“Oh, my,” the deposed Zar said, gawking up at the high stone ceiling as it collapsed toward him and the looming Hekayti bounty hunter. He smiled. “So much for your little plan.”

Hideg Fekretu stepped off the lift, confident that he would avoid a violent demise in the clutches of the vengeful Medlidikke pirate, Vard Bokren. The bounty hunter, who called himself Sharm, felt certain that he would walk away with a substantial reward in Hekayti credits. Then came the cracking sound from about sixty feet above them in the gray stone chamber.

“Your old friend Vard has more to offer,” Sharm said as the lift doors opened on the upper level.

“I am not entirely without resources,” Fekretu informed his captor as the lift ascended from the massive cavern in the heart of the shattered planetoid. “I could pay you well. My freedom is worth a great deal to me.”

The Hekayti gave the ex-Zar a shove toward the open doors of the lift that waited to carry them up toward the surface and the ship that would haul Fekretu to a grim destiny. “Let’s go,” Sharm growled.

“We seezz if it workzz, yezzyezz,” the Lotorian said to Fekretu. Sharm tugged the Aukami by the ear, pulling him toward the waiting lift.

“Everything’s set,” Fekretu whispered urgently to the Lotorian. “Just hit the red button!”

Sharm scowled at the ex-Zar and said, “Enough stalling. Vard Bokren wants to settle some unfinished business with you.”

The Aukami almost felt bad for the Lotorians dwelling in the last surviving chunk of their ancient homeworld.

Fekretu set the coordinates in the rift drive console, and then boosted the power for the transition to about two hundred and sixty percent – enough to guarantee catastrophic results. He didn’t want to die, but he definitely didn’t want to die in Bokren’s torture chambers.

By Brody

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