Outside Aunt Laurie's house
Descending gracefully from a cloudless sky to the step before the front door, the Velorian Protector of the planet Earth and genetic sister of Lillith, Kara, settled silently through a pirouette to her feet. Blue fabric clung to her, accenting her sinewy form. A long, red cape flowed majestically in the breeze as she checked and adjusted her uniform, recognized and beloved on so many planets. Just as her hand raised to knock, she felt an uncomfortable intuition that someone or something was watching. Her blue eyes peered behind her through suspicious slits, scanning the area for any sign of another presence. Finding none yet still feeling that something was still not right, she nevertheless let the moment go as only the result of some tired memory from the past. This place held many.
Turning back to the door, the knuckles of her fingers had just rapped on the door once when it suddenly swung open. An excited and squealing Lillith greeted her sister wildly as both women hugged constantly while they jumped up and down, talking excitedly and simultaneously. It had been too long since they had last seen each other and the excitement was overwhelming for both of them!
William walked out of the kitchen and greeted Kara with much more reserve than Lillith had displayed. Kissing her cheek, he noticed that she was looking at him oddly.
"Well, Will'm, the Khant'r! I'm very impressed!" William was suddenly feeling very embarrassed.
"Well, I....you know...", William stammered, unsure exactly what he could say about it.
Kara's flirtatious smile showed how she took him literally.
"I wouldn't mind knowing, Will'm. Was that an offer?"
Not liking the conversation, Lillith pushed herself in between William and Kara with her back firmly against William. Kara smiled and took a step back, yielding the point to her sister. Lillith brightened immediately and continued the conversation along a different track.
"Hey, Sis, we're just about ready to go. Need anything?"
"No, Lil, I'll just...."
From the kitchen, Aunt Laurie walked unsteadily out to the front hall. As soon as she saw Kara, Aunt Laurie smiled brightly.
"Hello, Protector! Who's watching your back these days?"
Kara approached Aunt Laurie, arms outstretched, to embrace her warmly. "Hello, Laurie. I've missed you terribly. It's not the same out there without you."
"Oh, nonsense, Bry and his team are better than ever. Collateral injuries from Supremis encounters are way down and the early warning lead times are way up. I'd say you never had it so good!" The two old friends enjoyed another moment together.
William watched Kara for quite a few moments, noting how her unbelievably sexy her uniform actually was. Finally, he leaned over to Lillith and whispered into her ear.
"Kitten, when we get home, let's see how your blue suit fits these days, alright?"
Lillith raised one eyebrow as she looked slyly at her lover. She whispered back, "Every time I put that on, you only take it off of me. Why should I bother?" Her sly smile widened, exposing her tease. William never changed his expression as he cleared his throat to make a very important point in the negotiations.
"The thigh thing."
Lillith's whole face melted into the remembrance of that moment. Her eyes closed briefly as she wrapped her arms around him. "You want the cape too?" Her breathy voice in his ear sounded so seductive that William felt an immediate warm rush throughout his entire body. Yet, calmly, William's eyes moved to the side as he pondered the answer, but his answer came quickly.
"Yep. Cape too."
Lillith kissed his cheek quickly. The deal was done. Lillith looked at him with the most playful smile, no longer whispering.
"You won't forget?"
The goodbyes lasted for the better part of the rest of the morning. Nobody seemed to want to go, but the duties of a Protector have never allowed too long an absence. It was Lillith's nature to begin to worry after only a few days and this trip had already taken over five. It was time to return to Tetra.
For Phil, it was the ending of an adventure and discovery. He was also leaving a friend. He and Aunt Laurie said their goodbyes mainly in silence, their embrace warm, their tears saying all of the truth of their hearts. These two beings from very different planets had grown very close in a very short time and now it had come to an end. Neither would ever forget the other.
For Lillith and William, this visit too had been both an adventure and a discovery. Through Aunt Laurie's guidance and support, they had experience the full power of a genetic `gift'. A gift as much from Aunt Laurie as from the Ancient Ones. While William felt sad at leaving his childhood home for yet another time, Lillith was typically crying openly. She knew she owed so much to this old Terran woman that everyone called Aunt Laurie. In her heart, there formed a bond with her that Lillith somehow knew could never be broken, yet she somehow knew that she would never see that wonderful old face again. She needed to say so much, she needed Aunt Laurie to know how grateful she felt. Yet, the words were so hard to find! Words that finally found a place for them during their final embrace. Whispered into the old woman's ear, they brought a look of recognition and understanding from her, as well as a heartfelt, "Thank you, dear." Lillith smiled sweetly as she wiped away a tear and bounded back to the motorcycle. Settling in behind William, they were all ready to go. William looked behind at the smiling woman. "What did you say to her, hon?"
"It's an old Protector saying, Will'm. It goes, `You will always be the sunlight of my strength.' Somehow I knew she would understand."
William nodded as he waved to his tearful aunt. "She sure did, honey, she surely did."
With a touch of the starter, the huge motorcycle roared to life. Just as William toed the machine into first gear, he heard Aunt Laurie's voice.
"Lillith! William!" Their heads turned back to see Aunt Laurie straighten rigidly, her chin set firmly. "I'm damn proud of you! Do you hear? I'm proud of you! Safe journey!" For the first time this morning, William found it hard to keep the tears from his own eyes. Waving one last time, William let the clutch out and began the trip back to the city. As they rolled down the driveway, a slender Velorian hand and a long Tetritian leg were constantly in motion, waving just once more, over and over.
Kara stood with Aunt Laurie, watching them move slowly toward the road before finally turning her.
"Laurie, that was a great thing you did for my sister. I want to thank you."
Aunt Laurie waved it away.
"Oh, Kara, nothing I did was important. The kids did everything just fine without me." Kara shook her head.
"No, Laurie. I know about the Khant'r, but even I don't understand fully how to trigger it. What you did was important. They never would have been able to do the Khant'r without your guidance. I just want you to know, I'm personally very grateful." Aunt Laurie silently nodded, smiling warmly at her old friend. "I'll stop on my way back and visit a while. Would that be alright, Laurie?"
"Well, you better visit! It's been too damn long since the last time!"
Kara kissed Aunt Laurie quickly on the cheek and took a step back with a smile. "I'll see you soon, Laurie!"
Tightening her glutes, Kara rose swiftly into the air. Arching backward toward the road, she rotated smoothly into her normal position then accelerated to catch up with William, Lillith, and Phil.
Aunt Laurie watched the motorcycle with its Velorian Protector escort overhead, disappear down the road into the distance. Suddenly, everything seemed so empty around her. The time spent with the `kids', as Aunt Laurie thought of Lillith, William, and Phil, now seemed like the normal way of life. Without them, things felt odd, out of place. Yet another thing to get used to, she thought. She also thought how lonely everything was now.
Aunt Laurie turned back to the house and slowly hobbled toward her front door. She lazily glanced at the maple tree that stretched out from the corner of the house and froze. There on the tree trunk were scratches she had seen too many times in her life. Trying not to look obvious, her ancient eyes quickly glanced from side to side. She may have time to get inside, but not by much. She hurried as quickly as she could, but her legs were not like they used to be. Forcing every bit of speed out of herself, she nearly flew though the screen door, letting it clunk closed behind her just as she slammed the main door shut and flipped the useless dead-bolt lock closed as well. There was no time! She hurried into the study, shuffling as fast as she could for the...!
A massive creature smashed through the bay window, flinging shards of glass everywhere. Landing on both feet with a loud thud, the creature crouched menacingly as it turned to face the frightened old woman. It was a strange combination of human and leopard, covered completely in black fur, its white teeth and claws almost glowed with the contrast. To say the beast was muscular would be understating its appearance. It stood nearly seven feet tall on its hind legs, looking into Aunt Laurie's eyes with a fierce menace! With a single swipe of one of its clawed hands, the creature shattered the giant oak desk that stood between it and Aunt Laurie. The sound of the monster's roar shook the room, but it did not attack. It spoke with an ominous voice that thundered.
"Old female, where is the Velorian Protector going?"
Aunt Laurie could barely speak as she edged over to the sideboard to steady herself. "Wha....what?" The creature's voice exploded.
"THE VELORIAN PROTECTOR! TELL ME WHERE SHE GOES!"
"I....I'm not sure. I think they said something about Peoria."
The creature looked puzzled. "Peoria?"
"Yes. Yes, that's it. Let me get you a map." Aunt Laurie quickly pulled open the right drawer of the sideboard. The creature had little interest in maps or Peoria or anything else to do with this old woman. What did interest it was what Aunt Laurie was pulling out of the drawer! At the sight of it, he charged at her, determined to shred her to pieces! The creature was in mid-leap when Aunt Laurie fired the Arion Disruptor! The blast blew through the cloth that still covered the weapon, hitting the creature squarely in the chest not more than a foot away! The monster was violently flung in the opposite direction, crashing hard onto the windowseat. Immediately he began to rise, but Aunt Laurie had lowered the bore of the brutal Arion weapon at him without hesitation. Holding the weapon with both hands, she blasted the creature repeatedly, each disruptor blast tearing at the creature, pushing it deeper into the floor and wall. Finally, Aunt Laurie ceased fire, raised the massive weapon, and approached the creature.
Its crushed and charred chest smoldered while it lay dying. One of its arms, hanging uselessly slightly out in front of it, quivered. The creature was in great pain, but still conscious.
Aunt Laurie pulled a nearby chair closer and sat on the arm of it. She had to support the heavy Arion weapon by holding it vertically and resting her elbow on her leg. She cleared her throat and spoke slowly to let the creature understand her.
"You are Kintzi."
"Yesss." The creature snarled the word weakly, but defiantly at her.
"Why do you seek the Velorian?"
The Kintzi said nothing but stared with an intense hatred at her.
"Look, Kintzi, you are dying. Your silence serves no purpose here. I am old. I am not a warrior." The Kintzi coughed up blood and sneered.
"You live while I die. That..... makes you warrior enough." Aunt Laurie nodded silently before her voice took on a practiced hard edge to it.
"Then I claim my rights as a warrior and the victor, Kintzi, or you will rot in the darkness for it!"
The Kintzi was amazed, but only for a moment. "You know something of the ways of the Kintzi, old woman. That is....quaint. But I will only tell you why, nothing more."
"Good enough. Damn!" A pain shot through Aunt Laurie's wrist that supported the weight of the weapon. She immediately dropped it on the nearby chair. "Damn arthritis!" She turned back to the Kintzi. "So tell me. Why are you looking for the Velorian?"
"We detected massive amounts of energy from the Matrix localized on this sector of the planet. Amounts of energy that we've never seen before. In the time it took for us to arrive, the energy levels remained relatively constant. We know who you are, woman. We know you are military. And when we arrived, we saw this planet's Protector here as well. It all could only mean one thing. A weapon! A new weapon of unlimited potential AND WE SHALL HAVE IT!"
To the complete amazement of the Kintzi, Aunt Laurie broke out laughing so loud and so hard that she fell back into the chair. She could barely control herself as she held her stomach and laughed! The Kintzi raged!
"You think yourself in the position to laugh at me, old female? When we find the secret to your weapon, we will turn it back upon you! Then we will see who laughs!" Aunt Laurie waved her hand as if to calm the Kintzi as she finally got control of herself again. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she tried to speak.
"No, no, you don't understand. There's no weapon. There never was!"
"The energy! I saw the measurements myself!" The Kintzi could barely speak now.
"No. No weapon."
Then....what...what has that kind of .....immense power?"
Aunt Laurie smiled and leaned forward.
"Love, you narrow-minded warrior. True, pure, unquestioning love."
The Kintzi's face turned slightly, his expression one of total disbelief. He tried to speak, but found he no longer had the strength. On his final effort, the life finally left his body without the word he tried so hard to speak. In the silence of the room, Aunt Laurie simply shrugged.
"Hm, kind of a shitty time for you to make that discovery, eh? Well, ya know."
Aunt Laurie got to her feet and stepped over the leg of the dead Kintzi to retrieve a card from the rubble of the desk. Picking through the woodchips, she finally found it. On a nearby table, a gray metal container with a single keylock stood alone. Aunt Laurie unlocked the container and lifted the housing up off the instrument inside. A red switchguard was lifted, letting her turn on the power to the unit. On top, a black structure rose slightly with a subtle electromechanical whine before it fanned out into a circular bloom. Aunt Laurie pulled a small handset out of a holder and put the encryption/identification card into a thin slot. A six-inch screen at the center of the instrument illuminated as the parabolic antenna on top rotated into the proper position to make use of the nearest communication satellite in the geosynchronous constellation. It was seconds before everything stabilized and Aunt Laurie, holding the handset to her ear, saw a young woman in an Aerospace Force uniform on the screen.
"Cheyenne Mountain Comm/Track. How may I direct your call?"
"Hello, dear. Tell Major Bryant that Laurie needs to talk to him pronto."
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but the Major isn't available. How may I direct your..."
Aunt Laurie merely rotated the solid-state camera on the unit toward the dead Kintzi. Doing so resulted in a loud, quick scream out of the handset. She turned the camera back to herself and resumed the conversation with a somewhat shaken young Aerospace Force Lieutenant.
"Now, dear, as you see, I have a problem. There is also a Class 1A situation with the Vel-Pro. So unless you want to have dead civilians, get his ass on the horn. NOW would be nice."
The screen went blank for a moment before Major Bryant appeared onscreen. He looked annoyed.
"What is so damn....oh, hi, Laurie! Look I can't talk right now. Can I ...."
Again Aunt Laurie turned the camera. An immediate "Oh, SHIT!" coming from the handset told her that she had once again made her point.
"Damn it, Laurie, how many in the pack?"
"Just the one here, but I would bet the others are following our girl, Kara. He wanted her destination, probably to head her off. The rest are probably following. I'd bet they're looking to intercept."
"Shit. Wait one."
Major Bryant turned away from the camera for a few moments to issue orders through another device. Aunt Laurie knew exactly what he was doing. She had done it well before Major Bryant got the job. Soon, he returned.
"Okay, Laurie, we have people in the air. I also have a squad enroute to you at your pos. Do not engage with the Kintzi, do you read me? Let our people do their thing."
"A little late about the Kintzi, Bry, but I know the procedures. Hope your folks know enough to announce themselves. Hate to give anyone grief with my old Gar."
"Shit, are you still keeping that old hog-leg disruptor around? I thought you trashed that thing when you retired."
"Hell, I'll never give this big bastard up, Bry. It saved my life too many times. Just did again."
Major Bryant smiled. He knew the stories; he knew the history; he knew he was talking to a legend in his business.
"Laurie, keep this line open until our folks get there. I don't want to lose this link with you." That made Aunt Laurie smile.
"Fine with me, but if you don't mind, I better keep my eyes off this screen and on my windows."
"Yes, ma'am. Just leave it open."
At the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago.
"Miss Lillith! It's soooooooo good to see you!" Jonathan waited until William shut off the motorcycle to approach. A movement above him caught his eye. "Oh, and Miss Kara as well! This is certainly a nice surprise!" As Kara settled to the sidewalk, William swung his leg off the Harley.
"How's it going, Jonathan."
"Of course! William! Miss Lillith, Miss Kara, is there anything I can do for you?" Lillith cooed innocently, swaying with her hands behind her back like the perfect coquette.
"Jonathan, would you be a dear and put the bike back in storage?"
Jonathan eyed the huge Harley. Fact was, it scared the shit out of him.
"Well, Miss Lillith, maybe I can find someone to...."
"Pleeeeeeeease? I wouldn't trust anyone else with it." Lillith was in full flirt. Jonathan never knew what hit him as his better judgment caved in under the blue-eyed pressure of this beautiful woman.
"Well....., alright. I'll see to it, Miss Lillith! Don't worry about a thing."
Jonathan tentatively climbed onto the machine, taking a moment to prepare himself to face the monster once again. William handed him the key.
"Where do you have to take it, Jonathan."
"There." Jonathan's shaking finger pointed to a nearby 12-story parking garage.
"All the way up?"
Jonathan's shoulders slumped as he nodded. "All the way up."
William nodded his understanding.
"Want me to do it?"
"No, sir. I'll take care of it. My psychiatrist says it's good to for me to face my fears. Challenge them."
William shrugged. "Go get `em!"
Jonathan lacked the same enthusiasm as he moaned, "Yes....., sir."
William watched Jonathan timidly inch the bike back to the garage before he walked over to Lillith and Kara.
"Lillith, don't you ever do that again! That poor guy is scared to death of that bike!"
"No he's not."
"The hell he isn't! Just look at him!" Jonathan still creeped along toward the garage.
"Oh, he's just stalling, Will'm. It's not the bike he's afraid of. He's afraid of high places."
"Uh-huh. He hates to be up high. Cecil says we have to keep helping him to overcome his fears, so I ask him to go up there to store the motorcycle. That's why Cecil rents the space up there anyway. Actually, I think Jonathan is getting better, he didn't go around the block like he used to do!"
Sure enough, Jonathan rode the Harley directly into the garage, slowly, but directly. William felt his ears get rather warm with embarrassment.
"Oh, I know! Let's get some lunch!" Lillith changed the subject for him. "Isn't there a restaurant around here?" Kara remembered.
"Hey, Sis, how about the Berghoff! Remember when we went in there last time? A Velorian girl can always be appreciated in there! Oops! Sorry, William."
William smiled. "Dressed like that you'll be appreciated anywhere!"
Kara simply drew her cape around herself, covering her entire body.
"I'll have you know, sir, that I'm a lady."
Suddenly, behind them, some cabs began honking wildly. William turned around to see Lillith, naked from the waist up, shaking out her removed shirt.
"Will'm, I think I got a bug in here."
The Berghoff Restaurant
William led the way into the entrance, turning right toward the dining room. Behind him was a very unhappy young Velorian, her shirt buttoned all the way up to the neck. Bringing up the rear was Kara, with Phil riding along on her shoulder. To the left was the famous bar, but it was food they were after. The hostess stopped them before the large room.
"Very good, sir. Would you follow...oh, my! You can't bring a dog in here, sir." Phil's head rotated slightly.
"No, you don't understand, miss. He's not a dog, he's a ...."
"Sir?", interrupted Phil. "Sir, permit me." Phil scampered down Kara, over to the hostess' table, and climbed quickly up onto it. He now faced the hostess on a more even level.
"Mistress, I am not a dog. I am not a cat. I am not a cow. I am not a slug. I am a Tetrite. I am a sentient being visiting your planet. Disallowing me from entering your establishment due to misidentification is inappropriate. If you do not wish me to enter because I am a Tetrite, then that is entirely accurate. Do you have any regulations or personal reservations regarding Tetrites?"
"Then the table in the corner would be most welcome!"
"Yes, sir. This way, please."
William shook his head and mumbled to himself. "Too much time with Aunt Laurie."
Lunch had been wonderful. Having
coffee, Lillith continued to admire the high ceilings and old
wood ambiance of the Berghoff. The reflections of the lights showed
in her bright eyes as a sense of wonder showed in her voice.
"It's so beautiful!" William never took his eyes off of her.
Phil spoke up suddenly, just as he put down his cup.
"Sir, are there bathrooms here?"
"Sure, Phil. Go down those stairs by where we came in. They're to the right."
"Thank you, sir. A visit would be most welcome!"
Phil trundled through the restaurant, greeting everyone who looked his way, which was everyone. Finding the washrooms easily, Phil solved his current problem quickly.
Just as he came back up the stairs, the sound of people laughing loudly came from the bar. Curious, Phil approached the room and peered inside. All along a long table, people sat on armless chairs. Everyone seemed to be enjoying simply drinking fluids. Most curious behavior!
Phil had investigated as far as one end of the long table when, without warning, a large piece of paper, wadded into a ball, rebounded harmlessly off of Phil's head. Looking up and behind himself for the source, Phil spotted a gentleman sitting at the bar mumbling to himself as he wadded up yet another sheet of paper. Without looking, the disgruntled man flung it mindlessly over his shoulder. As Phil followed its trajectory, he saw that it landed in a nearby corner where quite a few others had already collected. Evidently, the paper ball that hit Phil had been a miss, not a hit.
The man at the bar tapped his pen nervously on the pad of paper as he ran his hand through his hair.
"Damn it! Dammit-dammit-dammit!"
From the barstool next to him, a mass of wadded paper balls rose quietly up to the bar before falling safely into a neat pile on top of the bar.
"I believe you dropped these, sir." The man didn't even look up for a moment.
"Hm? What? Hey, wait a minute! I didn't drop those. That's garbage."
"You are creating garbage, sir?"
"It sure looks that way."
"Was it your intention to create garbage, sir?"
"No! It was my intention to .... Hey, just what are you?"
"My apologies, sir. I did not intend to disturb you." Phil turned to leave.
"Hey, I'm not saying anything of the sort. You just don't look like you're from around here. Outworld alien?"
"Yes, sir. Tetrite."
"Tetrite? Don't know that one. Gotta name?"
"Indeed, sir. I am the one known as Phil!"
"Well, hiya Phil. Call me Mac."
"Indeed I will, sir."
"No, not `sir', Mac. Only my Dad was called `sir'."
"Never mind. Can I buy you a beer, Phil?"
"If you wish to, sir. What shall I do with it?"
"I would suggest you drink it, Phil, although I've known folks that got creative."
"Then I will drink it, sir. That would certainly be in keeping with the rituals that I have observed here." Mac shrugged and nodded before getting the attention of the bartender, pointing to the tap, and holding up two fingers. The bartender nodded. "What are you attempting to do with your paper, sir?"
"I'm trying like hell to write a story, Phil. I have to write something and I don't have a clue what to write. For lack of a better term, I'm stuck."
A tall glass filled with a golden, effervescent liquid was set in front of Phil. He peered along the length of the tall glass curiously.
"It looks quite festive, sir." Mac nodded.
"Drink enough of `em and everything is."
"It sounds very entertaining, sir. If I may ask, what sort of stories are you writing?"
Mac slumped deeply into his barstool. "I don't know. I don't have a clue what to say, how to say it, nothing! Shit, I don't know where the hell I ever got the idea that I could dream up stories and write. This is the dumbest thing I've ever gotten into. There are four or five other folks that I know on the Internet that write great stories all the time! Meanwhile, I just sit here makin' garbage. Shit." Mac pulled a long draw on his beer.
"Mistress Kara says that anytime you dream, you can do, sir!"
"I believe you know her as Superfemme, sir."
"Superf.....you know her?!!?"
"Oh, certainly, sir. She's right over..."
"Man, I bet there's a ton of stories to write about her! Jeez, all I'd have to do is follow her around and write about her adventures. Aw, shit, wait a minute. She's got a scribe or something already, doesn't she?"
"I do believe so, sir."
"Mistress Kara does have a sister, sir."
"What sister? I've never heard of that."
"She is not on this planet, sir. She protects Tetra, my home planet."
"Hm. Well, what's she doing on Tetra?"
"She is our Protector, sir! She is the Mother of Us All!"
"Sounds like she's been busy, Phil. What's she done as your Protector?"
"Well, there was the first time the Arions invaded the planet. It was a small force, they didn't expect any resistance, I gather. Anyway, the Mistress...."
Phil proceeded to tell Mac about the first Tetra War in detail. Soon, Mac was scribbling notes frantically. Even the bartender came over to listen.
"Jeez, Phil! This is great stuff! Do you think she'd mind if I used it?"
"Not at all, sir. I'm sure she would very much like to have her story told."
"Man! This is great! What else?"
"Well, sir. Um.....there was the new habitat and Flare, she's the dog and..."
"Wait a minute, wait a minute!" Mac reached down under the bar to retrieve a fresh pad of paper from his case when Lillith and Kara walked up. Lillith nudged Phil, who didn't see them arrive.
"Hey, you, I thought you were coming back!"
"My apologies, Mistress. I was discussing your adventures with the Mac." Hearing his name mentioned, Mac sat up in his chair and froze at the sight of Lillith and Kara.
"Sir, I would like to introduce Lillith of Velor and her sister, Kara, also known as Superfemme."
"Oh, my God", Mac mumbled mindlessly.
"Velorian Protectors, to be exact, sir." Lillith and Kara giggled at Mac's reaction to them. Suddenly, Mac remembered to offer his hand. Shaking each woman's hand, he nodded and smiled, then leaned toward Phil discreetly.
"Which one's Lillith?"
"On the left, sir." Mac immediately spoke up.
"Ah, Lillith! May I call you that?"
"Sure!" Lillith's smile scrunched her nose a bit.
"Great! Um, Lillith, Phil was telling me about some of your adventures on Tetra. Amazing stuff!"
"You're quite an amazing woman."
"Thank you again!"
Phil slurped his beer loudly. "The Mac is a writer, Mistress. He would like to write about you. Do you approve?" Lillith immediately looked very pleased at the idea.
"That would be wonderful! I mean, Kara has a scribe and all and I never got one! This would be great! Are you a good writer, Mac?"
Lillith laughed lightly. "Oh, I bet you are! Did Phil tell you about the first war?"
"Well, yes, he did..."
"Oo, and what about the habitat, Phil! Did you tell him about the new habitat?"
"I was about to, Mistress."
"This is so cool! What about Flare? Don't forget Flare!"
Kara started to laugh as she put her hand on Lillith's shoulder to stop her from going through every news item from Tetra.
"Lillith, I'm going to step outside. When William comes back from the washroom, meet me out there, alright? That is, once you've covered the last few years or so with your new writer."
Lillith almost looked defensive. "Well, you have a scribe, Kara! Nobody ever wanted to write about me before. I like it."
Kara nodded and laughed a bit more. "I know, I know. I'm just kidding. Meet you outside. Mac, it was nice to meet you!" As Kara's hand raised to wave, her cape fell open, letting Mac glimpse the magnificent body hidden inside. The struggling writer mumbled appreciatively to himself, "No wonder she has a scribe." Lillith heard that and immediately looked indignant.
"Hey, I have a nice body, too! Wanna see?" She started to unbutton her shirt just as William walked up. He grabbed her busy hands.
"Hold on there, sparky. Leave that on `till we get home." Lillith slumped with a sigh. William noticed Mac. "Hi'ya!"
"How's it goin'?" As Mac and William shook hands, Phil finished his beer.
"Sir, this is the Mac. He is going to write about the Mistress! Isn't that interesting?"
"Yeah, that's great! We should be going, though. Our stuff is back at the hotel and it's almost time to leave."
"If I may, sir, I would like to stay here a little longer and converse with the Mac. There are many other stories that I can pass along to him. In addition, the Mac has introduced me to a beverage called...." Phil suddenly realized that he couldn't remember the name of what it was he had been drinking. Turning to Mac, he simply rotated his head curiously. Mac responded to his unspoken question.
Phil spun back and raised his leg to declare his new information for William.
"BEER, sir! It is quite nice." Phil burped.
"Well, alright, Phil. But don't stay too long. We'll meet you back at the hotel, alright? Mac, it was a pleasure. Hope to see you again real soo....."
Suddenly, a massive explosion outside the restaurant shattered every window, blowing glass in a shower of shards throughout the building. The ground shook so hard from the explosion, that nearly every glass behind the bar was flung off onto the floor. William, Lillith, and a number of patrons were all thrown to the back wall of the room from the force of the detonation. Screams of shock and pain instantly filled the restaurant. Lillith was on her feet quickly, her eyes flashed out through the missing door as she screamed.
Shock of the Other continues......
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