Chapter 1: Hunger
The crowd surged forward waving their clubs and staves. Screams of anger and desperation driven by hunger erupted from their throats. They needed food for themselves, for their families. If there was no food, vengeance would serve as their substitute for they would die either from hunger or the hated British troopers.
Three men stood in their path. One was a townsman serving as a guide to the other two. He promptly took to his heels. His pay as a guide was not adequate to cover this danger. One, a tall, red-haired gentleman clad in elegantly tailored clothes and fine boots, stepped forward, a serene look on his face as he pointed his index finger at the approaching mob. The other was his servant, a huge dark-haired youth dressed in dark clothing. He stared at the mob and began to edge backward, his fists curling and uncurling. This tis folly, thought the youth. They are too many. Even my great strength twill nay stop them.
The man pointing his finger at the mob realized too late that his mind could not penetrate any mind of the people in the foreground and a puzzled look came into his eyes. He sent his mind swooping among the crowd until he found one that he could control.
‘You are to attack the person next to you,’ his mind commanded. The mind command was too late.
The man given the mind instruction stopped, drew back his club, and began swinging it viciously at the man next to him. The crowd moved forward and knocked him down. With a roar the angry men attacked the red-haired, finely dressed interloper with the strange copper eyes.
Screams for food and yells to look for his purse came from some of the group. Others took after the youth fleeing down the road. They were too weak from hunger and the youth too strong and long of limb.
The youth stumbled into the pub where they had lodged and gasped out his tale of a master dying. A man was dispatched to inform the local priest. The priest then sent a message to his Lordship. By late afternoon a group of men on horseback arrived at the country lane and recovered the stripped and mangled body of the stranger.
The body was returned to the village and his Lordship sent a trusted man to speak with the youth named Llewellyn. To no one’s surprise the youth was gone and the room vacated.
“Two strangers they were on a strange quest.” The pub owner assured the Lord’s servant. “They had questions about whether a different redheaded man with copper eyes and a golden ring around the pupils had been here. The man asked about the local cemeteries. Wanted to check out the tombstones, he did. His gold was good though. The gentleman’s servant had a strong accent. He’s probably from across the water.” The owner cleared his throat before daring to put a question to such an important man.
“Do ye think we are in any danger from the prowling mobs?”
“His Lordship has sent an urgent message to the brigade stationed but a few miles from here. I’m sure they will heed his call for help.”
“That won’t quiet all of the people. They can’t eat or sell their rotten potatoes.” The pub owner understood why the hungry mob prowled this part of Ireland. Still, it was worrisome.
“True, but 1842 has to be a better year for crops than the last two. We’ll have protection until then. Let us know if the young servant returns.” He turned and left the smoky establishment.
“He’s probably run all the way home or took a ship for the new world.” The last was muttered by the owner. Why in God’s name, he wondered, would anyone in his right mind stay in Ireland now?
Chapter 2: Freedom
Llewellyn sat under an outcropping of rock, a shield against the mist, and considered his options. That he was Maca of Don, hereditary administrator of one continent on the planet Thalia, meant nay more to these Earth beings than it did to the Justines who had beaten Thalia. Earth beings thought him to be about twenty-one, but he was nigh sixty-three according to the data aboard the Golden One when he checked about thirty days prior to landfall. Of all the places they had looked and scanned for signs of Toma’s landing, Ricca, the Justine, had deemed this planet as the one that possessed areas where people were red haired and brown eyed. Ricca postulated that these beings might have the ability to evolve into a Justine like being. In time, these Earth beings could replenish the Justine gene pool. It was possible that Toma, the missing Justine, may have made the same assumptions. Of Toma’s Golden One there had been no trace, but there was no other habitable planet that matched the encodings on the crystals Toma had left in the Justine knowledge banks. They had investigated two other countries and then went to the one called Ireland. Ricca had left this area as second to last as Ireland was an economic disaster. Another land, the United States, was a vast area of empty space and ill looking towns. Its scattered populace meant that any search there would take years. Research in London had shown there might be small groups of people scattered over Europe and Asia, but those areas were unlikely places for Toma to dwell.
Llewellyn kenned that Ricca had planned to abandon him on this planet. Until then, Ricca had used him as a servant. It was also Ricca’s way of avoiding mind contact with these primitive creatures as they caused him headaches. The realization that it wasn’t the primitive ways of this planet that bothered Ricca, but the fact that many of these beings could close their minds to the Justine’s mind probe gave Llewellyn immense satisfaction.
Llewellyn’s Thalian-Justine mix of genes had endowed him with the Justine ability of mindspeak and entering another’s mind. Ricca had taught him control while aboard the Golden One to keep him from killing any of the Krepyon crew. The one Krepyon’s vomiting while he groveled before Llewellyn had been an accident. The Kreppie (as Thalians called them) had struck him and he had lashed out with his mind rather than his fists. He kenned that the use of fists would have caused Ricca to lock him away. Llewellyn did not know how he had managed to channel directly into the Kreppie’s mind.
Ricca had taught him to mindspeak, to build walls in the mind when privacy or contemplation was necessary, and how to direct his mind into that of others. Like Ricca, Llewellyn was unable to enter the minds of all the Earth beings they had encountered. He had assumed it was because of his youth or the fact that his abilities were less than a full-blooded Justine’s. He realized that Ricca could not enter their minds when an innkeeper in the last town cheated them, nor could Ricca’s mind command make the man repay them. Ricca’s headache had been ferocious that evening, and Llewellyn smiled in remembrance.
He was to be marooned to complete the sentence given when he was but one and twenty. The Justines denied the possibility of a mutant being born to parents from different planets, but he existed. They did not allow the beings on the planets they controlled to believe or teach that mutants could exist. To rid themselves of a perplexing problem and a refutation of their biological teachings, the Justines condemned him to isolation. The last forty odd years had been a darkness. Thalians needed to touch, to hug, to bed another, and he had had nay!
Ricca had detested that a servant be entrusted with funds. Customs in this land decreed that gentlemen did not soil their hands with money. More funds could be manufactured on the Golden One if one knew the proper procedures. The spaceship, manned by four Krepyons, was on the dark side of the Earth’s moon where the Earth’s primitive telescopes would miss it. The Scout from the Golden One was carefully hidden not far from here. It was guarded by two Krepyons in case a curious passerby chanced upon it.
Llewellyn could book passage on a ship to the new lands if he had more of the currency and gold from the Golden One. If he tried to hire on as a sailor on one of the ships sailing for the Americas, he feared he would kill one of these Earth beings before they arrived. He’d seen some of the brutality the sailors endured during their travels on this planet. If the Scout were in his possession, he could fly to the place called America and find somewhere to hide it, but he would still be without funds in a strange land. There was also the chance the Kreppies would scan for the Scout and locate him. Even if he avoided them, he would die here. Without Ricca, the Kreppies were apt to kill him anyway. If the Golden One were his, there was always the possibility that he would live long enough to acquire the needed information from the knowledge crystals aboard the ship to return to his planet and complete his Mither’s revenge on the Justines. His Mither had destroyed the Justine planet. He would destroy the Justine Refuge and Thalia would be free. All were dreams until he procured the Golden One.
Night was beginning when he approached the cave. A light mist was falling as it seemed to do most of the time in Ireland. A three-quarter moon vied with a cloud as to which would dominate the space and the cloud was winning. Llewellyn dug out the hand com from the valise. It was hidden within the elaborate compass. He swung back the cover to access the audio.
“I have been sent to retrieve the rest of the funds. Ricca tis resting for the eve.” It must have sounded plausible as the high sharp, quick speaking Kreppie named Aloyed answered.
“You are to wait outside. One of us will bring it to you.” The com went silent.
Within two minutes the voice was back. “Why did not the golden Ricca appear?”
“I told ye, he tis resting. The primitive thoughts of the populace wear on his mind.”
Again the com went dead. The bushes parted and the Kreppie appeared, glancing in all directions. He dared not let Earth beings see his greenish, brown facial skin with scales on his cheeks. He wore the usual tight fitting garb of a space being, but as a Krepyon, his uniform was light green.
“This is the last of the currency and gold we brought with us. Did the great one say if we should order more?”
“Aye, that he did as we have discovered nay trace of Toma.” Llewellyn reached out as if to take the proffered valise and instead grasped the Kreppie by the head and neck and twisted. Aloyed died without a sound.
Llewellyn plucked the weapon from the Kreppie’s holster, lifted the inert body, and carried it back to the Scout. Quaten appeared in the doorway. “What is wrong?”
“Catch.” Llewellyn tossed the dead body to Quaten.
As Quaten staggered and fell, Llewellyn reached out and snatched the slight body towards him. A swift twist of the neck and the body of Quaten joined Aloyed’s in the back of the Scout. Llewellyn retrieved the valise before he entered and sat in the navigator’s seat.
He waited for an hour as darkness closed over the Earth before soaring upward. Most of the populace below slept at night and would not see the golden streak rising from Earth. Two of the Kreppies aboard the craft would also be sleeping for they worked in shifts. There was no way they would disappoint Ricca in caring for the Golden One. It was possible that three were sleeping as there was no danger from an Earth space vehicle.
Upon docking, he left the bodies inside the Scout and hurried to the lift. A faint bluish glow emanated from the curved walls and floor. He was surprised at the clacking noise the Earth shoes made on the metal flooring. Once in the lift he removed his shoes. Silence was essential as he had decided to take control of the Command Center first. The awake Kreppie or Kreppies would be there. If the Kreppies had been alert, they should know that someone had returned in the Scout, but no one had sent out a voice request.
It was as though the Gar his people named as Creator blessed his efforts. A surge of triumph went through Llewellyn as he entered the Command Center and saw the sleeping Kreppie hunched over the control panel. Revenge was sweet as he twisted another neck. That was for all the suffering the Kreppies had inflicted on Thalia and damage they had done to his Elder Lamar when they shrunk his right arm and took his seed. With a set face, Llewellyn marched down the hall towards the sleeping quarters. The bluish glow from the walls was dimmer here as though providing less light would simulate night. One of the Kreppies had boasted that his father died trying to prevent Llewellyn’s Mither, LouElla, from escaping the asteroid. He had taken particular delight in making Llewellyn’s existence miserable and bringing false allegations against him. Ricca had silenced him. A Justine knew when a Krepyon lied. None of the three rooms were locked. Llewellyn entered each room and performed the physical act of killing the others. He wrapped them in their blankets and grabbed three extra blankets before carrying them forward.