Riches Unknown

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    Riches Unknownby J D Marksman

    CHAPTER 1

    Limping back towar the p!anet"s s#r$ace% the broken ship Ho!y Terror manages to sett!es own into its berth whi!ethe two occ#pants race abo#t sh#tting e&erything that sti!! manage to work be$ore an o&er!oa occ#rre' (That irty

    rotten !iar%( )era e*p!oes' (He is not going to rest #nti! e&ery !ast component o$ these engines are rep!ace'( As she

    says this% there is spitt!e er#pting $rom her mo#th with e&ery emphasi+e wor'

    ,hene&er she gets this angry% Tony a!ways !ets her b!ow o$$ steam witho#t trying to soothe her or say anything that

    might so#n in the !east bit a paci$ying intent' He a!ways ho!s his tong#e when it comes to this with her' -he was a

    rea! he!!ion' )era has a ."/( $rame that is s!im 0 ath!etic an sporting a re $!aming t#$t o$ $!yaway hair to boot'

    ,hene&er she got $!aming ma !ike now% her hair a!ways seeme to stan on en as i$ it ha a !i$e o$ its own' ( $ee!sorry $or that poor s#cker when we isembark%( Tony says #ner his breath as he per$orms the !ast series o$ systems

    eacti&ation'

    (Hey )era% ho! on now% we aren"t thro#gh yet'(

    n rep!y% she booms back at him% (2es we are an yo# know it' 2o#"re not going to ho! me back this time% so on"t

    e&en try'( ,ith that% she b#rst o#t o$ the hatchway ten $eet $rom the cockpit cabin !ea&ing him to $inish #p'

    -ighing with great patience% Tony says% (,omen are so inepenent these ays now that we are in the 34th ecae

    o$ space e*p!oration'(

    5e$ore he is e&en o#t o$ the hatchway% there can be hear angry sho#ts coming $rom the near!y so#nproo$ panesseparating the !aning station"s o$$ice where )era an the e*ec#ti&e o$$icer was !ocate an the se&enty $i&e $eet o$

    open air to where the ship ha !ane'

    Looking aro#n at the other shipmasters that were trying to keep b#sy an preten they weren"t hearing any o$ this%he 6#st shr#gs his sho#!ers an pantomime an ( on"t know abo#t her anymore%( an a !opsie grins as an

    apo!ogy $or the isr#ption'

    '''(J#st who o yo# think yo# are% a!!owing a ship to be !a#nche be$ore ha&ing a!! systems checke o#tbe$orehan7( 8h boy' ,e"re going to nee a magni$ying g!ass to $in this poor so#! a$ter she"s one chewing him

    o#t'

    The e*ec#ti&e o$$icer in charge o$ a!! ships in this !aning bay !ooke withere an e$!ate with a !ook o$ $ear$#!

    esperation at the opene oor as Tony entere' He was abo#t to mo&e towar the oor b#t was intercepte as )era

    starte wa&ing a !oae $inger in his $ace as spitt!e streame $rom her open porta! ca!!e a mo#th'

    A$ter twenty min#tes o$ #se!ess han searching $or the hien switch the station sec#rity team ha recent!y insta!!e%

    Thoren% the !aning bay o$$icer% was ab!e to break $ree o$ his $ear an press it a$ter rea!i+ing what his $ingers were

    act#a!!y to#ching $or the past $i&e min#tes'

    n no time at a!!% sec#rity men came crashing in !oae $or bear e*pecting a s#icie $reak' nstea they came $ace to

    $ace with a $erocio#s $e!ine o$ a woman' nstant!y she is ca!me own a$ter rea!i+ing they ha company an $acing

    the new arri&a!s she asks% (s there something we can o $or yo# gent!emen9(

    ("m a$rai we are going to ha&e to ask yo# to !ea&e' :ow'( 8ne o$ the men sai a$ter momentari!y being stoppe in

    tracks with her $erocity then her instant ca!m' (t wi!! on!y be $or a moment whi!e we try to get to the bottom o$ a!!

    this an make some sense o$ it a!!'( Looking at Tony% he inicates the oor'

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    (Come on )era% !et"s not make any more o$ a scene' "m s#re the chie$ c!ear!y #nerstans what nees to be one in

    orer to set things right' Come a!ong now'( ,ith that she obeient!y comp!ies with her h#sban an together they

    go o#t to seek s#itab!e ;#arters #nti! their ship"s repairs are comp!ete'

    < < < < o$$ point >>not !ike !ast time' That was two

    months ago' Maybe this time it wi!! be i$$erent'

    (Engines are a green% Tony%( )era says' P!ease beyon compare an g!owing with a!! the new gagets an harware

    the chie$ ha inc!#e as compensation an to 6#st get ri o$ that cra+y woman' -he knew she was a pain at times%

    b#t it a!so pai o$$ being s#ch a $irecracker as she was% too'

    (Engaging in $i&e% $o#r% three% two% one'''( an the screen isp!aying a wie range o$ stars now becomes a so!i wa!!

    o$ grey nothingness as they isappear $rom sight among the m#!tit#e o$ twink!ing o$ stars an stream towars a

    $orgotten wor! against an imagine contestant an to their estination >>se&enty two !ight years away where a

    p!anetary system o$ #nimaginab!e things were to! them'

    (,ere $ina!!y going to o it% we are act#a!!y on o#r way to =entari#s )9( -he asks a!tho#gh not e*pecting an

    answer' -aying this with ama+ement in her &oice an with a warmth in the eyes that are $oc#se on the on!y man

    that co#! bring any trace o$ $emininity o#t in her% she ;#iet!y says% ( !o&e yo# Anthony 5arnes%( with a!! her heart'Reaching o&er to where he sat% she kisses his $orehea an seats herse!$ $or $#rther astra! ca!c#!ations'

    ( !o&e yo# two% my !itt!e he!!ion wi!cat'( Looking back to the $orwar isp!ay% he then m#rm#rs% (To o#r estiny

    an riches #nknown'(

    5ening own !ow an retrie&ing a package $rom a hien compartment he opens it an ho!s in his hans the map

    that ha been sm#gg!e o#t o$ a contesting system where sa!&aging !ost ships an $orgotten wor!s was an i!!ega!

    acti&ity' They both knew the conse;#ences $or anyone ca#ght oing so or e&en possessing in$ormation o$ s#chacti&ity' The con&icte wo#! recei&e a sti$$ pena!ty an e&en $ace the possibi!ity o$ !oosing their spacer"s

    creentia!s an?or their ship'

    Thinking o$ the c!ose ca!! they ha whi!e the engines were being o&erha#!e an those techs $#mb!ing abo#t in thecockpit here% he he! this treas#re re&erent!y with somewhat tremb!ing hans as he !ooke #p with tears streaming

    own his $ace'

    This was going to be the $in o$ a !i$etime $or them an they wo#! risk e&erything $or the chance to isco&er thetr#th abo#t the !ost co!ony >>$or in$ormation was $ar more &a!#ab!e than precio#s meta!s where they were $rom% e&en

    tho#gh the !atter were o$ &a!#e% too% to some'

    < < < < >a ship' They near!y co!!ie

    with a ship o$ some kin o#t here in the b!ackness o$ space an their ship ha sh#t own a!! systems' That e*p!aine

    why they were tosse abo#t back there in the cabin'

    ,hist!ing in isbe!ie$% Tony checks his reaings once more% then !ooks o&er at )era'

    (,hat9 2o# !ook as i$ yo#"re a pa!!bearer abo#t to bring more ba news to the $ami!y'( -he sai

    (Don"t !ose yo#r coo! when te!! yo# this% ok' ,e"re not where we"re s#ppose to be%( he e*c!aims'

    (,HAT7 $ we"re o$$ co#rse% then where are we9( she ye!!e back'

    nowing she wasn"t ma at him% b#t at the news he bro#ght to her% he rep!ie% (t appears $rom these reaings that

    we were thrown B3'1. parsecs ahea o$ where we were to en #p at'(

    (That means we ha&e tra&e!e more than 1 parsecs' How is that possib!e9 s there any way $or #s to ret#rn $rom

    this $ar o#t9( she aske horri$ie'

    (:ot that am aware o$ with o#r techno!ogy'( he sai'

    (Then we"re oome an a!one'(

    (:ot e*act!y tr#e' Look here' -ee this #n#s#a! reaing that oesn"t $it in the $!ow o$ other ata 6#st achie&e' t

    !ooks as tho#gh there is something strange going on o#t there which may be arti$icia!!y or mechanica!!y in#ce%ca#sing o#r instr#ments to rea nothing s#bstantia!' Then again% that"s the tro#b!e% can"t be s#re o$ anything at this

    point since the scanners are not picking #p anything resemb!ing norma! reaings' Let"s check it o#t% sha!! we9(

    ($ yo# want to% b#t wo#!n"t waste another min#te in this area when we co#! be searching o#t a habitab!e p!anetsomewhere%( she ;#ippe'

    < < < < wie b#nk which was specia!!y mae $or them

    an began to e*amine his hea $or any trace o$ an in6#ry with the meica! scanners'

    (,hat is going on here9( she says mysti$ie'

    ,hi!e rep!acing the instr#ment in its storage compartment% Tony scares her as he br#shes her arm' :ear!y 6#mping

    o#t o$ her skin $rom his to#ch% she says% (Tony% on"t o that% yo# hear'(

    ("m sorry''' ,hat am am oing in here' Last thing knew% yo# were !ooking at the screen strange!y% then sharp!y

    at me as i$ ha one something wrong'(

    (2o# on"t remember anything9( she aske'

    (:o% why9(

    ,ith that she proceee to te!! him abo#t the !aser beam striking him% her ye!!ing an knocking him own to pre&ent

    a more serio#s wo#n $rom occ#rring% an then what she saw o#tsie with the rone' (,here is it now%( he aske'

    (t sho#! be abo#t reay to come insie by now% " say'(

    (,e!! then% !et"s go see what o#r !itt!e meta! $rien came #p with'( etting #p $rom the be as i$ nothing ha

    happene% he !eas the way to the o#ter hatchway #se by resc#e rones an workbots'

    -ti!! not s#re what she witnesse% she p!anne on keeping a wary eye on him >>6#st in case he starte to act $#nny on

    her'

    < < < < c!ose entranceway an

    own the arkene ha!!' #ick!y the two sensiti&es reco&er eno#gh $or them to $o!!ow his !ea% b#t the two shorter

    beings ha&e to r#n to maintain a s#$$icient striing gate as the ta!!er ones #se'

    )era is ama+e at how grace$#! they wa!ke' -he tho#ght that someone as ta!! as they were% there wo#! be a

    gang!ing !oping with a bobbing a$$ect in their strie' :ot so' They seeme to ro!! a!ong in a smooth striing stance'

    Ha!ting in