“I come from the planet, Elosia, which is home to my people the Elohim. We are native to this quadrant of this galaxy. I am also the leader of the Eloah. The Eloah are an all-female brigade of warriors who defend our most prized possession, The Ark. The Ark is the repository of all the knowledge the Elohim have gathered over the millions of years of our species’ history.” she answered.
“What species are you?” I asked. When she answered that the Elohim were human, I was floored! I, like most of the universe, believed that all humans were native to Earth. Seeing my amazement she was about to speak when I gestured towards the restraints.
She calmly got up and removed the restraints, dropping them onthe floor. I thanked her and slid towards the edge of my seat. Once she was back in her seat she began the most fascinating story I had ever heard in my life.
“It is true. The Elohim are a human species. To ease any confusion that may arise as I tell my story, I will refer to your ancestors as Terran. Millennia ago we accidentally stumbled upon the planet Earth. We found that not only were we biologically compatible with them, but we also had the same exact organs and muscular and skeletal structures. The only differences between us are that we evolved earlier than the Terran humans on Earth did.
Another difference we discovered is that we have an extended lifespan compared to the Terrans we studied. Roughly four million years ago, when my ancestors were living in caves and huts made out of bones and skins, we had a genetic mutation strike us. It caused us to have dramatically longer lifespans than most species. We have yet to discover what caused the mutation or how to replicate it.”
“So your people were advanced enough to live in caves while Terran human’s ancestors were evolving into Australopithecus afarensis? Wow!” I exclaimed.
“Because time is short, I cannot go too much more into depth about our visits to Earth. Suffice it to say, we’re not sure if it would be a good thing to revisit your people again,” Daleth replied.
“Honestly, I would love to hear your stories. They sound fascinating but I can understand being on the clock. You haven’t kicked me out yet, so what do you need from me?” I asked.
“The reason why we are here is many millennia ago one of our ships went missing. The piece of technology you were carrying belongs to that ship, as do the other parts we located for sale in this star system. I believe it may have been planted on you by the person that has been selling our technology on the black market.”
“What does it do?” I asked.
“It’s just a small unit used to regulate the lighting in one of the ship’s many scientific labs. The technology is not of much use, but it is a clue and hopefully it will help us find where our missing ship went. I am authorized to hire you to help us find the person or persons who had possession of our device and may also have possession of our ship,” Daleth said.
“I don’t like being on this planet. I have more enemies than friends here. You fix my ship so I can get off this rock and back to the Milky Way galaxy and we have a deal,” I said.
She agreed and gave me back my guns. With all my possessions back in my hands I stepped out the door and instantly recognized the building. It was the Wilmock-Argoria, one of the most famous hotels in this city. One of the priciest too. Most people in this town couldn’t afford to stay in the cheapest room for ten minutes!
A quick elevator trip down and I was out the door. As I made my way to the street, night was starting to fall. I headed towards the nearest subway station, knowing exactly who to check out first.
His name was Slargh Phlavian, a criminal known for dealing in both stolen and counterfeit tech. He was a Dumo, which was one of the meanest, toughest species out there. They look like fat, bipedal warthogs and have a small skin sail on their back, similar to some prehistoric reptiles and dinosaurs from Earth, millions of years ago.
Their bones were stronger than tungsten steel and they have duplicates and even triplicates of their organs, depending on how important their functions are. Slargh was a petty thug who worked his way up the ladder, committing every crime imaginable and even inventing some new ones.
He had a warehouse down by the spaceport that everyone knew about. Keeping the right palms greased kept a certain John Q. Law away. Fortunately for me, I’m a little cozy with one of the guys who ships his stuff. It was a quick trip down the line before I reached my stop. About two blocks later I was at the warehouse. Sneaking in through a secret door, I quietly made my way inside. Hearing voices I crouched low and made sure to give myself some easy access to my guns. Moving towards the voices, I snuck through rows of crates. I peered around the corner to make sure I wasn’t walking out into a trap.
That’s when I felt cold metal on the back of my head. I raised my hands slowly as the metal was pulled away from my head. I turned around as slowly as possible hoping to size the guy up. I wanted to gauge how quickly and quietly I could take the bum out.
As I got a good look at the guy I knew I wouldn’t be quick enough. It was the same Myndosian I saw coming out of Daleth’s ship. In each hand he held a B-17 pistol. The B-17 was manufactured by Korp Armaments and was illegal on over a thousand worlds, including this one. It was so powerful it could fire an energy blast through twenty feet of reinforced concrete and still kill anything another twenty feet away. The Myndosian gestured with the guns that I should turn around and make a right. With gats like that in his hand I wasn’t gonna argue.
After about thirty or so feet I saw an open area and Slargh standing there with four goons of varying species. No humans though, which was bad for me. Humans would be low hanging fruit for me in this fight. I tried to convince myself that I faced worse, but I couldn’t. Nothing in my past ever compared to a mysterious adversary packing two hand cannons.
“Hey boss, look what I found lurking around,” the Myndosian said loudly. I was stunned! That was the same voice as the guy that bumped into me at the funeral parlor! He told me to keep moving and to stand in the center of the room. Slargh looked over at me and motioned for his goons to take position. Two moved behind me and the other two moved into position, one on each side of me. All four of them had their pieces pointed at me. The Myndosian holstered his pieces and stood behind Slargh.
“Medlow Staur, as I live and breathe! You know I’ve got no beef with you. Which makes me wonder; why are you poking your nose where it don’t belong?” asked Slargh.
“I was looking for an old Betamax player and I hoped you’d have some in these crates of junk you got lying around here,” I replied.
“Junk? Are you kidding me? In these crates are only the highest quality merchandise.” Then Slargh realized he was giving a sales pitch and went straight to the meat and potatoes of the situation.
“Who sent you?” he asked in a calm tone. I heard about this guy. They say when he talks to you calm, you better run. You know what I say? Nuts to that! Guys like Slargh don’t scare me. All hot air and no action.
“I sent myself. I was hoping to get some parts for my ship but tall, blue and gruesome interrupted my shopping,” I answered.
“You’re lucky Springy here caught you and not me cause you’d be dead already,” said Slargh. Judging by the look on the face of the Myndosian, he really didn’t like being called “Springy”.
“Who are you?” I asked the Myndosian. Before he could answer, Slargh chirped up and said,
“You ain’t never heard of Spring Heeled Jack, the terror of Victorian London? Man, what is wrong with you? I heard you humans were uneducated meatbags, but seriously! You know what, I wasted enough time with you. Kill him, Springy!”
I watched as Spring Heeled Jack pulled out his hand cannons and pointed the one in his right hand at Slargh’s head.
“Stop calling me, ‘Springy’!” he yelled as he pulled the trigger and the Dumo’s head disappeared in an orange spray. The two chumps on my sides were quicker with their wits than the chumps behind me. They turned and pointed their pieces at Jack. I drew my gats and took them out as Jack took out the ones behind me.
So there’s Jack and I, standing there with both sets of guns pointed at each other. I was tense, I ain’t gonna lie. But Jack, he just stood there cool and collected. I needed to know which direction we were going in. I figured we’d both walk and I could turn around halfway up the block, come back and look for the tech Daleth wanted.
“So are you really him? The same Spring Heeled Jack that appeared in Victorian England, frightening people by attacking random strangers before jumping from roof to roof to get away?” I asked.
“The very same,” he said with a bow. “I loved frightening people then, especially the women. There were some human pranksters that tried to emulate me, but they were a pale comparison to my excellence. You see, mischief is an art form. It takes years of cultivation and practice.”
At this point he had his guns at his sides and just stood there relaxed. I wasn’t about to take my guns off of him.
“So where do we go from here?”
He pondered the question a moment and then said,
“Well, you can go if you want. You served your purpose.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I growled. I was ready to drill this guy and get my answers through his deathbed confession.
“You see, not so long ago, I came across an Elohim warship with an experimental weapon capable of destroying a planet. I needed a copy of their software that I could reverse engineer and use to activate the ship. I just needed someone to draw the Elohim out. You should feel honored I chose you,” he said.
“It was a complex plan too! First I had to kill Ver Dunquid in front of his friend. Then I had to hurt his friend just enough that he would make it into your office before dying. I knew you’d take the bait. All I had to do was wait for you at Corpsemeister and Son. The ceiling caving in and the panic was actually a pleasant surprise I was not expecting. I was overjoyed that the Elohim who had been tracking me, picked you up that quickly. Fortunately, with your help, they led me to their hideout, where I was able to download a copy of their operating system from that old lady’s craft.”
“So you used me as your patsy,” I said angrily. Hand cannons or not, I was going to take this guy out. Nobody uses me for a patsy; nobody!
“So I guess I can’t convince you to let me go?” he asks.
“Not a chance in Hell!” I answer.
“Well you’re just gonna have to catch me,” he taunted as he leapt straight up into the air while releasing a high-pitched, ringing laugh.
As I was firing up at him, I saw him land on a catwalk and take off running. I holstered my guns and sped up the nearest ladder. Once on the catwalk I pulled my guns and started shooting ahead of me as I ran. I made my way as far as a storage room with junked furniture and mannequins. All the mannequins were painted blue and dressed in Victorian gentleman’s attire. Some were out in the open, some were hidden behind other things. I was taking note of their positions when the lights went off.
Not taking any chances I opened fire in the dark at the mannequins just in case one of ’em was Jack. There was a slight breeze on my skin, like from something coming towards me. I managed to partially dodge it. When I say partially, I mean I felt Jack’s claws scrape against my face. I pushed through the pain and unloaded on where I thought he was. Man, was I pissed when I heard an emergency door open behind me and the light from the street lights outside came blazing in.
I rushed towards the door and kicked it open before it could close again. Out on the roof, I went around it three times looking for Jack. I stopped cause I smelled something. A little light went off in my head. It was gas! I went to the edge of the building to see if I could jump to the next building over.