MERCY [NOVA AFTERMATH], CHAPTER 10: DUBAR FOUR

M10-0
     Naiollah reached the Dubar System and she went out of E-Fields Glide Drive, then she started towards Dubar Four on antigravity engines. Ghethe and Zelhane Ladies were in Main Salon having a late supper.
     “Naiollah, tell us some data about Dubar Four.”
     “Yes, Ghethe. Dubar Four has the average surface gravity vector of one and twenty-one. The atmospheric pressure at the average sea level is one and twelve, and the ratio of oxygen is zero and twenty-five . . . There is much land covered by desert specific . . . There are no seasons, and there is a high temperature gradient between night and day, particularly in the equatorial and mid-latitude zones . . . The vegetation has mainly a photosynthesis based cycle . . . The land fauna is various . . .”
     They finished supper, and they took seats in the Social Area to savor dessert fruit drinks.

     When the presentation was over, Ghethe said, “Thank you, Naiollah. Please land in a close proximity to the place marked on the maps.”
     “We shall land in one i-std. hour, Ghethe.”
     “Naiollah, is it going to be day or night at the landing place?” asked Ahlane.
     “At the landing place it is going to be day, morning, Ahlane.”
     “It seems that we may have to change our normal sleep time, Ladies,” observed Ghethe not much pleased with the idea.
     “Do you intend to start right away?” asked Mlane.
     “I would like to leave this System as soon as possible because it is too far away from everything, and this is not very good.”
     “Are you afraid that someone could find us here?” asked Ahlane.
     Ghethe noticed fears in her beautiful eyes; he answered, “Oh no, My Dear. Our followers are lost, and they will, almost certainly, call for additional forces in this region: that takes time. I estimate we have about forty-five i-std. days time of our own. After that, they will try to approach us very cautiously . . .”
     He was greatly upset because he had had to reveal some of his powers to their followers, during the incident in Kalanda City. Their situation had become far more dangerous, due to that unfortunate episode, but he intended to keep the news for himself, to avoid stressing the Ladies.
     “Where do we go from here, Ghethe?” asked Mlane.

     She looked tired. All of them were exhausted due to living on the ship for so many days. Life on small and medium spaceships was not very pleasing. Despite Naiollah’s exceptional design, there were minor radiations leaks from either inside or outside sources, which appeared, mostly, during the transition periods from one cycle of functioning to another. In addition, there were the “Locally Contained Anomalous Micro Gradients Deviations” scattered throughout the Amta subatomic energy layer used, which caused nasty variations of the artificial gravity vector, and that generated in turn some disturbing physiological reactions to each of them.
     As for the living accommodation, things were even worse. Only on the big ships of the Super Destroyer class, with many people around, plenty of space and lots of entertaining facilities, life in space was a little more bearable, though even there the average mobilization period was maximum ninety i-std. days. All of them needed badly some resting time, therefore Ghethe intended to take the Ladies as soon as possible to a nice Planet for a longer recovery and relaxation period.

     He replied, “I have a few interesting options, Mlane, but I am still working on it. On the other hand, it would help me a lot to know exactly what you, Ladies, wish for.”
     Mlane explained, “I prefer a Planet with a moderately hot white or yellow Star, and with a blue, purple, or violet transparent sky. Then, I want nice beaches with fine granulated sand, and a warm ocean having a darker color than the sky.”
     “And we shall find exactly the place you desire, My Dear,” assured Ghethe, then he added, “unless Ahlane wants something different.”
     “No. I want the same place Mlane wants, somewhere in a holiday resort. In addition, I want many nice people around, music and dance at nighttime, and many shopping centers nearby. Oh, and I also want lots of interesting places to visit,” said Ahlane smiling enchanted by her own visions.
     He promised, “It is going to be a nice holiday resort, Ladies.”
     “You know what, Ghethe? I think I do not like politics too much—especially after the last experience we have had on Kalanda,” complained Ahlane making a sweet displeased face.
     “Ha, ha! That was not politics, My Dear. However, you have pointed out an interesting aspect, Ahlane. We need to think of a future Empire that would give us the freedom to be normal citizens, and to enjoy life like everybody else,” replied Ghethe.
     “Yes, that would be really nice!” concurred Mlane happily.
     “This is an excellent idea, Ladies: an Empire with no specific home place, and with an unknown Emperor . . . Yes! Nobody should know in the future who are and where are the members of the Imperial Family!” detailed Ghethe excitedly.
     “But . . . how do we perform the required protocol duties?” inquired Mlane confused.
     “First of all, as the Emperor you do not have too much to do; secondly, we shall let the people do whatever they want. We only observe that everything works well, and that nobody suffers,” replied Ghethe with the inspiration of the moment.
     “And nobody would know who are we? It is convenient for us, but it may also be very dangerous,” objected Ahlane.
     “It is dangerous in any case, My Dear. However, that anonymous life should force us—let’s say, the nucleus of the future Empire—to become strong enough to protect ourselves against anybody.”
     “It sounds very nice but, how do we perform our duties, Ghethe?” persisted Mlane.
     “First, we need to set a few general guidelines for all Systems, then we come anonymously and check for their implementation. We could have an Imperial Court on a ship like Naiollah, then we shall have apartments in Korwatan City and in many other places under false names, and we could go there and nobody would bother us . . . Wow! Isn’t this really something, Ladies?” asked Ghethe well fascinated by his own insights.
     “It could be wonderful, but it is practically impossible because an Empire requires an army of officials and many others,” answered Ahlane in a calm voice, and smiling with tolerance at Ghethe and Mlane as if they were little, excited children.
     He replied, “You see, Ahlane, whenever we start doing something, the most important thing is our intention—”
     Mane interrupted him in an ironically suffering voice, “Ah! You told us about that before, Ghethe!”
     “Ha, ha! I remember I did, My Dear, only it was in connection to a bit different context.
     Now, if we want to do something in a certain way, the most important is that we all agree to it, and we want it strongly; then, we shall find a way to implement it, somehow. Now, the problem is that we also need to make things better, but we have clarified an important part: how life should be in the future for the Imperial Court.”
     “How?” asked Mlane perplexed.
     “None! There will be no Imperial Court or, better said, it shall be an official one with no face, and an invisible, ordinary life, as normal citizens. Ha, ha!” answered Ghethe greatly pleased with the idea.
     “That sounds rather complicated, Ghethe,” concluded Ahlane skeptically.
     “It is, but give me some time to think about it, and then we shall discuss things in details. For the time being, it is very important to start with what we really want and wish.”
     “We are landed, Ghethe,” announced Naiollah.
M10-1
     “Oh, I missed everything with your discussions, Ghethe!” protested Mlane.
     “I am sorry, My Dear, but do not worry because I am certain that we are going to see plenty of new Planets into the future. Now, I would like to go out alone, Ladies,” announced Ghethe.
     “Why? Do you think there are dangers out there?” asked Ahlane suddenly alarmed.
     “This is only a precautious measure, My Dear. It may be there are unknown poisoning insects, viruses, or some dangerous animals, and there is nobody here to help us. If something bad happens to me, I need you to be well and able to help. Besides, you can watch everything from right here, Ladies.”
     “This doesn’t seem too much ‘treasure finding’ to me, Ghethe,” complained Mlane visibly disappointed.
     “I do not believe it is going to be a typical treasure finding, Mlane. The truth is, I am almost certain there is a surprise there waiting for us,” suggested Ghethe in a mysterious attitude.
     “To what kind of a surprise are you referring?” asked Ahlane again alarmed.
     “Oh, not in the bad way, My Dear, but I cannot tell you now what I suspect. On the other hand, I need you here to guide me around, Ladies. Do not worry, because I do not intend to spend much time out there: I just go out to that building, and then I come back.”
     “So easy! I thought there are some mysteries to uncover,” complained Mlane still disappointed.
     “I didn’t say that was all, My Dear, but I shall explain later. For the time being, just try to exercise little patience, Ladies, because I suspect we may have to spend a few local days on this Planet.”
     “A few local days!” protested both Ladies in the same time, and both of them appeared to be nervous about the news.
     “Patience, My Dears,” advised Ghethe smiling mysteriously. He went to the Laboratory to dress in his spacesuit, then he took a small pulsing laser gun and a case he had previously filled with instruments.

     Ghethe exited Naiollah, then he started towards the group of abandoned buildings. It was morning, and there was much silence around—natural silence, with sounds of insects, small animals, and birds. The ground was dry red dirt, and the place was probably close to a river, because he saw bunches of trees nearby following a departing winding line. Some trees looked almost normal, others appeared very strange.
     From place to place there were purple-bluish bushes with yellow flowers and dark-blue fruits, and scattered patches of a tiny red-bluish vegetation with thorny, thick leaves. Two small red fur animals started on a funny hopping race towards a distant hole in the ground, followed by the hungry looks of a large black bird flying in large circles above. The sky was violet in color, without the shadow of a cloud, and the Dubar Star had a bright yellow light.
     “I suspect, Ladies, that our building is the third one from left. Am I right?”
     “Yes, Ghethe, you are right, but they look rather worn out,” answered Mlane while comparing the moving images from Ghethe’s camera with the image of the buildings from the image-map.
     “This is a very good sign, Mlane, because it means that nobody came here to repopulate this place.”
     “Maybe they did, a long time ago, Ghethe. They took the treasure, and they left,” suggested Mlane.
     “No, My Dear, I do not believe the treasure is that easy to take,” replied Ghethe.
     “Really!” exclaimed Mlane, perplexed. She couldn’t understand those mysterious allusions Ghethe persisted on making. She thought that he tried, most likely, to impress them with some cheap tricks.
     “We shall see, Mlane. I am entering the building,” announced Ghethe.
     Ahlane warned him in an alarmed voice, “Watch out, Ghethe! That building looks like ready to collapse!”
     “Do not worry, My Dear, I am very strong. Besides, structural pillars and the floors of these buildings are made of standard reinforced ceramic which is guaranteed to last for nine hundred i-std. years. Mlane; could you please send to me the image of the treasure room?”
     “Yes. Naiollah, send to Ghethe the image-map number four.”
     “The image-map was sent, Mlane.”

     After little research, Ghethe discovered a room looking similar to the one in the image-map—since it had a duct construction on one wall, and three windows positioned at specific distances. There were lots of old scraps scattered all over the floor. Ghethe went on cleaning the place where the metallic box should have been.
     “I found it,” announced Ghethe in a casual tone of voice.
     “You found what? We can see nothing!” complained Mlane with desperation.
     “Here,” said Ghethe, then he bent in order to point his spacesuit camera down.
     On the floor, partly covered by scraps, there was painted a small, white arrow sign.
     “Ghethe, you should look for a metallic box,” explained Mlane perplexed.
     “I know, My Dear, but we need to declare ourselves satisfied with what we have found, for the time being,” replied Ghethe casually.
     “Somebody else must have taken it a long time before, Ghethe,” said Ahlane in a relaxed tone of voice.
     He had the feeling that she was smiling amused; he replied, “I do not believe they could, or knew how to do it, Ahlane.”
     “What do you mean, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane while looking wonderingly at Mlane.
     “Allow me just a few moments, Ladies.” Ghethe cleaned the area of the arrow, then he worked on installing various instruments in the corners of the room, and in places encircling the arrow sign. When he was finished, he asked Naiollah to check if the equipment was working properly. “Ladies, tell me, please, if the cameras I mounted work well.”
     “They work fine, Ghethe, but we see no treasure,” answered Mlane, and she seemed to be disappointed.
     “Neither do I. Well, I suppose it is time for me to go back.”
     “Haven’t you forgotten something, Ghethe?” asked Mlane in a flat voice.
     “What?”
     “The treasure! We came all this way up to here to find the treasure!” explained Mlane nervously, seeming to be a little too disappointed.
     “Ha, ha! Oh no, My Dear, the treasure is not for anybody to come and take it. It is a lot more interesting, and you are going to see it all.”
     “I am very curious, Ghethe,” confessed Mlane, though it sounded more like a threat.
     “Me too,” admitted Ahlane. She started being intrigued by all that apparently pointless activity.
     “To be honest with you, Ladies, me too,” concurred Ghethe amused.
     “You mean, you have no idea of what you are doing, Ghethe?” asked Mlane in disbelief.
     “I do have an idea, My Dear; this is why I came out here. However, I was confident the container was not going to be at the marked place, therefore I brought with me some specific instrumentations. When I shall be back to you, we are going to start digging for the treasure together,” assured Ghethe.
     “Digging! From Naiollah?” asked Mlane confused, then she looked with scared looks at Ahlane.
     “Yep.”
     “Ghethe . . . how are you feeling?” asked Ahlane in a worried tone of voice.
     “Very well, My Dear.”
     “Are you certain?” insisted Ahlane.
     “Yes.”
     “Maybe you do need little more rest time after all those stressing past events—” started Ahlane sweetly.
     “Ha, ha! I see where you are heading, Ahlane: you have no chance, My Dear.”
     “But . . . you are coming back, aren’t you?” asked Mlane, and her voice sounded also worried.
     “Of course I do, Mlane. I shall be back shortly,” promised Ghethe.
M10-2
     Ghethe entered Naiollah, then he took his spacesuit off for decontamination. He dressed in comfortable clothes, then he went to the Main Salon.
     “Let me explain something to you, Ladies. In the image-map it appears there is a metallic container in that room.”
     “Yes,” agreed Mlane.
     “Now, if you were the Emperor, Mlane, would you simply leave the treasure in a room and go away? Anybody could come in and take it,” elaborated Ghethe trying to help Mlane think harder.
     “Aah, you mean, it is buried under the floor?” asked Mlane with new hopes glittering in her eyes.
     “There has to be something buried under the floor, though not the treasure,” said Ghethe.
     “What is buried under the floor?” rushed Mlane.
     “I suspect there are some clues for us, or something used to make the treasure invisible—” started Ghethe.
     “Aha! I get it!” exclaimed Mlane enthusiastically.
     “What?” asked Ghethe surprised.
     “We need to disable that device, and then the treasure should become visible!” replied Mlane.
     “I am afraid it is going to be a bit more complex, My Dear,” said Ghethe caringly.
     “Why?” asked Mlane, and she was again disappointed.
     He explained, “You see, Mlane, The Emperor was not . . . easy minded. He was the one named The Enlightened, because he had been a great Scientist. When he left his treasure to be found, he had encrypted the data to a genetic code sequence specific to the Ladies of your Family. Now, collecting the treasure is going to be a lot more difficult than finding the data in the Laxa Cube, and I do not have much of an idea how to do it, but we do have to start this somehow.”
     “Oh, I am sorry, Ghethe. I couldn’t imagine it is going to be that difficult,” said Mlane with regret in her voice as she began understanding the situation.
     He replied, “It is all right, My Dear. We shall find it, do not worry. Naiollah, start analyzing the data from the sensors and report anything unusual.”
     “There is no unusual data from sensors, Ghethe.”
     “Naiollah, start generating a very short pulse, beginning with the superior sound limit, then measure the resonant responses in that room. Next, increment the generated frequency by nine hundred cycles, or more if you consider. When you get a significant resonant response, please interpolate it to the exact value, then continue.
     Ignore all signals coming from trash, or from the obvious construction elements. Stop when you reach the maximum frequency of the generators, then report all unusual responses.”
     “The procedure is started, Ghethe.”
     “I see it is going to be rather scientific,” remarked Mlane shyly.
     He replied thoughtfully, “Yes, My Dear, and this aspect puzzles me a lot.”
     “Why, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane.
     “The Emperor was addressing to his children, and they are you two, Ladies. What is amazing is the fact that he left the data and the treasure so well hidden, as if HE KNEW that a Scientist was going to be with you. Otherwise, there was no way for you to discover anything,” explained Ghethe looking perplexed.
     “Yes, you are flawlessly right! Without you, Ghethe, we couldn’t discover the data crystal in the first place, although we are his children,” agreed Ahlane, also perplexed.
     “Yeah, we should think about this one some other time, Ladies. Onboard the ship it is midnight. I say, let’s keep with Naiollah’s timetable, because we could work if it is night outside, if necessary, but we are all tired now. Besides, it should take Naiollah many i-std. hours to finish her tests.”
     “Very well, Ghethe. Everybody to beds,” announced Ahlane.

*

M10-3     They woke up and then they served breakfast, although outside it was almost evening. Ghethe checked the status of Naiollah’s tests, then he went again to the treasure room to install additional generators and lighting equipment. He finished the job quickly, then he returned to the ship.

     They were all in Social Area, discussing and waiting for Naiollah to finish her tests, when she announced, “The scan is completed, Ghethe.”
     “Naiollah, summarize the report.”
     “I discovered seventy-eight significant resonant sources. I isolated their harmonics, and I found their fundamental frequencies, Ghethe.”
     He said, “Naiollah, please make the sketch of the room, and then draw the arrow plus the location of the resonant sources.”
     Naiollah presented the sketch of the room, then she added the blue arrow and the resonant sources marked in various colors.
     Ghethe became interested in five sources arranged in a relative circle, and embedded into the floor right near the place of the arrow. He said, “Naiollah, please analyze the fundamental frequencies of the sources fourteen, fifteen, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, and thirty-four, against the sequence from the genetic code you used to decrypt the data crystal.
     Try to find a multiplier pattern for each resonant frequency, the highest possible, considering that all frequencies form just one system—something similar to the genetic code sequence you used to decipher the data crystal.”

     They had to wait for about twenty-seven i-std. minutes, until Naiollah reported, “Analysis completed, Ghethe. I have a multiplier pattern for the five resonant frequencies you have specified, based on the previously used genetic code sequence.”
     “Naiollah, use five of the frequency generators I installed in that room, and generate for three i-std. seconds simultaneous signals of the five multiplied frequencies, according to the multiplier pattern you have found.”
     They were watching the empty room lighted by artificial illumination on their three-dimensional projections. During the test, it became obvious that a vague darker shape tried to materialize at the place of the arrow.
     “It is there!” said Mlane in a whispered voice and very enthusiastic.
     He agreed, “Yes, it is there, though we have a lot of work to do in order to get it out.”
     “Get it out from where, Ghethe?” asked Ahlane with relaxation.
     “You see, My Dear, the treasure is hidden in E-Fields, in a stasis state, and I cannot understand how because the Emperor used a technology of which I never heard about.”
     “You want to say that we cannot get it out?” asked Mlane slightly alarmed by that perspective.
     “No, Mlane, we can retrieve it. We have already done a great progress by revealing the place, the E-Fields, where it is hidden. Even more, we have found these five frequencies which, combined in a specific pattern, should give us a resultant frequency signal. That should disable the device used to hide it, and then the treasure is going to reintegrate into our atomic space-matter-time coordinates. We still have a lot of work to do, but we also have clues.
Please, allow me a few moments, Ladies. Naiollah, did you scan the room while generating the frequencies?”
     “Yes, Ghethe. My scans indicate that an undefined object tried to materialize at the place marked on the image-map.”
     “Naiollah, please find an additional pattern, this time based on the second random encryption algorithm you used to decipher the encoded data. I intend to use the new pattern to calculate a new set of multipliers for the last frequencies used, in order to generate new frequencies with even higher orders of multiplication.”
     “Analysis started, Ghethe.”

     It took about eighteen i-std. minutes before Naiollah reported again, “Pattern established, Ghethe.”
     “Naiollah, use the new pattern you have found, and generate the new frequencies simultaneously, for five i-std. seconds,” said Ghethe.
     The metallic container became perfectly visible for the duration of time Naiollah used to generate the new frequencies. They all started to cheer, and the Ladies to congratulate him.
     “This is so unbelievable, Ghethe! I almost lost all hopes,” confessed Ahlane nicely surprised.
     “Yes, me too!” concurred Mlane happily.
     “Ha, ha! Thank you, Ladies. We still have some more work to do because we couldn’t make it to remain static, locked into our Atomic Universe.
     Naiollah, display on your sketch only the five resonant sources I mentioned, then show us the location of the frequency generators you used last time. Further, Naiollah, display each resonant source in a distinct color, then color each generator also distinctly. Make the corresponding resonator-generator colors to be the same. Now, change the frequency of the generators to . . . No, ignore the last one, Naiollah.
     Ladies, I have to go out to adjust the location of the generators, and you will guide me from here. I want you to tell me how to move each frequency generator, according to its correspondent resonant source. As you can see, they are color coded; therefore, red should be close to red, yellow to yellow and so on.”
     Mlane asked, “Ghethe, what are those resonant sources?”
     “Ghethe, is it safe to go out at nighttime? There could be dangerous animals on this Planet,” asked Ahlane worriedly.
     He answered to both Ladies, “The resonant sources are fragments of different metallic alloys embedded into the floor, each tailored to resonate at a specific frequency. They were left there as clues for us, by the Enlightened Emperor, so that we may find the right frequencies needed to make the treasure visible, Mlane.
     I suspected these things from the very beginning, therefore all I did was just little logic interpretation. As for going out, Ahlane, do not worry, My Dear, because I shall take adequate precautions.”
     “Are you confident, Ghethe? I have a bad feeling that I am going to see you again in your bed for the next four or five i-std. days,” said Ahlane looking even more worried.
     “Ha, ha! My Dear, if it has to happen it will.”
     “I do not like that, Ghethe Dakka! I say, you should better wait for daylight!” said Ahlane with irritation.
     He explained in a gentle voice, “Please, Ahlane, I want to go there. I shall rearrange the position of the generators, then I ask Naiollah to try again. If the container remains in our Universe, I take it, and then we shall leave this deserted Planet. I am going to take very good care of myself, I promise.”
     “Oh, Ghethe, you will never stop!” concluded Ahlane with sorrow.
     “What, Ahlane? I do not want you to worry, My Dear. I am very strong,” tried Ghethe to be convincing.
     “You rush too much, and you get involved into so many dangerous situations . . . I do not know how much your organism would support . . . So many accidents, broken bones and—” started Ahlane in a troubled voice. She cared a lot for him, though she didn’t want to reveal her true feelings.
     He interrupted her smiling ironically, “You forget, My Dear, that I had a recent session of organism fortifying with the Essence of the Spirit—which is very potent. Besides, it is just a small distance, Ahlane.”
     She agreed with a clear threatening note in her voice, and in her eyes, “Well, go ahead, Ghethe Dakka, but be very careful!”

M10-4
     He dressed in his spacesuit and took a plasma rifle, then he instructed Naiollah to light his way up to the buildings, and to produce a loud low frequency noise if any large animal was coming near the lighted area.
     Ghethe went out and he reached the buildings without problems. He repositioned the frequency generators helped by Mlane, then he asked Naiollah to generate again the frequencies used last time for five more i-std. seconds.
     The container remained visible for a few good moments after the generator pulses stopped, but it disappeared again just before Ghethe was close to touching it. He thought for some time, then he told Naiollah to find a new spatial distribution pattern for the generators, based on the distance between each resonant source and the geometrical center of the container.
     The requirement was, the resultant frequency to the base of the container needed to contain the minimum possible harmonics amount. They had to wait for two long i-std. minutes until Naiollah presented the new spatial pattern, then Ghethe asked Mlane to guide him with the installation of the generators in the new locations.
     When the container appeared again, Ghethe waited for more than twenty-five i-std. minutes to make certain that it was stable, and also to let it warm up, closer to the ambient temperature. A layer of ice formed on container’s surface in no time, therefore Ghethe worked for a while on removing it as soon as it re-appeared. When the ice ceased depositing, he tried lifting it. The container was very heavy; he told the Ladies that at least four solid men were required to carry it.
     He gathered all the instruments in a case he strapped on his back, then he took the container and went out of the building. The treasure container had difficult to hold rounded edges and a slippery surface, therefore Ghethe had to put it down a few times on the road back. After experimenting with various positions, he decided to hold it balanced on his right arm and shoulder. It was a lot easier that way, and he reached Naiollah without incidents.

     Ghethe left the container for decontamination. He changed into casual clothes, then he went to the Main Salon with a flagon of sweet sparkling Solesa wine. He was the hero of the day, feeling quite satisfied for being that much congratulated.
     After they toasted and drank the first cup of wine, Ghethe told Naiollah to depart to a System having a vector to the interior of the Imperial Worlds, and well away from the route they came.
 M10-5
     “Now, we should decide on our next stop,” proposed Ahlane.
     “Don’t you want to see what is inside the treasure?” wondered Mlane.
“Ha, ha! Oh, Mlane Dear! First, it has to be opened, and I am confident that is going to take a long time, and plenty of scientific ingenuity—Ghethe’s ingenuity, Mlane. Secondly, once opened, I suspect we shall discover a collection of data crystals with sketches and formulas, also encrypted, which are not going to make any sense to me, or to you.
     From now on the treasure belongs entirely to Ghethe, and my only hope is that he will abandon us in a civilized place, now that he has everything he ever wanted,” explained Ahlane, and she pronounced her last words ironically, looking at Ghethe. She was very glad the treasure hunting episode was ended without incidents.
     “Well now, you have touched there a bit of a thorny issue, Ahlane. I have to admit that my initial plan was to abandon you both Ladies, immediately, right there on Dubar Four! But . . . aah, I foresee I may have further needs of your gracious presence, Ladies, so . . . yeah!” replied Ghethe appearing to be disappointed with his own lack of determination.
     “Such as?” inquired Mlane smiling nicely at him.
     “Such as . . . a great need to kiss your beautiful hands, gentle Ladies, in moments of aching despair. For example as . . . as right now!” specified Ghethe firmly.
     “Despair! Why so much despair on you, Mr. Dakka? Is that because you are so far away from your dearest Essence?” wondered Ahlane in a voice full of irony.
     He replied also with plenty of irony, “If you really want to know, merciful Lady, I have ahead of me long and lone nights of studying the so called ‘treasure’, which you so gracefully have thrown on my weak and old shoulders.”
     “Oh, poor you!” said Ahlane, then she touched his left cheek with her hand. Ghethe tried to kiss it, but Ahlane withdrew it very fast and said, “No, no, no, Mr. Dakka! You need to DESERVE the honor.”
     “How?” asked Ghethe with great desire and ready for anything. He was sensing perfectly clear Ahlane’s delicate touch on his cheek—and that touch was giving him wonderful sensations—though he strongly perceived he wanted MORE!
     “First, you have to take us to a holiday place, similar to the one we told you about,” started Ahlane teasingly.
     “But that takes days, Ahlane!” protested Ghethe in an imploring voice.
     “Well, if you really want it,” replied Ahlane casually.
     “Yes, I do! What’s next?” asked Ghethe appearing he had found new resources for his hopes.
     “Secondly, I have to make certain you are not that kind of a Gentleman who kisses today the hands of one Lady, and tomorrow he finds another Lady, with even more beautiful hands,” continued Ahlane cynically her prolonged torture.
     “Aah . . . I knew you were going to say something like that. For how long that ‘make certain’ thing would last?” asked Ghethe without much hope left.
     “Oh, I could declare myself satisfied with . . . two i-std. years,” said Ahlane admiring the hand that had been so close to the danger of being kissed by Ghethe.
     “Two i-std. years!” exclaimed Ghethe appearing to be shocked by the news.
     “It depends only on you, Ghethe Dakka; it could be even three i-std. years!” replied Ahlane quickly, and caustically.
     “Oh, well; I guess I have to start with a nice holiday place. I have three proposals, Ladies: the first one—” started Ghethe with veiled disappointment.
     “You know what? I am going to make this a trial for you: I want to see how capable you are in satisfying our dreams. You may select the place for us, and . . . and we might reward you,” proposed Ahlane.
     “Oh! What is the reward?” rushed Ghethe with new, bright hopes in his eyes.
     “Now you really are very daring, Mr. Dakka!” concluded Ahlane with exasperation.
     He replied defensively, “It was only a question.”
     “Work first, reward later!” declared Ahlane firmly the new rule.
     “Oh, Ahlane! You should be a little more understanding with poor Ghethe, after he saved us from that terrible alien ship,” said Mlane jokingly, then she stretched her arm towards Ghethe and added, “Here! Take your reward from me, Mr. Dakka.”
     Ghethe took her little hand and he kissed it lightly on her thin fingers. He said, smiling satisfied, “Thank you very much, Miss Zelhane. Your generosity rewards all my mediocre efforts in rescuing you.”
     “Ah, you make me feel so ungrateful, Mlane! Here, Mr. Dakka,” said Ahlane. She extended her arm towards Ghethe just about, while turning her head in the opposite direction.
     Ghethe dropped on his knees with a thud. He took her hand very gently, and then he kissed her delicate fingers with deep emotion. He held her hand a little bit longer, to feel it better, to smell its subtle perfume . . .
     Ahlane touched his fingers softly with her thumb, making a little pressure on his fingers—which caused a strong electric discharge inside Ghethe’s body—and then she withdrew her hand.
     Ahlane had a lot of blue shades on her cheeks when she said, “I trust you will find the required manners to prevent this to become a common practice into the future, Mr. Dakka.”
     He started with enthusiasm, “Actually, I was going to propose that each time I shall rescue you—”
     “Oh My, NO! You will make it a custom to sell us into slavery, and then to rescue us, in order to satisfy your perverse desires, Mr. Dakka,” protested Ahlane with mimicked terror.
     “Ha, ha! Oh, no, My Dear Ladies, I do not want anything to happen to you, even if it may take that I shall never have the pleasure of kissing your beautiful hands again,” replied Ghethe looking tenderly at Ahlane.
     She replied, “Is that so, Mr. Dakka? Well, we had too many exciting events for today, and a little too much Solesa wine. I propose that we all retire for a quick nap, to clear our heads.”
     Her voice was firm enough, and Ghethe couldn’t find the nerve to protest. He could still feel the delicate touch of her skin on his lips, and that little pressure on his fingers, therefore he went to his suite happier than ever!

GREEN LEAVES




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