(excerpt 16. If you missed the previous installment, scroll down the blog to catch up)
* * *
A loud banging on the exterior metal door of the Dormez-Vous startled me. It was Rick. He had the men and weapons I'd asked for the night before.
“You never did tell me what you need all this for.”
“Nice try, Rick. I'm not telling you anything. It's for your own protection.”
“Okay. Okay. I won't pry. Be safe, man.”
“Do me a favor, tell the guys to be ready to go in twenty minutes. I'm going to take a quick shower.”
“You got it.”
I climbed into the shower, which looked more like a giant, transparent soda can. The cylinder shot straight up into the air, hundreds of feet above the ground. I found myself flying over a white sand beach lined with high-rise condos. The beaches teemed with frolicking children and tanned, lean, and beautiful young women. The waters glowed emerald green and just offshore dolphins followed alongside jetskiers, jumping out of the water and cutting back in with their bottle-shaped noses. I jetted around like Buck Rogers for a while, taking in the sights, and then I returned to the cruiser, landing gently on the cluster of bare pipes. I stepped out of the shower and grabbed my towel to dry off.
“Hi, baby. I've missed you.”
Janelle was standing in front of me, wearing nothing but a long and luxurious white towel.
“Janelle?” I said as I looked around. My heart raced. “Where? How?”
“Aren't you glad to see me?” Her voice was soft and sultry.
“Of course I'm glad to see you, but I left you back on --”
She grabbed the top of her towel where it was tucked back into itself and pulled, causing it to fall to the floor.
* * *
My reverie was once again interrupted by loud banging on the exterior door. The soldiers-of-fortune were eager to get going.
“I'll be right out,” I hollered.
I quickly toweled off and got dressed.
I went over the plan with my mercenaries one last time. They would distract the guards while I got Bartholomew alone. I figured the only way to ensure my parents' and Janelle's safety for good was to take out that man who had become the bane of my existence. Along with the men and ordinance, Rick had secured for me updated plans of the compound.
We snuck in through the sewage outlet pipe. I'd never smelled anything so nasty and offensive in all my life.
“Memo to self: next time you're going to break in through a sewage system secure a gas mask.”
My hired guns headed off to their appointed spot while I followed the drain to Bartholomew's private quarters.
Watching my chronometer meticulously, I waited for the explosion. Three, two, one. Boom! The explosion was thunderous! “Did I black out?” I wondered. “Am I dead? Why can't I hear? I can see, but I can't hear anything.” Even though it was hundreds of yards away the blast rendered me deaf for several minutes. I busted through the panel with my gun drawn. I felt like I was in a dream. The silence was eerie. I couldn't hear my own heartbeat or footsteps. Bartholomew stood right in front of me, holding his ears, obviously stunned as well. I wanted to say something profound, or at the very least witty and sarcastic, but I knew it would be wasted in our inauditory state, so I aimed the laser sight of my weapon at his chest and pulled the trigger. The energy charge burned a hole the size of a fist right through the middle of him, melting his heart and cauterizing the wound at the same time. All the color drained from his skin and his eyes rolled back in his head as he dropped to his knees. In the instant before his corpse toppled over I put one between his eyes for good measure. By that time my hearing was returning to me. “I guess you won't be bothering me or the people I care about any longer,” I said to his cold, still body. I took off through the sewer and rendezvoused with my soldiers-of-fortune at the exit point.
We all jumped in the Dormez-Vous and made our escape. As we lifted off the planet, billows of smoke obscured the green light of Kryllium's sun. I pointed the cruiser for Earth where we would part ways. Once everyone was strapped into their chair I set the autopilot and we drifted off to sleep for the long trip to that big blue marble I called home.