Stone dropped silently behind Racquel. He was invisible – along with Winter – so none of the prisoners would even notice that anyone had entered the room. He quickly surveyed the room, mentally noting where everyone was positioned and the angle they were at from him. Rue was standing still, still in the same place as when she lowered Jones and Prime Minister Mooney down.
Ver’thad’s gonna’ make sure you pay for your treachery, Mooney, he thought.
Bond kept looking back and forth between Rue and Jones, not sure which one was more puzzling and shocking.
Racquel looked dumbstruck; Britchy merely shrugged – after all, she hadn’t ever met Jones before and wasn’t aware that he was meant to be dead – and scratched her head at Mooney. “What are you doing here?” she asked Mooney.
“For assisting you,” was the reply, his voice weak.
“Stone,” Ver’thad said through the communicator on his ear. “Wake Rue up.”
Stone touched a button on his comwatch, which sent a signal out to the device surgically implanted into Rue’s head and turned it off. She would have no memory of what she had done while the device was turned on. Rue suddenly blinked rapidly and rubbed the back of her head. “Where am I? What hap-” Rue suddenly stopped as her eyes latched onto Jones and Mooney. Her face went pale and she stumbled backwards, then fell to her knees. Her mouth opened and shut repeatedly, but no noise came out.
“Done,” he whispered.
“Hello!” Ver’thad’s cheery voice boomed through invisible speakers. Everyone jumped in surprise – even startled Rue out of her shock enough to try and spot the speakers. “Welcome aboard my spaceship, the BC Genesis. I hope you are all comfortable.”
“Stick your crap up your own ass,” Britchy snarled.
“Winter, Stone. You know what to do,” Ver’thad whispered to them through their earpieces where none of the prisoners could hear.
But Stone didn’t dare move an inch. And he was pretty sure that Winter wasn’t either. I’m not going near her again, Stone vowed. “Sorry, boss,” Stone whispered as he then told him what happened last time they got into a skirmish with her.
“Oh,” Ver’thad whispered back, the air suddenly feeling awkward. “Never mind.”
“How is this possible?” Rue blurted out. “How is Jones still alive?” Racquel glanced over at her, thinking the exact same thing.
“While you three were chasing my space ship, I was on a separate nearby Skylon – invisible, of course, watching with the REAL data chips. So, when Rue and Bond went onboard, seemingly cleverly leaving Jones to help make the decoy ‘genuine’, I sent a small, focused EMP to his ship, leaving him stranded. I then, still invisible, entered the ship and knocked him out, taking him back to my Skylon and then to my actual space ship – the BC Genesis, leaving a pre-recorded message built from listening into your conversations as you followed my “ship” on Jones Skylon and planting a virus to make it blow up. Simple.”
Racquel felt dizzy. “So, we stole replicas of the data chips? They weren’t red herrings like we thought?”
“In a sense they were – I set it up like I did to make you believe I stole them to mislead you and ignore it when in reality I had them all along…with a little catch in the ones you retrieved.”
They all looked at each other quizzically. “What little catch?” Jones asked suspiciously.
Ver’thad chuckled darkly. “Oh, pish-posh,” he replied in an almost perfect replication of Mary Poppins voice. “Now, I’d like all of you to take a front-row seat and marvel at my pièce de résistance.”
Racquel suddenly found herself being dragged over to the hand railing around the large crater-thing but she couldn’t see who or what was her assailant. She fought and struggled and got great satisfaction from hearing whoever or whatever it was that had her in its grips cry out in pain. But the grip then intensified and she then found herself chained by the wrists to the hand railing facing inward towards to the crater thing.
Looking around, she saw that the same was happening to Rue, Bond, and Britchy.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light right underneath the hanging Jones and Mooney and then it appeared that glass was shattering or peeling – none of them could think of the proper wording – downwards. “The force-field,” Bond realised out loud. Racquel looked at him. “It’s vanishing.”
Racquel turned back to the crater-thing just as the force-field completely disappeared, giving them a slight zap as it passed the hand railing. Blinking away the white light that had appeared infront of her eyes when she was zapped, Racquel looked down over the railing. Wind from inside the crater whipped her hair and blew it around and into her face. Managing to get a somewhat decent view of the crater, Racquel saw that it was extremely deep. She could just make out the rocky bottom far below through the clouds down there.
“I thought we were on a space ship,” Racquel shouted over the wind to the nearest person – Britchy.
“This is a portal to the planet Enktir Liwl in the Swindler System.” He paused then. That’s…that’s on the other side of the galaxy! Racquel realized. “Home to the Enktir Liwlians, a species of bipeds with three nostrils and fury tails…and are carnivorous.”
Racquel suddenly looked up at Jones and Mooney, swinging helplessly over the portal, a suspicion forming of what was coming next.
“And they love to make sacrifices to their gods around this time. Human sacrifices.”
“No…” Rue gasped. “What the hell is wrong with you?!?”
“And today’s menu specials are – Jones and Mooney.”
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