe found out from his memories that there was an entire plot to keep the Zelhane Ladies poor, under a strict surveillance, and the man in charge with that operation was the City Commissar, Mr. Koptke Lavan.
     Before departure, Ghethe implanted a reflex suggestion inside Mr. Kolas’s memory. The Sector Commissar was going to contact Ghethe, in secret, each time he received new information concerning the Zelhane Ladies, or their Legal Representative.

GREEN LEAVES




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