[HANSON STORIES]

The Draedean Threat

{Year- 3090}
{Place-Dreadean Space Territory}
{Habitation: The Clepsydra}

Chapter 11 - "Thanks... you're a life saver."



"No, put it over there by the other stuff when you get it there, strap it down with the gravity-slings." Taylor swung around at his hips, surveying the interior of the cargo bay, worry lines etched deeply into his forehead. He glowered at a lagamorph who was doing his job correctly, resenting the being just because he belonged to a species that caused Taylor endless trouble. He chose to treat the alien as if it weren't there.
"Taylor sir, a transmission from your brothers' view-screen has been received. Do you wish to accept?" Clep's sweet voice rang.
Two workers exchanged interested glances but turned back to their separate tasks of wrapping the fragile items in gravity-slings.
Taylor ruffled his short hair up, feeling doubtful, "Mm.yeah, sure. Put it through with a subject matter in the code to my portable viewer Clep."
"Yes Taylor sir."
Clepsydra's owner imagined a middle-aged woman of tiny stature and light coloring bowing her head and scuttling off to do her assignment when he heard his craft's computer. He could almost see her moving through the walls of his metallic-colored ship doing his every wish and need; dimming lights when women came for night time activities, warming beds too cold to sleep within in the sub-zero freeze of deep space, or just something or somebody to talk to. All the threats about getting rid of Clepsydra by replacing her were always empty and fueled only by anger. His on-board computer was the only thing close to family he had and he would never want to lose her. Taylor caught the slight static of a private transmission inside the small confines of the cargo cell and sent his piercing eyes on a mission to search for the worker who didn't have that call authorized.
He pressed the com-link implanted deep in his jaw and whispered, "Clep.trace that call and terminate it asap." He murmured in a low voice.
He felt a gentle pressing against his eyelids and saw Clepsydra's response against the tiny computer screen fixed in a thin film-like layer over each pupil. He blinked to clear the undetectable images from his vision and stared at the culprit. The man squirmed under his accusing gaze. A block had been put over the man's com-link so Taylor was unable to have Clepsydra trace the call. Taylor grew frustrated, wishing for more advanced equipment.
He pointed a slim finger at the man, "If I catch you making anymore calls without my permission your pay will be docked and your working license will be suspended."
"Yes sir, it won't happen again sir." The man mumbled. He turned back to his duties obediently.
Taylor pressed his jaw again, "Did he hack into anything Clep?"
The screen within his eye was flooded with technical readouts for a split second before being replaced by several words that caused Taylor to clench his jaw and give a harsh blink to clear the message. The few words stated, "Unable to detect." Taylor knew this meant the man had a better arsenal of system blocks then he did, the man could block anything he was doing unless Clepsydra warned her master of his doings. Even then they couldn't tell which systems he was trying to get into, so precious and expensive memory blocks were drained to protect every vulnerable operation program in the ship.
"Shit!" He hissed, desperately wishing he'd ordered more electronics then just repair kits with the new shipment of supplies. After all, Sankt was paying for everything. Curious stares met his outburst but he simply waved them away so they could get back to their work.
"I'll take that call now Clep." He stated tiredly, walking to his room to grab his viewer.
He clapped once and a little red light shone out from under a partially transparent shirt on the floor. Taylor shook his head as he stumbled over a pair of boots and decided this place should be cleaned before he reached Denabux. View -screen in hand, Taylor turned back to see how the unloading was going. The 'transmission-waiting' signal started blinking rapidly, signaling an urgent call, and the young man hit "accept" and watched Zac's image fill the screen. He held up a finger to silence his little brother and yelled at the man who had been making yet another unauthorized call.
"THAT'S IT! Out! NOW! I've got your chip number and your boss's name. LEAVE!" His face turned red as he vented off a little steam.
The man gave him a glare, hating the fact that he had to listen to the young man or port authorities could come and arrest him. But he had what hehad come for. He gave a subservient nod and quickly exited the area, making sure to look embarrassed and contrite but all he felt was smug pride in hisacting abilities.
"The effing nerve of some people." Taylor scowled, "Sorry Zac. I'm kinda busy right now, can you call back in an hour or so?" He asked wearily.
The tiny image of Zac shook his head 'no' quickly.
"I can't Tay. We gotta get up super early tomorrow to help get all the hydro crops in. Everybody's asleep already, I just wanted to see if you can send any info on Sankt."
Taylor chewed his lips thoughtfully, "What for?"
Zac shrugged, "I dunno. Just in case. Ike was talking about it earlier, but he didn't wanna ask."
"Uhm... sure then I guess. Hang on." Taylor reached above his head into a tiny compartment as he asked Clepsydra to give him the proper chip he was looking for. A moment later a tiny scrap of metal stuck out from the rest of the data discs being stored and he inserted the small thing into the slot of the viewer, "Hit receive now."
He watched Zac fumble with the toggles and switches before he saw the information being uploaded. The small green bar showed 'finished' and Taylor pulled the chip out and replaced it.
"Thanks manů we'll talk to ya tomorrow right?"
"Right ya are Zac. Give mom and dad a hug for me. They still don't know I'm coming do they?"
"Nope, night Tay." Zac yawned before waiting for a reply and hit "end transmission.'
The sound of a something shattering caught Taylor's attention and he rushed back to the cargo bay, barking orders left and right. A gift from one of his first smuggling jobs, one that he'd 'accidentally' forgotten to deliver to a client had been broken into a thousand pieces all over The Clepsydra's floors. The sentimental value far outweighed the true price of the ancient relic from Terra, old Earth, and the lagamorph who did it quickly stooped down to his knees and hurriedly began to gather up the remnants of the valued piece. That tore it.
Taylor rushed at the being, grabbing two handfuls of flesh from its shoulders, hauling it up to it's feet. The creature just reached his height and fear reflected in his wide spread eyes as Taylor gave a harsh shake before slinging the thin beast against a nearby bulkhead. His eyes shone with a fearful fire that had the poor alien shaking with unimaginable dread, praying that this young man's anger wouldn't turn into murderous rage. Taylor's hands gripped the being's shoulders once more as he started screaming insanely at the creature.
"DO YOU KNOW HOW OLD THAT WAS!? DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHERE IT WAS FROM!?" He screamed in his rage.
The lagamorph didn't know whether to answer or shudder at Taylor's ranting, so Taylor gave him a harsh shake and asked, "DO YOU!?"
The lagamorph shook his head slowly, morphing his features into those of a frightened animal. He hoped that Taylor would subconsciously pick up on that and react accordingly. His hopes were answered but not as gently as he would have liked.
Taylor grabbed him by the back of the neck and shoved him to the deck of The Clepsydra and pointed with his free hand, "Clean it up. Now. And when you're done, come to the com-unit, we'll be calling your boss." He pushed against the alien's shaking form once more before he began stalking off.
"Do you see anything interesting around here? If not I'd suggest you get back to loading up my cargo bay." Taylor sneered at the loading men who had watched the proceedings.
Taylor wove his way through several small passages and into his private store of kaos sticks and pulled one out and put it under his tongue. A derivative from the army days to help the soldiers calm themselves in the midst of war, the sticks had eventually found their way out into the black market that thrived in deep space. Taylor had a large stock of them because of his life style and used them frequently.
He felt the warm liquid seep down his throat and his nerves automatically felt a little softer around the edges. A few more minutes would leave him a peaceful young man indeed and that would leave his terrified lagamorph loader with a job but with a heavy dept to pay.

{One Hour Later}

The last of the loading men finally stepped out of the ship and departed in their empty cargo-trucks, leaving behind a messy cabin for Taylor to clean. Smoking cigarettes was illegal in any part of space or planetside for that matter, but that didn't stop many from doing so. Cigarette butts were found all over the floor and in small snack bowls. Taylor could easily send the butts in to be checked for DNA to get the culprit but that was far too much trouble for a young man who's situation was much more grim then smoking. He sighed and simply tossed the bag down he was using as a trash receptacle.
"Clep.can you get the medical droid out here and override its codes and get it to clean up this mess?" Whined Taylor.
"Yes Taylor sir." Her soothing voice answered. A moment later, the little droid trundled into view and began to speedily retrieve things that did not belong.
"Clep, is that course still set for The Gheldeth?"
"It is Taylor sir. Do you wish to engage?"
"Yeah, might as well. Send Ike and Zac a link to let em know I'm on my way ok?"
"Yes Taylor sir. Go rest now. I will put the droid back when it is done."
"Thanks... you're a life saver. Night."
"Good night Taylor sir."
Clepsydra immediately ignored protocol again and pushed the temperature up in Taylor's room to ensure an easier sleep. She slowly dimmed the lights over a period of several minutes until her cameras showed that her master was fast asleep but he'd lost the innocent look she was so used to. His face, which should have been relaxed in sleep, was bunched up and creased from all the stress the current situation put him under. Now that he was asleep, she could start up the drive-unit and start the short trip to the Trade Ship Gheldeth. While the unit readied itself, Clepsydra released the ship from her docking bay and let it gently float a few hundred meters away from the station before applying the thrusters to get a few miles away from anything living. As the unit processed the fuel and hydrogen from the area surrounding the ship, the stars began to blur, the ship began to bend the space around it, and without any indication of what it was doing, the ship shot off into space with it's course set for the Gheldeth.

{Year- 3090}
{Place- Selvmatej Star System}
{Planet- Malsolate}


Sankt accepted the link from a secretive sounding being and molded his large body against his comfort-fitting chair to await what it had to say. He stretched languidly as he thought of the young man who was bringing his precious draetons back here to Malsolate and sighed happily. Those draetons, if sold properly, would make him millions of credits and give him an even bigger name then he already possessed. The com-unit suddenly beeped its readiness.
"Yes... what can I help you with?" Sankt asked tiredly.
A rather large lagamorph filled up the com-screen and began talking at once.
"I hear that you hired one Taylor Hanson to bring you a rather large shipment of draetons, sir. Is this true?" His liquid voice flowed.
Sankt clenched his fists but made no show of his anger in his face, "It might have been true. Why do you ask? It could be a rumor to try and get him into some trouble. He's rather good and a risk to my other smugglers."
"Oh, I see. So these cases he sold me, which are full of draetons by the way, have nothing to do with you at all?"
Sankt's rage showed as clearly as if it were a flare against pitch-black skies, "HE SOLD THEM TO YOU?"
"Indeed he did sir. I'll expect his payment, doubled, for you to get them back. And I had two friends of mine in his ship when he was loading it with supplies to run from you. They were able to get the codes to his family home on a colony planet by the name of Denabux. I understand he felt that he was a liability to his family and that if their location wasn't disclosed that they may meet trouble. Is this also true sir?"
Sankt took a deep breath, "Your sources are very reliable. I'd like to have them working for me."
The morpher smiled, "But they do work for you sir."
Sankt began trembling, his palms became slick with the poisons he released as if he had this lagamorph sitting across from his desk and was ready to kill him.
He hissed through clenched teeth-plates, "Whatever it costs you will bring those draetons to me and I will pay you accordingly. Have you anymore information that I might like to know?"
The watery voice began again, "I do sir. I have no doubt that you've heard of the Gheldeth?"
Sankt nodded, "Yes... it's more then eight miles long, two miles wide, a veritable fortress with its anti-asteroid armor, an unidentifiable alloy protects the ship from any bombardment. It's basically a small, self-contained city."
The alien bowed to show his respect, "How is it that you come to know so much of a ship that is so far from the Selvmatej System?"
"Who do you think funds the ship in low times?"
The lagamorph smiled widely, "I admire your bravado in such a risky move sir."
Sank frowned irritably, "What does this have to do with anything?"
The morpher looked ruffled for a moment, "Your Taylor is heading there as we speak to visit some lady friends of his. It might be in your best interest to find these young women and gain their trust. He'll be there shortly sir."
Sankt felt the poison glands in his hands shrinking slightly but he was still outraged at the lack of respect this morpher showed him, "When will you make further contact with me? I see that you are using a code that I'm unable to trace."
"When I feel this Taylor one is punished severely enough for the humiliation he has bestowed upon me."
Sankt nodded and flipped the com-switch off without saying good-bye. He'd been sick enough with the formalities of speaking in the Universal Language the entire conversation so he doubted he could stand saying another word.
He made a steeple with his hands, a Terran habit, and started talking to himself.
"Mr. Hanson... I'm amazed at your risky move, but don't you ever think you'll pull this stunt off without me in your way." He turned to his com-unit.
"Secretary?"
"Yes Sankt sir?"
"Put a call through to the Gheldeth immediately!"
"Yes sir. Anything else sir?"
Sankt thought for a moment, "Yes... call my ship's crew and have them prepare for immediate departure."
"Yes sir."
The young woman he employed sounded confused but Sankt didn't care. He had bigger thoughts swirling around in his mind to worry about such petty things.


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