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Solar Groove: The Adventures of Sandokhan and His Motley Crew
Tue Oct 07, 2008, 11:05 PM (This post was last modified: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:26 PM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #1
Solar Groove: The Adventures of Sandokhan and His Motley Crew
'Place looks bigger since last time. Damn.' thought a male tan-furred lynx, as he chewed on a betel leaf and walked along a footpath leading to the main ship bays. Sandokhan watched as Prometheus, a ship half the size of what people back on his home world called "blue whales" was brought into the loading bay, slowly hovering over the bustle of engineers, merchants and travelers over the dock grounds, until it reached Dock Eight where it stayed still, cradled by gravity couplers.

Looking up, he saw a balcony, sealed with a green-tinted Hermetic field, upon which chained men and women made gestures with their arms and mumbled through their lips, apparently directing the course of the ships with telekinesis. Sandokhan knew them to be witches or sorcerers, or some other variety of thing, serving out their sentence for heinous crimes with menial labour. He knew the ones up there had it good, the others are often bartered as slaves. He remembered the one working in his ship, and reminded himself to get her a big box of mana-filled chocolates. 'It's been a long trip, she deserves a treat.'

"Hey, Sando." He turned around, and saw a female, black-furred rabbit walk up to him. "Mind if the rest of us do our thing while we're here?"

"Not at all, Brigit. Just tell them to get back here before sunset... or we're travelling a bit lighter."

"You wouldn't." Sandokhan's cheek tufts rose comically as he smirked.

He walked out of the docks, into the bright sunlight and breezy air of Port Lygatt. The gravelly ground just past the stone steps crackled under his boots as he made his way to where an old woman sat next to a crude circle painted into swept, flat ground. He held up two small, square chips of purple plastic up to the woman. She nodded, took the chips from his hand, and coughed as she pointed to the circle. Sandokhan stepped onto the circle, heard the woman mumble something, and he blinked.

The woman was gone, and so was everything else, replaced by a stone-lined street and a large white bulding with black iron doors. The doors were open, and many people were entering and leaving the building. Sandokhan padded himself, and being sure that nothing was missing, made his way inside. He glanced at the sign that said: IMPERIAL REGISTRY. LYGATT BRANCH.

The inside reminded him of train stations in his home world, with the glass-and-wood service counters, teak waiting benches and guiding ropes for the many long queues. He sneered a bit, and walked past all of it towards the stairs leading to the administrative offices.

He ignored strange looks given by the workers as he made his way to a large office and smiled as he tapped onto a panel screen next to the door. "Oy, Roland! Guess who?"

A few moments passed before a young voice and a vulpine face popped up on the screen, staring at him a bit before smiling. "My, if it isn't the runt." The face turned away for a moment, and there was the sound of a click, before looking back at Sandokhan. "Hang on, I'll meet you at the door."

The door opened, after which the vulpine and the lynx looked at each other strangely before shouting several things and hugging each other in front of the other workers. "Roland. Roley-poley-roland. Did you miss me that much?"

"Shut up, I hear about you all the time. You and the Prometheus."

"Rumours about me, my crew and my ship are greatly exaggerated." Sandokhan paused for a bit. "Not really. They're all true."

Sandokhan belly-laughed, and waved a hand in front of him. "Though, really, I'm not going to be here very long. I just need to renew my passport module and get my ship checked out. I figure, hey, Roley's in town, why bother waiting in line? Right?"

Roland frowned. "Hm, sorry to tell you Sando, but you're going to be here for a bit longer than you think."

"What? Is the network down? Did one of your techies fall head over heels with a server succubus?"

Sandokhan heard a rumble, and turned to see several burly guards in golden and pearl armour marching towards him, cutting him off from any exit. They pointed the glowing, crackly tips of their field impact rifles at him.

Roland scratched his nose. "Actually, you and your crew are under arrest."

[ Proceed calmly. ]
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Thu Oct 09, 2008, 08:31 AM (This post was last modified: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:29 PM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #2
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
"It would quite a cliche if I asked you if this is some sort of elaborate joke, eh Roley?" Sandokhan said, while raising an eyebrow at what he termed his 'friend' a few second ago.

“It would be a cliché,” the vulpine agreed, “But to answer your question anyway: this is no laughing matter.”

Sandokhan refused to raise his arms in surrender as one of the guards, a massive Doberman, leveled a scanning device over his person. The other two guards kept a close watch. All office work ceased as the various secretaries and attendants stared at the proceedings. The lynx smirked at all the attention he was receiving.

“Normally I would charge a modest fee to have myself be… exposed like this,” he grinned. “But I guess you lucky members of the Imperial staff are entitled to a free show.”

“Be quiet,” Roland muttered. He wandered a safe distance away from the lynx to stand beside a window. “As of this moment, troopers are tracking your crew to round them up.”

“So soon?” Sandokhan replied in mock shock. “But it isn’t even night fall yet. That’s hardly enough time for them to be drunk enough to be charged with being public nuisances. Speaking of which, what am I being arrested for?”

Before the vulpine could respond, the guard’s scanner made a loud noise. “Contraband detected,” The Doberman said grimly.

“What? Absolutely not!” Sandokhan said. He took an exaggerated step back. “I dropped off those fake pearl drives at the last port.”

“You’re coming with us,” the second guard, a German shepherd, said, making a move to restrain the lynx.

“Talk about your clichés.” Sandokhan said. “Am I to expect a strip search next?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, now that is going to cost you dearly,” the lynx said. He waited until the guard was close enough before continuing. “You wish to get frisky with me? How about we start with this!”

Sandokhan whipped around, his tail lashing around and knocking the German shepherd’s rifle to the ground. The lynx followed with a rapid strike at the surprised guard’s head that rendered him unconscious. The scream of a startled secretary had only begun before the remaining troopers fired but Sandokhan was already wrapping his cloak around himself.

“Function and fashion,” he said, as the blasts from the rifles were absorbed into the specially treated wormhole fabric he wore as protection. He crouched down low to make himself a smaller target then sprang towards the window that Roland standing beside.

Glass shattered and, as Sandokhan was defenestrated, he glimpsed the not-very-surprised vulpine gracing him with a surreptitious wink. Then the lynx tumbled outside to land running on the opposite rooftop.

He didn’t even spare a backward glance as the alarms were going off in the Imperial Registry. He was too busy sprinting towards the next building. “Hey Brigit! Pass the word!” he shouted to his communicator cufflink. “Time flies when you’re having fun! And believe me when I say that the time is now and we have to fly!”

Sandokhan very nearly did not look where he nearly leapt. He skidded to the edge of the rooftop, realizing with a glance that distance to the next building was too great. He looked down to see a plaza filled with barters, browsers and buyers that are typical denizens of a market place. He looked behind him to see the two remain guards jumping down from the Registry into his level. He looked up as if praying to the heavens. He slowly raised his hands as the guards approached him.

“I don’t suppose you be interested in letting me go my way for, say ten credit chips?” Sandokhan shouted towards the cautious troopers. He produced said ten credit chips from his left hand and waved them about temptingly.

“No? Then how about twenty credits?” he produced another ten chips from his right hand this time. Sandokhan was still shouting as he cajoled the two guardsmen, his voice echoing through the plaza. “Twenty credits are more than enough for passage to Dock Eight, wouldn’t you say?” The troopers just stared at him grimly and prepared to take him down.

“No deal? Really?” the lynx even communicated his disappointment audibly. “I must commend your superiors. You canines are truly quite loyal.” Sandokhan sighed heavily. “I suppose I must find other souls who’rewillingtoacceptmyoffer!”

At the sudden movement, Sandokhan jumped backwards as the guards lunged for him. The lynx twisted in the air and stared fixedly at the rapidly approaching circle drawn into the ground. The shifty looking raccoon standing by the circle, seemingly so far away yet near enough to hear words from a rooftop, nodded to him as he fell. The sorcerer mumbled words as Sandokhan released the twenty chips from his hands into the air. There was a bright flash and it was only the pleasant sound of the pitter patter of monetary precipitation that followed.

*******

Sandokhan rematerialized to feel the light breeze of Port Lygatt on his face. “Fortune may favor the brave,” he smiled. “But it helps to have some to help it along its way.”

As is his habit after using magical means of transport, the lynx started patting himself to check if anything was missing on his person. He wasn’t at all startled to discover something left inside his coat pocket.

“Roley-poley-Roland,” he laughed as he pulled the object out. “What would you have done if we greeted each other with a handshake instead of a hug?”
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Sun Oct 12, 2008, 02:04 PM (This post was last modified: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:32 PM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #3
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
"How much are these?" Brigit said, as she tried on a bracelet made of red seashells.

Her long ears perked, when she heard her name spoken by a gruff voice. From the corner of her eye, she saw a pair of Imperial armored guards talking to a fishmonger, who shrugged when shown a hologram of a number of people, including her.

Her blue eyes narrowed, and she pulled out a scarf from a leather satchel. She smoothed back her ears and wore the scarf as a veil. Then she produced a white muzzle-mask, with long white whiskers, and carefully attached it to her face.

A crackling voice came out of the transponder inside her ear. She stuck a hand in her satchel and tapped a device, sending callback signal to all crew members. 'Well, the important ones, anyway.' she thought.

Brigit made her way to the docks, weaving through alleyways and stairs, evading the local guard. Whilst standing in a dark area of the loading bays, she removed her mask and looked through a window into Dock Eight. A few members of the crew were cuffed and watched over by even more Imperial guards. 'Faigh muin! How did they get here so fast?'

"Brigit O'Flanagan."

Her blue eyes widened, and she quickly turned and struck the figure behind her with the ball of her palm.

"Nngrf!" A male lynx bowled back a bit, grabbing his own face.

"Oh, it's you, Sando." Brigit said, as she rubbed her fist. "Sorry about that."

The spotted cat scrunched his face several times and sniffled. "I ought to know better than to startle a Gaelic woman with a mean left hook."

"Sando, what's going on?" Brigit pointed a thumb towards the view of half their crew being marched out of the dock in single file.

"Let's just say we're in a bit of a lovely pinch. Best keep a distance from any Imperial lackeys."

Brigit pouted. "Caca tarbh. How bad is it, and can we buy our way out of it?"

"See, right there, yet again you assume I'd actually know why we're in trouble." Sando loosened the ties of a small pouch on his belt and took out a fresh betel leaf to chew on. "But, the Norns be blessed, we're a couple of disgustingly fortunate individuals. Follow me, there's a short-term solution I'd like to pursue."

Brigit followed him to Dock Thirty-Two, which seemed far enough from the main entrance and loading bays to be part of the now-abandoned section of Port Lygatt. Not a single soul was present on the walkways. They walked up to a set of worn steel gates with a glowing panel next to it. Sandokhan took a metallic object from his pocket and slid it over the panel, after which it blipped and mentioned to them that ACCESS was GRANTED.

The gates opened, with a slight grinding noise, and they went inside. There, parked over a single gravity coupler pad, was a ship the size of what was called a "uptown mansion" back in Sandokhan's home world.

'Would I ever figure out why ol' office suit Roley would need one of these around.' he thought. 'The empty witch-core was a bit of an inconvenience, though.'

"This is our ticket out of here, Brigit. I feel like going back to Terra Lobo to ask some questions, bribe some scoundrels, swive some ladies, pilfer from some more scoundrels, get some rest..."

Brigit stepped closer to the ship and noticed a few serial numbers etched on it. "It's a Mantis Class ship, with only one field differential engine. The cargo bay is scant, and it'll only keep up to five crew members at a time." She looked at her feline captain and grinned. "This must be really hard for you."

"You haven't the slightest conception of the pain it brings to my already-weary soul." Sandokhan raised his arms. "Alas! These are difficult times for man, woman and germ, so I shall endure this torment for a time."

Brigit touched a finger onto her chin. "Is... she on board?"

"Of course. Picked her up with the emergency portal inside the ship. Still sleeping like a baby in there. By the by, thanks for the cloak... you know, the one your boyfriend stole from the Valkyrie Corps."

She covered her face with a hand. "He is not my boyfriend."

"Excellent! Then you have no problem with it at all."

"You haven't made a single mention of saving anybody from our crew."

"An astute observation. One of many reasons I went out of my way to get you back."

"Thanks? I guess?" Brigit turned her head towards the entrance to the dock. "No mention of our ship, either."

"Why should I? As much as it smarts just thinking about it, the Imperials have locked it down, and will probably melt it down for guns and furniture, if not just to spite me in a petty and cruel fashion."

"You're seriously considering ditching the Prometheus?

"No, no, no. Not the Prometheus. The ship."

"And the crew."

Sandokhan sneered. "They are responsible adults. They can take care of themselves."

"They won't like it one bit, though."

"Tough tittles, I say."

The sound of a click came from the ship. The bay doors opened and a short male rat wearing blue coveralls came out of it and went down the steps, carrying a box full of components where his eyes were focused on. The rat walked towards the dock entrace, apparently unaware of Sandokhan and Brigit, until she said: "Hello, Zippy."

The rat squeaked in terror and dropped the box onto his toes.

[ Proceed calmly. ]
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Fri Oct 17, 2008, 12:40 PM (This post was last modified: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:34 PM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #4
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
“Brigit? Brigit, is that you?” the rat said as he knelt down to clutch at his injured feet.

“In the flesh,” the rabbit replied with a gentle smile. “How’ve you been, Zip?”

“I…I’ve been good. I worked on the Gibbous Frontier for three months, getting some experience, seeing the sights.” Zippy quickly straightened up. He held out a paw to meant to shake the rabbit’s hand, realized how grimy his gloves are then put them behind his back. He stared at his feet and shyly glanced up at Brigit. “How about you? Are you doing okay?”

“She’s doing splendidly! After all, she’s with me.” Sandokhan answered before Brigit could open her mouth. As the rat’s face fell, the lynx continued. “But only in the sense that she’s still the best ‘personal assistant’ a Captain could have.” He smacked the rabbit in the posterior. “Crack that whip, wench! You know the galley slaves love it when you assert your authority.”

As Brigit glare shot daggers into Sandokhan’s soul, a shadow fell over the trio. The outline of a hulking figure carrying a crate is seen at the bay doors before stepping forward.

“That’s the last box, Zippy,” the newcomer said. “Anything else you need?” He finally noticed the two new visitors. “Oh hey, you must be the new boss.” He grinned, showing a magnificent row of sharp teeth.

Sandokhan and Brigit beheld the huge killer whale standing in front of them. Zippy stepped forward. “Captain Sandokhan, Brigit, this is Vorca,” he said. “He’s the hired hand I told you about.”

“Nice to meet you all,” Vorce kept grinning. He shifted his hold on the crate and started to walk away. “Please excuse me.”

Brigit swore Celtic curses under her breath. Sandokhan simply raised an eyebrow at Zippy. The rat noticed their expressions.

“Is there something wrong?” Zippy asked.

“You told me you needed an extra hand on board but you never said he was an aquatic!” Sandokhan said accusingly.

“Is that a problem?” Zippy said anxiously. “His record’s clean and he’s been inoculated for surface acclimation. He carries his own supply of crave suppressants and you wouldn’t even know that he’s a necrosis infectee if it wasn’t for his identification tag---”

“He’s NECROTIC?” Brigit spat out in shock. “I’m not sailing the seven seas with a flesh-eating, genus-traitor zombie!”

“Now, now, there’s not need for name calling,” Sandokhan said. “We’re pressed for time as it is. If Zippy vouches for him, then we’re good.” He frowned at the furious rabbit. “These are enlightened time, Brigit. Stifle your prejudices and help Zip check over the supplies. We leave in ten minutes. I’ll be inside to check on our… passenger.”

The lynx made for the ship, leaving a livid Brigit with the stricken rat. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Zippy said, chagrined. He spoke very quickly. “Sandokhan said we had limited space and he wanted the best and cheapest (emphasis cheapest) multi-tasker crewman I could find. Vorca may be big but he does the work of three men plus he doesn’t eat or sleep so we save on nutrients while doubling the hours-”

Brigit took a deep breath. “No, Zippy,” she said wanely. “I should be the one to apologize. And like Sando said, we’re pressed for time.” To the rat’s great pleasure, Brigit took his arm. “Now show me this ship’s specs. Did you make any modifications in the engine or the solar sails?”

Zippy’s face lit up as he led Brigit into the ship. He gesticulated excitedly, both at the prospect of displaying his technical expertise and the fact that he was in intimate contact with his crush. “Why, yes! Yes, I did! Did you notice the extra manifold vents? A secondary ignition booster has been installed with an isolated energy harness capable of…”

********

Vorca had finished arranging the crates when he heard muffled noises coming from the maintenance closet in the hold. He strode over and opened the door to find an Imperial Trooper, bound and gagged, lying on the floor. The Labrador stopped kicking the bucket behind him as he widened his eyes in terror.

“Hush now, it won’t be long,” the killer whale said, grinning and exposing his teeth. “Saving you for later so just be patient. Your troubles will soon be over.”
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Sun Oct 26, 2008, 11:30 AM (This post was last modified: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:36 PM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #5
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
The astroplane was so small that he need no map to navigate around it for the first time. Now in front of him, at the end of a short corridor, stood an unassuming door in the same color of the wall of space plane, brushed alumunium. Most would mistake it for a small seam in the wall, but not Sando. Sandokahn took the access car out of his pocket once more. He examined it for a while before he placed it, first aligning to the line of the seam and then he twisted it in the air as though he was using a conventional key. There was nothing. No sound can be heard and no movement can be seen either. But now, the door gave way as Sando gave a slight push.

How quaint, a manual door. Even weirder is what greeted from the other side of the door. Darkness laid before him, only darkness. It looks like that the door open to a void.

Sandokahn interfaced with the room control. He pushed the temperature up a bit as well as the light so it was bright enough for him to see but dim enough not to startle her. Now he can see his passenger cuddled there in the corner of the room, atop a white mattress, hugging herself. Thick clothing covered most of her body save for the tip of her white scaly tail that gave monochromatic sparkles as the light landed on it. She looked more like a statue covered in tarpaulin.

"NahaÅ›, sleep well?" Greeted the lynx.
"Cold" is all that she could say, the lady didn't even bother to inch a single bit, let alone turning around to see her host.
"Yes, I already upped the temperature, it should get warm enough for you in several minutes. We'll get you some heater jacket soon."
"Thanks" her voice is now lower and sounds hissed.

Sandokahn turned the lights out and left the cabin. He pulled the door closed, not bothering to lock it. Well, I guess I should check on her a bit later, thought Sandokahn. Let her thaw a bit more.

---

High officer Roland sat on his standard issue desk, his hand neatly intertwined atop the white polymer surface of the utilitarian desk. His expression is flat as usual, and it changed not a bit when the guard comes in front of him empty handed. The two guards however, knew well how their general must have felt at this moment.

General Roland is not pleased.

"Lost him?" After the guard came with unpleasant news, he asked for confirmation, just in case he misheard the two cowering canines.
"He ... he popped out, Sir." Said one of them in defense. Sando's cheating the game ... again. One of these days, thought Roland, he has to propose more stringent regulation on the use of psychokinesis within the port.
"Examine his ship." He ordered the guards who hurried away at once, he did not expect to find the blasted captain there, but he might find something valuable as compensation.
"Now ..." He pulled a drawer to the left of him and took a scroll. He unrolled the screen and tapped its surface. From his finger lines spread instantly and coming back together, intertwining. He scanned the map and after found nothing, he sighed and rolled the map again.

---

"You’re right boss, there's transmitter here." The rodent's glass whirred into focus as he tried to take a better detail of the access card.
"Roley, roley, roley, that’s a child play right there.” Sandokhan commented. Zippy took a small pen-like device and it emitted a faint buzzing noise as he pushed it.
"Arright, it's zapped now."
"I knew could always count on you in obfuscation, now let's fly away!" The lynx jumped into the front set of the cockpit. The plane does not seem to be designed with technical people in mind. There were no pushy buttons nor clickety switches, there was just a screen, and a couple of control gloves.
“First … we need to see.” There was no window in the cockpit and in its place screens were installed. Sando put on the control gloves and with it, he pushed the navigation screen. Soon all of the five screens in cockpit flickered and displayed them a one way view to the outside world. "And now ..."
“... and now” the lapine continued “ ... we have a problem.”
“Yes operative Brigit.” Replied the lynx in a mocking tone. "What seems to be the problem."
“Well … Sando, I just realized one thing … every plane that goes in and out from the port got to call for permission first.”
“An astute observation!” He complimented, he sounds sincere now. “Watch, and learn.” Sando pushed a button on the navigation screen, and the display soon informed them that the anchors are now ejected. Next, Sando pulled out a small remote from a pocket in his cloak and flicked a switch there. After several seconds, they can hear a muffled explosion. Zippy and Brigit looked at the screen to the right of them. It took them a while to comprehend what their captain had just done, and took them more time to compose a meaningful sentence.
“Crickey …” is the only thing the hopping mouse can utter.
“You …” Brigit paused. “Tell me you did not just … blew our plane.”
“It was our plane.” The lynx emphasized the second word. After he is sure that all the guards are diverted to the explosion, the Lynx started the plane’s engine.

“Okay then guys, blast off.” The Astroplane jerked, leaving all the crew fell flat to the floor.

Meanwhile in the cargo.

“Well now, let’s remove all this pesky cloth … whoa whoa.“ Despite his large stature, the cetan managed to balance himself. He stuffed his pre-meal back into the closet and left the cargo.
“Did we just take off?”
“Oh, hi there Vor … what’s your name again?”
“Vorsa.”
“Yeah …. Sorry about that. I kinda forgot to turn the damper on.”

---

The second time they appeared in front of High Officer Roland the two canines are now mostly singed and lost significant amount of their pelt. Thanks to the swift medics, they are mostly fine.

“Let me reiterate what you just have done.” He said in monotone voice without compassion, which only makes him even more terrifying. “In your first day, not only you let a fugitive escape, you destroyed the evidence as well.”
“Sir …” the anesthetic drug just made his trembling worse. “The plane blew itself.”
“Sir!” A third voice come from afar. The runt fennec scurried through his larger comrades.
“One of our plane is missing.” He said, partly in panic, partly in fear.

“What an eventful day.” High Officer Roland mused loudly to himself.

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Mon Oct 27, 2008, 12:26 AM (This post was last modified: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:44 PM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #6
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
As Roland turned to get back to his work, he saw a woman standing in the door frame. She was a tall avian with snow-white feathers, except for a streak of purple across her chest, visible through cuts in her black leather-like suit. Her stiletto heels clicked as she stepped into the room, and everyone outside seemed to have gone quiet in her presence. The officers stepped back to make way for her and two lithe, similarly-dressed women who followed behind.

"Skuld, Section 13." she said, in an elegant, precise voice coming from pale hawk-like beaks.

"Valkyrie Corps. Fancy seeing one of you here."

"Where is Sandokhan?" she said, as she removed a black monocle-computer from her left eye.

"Your unceremonious entrance aside, how should I know? I just work for the Empire."

She chuckled a bit, before she stuck a finger in the air, waved it, and Roland gagged and grabbed at his throat. He fell over, knocking a flickering lamp off his desk. With a curl of her finger, Roland's eyes bulged slightly, and he made choking sounds. None of the officers, or the other employees nearby seemed to want to interfere at all.

Suddenly she closed her eyes, as if sensing a presence, and then her face pulled into a strange grin. She waved her hand and Roland coughed violently as he bowled over the floor.

"Halfbreed witch whelp!" She knelt down to his level. "Do you really think that insults me, brushtail?" She clutched her hand under Roland's face, staring into him with violet eyes. "Because, either way, I know where your 'friends' are now." She shoved Roland back and snapped her fingers. Her attendants followed her out of the office as Roland looked on.

'Damn it, whiskers.' he thought, 'Why did you turn off the transmitter?'

*****

The crew of the ship watched the world through the window-screen, as they headed towards the blue ocean and began to fly over it, with projected sunlight painted into the deck. Zippy pointed out the peak of Arrarat to Brigit, who smiled kindly, as they passed beside it. Vorca sat next to Sandokhan, programming the path of the ship as Sandokhan piloted it.

After a while, Sandokhan removed the control gloves and stood up from the pilot's chair. He made a motion with his hands, and the crew sat in a loose circle around him. "Now that we're on our way to escape trajectory, I would like to announce that our little adventure back there wasn't a complete waste of time."

He slipped a hand into a pocket of his shirt, and lifted a crystalline cube into the air. The inside of the cube was clouded and streaky. "Attached to the keys to Roland's early New Years present are coordinates to yet another nice, warm planet: Olympias. I'm sure you all could appreciate my suggestion that we go there next."

He closed his hand around the cube. "However, we're not going there for a vacation. Things will be tight for a while, since for some reason the Empire decided to try and capture us."

"Yet again." said Brigit, as she rolled her eyes.

"Yes, despite failing the last, oh, five times. Stubborn beast." He tossed the cube in the air, like a toy, and caught it as it fell. "When we get to Olympias, no free roaming. We land in Cynopolis. Brigit and I will be meeting someone at the temple district. I've been informed that he has something he will give us to help with 'the soul of the Prometheus'."

"Something for the Prometheus?" Zippy interjected. "I thought we just left the ship behind?"

"In smoldering pieces." said Brigit, smirking slightly.

At this, Sandokhan became uncharacteristically quiet. After a while, he said: "Alright. Everyone, come with me."

They made their way down the short corridor, and he went through the motions with his access card. He didn't push the door open, saying: "Brigit, follow me. The rest, wait here." They went into the room, and Brigit closed the door behind her.

Vorca stretched himself and leaned against a wall. "I wonder if this is something about that girl Sando's keeping?" said Zippy to nobody in particular, as he looked about the corridor. "I wouldn't be surprised if she's his 'personal plaything'. Hahahah." Vorca's laugh was deep and a mite unsettling. Zippy winced a bit at the idea of Sandokhan's harem.

The door opened, and Brigit's head popped through. "Alright you two, come in."

The room was relatively toasty compared to the rest of the ship. On the single bed in the room was a small mound covered in a blanket. Brigit and Sandokhan sat on opposite sides of it.

"There is a secret shared between Brigit and I. Unfortunately, one which doesn't involve any hanky panky."

"You wouldn't last five minutes with me, Sando."

He pointed towards her forcefully. "Precisely! Anyway, let me ask all of you: when you think of the Prometheus, what comes to mind?"

"Poor job security." said Brigit.

"Uh... expired cheese in the pantry?" said Zippy.

"Bandits who run away rather than get into a proper fight." said Vorca.

Sandokhan laughed into a hand placed over his face. "Ahahaha, it seems I'm running a comedy troupe as well!" He cleared his throat. "Sarcasm aside... The Prometheus wasn't the Prometheus because it was a ship. Brigit and I have had many ships before the one you knew as The Prometheus. The reason a mere ship became the Prometheus is the same reason it outran a fleet of Imperial Skyrazors across three jump gates.

All that talk about our boosters and injectors and field couplers was mere prattle. The real power behind the Prometheus is under the covers, right here." He gestured towards the mound as it started to groan. Zippy jumped a bit at this.

"Nnngh, what is with all the noise?" A pale feminine creature crept out of the covers, and directed her half-closed, violet eyes towards the crew. "Oh, hello... people."

"Crew, NahaÅ›. NahaÅ›, crew."

"Charmed. I suppose." She yawned, and a forked tongue sipped the air. "I hate this ship." Brigit sat closer beside her and gently stroked her head, whispering gentle things to the young reptilian woman.

"For those unfamiliar with the concept, this is a witch." Sando continued. "Generally employed for high-level functions that typical engineering know-how can't do."

"Half-witch." said the girl in the blankets. "I'm not your employee."

"No need to be so modest, dear. Thanks to NahaÅ›, we are able to create our own wormholes to jump through, without grovelling at the Interstellar Transit Ministry's misshapen, smelly feet for permission to use the gates."

"It's... a girl?" Zippy said. "Yes. It seems Brigit's talents are starting to rub off on you, Zippy."

"Is she tied up?" asked Vorca, as he marvelled at how succulent the small, frail female looked.

"Yes, like much of her kind, she is bound to service."
"Sando's service." Brigit added. "Sort of."
"But she's so young! How could she move a whole ship?" said Zippy.
"Then you see how special our little lady is."

Sandokhan stood up and placed an arm over Zippy's shoulder, and attempted to put another arm over Vorca's huge body. "Now, gentlemen, since you've been introduced to our guest, I trust you will keep this between really good friends, alright?" he said, as he ushered them to the door. "Because if you don't, I've the mind to make her send you into the center of a star." he said, severely.

Vorca and Zippy nodded gravely, and made their way back to the deck.

"Are you sure it's a good idea letting them know about her?"
"It's okay, they only think she's a wormhole generator."

A sharp shout came from the main deck. "Sando!"

"What is it?!"

"Somebody's shooting at us!"

They ran up to the deck, and looked out the bay window-screens. They've just escaped the atmosphere into dark space, but the detector showed two crafts nearby. "Computer, Panel 2, rear view!" They watched as a pair of small, black ships fired pulses of flickering plasma towards the ship's propulsion drives.

Sandokhan quickly jumped into the pilot seat and put on the control gloves. With a gesture, he dragged a scale on the screen, diverting 80% power to the shields. "Zippy, Vorca, man the guns!" he shouted towards the deck, as he weaved the ship between the plasma bolts. "Brigit, prepare NahaÅ› for a manifold jump!"

"But she just woke up!"

"We'll make it up to her later... now, go!"

Suddenly, he heard a whisper from inside his head, a projection: 'Oh Sandokhan...'

"Skuld? Oh, Hell no."

[ Proceed calmly. ]
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Tue Oct 28, 2008, 02:09 AM (This post was last modified: Wed Nov 05, 2008 01:07 AM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #7
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
‘My, my, fancy meeting you here.’ the voice projection said.

‘Lady, I’ve told you over and over again,’ Sandokhan replied in his thoughts. ‘You are simply not my type.’ The lynx quickly employed a mind defense trick to drown out the curses that were bound to follow after his scathing remark. He had no time to give a self-satisfied smirk as Zippy cried out from his gunner’s post.

“Our bursts!” the rat shouted as he looked through his targeting screen. “They have no effect!”

“Valkyrie Corps class trademark shielding with an absorption finish.” Sandokahn said. “Aren’t you familiar with it?”

“I’ve never had to shoot at one!” Zippy cried, firing uselessly towards the approaching ships.

Sandokahn turned on his comm. link. “Brigit, what’s the status of that jump? How’s Nahas doing?”

The comm. crackled to life. “Not so good,” the rabbit answered back. “She’s still too sluggish to open a wormhole. We need more time.”

“People!” Sandokhan said, clapping his hands for attention and, in the process, nearly letting their ship be blasted when he took his hands off the control gloves. “Let it be said that I, Sandokhan, am not a closed minded individual. Yes, it’s true, I cannot stand pineapples in my pizza and I continue to believe that bovines should never pilot airplanes. But I do listen to my crew. So, for the sake of our continued state of well-being, any suggestions on how we can delay our pursuers?”

“We don’t have the firepower to pierce their shields and we don’t have the stardrive to outrun them,” Zippy said worriedly. “What can we do?”

“Apparently, your friend thinks we should abandon ship.” Sandokhan said wryly.

Zippy turned to the seat beside him. Vorca’s place was empty.


* * *

The massive Vorca is carrying the bound Imperial Trooper in one arm as he strode quickly through the ship’s corridors. He reached the Astroplane’s escape pod section and opened the nearest life-skiff door. He dumped the terrified Labrador into the small enclosure and stepped inside himself. He grabbed his captive by the throat and lifted him against the wall. The soldier struggled.

“Be still. I’ve no time to be gentle.” the killer whale said. With his free hand, he ripped through the trooper’s bonds then quickly began to strip the Labrador of his uniform. The Imperial Trooper thrashed against the violation but Vorca grimly continued on. With soldier’s clothes in hand, Vorca, as carefully as he could, threw the Labrador towards the front of the skiff. He stepped out of the pod and closed the door before the nearly naked soldier could recover.

Through the glass paneling, the cetan grinned at the puzzled trooper. “I told you I was saving you,” he said. “And now your troubles are over. Your immediate troubles, at least.”

Then Vorca pushed a button and launched the life-skiff into space.

* * *

“I knew that aquatic was not to be trust! I knew it!” Brigit screamed through Sandokhan’s comm. link. “He’s like a rat deserting a sinking ship! Er, no offense meant Zip.” The rodent just frantically checked over his console, having abandoned his gunner’s post.

Sandokhan dodged plasma bursts with a detached air as he watched the lone life-skiff move slowly from their astroplane and towards the Valkyrie ships. He was surprised to see that their pursuers stopped firing. He was even more surprised to see the huge cetan stroll onto the deck. He didn’t show it, of course.

“Look who’s back,” the lynx said.

“Vorca!” Zippy shouted, incredulously. “You didn’t leave? What did you do?”

“I launched a life-skiff with an Imperial Trooper calling for assistance inside,” Vorca said, sitting down as his post. “Valkyries top priorities are to ‘rescue fallen warriors’. I figure that would buy us enough time to escape.”

“You rigged the skiff with a fake distress beacon?” Zippy said. “How’d you get a life-signs monitor to-“

“No,” Vorca interrupted. “There really is an Imperial Trooper in the skiff.” The killer whale turned to look at the two men staring at him open-mouthed. “What?”

“You had a soldier stashed away in the ship and you didn’t tell us?” Sandokhan said. “What were you planning to do? Eat him?”

“Zippy asked me to acquire an Imperial uniform,” Vorce shrugged. “I found one. It was just being currently occupied at that time.”

Sandokhan looked at Zippy who looked back at him and slowly nodded. The lynx turned back to see the gleaming teeth of the grinning killer whale. He shook his head as if too dislodge imaginary cobwebs and activated his comm. link.

“Brigit, we just caught a breather. How are things on your end? Are we jump ready or what?”

A different voice answered him. “This is Nahas. I’m ready.”
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Tue Oct 28, 2008, 01:29 PM (This post was last modified: Wed Nov 05, 2008 01:08 AM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #8
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
"Commander Skuld, we received a distress signal from a member of military." An inset appeared on the lower left corner of her window screen, it was small avian the same race as Skuld.
"Ignore it, that's a decoy." She replied and closed the inset window.
"With all due respect, Commander,” the inset appeared again as she was about to shoot, “ I would like to remind you of the consequence of violating the Protocol." Skuld let out few curse and swerved her plane to the escape pod, whoever inside it will be in big trouble.

NahaÅ› closed her eyes, and she began to wander around her room clumsily. She waved her hand as though she was fencing. Indeed, she was fencing with the space continuum, trying to find his weakness and jam her hand into it. She found one a crack and both of her arms made a swift diagonal slashing motion. Brigit watched all this performance every time she made a jump and she still hate this part.

All of sudden the temperature of the whole plane dropped. There is nothing visually spectacular about jumping out of trispace. The wormhole emitted no visible radiation, and in no time, their plane was off from the radar, as though an invisible black ball swallows them. Inside, the screens turned black all of the sudden.

Brigit came shivering out of NahaÅ› quarter. In the deck, three men sat around a round metal table.
"She's asleep. Said that, if you push her once more she'll rearrange your internal organ."
"That should relieve my back ache." Sando pulled a grin.
"Wait … why is he …" the lapine realized the large man in front of her, "I thought..." she sat between Roland and Zippy ,"then who was ..."
"Thanks to him, we can delay the harpies." Sando turned to Brigit "fortunately, he didn't hear things you said back at orbit." he whispered to the rabbit. Brigit's ear fell down from embarrassment.
"So we're safe now." The rodent sighed with relief. Not even magic tracking will work in slipstream. "That was a commander ship wasn't it?" He continued.
"Heh ... yeah. It's Skuld, one of the three commander of Valkyrie."
"I reckon they want their stuff back." Brigit commented. "Stuff that you ... borrows."
"Aaaw, but the cloak, it felt so nice on me."

"Speaking about cloak why ... it is" The rodent clattered his teeth "so ... so cold here?"
"Let me push the temperature up again." Sando twiddled with the screen in the centre of the table. "Her effect is more pronounced in small ship like this."
"Her ... effect?" asked the rodent again while Brigit cast a disapproving look to his feline comrade. "You mean NahaÅ›?"
"Ooops," said Sando half-heartedly, "Miss Brigit, could you please explain to our technician and heavyman how magic works? C'mon, it's not like they are able to try it."

"Oh all right," Brigit rolled her eyes, "as you know, magic relies on the manipulation of, energy, matter, or in rare case, time using mind alone. It's genetic and unlearnable. But … for that to work we need a power source." She took something out of her vest pocket. It is rather hard to see what it is clearly due to its transparency. It looks like a small thick slab of glass.
"This is mine." She quickly pocketed the crystal as fast as she took it.
"Ooooh, psychopotential crystal.” The rodent's eyes widen.
"Yeah, a mana crystal absorbs direct energy from its surrounding and store it. Usually I put it on a heater to charge it. But any kind of energy could work, you could shake it or shine light upon it."
"So ... basically what happened is that NahaÅ› crystal drew heat as energy so that she could open a transdimensional portal?" Zippy asked.
"Except that she's her own crystal." Brigit added. "Ordinary witches and Wizards can store mana in their body, but usually not much."
"It's scaleskin stuffs." Sando's already leaned his chair backward and put one of his naked feet on the table. "Have any of you ever touched a scaleskin?"
"They're cold." Vorca said, "of course people ... like me ... have lower body temperature already. But those scaleskin are even colder."
"They're sucking your heat." Sando explained. "That's why they can't stand cold place and able to survive long without food. NahaÅ›, she only drinks one glass of fruit juice a day." Sando purposely left out saying how unlikely it is for a scaleskin to be a magician.

"Eh ... Zippy could you please check how out plane doing traversing the slipstream." Zippy went to sit on the front seat of the cockpit.
"We're alright on track, boss."
"Now ... those black screen creeps me. Let's see what Roland has inside his library." He gracefully slid his finger along the table screen. "Hmm ... Chain Dungeon, Ram Cave, Amour Tunnel …” His hand stopped for a while when he touched the word "Palatine Hill". Sando smiled, shuffled forward and finally he clicked blue coloured scenery. The entire window screen now filled with scene of an underwater garden.
"Hey I knew this place." Vorca commented.

---

"I believe this belong to you." The Valkyrie commander threw the poor canine on the carpet, he still clad only in the brief he was found with when he's taken. His face shows a sign of abuse.
"My, my how kind of you." High Officer Roland let out a deadpan sarcastic remark. He twiddled his hand in front of his desk.
"He was on your ship. Explain that."
"Well ... we were playing there, and he kind of forgot the safeword, and ends up stashed inside there." Roland said insincerely.
"I don't have time for jokes." She flicked her finger again, but at her surprise she felt a strong grip on her neck, she immediately stopped conjuring her invisible hands.
"I installed reciprocality field for safety measure." Roland explained, "Some trick only works once, dear." Roland tried to smile, but it ends up as a grimace.

Commander Skuld stomped out of the office, blasting a large door that stood in her path. After a while Roland touched a button on his intercom.
"Maintenance Division. We need a replacement door at Sector Two."

---

"Well ... well our sister lost her prey again." The two other avian on the other side of the screen looked very much like older version of Skuld. The one sneered her wore a standard issue uniform, though this one has purple accent on it, instead of the usual gold one.
"Don't be such an annoyance to your sister, Verthandi." The one who looks the oldest scolded her sister, on hear head, she wore a white scarf that partially covers her white dress.
"Oh shut the hell up ... like you can." Skuld retorted.
"We are not interested in scruffy lad like such, right sister Urth?" Verthandi replied. Hmmm, but he's an interesting lad nonetheless. Oh well ... toddles!" Verthandi closed her connection. One of the windows in Skuld communicator goes black.
“Forgive her.” Said her other sister. “She had a problem of herself.”

Verthandi looked at her surrounding. The thin air on Elysium, the highest peak on Olympias, does not bother her. She took a deep breath and jumped into the icy death. She landed on a flying scooter.

And then she flew.

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Wed Oct 29, 2008, 10:42 AM (This post was last modified: Wed Nov 05, 2008 01:08 AM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #9
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
Sandokhan leaned back, and put hands behind his head. "Sooooo, Zippy, any progress on getting a date with Brigit?" Zippy froze in the middle of redrawing power distribution curves. "Huh? What? Uh, but, there's nothing, we're, uh..."

The cat laughed and slapped his own knee, then raised his hands like a hysterical child. "Ooh, ooh, there's Mount Arrarat where they say my forefathers first arrived, maybe I'll take you there someday!" He leaned in, tapped the rat's shoulder with a fist. "You're no rodent. You're a sly dog, that's what you are."

"I'm not! And it's true, they landed there!"

Vorca watched the screen for while before leaving the bridge and making his way down the corridor and outside NahaÅ› room. He leaned towards the door and said: "Can I come in?"

"It's open." said Brigit. Vorca went inside and saw that NahaÅ› was asleep and Brigit was beside her. Brigit grimaced when she laid eyes on Vorca. "Oh. It's you." She moved herself closer to her charge.

Vorca walked to the side furthest from both of them and sat down. From a pouch on his vest, he pulled out a handful of dried meats. He offered some to the rabbit, but she frowned and shook her head. He shrugged and tossed up a mouthful, chewing on them while looking thoughtful.

"Why aren't you on deck?" said Brigit, with a slight scowl.
"Our captain decided it was a good idea to remind me where I came from."
"I take it you don't like that?"

He shrugged with his scarred, muscular shoulders. "It is beautiful, but I do not miss leaving it."

Over the course of the next few minutes, Brigit's face changed from disgust, consideration, indignance and finally resignation. "Vorca." The hefty whale lifted his head, and swallowed his food. "Yes?"

"I want to... apologize. For the things I've said about you." Vorca waved his large hands towards her. "It's alright. I've had worse things said, by much worse people. Some of them are dead now." Vorca almost laughed, before Brigit put a finger over her lips. "Don't get me wrong, lass. Even I find some habits of my kind disgusting."

Silence fell between them for a while, other than the shallow breathing of NahaÅ› and the low hum of dimmed lights.

"I was born on Iouernia, probably the greenest planet you'd ever see for several sectors, in one of the villages far from the solar equator, and close to its own pure mana crystal mine. The planet had many of these, so it was important enough to get a spaceport."

"Around the spaceport, immigrants had set up many outposts. A great number of them consisted of Necrotics, who didn't demand anything more than flesh and meager credits in exchange for working the mines for businesses or the Empire. We had no trouble, since foreigners knew not to trespass into Gaelic territory under pain of judgement by Lord Tuathal."

"Though, there was one time where we had a very harsh winter. We'd stored a sizeable amount of food and fuel, after being warned by the Druids. It hit some of the foreign outposts hard, since the spaceport was inaccesible to them the whole time, and some of them stole from us in desperation."

She was quiet as she gently stroked NahaÅ›. "I... had a sister. A younger sister. Unlike me, she had bright auburn fur and smoky, violet eyes. It was the first time a female showed potential to be a Druid."

"I wasn't an easy child to take care of, but my sister got into more trouble than I did. Though they never did figure out who set fire to Lady Sweeney's ears." She chuckled a bit, hand covering her mouth. "I was nine summers old when everyone named me Brigit. One who tends the flame."

"I made a poor job of keeping the turnip gardens alive, so I was sent to work the mines with the men. She always went with me and pushed carts of crystal shards back to the collection point as I did my thing with the impact beam drill."

"One day, at the end of that harsh winter season when we went back to the mines, I hit upon a beautiful chunk of crystal. As I worked on it, I told her to go back home on her own, before it got dark."

"She wasn't there when I returned." Brigit laid a hand on NahaÅ› pale face. "The Elders and Druids claimed that the snow and winds took her. Deep down, I knew she was taken by someone from a foreigners' outpost, driven insane by a hunger plague."

Brigit closed her eyes as she said: "She never got old enough to get a name, but I'll always remember her."

"I kept going to the mines, but the work meant little to me, just like the name I was given. Some of the villagers took to blaming me for losing her, and I believed it for a long time. After a while I resolved to leave, but this was before the Saorstát Éireann, and I couldn't get permission to board any astroplanes due to Lord Tuathal's policies."

"I think I was sitting at the arrivals room, when he walked in, alone, and sat next to me. He asked if I was a local. I said it was a stupid question. Then he said it's not stupid, if he had a way off the planet and needed a woman with strong hands for it to work."

Brigit rubbed her face, and looked towards the orca. "I'm not sure if it's a good idea to tell you all this, but I feel I should explain myself."

Vorca nodded. "That's alright, Brigit." He glanced at the sleeping witch, stood up and walked to the door. "We all make mistakes."

[ Proceed calmly. ]
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Fri Oct 31, 2008, 01:30 AM (This post was last modified: Wed Nov 05, 2008 01:09 AM by nightPhaser.)
Post: #10
RE: Round Robin furry fiction [sample]
POP!

“Fifteenth Floor! Lingerie, licorice and lithium ion lightbulbs! Eeeeeverybody out!”

“Wait, WHAT?” Zippy practically fell off his chair. He dropped the manual he was reading and glanced at the screen saver a showing clownfish and a regal tang bouncing around in a jellyfish friend being chased by a sponge and starfish. He clicked at the keyboard before he lost any of his braincells and was blinded by a brilliant flash.

Sunlight pouring behind me, Sandokhan stood up and raised his arms theatrically. “Behold,” he intoned. “The splendor of Olympias!”

Zippy and Vorca, who came from Nahas’ room, stood up and gazed at the shining city of Cynopolis. The spires upon spires and columns upon columns that composed the capital of Olympias were built on the plateaus and cliffs of the second tallest peak of the planet, second only to the loftly Elysium. Its denizens flew from point to point, the dizzying heights holding no fear to those who were used to flight. The astroplane cruised over to an open petal on the blossoming landing port and touched down with nary a shudder.

Zippy almost fell to his knees. “That’s impossible!” he whimpered. “It’s only been minutes, MINUTES, since we were swallowed by the wormhole!” he turned to the smug lynx. “What the hell kind of slipstream did that reptile generate?”

“Speak of the devil,” Sandokhan exclaimed with a smile. He opened his arms to welcome the newcomers onto the deck.

“I felt that… we’ve arrived…” Nahas said slowly. She was being held upright by Brigit.

“And so we have, my dear,” Sandokhan said smoothly as he lovingly held the lady’s cheek and gently turned her to face the open screen.

“It’s so… beautiful!” Tears were forming in Nahas’ eyes.

“Yes and so is my heartbreaking rendition of ‘The Circle of Life’ on harpiano,” the lynx said briskly. He dropped his melodramatic air and addressed his crew with all seriousness.

“All right, men, women and miscellaneous,” he said. “Again, we are pressed for time. If the strait-jacket strict Valkyrie Commander Skuld is on our tail, then it certainly stands to reason that her very vociferous vixen of a sister Verthandi will be coming along in short order. The plan stays the same. Brigit,” he nods to the lapine. “Suit up. We’re talking a dangerous and downright deadly trip to see roly poly Roland’s contact. The rest of you,” he turned his gaze to the remaining three. “You get to safe and cozy babysitting my new pride and joy, the astroplane.” He held up a hand to stave off protests. “Now, now, daddy has spoken. Be good children and father won’t give you the silent treatment.” He swept up his cloak around him and strode to the side closet. “Brigit, attend to me!”

Brigit was rolling her eyes at the lynx’s performance but winked at the puzzled Zippy. The rat practically melted in the presence of such generosity. Vorca kept his expression carefully neutral while Nahas was still enraptured by the view of the city.

Sandokahn stepped to the side. “I perused the inventory a while ago. Roland keeps his wardrobe well stocked,” he said as he slide the wall panel aside. Rows and rows of clothes and equipment were contained in the closet. The lynx pulled out one outfit after another. “These are all the latest, off-the-hanger trendy ‘jump suits’ in Orbital Apparel line of Fashionably in Flight. Let’s see… we have a retro copter clank pack, a hang10 glider, anti gravity shimmer wear, a P.O.G.O., an inflatable dolly crane air manipulator, winged sandals… Ah! Here we go!”

Sandokahn brought out a stylish, embroidered cloak and draped it over his shoulders. He breathed into the rich fabric in delight. “Pure Arabian! Positively magical! Nothing beats the classics.”

“Looks like something cut from a welcome mat,” Vorca deadpanned.

“Bite your tongue!” Sandokahn snapped. He opened the hatchway to the outside and strode outside. His feet did not even touch the stairway. He was floating in midair, suspended by his free flowing cloak. He nodded to Brigit. “You ready?”

“Just about.” Brigit picked a very spare ensemble: jet boots and hand thrusters in a gold and red iron blend. She activated her boosters as she stepped out the door. She hovered over a pillar of flame blasting from her footwear and was held steady by bursts from her hands. She flew up beside the waiting lynx.

“A Repulor Wraith!” Zippy said in awe. His mouth was hanging open and he was almost drooling at the sight of his love encased in a fine combination of scorching speed and firepower. Vorca had to nudge him to break him from his reverie.

“Man, woman and miscellanous,” Sandokhan said. “We will be back in short order. Mind the store and, please, no sticky fingers!” He nodded again to his lapine companion as he angled behind him and started to soar. Brigit followed the billowing cloak in his wake.

Brigit charged her thrusters to keep up with the lynx. She flew alongside him and raised an eyebrow. “Sando?” she said. “What’s up with the rhetorics?” A studied silence was the reply. “Sandy, Lord King of the Undergarment…”

“Do not call me that!” the lynx thundered.

“It’s not my fault your name can be etymologically be broken down to Sando, meaning ‘sleeveless shirt’ in Filifino and Khan, meaning ‘ruler’ in Mongo,” Brigit said dryly.

“Well, I’d rather not have you repeat that little lesson ever again. EVER!”

“I will if you don’t stop with the flowery, purple prose.”

“I will try, my dear, but my poet’s soul longs to break free from its shackled chains…”

“Sandy…”

“All right, all right,” Sandokhan said gruffly. “You know, I didn’t exaggerate when I told the crew we weren’t staying long. Our rendezvous will be a brisk affair. A quickie, if you will.”

“What do you mean?” Brigit said suspiciously.

“We’re off to see what every navigator visits before he, or she, embarks on a supposedly perilous journey.” Sando said grandly. “Our contact resides in the temple and must be suitably inspired before he can give us the information we need about the soul of Prometheus and this jaunt Roland sent us on.”

“Uh oh, now I see why you were hamming it up before. Here comes the bull-“

“AHEM,” Brigit continued to stab the lynx with her eyes as Sando shook his head modestly. “While I, as I have stated before, am an open-minded individual (except in cases of pineapples and bovines) am more than capable enough to illicit answers from said individual with my renowned prowess, I fear that your horrible calligraphy deters us from interpreting the joyous shouts released from our contact while he is in the rapturous throes of revelation from experiencing the release of---“

“NO WAY!” Brigit arrowed forward and away from the suddenly pursuing lynx.

“Don’t be that way!” Sando grinned while begging. “Everybody knows what’s required to get a prophecy from an Oracle…”

* * *

Zippy closed the hatchway with some regret. “Looks like we’re stuck here, big guy.”

“Seems like,” the orca agreed. He settled down in a seat while the rat checked over the discarded jump suits on the floor.

“It’s a shame we can’t go out and explore,” Zippy mused. “I’ve never been to Olympias before.”

“It’s so… beautiful.”

The mesmerized voice rang alarm bells in both the rodent and the cetan. They turned so see that Nahas had not moved from her spot, staring at the shining city and landscape before her.

“Er, Nahas?” Zippy said carefully. “Don’t you think you should get back to you room? To rest?”

Nahas breathed. “The sky, the sun,” she said dreamily. “So warm, inviting… So enriching!”

In one moment, the covered reptile was gazing longingly at the view screen. The next, she threw away her robes and leapt at the solid window.

There was a split second as Zippy and Vorca beheld the naked girl before they swore the same curse as Nahas nullified the light energy projection, turning the viewing screen into a permeable portal. The girl plunged into the mysterious depths below.

“Grab a jump suit! Vorca roared as he himself put on an Issac-A class aeromarine surfer hybrid.

Zippy was already strapping on the personal retro copter clank pack and opening the hatchway. His propellers stuttered into life as his lift off was offset by Vorca’s sudden dive into the clear sky.

Hovering horizontally and cruising diagonally, the two stared wildly at the area, hoping for a glimpse of their charge. It was scant seconds later when a figure fountained up before them. Zippy and Vorca were stuck dumb for the second time.

It was Nahas, moving straight and true, bursting with energy from the clean, pure rays of the Olympias sun. Her silhouette marked her presence high in the air as she reached her zenith, spread her glorious dragon wings and expressed her pleasure in musical laughter.
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