The Third Cycle of Time-Chapter 22

From: Cheryl Baumgartner(C Baumgartner, Posted Date: Aug 13th, 2011

“The Alteri will take good care of Bann.  It’s a good thing we thought to load our fighters and a shuttle onto a troop transport and just steal the transport.” Lowen said, as Kai settled the shuttle in the docking bay of the transport.  “There’s no way two grown men can fit in a fighter.  So where to now?”

                “We need supplies.  The Alteri were generous and would have been more so had I let them.  But they need all they have for their own people, they have destruction they suffered was immense.  The Donovian smuggler’s have a base near here, we’ll head there.”

                “It would be nice to see if Ba’ark and his bunch are staying out of trouble.” Lowen noted.



                “Kai, Lowen welcome!  My men have been loading a shuttle with supplies since you contacted us.  They will get you loaded up in no time. 

However I should let you know that I am under strict instructions to keep you here for a few days, you and your men.  You’ve been through a few battles recently and you need to rest.  So consider this your home for the next few days, relax have a little fun.  Besides if you don’t I’m the one who has to answer to the former High Warrior Delegate of the Matriarch Council.” Ba’ark said.

“What do you mean former High Warrior Delegate?” Kai asked with alarm.

“Your mother is a formidable woman Kai, and as aggressive as any Donovian Boar when it comes to her cub.  She pulled the entire Warrior Caste out of the council.  I understand that over 5000 warriors were surrounding the building when she made her announcement.” Ba’ark laughed.  “She told Mara to teach her merchants to cover their own asses because the warriors would not be doing it for them any longer.  The Former High Healer Delegate walked out at her side.  The Sister Superior remains as Head of Council simply to be a thorn in Mara’s side on you mother’s behalf.”

“I told her to denounce me.  I didn’t want her tainted with the shame of what I chose to do.” Kai said.

“She told me to tell you that the warriors are united.  They all gladly share with you the shame of being obedient to a higher law than Mara.  But let’s not stand here on a landing field.  Come, I understand the women are preparing a feast in your honor.”

“That is not necessary.  Your offer of refuge for a few days is enough.” Kai said.

“It was their idea.  They want to show their appreciation.  Many of them had resigned themselves to never seeing their men again.  You were willing to give us all a second chance and because of that families were reunited.” Ba’ark said.  “It will make them happy to fuss over you.  In this case my friend you have truly earned the accolades.”



The insects were definitely trying to lead them.  “Let them retreat Lowe, do not pursue.” Kai ordered.  “They are trying to draw you in for some reason.”

Lowe started to make the turn and as he did it appeared darting from behind the small ball of gas that was technically a planet.

“Crap!” Lowen yelled.

Kai watched the view screen in shock for a second before firing up the thrusters.  “Head for the transport.  I’ll pick you up on the fly.  Get those fighters on board now.”

Three of the fighters were close.  Lowe who had been more determined to chase the insects was farther away.  The monster turned away from Lowe’s lone fighter and heaved its bulk in the direction of the three fighters closest to the transport.

Lowe immediately gave chase.  “The fighters are faster than it is.  Haul it!” He said firing off shot after shot.  “You are going to pay attention to me!” Lowe yelled as his shots simply bounced off of the hardened chitin.  “Okay let’s see how you like this then.” Lowe went into a steep dive and pulled up angled at the softer underbelly.

This time the insect screamed as the shot penetrated its soft flesh.  Lowe fired shot after shot as Hir, Lowen, Dex and Dak scrambled to dock their fighters.

“They are on board break off now.” Kai yelled.  The insect reacting to the pain of it wounds curled tightly in on itself clipping the tail of Lowe’s fighter.  Lowe never had a chance to regain control before he crashed into the body.  The fighter crumbled with the impact.

Kai retreated quickly from the monster.  A dozen insects now took up positions guarding the abomination.  Keeping a close eye on the scanners, Kai left the area as quickly as he could.  Finding a small comet he established a synchronous orbit keeping the comet between them and the Insect.

“If I ever say I don’t believe you again, just knock my teeth out OK?” Lowen said as he dropped into the navigators seat.

Hir, Dak and Dex quietly took seats where they could find them.

“So what now?” Dex asked quietly.

“We send word to Ba’ark.  He will pass it on to my mother.  For right now, I need to think.” Kai said as he stood.  “Whatever you do keep this comet between us and them.”



Kai paced the length of the fighter dock.  The dragon fighters were basically useless against this thing except at close range.  Too close as Lowe had learned.  And in all honesty all Lowe had done was hurt it.   And there were still a dozen of the normal sized insects out there guarding that thing while it recovered. 

“Yes it was injured, it needs time to recover.  Now is the best time to attack.  You only have four men.” 

An idea came to him.  They needed to even the odds a bit.

“Hir, get down to the fighter dock.  We’re going to take a little ride.  Lowen keep your eyes on the big boy, let me know if he so much as twitches.” Kai said over the intercom.

Hir entered the dock in a matter of minutes followed by Dex and Dak.  Kai outlined the plan to them.

“There’s five of us left and we have six fighters.  There’s a dozen insects plus the monster out there.  We need to even the odds.  I’m going to set the auto destruct on Bann’s fighter and tow it out there, right into the middle of them.”

“You’re going to need them in a cluster for that.” Hir noted.

“That’s why I called you down.” Kai answered. 

“We’re coming too.” Dak said. “You’re going to need a bigger threat than one dragon fighter.  The three of us can draw them out and then you can make your move.”

“You’re right.  We can get more of them with the four of us.” Kai replied then activated the intercom.  “Lowen how does it look out there?”

“Big boy is still balled up and the others are circling around him.”

“Good the four of us are going to see if we can’t even the odds a little bit.” Kai answered.  “You guys get a three minute headstart to pull them off.  In three minutes I’m launching straight for your position.  I’ll come in drop Bann’s fighter.

I’ll program the auto-pilot to do a little maneuvering in a small area.  When I drop it everybody get out of the area ASAP.  Run like hell back here.  Lowen have the transport ready to move as soon as the last fighter is on board.  Everybody got it?”

“The timing is going to be everything on this one.” Dak said. “And we are going to have move quick.  We won’t even know if we succeeded.”

“I’ll know.  I’ll ease up over the comet when Kai launches.  I’ll be in a position to follow what goes on while you guys are loading.” Lowen said.

“Wait, l have an idea.” Dex announced suddenly.

“What idea?”Dak asked.

“The transponder.  We will know exactly where that thing is if we can attach it.  It will give us a good reason to present a threat too!” Dex said as he left the hanger.  “I’ll be right back.”

“What transponder?” Hir asked.

“My brother is a techno geek.  He was working on this transponder that would allow us to track ships.  If we can attach it to that thing, we’ll know where it is at all times.” Dak said.  “No hunting or hoping we get lucky.”

Dex was back almost before he had left carrying a small device.  “Let’s do this.”

“Okay I’ll power up when Kai launches.  Be careful, that goes doubly for you Kai.” Lowen said.

Kai climbed into Bann’s fighter and began programming the auto pilot.


“Okay what do you need us to do, Dex?” Hir asked.

“Just keep them off my butt until I can get close enough to fire this thing off, stinger range will do it.” Dex answered.

Lowen watched the viewscreen as one fighter separated heading forward.  The smaller insects immediately took notice and began turning in that direction.  “Kai, how are you coming with the programming?  It looks like you have about two minutes to launch before things get too hot on the guys.”

“I just finished getting the tow rig set up I’m ready.”

“You’d better launch now.  The guys are catching it out there.”

“I’m almost in position to deploy the transponder.” Dex said. 

Kai launched his fighter towing Bann’s behind him.  The guys were catching it. Only a few insects remained clustered near the monster they were instead trying to destroy the three fighters.  One fighter did a quick maneuver and fired off a shot.

“Transponder deployed.”

That was Kai’s cue.  He pushed the fighter to it’s top speed right at the cluster of insects and fighters.  Suddenly he braked hard, released the tow mechanism. And the cluster of insects turned toward the new threat that was heading straight for the giant insect.

“Go!” Kai shouted as he immediately gave his fighter full power.


Everyone was on the bridge gathered around Dex.  Dex turned on the receiver.  It showed a nice little blip moving on the star map.

“There he is.  No more hiding allowed big boy.” Dex said pointing at the blip.

“Good work.  Let’s follow him, see if we can’t take out a few more of his ‘guards.” Kai said.  All but three of the smaller insects had been destroyed with their dragon fighter ‘bomb’.

“It’s beginning to look like we might just pull this off.” Lowen said slapping Dex on the back.