Warrior Princess Chapter Three

The ship settled in on a port on Erue. “On your feet slave.” I was hoisted to my feet by two of the lizards. I had hoped to be touched by the one of the creatures called the Homm to learn more about them. Provided it didn’t turn out my lights again that is.

I was marched to a cell. It wasn’t only for holding prisoners. It was for fitting them with the things a well dressed prisoner was supposed to be wearing. I didn’t like where this was going. Those Homm were sticking close or I would have taken my chances and escaped.

“No markings. Where did you pick her up at?” One of the men in the cell was looking me over.

“We picked her up at Lordeen. We were the last out. The Alliance moved back in. How much you think she will bring on the market?” One of the men from the ship poked at me.

“Fine looking slave. I’d give a couple thousand for her myself.” The cell guy dropped a metal bucket helmet down on my head. I could feel it tighten up around my neck. There weren’t any eye holes and everything went dark.

My eyes weren’t necessary to see what they were doing. I watched as the cell guy worked with a computer. My body stiffened. I didn’t try and break their control over my body.

Two more guards moved up with more equipment and removed all my chains… and my clothes, which included my bra.

“Look but don’t touch.” Was in my mind. If those Homm would leave, I’d tear this place apart.

One of them placed a bucket on my left breast and... I had a breast shield and a vertical ring in my left breast. The metal bucket on my head was supposed to keep me under control and not feel or know what they were doing. Hey guys, I felt that and it hurt like hell. He did my right breast with the same machine. Damn that hurt and it was so quick. Nothing like high technology for your fresh slave introduction.

They fused a metal band around each wrist and each ankle. They weren’t through, as they fused a metal corset around my torso pulling in my waist even more. My breasts weren’t covered. The helmet was removed leaving the collar around my neck. I received a ring through each ear lobe, along with a nose ring.

What is it about slavers wanting to put rings in every place imaginable when they take slaves?

“Over here slave.” One of the cell guys pointed to a tall box.

When I didn’t move that collar shocked the heck out of me. “uhhhh” I went to my knees.

“Get up bitch.” He motioned to the box.

I guess I was too slow to respond, or maybe he just liked teaching new slaves the rules. The collar shocked me again. “uhhhhh”

“Get up you stupid bitch.” He pointed to the box.

I managed to get to my feet and walk over to the box. My arms were yanked straight out in front of me as I was pulled into the box. They used a tractor field on the wrist bands. I bet it worked on the ankle bands the same way. A metal ring was placed around the base of each breast squeezing the fire out of them. I screamed in pain. “AAAAAAAEEEEE!”

The metal ring, the breast shields, and rings were opposing one another so my breasts were stretched out. I guess that was their idea of a brassier? That hurt like hell. “AAAAEEEEEEE!”

My head was yanked back by my hair. I wasn’t pleased with what they had done there either. I had small twinkling lights, and bells imbedded in my long hair. The bells didn’t need me to move to be constantly tinkling. The bells were self powered. I also had a huge, heavy ring braided in at the end of my braid.

“Come slave.”

I backed out of the booth.

One of them handed me a skirt wrap to put around my waist. “Put this on.”

I took it and covered myself.

“She doesn’t say much does she?” One of the cell guards was examining his handiwork, which was me.

“Maybe she’s mute, or maybe she doesn’t know how to speak.” One of the other guards stepped up and put his hands on my butt.

“Come slave.” The guard walked toward the door.

I received another shock from that collar. I went to my knees. “Aaaaah!”

“Now get up bitch, and get your ass moving. Follow me.” He was out the door.

I jumped to my feet and ran after him. I needed an escape plan, and I needed to know more about the Homm.

He walked out to a transporter. I climbed in beside him. My wrists immediately pulled up and locked to my breasts, as my ankles locked together. Fascinating technology. I was positive he wouldn’t enjoy it as much if he was the recipient of it.

We left the Homm behind. I could easily escape, take the transporter to a ship, and leave this pirates torture world behind. I needed to know more about the Homm. The pirates had a formable ally. One I needed to know how to defeat.

He stopped at a huge dome where crowds were coming and going. This was getting worse by the minute. I could take out one or more, but a crowd? Not happening.

“Move it bitch.” My ankles were free, but not my hands. I managed to work my way out of that transporter with my wrists locked to my breasts.

“Follow me.” He headed into the dome.

Most of those coming and going were giving me the once over. I was searching minds until I felt a dark void. I pulled back before I touched it with my mind. Several more dark voids came to my mind. I had hoped I had left them behind. I pulled the curtains around my mind as they became agitated. They seemed to be extra sensitive to mind thought. I had no idea if they were telepathic or empathic. I was afraid of touching their minds and alerting them that I was more than a normal.

My handler led me into the center of an arena. There were forty three more slaves in the same area. Not all of them were female species. “Do not step outside the circle until someone comes to claim you.” He left.

I looked for a circle on the floor. There wasn’t any.

Someone screamed. A female fell to the floor, writhing in pain. Two men grabber her and dragged her back toward the center. “Told you to not try and escape.”

She screamed again. They were using the shock collar as punishment.

I searched the crowds for the Homm. Looking up I saw a big ring suspended above us. That had to be the circle we weren’t supposed to step outside of.

A big lizard stepped up in front of me. He reminded me of Osk. “What’s your name slave?”

“Melody.” I figured they would learn I could talk sooner or later. I wasn’t into the punishment thing.

“You’re human aren’t you.” He didn’t say it as a question.

“Yes.”

“Pathetic creatures. Yet if you go cheap enough I will buy you.” He reached down and grabbed the ring braided into the end of my hair. He held it up.

Instantly I was pulled up off my feet. I was hanging in the air by my hair. Another one of those damn tractor beam things no doubt. It was a technology I was getting damn tired of.

I had an idea. I found one of the slaves and gave a mind thought for him to start walking. He walked out past the ring and fell to the floor screaming.

At the same instant the collar shocked him I searched through the mind of one of the Homm and pulled back just as quickly. Just a nano second, but it was a start. The five Homm in the Dome started flashing one another. They were more than agitated. From that instant connection, I found other telepathic species outside the Homm never connected with a Homm. I found out why. Their minds were just as big a black hole as they represented physically and emotionally. If I hadn’t flashed in and out it was possible I could have been pulled into that void.

How in the world were these creatures ever formed in the first place? They seemed to be the complete opposite of all other life. What kind of devils contract did the pirates agree to when they joined league with these creatures?

The Homm I mind flashed moved down in front of the slave that screamed at the same instant I mind flashed him. The slave’s ankle and wrist bands were locked together so he couldn’t back away. He was screaming in fear. “NO, NO, NO, NO…”

A tentacle snaked out from the Homm and touched the slave who instantly went limp. That must have been what happened when they captured me. Didn’t see it coming until it was too late. The Homm pulled back and flashed the other Homm. It moved back up into the bleachers.

Two slaves came in from the aisle, picked the man up and carried him out. I touched his mind for an instant. He was still alive but barely. Having a Homm touch you obviously wasn’t in one’s best interest.

The big lizard that had left me hanging by my hair started auctioning off the slaves. The older ones went cheap, if one considers selling any life cheap. They sold off thirty one slaves when the lizard got to me. “What’s your name slave?”

“Melody.” I heard my voice echo through out the dome. They were broadcasting me. I came up on big screens around the dome.

“You will answer with master from now on. “What is your name slave?”

“Melody, Master.” I didn’t need to be telepathic to understand how he wanted me to answer.

“Where were you captured slave?” He gave my body a spin and I started spinning around like a top suspended by my hair.

“Lordeen, Master” I closed my eyes so I didn’t have to watch the audience spin around me.

“She is a fresh, disease free virgin.” He stopped me from spinning and removed my wrap skirt. “Who will start the bidding at forty thousand?”

No one said anything, or made any indication they wanted to bid.

“Am I offered thirty?” The bells braded into my hair started chiming loudly as the lights flashed. No one moved.

“Am I offered ten?”

One of the assistants took my arm and paraded me around inside the circle.

“Am I offered five?” Still nothing. “Then I offer five myself and will buy her. Going, going…”

“Ten” Was called out from the bidders.

“Fifty” Another voice cried.

“One thousand” From a third.

“Fifty thousand” Came from the speakers, but it was a Homm who flashed the bid.

Oh great. Sold to a Homm. Shoot me now because it will never happen.

“One hundred thousand” Came from someone who looked human enough.

“One hundred fifty” The Homm upped the offer

“Two hundred” The man was just as quick

“Two fifty” The Homm placed his bid

“Four hundred thousand” The man countered.

The auctioneer looked around. “Do I hear four hundred ten? Going, going, gone.”

The man said something to the woman beside him and turned and left. She made her way down the bleachers until she was standing in front of me. I was lowered to the floor, the bells and lights were turned off and my hands were free.

“She handed me my wrap skirt. “Put this on.”

“Yes Mistress.” I did as she ordered.

The auctioneer handed her a control. No doubt the device to control the bonds.

“Follow me.” She picked up the chain attached to my nipple rings. As she turned, my wrists were pulled up and locked to my nipple rings.

She led me out of the dome to a transporter. “Get in.”

“Yes Mistress.” I struggled to get into that transporter without being able to use my hands, but I made it. My ankles immediately locked together.

She drove out to a space port and up to one of the space craft. The man was waiting. He walked up to the transporter. The woman handed him the control. My legs were free.

“Into the ship.”

“Yes Master.” I worked my way out of the transporter and was headed to the ship when a Homm appeared.

Lights started flashing between the man and the Homm. I tuned into the man’s thoughts.

“She’s mine.” The Homm flashed.

“Then you should have bought her.” The man flashed back.

“I didn’t have that many credits.” The Homm flashed as his agitation begin rising. It wasn’t all due to the way the conversation was going. He could sense mind thought.

He pointed at the woman. “Your witch is using thought. Tell her to stop.”

“She’s free do to do whatever she wants.”

“Give me the slave.” He was really agitated now.

“Never happen.”

I was wondering how this was going to end. The man wasn’t expressing any signs of fear of the Homm.

The Homm started to reach for me. The man had a phaser in his hand. I closed my eyes and turned my head as he fired. It didn’t fire an energy beam as such, but a light beam. A really bright light beam. One that would burn your eyes out if you were looking at it.

The Homm fell back, stunned and not moving.

“Get on the ship.” The man motioned to me and the woman.

Minutes later we were in space, leaving that world behind.

I was working on what I had witnessed. “If the Homm were a dark void in a sense, then the opposite would be light. They could stand normal light, as it didn’t seem to affect them. Enough light stunned them.

We jumped to hyperspace. The woman picked up the control and locked my ankles together again. “Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Melody Master.” I knew she was looking for answers. She was a telepath. She could sense some mind thought back at the port, even though she couldn’t make it out.

“Don’t you get smart with me. You’re more than looks. Just who the hell are you and how much mind control do you possess?”

“I’m sorry Master I don’t have any psychic abilities.” I bowed my head in submission.

I fell over on the floor curled up like pretzel as my breast rings were pulled down to my ankle bands. Which hurt like hell.

“Answer me. How much mind thought do you possess?” She pushed another button.

My breasts were slowly being squeezed by the big ring at the base. I started to cry in pain. “Please Master I have no mind tricks.”

She pushed another button and my breasts were being stretched as the nipple ring was pushed away from the shrinking base ring. She was trying to read my mind.

“Aaaaeeeee! Please Master.”

The collar shocked the heck out of me. “Aaaaeeeee!”

Everyone has a thresh hold where, no matter the consequences, enough is enough. I could retreat in my mind and let my body take the punishment without me, but I'd had enough. I lashed out. Everything is made of energy. Everything is energy, no matter whether it is living or inanimate. The control in her hand turned to dust the same instant all those things they put in and on my body fell away.

I stood up.

She was in total shock, not believing what she witnessed. “not possible”

Her clothes fell away. All that damn metal that had been placed on me was now on her. “Get a feel for it bitch because it is possible.”

I closed off her mind thoughts so she couldn’t scream out to the guy in the cockpit. I formed fire in my right hand and played with it. Her eyes grew in sheer terror. She understood no matter how impossible it might be she was experiencing that impossibility.

Closing my fist the fire disappeared as the ‘clothes’ I was wearing when I first stepped into this dimension, appeared on my body. A golden sword appeared in my right hand. The junk in my hair fell to the floor as my hair untwined from the braided pony tail. It swept out around me, as from a mysterious wind of energy. Unbridled energy was playing around most of the cabin as if we were riding a lightning bolt itself. Golden serpents appeared on both my arms, their tail at my shoulders, their heads on the back of my hands. I took a look. They weren’t on top of the skin but they weren’t under it either. I reached over with my left hand and touched the one on my right hand. It felt like my own skin. Fascinating. “I guess I’m marked now. Kasu said I would get my markings when the time was right.”

Next time I ran into the Homm I needed more than fire or ice. I formed a light ball in my left hand. I knew without doubt I could make it strong enough to give everyone photo flash burns and more. I closed it off.

“Let’s go talk to that pilot shall we?” I pointed toward the cockpit.

She went up ahead of me. The pilot turned to look when she walked into the cockpit. “Muel, she should be locked...” He took a second look as he reached for his phaser.

I let him pull it and fire. I caught the blast in my hand. He fired again with the same results. The phaser turned to dust. “My turn.”

“Who the hell are you?” He stared at me in shock.

Muel was staring at me. “She’s LaSaDa. She has to be.”

“The children’s tales? That was only entertainment for children and weak minds.” He was still staring.

“Children’s tales? I guess I am. Would you care to taste a few of those children’s tales?” He was now she wearing an exact copy of the same metal Muel was.

She screamed in terror. “nnnnooooooooooo”

Funny but it was which side of those damn slave ornaments one was wearing whether it appealed or not. I don’t guess he liked it from the slave side.

Pulling up the star chart on the console I pointed to Lordeen. “Point this ship toward that port.”

She was still trying to come to terms with the fact that she was no longer he as she stared at herself. I dropped down in the co-pilot’s seat and altered course. “Tell me how to navigate back through the system without raising the suspicions of the pirates?”

When she didn’t answer I turned toward Muel. She was shaking as she whined. “I’m not a pilot. I don’t know.”

My attention went back to the pilot. “Okay sweetheart this is where we start with the training lessons you wanted to inflict on me. Answer my questions or it’s going to get really ugly.”

“Please... change me back.” She was crying and begging.

I took hold of her mind and shoved her out of the spaceship. She was flailing, clawing to get back in. I pulled her back in. Even though she had never left the ship her mind experienced it.

“How do I avoid the pirates?” She was sobbing and crying in fear. I didn’t receive a response. “I can take your mind apart until I find the answers. You think what you experienced was scary? Wait until you have someone crawling around inside your head with you.”

“I... I’ll tell you. Please change me back.” She was crying.

“Don’t tell me just plot it into the navigation system.”

Muel was crying by now. “You’re going to kill us.”

“Only if you lead me into a trap. I have enough blood on my soul without adding more for revenge or for no purpose.” I searched ahead. The problem with a mind search is, the further one reaches out, the stronger the mind thought becomes. It stops being a flashlight and turns into a spotlight, and then a search beam. And it draws unwanted attention from those who sense it. It was easy to understand when one realized that thought is energy.

I would risk it. I reached out and touched Kasu’s mind. “I’m okay. Can’t visit.”

Kasu found a seat before she fell down. The mind thought was no longer the Melody she knew. LaSaDa had arrived. She reached out and searched with her mind, knowing it was probably futile. There were billions of minds out there. Searching through them for this Melody would be a Herculean task. Given time and enough contact with the new Melody it would be easy to find and touch her mind, no matter where she was or how far away. Although the thought Kasu received was Melody, it was no longer her. She had changed. She had come of age. The prophecies had come. The Warrior Princess was now a true warrior.

Kasu walked over and picked up the transmitter. “Sala, Melody is alright.”

“Thank the Creator. Where is she? We will go pick her up.” Came back.

“She didn’t give a location. Praying for her safe return is the best we can do.” Kasu laid down the transmitter and prayed. This could be a long wait.

I could feel them, even though the ship’s screen wasn’t showing them. There was an empty place out in space that didn’t belong. I scoped out the ship I was riding in. The armament was next to nothing. Shielding was paper thin. We were at full throttle and that other ship was closing. There was no safety in playing normal now. If they got their whatever on me I was through. I reached out to the other ship. The three Homm became extremely agitated. I didn’t touch them, although I really wanted to try. Their ship was heavily armed and had shielding out the wazoo. If they caught us it was lights out for me.

“You have any friends in this part of space?” I looked at the pilot.

“Friends? You have friends everywhere if you have credits. Look at me, no one could be my friend. If anyone sees me they will want to own me.” She was crying.

“Yeah, I know the feeling about everyone wanting to own you. Goes with being in the wrong neighborhood and being the wrong sex. When you’re a bitch life turns into almost everyone looking down their nose at you.” The Homm ship blipped onto the edge of the view screen.

“Look who’s coming to dinner.” I sought out the Homm ship again. They knew I was looking at them. One of them tried to look into our ship. This was an unexpected surprise. I thought they were only sensitive to mind thought and had to communicate via light. I pulled back and started picking at his thoughts via his link inside our ship. I could feel him as he pulled back in confusion. Unexpected results for sure. Were they like other species, where the odd one was telepathic?

The pilot looked like a wretched mess. She was not handling the sex change very well. “Why are the Homm closing in on your ship? Are they friendly or do they want prisoners?”

She sniffed and looked out across space as if looking for the Homm ship. “In the seldom traveled parts of space they take prisoners for food. May be that Homm we left behind.”

Now it was my turn to be shocked. “They do what? They are cannibals?”

She nodded in agreement. “They suck the life force out of other life forms.”

“Then why in the hell are pirates trading with them?” It wasn’t a question. I knew the answer was as old as time itself. ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ The pirates were willing to sacrifice a few lives as long as the Homm were taking lives from the Allies. Kasu why didn’t you teach me about this life form? How do I fight them?

Before heading toward the cargo hold I turned on the distress beacon. I popped the hatch on the life craft. I formed three golden globes in my hand and placed them inside the craft. If I could get the Homm to follow the life craft it would give me a little more time. The globes created from mind thought would feel like mind thought to those who might be looking. Hopefully the Homm would think it was us. I launched the craft tangent to our direction. Its distress beacon immediately kicked in when launched.

Back in the cockpit I pulled the shades down over my mind and the minds of the other two. And waited. The Homm took the bait. They searched the ship for thought. Almost immediately their ship changed direction headed after the life craft. I had bought us a little time. They would be back.

Hoping someone would answer the distress signals from the raft, and this ship, were all I had. We weren’t going to make a port before they were back and took us out. If the Homm wanted us for a meal they would take out our drive and then board us. I could flash and kill them, but the ones left on their ship would back off and turn us to cosmic dust.

Minutes later, just to prove me right, the little life ship winked out of existence. The Homm found out they had been duped and turned it into space debris.

“Oh joy this is going so well LaSaDa.” Saying my name brought me up short. It was the second time I had said my name. The first was when I had told Kasu who I was. “Courage girl, you’re supposed to be someone. Yeah, like dead meat. Or more aptly lunch for some damn Homm.”

Kasu said no matter who or what you think you are there is always someone more powerful and better than you. I just hated proving her right so early in life before I really got started.

“Well poop.” I unshielded our minds and backed mine up where I would appear as nothing more than a normal if the Homm did a mind search on us.

It seemed like the Homm ship was alongside almost instantly, although it took almost half an hour for them to catch us. They were good, as they fried the shields, drive, and then the life support. The distress beacon died, along with everything else on the ship.

Muel and the pilot were both crying in sheer terror knowing what was coming. I decided that was the way to blend in so I started crying in sheer terror too. “Please, please, don’t hurt me. Please save us.”

They tractored the ship over to the belly of their craft, dropped an airlock on us and then lasered a hole into the hull. A Homm slipped into the ship. Muel was screaming as it reached out and touched her. She went limp. He did the same to the pilot who dropped like she had been sand bagged. I retreated my mind and shielded it from my body as it reached out and touched me. I could feel the life instantly leave my body. And then, slowly, life started regenerating.

Now I knew what happened when they touched me back on Lordeen. Same effect as killing someone and then reviving them. We were carried back over to their ship and down to some sort of holding compartment where ten other life forms were. Two were human, five were the lizards. And the last three…? More dead than alive. The Homm had been feeding off them. They were nothing more than empty shells.

Reclaiming my body, I took hold of everyone’s mind and forced them to look away. The Homm knew something wasn’t right as it started to reach out to me. I formed and let loose a light in my right hand that would make the sun look like it had gone out. The Homm was gone.

“Disgusting.” I headed for the cockpit and the other two Homm. They knew something was wrong, but were slow in deciding what it was. I walked into the cockpit with fire in my eyes and anger in my heart. I didn’t try to shield my mind or my emotions. They felt me coming. I wanted them to feel some of what they had been spreading, terror. But they weren’t capable of feeling terror. It was an unknown to them.

When I walked into the cockpit they both were waiting and lashed out to touch me. I already had the light in my hand and released it.

The controls were unlike anything I had ever seen. There wasn’t anything like buttons, handles, dials, or any seats or things my kind of life forms would use to control a ship. Forming a chair I sat down in front of the console. Laying my hands down on the console I tried to feel how they controlled this craft.

“They use thought.” Came to me. Their mind thought was so alien to all other life forms I didn’t think it would be possible to control the ship. As I sat there their mind thought slowly came to me. I had touched one of them even if only briefly.

Talk about dark matter. Slowly the ship started moving away from the other craft. Instantly we were in hyperdrive, hurling through space toward Lordeen.

“Alien craft stand down.” Was coming from the Pa'an.

I couldn’t communicate with them because the Homm ship used light thought. I hadn’t figured out what color, strength, or duration of light it took to communicate. “Sala don’t fire on us.” I sent to her, hoping she was on the bridge.

“Alien craft, I repeat stand down.” Was being sent over and over again.

“Sala, it’s me. Don’t fire on us.” I didn’t lower our shields. I didn’t want that first blast from the Pa'an to roast us.

The Pa'an started moving out to cut us off. “Alien craft this is your final warning. Stand down. I repeat, stand down.”

Sala was running down the corridor toward the bridge. “DO NOT FIRE ON THAT SHIP! OFFICER OF THE DECK DO NOT FIRE ON THAT SHIP!”

A phaser blast fried our shields. I knew the second one would be curtains.

“Sala, it’s LaSaDa don’t fire on us.” I knew she was on the Pa'an. I could feel her.

Sala ran onto the bridge. “CEASE FIRE, CEASE FIRE, DO NOT FIRE ON THAT SHIP!”

She hit the com link on the command chair. “FIRE CONTROL STAND DOWN! DO NOT FIRE ON THAT SHIP! FIRE CONTROL STAND DOWN! DO NOT FIRE ON THAT SHIP!”

“Bridge, this is Fire Control, cease fire understood Captain.”

Sala fell into the chair. “My God, we almost killed her!”

Taking a deep breath she looked over at her communications officer. “Tell LaSaDa welcome home and accept our deepest apologies.”

“Ma’am? I mean Sir?” Communications Officer, Lurm looked doubtful.

“Send it.” Sada looked at the bridge officer. “Clear hanger deck one and accept LaSaDa as our guest.”

Now it was Jun who looked doubtful. “General?”

Sala pushed up out of her chair. “Officer of the Deck you have the bridge again. I’m going down to the hanger deck to welcome her home.”

“The General has lost her mind.” One of the orderlies whispered, as Sala left the bridge.

They didn’t allow me to fly that ship onto the Pa'an. I was ordered to shut everything down as the Pa'an pulled up beside us. Every gun on that side of the Pa'an was trained on us as they tractor beamed us into the docking bay.

There were heavy guns inside that docking bay trained on us, along with forty two soldiers who took up firing positions as the hatch opened up. Sala disregarded all protocol and safety as she stepped up beside the craft.

Sala’s eyes got as big as saucers when I stepped off the craft. She gave a slight nod of her head as she stared. “Your Majesty.”

Walking over to her I was laughing as I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her. “Have I changed so much you forgot I am the one you beat the poop out of with those training sticks?”

She wrapped her arms around me and hugged the life. “Yes, you have changed. I was so afraid we had lost you.”

“It was touch and go a couple times. I learned a lot.” I eased back as I looked at the soldiers still ready with their weapons. “Love your homecoming committee.”

Sala laughed as she cried and pulled me in for another hug. “Same we give for all who come in with a craft we haven’t ever seen before. Where did you steal it?”

“Actually it found me. Long story. I’ll tell you and Kasu everything I learned. If you don’t know the craft then you haven’t ever met the Homm. You will need special weapons to fight them. They are in league with the pirates.

Sala backed up as she looked me over and ran her hands down my arms. “You have come of age.” She was looking at the golden serpents.

“Yeah, it happened as I was being tortured. I have some souls on board. Some need medical. Three of them... they are already dead, but haven’t given up yet.”

“A few minutes won’t matter then.” Sala turned to face the soldiers. “Captain, I want you and your men to meet LaSaDa.”

He looked doubtful. “She’s…? She looks human? Is this not the one you called Melody we searched the port for?”

Sala laughed. “The one, but not the same. She has come of age.”

She winked at me. “It seems my soldiers are having a little trouble believing LaSaDa has come. Would you mind, a little show and tell.”

“If you like.” My hair began waving in the invisible wind whirling around me. Talk about theatrics. I needed to learn how to control all that energy swirling around as I pulled it in to use. A fire ball appeared in one hand and an ice ball in the other. I put them down on the floor. They started rolling out away from each other. Then circled back to collide where they canceled each other out.

Some of the soldiers lowered their weapons. Most all of them stared. A few looked doubtful. They were trained soldiers, expect the unexpected.

“Illusion.” One of the soldiers snorted.

“Sergeant please step forward.” I motioned a come here with my finger.

He stepped up.

“That rifle you’re holding real?”

He grinned. “Real enough to kill anyone I shoot. I don’t think magic tricks and illusions are going to stop anyone shooting back at me. I want the real thing.”

Nodding in agreement, I smiled. “Me too. Courage soldier. Shoot me.”

“Ma’am!?” He looked confused.

“I said shoot me, or I’m going to kill you.” Reaching over I pulled Sala’s phaser off her hip.

“Put the weapon down.” He raised his rifle and aimed it at me.

“I’m going to kill you.” I brought mine up. He fired.

I didn’t hold up my hand or form another me to block the blast. I no longer needed to give my mind that physical assurance that I wasn’t going to be hurt.

“Hologram.” He muttered, as he fired again to erase all doubt.

The golden sword appeared in my right hand after I handed Sala’s phaser back to her. I could feel the energy as small sparkles of light began playing around me like fireflies. There was a flash. All of the soldier’s rifle in front of his hands fell to the floor. He never felt it when the sword cut through his rifle. What he had left was basically a stock and trigger.

“Ohhhhh shit...” He was looking and trying to comprehend. He dropped what was left in his hands as he back peddled into the man behind him.

Looking at the sword I wondered if it was the same as other objects created from mind thought? Or possibly pure energy unlike anyone had ever seen before? The sword slowly faded away. I shook my head. “Humans aren’t the only ones carrying a load of doubt.”

I took her hands and studied her eyes. “There are a lot of pirates. They have some really wicked friends. This war isn’t going to be easy nor quick. The price is going to be extremely high in lives lost on both sides. I need yours and Kasu’s guidance if I’m to help.”

Sala laughed. “My guidance? You’re joking. You are way past anything I can teach you.”

“You’re wrong. There is a peace and tranquility about you. You taught me to fight, Kasu taught me to use my mind. Now I need you to teach me peace. I need Kasu to teach me about life. My cup is only half full. Please, I need your guidance.”

Sala ran her fingers down my arms, tracing the golden serpents. “Me teaching LaSaDa. The grandkids will never believe this in a million moons.”

Sala took a second look as my golden eyes danced with mischief. “Oh no, whatever you’re thinking, this is a military ship and...”

She was no longer wearing her military uniform. A silver coil bra covered her breasts. She was wearing a silver mini skirt and silver high heel thigh boots, along with the pistol, sword, and dagger on her hip, and a rifle slung over her back.

She laughed as she glanced down at her attire. “I’ve lost their respect as a General.”

“But you gained their respect as a patriot. Let’s go talk to Kasu. This battle ship will be okay as long as I’m not out there for them to target practice on.” I pointed at the fighters on the other side of the hanger bay.

“You can’t just come in here and take what you want without the proper clearance and request forms... well, I guess you can.”

Sala turned to the Captain of the Guard. “Captain. I’m leaving the ship with LaSaDa. Tell the Bridge Officer the ship is his.”

“Ma’am... Sir... General…? Yes Sir, Ma’am.” He gave a snappy salute. “May I add, I like your uniform Sir... Ma’am.”

It felt good being close to Sala. There was a peace within my soul when I was close to her or Kasu. It was more than them being my guardians and mentors. They were a balance in my life in the chaos of this dimension.

As we launched out of the hanger bay I did a wing over. Sala was right on my wing tip as we flew up and over the battleship and skimmed the bridge. We knew each other so well we flew as one. I knew everyone was diving for cover as we put distance between us and that battleship.

“Someone get me the number of those two pilots. Have a safe trip General. You also LaSaDa.” Came in over the comlink.

Thinking back I remembered what Huluo had told me. “You will suffer greatly in the many moons ahead. I saw many paths for you. All of them you paid a great price no matter which one you chose. With so many paths for your choice, it clouded the future past that beyond understanding. Be strong Princess, for you, we have waited many millennia.”

What I had been through with the Homm and pirates was probably a non-starter. Huluo indicated this was going to be a long drawn out painful process. Everyone was going to pay a high price.

“Kasu? Sala and I are coming home. See you soon.” I sent Kasu a mental message.

“Do you mind?” I sent Sala a mind thought instead of using the transmitters.

“Not at all. I prefer this way. We aren’t broadcasting our conversation across space.”

“How is it a General is command of a space ship? Back home we call them...”

“I know what you call them. Here we use what is available. I was the highest ranking military officer with the experience. Thus, I was in command when the need arose. Accept that which is LaSaDa. Push when you have time. Fight when you must. Kill as necessary. Accept that which matters little. The Private can fire a gun and so can the Captain. When both are there, would you care if you were defended by the Private or the Captain? Peace will come to your soul when you do not try and micromanage everything and everyone.”

EPILOG:
Sala told me I could return to Earth if I wanted. I wouldn’t change back to a man. I wouldn’t blend in so many ways they would probably want to start shooting me. She told me most of the humans I met or would meet in this dimension were born here and those who weren’t human looked down on other species. That included humans. Although the Alliance recruits from many worlds, Earth is a very small infinitesimal part of that. She said it was divine guidance she had been testing a portal that day when I stepped through. Kasu called and told her LaSaDa had split the dimensions. It was the only reason Sala took me to see Kasu instead of sending me to a military training unit.

I asked about a General commanding a battleship. Sala told me the Alliance used resources where ever they found them. There were Admirals in the Alliance too. There were never enough for a war that had been ongoing for centuries, scattered across hundreds of galaxies.

As long as there are intelligent beings, some will want to take and control everyone and everything. There will be those who don’t want to be taken or have others controlling their lives. This war would end only if we could stop the takers, such as those like the pirates and the bloated government bureaucracy. Even if we succeed, life will cycle and start anew doing the same thing. Was it worth the effort? I needed to know more about the Homm. Gear Up!

The End

Both Barbie and I wish to thank all of you for reading, commenting and kudoing the story. We very much appreciate ALL your input, whether good or bad. Another story IS in the works and will begin posting on Monday or Tuesday the 18th or 19th of August 2014. It's another Space Opera/Adventure tale but this one is huge, with two books already written, so get ready to Blast Off again!

Catherine Linda Michel, The Editor.



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