The Draedean Threat

{Year- 3090}
{Place- Orbit around the gas giant, Granchegase}
{Habitation- The Trade Ship Gheldeth}

Chapter 14- Home Sweet Home

"Uh!" Taylor 's breath was nearly forced out of him as his stomach came into contact with the hard edge of the ventilation duct he was aiming for. He struggled and cried out as he tried to pull his waist up to join the rest of his body but couldn't bend his injured leg as much as he needed it to. His worst nightmare came true when he felt a thick meaty hand attach itself to his ankle and begin to pull back with amazing strength and speed.
Taylor held on tight to the metal screen, looping his abused fingers through the small holes in hopes of keeping away from the awful fate waiting below.
"Jesus..god..oh god." He couldn't pull his leg up. Taylor couldn't summon the strength needed and Sankt just kept pulling and pulling. He felt as if his leg was about to be ripped off. But just when he thought all chances of escape were obsolete he felt a bit of hope surge through him.
In Sankt's rage he had allowed himself to release a mass amount of poison onto his palms and fingers as he pulled his prey towards him. But what he realized too late was that tronflex became quite slippery when wet and his grip was quickly faltering. There was nothing he could do to stop Taylor from fleeing now. If he ordered his men to shoot he would likely be hit in the process. If he let go of Taylor to wipe his hands off he would be gone anyway. He had no choice but to try his hardest to keep his grip on the rapidly depleting fabric he held.
Taylor took a deep breath and heaved his body forward as hard as he could, using all the strength he possessed to pull himself along with his tired arms. He felt Sankt's grip disappear and cried out in relief, laughing to himself in a half-crazed joy. This joy, however, was short lived as a huge paw latched onto Taylor's boot that was still half hanging over the opening he thought he'd left far enough behind him to be safe.
"Just gimmie a break God and I'll NEVER drink again!" Taylor promised. Keeping one hand stuck fast in the grating he reached down to his boot and began pulling the latches to free himself. His hand connected with Sankt's and he felt his hand begin to itch something terrible but he couldn't-wouldn't-stop now.
Sankt's anger knew no bounds as this frustrating boy was outwitting him time and time again. Just when he thought he had him once, a stupid little whore that had bedded Taylor down had to open her mouth, then a fat woman whom he'd once called a partner allowed him to run free, then Sankt had had him in his grasp when he slipped away, and now this!
Taylor's arm began to shake and his fingers began to lose their iron grip. One more buckle, one more! He reached down and slapped the snap and the boot seemingly flew off his foot as Taylor was flung forward by his own trembling arm. He heard Sankt plow over various lagamorphs and other aliens hired to help him as he fell to the floor.
"Oh shit... hehe... damn, no time to rest now Tay!" He had held the image of one of the most dignified alien species in the known galaxy tumbling to the ground in his mind as he prepared to leave.
He pulled himself back up to his hands and knees and scurried off through the tunnel and, abruptly, the ground beneath him gave way and he was free falling for a brief second before landing on his stomach, banging his already-sore knee against the cool metal floor. He groaned, opening his eyes, and then he looked around to take in his surroundings.
He was smack dab in the middle of the trade center. Vendors all around him were switching their glances from the dirty, bloody human to the open ventilation shaft he'd fallen through high above him. He hauled himself to his feet, still forcing himself not to vocalize his pain, and started a limping run to put distance between himself and the worker's quarters two floors above him. A vendor grabbed his arm out of nowhere.
"Where are you running off to youngling? You need to be in a medical bay!" He warbled softly.
Taylor observed the delicate yellow being. His two eyes were located high on the top of his oval head, ears low by his neck. By the slight bulge in the middle of his clothed body Taylor could tell he was hiding extra limbs apart from the four arms that were clearly present. His puffy spotted lips made him look like an innocent creature but those often harbored the worst surprises and Taylor was in too much of a hurry to be terribly suspicious.
"I have a medical bay on my ship sir, thank you for your concern but I really need to leave." Taylor started to move away, thinking that the alien would release the hold on his arm, but much to his surprise, the alien only tightened his grip.
"I insist youngling. You might be mortally wounded and not even know it." His vocal chords turned from soft and gentle into something else entirely as he pulled a long knife from his vest with one of his extra arms and pulled it back to strike out at Taylor.
Taylor's eyes widened and the shock of the situation and what had happened before slowed his reflexes only enough for the knife to graze his side. He struck out blindly with his free arm and good leg. The creature shrieked and Taylor bolted. Colors stood out in his vision while his breathing increased. Freedom lay at one of the portals that were lined up between each vendor's stall and would allow Clepsydra to dock and save him. He put his hand to his jaw.
"Clep! Get out of the docking bay and get to portal..." He looked at the nearest docking space for its number, "..portal number three-forty-seven!" He figured that since he was at port five hundred now that Clep should be able to reach the desired dock by the time he got there.
"Yes Taylor sir, at once!" Her voice resounded in his head.
He looked behind him and saw innocent traders and fellow Terrans being tossed aside, run over, and shot to simply get them out of their way so they wouldn't impede their or Sankt's progress. Taylor again felt the anger gnawing at him over the senseless loss of life over him.
He turned ahead before he tripped over somebody or caused himself more harm by just NOT looking where he was going in the first place. He'd just passed port four sixty so he knew he had to be close to getting away. He started zig zagging to make himself a harder target for the laser bolts being shot at him. He contacted Clepsydra again.
"Where are you? How close are you to three-forty-seven?"
"I'm waiting for your arrival Taylor sir!" Her voice reassured him.
Taylor's legs were aching, his throat felt raw for want of moisture, his lungs felt as if they would rather burst then function. His hair was streaming around his head, alerting him to the fact that maybe, just maybe, it might be a wise idea to pull his hood up over his head. His fingers could hardly accomplish the task while he was in full motion and their stint as being live anchors earlier weren't helping in the least. Taylor synched it closed around his face and continued to run until he spotted bay three-forty-seven only three ports down. Its warning lights were flashing to let bystanders know not to approach that bay or to order their own ships there. Taylor could almost feel the surge of aliens behind him speed up as they spotted the lights simultaneously. He pushed himself just a little harder, warning Clepsydra to open the door immediately. She did as she was told.
Taylor's knee was on the verge of buckling even though the adrenaline was pumping furiously through his body every second. He thought he could make the turn into his bay without slowing down but he turned on his bad knee and slid right passed the desired spot. He stopped his forward momentum and continued to slide sideways until he stopped completely and had to recover ten feet of floor he'd slid across.
The mob of bounty hunters, still being led by Sankt, had closed the gap between themselves and the boy they so desperately desired but not enough for them to succeed in capturing him.
Taylor flung his body passed the opening the door made, "Close it NOW!" He cried, rolling away from the airlock door. He jumped to his feet and put his hands up in a fighting position incase his enemies had somehow found a way to squeeze through the door after him. He was holding his fists up at an invisible threat. Nobody was in sight as he turned and limped up to the cockpit to guide his craft out of hostile territory.
He dumped his battered body into his chair and buckled himself in as best he could, ordering Clepsydra to airlock the entire ship and divert all habitation energy, with the exception of the oxygen generator, to the shields and his fire power. He knew he would be in dire need of such devices as soon as he was out of the bays of the Gheldeth.
He ordered Clepsydra to get as far away from the trade ship as she could without going so fast as to damage his body since he wasn't in a cryogenic freeze. He felt the ship thrum to life beneath him, the vibrations and muted sounds of well-maintained engines and all of the sudden the weightlessness of free fall as Clepsydra abruptly detached herself from the dock. Her thrusters hummed beautifully as she took quick advantage of the moment to collect hydrogen molecules from the surrounding space for later use. Then her engines came online fully and, with a brief warning to Taylor, her speed increased ten fold and Taylor's frail body was pushed back harshly into the captains seat. He could hardly breath and felt his head begin to ache. He could move at all not even to blink as his ship's speed held fast and they shot out of range of the Gheldeth. Taylor knew that if he was going to die he wasn't going to take the trade ship with him.
Just when he thought he would be killed by his own orders to speed up he felt the ship begin to slacken its racing pace and slow down and begin to turn to face it's pursuers. Taylor wouldn't have it. He commanded his AI to ready the ship for a space jump while he was in his cryo bay, blissfully unaware of the turmoil that would surround him in his sleep.
"I would advise against such actions Taylor sir. Sankt's drive unit is..."
"I won't stand this anymore Clep! I make the god-damned decisions here! I don't want you questioning me right now! Ready the ship!" He pounded his fist into the consul that held all of the controls and the ship jolted from side to side as different thrusters fired off. He picked his sore hands up and cradled them.
"We'll see to my wounds when it's safer. Set a course for home." He said wearily, slumping into his chair.
"That is one thing I can refuse Taylor sir. We have a fair amount of time until Sankt and his men are even within firing distance of us. We'll look at the injuries now."
Taylor thumped his head against the back of his chair, unfastening the buckles that held him into his chair, and barely made it upright as he trudged back to his small med. bay. Clepsydra's voice flowed from speaker to speaker as she "followed" his progress. Taylor spied the medical table lying before him and took great delight in collapsing onto his back across the cool surface.
"Do not move Taylor sir." Clepsydra warned him.
"I won't." He promised, "Work on my knee first.it hurts like a bitch."
"Yes Taylor sir, at once."
Taylor savored the soothing cold on his knee and soon relaxed enough to fall into an exhausted slumber while Clepsydra took great lengths to increase Taylor's comfort in ways he would have felt he didn't deserve had he been awake. Her deflector shields were still up at maximum and her radar was screening far past what was really needed but all of this was done out her caring for her master.


{Year- 3090}
{Place- Denabux}
{Habitation- Hanson family home}

"Tay shoulda called by now Ike." Zac whispered, hiding his lips behind his long hair as he leaned over by Isaac's ear.
"Calm down... what do you expect from him? His promises meant everything when we were little. Don't let them influence how you look at him now. He never keeps his word anymore. Get back to work before dad gets on our cases."
Zac gave Isaac a hurt look, offended that his faith in his brother was so low on his list of important things, turning back to rearranging the schedule for the irrigation unit. Something had to have happened. Taylor had looked so eager to be home and Zac knew, he knew that Taylor wouldn't lie to them again, he wouldn't hurt them on purpose. He looked out the small window by the door and saw the bright sunshine hitting the ground and helping the native plants of this world to grow and grow. Then he looked skyward, wishing he could escape as Taylor had.
He pulled in a deep breath and pushed his hair back behind his ears to better see his keyboard and started to work once more.


(Later That Evening)

"Dinner's ready in a little while kids, go wash up!" Walker's voice boomed through the house.
Isaac and Zac knew better then to try and rush for the bathroom with four other youngsters stampeding there. They'd never make it out alive. They sat together and discussed what they would do once "he" was back, still afraid to use Taylor's name lest they be heard by their family. Just as they were getting ready to go see how full the bathroom was their personal com-unit beeped.
Zac nearly crushed Isaac as he flung himself on top of him and across the bed to grab the small hand held. Isaac held his head where it had been bounced off the bed post and peered over Zac's shoulder and saw Taylor's bruised face staring back at them.
"You look like shit!" Zac blurted.
Taylor winced, "Thanks man. You too. You're dirty as all get out."
Isaac chortled lightly, "He and Mac had a wrestling match out in the yard."
"Who won?"
"Who do you think?"
"Go Mackie!" Taylor joked lightly. He took a deep breath, "Sankt damn near got me. Jesus Christ." He buried his face in his hands and rubbed up and down.
Zac immediately took interest in what Taylor had said, "What happened? Did you kill him?"
Taylor laughed bitterly, "I should be so lucky. No... he had the entire trade ship laced with his thugs. Some dinky little shop keeper almost gutted me. I got trapped in an air duct and got shot at repeatedly and then Sankt left me a nice bruise the size of his hand on my leg and he poisoned me. Stupid ass hole."
"How'd you get away?" Zac breathed in admiration.
"I fell outta some ventilation shaft and landed on my fucking face. Really dignifying. I'm the most famous person in the universe and I'm being shot at while crawling through a dirty little pipe." Taylor's voice was bitter, full of rage at being humiliated in such a way.
Zac couldn't comprehend something as massive as this, "How'd you get away though? You fell through some tube-thing and landed in your ship?"
Taylor drooped his head back and breathed through his teeth, "I had to run down part of the trade ship and got to Clep. We're gonna be stopping by the house in a couple weeks. I'm gonna be in cryogenic freeze so I just wanted to warn you guys to not try to contact me or anything cause I won't be able to answer."
"Ok... but what about Sankt?" Isaac wanted to know.
"He doesn't know where you guys are, don't worry. I made sure of it." Taylor slapped his hands against his thighs and stood up, "I'll see you guys then?"
They both nodded and Zac spoke, "Yeah. Be careful man. We wanna see you in one piece and not all cut up."
Taylor laughed, "For sure. Oh, idea. I'm gonna come outta the freeze a few days before I get to your place so I can let these bruises heal a little bit before mom and dad see me."
"That's the best idea you've had for years." Isaac commented off-handedly, not meaning to be heard.
Taylor nodded, "I deserved that... but be nice to man, I just about got my ass killed and I'm fragile." Taylor pretended to be feeling great distress and held a hand to his nose to ward off the tears.
"Shut up, we'll see you soon."
"K, bye. Love you man."
"Love you guys too." Taylor hit the 'end' button first and Zac and Isaac were staring at a blank screen.
"I guess that means we gotta wash up for eats huh?"
Isaac nodded and started to pull himself off his bed.
Diana scurried away from the door and down the stairs to leave her two sons oblivious of her eavesdropping.

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