Rimwalker

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Chapter 10

Despite her brother’s assurance that he could handle Dak Bluddhook, Xadina could not find it within herself to trust the guy. He seemed dark – the kind of fellow who would sell his mother for a meal if starving. And while she wanted to honour her brother’s request, she felt she had to do something and that is when, lost for ideas, she contacted home via a deep-space communication signal, requesting her father come out and meet her on Arcturia. Two weeks later the response came back that Jan was already on his way and four weeks later he arrived, Chance in tow. He had come alone. Whatever the situation with his son, out here on the edge of the galaxy he felt it best if he was not identified, and few would know his face, or so he believed. Xadina did her best to explain to her father the situation and, after mulling it over, Jan felt it might be best to go out and retrieve his son. Xadina had stated quite certainly that no Arcturian authorities had questioned her or been seen looking around her place, and She’ella reported a similar situation. As such Kalan would not be in trouble with Arcturia, and Jan felt it worth the risk to now go out and retrieve his son. Regardless, even if Arcturia found out, Jan was sure given his new position he could smooth things over with the Arcturian’s once the situation was explained properly. Jan decided to travel as incognito to Arcturia minor as possible, leaving Xadina and Chance behind on Arcturia. He did not want to risk their safety. It was his job now. He would find his son, let Dak know the Kolby’s were finished once and for all with the league of piracy, their obligations met and dealt with, and persuade Kalan to come home to New Terra, along with the grand-son he had just gotten to know. Whatever else, in United Galaxy space they had more bargaining power should Arcturia ever have concerns. Travelling on the routine monthly flight from Arcturia to Arcturia minor Jan feared for his son. He knew Dak – he was a crafty old soul, always one to be worried about if your back was turned. And while he would likely treat Kalan honourably to a degree that could change if the bastard felt an opportunity was his, such as ditching a partner who could one day blab about a theft. And that concerned Jan greatly. He would find his son, and deal with Dak Bluddhook once and for all.


The trip to Arcturia minor took a full week and landing at the small spaceport he figured it would not take long to find his son. There was a large amount of accommodation for the various miners which worked on the planet, as well as two hotels. Dak could have contacts on the planet, and be staying with someone. If that were the case, he would have to be patient in finding him. But first things first, and the most obvious, trying the two hotels for those who fitted the description. He tried the larger hotel first, at the northern edge of the spaceport. He gave a description and while the hotel was reluctant to divulge information on its guests, assured Jan that nobody fitting the description was staying with them or had been seen. And so he tried the other hotel. They too were reluctant to divulge information, but the receptionist winked at him and when he handed over a large Arcturian credit note, gave him the room number. Jan came to the room and cautiously knocked on the door. He was not really sure what to expect, but he had seen the Wolfklaw still in dock, so assumed they would be here. After a few moments hesitation Dak Bluddhook opened the door and looked at Jan Kolby, then letting out a grin.’For fuck’s sake, if it isn’t the devil himself. Jan fucking Kolby. And dressed finely mind you. I guess being King of the Galaxy would do that to you.’’Were is my son, Dak.’‘Hey, why not come in. Have a beer. Your son is just in the bathroom, taking a shower. He will join us shortly.’ Jan nodded, came inside, and Dak gave him a beer. Dak looked at him for a few moments, and then Kalan walked in, bare-chested, but in his pants, and nodded at his dad.’I am not surprised, dad. I figured Xadina might have worried.’’And so she should. She has always been the sensible one.’Jan looked at Dak.‘Now, Bluddhook. As far as I can tell my son has fulfilled his arrangement with yourself. Xadina and Kalan’s wife have assured me that Arcturian authorities are not onto you. They have not been anywhere near her, and sufficient time has passed. So what do you say about me and my son leaving now and all league interest in the Kolby’s being finished for good?’ Dak nodded. ‘Yeh, I suppose that sounds good, Kolby. Good for you, but.’ And having said that Dak pulled out a phaser he had been hiding under his pillow. ‘BUT I don’t think I can really take the chance now. You have influence. Great influence. And I think, for your son’s reputation, the first thing you will do when you get back to Arcturia is confess and let them know my location. So, no. I don’t think you are going anywhere. In fact, fabulous Rimwalker, I think this is the end of the line for you.’ Kalan grinned. He had suspected this betrayal. For quite a while. And when a week back he had taken out the power supply from Dak’s phaser, he now knew it had definitely been the sensible thing to do. ’Go ahead, Bluddhook. Press the trigger. Go ahead.’‘If you say so, Kolby,’ replied Dak. ‘Say goodbye!’ But as soon as he pressed the trigger, it fizzed a little and did nothing else. ‘I threw away the power supply,’ said Kalan. ’I figured you’d betray me.’‘Shit,’ said Dak. ‘Shit. Hey, look, Kolby. Only kidding alright. No hard feelings, ok.’ ‘Bite me,’ responded Kalan. Jan looked at his son. ’Ready to go?’‘Let’s get out of here.’ As they left Jan turned to Dak. ’It has been good knowing you, Dak Bluddhook. But we got to run. But see you next time, ok?’‘You can count on it,’ responded Dak, looking embarrassed. They left the room, and quickly made their way to the Wolfklaw. Taking off Kalan looked back. He was free now, all obligations dealt with. And his life could begin again. In the strangest way the situation was now resolved and, for Kalan Kolby, seeing Dak Bluddhook again within the next 50 years would be too soon. 28 As they sped along, headed back for Arcturia, they had been gone from Arcturia minor for about three hours when, suddenly, out of nowhere, laser bolts started hammering into the Wolfklaw’s hull.‘What the fuck is that?’ yelled Jan.Kalan spoke to the computer who brought up a scan of one of the space vessels from Arcturia Minor which was now following them, opening fire. And it was a pretty well armed ship by the looks of it.‘Who the fuck is it?’ yelled Jan.Kalan knew. Instantly he knew. ’Its Bluddhook. He is chasing us.’’But why the hell go to this much trouble, just to get rid of us. I would have thought he wouldn’t worry now.’‘Its not us he wants,’ replied Kalan.’Then what?’’The crown. We agreed to leave it in safekeeping on the ship. I forgot all about it.’The bolts were still showering into the hull of the Wolfklaw, and Jan spoke up.’We won’t survive long against that ship. But I have an idea. Computer.’‘Yes commander Kolby,’ responded the female voice.’Take us to the Ark. The space ark near Arcturian minor. The one the rebels used. Do you remember?’‘Affirmative, Captain.’ The ship suddenly changed course and, fortunately as they were quite close already, ten minutes later, avoiding the bolts as best they could, they docked with the ark and taking the crown, came to the central command deck. The other ship was hovering in front of the ark, perhaps deciding on his next move. ‘What next?’ asked Kalan.’This thing is not armed, but I have an idea. Trust me.’Jan proceeded to destroy the communications devices on board the central command deck, and alongside his son hid down near the dock, just away a bit from the Wolfklaw. As Jan suspected, Bluddhook landed on the Ark and soon, walking right by them, armed with a new phaser, went off hunting them on the Ark. ’Ok Kalan, get on board the Wolfklaw. I will be right back.’Kalan did as his father instructed, and was waiting on board the Wolfklaw. A few minutes later his father returned and yelled to his son to get the fuck out of there. They took off and Kalan asked his dad what he had done.‘Watch,’ said Kalan.The screen showed the Ark and then, suddenly, Dak’s ship exploded, damaging the dock of the Ark as well.‘What did you do?’ asked Kalan.’Set off the auto-destruct. I figured the ship would have one, and I am used to Arcturian cruisers.’Kalan nodded, and looked at the ark. ’Of course, you destroyed the communication devices, didn’t you? I figured that was what you were doing.’Jan nodded.’You cunning old fox. He will be stranded there. Perhaps for good. With a damaged space dock passers by might not bother trying to land.’Jan nodded again. ’Hopefully that will be the last we ever see of Dak Bluddhook and the league of piracy. And thank God for that.’Kalan laughed. ’Were to now, dad? Arcturia I presume.’’Actually, no. I have another idea. First a certain nearby planet, and then Arcturia. I have a grudge, Kalan. And it is time to deal with it once and for all.’‘Whatever,’ said Kalan perplexed. 29 ‘What was this place called again. It really is a hellhole,’ queried Kalan to his father.‘Karnak. There is life near the poles, but most of the inner region is uninhabited desert. But, THAT,’ said Jan, pointing to the ruined buildings of decayed metal being shown on the screen, ’that is the final resting place for perhaps my greatest foe.’‘And what foe is that?’ asked Kalan, amused.‘That fucking crown.’ They landed the ship and Jan put on his old boots, took the crown and headed off. He returned about 20 minutes later and Kalan finally asked the question.’But why here? Why hide the crown on Karnak?’’That is a long story, son of mine. A long story. Perhaps I will tell it to you sometime. Remind me, before I get too old, ok.’‘Whatever.’ Jan spoke to the computer and the took off back into the atmosphere, now headed back to Arcturia. The Sigmorius crown, the bane of the lives of more than one Kolby, had found its resting place. And, having come home, settled down to another aeon long wait for a new owner. 30 Jan picked up James, and looked at him. He really was a Kolby, despite the more Arcturian look of him now. His mother She’ella looked on nervously, and after a few moments Jan handed his grandson back to her. In the time they had been away She’ella had gotten to know her mother-in-law, Chance, and they had become close friends. Chance had spoken a number of times about She’ella coming to live on New Terra. She had been somewhat reluctant at first, not really wanting to leave her mother, but she had also been attracted to the kind of lifestyle which Xadina spoke of, and wanted the best for her son James. So she had acquiesced in the end, and plans were now made for Kalan and Xadina’s self imposed decade long exile to finish early. Kalan agreed that he’d had enough adventure for one lifetime and that taking up his role on New Terra might just be in his own and his son’s own best interests. Jan spoke that, assuming the Royal family continued, Kalan would one day take over from Jan. And then, quite possibly, James take over one day from Kalan. There were three generations ready to sit on the throne of the United Galaxy and, as long as they were wanted, the Kolby’s were happy enough to fill the role. The flight home was generally uneventful, and as Arcturia disappeared behind him, Kalan was sad in some ways, but also glad to be heading back for New Terra which also was his true home. It had been an adventure for Kalan and Xadina Kolby. A great adventure out here on the rim, one which he had pursued of his own choice to start with, but which had taken unexpected turns. But now, in truth, he was glad to be heading home. He was a family man, with a role in the galaxy. And the name of Kolby was at stake. Perhaps his choice, one day, would be seen wise. Perhaps the legacy of the Kolby’s would one day be ever the more fruitful for Kalan again taking up his responsibilities in the life of the Galaxy. Perhaps. Xadina, likewise, was glad to be going home now. Her university education was unfinished but she had gotten knowledge which was always the important thing. And, back home, she felt she would continue with her education and become more of the scholar she perhaps needed to be. And now, perhaps now, she would be more easy on those suitors who sought her hand, and say yes to one of them. If seeing the birth of her nephew James had taught her anything it was that family was a blessing. A blessing not to turn the nose at but to relish and enjoy, knowing the peace of heart and joy to the soul it brought. It took a number of months, but eventually the Kolby’s arrived home, and the life of the first family of the galaxy returned to its more normal routine. And, for a while, everything was good. For a while. 31 The time, now, was good. The time, now, was opportune. The time, now, was right. And so when Jan Kolby proposed to the Galactic Council of the United Galaxy the expansion outwards from quadrant zero to encompass the remainder of the known galaxy, most member bodies approved the idea. This time, though, Jan sensed it would not be as easy as Galagon had been. This time they would have a struggle. Although they had much to offer. Distinct advantages in that respect. In the years since the formation of the Galactic Council, the system of currency known as the Galaga had become increasingly widespread throughout quadrant zero, as the plan had been all along, and from reports it was viewed as hard currency by many of the outer quadrant systems as well. In fact, in his brief stay on Arcturia before departing for home, Kalan had shown him a number of stores in Zardray which happily accepted Galaga’s. And that was their advantage. Stressing the distinct advantage of a unified monetary system, and the free trade which could potentially go along with it, which had partially been realized in the inner galaxy with strong free trade agreements between many systems, and a far more flexible immigration policy abounding, Jan felt the time was definitely right to approach the outer systems in a similar manner to the way the inner systems had been approached. Naturally, he had worries about some systems. The Drongan empire, for example, were he had been a slave, might prove particularly difficult to win to the idea. But, nevertheless, the time was right for expansion, and most UG members felt it was as good as time as any. Working on this project occupied many of Jan’s hours, often working deep into the night, planning strategy and approach for various civilizations. He now had a fair idea of just what citizens inhabited the Milky Way Galaxy, and had become fluent in over 30 widely spoken languages of the inner and outer quadrants. Mastering all in his brief lifespan would have proved impossible, but translation devices were very popular in New Terra and communicating with them all never proved that difficult. Still it was always an advantage to know the language, and one night of Jan’s week had always been put aside for language lessons. When he reached 75 it was deemed the time was right. The council approved of the official outreach to the outer galaxy and delegates and documentation strewed forth. It was now just a matter of time for Jan Kolby. Now just a matter of time.


Kalan sat in one of the greater lounges of the Royal palace, his son on the carpet on the floor in front of him, playing with some toys. He had grown in the last few years, and was talking well for his age. At that moment Xadina walked in and, waving to Kalan, asked if he would join her for a walk. He pushed a buzzer and when a maid shortly came in he asked her to watch James. Coming out onto a balcony, with steps leading down into the impressive royal gardens, Xadina stood on the balcony, looking out at Televere. ’We have been blessed, really, haven’t we Kalan.’’Yes, I guess. But why say such a thing now? We have always known how lucky we are.’‘I guess,’ she continued, brushing her hair with her hand. ’I guess, living on Arcturia changed my perspective somewhat. I mean, working as a waitress I met a lot of people, many of which are living lives so totally unlike our own. So many of them struggle to make ends meet, having poor jobs or education disadvantages. And not everyone is as bright as the average, which makes it so hard for some families to get by.’’Yeh, I know sis. But that really is life. It is the way things are in the real world, as dad would see. And while I feel for many people, we can’t help everyone right away. We can only do what we do. Which is, I guess, why what dad does is so important. Perhaps, more than anything else, if the UG does extend outwards and free trade grows, it will inevitably mean a better quality of life for all citizens of the galaxy. Free trade means greater opportunities for business. Without the incessant costs of tariffs, which only reward selfish civilizations, greater equity will spread and benefit all of us. So, you know sis, while it is so very admirable of you to feel this way, something is being done about it. I mean, something has always been done about it. For millennia mankind worked on this problem, as all civilizations do, and we have always continued to improve our quality of life. It’s getting better for everyone. Slowly, inevitably, it is getting better for everyone. Believe me.’Xadina nodded, taking in that lengthy speech.’Of course, you are right Kalan. You are always right. But, whatever else, I am so grateful for the life dad and mum have brought us up to live. We are so blessed, really. So very blessed.’Kalan nodded, empathising. Xadina continued staring out at the city for some time and then, eventually, perhaps having reached some conclusions, turned to her brother and asked him to walk with her in the gardens. As they walked along, Xadina seemed thoughtful, as if the thoughts she had expressed weighed heavily on her. Kalan admired that in his sister. She had a good heart, really. Like her mother in that respect. And it only made him gladder that God had brought Xadina Omega Beltana Kolby into his life. Eventually she spoke. ’Whatever else, dear brother, I am glad we are free from that Dak Bluddhook. I feared him, you know. He seemed to have a dark edge which I think neither you or dad really noticed. I am glad he is stuck on that station. I am so glad of that.’’If he is even still alive. But mum said the ark had years of basic ration supplies, apart from the food they grew on the ark. He is probably right now eating crackers and drinking recycled water. But such is the reward for a rogue, I guess.’’Let’s hope so. They walked for some time more, and sat down on a concrete bench. Kalan sat, thinking over Dak Bluddhook who he had forgotten about, and like Xadina expressed, glad to see the back of him. The sat for a while, looking over the garden, oblivious to the identity which had just gotten past the security barriers and was now just a few metres away from them, armed with a phaser, staring at his foes. It would be a shock for the Kolby children. A most definite shock, and one which they were just about to experience.


As they sat there, oblivious to the figure watching them, Kalan spoke up. ’You know, Dak was a dangerous fellow Xadina. But that is a pirate for you. But we Kolby’s are a tough breed, don’t forget that. We can handle the league of piracy.’Just then the figure emerged, pointed his phaser at them, and spoke.’Hey there punks. So you can handle the league, huh. Well we’ll see about that alright. We’ll see about that.’Kalan and Xadina turned their heads, and Xadina screamed. Of all the possible people in galaxy full of people, this was not one she could have expected to have seen again. And as Dak Bluddhook pointed his phaser at them, motioning for them to get up and walk carefully, Xadina was internally distraught, overcome by the situation. He directed them to a vehicle and had Kalan sit in the front seat, Xadina next to him. Sitting in the back seat, with the phaser pointed at Kalan’s back, he said, ’Remember, no mistakes. You and your sister are dead unless we get out of here alive.’Kalan nodded. There would be no mistakes. They drove to the gates, and Kalan pushed a button in the car which automatically opened them. The guard looked at the Kolby’s as they drove out, but said nothing. Halfway down the street Xadina had had enough. She opened the door and jumped out quick enough that Dak could do nothing. Running back to the palace gates, yelling, she turned and saw the vehicle speed off. Getting to the gate she yelled at the guards, but the vehicles were further up the driveway and by the time they had gotten them started and reached the road, Kalan and Dak were nowhere to be seen. He had gotten his revenge after all. Dak Bluddhook had gotten his revenge after all. And that night, as Xadina told the sad story to her father, Jan Kolby made up his mind to deal with Dak Bluddhook once and for all. And this time for the very final time. The very final time.


Kalan pulled at the cords at his wrist. It was no use, they were tightly tied. He would just have to sit this one out. He sat there for over an hour when, finally, Dak came back onto the command deck. ‘We are nearly there, lad. Soon you will meet your fate. Don’t worry, it will be quick. Heh heh. Yeh, it will be quick.’ But the sadistic look on Dak’s face suggested to Kalan that his apparent death would be anything but quick. ’You know, if you had played your cards right and blown the ark, you wouldn’t be in the situation you are now in. But you’re a Kolby aren’t you? Soft in the end.’’We are not murderers Dak. We are lawful people, unlike some.’’Coming from the man who stole the Sigmorius crown. That’s a bit much, don’t you think.’’I had no choice. You know that better than I do.’‘Choice!’ yelled Dak. ’There is always a choice. But, never-mind. That is in the past. The future is what is important now, Kalan Kolby. And I am afraid the news is in. Yours aint looking so good.’’Jan will stop you, Dak. He did before – he will again.’’I hope so. Finishing off the final thorn in my flesh would be a perfect way to start my retirement. In fact, I am really counting on your father following the trail I have left him. It will be good riddance to the scourge of the Kolby family from the galaxy.’‘Go to hell,’ yelled Kalan.’Temper, temper. Still, I would be swearing my head off if I was in your situation. But, it is only temporary. Soon I will have my vengeance. Soon and very soon.’Dak sat there, grinning madly, while Kalan silently prayed that his father was indeed following his trail. His very life depended on it.

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