Forerunners of Bosk
hour later, Ardala was standing in her father’s private chambers,
watching her royal sire pace, listening to his ranting and raving.
A few years earlier, she would have been horrified at his anger at
her, and quick to do anything to mollify his displeasure.
But now? Now she only
had to think of life with Kane and her anger burned away any fear.
paused in his shouting to catch his breath.
I would rather marry a Trisorian mud fish than marry Kane.”
Her calm voice broke
through his rage and he stopped pacing, glaring at her.
“If you keep this up, you may get your wish.”
He continued to glare at her.
“Are you still mooning over that accursed Buck Rogers?” he
growled. “I had almost
wished you had succeeded in marrying him.
That way I could keep an eye on him.”
Father, I am not mooning over Captain Rogers,” Ardala replied, heartened
that at least King Draco was allowing her to speak.
“But he allowed me to see just what flaws existed in Kane, other
than the ones I already knew.” She
paused. “Father, despite
what your ‘esteemed’ commander has said, Kane does not love me.
He only sees me as a stepping stone to your throne.”
should he be any different from any of my other sons-in-law?” Draco
cried out, his eyes snapping in anger.
“And the man uncovered the plot to kill you.”
think that there is more to that plot than it appears on the surface,
Father. It did not have the feel of a serious assassination,”
Are you accusing Kane of
trying to kill you?”
that would destroy any chances of his ascending to the throne.
I think he was trying to impress you.”
is ridiculous, Ardala,” Draco snapped.
check into it, Father. I’m
going to.” Ardala decided
to just let the seed germinate and not pursue her suspicions any further. “Where did you send Tigerman?”
Kane told me you were the one who actually removed him from the palace,”
don’t keep up with the buying and selling of slaves,” he snapped.
“And why are you so interested in a slave?”
was loyal and you and Kane had no right to get rid of him.
He was mine to keep or to dispose of,” she replied heatedly.
Ardala knew she was sounding like a petulant child now, but she
couldn’t help it. All of
this had taxed her royal demeanor to the limit.
Kerok. He deals with slave
purchases and sales.”
most certainly will,” responded Ardala.
you will prepare to wed Kane.”
seethed. With a cry of
frustration she replied with another phrase that she had heard Buck use,
“When Hell freezes over.” And
she dashed out of the room.
quickly reached the spaceport where her personal yacht sat ready for her
and she boarded, her two ever present androids right behind her.
Wasting no time, she strode into the bridge. “I want this ship in
space immediately. We are
going to Yresis IV.”
we going to wait for Counselor Kane?” the captain, a middle-aged, dark
eyed man asked.
We launch immediately,” Ardala ordered.
ship’s captain gave the orders for immediate departure and the yacht was
soon streaking for the nearest stargate.
rushed into King Draco’s throne room.
“Your Highness! Your
daughter has just launched her yacht.”
smiled enigmatically. “Yes,
her hair pulled back and loosely tied with a blue ribbon, walked perkily
down an antiseptically white corridor, a food tray in her hands.
When they had first learned of the distress signal and had been
called to the Neckar system, and had done the initial survey of the
planet, including its history, Buck had commented on how much like
pre-holocaustic Earth Neckar was. “Like
a cross between antebellum and fifties cultures,” was his comment.
In her visits with Habris, she had noted the signs of emerging
modern technologies; undoubtedly technologies that would boom with the
admission of Neckar into the Galactic Council.
She was thankful at this time, though, that the society wasn’t
any more advanced than it was.
tapped lightly on the door of Brisella Brock’s room and then cautiously
entered. She had been told
that Mrs. “Drake” was extremely taciturn at best and downright
belligerent at worst. “Here
is your dinner, ma’am,” Wilma said politely.
old woman glared at her, saying nothing.
Then she beckoned for Wilma to approach.
“At least you didn’t try to tell me I was someone else,” she
said softly, almost conspiratorially.
wouldn’t do that,” Wilma said. “Mrs. Brock,” she added quietly,
when she was up close to the older woman.
gazed at her in shocked silence for a moment and then smiled broadly. “I think I’m going to like you.”
She peered at the tray in Wilma’s hands. “What do you have there?”
for you to eat. I was told
you weren’t eating what they fixed here, so I brought you something I
got on the way to work.” Wilma
had managed to study the old woman’s records the day before and saw
where Mrs. Brock had accused them of poisoning her.
To be perfectly truthful, the Neckarese woman had been very sick
just after she had arrived at this facility, so it was not a great stretch
of the imagination for Brisella to assume that someone was out to get her.
And in a sense someone was. It
wasn’t hard for Wilma to imagine that Brisella’s enemies might be more
interested in her death than in any benefit of her living.
But then why didn’t they just kill her in the first place?
Wilma mentally shoved all those thoughts away.
They didn’t help her in this present situation.
She had to keep focused on getting Mrs. Brock out of here.
members of the Searcher crew had gathered information on the
Ahern’s, as well as this facility where Brisella Brock had been placed.
Wilma had already assessed that they would most likely have to
kidnap Brisella from Neckar and not just talk to her.
She was confident, however, that they had the information they
needed to make this a smooth operation, one where no one would get hurt.
bless you, girl,” Brisella cackled.
unwrapped the food and then handed the tray to the old woman, who took it
eagerly. Aware of her
cover, she smiled and said, “I have to check on a few other people.
I will be back in a little bit.”
hurry,” Brisella said plaintively.
She lowered her voice. “I
think someone is trying to kill me. The
Ahern’s never liked me much, at least not after I married a Brock.”
She paused. “I was
real sick when I first got here, until I made them taste my food first.”
She looked at her tray and then at Wilma.
“I could feel them. I
could feel their cold hate for me. But
you? I know you are my
it? How could that be? Could
Brisella Brock be empathic? However it came about, Wilma was just happy that Brisella
trusted her. She lightly
touched the older woman on the arm. “I
promise to be back shortly. As
soon as I can.”
quickly checked on the other residents on her roster, and then was
suddenly anxious to get back to Brisella.
Perhaps the old woman’s paranoia was rubbing off on her, but
Wilma wasn’t going to question it.
She would rather err on the side of caution than to regret
something later. In the
supply room nearest the old woman’s room, Wilma activated her
subcutaneous communication device. “Anton.
Be ready. I think we
need to do it tonight.”
Colonel,” her contact said, his voice tinny in her ear.
felt the tiny laser pistol in her uniform pocket and then stepped out of
the little room. She caught a
fleeting glimpse of someone going into Brisella’s room and she glanced
quickly to see if anyone else was watching.
When she saw no one else, Wilma darted down the hall and slipped
through the slowly closing door. A
small man in the uniform of an orderly was approaching the old woman, his
hand holding a tiny device that looked suspiciously like some kind of
hypodermic needle. Brisella started calling out for help but quieted suddenly
when she saw Wilma.
as the assailant grabbed at Brisella with his free hand, Wilma kick boxed
him in the side, causing him to drop the hypodermic and cry out sharply in
surprise. As he turned,
Wilma’s fist connected below his chin and then her other fist buried
itself in the pit of the man’s stomach.
Shoving him against a wall, Wilma grabbed him around the neck and
hissed, “Who are you? Who
shook his head, his eyes wide in surprise.
“You . . . you….”
the possible scenario dawned on her.
“You were going to kill Mrs. Brock and let the new person take
the blame,” she accused. “Who
sent you?” she repeated.
know. They didn’t
give a name. Just know they
were from the provinces,” the would-be assassin said.
do you know they were from the provinces?” Wilma asked, her fingers
squeezing a bit tighter around the man’s neck.
he gasped. “That’s all I
know. I swear.”
released the man, stepped back a pace and then fired her laser pistol. The would-be killer slumped to the ground.
Quickly, she dashed to the door and closed it.
knew you were one tough lady,” Brisella said with a laugh. “And I told
you someone was trying to kill me.”
She looked up at Wilma, a grin still on her face.
name’s Wilma and I’m a friend of Buck Rogers,” she said quietly,
checking to see if there would be any recognition.
was a faint glimmer of remembrance and then the old woman gazed
meaningfully at her. “What
are you going to do now?”
and get you out of here,” answered Wilma.
“But you have to do exactly what I say.”
course, Wilma,” Brisella said brightly.
keep your voice down.” Wilma
looked around and saw a wheelchair in the corner.
“Do you need that?” she asked, pointing.
thing? No, not in your
She pulled the unconscious man up and then hoisted him into the
chair. There was a
restraining strap and Wilma fastened him in.
Thankfully, he wasn’t that big of a man.
When he was slumped down, his head barely came above the back of
the chair. Next she pulled
the blanket off the bed. “Sit
on his lap,” she told Brisella.
Me? On him?”
Mrs. Brock. If you want out
of here, you will.”
as good looking as your friend, but I guess that’s all right.
I can sit on his lap later,” she said with a chuckle.
she does remember Buck!
Wilma smiled, seeing a razor sharp wit for all that she seemed
wizened and frail. She
suspected that Brisella had more strength than anyone would figure, too.
After the woman seated herself on top of the unconscious man, Wilma
grabbed up the hypodermic and slipped it in her pocket.
Then she wrapped the blanket around the pair and walked to the
door, opening it. “Let me
do all the talking.”
right, Wilma dear,” Brisella said, giggling softly.
stifled her giggles and Wilma pushed the chair out the door after checking
quickly to see if anyone was in the hallway.
So far, so good, Wilma thought.
are you taking that patient,” a voice demanded.
Wilma thought with a mental groan, recognizing the voice.
They had met when Wilma had first been ‘hired on’ and the
terran woman had not been impressed.
“Doctor said this one was to have a test done.”
nurse looked at her watch. “At
ten in the evening?” She
he said he suspected something and he’d run the tests himself,” Wilma
ad-libbed, hoping that such a procedure was at least heard of.
something new,” the nurse said. “Which
head nurse snorted. “He
should discover a way to make this one behave.”
began moaning, softly at first and then louder and louder.
She moved her head from side to side, then began to curse.
right. Take her,” the nurse
said testily. “But
what I really think she needs is a good strong sedative.
Crazy doctors,” she muttered, turning away.
Nurse Collins,” Wilma said demurely as she began pushing the chair down
the hallway as quickly as she could.
witch,” Brisella muttered.
couldn’t help it; she began to giggle softly, joined quickly by the
woman in the chair. “That
was good, Mrs. Brock. Thanks."
hurried down the corridor that led past rooms with dark windows and they
were not bothered until they were near the back entrance of the facility. There a security guard stepped out into the hall and
challenged them. Wilma smiled
sweetly. “Oh, Mrs. Drake
wanted me to take her around the hospital.
She was making a big ruckus so Nurse Collins said I could walk her
around the grounds.”
are we stopping for?” Brisella demanded, her voice loud and strident. “I want to go.”
you aren’t taking her out. It’s
dark. Take her back to her
room and give her something if she’s too noisy.”
want to go that way,” Brisella yelled loudly, pointing.
surreptitiously pulled the small, laser pistol out while the guard’s
attention was on Brisella and then she fired.
The man slumped heavily to the ground and lay still.
older woman started to get up. “Let
me get the door or were you going to leave this sorry excuse for a man
you and no. I want to bring
him along. He might be able
to answer some questions.” As
Wilma pushed the wheelchair out the open door, she gazed around, looking
for more guards. She didn’t
see any, but that didn’t mean there weren’t any.
“Stay close and don’t hesitate to get back in the chair if you
will take a lot of walking to make me want to sit on that bony lap
again,” Brisella replied sarcastically.
smiled and pushed the chair out the door.
are we going?”
meet some of my friends. They
will help me get you some place safe.”
another home, I presume,” Brisella said.
definitely not another home,” Wilma said.
“Let’s walk quietly so I can hear for more security guards.”
Wilma felt Brisella’s hand on hers and they continued on in
a loud voice called and Wilma felt as though her heart had stopped beating
altogether. Looking around,
Wilma saw no cover for them.
|Forerunners of Bosk Prologue|
|Buck Rogers Contents|