CHAPTER 22.9

Approx. 5700 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

Chaos in Delta Pavonus:

The Matriarch

 

written by  SJ

 

 

    The tunnel room was built like a subway, thirty meters long by eight meters wide. To the right, along the wall, in the center, was a row of seats, and in each corner was a small set up for vendor stands.
    The opposite side of the subway led to a lower, four-meter, paved floor, which looked like it was made for tram cars. There was an another tram floor next to it, but, it wasn’t paved, and obviously hadn’t been finished. The tunnel traveled due west in the direction of the island; there was a pedestrian walkway on the near side.
    Lana organized her team into four groups of two each, her and Nikolai in the lead, then Bull and Gannon, and last, Burns and Ramcke, Burns carrying the rest of the explosives. After about a one kilometer walk, they entered the next subway station, then saw it was identical to the first one, but most importantly, no one there.
    After taking the closest stairs up to the door, she drilled a hole and used her Scout scope to look inside.
    Here, the station was similar to the first one, only this one didn’t have any cinder block buildings. On the far side, there was just a wall with a row of seats against it, no hallways. To the right, against the wall, was the ticket stand, and further down, against the right-side wall, were the restrooms. On the left, she could see the eight by eight meter room; but, there was no wall or door. None of it looked used at all. She decided to go on to the next one.
    The tunnel and walkway seemed to continue west, then turned southwest...straight for the Matriarch’s fortress. So far, it didn’t look like she had ever used the tunnel, hopefully, didn’t even know about it. After another one kilometer walk, they entered another subway tunnel, same as the last one, only here it came to an end.
    Lana repeated the process she did on the last station, examining it with her Scout scope, and found it the same, completely empty. However, after picking the lock, she still couldn’t open the door; it was stuck.
    She decided to have Bull come up and help while she stood close so she could let him know when the door was loose. But, then, with a loud pop, the door opened, slamming Bull against the side of aisle way and sending Lana flying down the stairs, where Gannon caught her.
    Lana sighed frustrated as Gannon let her down and made a joke. Then she ordered everyone up upstairs quickly, concerned the noise might’ve alerted someone. However, as her team entered, it was soon obvious no one heard, no one even there.
    The stairway going up from the eight by eight meter room looked exactly like the one at the prison building, only here, the double doors were closed tight, and locked. Lana and Nikolai ascended the stairs and began using their Scout scopes.
    This building was nothing like the top floor of the prison. The stairs entered it on the right side, where inside they examined a thirty-meter wide by fifteen-meter long room, looking much like a station where the ticket counter was in the center on the far side, vendor stands in all the corners, and square fast-food tables set up in the center.
    The station had wide windows in all four corners. Though one of the windows on the far side of the room, in the distance about fifty meters away, they spotted the north wall of the fortress, only two meters high and surprisingly made only of two rows of sandbags. There were wooden platforms for soldiers to stand on so they could see over the top in several places. Not much of a fortress, but such as it was, she was glad they were INSIDE.
    Lana easily picked the lock on the double doors and they were pulled open from the inside, then fixed against the walls. The four teams quickly entered the station and stayed low and silent, each taking a window on all four sides.
    It was morning, but still dark outside. None of them spotted any guards, even on the fortress wall...at least, not on the part they could see. On the side of the station with the double doors, almost all the way down on the left, were two more sets of double doors, these clear. Lana and Nikolai took their time and unlocked them, but stayed inside, Bull and Gannon joining them on the same side, but at a window.
    Just outside the clear double doors, a direction that was quickly determined west, Nikolai could see a sidewalk, and beyond that, a two-lane street.
    Bull and Gannon, from their window, could see a sidewalk traveling west across the street; on the left side were two buildings. On the north side, through a window, Lana could see a restaurant, clearly closed. Between the street and the westbound sidewalk was a large area of foliage, what looked like gardens with numerous small pathways though them.
    On the other side of the gardens, in the distance about a hundred meters away, she saw a large, two-story, building, looking sort of like a mansion. In the front of it, in the center, was a fountain, not on. Beyond that was a raised area with a lawn on both sides, a short flight of stairs going up in the center, where beyond that the sidewalk went under the building through an opening large enough for two cars to drive though and about one story high; above that, the second story, was a large window divided in the center. Using her scope, she could see inside, a spacious room with a large conference table in the center. At the table, two men sat talking to each other; they were definitely not guards.
    On both sides of the large window, there were two smaller windows spaced out on both sides, the shades pulled shut. Below both sets of windows, a sturdy set of stairs went upward to the left and right, then angled back inward where they reached the area behind the large window in the center, a place that stuck out about nine meters from the rest of the building.
    However, the mansion was wider still. On both sides were more sets of rooms, the top rooms with large patios overhanging the bottom rooms underneath. The mansion appeared about one third wide as it was long. Under it, the center area in the back, it looked like there was a shuttle, a shuttle that appeared very much to have a jump drive. Finally, on the patios, on both sides, were sets of two guards, all of them dressed like the prison guards, Cultists with leather shoulder pads, melee weapons, and AK auto rifles. Only these guards were wearing some kind of leather masks that covered most of their faces with goggles built into them, and Lana wondered if they were some kind of night vision.
    This HAD to be the Matriarch’s headquarters. But, getting to it without being seen, that was going to be the trick. Then Lana got a call.
    “LuLu, this is Melinda. Koufax and I are on our way to your location.”
    “I’m going to send Nikolai back to meet you.” Lana responded.
    “Good.”
    “I’m on my way.” Nikolai overheard, then got up to leave.
    Then Lana heard and unexpected voice, Ben Franco. “Officer LaFong. I’ve been listening to your conversations. Did you find your way inside the Matriarch’s fortress?”
    “Yes. Apparently they meant to build an underground tramway from Wesson to a small pier village, then to the main resort. We’re located at the last station. Right now, I’m looking at some kind of fancy resort building.” She began describing the mansion.
    Half the way through the description, she got a response from an even more unexpected source. “That sounds like the Royal Ambassador Inn.” The voice sounded weak. “There’s a conference room upstairs. I attended a meeting there--the last meeting I had before I was taken to prison by Gale’s goons.”
    “Tom Franco?” Lana guessed.
    “Yes...that’s my brother.” Ben Franco announced. “No matter how tired he felt, he insisted on helping.”
    Lana decided to put Ben’s brother to use. “Tom, right now I’m looking at two people talking to each other sitting at the conference table.” There was a pause of several seconds. “Okay. I just took their pictures and sent them to you.”
    Ben assumed it was sent to his email. In a short while, Tom answered. “Yes...those are Hobbs and Naderson.” He seemed the need to catch his breath before continuing. “Besides myself, there were three other councilmen. Those three tried to escape; two of them made it, one was killed. I’m assuming they’re the ones that barricaded themselves in City Hall, protected by what few Planetary Guardsmen we have. As for Hobbs and Naderson, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are helping Gale...probably for a big wad of money.”
    “Well, if they’re dealing with Chaos, I doubt their going to live long enough to spend it.” Lana had to add. She changed the subject. “So, if we’re assuming this is where Gale is located, what can you tell me about the Royal Ambassador Inn? Do you have any building schematics?”
    “It’s fairly straightforward from what you can see.” Tom explained. “Rooms on the sides. Then a couple small spas. Then the conference room in the center.” He seemed to catch his breath again, then paused, and continued. “If Gale is there, I’m willing to bet she’s in one of the underground rooms.”
    “Underground?” Lana was surprised.
    “Yes. There’s a couple underground entertainment rooms. I never went down there, but, I think that’s where the controls for water, heat, and air are located. It’s all connected by underground tunnels, you know, with the other buildings.”
    Outside, the sun was already rising, dispelling any cover of darkness. But, Tom’s last comment gave Lana an idea as she quickly made her way across the room, back down the main stairs, then down the last set of stairs to the subway tunnel. There she met Melinda, Nikolai, and Koufax, but didn’t have time to talk to them.
    On the far side, the tunnel came to an end, where a turnaround would’ve been made for the trams. However, in all the previous tunnels, there had been a pedestrian walkway. In this case, there shouldn’t be one, and, at first glance, there wasn’t. But, as Lana walked to where it was supposed to be, she spotted a utility door.
    Melinda and her team watched as Lana picked the lock, then opened the door, and like she expected, found a utility tunnel. If her hunch was correct, she could follow this right under and inside the Royal Ambassador Inn.
    Over the phone, Lana called. “Bull, Gannon, I want you guys down here, right now. Hank, Sammy...you guys stay up there and find a good firing position for taking out those guards on the patios.” She spoke to Melinda. “I’m thinking, Nikolai should come with me?”
    Melinda agreed, then added, “I’ll send Koufax upstairs. Last time I was informed, my shuttle was on its approach to Dandelot.” As soon as I can contact it, I’m going to tell it to land at the prison over in Wesson. I’ll go over and meet with Officer Dakota and de la Vega there, then we’ll come back here with some novaguns.”
    ******
    Lana and her team made their way through the pipe-filled maintenance tunnel steadily, as she counted her steps. It was about one hundred meters to the Inn, in other words, one hundred steps. They spotted several tunnels going to the right along the way, but only one going left, one hundred fifteen steps, her steps, short ones. That had to be it.
    Then she got a report from Ramcke. “You know those guards on the balconies, they just took off inside the building. Burns said he spotted them out in the parking lot just before they went down some stairs.”
    “That’s strange.” Lana sighed. “I hope we can find out what happened to them when we get over there. Thanks.” She continued on.
    After following the new tunnel for about fifty meters, they reached a door, Lana using her Scout scope to find it empty; then she picked the lock and entered a small utility room, six by eight meters. On the opposite side, was a door, located on the right side of the far wall.
    This door was unlocked and had a small window. Still, Lana and Nikolai put small holes in the window to use their Scout scopes so they could see the whole room, left and right sides, finding a twenty-two meter wide by ten meter long room that looked very much like some kind of sports bar with many wide-screen, video screens, tables, vendor stands, and bars. However, no one was there.
    On the far side, in the center, was a short hallway, six meters wide by four meters long. On the left and right sides, they spotted signs that read, stairs, obviously going up to the parking lot above.
    The room beyond the hallway was much larger and different. They analyzed it for a short time, then figured out what it was even though they could only see part of it: an indoor tennis court. But what got their attention more so were the Cultists standing lined up in front of the net, on the right side, all facing right like they were looking at something. Then Lana counted them, all in one line, two groups of four. At first, she thought all the guards were dressed the same; but, only two of the guards on each end wore the leather masks, apparently the balcony guards...at least she hoped. However, what was worse, were the weapons they had:
    She took her eye off the endoscope, looked at Nikolai, and sighed. “There’s eight of them and they’re all armed with bolters.”
    He kept his eye on his scope and answered. “Yes. The boltguns look like one of the cheaper, smaller types, but that’s what they are, alright. The balcony guards must’ve been rearmed.” He looked at Lana. “Even if we fire first and manage to kill three or four of them, we’ll still be badly outgunned.”
    “And we don’t know how many more Cultists there are in the next room beyond.” Lana postulated, then sighed. “This is not a good time to find out they have bolters. If they manage to return fire while we’re all still crowded in this small room, they shoot through the walls and cut us to pieces.” She looked at Bull, the makeshift railgun he was carrying. “And, all we have is a...”
    Then she had an idea. “Nikolai.” She got his attention and pointed. “See how those Cultists are lined up. If we can aim our railgun just right--”
    “We can take them all out with a flanking shot.” The Federal Agent got the gist, then went to work, pointing at the door. “We’ll need to make two more holes. Then I can work out the geometry in my head,” he looked at the floor, then the door again, “give me some time to draw some guidelines.”
    After about five minutes, they were almost ready. Lana had drilled the holes, then Nikolai did the math and drew targeting lines on the door and floor. Bull would have to line up his railgun to match those since he wouldn’t be able to see the target.
    Then Nikolai approached Bull, telling him to open the breach of the railgun and to display all the metal spikes he had made, ammo, six of them. He hadn’t expected the railgun to be fired with such precision. He had made the spikes to be as aerodynamic as possible, given the time he had. But, there was one spike he had done the best on; after finding that one, he told Bull to load it, then began explaining how he was to aim the weapon, drawing a couple guidelines on the weapon itself, since it had only basic rudimentary sights.
    The railgun’s initial purpose was to put holes in cement walls in case any doors couldn’t be opened manually or unlocked. But, that wouldn't be unnecessary now.
    When he was finished, he anxiously returned to Lana, asking, “are they still there, lined up.”
    She nodded.
    As Nikolai explained to Bull how to aim the weapon, getting him ready, Lana explained to everyone that once Bull had fired, Nikolai and Gannon would have to run into the room and take positions on each side of the far hallway while she took a prone position under a table. After firing, Bull would have to drop the railgun, equip his submachine gun, and if it was clear, run in to join Gannon. She had wanted them to throw grenades into the tennis court and opposite room, but there was still, at least, one civilian unaccounted for, Alistar Montague himself.
    Nikolai and Lana peered though the window, watching.
    Then Lana spoke. “Fire when ready, Bull.”
    The railgun was close enough to the door to blow a two hundred meter hole (eight inches) and knock it partially off it’s hinges, that noise much louder than the weapon itself. From Nikolai’s view, the scene looked ghastly, the metal spike penetrating messily through all eight Cultists.
    Nikolai burst through the door first, followed by Gannon and Lana. Once the Federal Agent was in position, and had observed the bloody mess for a couple seconds, he waved to the others, reporting complete success. All the Cultists were dead.
    Lana had taken her position under a table, then got up quickly, hitting her head once, going with Bull to join the others in the short hallway to the tennis court. However, the battle was FAR from over. The bloody mess on the tennis court floor was soon not to compare to what was coming next.
    The right half of the tennis court room had been painted the same dull red color with numerous emblems on the walls. In the middle of that half, there was a woman wearing a yellow-trimmed, dull red, robe facing a pedestal located very close to the far right side wall; a yellow crystal was on top of it, much like the one in the prison, and just like the prison, surrounded by the same Chaos circle with eight arrows pointing outward. The crystal seemed to be glowing, but around it there was a growing aura of darkness.
    Even worse, there was a robed man who seemed to be suspended up over the crystal, like he was just hovering there in the slowly expanding darkness, looking like he was in a lot of pain. Then he started to scream, the darkness dampening the sound just before he imploded, seemingly consumed by the darkness itself.
    Suddenly the darkness was gone; at the same time, something appeared then stepped forward, now standing right in front of the pedestal, a huge creature, almost three meters tall. From its bulging, high, narrow, back, two, stiff, appendages, like heavy black bones, stretched out and upward at twenty degree angles, each appendage more than a meter long and ending in a warped skull that looked like it was screaming. Its demonic head was a little lower down from its large, wide, shoulders, where it protruded outward on a heavy neck, its face bony and monstrous with angry, narrow, eye slits, a tiny narrow nose, a large open mouth filled with sharp teeth, and two long, black, horns that curved outward and forward, white at the tips. The rest of its heavy body seemed to be covered with a some kind of warped, demonic, black and red, armor, trimmed in dark gold, the emblem of Chaos on one shoulder pad, an emblem matching the walls on the other one. Its left hand was massively large and clawed. In its right hand it had a large, heavy, spiked, mace.
    Lana and her team stood staring at the creature, mouths open, awestruck with terror. Then they quickly recognized the robed woman, Gale Montague, as she faced them and pointed at the creature.
    “BEHOLD...the Demon Prince Sicarus, commander of the forces of Aggannor, Master of the Dark Apostles,” she shouted, then laughed dementedly.
    The Demon Prince was unimpressed. With a wave of both its arms, it brought forth two WARP openings on each side, darkness, then two demons stepping out, miniatures in comparison, but still standing taller and much heavier than a man; they looked like a couple of grotesque gargoyles, most of their bodies black with red, bulbous, strong, necks.
    The time it took for the creature to bring forth the two smaller demons gave Lana a chance to get her team moving, leading them up the stairs and out into he parking lot.
    However, once outside, the cement behind them erupted, the Demon Prince bashing its way out of the underground tennis court, then effortlessly jumping up and onto the surface.
    As Lana led her team out of the parking lot, toward the fountain, she felt a bag in her pocket. In order to make it to cover, they’d have to run the distance of one hundred meters across the garden to the station building; the creature would surely catch them. After dumping the contents of the bag on the sidewalk behind her, she shouted, “RUN!!”
    Just before they took off, Gannon had glanced at what she dropped, telling her as they ran, “oh, LuLu--you lost your marbles.”
    “I most certainly have!” She quipped back forcefully with a double meaning.
    Seconds later there was a huge crash, followed by something heavy hitting the ground and thrashing about. They didn’t look back as they continued running, Bull and Gannon chucking grenades over their shoulders. From the station building they saw the flashes of a lasgun.
    Burns continued to fire, this time, at something above him, but couldn’t stop laughing. “What...happened? It looked like that thing slipped on a banana peel?”
    Lana and her team had made it inside the building by the time the Demon Prince was almost on them. They turned and fired all their weapons at once, but it didn’t seem to do anything but annoy the creature.
    Then she got the welcome relief of Melinda’s voice. “LuLu, I’m here with Officer Dakota. I think I’m right under you.” She suddenly sounded surprised. “Whoa, Dakota just took off. She coming up to you! De la Vega and I are coming up with the novaguns.”
    “That’s good.” Koufax spoke reloading his Mp5. “We’re going to need more than these little pop guns.”
    Burns was using his lasgun on the creature now. Ramcke had his sniper rifle, moving backwards. Bull, Gannon, Nikolai, and Lana were reloading as they backed away, going toward the stairs. The Demon Prince was just outside when Jennifer Dakota arrived, taking the lead.
    She headed toward the doors, then stepped back. “Whoa, Marcellus was right--worse WAS yet to come!”
    “Can you beat it?” Lana wasn’t sure.
    The Demon Prince seemed to emanate an aura of immense fear–-Everyone felt it! Then Jennifer steadied herself, overcoming as she stepped up to the doors, her Staff ready.
    The creature had torn off part of the front wall and roof and was staring down at her. Then it jumped, producing a large pair of WARP wings. When it landed, the blast wave blew out all the windows and knocked everyone down. As they got up, the Demon Prince began retreating back the way it came.
    No one was more surprised than Jennifer as she took off in pursuit. Lana told her team to follow, and that there were two smaller demons around someplace. However, Burns had to report he killed one of those with his lasgun. Melinda took some time to arm her team with novaguns, then followed behind Lana.
    The Combat Librarian ran quickly to catch the creature. Lana and her team were about fifty meters behind, telling them to cover Jennifer in case anymore Cultists showed up.
    At the fountain in front of the Inn, Gale Montague stood, then pointed, trying to tell the creature to go back and fight. It stopped in front of her, and for a moment, looked like they had a short conversation. Then, with its large clawed hand, it backhanded her, sending her flying across the cement, her body bouncing like a rag doll until she disappeared inside the hole in the parking lot.
    The Demon Prince then turned to face Jennifer. She stopped about ten meters away, holding up her Staff as the creature began glaring at her, its black eyes glowing, starting to turn red.
    As Lana and the others watched, it suddenly looked like its eyes turned black again, then the creature covered its face, like someone had pointed a large, bright, light in its face. Then it fell and disintegrated. Above, on the roof of the Inn, they spotted the seconded, smaller demon. But, it soon began to writhe, then disintegrated.
    Soon all the teams joined Jennifer next to the fountain. The Librarian looked at the others and began trying to explain what she had heard. “That woman wanted the demon to go back and fight. Then it told her something about being betrayed; it blamed her for being led to the...” Jennifer smiled, “the Spear of Light.”
    “The Spear of Light?” Lana asked.
    Jennifer became modest. “I guess it was referring to me.”
    “Our weapons were doing nothing against that thing.” Lana explained. She pointed. “Even Burns’ lasgun wasn’t any good.”
    He nodded, agreeing.
    Lana spoke sincerely to Jennifer. “If there was anytime we needed you the most...it was this time.”
    “Yes.” Jennifer felt good. “I had a vision you might need me.”
    When Melinda showed up, it was time to go back inside the Inn. Lana, with Bull and Gannon headed for the right side stairs, Melinda, with Koufax and Nikolai down the left side. All the others were told to check out the parameter, which included the fortress walls; once that was clear, de la Vega and Ramcke were to go back and retrieve the shuttles, land them here outside the Inn.
    ******
    The Royal Ambassador Inn was quickly cleared of enemies as were the fortress walls, no one there. In the underground section of the Inn, the side that Lana hadn’t checked out yet, Melinda found Alistar Montague locked up in the other maintenance room. He was a little weak, but okay. The first thing he asked about were his son and daughter, Frank and Gale, saying he couldn’t understand what had happened, why they had been acting so strange.
    Gale was found dead, killed almost instantly when the Demon Prince hit her, her crumpled, bloody, body lying up against the tennis court wall. When Alistar began explaining about the strange robes his son and daughter were wearing, they had to assume his son, Frank, was the one sacrificed above the crystal.
    Alistar was suddenly beyond grief, unable to control his tears. On the pedestal was the yellow crystal, still glowing. He stopped crying just long enough to identify it. “That looks like one of the crystals I gave Gale. I gave the other one to Frank.” His eyes widened. “Why is this one glowing?” He looked at Lana and Melinda. “The crystals never glowed. They were OFF! No one knew how to turn them on.”
    “Where did you get these crystals?” Melinda needed to know.
    He sighed, then began explaining, hesitantly at first, but, then knowing he had to. “Long ago, before I was married, I lived on Mars. I worked at the power plant, you know, the one with the alien power crystals. When I left to come here, I took a few of the crystals with me...as souvenirs.”
    Melinda frowned and sighed. “You mean you stole them.”
    “No, no.” He tried to play down his actions. “There were others that took some with them when they left. But, the crystals we took were OFF. They had piles of them.” He began having a worried look on his face. “No one knew how to turn them off or on.” He almost started to cry again. “The ones I took were harmless, they were OFF...I tell you they were OFF.”
    Lana pointed at the crystal. “That doesn’t look OFF or harmless to me.”
    Alistar suddenly came to the realization of what he had done and began crying again, saying to himself, “I killed my children, oh, nooo, I killed my children.” He began moaning louder as he ran in the other room.
    Lana and Melinda looked at each other and sighed.
    Melinda spoke. “Well, I think we just got the biggest lead yet about Chaos.”
    “Alien power crystals.” Lana repeated, then mentioned, “and there’s more out there!”
    “We have to report this to the General, ASAP.” Melinda shook her head. “That means Cornucopia, Alshain, and all the other--”
    Then there was a loud shot from the next room, where Alistar had gone, everyone running in. This room was originally a game room for the Inn. On a long table, there was a number of weapons: two boltguns, six AK auto rifles, and four pistols, plus ammunition for all of them. Alistar was dead on the floor, a gunshot wound to the head, in his hand one of the pistols, smoking.
    Lana stood thinking to herself: Because of those damn crystals, she lost her whole family. Now, here, with the death of Alistar, another family was dead.
    Because of the recent events, Melinda needed to make a call. Soon she was talking to the rebel leader, giving him an important update. “Ben, the Matriarch is dead. Chaos was definitely involved here.”
    Ben Franco knew what had to be done next. “Now that she’s dead, I’m going to have my contacts in the other towns keep an eye on the guards...see if they eventually come out of their hypnosis.”
    “That’s good...I hope they do. If not, maybe we can get some kind of large violet light to shine on them from an armored vehicle.”
    Then Tom Franco spoke, asking, “did you find the Governor, Alistar Montague?”    
    Melinda sighed. “Well, that’s a tragic story.” She then proceeded to try and explain what happened, ending with Alistar’s suicide.
    Then Lana got a call, relaying it to Melinda, “Burns just told me someone took off in the Matriarch’s escape shuttle.”
    “I saw two guys get inside.” Burns reported from outside the building.
    “Is that armed shuttle in orbit?” Lana asked.
    “Yes, it is. I’m calling it, now.” After she had talked to the pilot of the Federal shuttle, she began calling the other one that was apparently trying to escape, “this is Federal Officer Dion calling the shuttle that just left the Royal Ambassador Inn. I am ordering you to land that shuttle. There is an armed Federal shuttle coming to intercept you. It will shoot you down if you try to escape.”
    Then someone else hailed the shuttle. “This is Tom Franco. Hobbs, Naderson...if you two are the ones flying that shuttle, I need to inform you that I have just been voted Governor by the remaining counsel members. Alistar and Gale are dead. My brother has just succeeded in legal rebellion. He has turned the Governorship of the District over to me. You MUST return to face trial, or, like Officer Dion said, that Federal shuttle will force you down--”   
    “We haven’t done anything wrong?” Hobbs finally replied.
    “We were forced to comply with Gale’s demands.” That was Naderson.
    “Then you don’t have anything to worry about.” Tom proceeded. “Land that shuttle back where you got it. Better yet, land the shuttle over here in Dandelot.”
    “Okay, okay.” Hobbs sounded scared. “Just tell that armed shuttle not to shoot.”
    ******
    As another day passed in the District of Pavona Angora, Ben Franco’s contacts in the other cities reported that all the Matriarch’s guards soon left their posts and gathered together at the CDA buildings waiting for something. When he sent his men to the towns with violet lights, none of them resisted, and soon came out if their trances.
    However, the best news they got was when Tom Franco reported that Delta Pavonus had been formally reinstated back into Cartel 3; it was no longer a failed colony...even though he had no idea why.
    Soon, many Federal personnel were due to arrive and join Melinda’s team for a full scale investigation. By the time scientists had arrived to study the strange, alien, crystals, they had mysteriously turned themselves, off; but, they all knew--this was the biggest lead about Chaos yet.
    Even though the rebellion had been a complete success, Lana didn’t want to stay any longer than she had to. Dandelot, and even the whole of Pavona Angora, only gave her bad feelings. Like she had told Melinda earlier, this wasn’t her home anymore. Camp Cheyenne was her home, now...and she couldn’t wait to get back.
    However, Bull and Gannon told her, she’d have to come back some day, put the bad feelings she had for this place to rest once and for all. But, for now, it was better for her to leave.
    Once Lana’s shuttle was ready to go, Melinda was there to give her a hug, and tell her one more time how sorry she was about not being able to save her Aunt.
    Raymond Tyler, Annie’s old boyfriend was there to say goodby also, tell her that he’d take over her Aunt’s business, and keep the name the same, never let anyone forget Annie Baudet...and most importantly, her daughter, LuLu, who helped to save them all. Ben and Tom Franco wanted her to stay so they could more formally thank her, but understood.
    Soon, Lana’s shuttle was high above the planet of Pavonus...then it was gone as she engaged the jump drive. She was happy to see Thunderhawk Mesa again, Camp Cheyenne. She had a new boyfriend she wanted to get together with again. Plus, Bull and Gannon had another big family barbecue lined up; she couldn’t wait.

 

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