"Beneath the Skin "
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.

In a city filled with towering black colored buildings. The sky is a light violet and a large sun hangs in its center. There are many Saurians moving about. They don't all look the way Taindair looks. Instead of having crocodile-like ridges on the head, some have boned-ridges moving around places of the skull that remind us of goats and rams. They also have different colored scales, some have ocean blue, while others have violet wavering with green. This place doesn't look very nice, it's the poor section of the city. Wilma moving about the crowd, dressed in clothes like the Saurians. She's sweating. Something with a watch-like appearance is on one of her wrists. She looks up at the sky, putting up a hand to shield her eyes. Then looks back down and around herself. She moves off to the shade of one of the buildings and takes a thermos out of a baggy pocket, then drinks. A female Saurian walks up to Wilma, who had just finished her drink and is staring out at a space ship. The ship she came in on. It doesn't look like a Directorate ship. The lady Saurian off to Wilma's side.

"You have been away from here for long, eh?" Fonthin asked.

"You could say that," Wilma replied glancing over at Fonthin.

"So long, the heat of home, you have weakness to it, like a human," Fonthin said looking the sweat on Wilma's forehead.

"Humans have a weakness in the heat?" Wilma asked.

"They cannot take it, the weak animals. But we Saurians can. Because you've been away for long, before you're put to work would you like to adapt in my house? I love hearing of other worlds, and you seem like you've been to many," Fonthin said.

"That would be nice, thanks," Wilma replied.

Fonthin motions Wilma to follow her.

They made their way to Fonthin's home. It was a one level building, with a fence-like structure around the roof. There's a colorful garden circling its walls against its edge. Fonthin motioned for Wilma to enter. They sat down a a small table in a nicely arranged room.

"So tell me what's the rest of the universe like?" Fonthin asked.

"You've never been off planet?" Wilma asked.

"No, passage costs so much. Years ago I almost joined the military just to travel," Fonthin replied.

Wilma smiles.

"You're in the military?" Fonthin asked.

"I was for a time. That's where my money came from for travel," Wilma replied.

"You fought on Earth didn't you?" Fonthin asked.

"Yes I... no, no I never ..."

"It's okay, I'd never want to remember a planet like that either," Fonthin replied with a disappointed look on her face.

Buck and Taindair are being led down a long, high-ceilinged hallway that has intricate carvings cut into its walls. There are sparsely spaced doors on the walls with fine art work painted on them. Buck was also wearing the same watch-like device on one of his wrists.

"While you are staying here the following places within the Palace are off limits to you: the queen's throne room, her living quarters, the conference room, the patch, the kitchen," servant one informed them.

"I understand there might be a restriction or two about where Taindair and I can go. But we're here to help you guys, to protect the monarchy," Buck replied.

"Oh the members of Earth's Defense Directorate want full access. Well sorry but ..." servant one started to reply but was interrupted.

"They will have access," the Queen said as she started to walk down the long hall towards where Buck and Taindair were. Buck watched as she approached She was much older and her scales are of paler colors than the other Saurians.

"Your Majesty, I'm sorry but these people working for Earth have come here. They're insisting they're here to protect you!" servant one said lowering his head as she approached.

"That is why I sent for them," the Queen replied.

"But majesty, they're traitors, ones that should not even but in our hold!" servant one said.

"Silents! They are not traitors to our home. Taindair was sent to Earth to help us establish better peace with the humans," She says pointing at Taindair. Then pointing to Buck. "And Rogers here was born off world on one of Ceyu's moons. Ceyu, a planet that has been in our empire since before the time of my great grandmother. They have the right to move about here as they please while they are here!" the Queen replied.

"Understood Your Majesty. Is there anything I can do for you?" servant one asked.

"Leave," the Queen replied.

"Yes, as you order, Your Majesty," servant one replies bowing to her then running off.

The Queen stares at Buck and Taindair. "The negotiations are tomorrow. Are the two of you prepared for this?" she asked.

Buck holds up the wrist with the device on it. "We're at your guard, madam. Everything tomorrow will go as planned," Buck replies.

"I've been told you were not around when the war was going on, Rogers. I have your word in honor you will do as you say you'll do?" the Queen asked.

"He is an honorable man, Your Majesty. As well as the other human who is here, Colonel Deering," Taindair replies bowing to the Queen.

"For our worlds, for my empire, I hope you are right Toluo," the Queen replied as she turned and walk away.


Chapter 1

Huer was standing before Buck, Wilma, and Taindair. "Why I've sent for the three of you is I have a mission for you. Taindair, you've known about this coming for some time. However Wilma, you and Buck have not. In three days on Sanopp. Buck, that's Taindair's home world, " Huer said.

"I knew that," Buck replied with a grin.

"That's good, I've heard you two have worked together. In three days on Sanopp, the Saurian empire will be going into negotiations with the Ked about who owns land rights over the planets the two of them lost in the battle over the Wirose Solar System. Now the Ked, the Saurian monarchy doesn't think will do anything of an aggressive nature during the negotiations. But however during the negotiations the monarchy will have to be present. And it is well known fact that in the past the Saurian government has not always been at good peace with its own people. For these negotiations to be a fact that is open to public knowledge. Ones on Sanopp, and ones on Earth tried to interfere with the peace negotiations when our war with them ended. It is your job to protect the monarchy during the negotiations. If you fail, then war might rise up again between the two of them. Maybe even with Earth once more," Huer said as he walked out from behind his desk.

"We accept, but most Saurians still don't like to be in the presence of humans. How will Buck and I do our job when no one around us is at ease with us being there?" Wilma asked.

"I've been working with Mallory on that. Dr. Huer, do you have them?" Taindair asked looking at Huer.

"Yes, I do," Huer replies then he turns around to his desk for a moment and takes two small boxes off of it. Then hands the two boxes to Buck and Wilma.

While Buck and Wilma open the boxes, which we soon see contain a watch looking devices.

"When those are active and set properly, to anyone of Saurian body chemistry, you'll appear as one of them," Taindair said.

"Amazing," Buck said while putting his on his wrist. "But what about the Ked?" Buck asked glancing up at Taindair.

"The settings on it can be changed, Buck. If you want you can appear to the Ked as one of their own," Huer replied.

"Although I wouldn't advise doing that," Wilma said.

"Oh, why not?" Buck asked looking over at Wilma.

"Well, what we know of so far in the universe, there are many beings out there that are shaped like we are. The Ked are not. Our movements to them, if we look like them in their eyes, would be very strange," Wilma replied.

"What, do they have eight legs or something?" Buck asked with a chuckle.

"The Ked move around on all fours, because of their shape. But with the assistance of a thin vehicle they can sit upon, they can move around and interact better with species that when moving tend to be upright," Taindair explained.

"So when do we leave?" Buck asked.

"In a few hours. The ships you'll be traveling in to reach Sanopp, aren't Defense Directorate ships. I've talked with the Transportation Directorate, who in turn on my behalf have talked to some of couriers we deal with who use alien ships. When you arrive in Sanopp, you cannot be seen coming in on a Defense Directorate ship! If that were to happen who knows what kind of trouble that could stir up," Huer said.

"Ships?" Wilma asked with a puzzled look on her face.

"I should have said this earlier. Buck, Taindair, you two will be working together. Wilma, you will be working by yourself," Huer said.

"Why?" Wilma asked.

"Where I'm having you sent is a place on Sanopp I believe to be too dangerous to send a couple of trainees. In the planet's main city "Ditas", there is believed to be a group planning to overthrow the government. As also could well be the case within the government itself. That's why we're so fearful of these negotiations being in public knowledge. The chance for one or maybe two of these groups, if they exist, to bring down two planetary governments with just one stone's throw." Huer hesitates for a moment. "It's also certain that that first group outside the government exists. I want someone I well know can do that job to take them down if needed. That's why you'll be away from Taindair and Buck, Wilma," Huer explained.

"So Taindair and I will be on the lookout within the government for there maybe being another group looking to overthrow it?" Buck asked.

"I'd be honored, sir. Is that your will?" Taindair asked.

"It is, Taindair. I insist the three of you get ready for your trip," Huer said.

"Will do." Wilma turns to Buck and Taindair. "Gentlemen?" she asked raising her arm out to the direction of the door. Buck, Taindair and Wilma left Huer's office.

Wilma and Fonthin are sitting at a table. Wilma has a mug of something between her hands.

"Are you feeling any better now?" Fonthin asked.

"Yeah, the planets I've been on. They're not the same, too cold," Wilma replied.

"Too far away from the sun, the poor creatures that live on those worlds. How could you stand to live for so long without the heat of Sanopp's fire?" Fonthin asked.

"You've been a wonderful hostess Ms. Fonthin, but I'm afraid I must leave now," Wilma said as she started to stand up.

"It's Miss Fonthin, by the way, and what's the hurry?" Fonthin asked.

"There's someone I'm supposed to meet in town. He's not the kind of man you want to keep waiting," Wilma replied.

"The nerve! Maybe I know him, what's his name?!" Fonthin asked.

"The nerve? What's the big deal?" Wilma asked with a strange look on her face.

"You've just arrived here, you've been away from home for far too long! You need relaxing before whatever business needs doing!" Fonthin replied motioning for Wilma to sit again.

"It's OK, Miss Fonthin! You see why I'm in such a hurry to reach this man, he has my son. And I've heard he's fallen in with the wrong crowd," Wilma said.

"You and me both," Fonthin replied.

"Oh dear, I feel so sorry for you. If you don't mind my asking, what has yours been up to?" Wilma asked.

Fonthin started to tell her about her troubles.

Back at the palace, Buck is standing on a balcony with Taindair by his side. They're both looking down off it, but Buck is looking down off it like a hawk looking for its prey.

"You think the danger will come from down there?" Taindair asked.

"Maybe, maybe not. I'm not used to being around royalty, Taindair. And the queen I don't think she really likes it that I'm here," Buck replied still watching the street below.

"The war between our people I've been told, was a long and bloody one. The queen is very old, she was there when it started and when it ended. But she is a diplomat and I am sure she understands you took no part in that war," Taindair said looking at Buck.

"I wonder if how we're being treated right now is the same as anyone of Middle Eastern appearance was treated in my time when traveling in the U.S.?" Buck asked.

"What do you mean?" Taindair asked turning to face Buck.

"In 2001 there was a terrorist attack on New York City and Washington DC. Once it came out that some people of Middle Eastern origin were responsible for the attack, many people in the U.S. treated anyone of Middle-eastern background differently. That led to what I told you about airports a few days ago," Buck replied turning to face Taindair.

"That's unfortunate, and for my people to behave now as yours did long ago," Taindair said shaking his head.

"I think some things like this might be sadly timeless. The separating of one group from another out of fear. That was going on years even before I was born, but it never lasts." Buck turned from Taindair and looked towards the palace. "Taindair, what's The Patch?" Buck asked.

"It's a wonderful place. Every home on Sanopp has one, but here in the Palace it must be great. Buck, do you want to go there? True, no work would happen there, but it's quite the place to regenerate," Taindair said with a smile.

"Why wouldn't we be doing our job there?" Buck asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"Who would want to be going about bad business when they're having such a good time," Taindair replied.

"Well I still have no idea what it is, but you certainly have me intrigued about it. okay, I'll go," Buck said with a smile.

They both left the balcony to back inside the Palace.

Flash back just before the journey down to Sanopp.

Buck is laying down on his couch in very laid back, relaxed position. His work lamp shines over his shoulder while he reads a book. Wilma enters.

"What are you doing?" Wilma asked.

"Reading a book, what does it look like I'm doing?" Buck replied.

"That's a book?" Wilma asked as she walks over to Buck and sits half way on his couch.

"Well it's a bound print-out from the Directorate's historical files. But yeah it's been made into a book," Buck replies glancing over at Wilma and putting the book down across his chest.

"What ever it is you're reading, why didn't you just read it off one of the computers that shows screen type?" Wilma asked.

"I've never been too wild about learning stuff off a computer screen. I'd rather have a real copy of the text in my hands. By the way, what I'm reading about is the war we had with the Saurians. Thought it would be nice to know why some of them hate us before we go to Sanopp," Buck said.

"2491, I was a little girl when that war ended. But I can still remember how happy people were when it did," Wilma said.

"But some weren't, really something how both sides handled the signing of the treaty," Buck replied.

"So what do you think of Taindair, now?" Wilma asked.

"He's my co-worker, someone best to my knowledge I can trust. Reading about what his people have done in the past doesn't change a thing," Buck replied looking at Wilma.

"Nice to know you're becoming more understanding of alien cultures," Wilma said with a smile.

"Nice to know you at the age of 33, finally knows what a book is," Buck said with a light chuckle.

"You boar!" Wilma said loudly.

"And I think you're lovely too," Buck replied with a smile.

"I am never going to understand you, Buck Rogers! And I am so grateful to the fact we're not going to be working together on Sanopp!" Wilma said as she stands and storms out of his living quarters.

"Wonderful, lovely woman," Buck said as he started to read again.

Chapter 2

Fonthin and Wilma are siting on top of the roof to her house, in the fenced in area. Fonthin acts like she's sunbathing. Wilma is uncomfortable with the heat but is trying to hide it.

"So in recent weeks he's been acting more and more amiss to you?" Wilma asked.

"Not only to me but to other family as well. Some of his friends, ones he's had since he was fresh from shell. They're afraid of him, some of their parents have come to me. They claim he's been trying to get their children into some kind of group. This group I'm hearing of, they don't want to live by society's laws, and government. Oh Wilma, I don't know what to do with him. He won't listen to me," Fonthin said almost in tears.

"Sounds like the kind of sort I've been told mine is hanging around. Can I speak to him? Maybe I can talk some sense into him," Wilma asked.

"I believe he'll be coming home soon. I'm not sure, I'm not wearing a time piece. And Sanopp's fire is going quickly out of sight by the clouds. When the fire is fully overhead, he'd said he'd come," Fonthin replied pointing towards the sky.

"Looks like it wants to rain, but the clouds.. the clouds have a strange color to them now, " Wilma replied still looking up at the sky.

"It is going to rain! We must leave here before it comes," Fonthin replied with the sound of fear in her voice.

The rain starts to fall. "I welcome it. It's so refreshing," Wilma said as she looks up and feels the rain drops on her face.

"Fine, you stay in the patch, and relearn the spring rains. I'm going back inside, when you come in I'll be ready for you," Fonthin said as she walks over to a doorway built into the roof. Then down into it, closing the door behind her.

The rain with the greenish look starts to pour, and Wilma just sits in it smiling.

Inside, Fonthin is standing in the stairwell looking up. She's listening to the rain as it hits the roof. After a moment she shakes her head back and forth in disappointment and walks down the stairs. She enters her kitchen which is connected to the stairwell, and other rooms. A few moments after she goes in to the kitchen the front door opens.

"Fassuh?" Fonthin asked.

"Mother," Fassuh replies while he removes his rain slicker.

"Where have you been? I have a guest here who would like to talk to you. Do you know where the spring towels are?" Fonthin asked peeking around the corner from the kitchen.

"I think they're up on the top shelf, towards the back. Why do you need them? Get caught in the rain?" Fassuh asked.

A moment later, a loud scream came from Wilma.

"Our guest," Fonthin replied looking towards the stairwell.

Fonthin then quickly reaches up to where Fassuh indicted and takes down the towels. Wilma is slowly coming down the stairwell. She's covered in patches of moss, all over her where the rain was hitting her. Fonthin comes out of the bathroom with the towels to see this and sees the expression on Wilma's face. Fassuh starts to laugh at the sight of Wilma.

"She's not dumb, Fassuh. She's just a bit out of her element at the moment. She's been away from Sanopp for a long time," Fonthin informs Fassuh.

Wilma just stops in her tracks at hearing this and stares at Fonthin.

"That isn't possible, mom. I am not dumb. I have been... " Fassuh stopped short when Fonthin interrupted him.

"Yes I know you've been to other worlds because of some of your friends. But you weren't away for years, she was and now because of that nearly an outsider to this world," Fonthin said as she walks closer to Wilma who is still standing in the stairwell. That look of "why me" has now turned into a type of wondering shock. "I know I should have warned you about the rain. But it's common knowledge that this is the time of year we get the raining green. Let me dry you off, it's the least I can do for you to say I'm sorry," Fonthin said as she wrapped the towel around Wilma's shoulders.

"You know they're not my friends any more, the rich warm-bloods," Fassuh says in the voice of a nasty hate. Wilma finishes making her way down the stairs.

"What an awful thing to call them, Fassuh! Ms. Wilma, he didn't pick that up from me, I swear," Fonthin replied.

"Pick what up?" Wilma asked.

"Calling people "warm-bloods", it's a sick word," Fonthin said as she tries to wipe off Wilma with one of the towels she had hugged against herself.

"Thanks for wanting to do that. But if you don't mind I'd like to clean myself off," Wilma said gently taking the towel away from Fonthin.

"Why?" Fonthin asked confused.

"I... it's a long story," Wilma replied.

"Do tell," Fonthin said.

"I'd rather not," Wilma says this looking a little melancholic. Wilma begins to clean herself off, rubbing once in a while to get the moss off.

Finally the rain started to slow down. At the Palace, the glass dome is covered with the moss. The whole roof top is also covered in this moss, with some running down the outside walls as well.

Buck is about to enter the palace's patch through a massive doorway. Taindair has his hand resting on the door facing Buck. Buck is carrying a stack of shimmering blue pads with script on them in one hand.

"Through this door is the patch, its purpose is to make you feel life," Taindair said.

"Feel life?" Buck asked.

"Its warmth comes from Sanopp's fire. You'll feel so relaxed you'll feel like you're in a place you've always belonged," Taindair replied.

"A place I've always belonged?" Buck gives a soft sigh. "Okay, let's do this," Buck said.

Grawl, a short, fit looking Saurian comes up fast on Buck and Taindair. "DO what!" Grawl asked.

Buck turns around to Grawl. "Enter the patch," Buck replied.

"You do not have permission! I forbid it! What is that you have in your hand!" Grawl asked as he points to Buck.

"None of you every loving bee's wax," Buck replied.

"The queen has it we can go where ever we want to while we're here," Taindair says.

"Says her..I'm sure. I'll look into that. Guards!" Grawl shouts down the hallway. Buck and Taindair can hear a lot of footsteps running towards them, getting louder and louder as they came closer.

"My you're friendly, care to explain to us who you are?" Buck asked.

"I am Grawl, the second in the queen's council, and leader of Sanopp's military forces!" Grawl replied. The guards arrived and stood next to Grawl.

"Taindair and I are here by invitation, in peace to protect the monarchy. We were just about to go the patch to relax." Buck said in a calm voice.

"Says her! Guards, take them and follow me. We'll see, says her!" Grawl ordered. The guards take hold of Buck and Taindair. Grawl turned around and starts to walk down the hallway followed by the guards who had a tight hold of Buck and Taindair's arms.

Grawl headed straight to the throne room. Grawl enters this very elaborate looking room followed by Buck and Taindair, still in the guards hold. The throne room was very large with a tall ceiling. On its ceiling stars and planets are painted. Some of the planets have a highlight painted around them. This highlight color reaches from planet to planet, like a connect the dots but with planets. A moment after they have all entered the room, Grawl looking to where the queen's throne is. Grawl under his breath: "Not now." Despite not meaning for others to hear him. It catches Buck's attention. Buck and Taindair glance up towards the throne, the Queen was not there.

"To the Land of the Heated Sands, WHERE IS THE QUEEN?" Grawl said loudly.

"Taindair and I are here to help, Grawl if you'd just let us..." Buck started to say but was cut off before he could finish.

"Quiet! Do not speak!" Grawl commanded.

Buck tries to shake off the guards from himself as best he can while holding the pads. "Buck!" Taindair said trying to stop Buck from fighting the guards.

"By invitation here, with a job to do. Grawl, this is a very large palace. She might just be elsewhere in it," Buck said as he got the guards off him. They try to grab him again, but he fights them off. Buck then moves towards Grawl.

"Sure by invitation. For what reason whatever that is, I give doubt," Grawl replied.

"The negotiations coming up," Buck answered.

"You're here to help the Ked," Grawl said with anger in his voice.

"We're here to protect the monarchy," Buck replied.

"From what?" Grawl asked.

"Maybe you," Buck replied with a suspicious look on his face.

"And what do you mean by that?" Grawl asked growling.

"Not now.." Buck replies with a slight smile.

Grawl had a look of horror on his face that then changes quickly to anger. "I am Grawl the second in the queen's council, and leader of Sanopp's military forces. I would never do wrong to the monarchy!" Grawl says loudly.

Taindair notices Servant One come through the doorway, and coming towards Grawl and Buck.

"Grawl, by request of the queen. You are ordered to meet with her in the Gallery," Servant One said.

Taindair is glaring at the guards and speaking low to them. A moment later they let go of him.

"Restrain them! I will speak to the queen alone to find out why they are really here," Grawl ordered.

Buck turns back to the guards, and makes a couple of moves to show he's ready for a fight. Taindair does the same. "We're coming with you without the guards. I'm tired of this unwelcome treatment, so unless you want to make something of it, you'll let this happen," Buck said.

"The guards will come but without restraining the both of you, and walk a few feet behind me," Grawl replied as he turned and started to walk down the long corridor. Buck and Taindair kept their distance from Grawl as they followed.

Chapter 3

"My friends are a concern to you because of what? You've been told your son might be with them? His name, what is it warm-blood?" Fassuh asked with a sarcastic voice.

"His name is Chesarr, and please stop calling me warm-blood," Wilma replied.

"I'll call you warm-blood if I want! You don't live here! I've never heard of anyone named Chesarr before! So leave here and return to your house of riches!" Fassuh ordered pointing towards the door.

"Fassuh! I have no idea what has gotten into you lately, but it has got to stop! I invited Wilma here, and the only way she is leaving is if she wants to go or I tell her to go! Now stop this awful behavior!" Fonthin said with anger in her voice.

"She doesn't belong here among us! She's traveled among the stars, to far off worlds! She's of a better class! One that my friends and I plan to put a stop to!" Fassuh said.

"What do you mean by that?" Wilma asked slowly walking towards Fassuh.

"Fassuh?" Fonthin said with concern.

Fassuh starts to walk towards the door, he places his hand on the door knob. "You'll find out soon, you rich warm-blood!" Fassuh says as he opens the door and leaves, slamming the door behind himself.

Wilma unholsters her firearm and goes for the door.

"What are you doing, why are..?!" Fonthin stares at Wilma with a dead look of realization on her face. "Is your firearm? It looks like, is it?" Fonthin said as she drew a deep breath.

Wilma stands at the door holds her sidearm, she gives it a look. Then she turns to Fonthin. "It is, I'm here for your own protection Fonthin, for your monarchy," Wilma said as she turns away from Fonthin. "I'm sorry." Wilma opens the door and leaves. Fonthin stands still in shock for a moment then quickly walks out the door behind Wilma.

The street gives off the looks of a bad neighborhood. Cracked pavement with weeds growing about it. Garbage litters it in some places. Some of the houses to its sides look nice. But for the most part that isn't the trend to the others. Fassuh is running as fast as he can with Wilma hot on his tail. Wilma has a determined look on her face. Firearm still drawn, the Saurians she runs past get out of her way. Their main attention as she goes past is her sidearm. Fonthin is unsure of the direction they went, so she glances down each street as she passes it. Fassuh runs into an alley. Wilma just turned the corned and entered the alleyway from the street. She lifts her sidearm out from herself. Pointing it straight forward when Wilma stops suddenly, seeing a gang ready for business. Fassuh stood in front of them, everyone of them had their guns pointing at her.

"Earth's Defense Directorate?" Gang Member Two asked waving his weapon at Wilma.

"I want you to spill the beans now on what you're planning, Fassuh!" Wilma ordered still holding her sidearm.

"And I should do that, why? We have you out numbered," Fassuh replied with a nasty laugh.

"True, but my blaster can still do a lot of damage if one of you doesn't talk," Wilma replied looking at all the gang members.

Fassuh walks up to Wilma and points his firearm towards her head. In response to this Wilma lowers her firearm, then quickly gives Fassuh a side swiping kick, knocking him down. She quickly yanks him into a locked position with herself and bears her firearm against his head.

"Now tell me what these plans of yours are, or the last thing you'll ever see is this cement coated in your cold-blood!" Wilma threatened.

"You're not going to get anything out of him, warm-blood. So drop the filthy little Earth gun you've got. Before "you" become the mess on the ground," one of the gang members said aiming his weapon at Wilma.

Fonthin finally enters the alleyway's entrance. A moment later, a shot rings out. Fonthin grasp her stomach and falls to the ground.

Fassuh sees Fonthin falling to the ground. Fassuh says softly in a low voice "Let me go, I'll tell," Fassuh said looking over at Fonthin.

Wilma releases him and he quickly runs to Fonthin. After a moment, Fassuh speaks to the gang, bent down over the fallen Fonthin. "I'm out," he said loud enough for them to hear him.

"Why?" Gang Member Two asked.

"Leave and continue, but don't count me in!" Fassuh replied holding Fonthin's head in his lap.

"Fassuh?" Gang Member Two asked.

Fassuh points his firearm at the gang. "Leave!" he shouts.

After a moment of unsure hesitation about what to truly do, they make their way out of the alleyway. Passing Wilma, Fassuh, and Fonthin, they stare at the group unmoving. But Fassuh was gently holding Fonthin.

Once the gang members had left. Wilma quickly walks over to Fonthin and Fassuh. "I will get medical attention for her. Tell me of their plans," Wilma said.

Back in the palace, the Gallery looks like a very exotic greenhouse, filled with all sorts of insects, strange and colorful ones flying and crawling all over the place. There is a path winding its way through this. Grawl enters and is followed by Taindair and Buck. The guards still behind the group, Buck makes a motion to them in telling them they had better not follow.

"Did you have to prove yourself like that a moment ago?" Grawl asked.

The Buck and Taindair follow Grawl who is moving down the path. Buck swipes at a bug floundering near to his face.

"How else was I supposed to prove that the Defense Directorate was on the same side as the monarchy of Sanopp," Buck replied. Taindair notices the bugs too, only he tries to catch them as they move along.

"Well you may have them convinced, but not me," Grawl replies glancing over his shoulder at Buck.

As they continue walking Buck continues to get annoyed by the flying bugs about him. Taindair manages to catch one here and there. After clapping his hands on the caught bug, Taindair then pockets the bug, smiling in satisfaction to his work. After a couple of minutes they see the queen with her back turned towards the trio. She's sitting on a stone bench, staring at the wall of the gallery.

"You have company with you, Grawl. The two from Earth's Defense Directorate?" The Queen asked.

"Yes, Your Majesty," Grawl replies as he bows down to her.

"Stop your bow to me, Grawl. It's not quite needed when I have no sight of it. But it is still much appreciated none the less," the Queen said.

Buck and Taindair react to this. Taindair puts a bigger grin on his face than the one he had during his bug catching. Buck looks to Grawl with a look of confident amusement.

"Yes, Your Majesty," Grawl says standing straight up again.

"Grawl, the guard, they know what behavior I don't want of them tomorrow, correct?" the Queen asked.

"The ones that I don't trust attending the negotiations have been removed, Your Majesty," Grawl replies.

"Very good, Grawl. And the reason the two of Earth's Defense Directorate are here?" she asked.

"I...I don't trust them being in your company here, Your Majesty. But they keep claiming you're the one who sent for them to come. For your protection," Grawl replied looking over at Buck and Taindair.

"Again, how many times has something like this happened today?" the Queen asked.

"At my last count, this makes ten times it's happened, your Majesty" Taindair answered.

"They work for Earth," Grawl said glancing over at Buck.

"A planet that we've been at peace with for 28 years now. Grawl, we have nothing to fear from them," the Queen said.

"Was there anything else you needed me here for, Your Majesty?" Grawl asked.

"Yes, when the delegation from the Ked empire arrive I want you to keep your distance," the Queen said as she turned to look at Buck, Taindair and Grawl.

"Queen, why? I'm second to your council!" Grawl said.

"And leader of Sanopp's military forces. The Ked don't need to see you. A good show for our military, at the negotiations," the Queen replied.

"But Earth's military!?" Grawl asked looking back at Buck and Taindair again.

"Will be of no concern to the Ked, and should well not be. They haven't had many dealings with Earth," the Queen replied.

"Then it's a good thing they're Saurians and not Humans. If they were humans Your Majesty, I know the war is long over, but I still couldn't even stand to be in the same room with one if one were here," Grawl said giving Buck an quick glance.

"Toluo and Grawl, leave. I'd like to talk to Rogers alone," the Queen said giving a quick wave of her hand.

Taindair and Grawl left. Buck stands at ready for the queen.

"This hasn't been easy for you has it, Rogers?" she asked looking into Buck's eyes.

"It hasn't been welcome, I never fought in the war. And just because I came from Earth," Buck replied.

"When he's the one on your planet." The Queen hesitated for a brief moment. "It will end one day, be forgotten with time," she said with a smile.

"Well I'm one who really doesn't want to forget history. But some things are better off forgotten," Buck said.

"Rogers, I want you to help me make things anew," the Queen said walking away from Buck.

"By doing what, Your Majesty?" Buck asked.

"What have you observed of Grawl?" the Queen asked.

"Aside from the fact that only a rat's butt has more charm than him?" Buck asked with a grin.

"What does he think of current state of government?" she asked with some concern.

"Well I don't think he's too wild about you, having more say than him. In fact I think he might just might be planning something of a bad sort against you," Buck replied.

"He is, and that's why I sent for Toluo and you," the Queen replied turning to face Buck.

"You know he's up to no good?" Buck asked.

"He wants our government in the power the way it knew once long ago. There was a time when Sanopp's rule reached further than the Draconian empire does now. But we've had to let go of that rule slowly, due to lost battles and resources. To Earth, to the Ked, to many others. Grawl believes he can return our rule back to what it once was, but it can't be done. If the government, the monarchy was to conquer in the way it once did, my people would not have the resources which are to provide good home and life. Rogers, Grawl believes me to be weak right now. Not only in my mind, but also in my body," the Queen explained to Buck.

"You're not, are you?" Buck asked with a concerned look.

"My mind is as sharp as ever, but my body on the other hand... I fear in my current state he is all too right on that account. That is why I am sure he is up to something sinister. I want you and Toluo to beat him at what ever arsenic-lined game I'm sure he has set forth," the Queen said looking Buck in the eyes.

"But there's something you'd rather just have me do?" Buck asked watching the Queen's expression.

"Your being here in this palace, without fear or show of harsh judgment of me. It's a sign to me of changing times, for the better. I need you to help me make a change." The Queen looks down into Buck's hands. "What is that you're holding by the way?" she asked.

Buck hands the pads over to her. She smiles looking at them.

Chapter 4

In the Queen's chamber. The Queen is sitting on a padded bench near a window, holding a mirror looking at herself. Buck is standing behind her, with something that looks like a small trash can beside him. While they're talking Buck is peeling off her dead skin, and putting it into the can. She sits with a towel covering her like a toga. Out the window is the night sky. As Buck moves about his business he shifts her towel around a little. Where Buck has taken off her old hide a new one is shown, one that is brighter in color and shiny.

"The royal family, in my line, are different from the other Saurians. Ages ago when our rule was at its greatest, we had ourselves genetically altered. We live much longer than any others in our species. But when it comes time to shed our skin, a weakness near death strikes us," the Queen informs Buck looking at him through the hand mirror she's holding.

"I understand, Your Majesty. This is the second time you've told me," Buck replies politely.

"Rogers, what you are doing now, it means so much to me. A human helping my people in this manner, it's been unheard of until now." She hesitates for a moment. "Your plans for Grawl?" she asked.

"I took care of him before we started this," Buck replied.

"Oh, and what did you do?" the Queen asked.

Buck smiles and starts to tell the Queen what he had done

Buck is in Grawl's living chambers. His forearms are reaching up at some task. In one hand he's holding a shimmering blue pad that's transparent with words written on one side. In the other hand he holds up a bunch of other pads. The opens then closes, and without looking away from the pad.

"Well hi there Napoleon. Wasn't sure when you'd show up so I came in early," Buck said. Grawl stood there with a mortified look on his face.

"W-w What are you doing in here? Human!?" Grawl asked.

Buck turns around and walks over to Grawl, with his eyes still mainly looking at the pad. "Human? You sound shocked. You mean to tell me the entire time I've been here you didn't know what I was?" Buck asked.

"That voice! You're Rogers!" Grawl said loudly.

"Yeah, and you know I think because of what I see on this pad, you should be in jail right now," Buck said glancing down at the pads in his hands.

"For what! Never mind, you know nothing, human! You being what you are could have never slipped past me!" Grawl replied in a sacastic voice.

"Oh, I know things like what is written on this." Buck replies as he holds out the single pad he's holding in one hand close to Grawl's face. "The people you make deals with. They like to keep records to make sure their deals go through," Buck said.

The look of horror on Grawl's face becomes more intense. But his mouth stays closed as Buck continues. "Having the Queen kidnapped to be taken to a secure area. To watch those with support of your actions kill the Delegation from the Ked empire. Just to prove to the masses that know of this, that once more you think this planet's military can conquer any world that it chooses," Buck says looking into Grawl's eyes.

"How did you find those pads?" Grawl asked.

Buck walks around Grawl. "If you remember, your queen gave Taindair and myself full access to every area of this palace. Now Taindair and I, we found these shortly before you caught us by the patch. On another note to that, you saw me with them when we met," Buck replied with a smile.

Grawl speaking low and long. "All that time." Now back in his more pronounced voice. "Those say nothing of me. If they had, you would have spoken to me hours ago," Grawl said looking away from the pads and in to Buck's eyes.

"True, your name doesn't come up on a single one of these. But there is a person in this palace who is higher than you that knows the events mentioned on these pads, revolves around "your" actions," Buck said as he closed his hand around the pad.

"She says! You take her word?!" Grawl said angerly.

"That and the numerous other humans I work with here," Buck replied.

"What!" Grawl said with a surprised look on his face.

Buck turns to the doorway. "Taindair, would you come in here please?" Buck said.

A moment later Taindair enters the room, holding a metal cylinder in one hand. On one of his wrist was a device like Buck and Wilma's. Grawl sees Taindair enter and makes a little noise of shock and horror at seeing this. Buck turns his attention back to Grawl.

"Hope you don't mind the handcuffs, but it's necessary," Buck said as he starts to place the cuffs around Grawl's wrists.

Grawl pulls away from Buck. "He's one?" Grawl says in a small voice.

"Since the day I was born," Taindair replied.

"No, no you can't arrest me!" Grawl said in a worried voice.

"Do you plan on giving Taindair and I a hard time with this?" Buck asked.

"Give me one reason why I shouldn't?!" Grawl said.

"I'd say your loyalty to the monarchy, but you have none." Buck turns more to the door. "Wilma, could you come in here, please? I think I might need your help in a moment," Buck said. A moment later Wilma entered the room. It was her watch-like device that was on Taindair's wrist.

"Another! But I've been told Earth's Defense Directorate only sent you and, and..." Grawl said with fear and panic in his voice, as he starts studdering, not sure what to say.

"Taindair," Buck said.

Grawl starts walking backwards but still facing the group. "Stay back, stay back!" Grawl says holding his arms out as if to stop them from coming near him.

"Now if we stayed back, Taindair couldn't handcuff you," Buck replied as he starts moving towards Grawl, with Taindair and Wilma moving with him in unison.

Grawl backed himself up to a wall. "You filthy warm-bloods," he yells.

Buck, Wilma and Taindair have Grawl surrounded. Buck grabs Grawl by his wrists and moves them out to in front of himself. Taindair moves the metal cylinder in between the open space between Grawl's hands. On both ends of the cylinder a ball of white light comes out and covers the hands. Then the balls of light shrink in size around the hands inside them, changing color to a deep purple.

Back in the Queen's chambers, Buck had just finished telling her what he had done to Crawl and had finished his work on the Queen. As Buck is lifting the towel toga back on to the Queen's shoulder, the Queen started laughing.

"What a fine and fitting way to arrest him, Rogers. I applaud you for it, but tell me. Deering, I thought she wasn't to be found here, that her work in Ditas was going to be done outside the palace," The Queen said still looking at Buck through the reflection in the mirror..

"It was. When I tapped her to help me with Grawl, she snapped to attention fast. Said she had taken care of her job already. Odd thing is, normally she doesn't tend to listen to me," Buck replied.

"I must thank her the next time I see her. And you now, thank you, Rogers," She says standing up. She turns to face Buck, she looks young.

Buck bows before her. "You're welcome, Your Majesty," Buck said still in the bowing position.

Carpet lined the path into the palace. Lining both sides of it were Saurians and Ked dressed in dress military uniforms. Most of the Ked seen are perched on thin vehicles that somewhat resemble a stalactite with a blue squashed ball on its bottom. They stand at attention for their representatives. The Ked that aren't on these vehicles are trying their best at standing, using their tails for balance. Just at the palace stand the monarchy and other representatives of Sanopp's government. At the other end of this carpeted path comes the Ked delegation. The ship they used to get to the planet, at the long end of it. The Ked going down this path are on the thin vehicles. Buck, Wilma, and Taindair stand off on the sidelines, watching. Buck and Wilma are now wearing their watch-like devices again. Buck without looking to Wilma. "What happened?" Buck asked whispering.

"It was a gang uprising for the poorer class. Once the leader of the gang dropped out, he told me everything I wanted to know. After that I just told the local authorities, to let them handle things," Wilma whispered back.

"The leader just straight out of the blue told you the plans?" Buck asked still whispering.

"After his mother was accidentally shot by one of his followers. He broke down, said he couldn't be with them any more," Wilma replied.

"I see. His mom, is she... ?" Buck asked.

"She's alive but it will be some time before she can leave being in hospitalization." Wilma leans her head slightly towards Buck. "I'm having it billed to the Defense Directorate. We owe it to her," Wilma said lowering her head.

"Owe it to her?" Buck asked with a confused expression on his face.

"When the war was going on, her husband fought in it. He was the bread maker of the family. When he was lost, well lets just say we're at fault for the state she and her son are in," Wilma said.

"The Defense Directorate of 29 years ago is at fault. You did nothing to hurt these people. But I understand what you're saying," Buck replied with a smile.

"The son, his father's death.. If he hadn't died.." Wilma took a deep breath. "She hates us so much for what happened," Wilma said.

"When wars are waged, their aftermaths only rarely bring good. Much tragedy came with the one these people fought in years ago. But if it hadn't happened, someone like Grawl would be having his way in their military power right now," Buck replied.

"Do you think there's any hope of it ever ending?" Wilma asked looking over at Buck.

"I don't know if there is. But who knows what the next day will bring. Hope is what drives all of us to want something better. From what I've seen here in my stay, it's that there are some that would greatly like to see change from the old ways. To make waging wars a thing of the past. Hope for a better tomorrow," Buck said.

"With help and luck on tomorrow's dawn," Wilma said softly.

"I'm with you on that," Buck replied smiling at Wilma.

"Buck, I know I got you in to this. And the job we got done, that all three of us got done. We did a fine one of it. If there's anything I could ever do for you?" Taindair asked.

"Shortly after I was brought out of stasis, I was offered therapy by one of the Directorate's psychiatrists to help me deal with my new situation in life better. I turned down the offer, but now, well, I think I'd like to talk to that psychiatrist, if you could get that arranged?" Buck said.

"Why do you want to see a psychiatrist now? I thought you said you were getting used to how things are now in your life?" Taindair asked.

"I am, it's just, something I did last night. I feel I could definitely use a good psychiatrist now," Buck replied.

"What happened last night that makes you feel the need to have talks with a psychiatrist?" Wilma asked.

"I don't want to talk about it," Buck replied as the group watch the Ked Delegation meet the representatives of Sanopp's government and its monarchy.

"I'll try when we get back to Earth. In the mean time, would you like to have some?" Taindair asked as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out its contents. Which look like a crushed mass of something smooth and shiny in places, while in others places you can tell this lump is made from insects.

"What is that?" Buck asked almost gagging.

"A snack I've been working away at. I caught them in the gallery, yesterday," Taindair replies with a proud smile.

"No thank you, Taindair,"Buck says softly.

"Why not? You seemed to go pale when you were talking about needing a psychiatrist. And when you were watching the monarchy with the Ked a moment ago," Wilma said with a wide grin on her face. "Have some," she chuckled.

Buck gives Wilma a look that is truly just for her of "Cute... real, real cute." Buck looks back down at the mass Taindair was holding. "All right, I'll have some," Buck replied as he reached out to take a piece of the lump of bugs from Taindair.

"You and Wilma, the looks you gave each other a moment ago. What do they mean?" Taindair asked.

"It means, she'd like to try some too," Buck replied glancing over at Wilma.

Taindair cheerfully hands some bug-mush to Wilma's eyes widen in a type of shock. Buck smiles at Wilma's reaction.

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