[Recorded on Stardate: 1368.00 in Rito’s private quarters]
Rito: Okay, we are recording now. Yami, could you please repeat what you just told me.
Yami: [nodding] It all happened yesterday, after our brunch together. We were going to this used spaceship shop when two men bumped into me from behind. They were rather rude, cursing at me despite being the ones at fault. Anyway, when I turned around to look and saw two Balkeans huddled in a corner.
Rito: Stop, what are Balkeans?
Yami: You may recall Ghi Bree, the fiancé from Balke?
Rito: Oh, you mean that reptilian alien?
Yami: Yes. These two I saw were of the same species. One had a darker purplish crest and belly scales, while the other had a more blue-green body.
Rito: So you noticed them huddled together?
Yami: Yes. Despite their discreteness, I overheard everything that they said.
“Good wither today.” Said the purple-crested Balkean, looking up at the sky. The other one spat on the ground.
“Fuck this weather!” His blue-green friend growled, “It’s the same boring shit every day!”
“Well, let’s get on with it!” The first one sighed, “The boss sent us a message this morning, says he needs the King’s girls!”
“Sh!” The blue-green one hissed sharply, jamming a hand against his friend’s mouth. “Not here!”
Rito: Did they notice you listening in on them?
Yami: I don’t think so. I’d kept my back to them the whole time, so I don’t think they knew that I had overheard.
Rito: Okay, so clearly, they were in some sort of conspiracy regarding Lala and the others. What happened next?
Yami: Well, naturally I wanted to know more.
I slipped out of the shop to follow them. I hid among the crowds, careful to not be seen. Occasionally, they got suspicious and turned around, at which point I would hide behind some stalls or duck beneath a shop awning. They led me to a less populated area, where the seedier businesses dwelt, all I could see were brothels and bars. I continued tailing the Balkeans, following them along the rooftop. I was careful to keep my shadow from being cast on the ground.
Eventually, I ended up at this drinking establishment. I slipped into the third story window, and crawled to the landing where I could see the main room below.
Rito: So somewhere like a bar?
Yami: Yes it was a bar, or a saloon, or whatever they call it here.
Rito: Can you describe this place for me?
Yami: Well surprisingly, the bar the run down, but appeared quite a respectable establishment. The first floor acted like the celler, because you couldn’t dig into the Spaceport’s floor without ending up in the vacuum of space. The main drinking place was on the second floor, which was full of tables and chairs. The third floor, which was where I hid, was mainly residential, which I speculate was the resting place for the staff. There were no other residents up here. The walls, the floors, even all the furniture were well cleaned ironwood shipped form the neighboring planet of Fangorn. The whole place looked too nice to be in such a run-down neighborhood.
Rito: So it was unusually well furnished?
Yami: Yes, the iron wood is extremely hard to cut down, and had to be hauled here from five lightyears away. In conclusion, it would have been way too expensive for a couple of locals.
Rito: Okay. So when you went in, the place was empty except for a bartender and three serving girls right?
Yami: Correct. The bartender was an Ent, a species of tall treelike humanoids who also hailed from Fangorn. He wore a long blue coat on top of a mauve tunic. I think he was the proprietor of the place. The three serving girls were blue-skinned. Each had long stripped tails and pointy ears. One even had large earrings.
Rito: Okay, I get the picture. Continue.
Yami: So the Balkeans came in just as I’d gotten to the third floor bannisters The red-crested one wrinkled his nose.
“Aw Groot! Why you pick a place like this? It stinks in here!”
“Shut it Drax!” said Groot, “‘least no one here will hear us.”
He gave the bartender a look and tossed him some coins. The Ent nodded and disappeared behind some curtains. The Balkeans sat down at an empty table below me. They didn’t pay much attention to the girls, who stayed in the front and took their drink orders.
“Like I was sayin’,” Drax said, after they’d ordered some drinks, “The boss sent a message sayin’ we ought to make our move. Got some passcode for the gates and some pre-pay. Says we could see more after the job.”
“Nu-uh I ain’t touching them!” Groot spat, “The boss is crazy if he thinks we can just waltz in there and nab them! The guards will notice! We be dead in an instant!”
“The boss’ taken care of that. Says he paid off some guys, and replace others with his own people. Says we can get in, get them, and get out, no trouble!”
“Nah…I don’t know about this.” The blue-green balkean said, as the drinks arrived. He grabbed his glassful of dark brown liquid and downed it in a single gulp. “Aaaaahhhhh! The pay better be good for my time,” he went on, slamming the glass on the table, “Can’t go risking my life for nuthin’”
“Now don’t you worry about that,” the purple-crested one said, quaffing down his own beer, “Got plenty of the good stuff back in mah place. There be pay for the both of us.”
“I gotta see ‘em to believe ‘em,” said the blue-green one, standing. “Take me to yo place and let me see with mine own eyes!”
“Well, come on them.” Drax said, finished his drink.
There were a lot of wood scraping against wood as they stood up. The Balkeans walked past the sideboard and disappeared behind the curtains.
Rito: Do you think they’re friends with Ghi bree? Do you think it was him who sent these Balkean to us?
Yami: I don’t think so. I think his status might have diminished after his coming to our home. Even among his kind, he is regarded as a bit of a coward.
Rito: How so? We saw before how Balkeans’ alternative forms were just for show, and how they don’t really become as strong as they look. I thought all Balkeans were like that—all bark and no bite.
Yami: Not at all. Remember that they have that powerful psychic beam in hand. I’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s keep going with the story.
Rito: Okay, so what happened next?
Yami: Obviously, I couldn’t just enter that curtained off area or even go down to the first floor. Clearly, the bartender was in cahoots with the two, and I doubt that bribing the girls would achieve anything.
I ended up going back out the window I came from and then climbed over the roof to the other side of the house. I climbed down to the second story landing, where a balcony jutted out under a roof with shingles. Huddled on the roof, I deployed one of my insect like nanobots
Rito: (amused) You mean Tearju-sensei’s nanobots right? The ones you stole from her?
Yami: Well, it is sister Tearju’s fault to have been spying on me. I have simply confiscated them from her. I want to keep her from meddling in everyone’s business.
Rito: Uh huh, whatever you tell yourself.
Yami: (in a huff) Well anyway. I had the nanobots in infiltrate the kitchen. They located the Balkeans in standing over a winch that normally hauled up various items from the cellar. Using the nanobot’s camera, I was able to see a chest they had hauled up. Drax had the lid open and was rifling through the contents. When he emerged, he pulled out a large cloth sack and a parchment with a red wax seal.
“See,” Drax said, smirking” What did I tell you?”
He tossed the bag to Groot, who weighed it in his hands.
“Wow! That’s a lot of good stuff!” Groot said.
“There’s gonna more from where that came from!” Drax said. “The boss says the pay can even triple if we do it right!”
“So are we good?”
“Yeah!” Groot cried rattling the bag around. “I think I can work with this.”
“Good,” Drax said, “Now, if we can get rid of our stinker, we should be good to go.”
I suspected that my scent must have tip them off by now, but even I was caught off-guard by their sudden notice of me. I had just enough time to leap off the balcony before twin beams of psychic energy sliced through the walls. The top half of the building exploded in a shower of splinters, and I barely avoided some of the shrapnel. Others on the streets weren’t so lucky. I saw one resident whose body was riddled with pieces of wood. Calling it ironwood is no mere name. The material is just as strong as any piece of metal and the deadly splinters could penetrate you like a bullet.
I slipped into the crowds, trying to stay unseen. Looking back, I saw the Balkeans standing there, scanning the streets for me. They were now huge and monstrous, and their mouths were alight with deadly psychic energy. I knew that as soon as they spotted me they would unleash their power and kill me. Luckily, was able to slip into an alleyway.
In the end, I was able to give them the slip, but I couldn’t go back to the ship without the following me. Balkean’s sense of smell is one of their strongest attributes. There was no way that I could have masked my smell from their super sensitive noses. I spent the better part of the afternoon running around the spaceport. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, going through every street in order to spread my scent as wide of an area as possible.
Rito: Do you think they found our ship? Would they already know that you are here?
Yami: I don’t know. I had hoped to delay their finding me, but sooner or later, they will track me down to here.
Rito: Luckily, everybody’s one board. We should leave tonight.
Yami: I agree
[Suddenly, there is a beeping sound and Zastin’s voice appears over the intercom]
Zastin: Captain! Your presence is requested on the bridge!
Rito: Is there a problem Zastin?
Zastin: A royal shuttle has appeared carrying Princess Nana on board. She requests clearance to board.
Rito: [Standing up] I’ll be right there!
[Zastin turns off the intercom]
Rito: [turning to Yami] Let’s go.
[Rito turns off the recording]