Authors: Cathy McAllister
Lords of Arr'Carthian Book 3
by Cathy McAllister
Science Fiction Romance
English Edition 2015
German Edition 2013
copyright © by Cathy McAllister
Translation: Louise Sweeney
© Cover Art by jdesign.at
Kanavirius System, Xevus3
Blue Sector, Spaceport, Betzlawk
27th Day of the Month of Jakus in the Year 7067
“I’ll go mad if we don’t find somebody to take us home soon,” said Lory, irritably, walking back and forth in the spacious hotel suite that they had rented.
Charly was lounging on the couch, sucking on a sweet that she had bought that morning from one of the many shops in the lobby. She could not understand her friend’s agitation. Three weeks had passed since they had escaped from the slave market where they were to be sold to revolting aliens. They had gained from someone else’s misfortune and were therefore now in possession of a gold Tik-Card that gave them unlimited credit. What was more, with the help of a waitress, Lory had come into contact with a man who had equipped her with a false identity. Lory was now Lady Kirikyla and Charly acted as her slave. With this identity they had checked into one of the best hotels in the spaceport and for two weeks they had tried, in vain, to charter a spaceship to take them back home to earth. The problem was that they had no idea where earth was. No matter how hard they tried to describe the blue planet and the solar system, no one seemed to know anything about their native planet.
Extra-terrestrials had abducted them, along with two other women, a few weeks ago. They did not know what had become of Keela and Amber, the other two women. The other two had not managed to escape with them from the slave compound. They had surreptitiously tried to found out, but unfortunately without success.
“You really are unflappable!” grumbled Lory, crossly. “Are you at all bothered by the fact that we’ve been sat here for nearly three weeks?”
“What can we do?” responded Charly, shrugging. “We have to wait for the right opportunity and in the meantime at least we have a roof over our heads and something to eat. We could not be in a better position.”
“But I want to get away from this damn planet,” said Lory, irritated. “I’m fed up of having meals served to me by chicks with six arms and having lifts opened for me by guys with eyes wobbling about on antenna, ten inches above their heads, like a damn snail!”
Charly giggled. Yes, some of the aliens really did take some getting used to. But there were also races that were humanoid and who differed only slightly, or even not at all, from humans. In fact Charly felt safer here than in her shabby little apartment at home.
“I just think it’s a shame that we can’t tell anyone at home about this,” she said. “They’d lock us up straight away. If I only had my iPhone with me … then I’d take pictures.”
Lory snorted. She pushed away a strand of her black hair, that had escaped from her hairband, and tapped her foot restlessly.
“I’m going to the bar now to have a few drinks, then I might feel better. Are you coming?”
Charly looked at her, raising an eyebrow.
“As your slave?”
“Oh! I forgot,” said Lory, looking a bit remorseful. “OK, shall I bring something back for you?”
“If you could get some more sweets. This stuff is heavenly.” Charly shook her almost empty sweet bag enthusiastically. She was well on her way to becoming addicted to the stuff.
“I’ll see what I can do. See you later.”
Lory then left the suite and Charly stretched out on the couch, sighing. She was not finding life here so bad at all: mainly because they were living relatively luxuriously thanks to the credit card that they had taken from a murdered woman.
At home things had not been this good for Charly. Her mother had died when she was just five years old and her father had raised the six children alone. Charly was the youngest. She had two older sisters and three older brothers. She and her brother Steven were the only siblings to have inherited their father’s red hair and green eyes. All the others had black hair and grayish-blue eyes like their dead mother. Charly hated her similarity to her brother. And she hated her father. He was a drunken thug with a considerable criminal record, just like her brothers. Her eldest sister was a prostitute in her own brother’s brothel and the middle sister had lived in Europe for years. Charly had had no contact with her family since her brother, Steven, had tried to recruit her, too, in his brothel and had tried to force her to marry his partner. She was eighteen at that time. She had managed to rent a room in a shared house, and keep her head above water with part-time jobs, whilst successfully completing her education. For years she worked really hard on her studies and achieved a distinction in her ICT degree. She felt as if she could do anything with her life, but then something happened that completely threw her off track.
She was abducted and held captive in a cellar. Those three months had destroyed her. After that she got in with the wrong people and was involved in crooked dealings, once or twice as a hacker.
When these ugly aliens had abducted her, whilst she was jogging, she had been shocked. Yet again she had been taken captive. But this time at least she had not been alone. The other girls had made the situation more bearable for her. What was more, they had neither been tortured nor raped – wich did not, of course, mean that a potential buyer might not have done that sooner or later, if they had not escaped. The escape and the uncertainty about what had become of the other women had affected her. She could deal with being here in this hotel, though, and it was not as if she was going to miss anything or anyone from her former life. It was not that she intended to stay on Xevus3 forever, but until they found a form of transport she would enjoy the comforts here as much as possible.
When Lory came back she was grinning like a Cheshire cat. Charly sat up, looking at her friend expectantly.
“You will never guess what has just happened,” declared Lory joyfully.
“No idea! Out with it!”
“I’ve got two return tickets for us, sweetie. Well, what do you say to that?”
Charly stared at Lory in disbelief.
“What … what do you mean?”
“Well, that I met a man who happens to have a spaceship and is prepared to take us back to earth.”
Charly’s eyes widened. Her heart suddenly began to beat faster. Could this really be true? Were they really going to leave this desert planet and fly back home?
“Honestly?” she asked, stunned.
“Yes, honestly,” Lory confirmed, her cheeks glowing with excitement. “Isn’t it great? We’re finally going to get away from this damn desert planet.”
Kanavirius System, Xevus3
On the streets of Betzlawk
30th Day of the Month of Jakus in the Year 7067
The streets of Betzlawk were dusty and the sun was burning Amano unpleasantly on the head. He did not like this damn heat and would give anything right now to enjoy a glass of ice-cold
on the terrace of his house. But they had a mission to fulfill. Their cousin, Prince Marruk, had sent them here to rescue two women who were to going to be sold as slaves. The women had escaped and could now be anywhere, that is, if they were still alive. Amano considered the whole thing to be a mission doomed for failure. How were they going to find the two women, when they only had a vague description of them, that could fit hundreds of the women here?
“Damn it!” groaned Kordan, Amano’s cousin, angrily. “We’ve been wandering around here for two days and have no clue as to the whereabouts of the two women.”
“I cannot believe that no one has seen them in all these weeks,” replied Amano, likewise frustrated. They had not even been on the wrong track. No! They had no track at all!
“Let’s give it one more try, here, before going back to the hotel for today. We could have a drink and ask the waitress a few questions,” suggested Kordan.
“Yes, that sounds good. I could handle a drink. Or two.” Amano slapped his cousin on the shoulder. “Come on! What are we waiting for?”
They entered the bar and sat at a table near the counter. A waitress came over to them with a cloth and half-heartedly wiped the sticky table top.
“What can I bring you?” she asked unenthusiastically.
“Bring us two double blacks and something to eat,” ordered Kordan.
“We have grilled taki, mosule with bread or baked shanika,” the waitress reeled off the menu.
“I’ll have the taki,” said Amano.
“Me, too,” agreed Kordan. “Bring us two taki and some bread, as well.”
“Right away,” said the waitress, disappearing.
A little later she returned with the drinks and put the glasses onto the table in front of Kordan and Amano.
“May we ask you something?” said Kordan quickly, before the waitress disappeared again. “We’ll pay well if you can help us.”
“We’re looking for two young women. One has long black hair and blue eyes, the other has red hair and green eyes. Both are very pretty and look like women of my race, only perhaps a little smaller. They don’t know their way round here particularly well. We’re here to help them.”
“There were two women here,” said the waitress, “who might fit your description. This was about two or three weeks ago. They had a gold Tik-Card and didn’t know how to use it. They wanted me to help them falsify ID, too. I took them to a friend who does things like that. I haven’t seen them since then. I only know that they were heading for the spaceport.”
“A gold Tik-Card,” he said, amazed. “I’m trying to work out how they got hold of that.”
The waitress shrugged.
“Doesn’t interest me. I was paid well for my help. They gave me a thousand credits.”
Amano looked at the waitress in disbelief. A thousand credits were nearly a year’s wages for a serving girl like her. He was surprised that she was still working here, having been given so much money by the women.
“We’ll pay you just as well,” said Kordan, pulling out his wallet. He counted out a thousand credits and put them on the table and they disappeared quickly into the waitress’s skirt pocket.
“I’ll bring you your food,” she said, disappearing.
“What do you think?” asked Amano, looking at his cousin.
“I think it’s them,” said Kordan. “That’s why we haven’t found them here anywhere. They’re at the spaceport, in the last place that I’d have looked. These two women are more cunning than I would have expected. A gold Tik-Card. Good for them! They’ll definitely be living in luxury with that – and I was concerned that they’d be starving.”
Amano laughed. He had now become curious about these two women. Perhaps this job was going to be enjoyable after all.
“But I’m relieved,” he said. “It’s better that they‘re living in luxury than lying dead in some back yard here.”
“Yes, you’re right,” agreed Kordan. “I’m glad, too. I only hope that they haven’t left Xevus3 yet, otherwise it’s going to get complicated for us.”
“I can’t believe that we’re going to leave this damn planet tomorrow morning,” said Lory.
Charly glanced up and looked across at her friend, who was standing at the window, looking out.
“Me, neither,” she agreed. “I have no idea what I’m going to do first when I’m back home. I only hope I’ve still got my flat and everything. How long have we been away now?”
“More than two months, and by the time we get there, another month – so we’ll have been away for more than a quarter of a year. I have no idea, either, how we’re meant to explain this to anyone. As to what has happened with my flat, my things and my job – no idea. We’ll see. We’ll think of something on the way back.”
‘Nothing is waiting for me except a small flat full of meaningless things, and maybe not even that,‘
thought Charly in despair.
‘Oh well, it doesn’t matter. It’s a good opportunity to start again. It was a shitty place anyway. I can get another filthy hole like that again anywhere.‘
There was a bang at the door. Charly and Lory looked at one another, shrugging.
“I’ll go and see,” said Charly. Once at the door, she looked through the view hole. What she saw there unsettled her.