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   Chapter 19 No.19

High Steaks By Christina Engela Characters: 5653

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

Fred the Arborian, the current manager of this establishment, was the only living thing on the premises – and he was pretty certain, the only living thing in the entire mall at present! The curfew – and the 'martial law' behind it – made him very angry, and not only because it was all very bad for business – but because he'd been around the block a few times, and he knew exactly what sort of people those enforcing it, were!

They were the sort of thugs and brutes who had come into the club a few days earlier and caused trouble for some of his patrons. They were the sort of fascist agents who assassinated visiting royalty and who made a show of violence and cruelty as though it should be a redeeming feature of their new order.

Fred, who was basically a living, animated, very social and mobile vegetable life form – originally from the planet Arboria – had travelled much of the known galaxy in his lifetime. Unlike most of humanity, he'd left almost no trace of his passing through the places he'd visited. He'd left a ring of dust on a shelf aboard a passing loderunner once, when he made the choice to follow his friend Cindy-Mei Winter here, and that was about the extent of it.

The only luggage Fred had on his journeys was his pot, which was something he wore more than carried. Fred thought humans were strange creatures, and even though he had generally grown very fond of their species – or at least, most of those he met – people were always screaming or fainting around him. Especially if they saw him moving or walking past – and had never heard of an Arborian before. Most humans tended to be so overloaded with information these days, that they were vaguely 'aware'

Army, Bates was a skilled, trained man, with experience! At 42 years of age, he'd spent almost twenty years in the Terran Space Fleet, and of those, he'd been a Lieutenant for the last five, before finally resigning his commission to take up employment in this most worthy cause! He'd never commanded a star ship – except one time, when the Captain was away and

[* There weren't any females in the entire D.R.A. either, but that was beside the point.]

The Exec had to take a bathroom break, but he'd watched it done plenty of times, from his seat behind the communications desk on someone else's bridge. That said, aside from the commanders of the other two ships in his space navy, who had been loderunner jocks and had never been in the military before, Bates was the most skilled and qualified man in his line of work, in the organization!

No other ships had left the surface of Deanna, or reached orbit – let alone escaped into space, and he was determined to keep it that way!

"We're closing to within range, Captain!" The helmsman reported.

"Lock weapons and prepare to fire a warning shot!" Bates ordered.

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