An Afternoon with Tonda. Part III (End).
V. The coup d'etat of Royal Princess-General Tonda-Tona-Zendarra
Samis' eyelids struggled open. Fragmentary recollections of Golden Light, Tonda, lovemaking, pannis, gradually began to coalesce into some kind of mental order. He found himself supine upon the surface of the huge bed trying to focus on the inexplicably chaotic images flashing up and down on the re-play screen high above. Of Tonda he could detect no immediate sign. He raised his head a little and felt his body aching. For the first time ever he discovered his lower rib area to be quite sore, bruised even.
Samis half sat up, and rubbed his eyes. The Mating Quarter appeared entirely empty. Of the drone Nimro there was no sign, although a pool of spilled panni juice and fragments of broken glass still littered the floor near to the port. The port itself, unusually, was standing open. Above him the re-play screen flashed silver and blue, and started to emit a series of beeps. Confused, Samis looked up to it once more.
A loop sequence commenced: But it showed only himself laid out on the surface as he'd been moments before when he'd regained consciousness. But then the screen showed Tonda re-entering the quarter from the entry port. She was looking incredibly happy. Well, that had to be good! Samis continued watching as Tonda's image sprang back onto the bed, came straight toward his unconscious form, lifted him bodily up in a great hug against her naked body ... and then began jumping up and down with him still tight in her arms! Wo-ah! Still, might have been nice to have been awake for it at the time!
More beeping noises: The screen reverted to a white on black static for a time. Maybe Tonda's foolhardy act with the light shield had upset its mechanism, Samis wondered? Another view of the entry port suddenly appeared. What the hell ...? Two of Tonda's soldiers had appeared in the frame. One he could identify straight away as the very young Lance Ensign Corealla. The other might have been the equitoral guard he'd encountered outside the gate house earlier in the day.
The unmistakable sound of a vertical take off military 'chopper' came to Samis' ears. Whether it was on the screen's sound play, or outside, he couldn't quite be sure. But if the latter then it must be an important mission to be flying during Red Sky Time.
With a crash resembling Earth thunder the sound play system suddenly cut in. But immediately it did so, the on-screen picture vanished again to be replaced by a solid black void. A series of indistinct wavy white lines began to twist and coil all over its surface. At once Samis became aware of a sharp pain to the forward part of his head. Oh hell! The temporal lobe region. Precisely where the Mind Blocker was located.
A high frequency whistle came out of the sound play. With a sharp cry of pain Samis brought his hands up over his ears. But the temporal lobe pain in his head ceased instantly.
A new loop commenced up on the screen. This time with sound. More bewildered than ever and not a little concerned, Samis looked up again. He could scarcely believe what his eyes were telling him.
The images came from within The Trade Mission's Sleeping Quarter. There was old Quinn in his striped sleeping apparel! The camera view panned around showing the other members of the mission including Garrard all standing in a bewildered looking line being faced by two of the Diplomatic Guards. And then Lieutenant Astia appeared, giving a smart salute to Quinn who simply stared up at her with his fat belly looking ready to roll out onto the floor at any minute. Astia began speaking:
“Local Zone Earth Trade Mission is being deported from Planet Aeralia with immediate effect. You have one centi-cyclot to collect any personal property you wish to retain. You may not retain your Universal Translaters after that stated time. You shall be fully reimbursed to their value without depreciation at the point of your departure.”
Quinn blustered in: (Samis could not prevent the wide smile that spread across his face.) “But you cannot ... do ... this! This trade mission has fully accredited diplomatic status!”
“Local Zone Earth Trade Mission diplomatic status has been revoked.”
“By whom? I shall ... I do ... protest! What you propose is not legal. And in any case, we are not all of us present. One of our number ... Samis ... is missing.”
Astia, Samis noted, was remaining at the Attention. “Local Zone Earth Trade Mission 9 - 9 is no longer of your concern.”
Garrard's squeaky voice piped up from the line. “But it's Red Sky Time.”
The camera view swung back onto Astia: “Local Zone Earth Trade Mission 1 - 9 through 8 - 9 will be transferred in Mobile Artillery Unit Alpha 1 Red Sky enabled to a northern terminal. Local sky departure Blue.”
The full implications of what was taking place ... or had already taken place? ... finally started to get through to Samis.
Old Quinn was shouting up on the screen now: “No! I demand that I speak at once with your commanding officer, Captain Tonda.”
Astia came out of the Attention, and took a half step forward. Quinn took a corresponding full one backward. “Local Zone Earth Trade Mission 1 - 9 through 8 - 9 may leave with me now either under escort, or under arrest. That is the only option I am giving you.”
The re-play screen flashed silver-blue-silver a few more times, then went blank once again.
Samis looked around him in quiet panic. If the rest of the Trade Mission had been sent home, then what the hell was to become of him? Why was he still here? It wasn't the case as far as he was aware that Earth had established full diplomatic relations with Planet Aeralia as yet, and there was certainly no Local Zone Earth embassy that he knew about. Probably indeed not one anywhere on the whole of this damned mega-planet. Samis felt his throat turning dry. Maybe old Quinn had had a point about the Aeralians after all?
Samis heard the internal lift halting. More than a little nervously he got onto his feet. A microt or two later, and a no longer naked Tonda came in through the still open entry port. Followed closely behind by the young Lance Ensign Corealla. Embarrassed Samis did what he could to cover his still unattired condition. Tonda stepped straight onto the bed-platform, strode across to him, and extended down her left hand in the direction of his face.
“Tonda, what's going on?” Samis began. And only then did he properly register her elaborate shiny black uniform with its dazzling gold panels and metallic insignias of senior rank. More than ever conscious of his own state he could manage only to blurt out: “Surely ... isn't that the uniform of an officer of full General rank you're wearing?”
Tonda at once smiled down at him - which was a relief. “I automatically hold General rank now. Because I am now a full Royal Princess of the House of Tona-Zendarra, and so can claim my place as Regional Government. It is as according to The Law. I am confirmed with child! You are my Life Prince Consort. It is also as according to The Law.”
Samis struggled to comprehend the enormity of what Tonda was saying to him. “You mean you have conspired ... by an alien ... to gain Royal status ...?”
Tonda turned away to address young Corealla. “Fetch him his Golden Robe, Lance Ensign. And then ready the transportation vehicle for conveyance to my Palace.”
“Mobile Artillery Unit Beta-1 Red Sky enabled is awaiting in the vestuble, General!”
A shiny black uniformed guard came in, saluted smartly, and whispered something to Corealla.
Flush faced Corealla turned back to General Tonda and made a further salute whilst remaining at the Attention. In a young voice made husky with the momentousness of the occasion she informed her commanding officer: “Regional Council requests a dialog, General!”
"Thank you, Lance Ensign. And Corealla? When the inevitable dust cloud from recent events has settled, as it most certainly will in no more than a couple of cyclots at most, you and Astia may be certain you will be well rewarded for your loyalty on this day.”
“General! Thank you, General!”
Tonda turned back to Samis. “Go with Corealla now.” She smiled her incredible smile once again, Blue Sky eyes shining, radiant. “I've shown you the basic events via the Visual Receiver screen. I'll explain to you your role of Life Prince Consort as soon as I return from Regional Council.”
She again extended her left hand toward his face and, not sure quite what else to do, Samis took hold of it and gently raised the backs of her middle fingers to his lips.
Tonda inclined her head approvingly, and smiled to him further. We are going to make a great couple, you and me! And Samis realized at once that she had just told him so without using speech.
Life Prince Consort Tondo-Earthling-Tonda-Zendarra: Welcome to ... My World ...
Copyright Terence Hugh Hazelton, 2008
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