Vincent and Farra were relaxing in the garden when the doorbell rang. Vincent got up and went around to see who it was. “Can I help you?” he asked the man who stood on his doorstep.
“Ahh good afternoon,” the man smiled. “I’m looking for Vincent Domenico, does he live here?”
“Who’s asking?” Vincent replied with caution, after his visit with Syra the night before.
“My name is Sinclair,” he said extending his hand.
“I’m Vincent Domenico,” Vincent said as he reluctantly shook hands with him. “What can I do for you?”
“Oh I’m so glad I found you, I’ve been wandering around for hours trying to find you. Can we talk Mr Domenico?”
“Wesley?” Vincent exclaimed in shock. This was the last thing he expected to hear. “What the fuck do you want to talk about him for?”
“I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
“And that would be?” Vincent asked.
“I’m sorry to have to bring this to you but umm, Wesley has escaped from the Precklerdale Facility.”
“What?” Vincent yelled. “Who the fuck allowed that to happen?”
“It seems he had help from someone inside the facility who helped him get past the security systems. The point is Mr Domenico; the reason I’m actually here is not only to warn you but also to ask for your help.”
“I’m sorry,” Vincent replied, “I forgot my manners. We’re round the back. Come and sit down and have a drink.”
“Oh thank you very much Sir.” Sinclair replied and followed Vincent around to the rear of the house and smiled as he was introduced to Farra.
“This is my wife Farra. Baby this is Sinclair. He’s just told me that Wesley has escaped from Precklerdale.”
“What? Oh no,” she gasped. “What the fuck are we to do? Supposing he comes back here and,” she left the rest unsaid and Vincent hugged her.
“He won’t be allowed to harm you baby. I promise you I’ll kill him myself if he lays a finger on you.”
“Oh my god, this is the worst news ever.” She was visibly shaking and Vincent tried his best to soothe her.
“I’m so sorry to bring you this news Mrs Domenico but I felt it was only right that you both be forewarned,” Sinclair told her.
“Yes,” she replied as she forced herself into control of her emotions. “Thank you.”
“Who exactly are you?” Vincent asked. “Who do you work for?”
“Ahh forgive me,” Sinclair said as he rummaged in a pocket, “here’s my card. I’m a freelance law enforcer.”
“Oh, so you’re a Merc,” Vincent said as he read the card.
“Well no. I have an official tag that identifies me as an officially recognised freelance law enforcer. My tag code is on the back of the card. And besides, that term has negative connotations Mr Domenico. I have a code of conduct and I pride myself on doing my job efficiently and within the law. I used to work for the law enforcement agency and I like to think of myself as a good guy.”
“Whatever,” Vincent replied as he pocketed the card. “You said you wanted my help. Just what are you wanting me to help you with?”
“Ahh yes,” Sinclair replied. “I have reasonably reliable intelligence that tells me where Wesley is, or at least where he was up until eighteen hours ago and I was hoping you would accompany me to recapture him. If you were there it might lure him out and seeing as he hates you so much, the sight of you might encourage him to make a mistake that allows me to recapture him more easily. He is quite adept at covering his tracks and he’s proved quite elusive so far.”
Vincent was suddenly reminded of his conversation with Syra the previous night and he wasted no time in turning Sinclair down flat. “Sorry, I’m not interested. I hope you get him, and honestly I hope you have to kill him to do it, but I’m not leaving with you.”
“Dadaa,” came the small voice before Sinclair could reply and he found himself staring into the face of a baby.
“Well hello there young man,” he smiled. “And what would your name be?”
“This is our son Gabriel,” Vincent replied as he picked him up and sat him on his lap.
“My word you’re a clone of your father,” he said as he gazed at the little boy.
“Yes he is,” Vincent replied. “Now Mr Sinclair if there’s nothing else?”
“Are you sure I can’t persuade you? It would be really helpful in recapturing Wesley if you were there.”
“No, but thank you for warning us about it. I can’t leave my wife and son here alone with that nutjob roaming around free. I’m sorry you’ve had a wasted journey.”
“Not at all Mr Domenico,” Sinclair said as he rose and extended a hand which Vincent shook. “I’ll get the job done, don’t you worry about that. Good day to you, good day Mrs Domenico and bye bye little fella.”
Vincent and Farra spent the hours cleaning Sam’s ship to while away the time until they heard where Wesley had gone. Farra scrubbed the bathroom cubicle then helped Vincent down in the cargo hold and they soon got the place tidied up and scrubbed. By the time they went back to the cockpit, they were exhausted. As they were enjoying cups of hot tea Sam’s intercom beeped and he grabbed his headset.
“SpaceCop 257,” he announced into his mouthpiece and listened. “Good job. We’re on our way. Arrange refuelling at those co-ordinates would ya?” he asked and listened some more. “Thanks, appreciate it,” he smiled and removed his headset as he began flipping switches. “Buckle up guys, we’re on our way,” he called over his shoulder. “Wesley has just arrived on Dracunya Prime.”
“Dracunya?” Vincent and Farra chorused.
“My god,” Vincent remarked, “we may not have to kill him ourselves baby.”
“Jeez that guy is either stupid or real clever,” Sam replied.
“Oh he’s stupid,” Vincent said, “believe me buddy.”
“This is gonna be one hell of a trip,” Farra said. “Sam, are you packing?”
“Always prepared for every eventuality Mrs Domenico,” he replied. “How about yourselves, do you need any hardware?”
“Well we’re blade people Sam,” Vincent said, “but we could use some fire power if you have anything suitable for Dracunya. A blade won’t be much use against the big guys down there.”
“In the locker at the rear,” he called back. “Help yourselves to whatever you need.”
“Thanks buddy,” Vincent replied as he and Farra went to check it over. Inside the locker they found an array of assorted guns, a couple of which Vincent didn’t recognise.
“Hey this will be real useful down there,” Farra exclaimed as she picked up a seven leaguer. This gun is so called because it can hit a target up to twenty five miles away, but is no bigger than a man’s arm.
“Wow I haven’t seen one of those in years,” Vincent grinned as he took it from her and turned it over. “What a piece of work this is. Have you ever used one of these?”
“No,” she replied, “but I saw one used once and it was awesome.”
“This will be a good piece of kit down there if we’re targeted by the big guys,” he said and she nodded. “We can hit em from miles away with one of these.”
“There’s a couple of hefty laser rifles here,” she said as she continued rummaging, “they’ll be big enough.”
“Okay,” Vincent said as he picked up the seven leaguer and one of the laser rifles. “This should be enough don’t you think?”
“Yeah,” she nodded, “we don’t wanna be weighed down with stuff and the rest of what’s here isn’t powerful enough for Dracunya.”
“Hey Sam,” Vincent called. “Is it okay if we take the seven leaguer and some laser rifles?”
“Sure thing buddy,” he called back. “Whatever you need.”
“I’m assuming they’re all in working condition?” Farra said.
“Mrs Domenico please,” Sam replied. “I’m deeply hurt.”
“Sorry,” she grinned and Vincent laughed.
Dracunya Prime is largely populated by mining communities digging for the rich deposits of Lemuliam and Tricyclium ore. Lemuliam ore is a precious metal that is used not only for decorative purposes but also for spaceship engines. It has properties that make it ideal for lining the various delicate parts of the engine structure that would suffer wear and damage from abrasion by other parts. Tricyclium ore is valuable as one of the raw materials used in the production of air purification systems and is always in constant demand. There are no towns and cities on Dracunya; people don’t live there, raise families, go to work and take holidays. Dracunya is a beautiful but deadly world and as Sam brought the ship into land at one of the biggest mining communities on the planet, they readied themselves.
“Okay people,” Sam said, “listen up. You both obviously know what we’re dealing with here so I don’t need to educate you on that. The ship is safe here and will be refuelled in a couple of hours but my contact is four miles away in the mine. That means we have to make it there on foot. Now you don’t have to come with me, you can stay here while I go and see what he has to say about Wesley.”
“We’re going with you,” Vincent replied. “Apart from anything else you’ll be safer with us around. Three pairs of eyes are safer than one if you get targeted by those big guys out there.”
“Okay,” Sam nodded, “I guess you’re right.” He indicated for Vincent to open the hatch.
“Anyone not ready for this?” Vincent asked and opened the hatch. They leapt out and closed the hatch behind them and raced for the relative cover of a rock face to their left. Vincent took the lead and Farra brought up the rear with Sam between them. Suddenly they heard a shriek from high above and they all looked up in time to see it. The huge blue green dragon soared gracefully across the sky, then suddenly dropped its nose and plummeted towards them like a rocket. Vincent brought up the seven leaguer and blew its head from its body while it was still more than a mile above them. Slowly and carefully, the three made their way towards the mine.
The sun was setting as the group entered Trymon’s community and Vincent noticed just a few scattered dwellings nestled in the lee of a huge overhang of rock. A few scruffy children played and domesticated birds pecked at the barren floor, searching for precious insects with which to supplement the meagre diet afforded them by their kind but poverty stricken owners. As soon as they entered the kids stopped playing and ran off shouting to their parents who came rushing out to look at these new strangers. Three men appeared and approached them, crude weapons held in front of them defensively, suspicion written all over their faces. They spoke to Trymon, obviously questioning him as they nodded towards the three strangers. Trymon spoke to them, gesturing towards them from time to time and Vincent realised he was relaying the afternoon’s events to them. He hoped he was being truthful for he realised that their survival was at this moment, dependant upon this young stranger. Trymon suddenly gestured towards Sam as he spoke with the men and they approached slowly and looked him up and down. He smiled nervously. The tallest of the three spoke and he replied, nodding.
“What’s going on Sam?” Vincent whispered.
“He said that Trymon told him that I can speak their language and I confirmed that I can,” he whispered back. The man spoke again and indicated towards Vincent and Farra. “He says he wishes to speak with you and asks that I translate,” Sam told them and Vincent nodded and smiled at the man, who then approached him and looked him up and down, taking in every detail. Suddenly he reached out and pulled Vincent’s shirt open, revealing the Lilean star birthmark on his chest and stared at it, before looking up into his face.
“Veen Sen?” he exclaimed slowly and the group were shocked. Vincent nodded.
“Yes I am Vincent,” he said as he nodded and pointed towards himself.
The man spoke furiously and Sam listened. “He says he has waited for many years to meet you,” he said, “and that despite everyone else telling him that you were just a legend, he knew you would return one day.”
“Really?” Vincent said with disbelief, “but how? I mean what? Umm I don’t understand?”
“Neither do I,” Sam shrugged and spoke to the man and listened intently as he answered, all the while looking at Vincent, his eyes huge with disbelief and awe.
“He says many years ago during the war, he and his brothers were in the Regnor Army,” Sam told them. “He said one day they were ambushed by a band of invaders, who made them march under guard to the place where they kept their prisoners. One night some soldiers came and there was a big fight between them and the invaders, and he and his brothers were able to escape. When they returned the next day they found the place deserted and littered with dead from both sides. He says he remembered one of the soldiers because of his strange odd coloured eyes, one blue and one white. Then a few days later he and his brothers were scouting in some rocks when they came upon two soldiers who were near to death and one of them was the man with the odd coloured eyes. They gave them water to help them stay alive but they couldn’t take them to safety because of the fierce fighting that was still going on in that area, so they kept returning to check them and give them water and they found the man with the strange eyes spoke their language very well and he told them an angel had saved them from being tortured. He and his brothers thought they were delirious but the man insisted and said this angel was called Veen Sen and would return one day and they would know him by the star on his body that would prove he was from the heavens. He says that when they went back the next day the two men were gone but he always remembered the story of the angel and the story spread amongst his tribe. He says you are always welcome here and that you bless his land with your presence.”