An Afternoon with Tonda. (Complete Rewrite) Part III
V. Princess-General Tonda-Tona-Zendarra
Samis' eyelids flickered reluctantly open. Fragmentary recollections gradually coalesced into some kind of order in his overwhelmed brain. He felt all but annihilated. And yet if this was how inter-galactic true love manifested itself then bring it on! Samis smiled spontaneously, swallowing for saliva. “Ton ...?” But he seemed to be alone now in the much disheveled mating cradle. Up above he could make out chaotic plasma shapes flashing wildly on and off on the ceiling mounted Visual Receiver screen. “Tonda ...?”
Samis sat up and re-focused his vision. The Sleeping Quarter appeared to be 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 entry port. The port itself, unusually, was standing fully open. Above him the screen flashed silver - blue - silver, and started to emit a series of low whistles. Confused Samis looked up to it once more. Maybe Tonda's foolhardy act with the Star shield had effected its delicate workings?
A loop sequence commenced: But just as quickly the plasma like shapes vanished once more. A searing pain at once erupted in Samis' temporal lobe region. Where the Mind Blocker had been implanted. Samis was only partially aware of the sound of his own voice, screaming. “Ton ...!”
The agony ceased as instantly as it had begun. A rumble of Earth like thunder, and recognisable moving images with sound appeared on the Visual Receiver screen. Surprised, fingers still rubbing his after shocked forehead, Samis watched. A sequence commenced showing Tonda clad in a white clinical vest re-entering the Sleeping Quarter from its entry port. She looked to be incredibly happy. Samis continued looking as her on screen image approached the cradle upon which his unconscious self lay. A few minutes, a couple of hours ago, when? Smiling radiantly she stooped to kiss him tenderly before recovering the cradle's top sheet from the floor and carefully re-arranging it over his supine form. Samis' sense of personal contentment reached absolute. But where had Tonda got to?
More whistles: The screen reverted to a white on black static for a brief time. A bland view of the main entry port next appeared on the screen. What ...? Two of Tonda's soldiers had appeared in the frame. One of them Samis could identify straight away as the very young Lance Ensign Corealla. The other he guessed to be the equitoral sentry he'd encountered outside the gate guard house earlier in the day. Two Aeralian medical staff next passed on and off the screen, apparently exiting via the main port.
The unmistakable hoot of a vertical take off military shuttle came to Samis' hearing. Whether on the screen or outside he couldn't quite be sure. But if the latter then it must be an important reason to be flying during Red Sky Time? Samis slid out of the still gently hovering cradle, and searched the metallic floor beneath it for his clothing. More moving pictures appeared on the screen. With a vague sense of rising concern Samis took in the extraordinary scenes they were showing.
The latest images came from inside the Trade Mission's own Sleeping Quarters. There was old Quinn in old fashioned striped sleeping apparel! The camera view panned round to reveal the other members of the mission including Garrard all standing in a bewildered, bleary eyed line being faced by two of the Diplomatic Guards. Lieutenant Astia next appeared, giving a smart salute to Quinn who simply stared up at her with his fat belly looking ready to roll out at any minute. Astia began speaking:
“Local Zone Earth Trade Mission is to be deported from Aeralian Federated Territory of Xerxes-Beta with immediate effect. You have fifteen minutes of Earth time measure to collect any personal property you wish to retain. You may not retain your Universal Translaters after that stated time. You shall be reimbursed to their full value, without depreciation deduction, at point of departure.”
Old Quinn blustered in: (Samis could not prevent the uneasy smile that spread across his face.) “But you cannot ... do ... this! The Earth 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 here present. One delegate ... Samis ... is missing.”
Astia, Samis noted, was remaining at attention. Slipping quickly into his clothes Samis kept his main attention onto the screen. “Local Zone Earth Trade Mission 9 - 9 is no longer your concern.”
Garrard's squeaky voice piped up from within the line. “But it's Red Sky Time outside.”
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 polar terminal. Local sky at departure Blue.”
The full implications of the events taking place ... or already taken place? ... began 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. Fetch Captain Tonda here now!”
Astia came out of attention, and took a step forward. Quinn took two corresponding steps back. “Local Zone Earth Trade Mission 1 - 9 through 8 - 9 may leave with me now either under escort, or under arrest. Those are the only options I am giving you.” The re-play screen flashed silver-blue-silver a few more times, then became blank once again. And this time to Samis' consternation, it remained blank.
Samis looked around in quiet panic. If the rest of the Earth Trade Mission had been sent home, then what the hell was to become of him? What had Astia meant, '9 - 9 is no longer your concern'? And where the hell was Tonda? It wasn't the case as far as he was aware that Earth had established full diplomatic relations with Planet Aeralia as yet either. And there certainly wasn't a Local Zone Earth embassy or even a consulate that he knew of. Probably indeed not one to be found anywhere in the whole of this damned mega moon system. Samis could feel his throat turning dry again. 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 to his feet. A docicrot or two later, and a fully uniformed and accoutered Tonda entered the Sleeping Quarter through the still wide open entry port. Followed closely by the young Lance Ensign, Corealla. Tonda strode over to him and held out the central digit of her left hand before his face. Samis observed the large, intricately designed ring she now wore upon it.
“Tonda, what is going on?” Samis began. And only then did he consciously register the rest of her elaborate new shiny black uniform with its dazzling gold panels and metallic insignias of senior rank. “Surely, isn't that the uniform of an officer of full General rank you're wearing?”
Tonda at once smiled warmly down at him - a relief of sorts. “I automatically hold General rank now because I am a Full Royal Princess of the House of Tona-Zendarra, and so may claim my place as the head of Regional Government. It is as according to The Law. Earthling, I am confirmed with offspring! And you are now my Life Prince Consort. It is also as according to The Law.”
Samis struggled to comprehend the full enormity of what Tonda was saying to him.
Tonda turned away to address young Corealla. “Fetch him his Golden Robe, Lance Ensign. And then ready the transportation vehicle for his conveyance to my Royal Palace.”
“Mobile Artillery Unit Beta-1 Red Sky enabled is ready and waiting 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 attention. In a young voice made husky with the momentousness of the occasion Samis heard her inform her commanding officer: “Regional Council requests a dialog, General!”
“Thank you, Lance Ensign. And Corealla? When the dust from recent events has settled again as it most certainly will in no more than a couple of cyclots at most, you and Astia may be certain you will both be favourably rewarded for your loyalty on this day.”
“General! Thank you, General!”
Tonda turned back to Samis. “Go with Corealla now. She is to serve as your dedicated guardian from henceforth.” Tonda smiled her incredible smile once more, Blue Sky eyes shining. “I have shown to you the order of events via the Visual Receiver screen. I will explain to you your role of Life Prince Consort directly I return from Regional Council.”
Samis's brain finally overcame his mental gravity drag. “You have conceived with an alien? To gain military rank and political power? To stage a coup d'etat in effect ...? You read my thoughts and you plotted ...”
Tonda smiled yet again. “Not so, my beautiful Earthling! It was not necessary to intercept your thought beams at any time. You made your thoughts on me perfectly clear otherwise! I used mine on you - just very slightly and only at the start - to encourage your connection.”
Despite the frozen fist of fear now clamping him in its icy grip, Samis recognised the complete truth of Tonda's words. He'd sought an affair with her, yes. “But I only ...”
Samis' voice failed at source. Tonda re-extended the central finger of her left hand towards his face. 'Kiss our ring!' And with trembling lips Samis did so.
Tonda inclined her head approvingly. 'We are going to make an amazing couple, you and me!' And Samis realized she was no longer employing speech.
'Life Prince Consort Tondo-Earthling-Tonda-Zendarra: Welcome to My World.'
Copyright Terence Hugh Hazelton, 2008
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