"An Orbiting Dilemma" excerpt

Subtitle

If you like this and wish for more please don't steal. I have this copy written up the wazoo.


An Orbiting Dilemma


Written by Brett Wortham


A man was found running in a hilly forest for his life from a mixture mob of all sorts of aliens and people.  All of them were yelling angrily as they ran to catch this poor fellow.  Some were even carrying pitchforks and torches.  This unfortunate cuss was running with a stunningly beautiful blond woman in his arms.  This woman was dressed as a bride and had the look of pure rapture and contentment on her face as she stared affectionately into the face of the man who was carrying her.


Once the man rounded a corner of the trail path he thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse than they were now. As if on cue a huge angry looking two legged reverse kneed mechanical big laser gunned war machine walker rumbled out of the forest snapping trees coming up right after him joining the mob in the chase pointing its blasters at him and the girl.


"Aww come ONNNN!" yelled the man as soon as he saw the TW4 join in the pursuit. He was breathing heavily now with that astonishingly beautiful blond woman in his arms wondering how in the worlds he got into this mess. It probably started right after his brunch date with his girlfriend he thought.  Now we turn back the clock to an earlier time.


We start this story by focusing our attention on a moon world named Drylon 3. A big colony was set up on this moon because of all the precious minerals and gases that were found on Drylon the gas giant planet itself. This planet/moon became a colony so that miners who go to the dangerous environment of Drylon itself wouldn’t be too far away from their families. For Drylon’s environment was very inhospitable to most life forms. The colony flourished as workers came to live in it bringing slews of businessmen and entrepreneurs looking to make their fortunes at this highly productive and successful colony not even one hundred and eleven years old yet.


A young man parked his old but still usable hover car in a spot he had been using over these past months. For quite a few months he had been coming here with his girlfriend once he found out she loved this view of the city. He got out and grabbed all the picnic items he chose for this little spree putting them to the side by his hover car. Once done with that he stood there staring at the pile of paraphernalia he had piled up. He scratched his brown haired head wondering how he was going to get all that up the hill.


“Need any help carrying all that stuff Yurri?” a blond young woman asked the young man.

“Nah Janice I can get it,” he said waving to his girlfriend. “You just take the food basket up there and find a spot you like with a good view.” It was Yurri’s day off and he planned to spend it with a girl that surprisingly approved of being his girlfriend.


“Alright then.” She gave him a smile whisking bright yellow blond bangs off her face carrying the food basket. As she walked away Yurri couldn’t help but ogle her perfect beautiful and very shapely form wondering how he had ever landed such a catch. He had only asked her out on a dare from one of his fellow coworkers at the restaurant where he worked.


Janice had on a more modest dress today. It was a one piece brown and blue dress with a knee length divided skirt with the blue parts on top becoming browner as it got lower. It had the effect of accentuating all her curves more though it did cover her up to her neck. She, of course, had her marvelous purse with her. It was plain with various shades of browns and reds and blues. She seemed to be able to fit almost anything into it from what Yurri’s seen her pull out of it so far. It was decorated in such a way that it would make a good accessory with almost any type of clothing she wore. She also wore some decorations in her hair. Since meeting her she has always had that same type of hair decoration on. It was surprisingly bland and bulky to be seen on a girl like Janice. She usually wore her blond hair untied long brushing over her shoulders and back with that hair decoration weaved on just to accentuate her look and keep her hair manageable.


She was halfway up the hill by the time Yurri came to himself from pondering his good fortune shaking his head. He frowned at the pile of picnic gear wondering how he would carry it all. He had the bad habit of always over preparing for things. He had even brought a humungous picnic umbrella. He looked up the short but steep climb of the hill rethinking on whether or not to bring that with him. The young man decided to leave the umbrella in the hover car and carefully wrapped up all other picnic items in the picnic blanket his girlfriend and him would be lying on while having their meal.


Yurri was about as average as a person could get but still he thought he had a decent figure for carrying heavy things. With brown hair and brown eyes there was nothing overly identifying about his looks. He could easily get lost in a crowd. Usually he wore clothing that had extra pockets in them and habitually carried an odd assortment of random items he generally found a use for at odd times. His clothes were loose, a dull brown, and had a comfortable fit on him.


The young man slung the picnic bag over his shoulder and made the short but steep trip up the hill. He found his girlfriend in a clearing by a grove of trees; it was those red singing trees. The leaves of this peculiar plant were shaped in a way that they made an odd musical whistling sound when the wind blew through them. There was a crap load of mythological stories about this very tree also but the young man never really listened to much history about this planet since he got here a couple years ago. He considered it weird that these types of trees had some mythological lore to them at all. This planet didn't have its own residential sentient species so how could they get their own mythological stories?  This planet wasn't that old with people living on it.


Another one of Yurri's bad habits was not taking in any information about the place he was currently living at right now. It took him years to get comfortable with a new place before he started to know how to get around properly. At first he thought he would be here for only a couple months while his parents dealt with a problem at home but things didn’t seem to be getting settled back there so he was stuck here.


As he came to the top of the hill, with picnic items slung over his shoulder, he saw his girlfriend frolicking, playing, and singing with some of the local fauna of this area. Birds were tweeting in tune with the sad song of a forced and arranged marriage, an unwanted marriage apparently, that Janice was singing about. As she was singing some squirrel type rodents were dancing in step with her. Yurri only shook his head when he saw this. He found it wasn’t worth the energy to be surprised around this girl anymore. If a girl this beautiful, with a few exceptionally weird quirks, wanted to date a remarkably normal guy like him who was he to make a fuss over something as minor as being able to communicate with animals? No matter how creepy that was…


“Hey Jan where do you want to set this up?” he called out. His girlfriend’s small animal friends scattered at his shout.


“Why don’t we settle down over where we last had this picnic of ours?” Janice said pointing while adjusting her clothes and hair picking up her purse and their picnic basket.


She picked a spot on top of the hill they were on that had a spectacular view of the city placing their basket on the ground. The young man quickly unpacked his burden and laid it all out almost methodically. Yurri was cheap --Who could blame him for the meager salary he made?-- and they had done this same thing multiple times. Janice never complained though. Probably because his family had some connections here on this planet and he could get them low priced or free tickets too to many of the cultural events on this planet. Janice had a kind of fetish for anything that was labeled as art or an innovating cultural event.  Especially when it involved some sort of clothing or hair style.


After having set up on a spot that Janice seemed to favor over these past couple of months they opened up their picnic basket and ate while chatting. “Did you hear?” Janice asked while lying on her side with the food she was eating on a cloth napkin. “Master Highquasar just opened up a new branch at his Jai Academy on Xevim 3.” She smiled as she nibbled on her breakfast sandwich. “They are now enlisting people to train there as young as preteens!” Apparently she had this little obsession about the mysterious order of the Archai Yirujie. Yurri didn’t mind though. He only looked into her eyes occasionally nodding into compliance with what she was talking about. She continued by telling Yurri that she would just die if it were found out she could train to be a Jai too. Their conversation continued in the like manner.


"Did you know that the power they use is called the Archai?" she giggled putting down her breakfast sandwich looking at him grinning like she just figured out a hilarious joke that had escaped her before. "The Archai power or the energy of it all comes from living things. Including planets." She nodded her head seriously at him.  "Life's energy basically. It allows all of us to exist!"  Jan giggled and smiled while she nibbled some more off her sandwich. "Mmm, these sandwiches you made are so good! What type of berry thing did you say the jam was made out of again?" 


"Sea water fruits I think," Yurri said searching his memory for the name.  He had pilfered this jam from his restaurant boss's private stash of exotic food.  "I got it off the extra stock my boss had stashed away. Can't remember what planet it comes from though. Maybe one of the vastly ocean planets I think," he said crunching on some of the chips he brought.


"Well it is yummy!" she said while munching on her sandwich some more. After the third chomp she paused her chewing looking lost. She swallowed hard gasping "What was I talking about again?"  She ended that question with a finger on her lip looking puzzled/cute at the young man.


"The Archai Yirujie and the meaning of their name I think," Yurri said trying to be helpful.  He enjoyed it when she was puzzled and gave him that look.


"Oh yeah!" she said cat pawing his shoulder. "Silly of me to forget!"  She put down her food breathing in. "The name Archai Yirujie has some certain symbolism to it. Though…" she paused looking glum.  "Most of that meaning and symbolism of that name was lost in well over thirty years ago during the Jai purge thanks to that meanie ol' Kaiser Khan Yach and his army of druggies he sent to kill the vast majority of them and any of their historical records." She pouted.


Indeed the old Kaiser Yach had used trickery and treachery to squeeze himself into positions of power in the old United Systems government. After the Kaiser's death the vast majority of solar systems reset and implemented well known and smaller government attributes to their respective governments again.  The systems in the universe became stable again after that.  


"I think it's lucky that Master Jim Highquasar was part of a family that was Archai Yirujie that didn't follow the old dictates of their order.  Did you know that the Jai of old didn't allow each other to get married and have children? Of course that old order was dying out if you didn't let any of your members get married!" Janice put a hand to her face to partly hide her grimace.


Yup…  Yurri had heard her talk about this dozens of times before but he didn't mind.  It was basic history.  Well basic with how Yurri was raised anyways.  It was cute the way she acted when telling him this story. And she also couldn't hide her excitement when she told him that the new Jai could finally marry.  He supposed she would get really cozy really quickly with any young Jai man she met.  This didn't bug Yurri though. It really didn't. He already knew and accepted that Janice was out of his league.  It was simply fun to be around this quirky beautiful girl and he would enjoy as much time of it as he could and let the future settle itself out.


"Something about letting themselves get too attached to people and things… leading them to feel hatred and anger or something.   So they lived a boring celibate life never getting those things that actually make life worth living!" she bit her left knuckle looking upset. Yurri patted her shoulder nodding his head.  She smiled a thank you at him and continued. "So yes it was lucky that Master Jim's family weren't following those old Jai rules.  Allowing Master Jim to be born and grow up learning from his Dad how to be a Jai. Although Jim's grandfather, Phil I think his name was, died trying to keep his family's secret safe. I think Phil died just before Benjimyn, his oldest grandson, fell to a darker path."


"A darker path than what?" Yurri asked her knowing she enjoyed telling him the whole back story to this history. 


She gave him a grin thanking him for playing along.  He may have earned a little more snuggle time tonight when they go to the live theaters. She sat herself up more erect with her legs modestly bent to her side sitting on them. She breathed in, "The Archai Yirujie is an ancient order of skilled warrior protectors with special powers. They label themselves as Stellar Cavaliers a special type of space knight, though I don't know why they don't just call themselves that.  Copy write infringements I think."  Yurri shrugged agreeing with her.  She took another bite out of her sandwich giving a complimenting mmm sound after she swallowed.  After taking a little sip from her water bottle she continued.  "The old Jai kept peace and order throughout the whole galaxy while the old interspatial government was going on but it got too big for its britches and evil people crept in and took it over.  Because the old Jai order was opposed to all the corruption that was going on they used some genocidal techniques to eliminate the vast majority of the Jai order.  Master Jim Highquasar's uncle Benjimyn, one of Phil's grandsons, the oldest one I think, was tricked by the evil Kaiser Khan into tracking down and killing the old Jai order.  The old Kaiser made Benjimyn think his secret wife was killed by the old Jai sect when in fact the evil old Kaiser secretly killed her himself and shifted the blame. Old Benji even thought they killed his entire family. But in fact Dan, Master Jim's Dad, hid himself, Master Jim, Jim's sisters and their families, and all his family members away from all the bad things that were happening in the galaxy by moving them to the outer rims.  I think Dan hid his entire family in a weird Archai disruption field or something so that the evil Khan couldn't find them right away. Don't really know the specifics on that one." She wiped her face with a napkin. 


"So how did Master Jim kill the evil Khan in the end?" Yurri asked smiling knowing what this question would bring.


"Oh now that is a mistake most people make!" she said wagging a finger, from the hand that was holding her napkin, in his face.  "You'd think Master Jim did it himself, seeing that he founded the new Archai Yirujie Academy.  Well it was actually Master Jim's uncle that killed the evil Kaiser, old Benji.  A small band of the rebel faction got into the Kahn's moon/palace and were making as much noise as they could. To distract the Khan from a small team of specialists which consisted of Master Jim, his father Dan, with a couple of Jim's cousins, and a few stalwart fellows too. They thought they could overpower the evil Kaiser Khan by the sheer number of Archai users.  Here let me show you." 


Putting her napkin down she reached into her marvelous purse and after fumbling around in it a minute she brought out her rectangular shaped Trans Tablet, a device that could do many things for its user. "Here," she said turning it on.  Its flat screen turned on showing several of options she could choose to do. She tapped her picture gallery and maximized the picture she chose turning it into a projected holo image as she laid it down in front of her. "There," she said pointing to a red headed stout sharp featured faced young man among a group of people in old style clothes. "That is younger Master Jim Highquasar." She smiled affectionately at the image. "He's much older now though. He is also married with quite a few children too," she said glumly. "But as I was saying he wasn't the one who took down the evil Kaiser. That was old Benji.  Old Benjimyn was fighting his younger brother Dan using his dark Dawn Sword, or Lumin Blade, or Lumin Brand, or Bright Spar… You know the Jai aren't very clear on what the official name of what their special weapons are." She shrugs happily not understanding and continued with her story.  "Anyways Benji recognizes his brother's fighting style and starts asking him questions. I guess he had a hard time recognizing his younger brother after not seeing him for so long."  


After taking another small sip from her water bottle Jan paused looking like she was remembering something. "Oh yeah!" she exclaimed clapping her hands.  "I forgot to put in the premise to this big fight!  You'd think I was a blond or something." she said winking at Yurri smiling at her own stereo type. "The whole premise behind this big fight was in the reactor core of the Kahn's moon/palace.   Apparently evil old Yach had been planning for an intrusion like this. So when the Highquasar family and company entered the throne room and were about to take the Kaiser out the floor beneath them fell away dropping them all into the big reactor core. The family and company landed in an area full of men who had taken the Izo drug."


"You remember the Izo drug right Yurri?" She looked up at him expectantly. When he nodded she gave him a wonderful smile and continued on. "The Izo drug is also exceptionally rare, massively expensive, and an extremely lethal drug. This drug is outlawed in practically every system because it's so dangerous. Not even the black market carries much of it.  Guess it kills their customers too quickly to make it worth it."  She shrugged.  "When people take it their very skin starts turning black literally rotting away as they live. The longest I've ever heard of someone living from this was about two days. The only reason anyone takes this poison is because it gives them Jai powers and makes them much stronger. But after an hour or so a persons' body starts to go into uncontrollable and horribly painful convolutions.  But as anyone knows already no matter how much of this drug someone takes a true Archai user will have the advantage considering that the true person had already received much training with the usage of it before. So all these druggies were keeping our Jai family and friends busy while Benjimyn and his brother Dan fought fighting each other with their luminblades. Benji starts asking his brother questions but when it looks like Ben is having a change of heart the evil old Kaiser Kahn unleashes a wicked blast of red lightning at Jim, Dan's son."


"AAACHOO!!" Janice's explanation was interrupted by an enormous sneeze coming abruptly from her nose. Yurri handed her his handkerchief which she used to lightly blow out her nose some more and clean her face. When done she tried to give it back but Yurri waved her off telling her to keep it for now.  She wrapped it up and stuck it in her purse for later use. "Anyways as I was saying Dan saw that his son was in trouble so he broke off from his fight with his brother and intercepted the bolt with his luminblade and faced off with the evil Kaiser one on one.  I hear it was a horrific fight with all the Archai users around and this amazing fight between two seasoned Archai users. But sadly Dan wasn't a match for the evil old Kaiser Kahn and was thoroughly struck down by his wicked red lightning.  This enraged Jim and he struck out at the Kahn. Ben stood there stunned as he saw his younger brother die in front of eyes blasted away to ashes. I believe he was still in shock finding out his family still lived.  Seeing his younger brother die suddenly in front of his eyes made Benjimyn snap out of the funk he had been in for years.  Because the Kahn was busy fighting Jim he didn't see the immensely saddened and enraged Ben rush him from behind."  Jan sniffed wiping her eyes. Looking up to Yurri with a sad smile she said, "Old Benji bull rushed the Kaiser Kahn and himself into a fiery blue plasma field that had been broken out by all the intense fighting going on in that big reactor core room." Jan sniffed again wiping her eyes.  She looked up to Yurri with a sad yet happy look on her face. "Old Benji did the trick. As soon as those druggies saw their Kaiser go down none of them wanted to see how this ended considering the fact that they all faced a gruesome and painful deaths they all immediately took their own lives. I won't go into the details there."  She frowned. "From what I've heard it was messy."  


She took another small bite of her sandwich and immediately perked up after swallowing. "So yes!" she said abruptly slapping her hands on her knees.  "Because the core took a big hit from both the enraged Benjimyn and the red lightning blasting Kaiser Kahn it was about to explode!  All of our heroes made a mad dash and barely escaped the explosion.”  Janice grinned at the telling of the exciting getaway. “Nowadays Master Jim Highquasar leads the new Archai Yirujie academy on Xevim 3, another moon/planet not much unlike the one we're on right now."  She smiled breathing in and sampled some chips from the same bag that Yurri was eating from.


"So we know this history of the new Jai academy but one thing still confuses me a little bit," Yurri said as he held out the chip bag for her. "Why is their nickname Jai instead of Jie? You know… How it's spelled in Yirujie. The last three letters of Yirujie. I think logically it should be Jie instead of Jai," Yurri said awkwardly seeing that he was losing her in his reasoning.


Janice gave him one of her cute confused looks and tapped her lip.  She shrugged it off. "I don't really understand your complaint here Yurri. A Jai is still a Jie no matter how you spell them."  She smirked at him entertained by his odd thoughts. "So yes what I just figured out was that their full title is Archai Yirujie and Archai is the name of their power!  So the name of their power is in their full title! That just dawned on me!"  She lightly slapped her forehead smiling at Yurri.  


"Well heck.  All I really know about the Jai is that they intimidate me," he admitted shrugging with a quirked weak smile.  Yurri also didn't mind learning more about the Jai, which made him nervous, as long as he could enjoy looking into her stunning azure eyes and see her smile. 


“The Jai of old were very secretive and for a while everybody thought they were extinct.  You're only uncomfortable with them because their order, fairly renewed or new, is mainly unknown to you and everybody else silly.  I usually get the same way when entering a new shopping mall I don’t know. Where are the bathrooms? Where is the cafeteria? And most important of all where do they keep their shoe stores? This one time I almost went into hysterical fits because I thought I lost my precious purse. My Daddy made this for me so I could never part from it,” she said while affectionately stroking her monstrous purse. Yurri thought you could stuff a small body in there if you tucked it in just right. “After some help from an attendant I finally found it in a grocery bag I had tucked it in earlier.” She winked and stuck her tongue out at him, “Silly of me to forget something like that.”


Indeed it was. Just what type of mall does she go to where they have bags big enough for a monster purse like hers?  Yurri merely shook his head and chuckled politely.  Behavior like this from her doesn’t surprise him anymore.  From the first time he met her she has acted as if she were trying to get used to being a blond, really weird… because she seemed to be a natural blond anyways.  With all of the quirky and stereotypical behaviors that came along with it.  Yurri had to admit that this type of behavior was quite cute and endearing.


Their conversation halted abruptly when both started hearing a high light rumble coming from over a taller part of the hill.  They both stood up trying to discern what was making that foreboding sound. As they stared alerted watching the top of the hill a large gray armored man jetted over the hill coming towards them.  When only a dozen yards away he lunged down slamming to the ground making Yurri's teeth chatter from the impact.  After standing up properly from that big landing the ominous man glared knives at Yurri while giving Jan a grizzled smile. "Jan! I've finally found you after months of searching! Why did you hide yourself from me?" the man said while moving towards the couple.  "You know I would personally hand you the head of anyone that got on your bad side," he said while spreading his hands out. 


Jan turned white while grabbing her cheeks like she does when she's baffled or upset.  She looked to Yurri as if he might help her with this somehow. But she drew her look away from her boyfriend, squared her shoulders, and missiled harpoons at the intruder with the glare she gave him.   "Ron, I left you because I want a man who can feel compassion for others and help people out of the goodness of his heart, not to charge them for your help afterwards."  Janice turned away with a tear running down her cheek. “Like how you refused to help that poor old woman fight off that huge carnivorous Nixdon bear.”


The armored man, Ron, gave her a look that was exasperated and said she should know better. “That old woman did just fine by herself. She did win that fight in the end. I heard she has forty two grandchildren,” Ron rationalized. "She didn’t need my help after all. You should have seen the state the bear was in afterwards. I’ve never seen a body cast that big before.”


Janice glared again at Ron. “She lost the bottom half of her leg!” she snapped fiercely at him. “She wouldn’t have had to go through all that pain and suffering if you had helped out of the goodness of your heart!”


"I'm a bounty hunter Jan." Ron took a step toward Janice and Yurri. Janice stepped back pulling Yurri along with her. “This is the way I’ve chosen to live my life. The first time I met you it didn’t seem to bother you much.” He gave her an exasperated and impatient look. “Ever since that first date we went on you’ve been on my mind constantly. Why can’t you return my affections like you should?”


Janice gave Ron a surprisingly sharp look again and sniffed loudly. “That first date was only because I felt sorry for you.” Ron started to interject but Janice plowed over him. “You were doing a job on Kineekon working for a politician to hunt down the people that kidnapped his daughter." 


"I remember that. That guy paid me pretty well."


Janice looked a little flustered at being interrupted but she went on telling the story without commenting on this rude injection. "After hearing what you did on Kineekon with you saving that poor little girl made me feel pity for you so I said yes."


"You did have me ask you about fifty times before you said yes or even looked at me," Ron injected again.


"That is not the topic of this conversation!" Janice's face and hair, Yurri thought that the lighting did this for the hair, reddened a little bit. "I found you were a sad little man that couldn't get a friend if you didn't bully them first. The dates we went on were out of pure pity which I don't think you deserve right now!" Janice sharply turned away from Rob flipping her ever reddening -it must be the lighting- long hair over her shoulder.


She wouldn't look at him anymore or affirm that he was even there. After a couple more attempts of trying to get her attention, which didn't work, Ron sighed and glared at Yurri puffing out his chest. "The only way I can see to win back your heart is to duel your Jai boyfriend, kill him, and buy you that gemlon ruby dress you always wanted."


This was getting way too out of hand. Yurri had to think quickly. "Hey!" he shouted, pointing randomly to some dense foliage. "Isn't that Draxus Lenox, who has a million credit bounty on his head?"


Ron turned his head to look where Yurri had been pointing. "Where?" he asked like the idiot he was.


"Come on, let’s run, Jan!" Yurri grabbed Janice by the arm and ran into the woods while Ron still searched for the million credit bounty man that Yurri had made up.


As they ran through the forest, they could hear Ron scream, "You goober! Tell me where that million credit man is or I'll do some very unpleasant things to your reproductive organs!"


Yurri and Janice ran into the more forested area of the park. This large park made it easy to hide from that crazy bounty hunter. As they ran, they got lost.  After a long while of running aimlessly Janice pulled herself away from Yurri, fell against a tree, and gasped for breath. "I didn't know you were a Jai, Yurri," she said, between pants, with a surprised look on her face.


"Neither did I," admitted a still gasping Yurri. "Uhh," he rethought what he just said. He might never get another chance to get to know a gal like Janice again, "I mean…"  He rubbed his head thinking fast.  "I… don't… like letting other people know. I'm really bad at being a Jai. I always keep losing my luminblade and things," he fibbed. A little white lie, he reasoned, wouldn't hurt anybody.


Janice gave him an odd look, digesting what he had just said. She brushed some bright golden bangs -the lighting must be better here – over her ear and nodded adjusting her purse over her shoulder. "That makes sense to me. If my hair doer droid didn't have a voice activated feature I'd lose it all the time. For the life of me I still can't find my spaceship keys. I lose important things all the time so I can see where you’re coming from," she said tapping her chin looking up at him.


Yurri let out a huge mental sigh of relief. It was a good thing Janice was a blond. He would be in big trouble if she were something more intelligent like a brunet or (shudder) a red head. -It had to be the lighting or his mind playing tricks on him.- "Yeah... I lose things all the time too... Let’s keep on walking to the city Jan. I think we lost Ron by now. He doesn’t seem too bright.”


“Yeah,” affirmed Janice as they started making their way in the direction they thought would get them back to the city or at least to Yurri's hover car. “Ron never was the brightest glow rod out there. I felt sorry for him about that too. One time, at a drive through, the person that was taking our order was a really snotty teenage boy." Janice went on to explain how Ron, becoming infuriated, told the boy he would kick his can if he didn't apologize to him. This teenage boy continued making rude comments of Ron and Janice. Ron leapt out of the hover car and throttled the speaker system leaving it in pieces. He got back in his hover car saying that that should teach a droid to be snotty with him.


Janice chuckled at Yurri covering her mouth. "He did things like that all the time. I'm still surprised that he can even dress himself properly by himself." she finished, giggling again into her hand.


Yurri gave a small polite laugh with her, shaking his head wondering to himself, and this coming from a girl who actually locked herself in her own hover car? He had to walk her through how to open the door herself.  She thought she had locked herself in the hover car without her keys. The ironic part about that was that the keys were still in the ignition.


With that said and done the couple went on to finding a trail. Yurri didn't like to boast, well he rarely did not like to boast, to his friends anyways, but he had a sense of direction as keen as any global positioning system. He led the way in trying to find the park again so they could determine where the city was. The park they had been in before Janice’s old boyfriend showed up was a bit away from the city.


As they made their way through the forest Janice started picking flowers in an unconcerned manner and started making a wreath. This perturbed Yurri a little bit. How can she be so calm while he was at risk of getting some inconsiderably uncomfortable things done to him if her old nut job boyfriend found them? She was humming a playful song as she was working the flowers into a lei shape.


"Uhh Jan," Yurri said as he ducked under a low branch pulling it out of the way for her.


"Yes? Ow!," replied Janice pricking a finger with a thorn at the same time as she ducked under the tree branch. She stuck that finger in her mouth looking at Yurri in a very cute way with a question on her face.


It took a moment for Yurri to come out of admiring Janice's cute beauty with her sucking on her index finger. "Umm," he said letting go of that branch with a smile he couldn't help on his face. "Don’t you think it counterproductive to give Ron a trail to follow us?"


"What do you mean?" she asked still sucking her finger. "I'm not leaving any trail that Ron could ever follow." Yurri pointed to her wreath in the works then waved a hand over the area she last picked some flowers behind them. "Oh that," she said recognizing what Yurri meant while brushing back some dark blond bangs -it must be the lighting again - from her face. Ron can't find himself out of an indoor park," she laughed dislodging some dark blond bangs from her face again.


She suddenly grabbed Yurri's arm. "Oop, don't step on that plant!" She pointed to a small patch of blue bulbous plants that smelled a little like burnt meat. "Those mark a small colony of fire litches," she explained while they stepped around the small cluster of those plants. Yurri gave her a blank look as she led him. Taking his silence as an invitation to proceed with her explanation she continued as they walked holding his arm leading him. "Litches are nasty small insects that need a lot of protein. Those blue plants back there are chalk full of protein so the litches grow them to feed their colony. If a litche bites you that appendage will start going numb. Anything they catch bothering their colony they eat alive. Yes I know, not a very pleasant way to die. Why are you looking at me like that?"


Yurri tried to swallow his amazement and clear his face and said, "You apparently have a lot of knowledge about this planet. Where did you learn all of this?" Yurri had only moved to this planet two years ago while Janice only had lived here for about nine months. How did she know more about it than him?


"I like to know a little about the planets that I'm currently living on. Don't you?" She smiled at him in an almost condescending way still working on her wreath. She happily kept on talking bringing up their last subject. "I very much doubt Ron would be able to find us in a forest. He has more brawn than brains, as I've told you earlier, and he is otherwise an asinine puppy when it involves other subjects not akin to bounty hunting or beating up a poor individual. His behavior is quite vexing for me. That's one of the many reasons why I broke up with him."


Yurri shook his head again. She now sounded like a professor lecturing a simpleton. And her hair was very dark blond now almost a light black. He stopped where he was looking at her in a perplexed manner.


"What's the matter?" she asked stopping with him looking worried. "Do I have a bug on my face or something?" She brushed her cheeks worriedly.


"Umm," he said still looking at her. How to put this? "My eyes must be playing tricks on me or something," he reasoned out loud while lightly taking a strand of her soft and almost jet black hair bringing it up to look closer at. Janice flinched visibly seeing her hair dropping her wreath. "But for some reason your hair looks..." Yurri wasn't able to finish for Janice was firmly pressing her infinitely soft and alluring lips to his while seductively pressing her wonderfully shaped body into his pushing him up against a tree.


After a couple more moments of pure bliss for Yurri she drew herself away and started swatting at her hair decoration for some reason, muttering angrily. Yurri didn't notice any of it. His back rubbed the tree as his legs wouldn't hold him erect anymore.


After a couple minutes in a merry daze something finally woke Yurri up. That something was rubbing his neck and shaking his head. The poor fellow, Yurri, brought up his head with a smile that seemed locked into place on his face. Everything was blurry in his sight and it took a couple moments for his eyes to adjust to see the woman who was kneeling at his side looking worriedly at him. "Are you ok Yurri?"


"Yeah I'm fine," he replied with that silly grin still on his face. "Why wouldn't I be?" Who was this again? Oh yeah it's just Janice.


"Well you kind of collapsed on me," said Janice as she pulled some now blond bangs out of her eyes again. Now blond? Why would they be now blond? Her hair was always blond. Has been since the first day he met her. It’s her natural hair color of course wasn’t it? It was hard to remember the past few days for some reason.


"What happened?" Yurri asked. And why do I feel so happy about it?


Janice smiled mysteriously as she helped Yurri stand up again. “A rock fell out of nowhere and hit you on the head,” she said looking like she was picking out her words carefully.


When Yurri was finally on his feet he looked around wobbly. They were in the forest. Why were they in a forest again? Oh yeah, to try and escape from Ron, Janice’s old mad boyfriend. Getting that thought out made Yurri dizzy after the concentration it required to retrieve. “Are you ok Yurri?” Janice asked him while helping him to keep his balance.


The poor boy looked around dizzily trying to organize his thoughts properly. They were in a forest. Where did a rock come from? Probably it came from one of those mean looking trees. He looked at the nearest tree with an accusing glare still not having his wits about him.


All of a sudden an explosion could be heard from not too far away. It shook the ground where they stood and a few leaves dropped out of some trees making small animals shriek and run for cover. "Uh oh," Janice said stepping back from the direction of the boom. "Ron must be getting frustrated. He is trying to flush us out."


Yurri's head may have been in the clouds before but a jostle from an explosion not too far away shook something straight in his head. "He's trying to flush us out with explosions?" Well she did tell him that Ron wasn't the brightest glow rod in the bunch, but this?


Janice looked up at him with worry on her face biting her lip. "Yeah, he one time got so frustrated looking for a group of guys in a labyrinth of a huge building that he just started setting explosives all over the building and setting them off. He scared those fellows so badly they surrendered to him after seven explosions. I think they thought Ron was going to topple the whole building on them." Another explosion went off. The two jumped looking in the direction the roar came from. This was closer than the last one. Janice trembled holding her arms and continued her explanation stepping closer to Yurri. "It worked so well for Ron he has been using it ever since. Most of the time, now, his marks just surrender themselves to him if they know he's in the same building with them."


Yurri's thoughts seemed to rush through sludge. Maybe it hadn't been a very good idea to date a girl who out of the blue said yes to a date with him and hasn't broken up with yet over months of dating. He shook his head trying to clear his thoughts and looked at Janice. "Hey we need to find a place to hide before your nut-case old bounty hunter boyfriend finds us."


"I can help you out with that, but only for a price," said a deep voice out of nowhere.


Yurri nearly jumped out of his pants from fright. "Who the heck are you and where did you come from?!" Yurri asked the short newcomer while pulling his pants back on. Good thing they caught around his knees.


"Hello my good fellow. My name is Tom Finney. I have a science lab not too far away from where we're at right now."


Yurri gave the short slightly graying mousey brown haired scientist a bewildered look and asked him sounding doubtful, "So you have a science facility nearby?" This guy even had the stereotypical white lab coat on though it did look dirty and worn too much.


"Yes. Yes I do."


Yurri gave the odd little man a cynical look. "How'd you find us? What do you do, listen in on people's private conversations and erratically jump out to scare them?"


"Yes," came out the strange man's surprising reply. "A man must have his hobbies or you're apt to go mad from loneliness."


"Uhh... yeah sure, we’ll go with that," said Yurri giving the weird man that odd look again, cocking his head.


"Yurri we need to find a place to hide from Ron. The last boyfriend he found me with went from a bass singing voice to a low soprano." Janice’s sentence was punctuated by another explosion. Yurri gave Janice a very surprised and worried look at her about that. This was getting way too out-of-hand for poor Yurri. It sounded like death would be a better option than being caught by her crazy old boyfriend.


"Come; follow me to my secret lab." The small peculiar man waved a hand bidding them to follow him.


They followed the curious man through the foliage to an odd looking boulder with some scratches on it. The short scientist traced a finger from one scratch to another going from the top down in a Z pattern. "Come and stand by me please," the man bade Yurri and Janice. After his guests were standing beside him he knocked three times on the boulder and suddenly they were going down. Janice jumped with fright and firmly pressed her soft body up against Yurri's causing the lei she put on his head to fall off. Janice had put it on Yurri’s head while making that short walk with this odd scientist.


The ride down actually wasn't that long to Yurri's displeasure. He was really enjoying himself very much with having Janice holding him so closely. When the elevator door, opposite to where they had entered, opened they went through it. Before they started out Yurri reluctantly let go of Janice. He wished he could hold her like he did last time. Last time? What happened last time she had been this close to him? That rock must have hit him pretty badly, but though now that he thinks about it his head didn't even hurt.


The professor quickly led them to his lab going down through some metal hallways which took them quite a while. When they arrived and entered the strange scientist's lab Yurri and Janice quickly noticed that this guy had a holo-art gallery filled with loads of images that neither Yurri nor Janice knew how to react properly to and still be polite guests. 


"Ahh, I see you two are admiring my girls," the weird scientist said. "It gets very lonely down here and these holos keep me company." Tom Finney gazed around this room with a hungry look on his face. "Here, let me show you a couple of my gems before we get started." He led them deeper into his strange art gallery. "These are my most prized holos," he said while pointing to some holos that had their projectors specially decorated.


"So these are your most prized holos?" Yurri asked with a tone of marvel in his voice while wondering where in the worlds this guy got all these images.


"Yes! Yes they are! Just look at those curves," Tom said while motioning his hands over the areas he was describing. "And look how soft and smooth these girls’ skins look. Also notice what they're wearing and how it form fits to them accentuating every luscious curve and bump! The most intoxicating thing that I can imagine about these girls that I can't get from these holos is their smell. I would just love to touch and feel them having their intoxicating scent fill my nostrils."


Yurri was having serious doubts whether or not it was a bright idea to follow this guy. This dude had a serious problem with women's feet!


He looked about again and took in what was around him slowly. Feet of all different shapes and sizes surrounded them. Humanoid feet were way more prevalent than any other type of foot. As the wacky scientist continued their tour Yurri thought he even saw a huge furry Gytan foot! And this loon wanted to be able to smell these feet too?!


"Umm, Professor Tom?" Yurri interrupted the mad scientist's tour of his insane obsession with women’s feet.


Mr. Finny gave Yurri a confused look at first coming out of his pleasant reverie. "Oh, I'm sorry! I'm taking up too much time while you have an insane bounty hunter after you two. It’s just that after so many years alone with no company I would give anything to have those sexy, alluring, and intoxicating appendages flounced in front of my face. Or just to fondle their toes between my fingers. I could die right then and there a happy man."


This dude is seriously disturbed, thought Yurri. "Uhh yeah sure, it's every guy's dream to have smelly feet shoved in front of their faces."


"Isn't it now?" The wacky man led them through deeper into his laboratory. “Here milady I think you would be more comfortable in my dressing room whilst I take your boyfriend and fill him in on what I want you two to do for me in return of my protection.” He pointed to a door that slid open.


Janice warily made her way into the room and once she was fully in there she shrieked with delight. Yurri promptly rushed in through the door to see what all the excitement was about. What he saw was a messy room full of dress up gowns that had an assortment of frills and pretty bows sown into them with a few tuxedos in the corner.


“Ohh mister nice mad scientist man sir, may I please try on some of these on while you are away with Yurri please?” Tom Finney gave her a puzzled look so Janice tried to make herself more clearly understood. “The dresses that look like they were made for noble women,” she said while pulling on a sleeve of a dress, holding it up.


“Huh, so these are the type of garb noble women wear. No wonder they felt so uncomfortable and awkward when I tried them on." The professor straightened his lab jacket as if remembering the uncomfortable fit. "I was going to have them all sent back, but I got too distracted with my work and my hobby to do so. I really should lodge a formal complaint to the post office and tell them that they really need to have those delivery droids looked at for problems.” Tom shrugged. “Yes you may try them on if you want to my dear. Though it will only take me about an hour at the very most to explain to your boyfriend what I want him to do for me.”


Janice came up to Yurri and tantalizingly brushed her long slender fingers lightly behind his left ear. “Please, take your time, dear.” She tickled his chin for a moment before going back to look at the dresses. Yurri just stood there with a dazed happy look on his face.


“Ok my friend it’s time for me to explain to you how you can repay me for my help.” The scientist started walking away. He had gone a little ways away before he realized that Yurri wasn’t following so after an uncomfortable confrontation having to wake Yurri up they continued. The young man wiped some drool from his face and started to follow Tom.


It wasn't a very long walk through the metal corridors, but it did take a while, this place was huge! The scientist brought Yurri into his big lab area that smelled heavily of electronics and chemicals with an overlaying sooty smell of animal habitats. This place was enormous (as earlier stated)! The scientist told him to wait by the entrance and not to touch anything whilst he went to grab a couple items Yurri would use to repay the scientist for his help.


It was a mistake for Mr. Finney to leave Yurri here all by himself. For this boy had an almost fatal habit of going through things he was specifically told not to touch. This was one of the reasons why he had to move to this planet in the first place, for he had originally wanted to become a militia man like his father. He was put to the task of guarding experimental weapons and battle droids. Having an ADD moment he got curious about what the controls to certain devices did. Needless to say it did not end very well for him. At a threat to his life from the commanding officer there his parents shipped him off to Drylon 3, getting him a job at an old friend's well off restaurant and the rest was history.


The room he was in was enormous full of all types of science components. There were also small and large cages full of experimental animals not too far away from the entrance. The cages the animals were in were labeled with signs on the front of them showing things as "Experiment 244" and the like. One caged experiment in particular caught Yurri's interest. It was one of the larger animals. Yurri always liked looking at the bigger animals in zoos. The creature looked like a giant cat with furry orange scales. Half of its face was a huge maw which had serrated fangs as long as Yurri's forearms.


Being the not so bright fellow that Yurri was he wanted to see how this monstrous creature looked when it was standing up so he started looking for something to throw at it. It was safely in a cage so he believed it couldn't hurt him if it noticed him. He picked up a small rock from the edge of another cage and returned back to the other cage at a safe distance away. After missing a couple times, he generally was a bad aim; he started to get frustrated. He had gathered a small pile of rocks by then from that other pen and was trying to lob them at the huge creature unsuccessfully so far.


He continued to approach the cage as he continued to miss his target. He was nearly touching the cage by the time he finally hit the large beast on its nose. Yurri, the clueless goober, waited in expectation for the beast to wake up. Frowning when the beast didn’t stir he bent down to pick up another stone to toss, but when he stood up he found the creature eye to eye to him staring at him.


Yurri nearly wet himself. It was a monster it was so huge. He hadn’t realized he had gotten so close while throwing rocks at it. He could feel its breath on his face. Oddly enough to Yurri its breath somehow smelled like cabbage, weird to say the least.


The poor shlub started to back away very slowly. The beast sneezed which made Yurri back pedal in a panicked wobble, he never was very coordinated either, until he collided into another cage. He fell on his side with a grunt his head swimming.


After a moment or two of lying there his thoughts finally came back to him. He stood up shaking his head and looked around making sure everything was in order. It wasn't.


There was a cage wide open with a lot of foliage and dirt in it. It was one of the larger cages about the size of the dining room in the restaurant where he worked. He ran to slam it shut again. When it was shut he couldn’t help noticing a large sign on the door of it. It said, “Take caution, the contents of this cage is extremely dangerous. Experiment #666. ” Yurri took a careful look into the cage itself, walking a few paces away from it, and couldn’t see anything in all that brush. Maybe it was hiding, he hoped. An animal the size of a Nixdon bear could hide easily in that huge cage with all that shrubbery and trees. He turned to look back at the critter that sneezed on him feeling very wary. If that monster didn’t have a warning sign on its cage what type of creature might be in that other cage he bumped? He prayed that it was still in there.


“So you’re admiring my pets are you?” Yurri clawed himself into the air about three paces landing firmly on his bottom afterwards with a gulping yelp. The scientist looked down at him smiling a complimentary smile. “That was a good jump. The highest I’ve ever seen someone go before was about two and a half paces in the air.”


Yurri quickly stood up rubbing his bottom glaring at the absurd man. He actually measures how high people jump when he scares them?! This was a loony man to the core. “Uhh yeah I was just looking at this monster you have caged there,” he said pointing at the animal that sneezed on him. “I’ve never seen a cat-like creature with serrated teeth before. What does it eat?” He hoped that this subject would keep the scientist from noticing any of his other science experiment cages.


“Oh you mean PAT. He eats local flora.”


Yurri gave the scientist a dubious look. “It’s a vegetarian?” His voice drizzled with doubt. With canines like that this guy wanted him to believe that this monster ate plants? He really was insane.


The fellow took in Yurri’s doubtful looks and grinned. “Yes I know at first glance PAT looks quite fearsome but he is actually quite placid most of the time. Here, let me show you what I designed him to do.” The mad scientist clapped his hands and yelled out for a droid to come and bring PAT some food. A metallic cone shaped droid floated into the room carrying a small tree which it had latched to it by three metal looking cords. The mad scientist ordered the drone to drop the small tree into PAT's cage. It flew over PAT's cage and a ringing sound came from it. The top hatch of the cage opened up to let it drop that small tree in. PAT had been eyeing that small tree looking excited since the droid flew in with it. Yurri gave the scientist that dubious look again when PAT didn’t do anything but look at the log intensely. He opened his mouth to comment on this but he didn’t get a chance to. PAT ferociously lunged itself at the small tree and brutally tore into it.


Yurri’s mouth dropped open as he witnessed this terribly gruesome scene. Mr. Finny chuckled at Yurri’s expression and explained how PAT was designed to clear out forested areas for construction. There were only a few problems he had to weed out, first such as PAT wasn’t able to stop attacking trees until there were none left or it ate so much it died. He chuckled again and looked at PAT affectionately. "Well it looks like you avoided bumping into any of my cages.  Since I don't get too many visitors here all these cages have a simple push button opening device on each of them. Better for my back to not have to wrench anything. But we didn't come here so that I could show you my pet projects," Tom smirked at that putting a hand in his right lab coat pocket. He brought out two different colored cologne looking sprays one red and one blue. "These are what I want you to test for me."


This made Yurri pause looking very dubious again at Mr. Finny. "You want me to try on cologne you made yourself?" he asked shaking his head. "Dude, you can get deodorant at the local mart cheap. I use Aximp. You know the one.  Made strong enough for huge furry Gytans they say."


Tom shook his head. "This isn't your everyday run-of-the-mill type of cologne my friend." He explained that since he was too shy to approach a human female to ask her out on a date he devised a way to attract females from another species entirely. He told Yurri that he found the perfect alien species too with the most wonderfully exotic beautiful feet he’s ever seen. “Another reason why I’ve chosen them is because they select their mates through smell not looks. They don’t seem to like humans very much. They think we stink.” He shrugged and made a comment about different species being different.


I wonder how these aliens look, Yurri thought to himself.


The mad scientist continued. "So I’ve devised a way to ‘attract’ a female for myself. Here let me show the intoxicating sight of them." He brought out a small holo-projector disk from his pocket and turned it on. What came from that holo-projector made Yurri's jaw drop. It was a very humanoid looking alien female with light red skin and blue hair. She wore a very well form fitting green gown that accentuated and emphasized every round curve on her. It was almost indecent, considering that parts of it were translucent ranging on transparent especially in the midsection area. The only figure that could even come close to rival this figure was Janice. The face of this alien woman was also astounding to look at by human standards too.


Yurri just gaped and ogled and the holo figure in amazement. "Wow... Just wow," Yurri said in astonishment.


"Yes aren't they wonderful?" the mad scientist said grinning at him. "These aliens have what normal human women lack." He waved a hand under the holo's feet, which Yurri noticed for the first time of course. Tom Finny zoomed in the holo on the alien's feet. Apparently she was shoeless, which Yurri was too distracted to notice before. This alien woman had eight toes on each foot! Her feet looked like it would be hard to comfortably get shoes on with those extra toes. Yurri thought it was a good thing she was wearing sandals because he couldn't think of any type of shoe that would fit comfortably on those feet.


Yurri's eyes were magnetically drawn up to the higher regions when the scientist laid out his plan to him. It took a couple tries for poor Yurri to take the mad scientist's plan in all the way. It helped when Tom turned off the holo disk and gave it to him. Just so he could be sure he found the right species. "Something else I think I should mention to you is that if you sweat it would intensify the cologne's effect tenfold. So as long as you remain calm and don't decide to go jogging with the cologne on I think you'll be okay," the mad scientist put in finally in an off handed way. After the plan was explained enough Tom led Yurri back to where Janice was trying on clothes.


Yurri didn’t talk on the walk to where Janice was. He was too busy working on an ulcer in his stomach thinking about how to explain the “help” they were going to give the wacky man Tom. Tom had told him, in an off handed kind of remark again, that he had no idea how the alien females would react to the cologne. For all he knew it would enflame the women into a frenzy that would have them fighting tooth and nail to take him for themselves getting his clothes ripped off in frenzy or they might just wink at him blowing him a kiss with some suggesting looks. Tom had sounded like he was explaining a grocery list he wanted Yurri to get him, a list with very desirable ingredients that the mad scientist wanted as soon as possible, but still in a tone that expressed not much more emotion than that.


As they walked through the mad scientist’s lab down more hallways. –Why does this loon need so much space?-- Yurri thought up something to take his mind off telling Janice what this guy wants him to do. “I noticed that PAT’s name was capitalized. Is his name an acronym?”


The man gave him a weird look. “I didn’t have PAT’s name posted anywhere. How did you know that its name was capitalized?”


“Well ummm…” Yurri had no idea how he knew that. It just sounded capitalized. “It… It just sounded capitalized that’s all. The emphasis you put on it gave it away I think.”


The small man gave him that odd look again shaking his head. “My friend, I have to tell you that you are the strangest man I have ever met.” Yurri stared incredulously at Tom. This coming from a man who worshiped women’s feet and randomly jumps out scaring strangers? “Anyways I’ll tell you why PAT’s name is an acronym. PAT is an acronym for Pathologically Attacks Trees,” he said with a smile looking proud. “It took me a whole month to think up that acronym. This way makes it easier for me to remember what all of my experiments do. Otherwise I just number them. The more dangerous they are the higher number they get. I’ve only gotten to six hundred and sixty eight so far. Ah here we are.” Tom tapped on a button to open the door and they went in.


The first steps that Yurri took into this huge closet his mind was full of worry, but when he finally took in where he was at his jaw fell open. It looked like the place had been torn through, organized, torn through again, and then organized again. Like a hurricane that thought to organize its mess up afterwards went through here. All the dresses and skirts were arranged by color and size. The men suits were all nicely trundled up in a corner. There seemed to be more suits now than he noticed before. What in the worlds did this solitary scientist use all those suits for anyways?


After this initial shock Yurri noticed something that almost floored him. It was Janice who was wearing what seemed to be like a very white and traditional looking wedding dress. She was twirling around in front of a mirror that he hadn't noticed in here before with a big smile on her face. This closet was gigantic!


After her second twirl she noticed them. She came walking up to them slowly with that big smile still on her face. Yurri could not take his eyes off of her for worry about what her thoughts might be at that moment. It also didn't help that the dress had a plunging neckline too.


Janice walked directly up to Yurri putting her hand on his chest looking to him for the entire universe like the happiest bride to be and looked up into his eyes with her big pouty blue eyes that could swallow his soul. "You know Yurri I've been thinking about our relationship and all the things we've been going through lately." Yurri did not like where this seemed to be going. "And I thought we need to do something more to cement our relationship." Oh no! "I got this idea from the dress I'm wearing right now." EEP!! "Can you guess what I'm thinking about doing dearie?" she said while stroking his cheek.


Blood was rushing through Yurri's head, he could hardly hear anything else except his thundering heartbeat, and he found it hard to stand upright. Janice frowned at him worriedly looking like she expected an answer. "You, uhh, want to go out shopping with me so we can get me a tuxedo so we can go out to a ball room dance?" he said lamely shrugging, quirking a weak crooked smile.


She smiled looking a little surprised while patting his cheek. “I really thought you weren’t going to get it on the first try. We’ve never been out dancing before so when I saw this dress I thought we should do something like that: after we get through all this madness of course. Whoa, are you all right Yurri?”


Poor Yurri nearly had collapsed from relief. Janice held him up until he leaned against the nearest wall, panting. “Sure Jan,” he said. “It’s just a surprise to me that you want to take our relationship to that next level.”


“Well I’ve never dated a Jai before. Even though you’ve never shown me any of your powers, you’ve kept that hidden pretty well from me, I expect you to show me some of your tricks in the future,” she said cuddling up to him almost uncomfortably.


“So you’re a Jai too.” Yurri jumped a little and Janice stepped back when she finally noticed the nutty scientist. “Well that doesn’t change anything. I can hardly believe that anyways though I do find it a bit peculiar under your circumstances.” Tom looked up at Yurri tapping his cheek for a bit then turned to Janice. “You can keep that garment if you want my dear. My closet is getting too crowded anyways.” He waved a hand around for emphasis. “Besides which I didn’t like the fit of that much myself. Even if they do send you something by mistake it’s always a good idea to try it out for quality.”


“Oh thank you Mr. Tom!” she said hopping and clapping her hands. “But how will I carry it with me? We need to avoid certain people and I don’t think Yurri would like to be carrying my dress for me if we have to run.” She gripped her skirts drawing them up for emphasis.


“Oh you don’t have to worry about carrying it my dear. I’ll loan you one of my portable wardrobes. It’s an older model anyways, but it can still come in handy for you. It’s the least I can do for you after you so expertly organized my closet for me.” Tom started shuffling through some hanged shirts to get at something behind them. He came out from all those clothes with a black flat cylindrical looking disk on a couple straps. “I had a harder time making the newer model, which I have on right now; of course I had to figure out how to get it to register the proper brain waves first for me.” The odd little scientist brought it up to Janice and gave it to her looking at her expectantly.


She held it out, dangling from her fingers, at arm’s length looking doubtful at it. “What am I supposed to do with this?” she asked.


Tom slapped his forehead. “Oh that’s right. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve been out of touch with the outside universe for so long I don’t have any idea how the things I make affect people. For all I know the Kaiser Kahn could have gotten married and is raising evil little Kahns himself right now.” Tom shrugged and frowned at both Yurri’s and Janice’s puzzled and blank looks. He continued on undisturbed anyways. “Do you know the company Syndex?”


“The company that makes all those crazy electronic devices, like the Molt Aid for reptile like aliens?” Yurri reasoned out.


“Yes that’s the one.” Tom nodded at him. “They should have my latest device out right now. I think they’ve been calling it the PC2.”


“The PC2?!” Janice jumped giddily clasping the device to her bosom. “You mean you’re the guy who makes those?” she asked pointing to Tom.


“Yes. Yes I am. I actually own that company too, but I let my company aides do all the business for me. I just don't have the time to run Syndex myself. Too busy with my experiments and my hobby to put in the extra effort to run it," he said looking glum. "This is one of the many reasons I need your help."


Yurri looked down on the little man and his girlfriend with a perplexed look on his face. This loon owned the most productive and successful robotics company on the planet? This does explain why this fellow can afford such a place like this. Well maybe later he could milk the guy for something more after helping him out. Janice was still bouncing happily at his side. What was a PC2 anyways?


"That older model you have is the original prototype for the PC2 so it should have a lot more space within for you to use. Good enough for twenty sets or more of clothes I believe," Tom told Janice.


Janice squealed happily, jumping up and down clapping her hands. “And you’re saying that I can put this dress in it too? Oh if only I were at home right now. I’d put all my favorite clothes in here.”


Yurri only stood there scratching his chin. That little strap thing had to do something with clothes. He could not see how anyone could wear that thing and feel decent. Maybe it was a backpack of some sort. If it was he had no idea what or how it held stuff.


The mad scientist chuckled at Janice’s outburst smiling appreciatively at her: blushing a little. Maybe he didn’t get too many praises for his work. That would make sense since he’s holed up in this lab of his most of the time. “My dear since you’ve shown me just how much my work is appreciated here I will allow you to take as many garments from my closet as you want. I don’t wear them all that much anyways. But my mother always taught me to be prepared for anything when it comes to clothes so here it all is. You need to remember to take my mother literally may she rest in peace.” He said that last bit with his head down in a prayerful manner.


Janice squealed again, bouncing up and down, and gave the mad scientist a kiss on his forehead. He blushed fiercely and pointed to a chamber where she could change. After pointing the way for Janice Mr. Tom Finny motioned to Yurri to follow him. “Let me show you how you will be guided to the place I want you to accomplish the task which I’ve asked you to do for me.”


The mad scientist led Yurri deeper through his lab and not too far away this time.  A solid mechanical door slid open when the scientist waved his hand over a control panel and they entered a room that was hard to describe. This room was huge, just like every other room in this large underground hidden laboratory, and it looked something in between a manufacturing line and an electronics store. This place was chockfull of all sorts of random electrical wirings, disks, chips, metal plates, robotic armatures, robotic chassis, anything and everything to even deal with robotics on tall shelves packed high. This machinery shop even had some large moving robotic arms working on random items put on conveyer belts picking random mechanical items from the shelves and using them putting them together.  But one of the odd things about this place was that all of the conveyer belts here weren't placed in any logical way that Yurri could see. This shop seemed to have been put together almost or most likely haphazardly. 


The size of those conveyer belts was no thing to sneeze at either.  Yurri could guess some of them were well over fifty yards long, maybe even longer than that. And all those huge machine arms, more than Yurri could count off the top of his head, were intricately putting some sort of devices together and when one device neared the end of a conveyer belt a robotic arm would transfer said item to the beginning of another conveyer belt or even to the middle of another one too. This scene looked quite random and in much disorder but the end result to what these arms were making looked quite incredible too. There was a pile of odd looking and intricate devices piled up near the entrance of this room.  Yurri could only guess what each device did.


And all the while in this seemingly unorganized production line a five foot long cylindrical almost conical purple floating droid went around zipping to and fro parallel to the ground.  This droid seemed to have many compartments which it constantly opened and protruded out a metal tentacle claw thing or various other attachments which it used to make modifications on the materials that were being worked on by the much larger mechanical arms.  This droid seemed to be in charge of the production line.  For it had many "eye" stalks protruding from the top of its body on either side coming in and out of it just as fast as its tool tentacles looking every which way making sure production was going along as planned.


"UP5! Come over here for another assignment!" the mad scientist yelled out to his creations. That purple floating droid stopped what it was doing and started heading their way. As the droid came their way Tom tried to fill in the continuously confused Yurri. "This, my young friend, is my customizable manufacturing plant for the devices I invent and sell to the public. Whenever I invent something especially popular with the general public my business aids have advised me that I figure out a way get out as many products as possible when said items first hit the shelves. I made this manufacturing plant as versatile as possible.  Once my aides are sure what will sell and just how popular it is they take schematics I give them and build a manufacturing plant separate from the one I have here.  And this," he said pointing to the floating cylindrical droid coming by his side, "is UP5.  Or Utility Patronage droid number five. Its older versions should be around here somewhere doing tasks I set them to earlier.  But all my UP numbered droids are my masterpieces.  UP5 is my latest version of them with all the latest functions and necessities already installed in it.  Say hello UP5." 


Most of its eye stalks focused on Yurri, it beeped coming nearer to him, and a three fingered claw hand came out from one of its sockets jiggling it in front of Yurri.


"Uhh…" Yurri backed away not knowing what to do.  UP5 extended its clawed tentacle again beeping and whistling in an almost disheartened way. Yurri had his hands in front of him in a defensive manner while looking to the scientist for help.   Tom gave him a shaking hand signal then the young man caught on.  He cautiously pinched the clawed appendage and shook it.  UP5 whistled and beeped a pleased sound.  "Sooo…" Yurri cocked his head to the scientist. "It can't talk?" he asked knowing that some droids made, especially maintenance droids, can't be programmed to talk.


"Yes," nodded Tom.  "I made all my UP units from modified Cosmomaton droids. I'm sure you're familiar with the brand. Four legged magnetized rolling droids mainly used on deep space faring ships. Ingenious designs really. Being able to repair a large vessel while under fire.  Still too many space pirates out there." He shook his head. "These poor droids have all their memory taken up by repair schematics and utilization methods to allow any other communication other than binary beeps and bops." He shrugged accepting the limitations of this tech. “Unless you have a secondary device to translate for you of course,” he put in.


Tom turned to UP5. "UP5 here are my instructions," he said bringing out a small chip.  UP5 floated nearer to its creator and the scientist slipped the disk into the droid.  "You got all that?" Tom asked the droid when it was obviously processing the information from the data chip.  The floating droid looked to the scientist and gave an affirming beep nodding its body.  "Well done then!" Tom smiled looking to Yurri.  "UP5 will be your guide and protector while you go on this excursion for me. It will also document any and all reactions you receive from the marvelous alien species I'm sending you out to experiment on for me." 


Tom patted Yurri's shoulder motioning the young lad to follow him again. "Come my young friend and let us procure your girlfriend and I can set you two on your way."  The scientist and Yurri made the short walk back to those enormous closets again.


Thankfully Janice had changed back from that wedding gown to her own brown blue dress skirt again also with, of course, her purse slung over her shoulder. The mad scientist then showed them the way out.


They were in the forest again after that following the odd UP5 droid. The droid led them around the forest until they came to a clearing at the bottom of the hill they were on. A little ways down into the clearing there was a small village or an encampment of some sort. It looked a little like a festival almost with a more permanent look to it though. It was full of many different types of aliens. Of course there were humans wandering around too, -humans were like weeds, they just grow everywhere- but they were few and far in-between here.


The droid started beeping waving its tentacles around sounding like it was giving them instructions. The couple looked at it as it continued on. Yurri had that look of confusion on his face again like he always had on of late but Janice was nodding her head making "uh huh" sounds with an occasional "mmm" put in there. When the machine was finally done it retracted its tentacles and its entire set of eye stalks focused on them looking like it expected something.


Janice nodded and thanked the droid and started toward that odd alien encampment. Yurri followed Janice with a puzzled look planted on his face yet again. "You'd better pick a type of cologne to use and put it on right now, Yurri. We'll need to have you set when we find those specific aliens."


What? How did she know what they were doing here? She wasn’t there when Tom explained it all to him. He gave her a skewed look that she didn’t notice while hurriedly trotting to the bizarre encampment. “Wait Jan, how did you know about that crazy scientist’s plan for me? You weren’t there when he explained it to me.”


“Yeah I know.” She looked at him still trotting ahead of him. “UP5 explained the whole plan to me back there.” The young man slowed down a bit being confused at this. “Come on you slow poke!” She turned around and waved at him walking backwards. “UP5 said that we need to do this pronto before lunch or it might get messy!” Yurri shook his head and stepped up to catch his pace with Janice.


They continued down the small hill at a steady but hurried walk with Yurri more confused than he could ever remember being. How in the worlds could she understand all those beeps and bops from the UP5 droid? Maybe it was better that he didn't know. This girl had been causing him whole worlds of problems since earlier this morning. It may be a better idea to avoid finding out any more about her. Ignorance was bliss after all.


Yurri brought out the two cologne bottles pondering which to put on first. The scientist said he didn’t know how intensely they would react though Yurri was guilty of feeling a little good anticipation at maybe being mobbed by a horde of beautiful alien women. He chose the red cologne, because red was his favorite color.


After spraying his body thoroughly and rubbing it on carefully he turned to Janice, grinning impetuously. “How do I look or smell or whatever?”


Janice looked at him up and down and pinched her nose. “You smell like a dirty sock now. I don’t know how a stench like that could attract any women at all. If you ask me he should have asked me for some tips. This one time…” She kept on like that as they walked downhill to the odd alien festival or whatever it was.


When they entered the place they wandered around looking every which way. The place was full of all sorts of odd looking aliens. There were tents all over the place. All of them varied vastly in shape, size and color. A green and purple bird like alien walked on its hands by them upside down, weird to say the least. The aliens organized themselves into small groups throughout this menagerie. They avoided the small groups of aliens which looked like they didn’t want company with anyone else anyways. There were quite a few activities going on throughout the place. Some of those activities only confused the couple more while others made them blush and quickly scurry away. Yurri wasn’t able to see the point to this conglomeration of all these weird aliens. They were having no luck so far in finding those specific aliens and Yurri’s feet were starting to hurt.


“Hey there sailor what’s your name?” a very sultry and feminine voice came behind Yurri with a slight tap on his shoulder. When Yurri turned around to see who was addressing him he expected to see anything except what he found behind him. A wide long jawed alien was looking into his eyes with huge saucer sized eyes with a sickly green color to its skin. It even had some scales on its neck! “Hey you’re cute. Isn’t this one a catch Franzise?” The alien said to a friend next to it. He wasn’t sure by the way it looked with its oddly shaped body and bumps coming out at odd places, but he thought these aliens were females.


The strange alien female smiled and flounced herself weirdly while tapping his nose in a most sultry way. Her friend tapped a tusk protruding from her mouth – a tusk! – while taking him in up and down. “You know I don’t usually go for humanoids Natrice but there is something different about this one.” Franzise breathed in heavily leaning towards him. “I think he could be a keeper though.” Her face split in two showing round large teeth besides the tusks on the lower jaw.


“Hey I think we should share this catch with everyone!” Natrice grabbed his arm with a big hand that could easily palm his head in it.


“Yeah we shouldn’t be selfish and see how we should divvy him up but we get first dibs, of course,” Franzise chimed in while grabbing his other arm looking into his eyes. “So what’s your name cutie?”


“Uhhmm,” Yurri said at an all-time big loss for words. How to put this and still be polite? You're not my type. I already have a girlfriend. Did you get beaten senseless with an ugly stick or did you get in a fight with an ugly stick and scare it away? Not the best choice of words for that last question there. "Uhh I'm not sure I'm right for you girls. I'm here with my girlfriend right now," he said pointing at Janice who looked very startled at this occurrence.


One of those terrible looking alien females, Yurri thought it was the one called Natrice, chuckled with that amazingly dulcet voice and made a pouty face, at least he thought it was a pouty face, a strange combination, and said, "I don't think your girlfriend would mind us showing your gorgeous self to our friends will you?" That question aimed at Janice ended with a growl and what looked like a threatening smile showing teeth almost bigger and longer than a human’s thumb.


Janice put up her hands saying that they could borrow him for a minute or two as long as she got him back and could follow. The hideous aliens, not polite to call any type of female hideous but Yurri couldn’t think of these people any other way, said that Janice could follow them if she wanted as long as she didn’t get in their way, whatever that meant. They were oddly perky and friendly throughout this whole ordeal yet at the same time quite adamant that Yurri was their find and they had first dibs on him.


The situation was taken completely out of Yurri’s and his girlfriend’s hands. Natrice and Franzise formally introduced themselves informing them that they were of the race called Enohps, a very talkative species apparently. The two told them that this place was for special aliens with social orders -or disorders- too erratic and incompatible with humans, which were the main species on this planet. Therefore some aliens had a whacky idea to form a camp for all the "special" aliens that didn’t get along with humans particularly well out in the wilderness but near enough the city to be a part of it also. While they were telling them all of this they very uncomfortably kept on taking deep breaths near Yurri, as if breathing in his smell.


As these two wonderfully misshapen females escorted Yurri and Janice to wherever it was they were taking Yurri they talked. And not the ordinary type of conversational stuff at all. Yurri expected that the Enohps had a very good reason to be in the place where aliens with weird social orders and customs congregated. Some of the things that they chatted about doing with him would make anyone's skin crawl sometimes literally in fact. After a wickedly long and agonizing time, for Yurri, they arrived where these two females had been taking them. Here is where it all went to lunacy.