Chapter 26 EPILOGUE

Personal Journal of Keith Dall

Well, it's been two weeks of dicking around, but word has just come down that a decision has just been made concerning whether Magiere and I can get married. Apparently, both of us, as well as Commander Demlin are to meet with the queen, as well as representatives from the Galactic Union this afternoon shortly after lunch. It's certainly been an interesting two weeks, up and down, up and down, first there's news, then no news, four days ago I was dragged from a sound sleep and ordered to be ready to return to Pyrra, then the trip was cancelled, Magiere is ready to start slitting throats, she's even snapping at me, Commander Demlin has expressed his sympathy to both of us, but his hands are tied, well, let's hope this afternoon's meeting finally decides this thing once and for all.

My Journal…Magiere Starle

Finally! Word has come that Keith and I, as Commander Demlin are to meet with mother and members of the Galactic Union. Upon hearing this, I immediately contacted all my friends, but no one knew a thing, not even a peep, this is very unusual, these "Union" people aren't known for their closed mouths. Anyway, I've called in every favor anybody has owed me on this one, I've got good friends out there really pulling for me, but still I wonder if it will be enough. Poor Keith, I'm wound tighter than a cheap watch, and I've been taking out all my frustrations on him, mother has had me running around making guest appearances on Isseth video as well as public appearances, all designed to keep me away from my Keith no doubt, well the showdown is upon us, if it should go the wrong way, I might have to take drastic steps.

Well I'm sitting here at my favorite table at the Elvin Mistress, listening to the crowd discuss the decision that was agreed to just a couple hours ago, concerning Captain Dall, and Magiere Starle, the future queen of Karenta. I must say, when these politicians put their minds to something, they astound the world.

The galactic brain trust has come up with a bit of political slight-of-hand; Captain Dall is now what they call a "Minister without Portfolio" it's a rather open-ended definition for a representative with no real duties or responsibilities. In the case of the good captain, he has been appointed a sort of "unofficial" military liaison officer, from Pyrra, the upshot is that he and Magiere can now get married, but since Dall must remain a citizen of Pyrra, he can only reside on Isseth for exactly six months, then he is required to return to Pyrra for the remaining seven months. When the council got around to mentioning this fact, I thought Magiere was going to kill someone, she called those men names even I have never heard before, but what's done is done it's that or nothing. Captain Dall seemed to take the news as well as anyone I suppose, who has just learned that he has to remain separated from his wife for seven months out of the year. Actually it will only be six months if that makes any difference, there's a loophole in the agreement dealing with something in one of the arcane Karentian laws that allows the king or queen to be "off planet," for one month, go figure.

With the "clock" ticking, the royal wedding is this coming weekend, as I speak, mountains are being moved, bureaucrats and functionaries are moving at light speed, guests are pouring into Star City by the shipload.

I briefly talked with Smash earlier, who told me he was swamped with work, but he gave me that Ogre smile,"I's makin money like ya cant believe, maybe I'll retire to the Cantard and open me a hack service after dis ist all over!"

Both Dall and Starle have been promoted to captains, even though I keep trying to call them Lieutenants, and if they can break away from their busy schedules, they are due her in an hour. In fact, all, my former crew are due here, with the exception of Brate who refuses to ever leave Garian II again. Even Alyx Damson and her daughter recently returned from Mythal sent word that they'd be here. Renee and her "girls" are under strict orders to keep everybody else out of this room, she's even got a couple professional "Walloper's" to assist her in that regard.

I'm fully in charge of the "Nessa" now, we've got a damn sharp crew, and something else; Pixies! After the name became official, and word got out, Pixies were lining up to serve aboard the Nessa. There are five of them, and with the help and backing of Queen Kolee, we have the best. I have to admit it, these little ladies are sharp as tacks, they even wear special uniforms, which cover them, but allow free movement of their wings. Our chief medical officer is a Faerie. Chief Medical officer Meta Edipon. She's also a full-fledged Faerie witch, her sister being the lover of the head of the witch's guild. She reminds me so much of Elansa, but then Elansa recommended her, so who's to say. There's also a couple more things special about the Nessa. We have a training cadre aboard. Twenty young men and women , all humans from Pyrria, and while the Pyrrians are still coming to terms with women in service, and aboard a Battle Star, the rest of our crew, whether they be Elves or Dwarves simply take it in stride. There are many of us expecting great things from these kids, if for no other reason, than to draw our planets closer together. And on a final note concerning my ship. Anyone who comes aboard the main entryway will see a slightly larger than life bronze statue of the ship's namesake mounted mid-point on the bulkhead, giving them that "Nessa" look. A "tradition" has also begun concerning this statue. If you look closely, you'll see that her posterior is brighter than the rest of the statue; I'm told it's considered "good luck" to rub her "bottom" as all do when coming aboard.

Well I think I see Elansa accompanied by Alyx and her daughter working their way through the crowd. And here comes Spanner as well. I guess Keith and Magiere couldn't make it…But wait, what's that commotion up front? Cheering, and shouting, all I see are the hulking shapes of the Ogre henchmen. Wait! Now I see them, They were able to make it, Magiere wearing that slinky black leather flight jacket and pants, Captain Dall in his Pyrrian army uniform. I guess I'm just an old softie, as I start to choke up a little. We'll sit as friends and fellow crewmembers for one last time, drink to our fallen comrades, and talk about our futures, prey this evening lasts.

Everybody crowded around the table greeting each other and shaking hands I paid particular attention to Alyx and Tama, both were laughing, and appeared quite happy, they were the ones I was most concerned with. "Well it's certainly nice to see you two again, congratulations seem to be in order, Captain Dall, Captain Starle, or should I say Your Highness!" Magiere gave me a dirty look. "I apologize Captain," I replied, I understand you two have had quite an ordeal." Magiere snorted, "Ordeal isn't the word for it, screwed, blued and tattooed! Seems more descriptive." The waitresses came around to take our drink orders, Spanner, Captain Dall and myself were drinking beer, so a large pitcher of Weidner's best took care of that. Elansa, as well as Alyx and her daughter, along with Magiere were having wine. I turned to the chief, and asked. "Spanner, what have you been up to, haven't seen you around!" He said nothing, merely handing me an "official" document. It was orders to report to the Nessa.

"I'll be "go to hell!" I laughed, "How did you wangle this, I kept submitting your name, and nothing was coming up, what's happened?" Spanner took a long drink of his beer, wiped his mouth with his sleeve, and looked momentarily at Captain Dall, then back at me. "Obviously you haven't heard, but the chief you thought you were getting simply refused to have anything to do with the humans, when he heard there was to be a human training contingent aboard he simply resigned his commission. I got a call only yesterday, ordering me to COMSEC command where they cut me new orders to report to the Nessa." Shaking the letter, Spanner laughed as he said, "The ink is still wet on this damn thing."

I reached over and shook his hand, "Welcome aboard Chief, we're a team again." I looked at Magiere and Keith, asking, ""Have you two made any decisions as to how you're going to deal with this sticky situation?" "It's a bunch of crap!" snarled Magiere, but for the time being, we have to play along, however, I've still got a few things up my sleeve, we may be down, but we're not out."

Turning to Captain Dall, I asked, "So Captain, what exactly is you're job description? Captain Dall shook his head and laughed, "Whatever I want it to be I guess. Seriously though, I'm to be Military liaison to Maggie's mother, commander of the Pyrrian embassy guard, co-ambassador charged with all ambassadorial duties when the regular ambassador is gone, and I suppose, chief cook and bottle washer as well." Dall thought a moment, then added. "Don't get me wrong Commander, I do take these duties very seriously but I'm just a simple soldier, I give orders, but most of all I take orders, I'm leaving all this court intrigue to Maggie here, she's got "friends" that quite frankly scare the hell out of me. She's got something cooking even as we speak concerning this six month stay on Isseth according to a friend of hers there's nothing on the books that says you have to spend a solid six months on the planet. I'm thinking the similar law on Pyrra could be the same, dad's got some friends of his looking into it as well." "So what you're really saying is…" "I'm saying Commander, that there's a strong possibility that this six months here seven months there could be broken down to mean two weeks here, two weeks there, one week here, ten days there, you get what I'm driving at Commander?"

I certainly did, if these terms of residency could be broken up into smaller lengths of stays, then perhaps things might not be so bad. Turning my attention to Elansa and Alyx, I said, "I understand you had considerable influence in Doctor Edipon's posting to the Nessa." Elansa grinned, "Meta is a dear and close friend, she's also chief arbitrator in the witch's guild. And while I can no longer be a voting member of the guild, I'll always remain a member. My sisters all know me, I'm highly respected. In reporting to the guild what I did, and taking the "retirement" I checkmated myself Commander, to a layman like yourself, it might seem like nothing, but it's kind of like a soldier throwing himself on his sword for a nobler cause." "So what are your plans now,?" I asked. "As they have always been Commander, Alyx and I will be leaving for Pyrria after the wedding, she's got a lovely little village all picked out we'll set up a practice and live out our lives in peace, I've already seen the place in my mind, it's simply beautiful."

"And what about you Alyx," I asked. She smiled and said, "Nessa was right, her friends are truly magical, I'm not at liberty to go into all that they did for Tama and I, and I'm not even sure I could describe it if I could , suffice to say our minds are clear, I feel as if I were a young girl, no more dreams, no fear, Tama is the same way, and that is most important to me, I see the happiness in her eyes, she can grow up as it was meant to be. The horror is gone Commander, and as for the morda, their total eradication troubles me not, not in the least."