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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Dunes of Mars Warrior Princess

Dunes of Mars Warrior Princess

Princess Zapporah was on the way back to her home, the Fortress City called Orillia. One day earlier she held talks with the leaders of the three largest and most influential inhabitants of Mars where nearly 85% of the planet's population was represented there.

She sat a bit taller in the saddle, or so it seemed to her, on her six-legged steed, Tatar. She was still in the afterglow of what success she had attained as she said softly to herself, "I never believed that everyone would show, especially because I asked for the meetings. The first woman leader to bring them together. If I didn't see the other potentates myself I never would have believed it."

She then spoke softly to Tatar, telling him to stop. They had been together since Zepporah was a young woman and they knew each other's moods and moves very well. Shading her eyes with her left hand she peered into the distance toward her destination, the Columbia Hills.

"Those hills don't look any closer," she thought. "It feels like they keep getting moved further away."

The desert heat made the hills shimmer in the distance. "I have never seen it so hot out here," muttering to herself as she snapped the reins that started Tatar moving toward those far-away hills

Princess Zepporah was trained in making desert crossings. She knew the hazards well, especially the heat. The sun was relentless as the desert heat grew more intense. Eventually, the heat made her drowsy. As sleep fell upon her she became limp and began to slip from the saddle. She snapped awake just as she was loosing consciousness and straightened herself in an upright sitting position just before she slid from the saddle.

"Heat stroke. I can't let it get to me," she told herself as her right-hand slipped into the saddlebag to get her canteen. The canteen, called a volmas, was the technological result of centuries of desert crossings made by merchants, thieves, armies, and her people, the Orillians. She had made her volmas with her own hands, tightly weaving the hydrophilic fibers from which she could suck the water. Squeezing the fibers yielded no moisture. "That's just great," she said softly, "I've never seen heat like this."

The need to find water became the immediate priority. She needed to find water for herself, and her mount before the sun addled their brains, bringing what was called vatoos, or hallucinations. Vatoos killed by making its victim believe that water was everywhere they saw the heat shimmering on the desert sand. Elusive pools of water. Its victims can end up going around in circles chasing imaginary watering holes until they fell out of the saddle to become a feast for the saracavs, the local version of vultures.

Saracavs are reptiles that resemble what is called gargoyls by earth standards. They were hideous to see, their leather-like wings flapping, bringing their insatiable appetite to make bones of another desert traveler.

"Focus! Stay focused!", she said to herself. She helped to keep herself alert by singing a song her keepers had taught her. It was a heroic epic about the Thogarians, a legendary angel-like people, sprits from a magical world.

Princess Zepporah was intimately familiar with the area of the desert where she and Tatar were being cooked. She took a chance and changed course to get to a place where there might be some water, a small crater within a larger one that Earth astronomers had named "Gusev."

In what felt like an eternity later Zepporah and Tatar reached the edge of Gusev Crater. She stopped her mount to scan the many smaller craters within Gusev. Most of the small craters were dusty dry but a few of the smaller craters contained oases. Zeppora knew instinctively which ones would most likely contain a small oasis. There were several of the smaller craters nearby but she chose one that was, she guessed, a couple hundred quads from her position. She flicked the reigns and her mount resumed its plodding pace across the desert sand.

Her keepers told Princess Zepporah when she was a child that a great sea once covered the entire desert land of Gusev Crater. Sitting astride her mount she tried to picture this scene in her mind's eye but the mental picture that came to her was fuzzy at best. The biggest body of water she had ever seen was in the Aurium Chaos region of the Valellies Marinaris canyon, a small lake fed by underground springs. Luck was with her and she felt greatly relieved when she cleared the rim of the crater and peered within, to see the water for which she had so desperately hoped.

She had found a small oasis composed of mixture of fuchsia and green growing plants that lay at the bottom. Succulent plants holding life-sustaining water.

Zepporah dismounted and lead Tatar to the shade of a tree with long, stringy branches that extended out from short knobs protruding from the trunk. The branches spread out then arched down, nearly touching the mossy surface beneath where she sat. She still felt lightheaded from her long exposure to the hot early afternoon sun. She would wait for the harsh afternoon sun to sink lower to the horizon before resuming the journey. She and Tatar could refresh themselves and rest for now, but not for long because the chill of the desert night brought its own hazards.

The desert nights were ruled by the Golomns, barbarous desert nomads who respected no one. Zepporah and Tatar needed to be in the safety of the Columbia Hills before nightfall. As she rested she thought back to the meeting she just had with the leaders from of the powerful kingdoms to the east of her home, namely the Cossasians, the Jevaitees, and the Ossadis.

The leaders of these kingdoms made an encampment of several large tents in an atmosphere that was almost festive. Princess Zepporah had been successful in making a mutual defense alliance with the Cossasians to send troops and aid to the Cossasians in the event of an uprising by the Golomns but the reality of politics and prestige were issues with the Jevaitees and the Ossadis. Their leaders did not see the same threat that Zepporah and the ruler of the Cossasians saw.

The Jevaitees were the second most influential and powerful of the kingdoms to the east. They remained skeptical of the possibility of such a threat coming from the dim witted Golomns. The Princess remembered their exact words: "How could those vermin have the audacity to even entertain such treachery against our superior kingdoms? We would require much more proof and evidence pointing to this potential conspiracy and uprising before we could make our pledge and send or call for anyone else's assistance. For now it appears to be meddling in our internal affairs by you, Cossasian and Orillians." That was it, the Princess thought, feeling her anger boil. They had scoffed at the mention of the message left by the Watchers. For all that it meant to her it meant that much less to them.

That evening she made camp in a small ravine in the Columbia Hills. She felt safe there because the small fire that she had built was not visible from the desert. As she sat she reflected back to her life as a small child who lived with her keepers. They would tell her stories while bathing her in the central pool of the palace in the Fortress City. She had a name that was given by her parents, Marcella, but the keepers gave her a name of their own. They called her Zeporrah, meaning "small white bird". The princess willingly adopted the new name.

She recalled her keepers very well, for they cared for her like she was their own child. She could only remember her parents vaguely. They had been killed when she was very young by the blood thirsty Golomns while on their way to the western fringes of the Cidonian Kingdom. Her parents had ruled as King and Queen of Cidonia, compassionate and fair rulers. She blinked her eyes several times and came back to the present. She needed to eat and decided to try her luck at hunting cadok for her evening meal.

A cadok is a small desert animal that dwells in underground burrows and small rock caverns in the desert, they resembled our earth armadillo. The rock dwellers were the ones that Marcella hunted for on this night. These animals resembled what is called an armadillo on Earth. Cadoks have keen hearing can feel the slightest vibration in the ground around them. Their benign appearance is deceiving for they are vicious predators who have a voracious appetite. Not much moved them except for prey and their curiosity.

Dunes of Mars Warrior Princess #2

A cadok is a small desert animal that dwells in underground burrows in the desert some will take to homemaking in small caverns in the rock as well. The rock dwellers were the ones that Zandi hunted for on this night. These animals that resembled a terrestrial armadillo could sense the slightest vibration in the ground around them. These creatures are a deceivingly voracious and vicious predator for their size. Not much moved them except for pray and their curiosity. The cadok moved up the tunnel towards the entrance to it's den with bold purpose in it's quick little steps. The Princess held her energy weapon at the ready at her side while she walked stamping her feet several times on approaching the den containing she hoped would be her evening meal, then took shelter behind a rock. The cadok stuck it's head out of the den and looked around. The desert night appeared to be void of any living thing when suddenly the pulse struck.

The princes slipped the energy weapon back in the side holster and stood with her supple arms out and her fists firmly resting on her hips while appraising her downed prey. Her full breasts beneath her leather tunic rose and fell with her rhythmic breathing. Her eyes nearly glowed with their own inner light in the darkness of the night, her long silken hair fell over her right shoulder seemingly emphasizing the final touch to the proud gracefulness of her stature there in the clearing before her downed prey. She prayed in thanks to the cadok's life force to have given itself to her the sustenance of it's body.

Next morning she was up to greet the rising sun. Climbing atop a high knoll, she again stood regally, with her fists planted on her hips her stature in the early morning sun light appeared to be like the effigy of a great legendary goddess. Her long black silken hair fluttered at her side in the early morning breeze. The well-defined features of her face attested to her nobility. Raising her right arm to cover her black piercing eyes that carefully scrutinized the desert below. On the bicep of her raised right arm was a tattoo of a small white bird. She loaded her gear back into the saddle bags then before climbing on her trusty steed "Iza" she had named her mount. She knelt with her arms outstretched, eyes closed she mimed a silent prayer to the ones whom she called the Watchers, the Light Beings who traveled from afar in their large, bright flying objects.

They were her mentors and teachers. They guided her and prepared her for the final days of chaos and disorder that will come knocking at the very doors of the Fortress at City Square. She had been for warned of the coming of this great Chaos, the danger not only from the Ogasis, there was also the coming of great changes in her world. She prayed for the atchers guidance and to give her what ever strength she was certain she would need to do battle against these forces of evil.

A sand storm was in the air, No indication of it yet accepts for the red ring around the sun and Zandi's well tuned senses contested to it as well. Only about three hours more and she would be home again. The fortress atop of the desert sand, the great cap over the palace, from where Zandi sat astride her mount it appeared to be no more then a large stone monument. She hoped to be home before the sand storm hit. She loved her home and her people, it was part of her not only in legacy but the people were like her family, she loved them and cared for them and would die fighting to protect them from their enemies.

The Empire Province of Cydonia. The Province had a huge land area and living areas that went many levels underground. The kingdom was one of many such places in the province of Cydonia and the one containing her palace was called The Fortress in City Square. Air was filtered in from above through a network of conduits and the water was piped through all of Cydonia from underground springs. Each level of were populated like a small city in itself with shops and businesses and all other menagerie of commerce you would find in a modern city.

She was told by the watchers that many years ago they had constructed these underground dwellings as some sort of research centers, what ever that meant Zandi wondered. Anyway after their work was done they had moved along and turned their home over the Ostanze, their (star children) they had named her people. The Watchers spoke strangely but she could not remember a time where they had been wrong about something, she had complete trust in them.

A lady ran out of a shop chasing a middle aged man wearing the attire of the lower cast. The lady beat the man several times over the head with a catoka, a reptile resembling a small earth alligator that is part of the food chain of Cydonia. "Out! Get out of my shop!" she shouted, "and off to Lod with you, ye ungrateful peasant." The middle aged man was still running blindly in a panic even after the woman had stopped beating him with the catoka and had gone back in her shop.

Shanon, one of the first guard to the princess walked inconspicuously slow along a wall, a hood over his head and intently watched the man cross the street and nearly get run over by a golf cart sized vehicle that floated above the road as though by magic. The vehicle swerved around the man and proceeded on it's way without even slowing down. The middle aged man ran up the street oblivious of the large man that now stood motionless near one of the huge pillars that held up the sixth level ceiling of the underground multi leveled city of Ducada.

Shanon stepped out in front of the man and the man collided, bouncing back falling in a sitting position on the street. The man sat for a second and shook his head then looked up to see what had hit him. A grinning giant sporting a goatee and long Afro braided hair with arms crossed stared back at him. The middle aged man trembled with apprehension. Shanon reached down and helped the man back on his feet and asked him his name.

"My name is Kopas, sir," what can I do for you kind sir? Kopas clasped his hands together and bowed slightly and gulped. "You will come with me, I require your services little man," Shanon commanded. The middle aged man babbled on about his wife and kids and a whole string of other relatives as he shuffled behind Shanon. Shanon growled, "speak not little man." and pushed Kopas forward ahead of him.

The desert warrior princess stood on a balcony two floors up from where Shanon had just exhibited his abduction of a free subject of her kingdom. She still wore the leather tunic and the garbs of a desert traveler. She took the railing of the balcony in one hand and swung over the rail and down catching the railing of the next balcony down with her other hand she swung down to ground level from a sign post and landed about three feet from Shanon. 

The man she knew as a devoted member of her guard and a fierce warrior but she could sometimes almost read the restrained maliciousness just barely held in check behind those nearly glowing amber eyes. The princess holding her sword point down on the ground with her hands resting on top of the hilt she stood legs slightly spread out and addresses Shanon in a soft but authoritative manner.

Agathar, Part 10

Agathar Continued

Part 2

"Captain Jansen here, calling unknown planet, do you copy unknown planet? I need some assistance for landing specifications, do you read?” Over.”  “Please, I repeat, this is an emergency and I repeat. What are your instructions for landing procedures? Over!"
No response.
Captain Jansen is in her shuttle named Endeavour, now running dangerously low on nitronogen and if she doesn’t soon make a decision she could be stuck in orbit around this strange unknown planet forever. She shouts into her communicator once more. "I am running very low on fuel and coming in for emergency landing, over!!"
She fights the controls as she enters the atmosphere. The Endeavour shuddered and rattled like it was about to fall apart at the seams.
Lana sees a patchwork landscape below like the many coloured squares of a quilt coming up rapidly towards her before she passes out.
Two Cadosee sitting in front of their grass hut-like home were looking up at the myriad of bright stars when they noticed this streak of white light coming down out of the sky right towards them. The Cadosee ran atop one of the large limbs in the tree that was their home, just as this great white ball crashed through their hut, demolishing it. The white ball continued towards the planet's surface and stopped with a loud crash and a huge cloud of dust.
Part 3
 Captain Jansen awakens to find herself laying on top of a crystal clear bed made of a soft gel like substance, she shakes her head to clear it and observes that this soft bed is changing into an array of soft muted beautiful colors ...turquoise, pink, jade green, muted orange, and soft red. In the background she can hear pitches being playedon what sounds like an ocarina or a recorder. She looks to her left and she notices a beautiful water fall, she notices that she is high up in the air, suspended almost in thin air. Her eyes follow the sound of the relaxing music to a far corner of the room. Jansen notices a beautiful little woman like creature playing a small instrument that looks as if it is made of earthen clay. The little instrument has holes in it over which her fingers glide effortlessly and quickly. There are designs of the sun on the sides of the little instrument. The small woman plays a beautiful array of healing melodies. Jansen is still foggy in mind and awareness when she hears a small male sounding voice sounding from behind her.
"JaJi plays beautiful songs does she not ?" the little man walked around the comfortable table where Jansen was laying. She tried to get up quickly but grew faint again and once again drifted into the comfort and peacefulness of the table, the lights and the music. The little man smiled a big smile, he had tiny even teeth as a child and very smooth skin, as one of the Cadose tribe would describe him in a language Jansen could understand, Meklon was a handsome and happy man.
Meklon was 125 earth years old, middle aged for a Cadose. He was also tall for his kind, he stood four feet, three inches in his bare feet. He was thinking of the last time that he had encountered someone from the topside of the planet, it was when he was very very young. This visitor was something different she was female. He could feel even in her sleepy state that she was anxious and afraid, it was his job to make sure that this stranger felt welcome in his beautiful land.
Jansen lay on the table unaware of the time, she was aware that something terrible had happened but her body did not feel broken, she also had the distinct knowing that her ship was not destroyed totally, and she remembered running too low on bubbling and crashing through some poor natives home. Other than a tiny bit of achiness in her head, she felt more relaxed than she had in many years and trips in her trusty QLPJ.
"You suffered what you would call in your place of origin, a slight concussion. We have been treating you for three of your earth days now and you are coming along nicely" Meklon glided over to her side and put his little hand on her arm to comfort her. " I know three of your days seems a long time, but your concussion though slight had us a bit worried, you kept murmuring words.. Quantum... bubbaline...Puddles... Jumpers... we could not figure out what you were murmuring about, so we decided to let you rest. You must be very hungry for your kind of food at this type, however all we can offer you is the fare that we consume." Meklon smiled with his little even teeth brightly and waved away the musician. He then clapped his hands and called for the food servant to come with a cask of fruit.
" We are here what you in your place of existence would call vegetarians. We gave up animals for slaughter and food many eons ago. It has somewhat stunted our growth, as you notice I am shorter than you are, but we are far healthier and we are much higher in vibration which is why we were able to heal you so quickly, but more about that later, for now you must eat and regain your strength. Once you are feeling back to normal, we can speak about why you are hear and why you are so anxious. In the meantime enjoy our wonderful fruit of the Tentu trees where we make our homes. 
Part 4
After the first spoonful of sliced tentu, Captain Jansen’s began to perk-up. She did not speak right away, giving the meal time to fully nourish her. The fruit was not overly sweet for her taste but was
high in fructose and glucose, the nutrients required by all human and animal life forms.

The intrepid Captain introduced herself to her hosts. "My name is Captain Jansen, and, as you have already discerned, I am an Earth being. I apologize for almost destroying your home, and I am most grateful for your care and understanding." After an awkward silence she continued: "I know that the musician's name is JaJi. May I ask your name, where I am, and how you know about Earth and its inhabitants? I was lost when I landed here and I know nothing of
where I am."

The male creature introduced himself. "My name is Meklon and the one whose music is healing you is my forever partner. Her name is JaJi and she is quite skilled in the ways of healing, with things that grow from the soil, from this tentu tree, and from sounds. The pad on which you were lying when you awoke uses colored light and their varying vibrations to help the other ways of healing."

"Meklon, please tell me more, like how you know about Earth, why your people don't eat meat, and how you knew what I needed to begin healing."

Meklon pulled a chair next to JaJi and made response to Captain Jensen.

"Many Earth years ago we were visited by a huge craft that was filled with hostile beings who walked on two of what you call feet. They were huge, larger than you by far. Aside from the fact that they were marauders they ate no fruits or other things that grow from the ground. They had one habit that we could not accept. Whatever they ate, it had to be served to them alive! After seeing that our tribe ate only things that the planet brings forth. They called themselves Klings, or something like that."

"Were they covered with fur?" "Yes." "Then you were visited by Klingons, a warrior tribe always in search of a war, it's a sport for them" said the Captain, but it still does not explain how you know so much of
Earth. Please, tell me more."

Meklon took drink to soothe his throat then went straight to the facts, as he knew them.

"The Klingons plundered and sacked as much of our existence as they could, but being a peaceful tribe made them leave sooner. We had no weapons or things for war to give to them."

Chapter 5

Paula's awake! She ain't necessarily wrapped tightly, but she is awake!

The Captain's ears were open and her mind was assimilating all of what Meklon was saying, down to the slightest vocal nuance. "So the Klingons came and left and you are here to tell about it. I suppose
that's proof that wars are useless, cruelty is wrong, and that peaceful ways will win-out. Thank you, Meklon."

"Wait! I have more to tell you, Janson." "About seven Earth days later we were visited by a huge intergalactic ship of some sort. It belonged to something called The Federation. I was frightened of it, even more than I was of the Klingon ship because we have never imagined of such things. We don't build such machines here and we have no desire to leave this planet!!!"

Jansen was giving Meklon her undivided attention as he continued, "This huge ship sent emissaries to us. They traveled on a sunbeam. They appeared in our world and we knew not how so it must be on the beams of the sun."

"Their leader was a female named Jane, or something like it, and she brought one of the beasts with her We hid as well as we could but she knew that we were here."

"A Klingon?," asked Janson.

"Yes. His name was Warf."

"Did he harm you or show hostility?"

"No, he was apologetic for what the others had done to us, the marauders," said Meklon. He continued, The leader, the woman, told us that the Klingons had been fierce warriors who had recently found the path to peace. All but a few, 'renegades,' as I recall, were peaceful beings. What is a renegade? We have no such word here."

" A renegade," replied Jansen, "is one who does not do as promised. The Klingons who came here were not peaceful and still held to the old ways of hostility. What else happened?"

"The Klingon was a huge creature whose ways were indeed peaceful. We were able to feel his genuine apology for what the others had done. It is our ability to feel as another does that has kept us alive."

"They asked if there was any damage done that they could fix but by then we had repaired what was damaged, except for our fear of the Klingon's return. Warf knew that, and gave us a talking-device so we
could call out to Jane's ship for help if we need it. That calmed us much but we are still wary of odd things among the stars."

The term, "talking-device" jarred Jansen back into her own reality. Her ship, the QLPJ, was on

the ground, well-below the home of her Cadose hosts. She could feel eyeballs rolling on her but she saw no other Cadose. The healing bed and music kept recurring to her. She was working to grasp every little piece of information she had but was in overload.

"Let's go down and look at your ship before the ground dwelling Cadosee get to it first," said Meklon. Janson agreed and down they went to survey the damage.

Meklon and Jansen walked on the soft ground, toward the QLPJ. The ground was not marsh, it was more like a bog, having a springiness to it but not flooded. As they got closer Jansen exclaimed, "Great leapin' horny toads!!!! Look at my ship!!!! I knew that I should have turned left at at that last star sytem!!!"

Meklon acknowledged that the ship was pretty dinged-up, even dented right below the front window, and said, "I wish that I could help fix it with you but we have no understanding of what it is."

Jansen told him of the Quantum Level Puddle Jumper and how it ran on bubbline, could travel faster than light, made no pollution, and so on. Poor Meklon listened. When she had finished, Meklon sheepishly remarked, "We know nothing of such a wonderful craft. We are farmers, gatherers, and we have all we need right here. I never want to leave Agathar. It is peace and plenty."

"I'm sorry, Meklon," said Jansen. She reached into her pocket and brought out a small, rectangular thing that opened into two parts. She was careful to explain that it was a talking-device and had no hostile powers. Meklon reminded her of his ability to feel within her.

Janson pressed buttons on her device. The tones it made sounded like a tune. Meklon felt the urge to dance but Jansen had finished pressing the buttons. She then talked into the device saying, "This is Captain Janson and I need assistance. My craft crash landed on a planet named Agathar, somewhere in the Epsilon Sector. No, I can't make it go. It's beaten up and I need help to get it out of here for repairs. What???? No sooner than thirty minutes???? What kind of service is that???? OK, OK." She then closed the talking device.

Meklon asked whom she called. She told him that it was for help to repair the QLPJ, and that it would take thirty minutes to arrive.

"From where is this help coming?" he asked.

"Earth," said Jansen.

Meklon shook his head and muttered, "Methinks thou protests too much. Earth is a fair distance away. Just my thoughts."

Jensen was stopped in her tracks as she asked herself, "Where did I hear that before? Who told me that 'My patience is legendary?'"

Several minutes later Meklon gently tapped Jansen on her arm. He knew that she was thinking, deeply thinking, pondering. She shook her head as though she had been sleeping. "Are you alright," Meklon
asked. "Yes," she replied, I was just 'dans la lune.' Meklon nodded but he did not understand her words about 'la lune.'

Almost from nowhere a battered-looking craft appeared. Its pilot gently landed the ancient ship on the soft ground.

A small creature, walking on two legs, appeared from within. He had a leathery appearance and wore old, tattered, and stained work clothing.

"My name is Neelix and I am here, at your service. Now which one is Captain Jansen?"

The Captain spoke to identify herself. She asked, "What in creation are you doing here? I was expecting assistance from the Intergalactic Spacecraft Club service. What's this about?"

Neelix showed her his ID card but that did not assuage Jansen' concern.

"Your ship is almost as bad-off as mine. Will you be needing service, too?"

Neelix was a mild-tempered fellow, humble almost to a fault. He deflected the Captain's derision and softly replied, "Captain Jansen, I am not here to merely take your craft in-tow. Although
I have never seen anything like your ship, I can repair it."

"What are you, some kind of magician?, sneered Jansen.

"No, I am not, Captain. I am an expert in the salvage of wrecked and inoperative craft. I will tow your craft to my shop near Aldebaran and I will fix it."

To be continued

Agathar, Part 6

Neelix to the resue

"So, how long, may I ask, will it take you for you to tow my ship to Aldebaran, fix it, and come and get me when it's done,?" Jansen  asked Mr. Neelix.

Neelix raised his hand and began counting rapidly on his fingers, then stopped abruptly counting his fingers and loudly declared, "10 days, Captain Jansen, to be exact it will be 10 days,  6 hours, and 36 minutes," Neelix responded

Jansen let out a laugh and said, "And how have you arrived  at such a precise number, Mr. Neelix?," as she tried to suppress another whoop of laughter. 

"Well that's just a rough guess, provided I have all the necessary parts available at  Aldebaran. But if not, and I have to order from the Nefanen outpost, that would be adding another 2 days 7 hours and 6 minutes," Neelix said,  with crossed arms. 

"13 days 13 hours and 42 minutes max, right,?" Jansen  asked to verify the numbers.

"Yes, give  a few hours for possible unforeseen problems or take a few if all we need is at hand and everything works," Neelix responded dryly.  He continued almost non-stop: "There is one good thing in our favor though; we have one of the best and biggest intergalactic junk yards this side of the Milky Way Galaxy."   He beamed upon his declaration then once again folded his arms and continued to beam.
Jansen hesitated for a minute as she  paced back and forth holding the fingers of her right hand to her chin. Then she stopped abruptly. She  raised her hand with her right index finger in the air as an indication she had something to say, but Neelix cut her off by clearing his throat as if he wanted to speak first.

At that moment  I thought about Captain Janeway and how she would  have dealt with this “used car salesman” as a  part of her crew. I was brought back to reality by Neelix's voice trailing on.

"OK, right now you are probably thinking right about what this is going to cost you", he said.

"Yes you could say that the thought has been in the neighborhood of my mind," Jansen responded.

"Captain Janeway has officially named you to be the custodian of this planet until it's been taken off red alert from possible intruders who could and would alter the entire natural environmental and cultural order of this world and turn it  into chaos."

"This planet has been put on the restricted list where only a very select few who are allowed on this planet and only if they have a designation for being here,  by the order of one"

"OK, and how long will that be?" Jansen queried. " I'm a space jockey not planet sitter.”

Neelix  spread his arms out and shrugged. "Does the sun set on a planet in a binary star system?"

"OK, I said, guess I have little choice anyway."
"Well, you do actually, you could come back to the station with me and catch the next freighter going back to Earth, and I'll be quite happy just getting paid with salvage cost for  your ship. Spaceship parts are expensive and not to mention scarce way out here. That's why I talked my partner Gena into zoning an area of space in Aldebaran, for a junk yard, or as it was once coined in an old Earth term as a Sargasso Sea.”

Three hours later, she was back up in the perch after a ride
up on the creaky wooden-framed Cadose elevator. She had not learned of the mechanics of these elevators except that they work on centrifugal force.

 Since she was going to be here for a while she decided to learn not only about the mechanics of the elevator but also about these peoples' culture and their harmonized coexistence with their natural surroundings.

After much loud noise and screeching of metal of which she could hear from her perch more than she could really discern by eye, she saw a movement. It was Neelix's ship rising over the tops of the trees where it had remained half-hidden since his arrival.
 It rose up completely above the trees the hovered where Jansen's had lain in an open  swampy area near one of Agathar's seas.

As it hovered there Jansen again heard much groaning and screeching of steel, then her ship began to raise up off the ground. Her communicator beeped and she withdrew the instrument from the pack sack she had hung on a branch stub sticking out from the tree trunk,  pressed the talk button and said, “Jansen here.” There was only one person in this galactic sector of space that would be close enough to buzz her communicator, she thought.

"OK my friend, you are a very lucky lady, whatever you have in that thing  for a propulsion system appears to still be intact and can still be brought back online. But for now all I can muster is minimum power, enough to help me with the lift I need  to get off planet.  I don't think my old bucket would have been able to provide enough on its own to tell the truth," Neelix's voice crackled over the communicator.

"So what it boils down to, Madam Capitan, is that the heart, the inside,  is structurally  undamaged. Whatever the structural material is called, I never seen anything like it before. The bad part is  some of the body got a bit beaten up, but nothing that can't be repaired." Neelix informed her.

I think overall, I like the little guy,” I thought, then realized how Captain Janeway had done it.

"OK, Neelix, deliver a message to Captain Janeway, I accept her request, or is the request from The Order of One itself? It does not matter whose order it is. I respect and honor Captain Janeway,” she replied via communicator.

There was only silence on the communicator followed by a clicking sound. I heard whining sound that grew louder each second and dust flew below. There were several loud rattling sounds along with the high pitched whining followed by a chug chug sound then a loud explosion. Neelix's ship seemed to shimmer like heat waves on a paved road on a hot sunny day. The next second nothing was there just the cloud of dust. Neelix had set off for Aldebaran with my ship.

Wow, by the sound of that Mr. Neelix had better bring his own ship into the shop or he's going to be out of the salvage business, she thought. She stood for a second longer scratching her right temple then turned to join her Cadose friends. 

Jansen almost ran into Meklon as she turned to join the others. "My apologies," she said, pulling her foot away from where it had rested on the end of Meklon's foot. 

Hands clasped, she bowed slightly and went to take another step back and felt her back hit something.  Thern she heard a lot of clatering sounds coming from behind her, followed by a few choice Cadose cuss words. 

Jansen was petrified.  She didn't even move, let alone turn to look. She held her hand against her lips and chewed on her index finger. Danko, the name of the Cadose with whom Jansen had just collided, had a wooden tray full of wooden containers filled with food knocked from his hands. He was complaining to the others something about Jansen's being too big to be living with them and could he have permission to throw her off the platform. 

Again, after a few seconds of uneasy silence, Jansen heard them all break out in hearty laughter. She sighed in relief.

Agathar part 7

Retreating to the far side of the branch, Meklon's neighbors and others gathered and soon a consensus among all present was reached. Then there was the traditional Cadose ceremony of nomination of Jansen to the position as custodian and intermediary by the confederation of planets for subject planet of Agathar; to keep it safe by any and all means at Jansen's disposal.
Her first order was to discourage intruders from entering Agathar’s planetary space. After this, Meklon also instructed Jansen on the custodial duties that were to be executed on planet side, that is, on the surface of the planet.
Beneath the trees was a network of chambers and tunnels within the great root system of Agathar’s gargantuan trees. A base of command outfitted with all of the most modern technology lay within that root system.
The Agatharians had not needed custodians for a very long
time and they hoped that Jansen’s tenure would be quite brief.
"I will not be of much use until I get my ship back, which is, going by Neelix's own calculations, 13 days 13 hours and 42 minutes", Jansen declared and looked at Meklon. She waved her arms while making a perplexed face.
Meklon smiled and replied, “That's OK. We have much for you to do in your newly-appointed command position while awaiting return of your...QLPJ? Meklon used the term ‘QLPJ’ rather quizzically with a slight look of puzzlement as well.
“Quantum Level Puddle Jumper,” Jansen filled in the blanks. “Hyperlightspeed Antimatter Particle Harmonizer-Fleet Utility was the original designation. It can leap quantum levels of reality. Home built in my own back yard at that." Jansen added rather proudly with a smile. "It was a patch-up job, very much like a friend I knew in another world, he called it sideways engineering".
Jansen continued: "Your...well...our friend, Neelix, seemed to have a good eye for the unusual and the unique. It's the unusual and the unique that sometimes turns out to be more valuable than any jewels or monetary value that one could demand.” “The unusual and the unique has opened the door to the unseen. That is the easy part. The hard part is this: Do you really have the guts to step through that door? It is a door
of your own creation" Jansen ended abruptly and loudly, nearly knocking Meklon off his stool, grazing his nose as the palm of his hand went up his chin when his elbow slid off the platform railing.
Jansen laughed and said, “It's OK, Meklon. I promise I won't open that door again in your presence. Anyway, when do I start my duties?"
Meklon just stared at her blankly for a second then collecting himself told her, "Oh, that won't be for a while my friend. You need to mend first. Not until you get your ship back." Meklon quickly added.
At that moment a form in the semi darkness appeared. It was Jaji holding a tray with bowls containing many different bright colored fruits. She set the tray on the table next to them then pulled up a chair and sat down and waited. She looked at each and asked wryly, "Have I stricken the two of you speechless?” Then she smiled and went on, "Please continue, and take time for nourishment as well."
"Ah," Meklon said, “Yes, of course. Captain Jansen and I were just discussing some possible places she can visit during her off time. She mentioned something about the little children with the dragonfly wings, a singing waterfall and some type of strange ocean, one with different colored layers of water, and…" he trailed off as Jaji broke in.
“I know of these places!” she almost screamed in excitement. “I was there when I was a young child."
"You see, Captain Jansen, this is the way of this beautiful place. All is in harmony, even this place you seek, which is on the other side of this world.” “A small continent isolated, by itself in the middle of a vast sea. Each element here contains a world of its own, one as equal as the other here, order and balance of all species; a balance that must never be broken if all species are to survive.” 
“And this was the reason you were drawn to this planet. You have a role to play in the continued history of Agathar. One that can only be fulfilled by someone special from another world. We were told that we will know you, even if you are oblivious to what that part is and the reason you are here to play it at this time." Jaji looked at Jansen with fixed eyes, studying and evaluating her through her own perception of Jansen.
"Your transportation will arrive in the morning to take you Moro," Jaji finished. A gust of wind blew through the thick limbs of the intertwining limbs and branches of the great trees, causing a groaning sound like that of a wooden hulled tall ship on the ocean.

Agathar part 8

A gust of wind blew through the thick limbs of the intertwining limbs and branches of the great trees, causing a groaning sound like that of a wooden hulled tall ship on the ocean.
Early morning Jansen awoke being shaken by the shoulder by Jeji's gentle hand. "Wake up, Jansen, wake up," she spoke in a low, nearly whispered tone. She straightened up again and said, "It's time, Captain. It is time for you to leave on your journey to Moro." You transportation is here and waiting." She finished and stood silently and politely, if not impatiently, waiting for Jansen's response.
Jansen sat up in the comfortable bed and brushed the hair from her face, then looked up squinting at Jeji. The process of becoming fully awake and memory kicking in had not yet seemed to be fully completed. The kicking in was rather sluggish on this particular morning.
Then full memory came on-line. "Oh, yes, I remember now. Moro!," Jansen exclaimed as she tumbled out of bed and quickly began pulling her clothes on. Jumping on one leg while pulling up her jeans, she hurriedly started for the door, then stopped and turned to Jeji and asked, "Would you like to come with me?"
Jeji thought for a moment that she was going to decline, then she ran up to Jansen and hugged her and said, "Sorry for my emotional outburst, Captain, but yes I would love to go and I would be honored to go with you.

She did her best to stand at attention and gave the heartiest salute she could muster. “After all, I will be needing someone who knows the area,” Jansen said with approbation. And off they went towards the door, both as eager as the other to get on with the journey.
For Jansen, Moro was a place she had heard about from a friend, a friend from back when she was a young graduate of the Galactic Merchant Marine Institute. Two young ladies sitting in the shade of a maple in the typical mid-August heat, sitting and telling each other fantasies of other worlds, some magical with beautiful princesses riding upon winged unicorns and other fantasies of fabled creatures and beings.
Agathar, she told me, was like a legend, but it was for real. She had been there. It was almost like Jansen had been there, too, with all the stories she had heard, but had never quite digested as real. And here I am, she thought. Coincidence?
When Jansen got out onto the wooden platform, she turned left and started to make her way across the great limb extending out from the platform to the next tree where Cadose elevator would be. She found her way blocked by Meklon and another of the Cadose she remembered from the night before, Jadi.
Jansen turned to go around them thinking that they had just happened to converge at the same place, but they moved with her. Jensen stopped, and asked, "OK guys, what's up? Has the council accepted Danko's request from last night,” she asked jokingly. Well, she hoped it would be taken in jest.
"My apology,” Meklon said, “but you should know by now that you are taller and you have longer legs and move much faster than we do, so please, at least do take time to look around before you step on someone. I tried to get your attention when you came out the door but you never looked my way. I thought we were going to have to tackle you, like your people do at what you call a football game." Meklon finished, then gave a slight smirk and spread his hands as if in ignorance, like I'm only the dumbfounded messenger. 
“OK, phew, a little sarcastic humor I can take,” Jansen thought. She followed Danko and Jadi back in the other direction. Her jaw dropped and her eyes must have nearly popped out of their sockets when Danko presented her with her transportation to Moro.
Perched on the next limb up from where they were gathered was a very large feathered creature, the Cadose version of a dragon. She gazed upon it in amazement as well as with awe while scratching her head.
“Oh my goodness, you don't expect me...” she trailed off while pointing to the beast up on the next limb, momentarily lost for further words. Then putting her hand down she said. "You are not serious that I fly upon the back of that thing, are you? This is a joke, is it not?" Everyone remained silent except for Jeji who spoke.
“According to our legend this emissary that was, is, or has come to our world, was presumed to be the legendary Prince of Dragons from the realm of the little people with the fairy wings; a dragon rider warrior, defender of peaceful non-aggressive worlds.”
Jansen looked to both sides of her, put her right hand on her chest then said, looking back at Jeji, "Me? You’re kidding, I pray. I have never ridden on a dragon before. The one mentioned in your legend would better fit in stories told to me by my friend back home. "The friend I was telling you about that I knew back at the Galactic Merchant Marine Institute. I'm just a rocket jockey, my friend," Jansen retorted.
“It's OK Captain, you do not need to fly the beast, I can fly it and you are my honorable passenger,” Jeji proudly announced. Both Jadi and Meklon clasped their hands before them and bowed slightly in approval.
“OK, how hard can that be?” I asked myself. “After all, my friend did make it sound kind of like a romantic adventure. She, for that matter, had appraised it to the next best experience to good sex.”
After I had managed to climb on the beast, complete with my packsack which I was now securing to the back of my woven straw saddle on the dragons back, I proceeded to tie myself to the straw saddle as a precaution. Even seasoned dragon riders did this.
I looked down for a few seconds. Seeing the patchwork landscape below and the motion of the dragon beneath me had me kind of feeling I may be spilling my beans shortly. I felt a thump and a motion like a freefall then I heard the beat of the great wings upon the air about us and we were lifted once more. Unfortunately my breakfast was left behind.

Agathar Part 9
After about an hour of feeling wretched, Jansen’s stomach finally began to settle. Jeji had her back to her but judging from the motions of her body, Jansen could feel she was as one with the beast that carried them and she enjoyed the feeling of freedom.
It was at this point when Jansen became aware of the motion of the great beast beneath them and she began to feel a rapport with it and rode along with the flow of energy. Jeji, as though reading her mind, turned to look at her and smiled, then turned back towards the horizon.
Jansen spread her arms out and let the wind blow through her long hair, floating on the beautiful scent of the many colored blooms at the base of the giant trees, a very long way down she thought.
She realized that her fear had also subsided, giving way to another set of feelings. For once Jansen had no idea in how many years she since she had felt freedom to this depth. She was also immersed in a tremendous love of all living things around her. It surged through her! She smiled, remembering her friend’s description of what it was like to ride one of these great creatures.
This one reminded her more of a very large, furry teddy bear than a dragon, albeit one with a beak lined with shark-like teeth, feathered wings and tail, and four sets of 60cm claws. Every beat of its wings Jansen felt as though it was her own. It truly was as close as a flightless human could get to free, independent flight.
Jansen whispered to herself, “Thank you, Vanisa,” remembering her university friend who had told her so many stories about dragon back riding. “I am honored to have been chosen to experience a similar reality. It is not only feeling the spirit of life; it is being a part of the life and its spirit as well.”
“So it would appear that I have not just traveled linear distance from point A to point B, but I have gone beyond the realm of space and time, into another reality. A parallel reality of my own. I guess I haven't been in Kansas for a while now, Toto. The driver just forgot to tell me when I got off the bus,” she continued, absorbed in contemplation of her new circumstances.
Jansen then broke out in laughter followed by a fit of the giggles. Jeji turned to see if all was well. Jansen let out another little fit of giggles then said, waving her right hand, "I'm fine! Never felt better in my life! For that matter I have never felt this well in all my life to my recollection! Full speed forward!” she said to Jeji with a laugh.
Jansen braced herself against the sudden forward surge, as the rhythmic beat of ‘Teddy's’ great wings to either side quickened.
"Yes! Teddy! That will be my name for our flying steed.” Jansen declared to Jeji. “If that is OK?” Jansen asked.
Jeji turned and said, "Yes, if you wish, but one has no need for a name if one speaks from mind to mind. But in the physical world, where there is no such link, I can't see why she could not be addressed as Teddy. Is that a name for a female,” Jeji asked with a smile.
Jansen's bottom jaw dropped once again, one of many times since her arrival here, she thought to herself. Had not Venisa mentioned that her dragon steed was also female?.

"Hang on Captain!" Jeli shouted, just Teddy made a sharp left turn with a great flap of her mighty wings. Jansen would have slid out of the straw saddle if she hadn't been tied to it.
As they leveled off again, she noticed that it had become darker. Looking above, she discovered that they were flying through a bank of clouds. Jansen felt the moistness on her cheeks from the thick, warm mist that surrounded them. She felt a downward surge then suddenly they were in sunlight once more. Far below them was the ocean, from one horizon to the other.
The horizon was a beautiful turquoise glow, an inner light of its own. Retreating back from the turquoise horizon towards the area below them were four layers of ocean water in deep mauve, purple, dark blue, and vivid aquamarine. These layers appeared to alternate from one color to another much like the Earth’s ocean currents would if they were so colored.
There were many different creatures, small, medium, large and very large, and gargantuan in that ocean. Jansen wasn't so certain that she would relish a fall into those waters, especially if some of its denizens were meat eaters. She would only be an appetizer for some

Another jaw-drop ensued upon the sighting of a pod of the Agatharian variety of what might best be called ‘dolphins.’ Jansen nearly fell out of her seat again as she turned herself to follow them as they swam.

"Mermaids!" she shouted and pointed excitedly below them for Jeji to look, too. Jeji didn't appear to pay them any attention, like she had seen them so many times already.
Jeji looked back and gave Jansen the sign of acknowledgment by closing a loop between right thumb and index finger, then smiled, as Teddy again banked sharply to the right and down. The sudden drop felt to Jansen like her stomach had come up to meet her throat, but she did not get nauseous this time.
They flew within two meters from the surface of the water as the entire pod of beautiful mermaids followed them, playfully jumping up into the air trying to catch them. At dusk the mermaid people left and Jeji and Jansen just sat and drifted with the rhythm of
Teddy's wing beat.
"I see it!" I shouted to Jeji, “Off to the right! Land!" I declared and pointed excitedly.

Agathar 1 part 10 and 11, same page

Agathar part 2, Agathar 3 Agathar 4, Agathar 5 Agathar 6, Agathar 7, Agathar 8, Agathar 9 Agathar, same page