"The Lava Lickers"
Written by: Erin Weinstock
Novelization verison by: Reba Grayladyfalcon
I don't hold any of the copyrights in this story, and this story was made without profit.
Inside of an Rachrises ship, Wilma is talking to an alien by the name of Unee. Rachrises look like they have a mask on but it is part of their face. With bone ridges that go off to either side of the face about seven ridges to each side, growing in size the further they go back on to the ears. On the top of the nose starts another series of ridges that moves up the forehead growing in size, once more this stops at seven. The flight hangar of an Rachrises is smaller than the one that the Defense Directorate uses and it has a less cluttered look to it and very dull.
"Well I have to see it put to the test first," Wilma said.
"When we here at Compart Defense contacted the Defense Directorate we knew to expect no less from you on your expectations of our work," Unee replied.
Close to a wall, a ship that looks a Z-87 but it has spattered patches of something that's black with a bumpy texture to it. All these patches have a welded-together look to them. Right to the side of the ship is a variety of blasters of different sizes and looks.
"Care to test the hull?" Unee asked, as she grabs a medium-size looking blaster and hands it to Wilma.
Wilma looking at the gun. "Is it powerful?" Wilma asked.
"What you're holding on a scale of one to ten is an eight," Unee replied.
Wilma, looking towards the front of the Z-87, and fires out a blast.
She puts down her arm with the gun, looking satisfied with what she has just done. "Which of these rank on the nine scale?" Wilma asked, looking down at the other weapons. She crouches down to look at the guns with Unee. Unee, pointing to a few of the larger guns, "These," Unee replied, pointing to a few of the weapons.
Wilma points towards a large gun that has a different look than the rest. "What's that?" Wilma asked.
"That shouldn't be here, I'll remove it," Unee said, as she picks up the odd gun.
Wilma smiles. "Scale 11?" Wilma asked.
"No, scale ten. It just isn't a weapon meant to be here," Unee replied.
"If scale ten falls under the lines of a blast from a Draconian fighter then I need to see what it can do to the Zee you have here," Wilma said.
"It is not a demonstration weapon. Kindly choose another to do your test, Colonel Deering," Unee replied.
Inside the Compart Defense Communications Center. It's a dull looking place filled up with dull looking little cubicles. Wilma is standing before the entranceway to one of them that has Rachris One inside of it.
"Would you mind it if I used your computer for a little?" Wilma asked.
"That would all depend on your intended use for it. Who are you?" Rachris One asked.
"Colonel Wilma Deering of Earth's Defense Directorate. I need to send a message to my superior Doctor Huer about the Hull armor Compart has developed for our ships," Wilma replied.
"If you're really who you say you are, then why do you need to send a message through one of our computers?" Rachris One asked.
"Because sending it through a ship transmission or phone booth is very unwise," Wilma replied.
"So your enemies hear all your transmissions during battle?" Rachris One asked.
"I flew a shuttle to get here, not a Zee. Shuttles don't have the same software Z-87s have for encoding messages," Wilma replied.
"This really is some big deal isn't it?" Rachris One asked.
"Yes.. it is," Wilma said.
Rachris One gets up from where she's been sitting. Walking next to Wilma. "Enjoy the office till I come back here in five minutes with a fresh cup of Masrex java," Rachris One said, as she left the room.
Wilma sits down to the computer and begins to easily work away at it, even though its interface looks very alien. On the computer screen, Wilma brings up a picture of the odd gun that she had pointed out back in the hangar. Wilma's expression turns to a look of shock.
Then, another Rachris comes in behind her at the entranceway to the cubicle, and takes notice of her and the computer she's working at. Wilma turns her head to look at the Rachris.
Buck is upset and he's storming towards Huer's office. Not even knocking first he enters. "What do you mean Wilma's missing?!" Buck shouted.
Huer is upset also but nowhere near as upset as Buck.
"Buck, I find this situation just as disturbing as you do, but Compart Defense has the situation under control. They'll find her," Huer replied.
"And what if they don't! We don't know what happened to her!" Buck said, with concern.
"Their detail to that is that, "she simply vanished", doesn't seem right Buck, I know," Huer replied.
"Get the Defense Directorate involved. We need to find out what's going on here! There has to be more to this than we're being told!" Buck said.
"We are allies with the Rachris, and the Directorate has a long history with their Defense Administration, "Compart." We can't just simply rush in and demand to know what's happened to Colonel Deering. It just isn't done that way, Buck," Huer explained.
"And why not?!" Buck asked, with anger in his voice.
"Diplomatic reasons, it just can't be done with the force of a bull," Huer replied.
Buck, after a moment of pacing around the office. "What if it was done quietly?" Buck asked.
In Buck's living quarters, Buck finishes packing a suitcase, he's wearing civilian clothes as a knock is heard. "Who is it?" he asked, in a loud voice.
"It's me, Fox. We need to talk," Fox replied.
Buck shuts his suitcase. He releases the door lock and opens the door. Fox enters the room.
Buck turns to Fox. "About what? Fox, I already told you I have to go at this alone," Buck said.
"Oh I know that, it's just, well I've been trying to tell... Buck could you talk to him?" Fox asked.
"Talk to who?" Buck asked.
At the Defense Directorate shuttle park, Buck and Fox are standing side by side in front of Twiki, who's holding a suitcase of his own in front of a shuttle.
"Twiki, you can't come," Buck said.
"Why not?" Twiki asked.
"Dr. Huer wants me to do this thing in a very low-key manner, and you're not a very low-key robot. I'm sorry bud," Buck replied, placing his hand on Twiki's head.
"Ambuquad," Twiki said.
Buck, looking off. "Whatever."
"Twiki, you do remember what happened the last time you insisted you had to go along with Buck for an event don't you?" Fox asked.
"But this isn't the same thing, we're not going to Galileo City. Those fiends have been taken away. Wilma is missing and I intend to help get her back into our lives!" Twiki replied.
"And the best way for you to help with that is by not coming with me to find her," Buck said.
"Look Holmes, you need me for this! I'm an asset to this!" Twiki replied.
"Holmes?" Buck asked, looking at Twiki.
"We got a mystery on our hands, Buck. You're Holmes and I'm Watson," Twiki replied.
"Twiki, you do know the difference between reality and fiction don't you?" Fox asked.
Twiki turns to Fox. "So long you foxy thing, I have a mystery to help solve," Twiki replied, as he proceeds to walk into the shuttle.
"Are all ambuquads this unique or is it just mine?" Buck asked.
"Twiki is unique, very very unique," Fox replied. Fox turns to Buck. "And YOU'RE very lucky to have him."
Buck turns to face Fox. "Thanks," Buck says, sarcastically.
On the Rachrises' home world, in the Compart Defense / Shuttle Park. Buck is outside the ship with a couple of Rachrises in their military garb. Twiki is no where to be seen.
"You can't park your ship here," Rachris Two said.
"And WHY is that, might I ask?" Buck asked.
"Because you are a civilian along with your ship and you're on military property," Rachris Two replied.
"Well, I may be a civilian but I do have as much right to be here as you do," Buck replies.
"That reason being, before we have your ship commandeered and you taken into the custody of our local law enforcement?" Rachris Three said.
Buck: "I was told to come here by the manufacturers for a free upgrade to its engines," Buck said, pointing backwards towards the ship.
"Sir, as you've been told before, you and your ship are on military property. By order of the ship's manufacturer or not, you have to leave here," Rachris Two said.
"Are you in charge of this "military property"?" Buck asked.
"No," Rachris Three replied.
"Then I'm not leaving here till this ship has had its upgrade or someone higher than you tells me to leave," Buck said.
The two Rachrises look a little stunned for a moment at what Buck has just said.
"My assistant will be your escort during your presence here. Is there anyone else on board your ship?" Rachris Two asked.
"Just a good, rather enthusiastic friend," Buck replied. Buck turns backwards to the ship. "TWIKI!" Buck calls out.
"Hold your horses, Buck! I'm coming I'm coming!" Twiki replied.
"You brought Terran wildlife with you also?" Rachris Three asked, looking towards Twiki.
"No, no, that's just an old Earth expression, "hold your horses"," Buck replied.
Rachris Two looks behind Buck towards the ship. After a moment, Rachris Three takes notice of Rachris Two and does the same. Rachris Three draws a blaster on Twiki as he exits the shuttle holding a suitcase.
"Unless you want me to give you a need for replacement parts. I suggest you leave that suitcase with me," Rachris Three ordered.
"You need a replacement crystal and welding torch too?" Twiki asked.
"You brought a welding torch?" Buck asked, looking at Twiki.
"Well you never know when one might come in handy," Twiki replied.
"I'm going to have to confiscate your belongings in that bag, "Twiki." Hand them over," Rachris Three ordered.
"Buck?" Twiki said, looking at Buck.
"Twiki, do as the alien says, we don't want any trouble," Buck said.
"Ah nuts." Twiki sets the suitcase down in front of Rachris Three.
"Both of you come with me," Rachris Two said, she motions for Buck and Twiki to follow her.
By the ship, Rachris Three starts rooting through Twiki's suitcase.
"You are aware that you are the alien here, Human," Rachris Two said, not even looking back Buck.
"Sorry, keep forgetting that fact," Buck said.
Rachris Two sighs. "You Humans think you're so almighty, high and powerful. Your Defense Directorate has nothing on Compart," Rachris Two says.
"Have you encountered anyone from Earth's Defense Directorate recently with those words?" Buck asked.
"Recently there was some Human female here from the Directorate. WISH that I had the chance to tell her that," Rachris Two replied.
"She left back for Earth before you got the chance?" Buck asked.
"No, I heard she went missing in the hills somewhere past town," Rachris Two replied.
"Has anyone tried to locate her?" Buck asked.
"To help them in battle on some distance world is one thing. To help one of them on this planet? She can take care of herself. She's of no concern to Compart," Rachris Two replied.
Buck could feel the anger building up inside of him.
In the hills on the outside of town. The soil is near black, and volcanic rocks can be seen all over the place, ranging in between the size of a marble to the size of a car. Small plants also dot the landscape, from being in shades of green to being amazing sunset colors. The land is steep, but as Buck walks on its incline it seems to bother him less than Twiki, whose movements come nowhere close to a mountain goat's.
"Maybe she's not out here. They did lie before," Twiki said.
"True, but we have to follow any leads we get," Buck replied.
"Could you slow down?" Twiki asked.
Buck looks back towards Twiki. "It was your idea to come, not mine.. remember?" Buck said. Buck turns away from Twiki and continues walking forward.
Close to a volcanos mouth, bright red hot lava touching pitch-black rock. Then, a large webbed crocodile-looking paw appears, then the full body of this creature. Its body has the shape of a large reptile that's built low to the ground. Its back has flat armor-looking plates covering it. The eyes are spread far apart from each other. Its mouth and nose look like a strange cross between a bat's and an insect's. Like its paws the same bumpy texture is all over its body.
Nearing the volcano's interior ring, Buck looks down towards the creature. A moment later, Twiki comes up to Buck's side.
The creature turns its head for a second to the side then back towards the lava.
"What on Earth ..?" Buck asked himself.
"You mean what on Debmeal," Twiki replied, looking at the creature.
The creature moves into the lava a little, the lave doesn't seem to bother the animal in the least.
"Oh my god!" Twiki says loudly.
Twiki starts to move forward but Buck halts him. "Hold up there Twiki, we can't go after it," Buck said.
"It's going to kill itself!" Twiki replied.
"Unless lava doesn't hurt you I wouldn't advise going after it. Maybe, maybe what we're seeing here is a lemming," Buck said.
The animal moves more into the lava and sticks out its tongue and proceeds to lap up the molten rock. Buck takes on a look of shock. "Or maybe it just wants a drink." Buck said.
At the Park Office, a small building with a dirt-made parking lot. This building looks like it's been set up to take on tourists in small loads. In its parking lot are a few car-sized shuttle-looking vehicles.
"How many animals in this park are carnivorous?" Buck asked.
"Why are you asking me this question?" Park Ranger One asked.
"I heard recently a friend of mine got lost out this way, and I saw some large strange looking animal while exploring your park," Buck replied.
Park Ranger One takes on a small look of worry. Then after a moment, Park Ranger One in a low voice getting close to Buck. "Are you a lawyer?"
"No," Buck replied.
Park Ranger One backs up from Buck to where he was before he got close to him and in a normal voice. "Well there are a few carnivorous animals here in the park. What kinds of animals do you think might be a threat to this friend of yours, big ones or little ones?" The Park Ranger asked.
Buck: "Wilma can defend herself pretty well, but for some reason the kind you have in this park. One of your animals appears to be fire proof," Buck said.
"A Lava Licker," a voice said, behind Buck.
Buck turns to Hunter. "Is that what they're called?" Buck asked.
Another Park Ranger takes notice of Buck and Hunter. Park Ranger Two, is dressed in noticeably different clothes than Park Ranger One.
"Where'd you see it? Nasty beasts, one of them could have pulled this Wilma into its home for about a two month stack," Hunter said.
Park Ranger Two motions to Park Ranger One to keep his mouth shut. Buck and Hunter take no notice of this.
"Inside the mouth of a volcano getting a drink I guess. I've never seen another animal in my whole life do such a thing," Buck replied.
"You lead me to the licker and I'll help you get Wilma back from it, hopefully in one whole piece," Hunter said.
"Buck?" Twiki asked.
Turning to Twiki for a moment. "Any leads, we don't know for sure yet what's going on," Buck said.
"What do you mean not sure yet what's going on?" Hunter asked.
"I was fed a lie earlier about what was going on with Wilma missing," Buck replied.
"Well I ain't no liar about danger. Would you like me to help you?" Hunter asked.
"Of course," Buck replied.
Hunter eyes Park Ranger One before turning back to Buck. "If we're gonna do this right in getting Wilma back from a licker. We better start getting ready outside," Hunter said.
"Can I come too!" Park Ranger Two asked.
"And your reason, sir?" Hunter asked.
"I've dealt with them before," Park Ranger Two replies, very sternly.
"Outside, the both of you," Hunter said.
Out in the wilderness, Buck and Hunter have a suitcase that's rather large and looks to be made of a thick plastic. Hunter places it on the ground. He opens it up to reveal a number of guns fitted into the case. One of them is the gun that Wilma was questioning about earlier.
"I get the big one," Hunter said, pointing to the weapon that looked like the one Wilma was asking questions about, before her disappearance. "Which one do you want?" Hunter asked.
"Is this illegal?" Buck asked.
"You're asking me this, why?" Hunter asked, giving Buck a cold look.
"You're showing me this now away from the park office," Buck replied.
"Lickers are legal but most other animals in the park aren't. If I'd shown you this back at the office they might have thought the wrong thing about my intent in this," Hunter replied.
Buck gives Hunter a wondering but stern look before pointing into the case at a medium-sized blaster. "I'll take that one."
Park Ranger Two is with Twiki. Hunter turning to Park Ranger Two. "You don't have an issue with this do you?" Hunter asked.
"No, not at all," Park Ranger Two replies. Park Ranger Two gets closer to the suitcase for a better look. Park Ranger Two points to a futuristic dart-gun. "I'll take that one."
Hunter makes a gruff little noise then hands Park Ranger Two the dart-gun. "Amateur," Hunter said.
At the mouth of the volcano, one of the Lava Lickers makes its way out of the lava.
At the edge of the volcano's mouth. Buck, Hunter and Park Ranger Two are watching the creature. "So once it leaves here if it gives us trouble, we fire?" Buck asked. Twiki gets along side Buck.
Hunter doesn't seem to have noticed that Buck has said anything. He's looking off down into the volcano and seems to be in his own little world. "Just a little more," Hunter said, as he starts to lift his gun.
At the mouth of the volcano, the Lava Licker had fully pull itself out of the lava. Hunter lifts out his arm holding the gun in one swift movement.
Buck, who has noticed what Hunter is about to do and draws his gun. "YOU SAID WE WERE GOING TO FOLLOW IT!" Buck shouts.
Hunter, whose eyes aren't even on Buck, but are still looking into the volcano. "And you believed me," Hunter replied. Hunter places his finger on the trigger. His finger starts to pull back and we can hear the ping of a shot being fired. The gun and Hunter drop from sight.
Park Ranger Two is putting down his dart-gun and Buck is staring at him still ready to fire. Hunter is on the ground with a dart sticking out of him.
"Compart?" Buck asked.
"Tourist?" Park Ranger Two asked.
Twiki walks to being in between the two. "Break it off you two," Twiki says, turning to both of them.
"You think I'm with Compart, why do you think that?" Park Ranger Ywo asked.
"It's just a guess, your shot to the hunter looked like it had some practice to it," Buck replied.
"And even though you're supposedly trying to find you friend. You don't seem like the average tourist, even with your not being from this planet," Park Ranger Two said.
A moment later, Buck and Park Ranger Two hold their guns on each other.
"Buck, he might be on our side," Twiki said.
"Are you with Compart Defense?" Buck asked.
"No, I'm a Park Ranger there. Why did you ask me if I was with Compart Defense?" Park Ranger Two asked.
As Park Ranger Two starts to lower his gun, so does Buck. "That friend of mine, Wilma, is with Earth's Defense Directorate. She came here by invitation by your Defensive Administration to look over an upgrade for approval created for our fighters. A few days back she was reported missing, Compart at first claimed they had no clue as to her whereabouts. And they were trying their best to find her. Then they turned around later and told me she had gone missing somewhere out here," Buck said, waving around one of his arms towards the land.
Park Ranger Two smiles widely at having heard that last line and takes on a very pleased look.
"You're with Earth's Defense Directorate too, aren't you?" Park Ranger Two asked, smiling.
"If I was this information would be important to you, why?" Buck asked.
"Because if you're a member of Earth's Defense Directorate then we might be able to as they might say on Earth, "Kill two birds with one stone"," Park Ranger Two replied.
"Meaning?" Buck asked.
"Look down into the volcano," Park Ranger Two replied.
A moment later, Buck does what he's been told.
Park Ranger Two, Buck and Twiki looks towards the Lava Licker which is resting near the pool of lava inside the volcano's mouth. "They've been on the endangered species list for sixty years," Park Ranger Two said, pointing towards the Lava Licker. "I'm part of a group that's sole job is the protection of them." He stops pointing out at the animal. "That guy I just knocked out was a poacher, I wasn't completely sure and I needed to confirm that fact before taking action. These beasts are worth a lot to those with low morals. Their pelts are tougher than the thickest ship's hull, and they're easy to work with shortly after having been killed. But that changes quickly. It hardens to the degree nothing can compare with it. There are some at Compart who will do any thing to advance ship protection and weapon destruction, even if it means doing acts outside the law," Park Ranger Two explained.
Park Ranger Two turns to Buck, which causes Buck to look away from the Lava Licker to Park Ranger Two. Park Ranger Two points down to Hunter's gun. "One of them weapons was where Deering was taken to test the Lava Licker-made hull. We knew she'd question its presence at the demonstration area due to her being a member of the Defense Directorate," Park Ranger Two said.
"Do you know where she might be?" Buck asked.
"Not being a member of Compart I don't know. She might be detained in a high security prison cell. She might have been taken to an underground physic reimaging center. She might be dead," Park Ranger Two replied.
"I don't like any of those thoughts, but at the worst I'm hoping for the first one you said," Buck said.
Taking on a cocky look. "If some in your Defense Directorate ran on the same type of morals some at Compart do, what do you think they'd do?" Park Ranger Two asked.
Giving a slight smile. "I'm that obvious aren't I?" Buck asked.
Just outside of the Compart Defense / Shuttle Park. Park Ranger Two and Buck has just entered.
"Halt!" Rachris Three shouts.
Rachris Three runs towards Buck and Park Ranger Two as they stop.
"Where have you been?! I escorted you and your ambuquad to the guest lounge, turn my back for one moment and you're gone! Where is the ambuquad?" Rachris Three asked, shouting.
"He got lost in the hills, I went looking for that woman from the Defense Directorate," Buck replied.
"And why did you go looking for her?" Rachris Three asked.
"Birds of a feather," Buck replied.
"What?" Rachris asked, as she got closer to Buck and Park Ranger Two.
Buck moving his head around. "Besides myself, how many other Humans do you see around here?" Buck asked.
Rachris Three gives Buck a cold look. "You shouldn't be here. I helped look into your ship being here for a mechanical upgrade. You lied," Rachris Three said.
Park Ranger Two starts to look a bit distracted. "So?" Buck replied.
"Why are you here? I can shoot you on the spot if you don't answer me right," Rachris Three said.
Park Ranger Two starts walking away from Buck. Buck gives a look of serious thought for a moment. "And what would the right answer be?" Buck asked.
Rachris Three draws a blaster on Buck. Buck gets wide-eyed but doesn't look to be in real shock at the sight of it. Buck turns to where Park Ranger Two was. "Hey are you seeing th -?" Buck notices of that Park Ranger Two is gone.
Rachris Three now notices this as well. "Where has your companion gone to?" Rachris Three asked.
"Beats me." Buck puts a hand on Rachris Three's blaster and lowers it. "Lower that thing on me, will you, while I go off and find him. He's not the sort you want roaming freely around a place like this," Buck says, as he walks away from Rachris Three.
Rachris Three fires at Buck from behind, nearly hitting him.
Buck twists around fast at this and in doing so pulls out a blaster that has been concealed in a pants pocket and fires back at Rachris Three. Buck begins running in the direction he was already heading in.
Rachris Three fires a couple more times at Buck as Buck also takes a few shots at Rachris Three and runs into Compart Defense.
In the hallway inside of the shuttle park, Buck has running and looking behind himself most of the time. Buck notices that the doors had been indented for them by a good amount. Buck quickly slips into the second indent he finds closest to him. Looking to the side of the wall he's nearest to he sees a directory of the building with sadly only very few details listed on it. Buck smiles. As he's studying the directory Rachris Three's hand with the gun comes in to his view. Buck notices the coming hand with the gun and grabs it quickly, pointing them towards the ground. The gun fires, pointing towards the ground... Rachris Three screams.
Buck comes out to Rachris Three who is on the ground in pain at having shot herself in the foot. "Colonel Wilma Deering of Earth's Defense Directorate. I'd like a straight and correct answer now about where she is," Buck said, as he points his blaster at her.
Inside the computer room, there's mirrors covering all eight walls. How this room works as far as operating a computer goes is in a normal mirror room you see yourself and multiple images of yourself going off into the distance. In the mirror room here, the further in the distance your image goes back the further back you see what you were doing on your computer. For example, the first mirror image you see before you is what you have just done on the computer. The next image after that is the image of you and the computer screen the moment before the keystroke you just made. The next image after that deeper in then will show you and the computer screen, before the keystroke that then led to the next screen, with each mirror then also showing the reflections of the mirror walls around it. The purpose of the computers set up in this fashion, simply stated, multi-tasking using a LAN of sorts at its most extreme level. Right below this keyboard is a slot for data chips / music chips and so on, all the information chips noted so far in the series have all been the same size, just different colors depending on use. Twiki is in front of these computers working on one. Park Ranger Two enters the room.
"Did you get the information we need?" Park Ranger Two asked.
The slot of the computer Twiki is standing in front of spits out a few data chips. Twiki only catches a few while the rest fall to the floor. "The whole load," Twiki replied.
Twiki looks at the mirror seeing Park Ranger Two. "Where's Buck?" Twiki asked.
"Trying to make his way here. I heard some gunfire a moment ago. Do you think he's Okay?" Park Ranger Two asked.
Twiki turns to face Park Ranger Two. "I sure hope so, uh.. do you still have that dart-gun on hand?" Twiki asked.
"No more darts," Park Ranger Two replied.
Twiki tries his best to pick up the chips off the floor but this task isn't easy because of his clawed fingers. "Darn it!"
Park Ranger Two walks over to Twiki and starts picking up the chips off the floor. "First things first, above anything we rescue Deering. I'm part of the reason she's in the mess she's in," Park Ranger Two said.
Park Ranger Two gets up from the floor and pockets the chips. "I just don't understand why they would do such a thing, even with knowing it's bad," Twiki said, as he and Park Ranger Two head for the door.
"Don't understand which? Why they'd take Deering away or use Lava Lickers the way they do?" Park Ranger Two asked.
"The Lava Lickers, if they kill'em it's self-defeating because they're protectors," Twiki replied.
"Some people will do anything for money and to get a job done. They don't care what they do because they feel they must do these horrible things to live," Park Ranger Two replied.
In a different hallway, Park Ranger Two and Twiki have just entered from the computer room. After a moment, they stop and see the nose of a blaster come into view.
"How did you know?" Park Ranger Two asked.
"Unauthorized access of a computer," Rachris Two replied.
"Uh oh," Twiki said.
Park Ranger Two smiles, looking over the right shoulder and to the side of Rachris Two.
"What?" Rachris Two asked.
Buck is holding Rachris Three hostage and pointing a blaster at Rachris Two.
Rachris Two is not pointing his gun at Park Ranger Two and Twiki. He now has a look of dead-faced shock on his face about what Buck is doing. Rachris Two in a soft voice. "Great, just great." Speaking louder. "Who are you, who are you working for?! The Draconians, the Aners, the Ceetars!" Rachris Two shouts.
"Earth's Defense Directorate, now.. drop the blaster!" Buck replies.
Rachris Two puts down his blaster all the while keeping an eye on Buck. "You came here after the woman, didn't you, that's what this is all about isn't .." Rachris Two notices that Rachris Three is hurt. "Why did you have to go and do that!?" Rachris Two asked.
"She pulled the trigger and this is about Wilma, among other things," Buck replied.
"The Defense Directorate will hear about this!" Rachris Two said.
"WELL I HOPE THEY DO! I was told to keep this whole thing low key about getting Wilma back! But you know what, I don't care anymore because they're criminals! So I say F the inter-planetary rules of conduct because of that!" Buck shouts.
"Are you dating her?" Park Ranger Two asked.
"What? No, I can't get it out of this one where she is. Did you and Twiki find out anything?" Buck asked.
"She's being held captive in Cell One on floor minus eight," Park Ranger two replied.
"I don't remember any minus floors being listed in the directory to this place," Buck said.
Park Ranger Two gives Buck a cocky look. "Reason behind that fact being obvious," Park Ranger Two replied.
"You'll never make it out of here knowing what you know!" Rachris Three said.
Park Ranger Two pulls out his dart-gun. "It's a more than even score with this." Park Ranger Two is looking at his gun. "You can't do to us what you've halfway done with Deering," Park Ranger Two said. Park Ranger Two glances towards Buck and Rachris Three. "Rogers here is willing to break the rules over what has been going on here. And if you raise a big stink over this thing I can get the government to make an even bigger stink over you, get the drift?" Park Ranger Two asked.
"You're with the Defense Directorate too?!" Rachris Two asked.
"Nope, I'm a local park ranger who also happens to be a member of the Liteau-tasy Protection Society," Park Ranger Two replied.
Buck, looking really worried.
"Is something wrong, Rogers?" Park Ranger Two asked.
"What was done halfway with Wilma?" Buck asked, concerned.
On Floor Minus Eight, outside the cell Wilma is being held in. Twiki standing next to Buck while he finishes entering the code into a panel that makes the force field on Wilma's cell drop. The force field drops and Buck and Twiki enters the cell.
Inside, Wilma is fighting with a pair of bonds over her hands. Wilma didn't notice Buck and Twiki until...
"Wilma?" Buck said, softly in a concerned voice.
Wilma stopped fighting the bonds and looked up at Buck.
"Wilma, do you remember me?" Buck asked.
"Of course I do, why do you?" Wilma looked at her bound hands. "Could you help me with this?" Wilma asked.
"Put out your hands and don't move an inch," Buck said.
Wilma holds her arms out straight for Buck and does as she's told. Buck grabs out his blaster and points it between the bonds at the device that's creating them. Buck fires, destroying the device. The bonds around Wilma's hands flicker for a fast beat before disappearing all together.
Looking very worried. "Buck, what's going on?" Wilma asked.
Buck smiles and gives her a quick kiss. "How much do you remember?" Buck asked.
Acting shaken and a bit freaked. "I .. I remember Dr. Huer telling me that the Directorate's engineers wanted me to come to .." Wilma looks into Buck's eyes with a fearful look. "I don't remember coming here!" Wilma motions at the cell. "I don't know why I'm here!" Wilma said.
She grabs Buck in a tight hug and begins to cry. Speaking in a soft low voice. "I don't know what's happened... oh Buck," Wilma said, weeping. Wilma tries getting a better hold of him in the hug, Buck puts his arms around her and hugs her back.
Wilma, still speaking in a shaky voice: "They want to put new memories in me, for the ones they've taken," Wilma said.
"That's not going to happen now, I'm gonna make it all better," Buck said, softly.
In one of the offices, Unee is sitting at a desk looking at some papers when Wilma enters the room. Unee notices Wilma. "What are you ..?" Wilma decks Unee.
Return to Earth