This story contains sex between minor boys and teen-agers. If such things
offend you, or you are not at least 18 years of age, then please don't read
on. This story is not true, but who knows, maybe some day it will be.

CHAPTER 43

PLAGUE

by Douglas DD


"What does it all mean?" Scooter asked the others in the control tower.
"Why is there a dead crew up there on the starship?"

There was a long silence. Finally Quan said, "What it means is we were lied
to. There never was an automatic system to bring the starship here. There
was no genius who figured out a way to make a starship go through space on
its own. The ship needed a crew, and the crew had the plague. When they
got here, all of them or most likely some of them, were still alive. They
played the automatic message to make us think there was no crew. Then they
probably were going to return to Hakaan, making us think the ship went back
on auto-pilot, but they were all sick and they died in orbit knowing they
could never come down and could never go back home."

"But why did they want you to think there was no crew?"

"So nobody would go up there to rescue them and bring the plague to Inferno
with them. I think they all thought when they came here that the message
would be sent and then they would return home. Instead they all died in
orbit."

"So if they actually planned a round trip, that means there must be enough
fuel to go to Hakaan."

"Most likely there is. But you will never be able to go. You can't use
that starship."

"Why not?"

"Because you could catch the plague too."

"But we're not Hakaan, we're human. How could we catch it?"

"I'm not a doctor. I don't know if you can or can't. But I do know this.
The boys who went into the starship probably cannot come back down to this
planet."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mike got the radio call from Scooter as they checked the rest of the crew
area. They had already counted twenty bodies. The bodies had long ago
decomposed, and all that was left were skeletons dressed in the remains of
their uniforms.

"They're saying you can't come back down," Scooter told the boys on the
starship.

That brought a long silence. "What do they mean, we can't come back down?"
Mike asked finally.

"They think you were exposed to the plague. That's probably what the crew
died of. They got sick on the way here and couldn't make it back."

"But they've been dead for twenty-five years. It should be safe."

"They say they can't risk it."

"Who is they?"

"The Governor. Mayor Andorn. Roobine and Quan. Everybody here."

"What about Doctor Mandor?"

"He isn't here."

"Well, then," Mike said, "maybe somebody should call him. Let's not have
everybody panic, at least not yet."

Scooter agreed it was a good idea. So did the Hakaan men in the control
room. They had become so frightened, they never thought about the doctor.
Besides, they told Scooter, they were just talking about the possibilites.
But until they knew more, the boys really couldn't come back down.

The Doctor got to the control tower about a half hour later. He listened
while he was told what was found on the starship. He looked worried and
asked to talk on the radio. One again, Scooter did the translating.

He asked the boys on board a few questions about where he found the
skeletons and asked them if they had taken in any outside air. Then he
talked to them about getting back to the shuttle.

"When you got on the starship did the air get mixed?" he asked Mike.

"No. We had the shuttle airlock closed before we opened the airlock to the
starship. But the air in the airlock is mixed."

"Head for the airlock."

Mike, Douglas, and Travis got to the airlock. Mike radioed that they were
there. Then the doctor started talking to Alex.

"Get all of the air out of the airlock. Blow it totally out."

Alex hit the proper switches and cleared out the airlock on the shuttle.
Mike, Douglas, and Travis went into the starship airlock. They closed the
door and Mike pulled the air lever and the air wooshed out. Then he opened
the outer door. The door to the shuttle was closed and Mike punched the
button to open that door. They stepped inside the shuttle's airlock and
Mike closed the door.

"Okay, we're in the shuttle airlock. Now what?" Mike radioed.

The doctor came on the radio.

"Now you blow the air out."

"Huh?"

"You stay there until the shuttle returns to the planet."

"Without seats? Or seat belts? Or air?"

"Yes. Your suits should have another two hour's air. That is plenty of
time. Alex should get the shuttle landed in 45 minutes. That gives you
plenty of extra time. The suits are padded in case you get bounced around
some." It seemed strange to Mike, hearing the orders come so unemotionally
from Scooter's high pitched voice, even though he knew he was translating
what the doctor was telling him. Then Scooter added something on his own.
"You have handholds in the airlock right?"

Mike said they did.

"And you have rope and clips. You can tie yourselves in tightly so you
don't get bounced around."

It was then that Mike realized how frightened he was, probably how
frightened they all were. He should have figured it all out. He was right
there in the airlock and Scooter was down on the planet. But Scooter was
seeing things better than any of the three of them did.

"Scooter?" Douglas asked.

"Yes, my love?"

"Why do the doctor want us to stay in here?"

Douglas could hear loud voices in the background.

"Wait a minute, my love. I'll be right back."

Then the radio went dead.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"You can't have them come back down here!" the Governor screamed. "I forbid
it!"

"Just listen to what he has to say, Governor," the Mayor said reasonably.

"The two who were only in the shuttle, maybe they can come back. And
Petras, of course." Petras had ridden with them again in case something
needed fixing. "But not the other three. Now now! Not ever!"

"Governor, listen to the doctor. See what his plan is. We can't just
abandon them up there."

The Governor glared at Mayor Andorn. "You won't be the Governor for another
month, Mayor! Until then I'm still the boss here. And I won't risk the
lives of everybody on this planet to save three round ears. They went up
into that starship to save themselves and go back to their home. Well, let
them go! But they're not coming back down!"

"They will run out of air in two hours. And we don't know if the air in the
starship is breathable until we read what they downloaded. And even if it
is breathable, we don't know if they are immune to the plague or not. If
they don't come back down, then they will probably die up there before the
day is over!"

"And you know what, Mayor?" The Governor said the word Mayor like it was a
dirty word. "I really don't give a damn if they live or die! But I do give
a damn for the people of my planet. What will all those poor voters who
elected you think when they find out you care more for three round ears than
you do for your own people! Those three don't come back and that is final!"

The Governor stomped out of the room, his face red with anger.

The doctor and the Mayor looked at Scooter. Scoooter's face was white with
fright, and they understood why. One of the boys in the airlock was his
lover.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


The three boys stood in the airlock wondering what was going to happen next.
All they had heard on the radio was voices arguing, but they couldn't
understand what was being said. Mike decided to radio Alex.

"I guess you can't let us in, love," he said.

"I can if I want. What are they going to do, flap their wings and fly up
here to stop me? Shoot us down with a missile if we decide to land? We
have the power up here!"

"So, are you going to let us in then?" Mike said with a chuckle.

"No."

"But you just said...."

"I know what I said. I said they can't stop me from letting you in. But
before I do anything I want to know their exact plan."

"Well, we have less than two hours air left, you know."

"I know. Don't worry. I'll let you in if I have to."

"But I'm hungry," Mike protested.

"And that's supposed to be news?" Alex asked with a chuckle.

For the first time in a while, Mike smiled, even though nobody could see it
through the visor on his space suit.

"Douglas, you're the leader here. I think you need to talk some sense into
him," Mike protested.

"Alex is the captain of this ship. That makes him the boss," Douglas says.
"So for now, we stay here and see what happens."

"Well, then I guess we should at least sit down," Travis said as he slid
down to the floor. Sitting wasn't easy to do in the heavyspace suit, and
sliding down the wall was about the only way to sit down.

When all three of them were sitting they started talking and thinking. They
figured that now they had an hour and 45 minutes of air left. Their margin
of error was going getting thinner and thinner, unless Alex opened the door.
They all hoped that whoever was deciding things on Inferno would decide in
a hurry.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Mayor finally got the Governor to listen to what the doctor had to say.

"I'll listen. I won't change my mind. They are not coming back down here,
even if it means all five of them die up there. I won't risk this planet
for five strangers."

"Strangers?? They are parts of our families. One of them is a Meshanna to
my son! That not only makes him part of my family, it makes him a citizen of
this planet!" the outraged doctor said.

The Governor looked at the doctor. "Then why do they want to leave?"

The room got quiet. The Mayor finally said, "Let's worry about right now
and figure if there is a way to get those boys down."

"There is," the doctor said, "and I'll tell you how. However, it depends
how much of the other shuttle is useable." The doctor told them about his
plan.

When he finished the Governor said, "The plague wiped out much of the
population of our home planet. If you are wrong, it will wipe us out here.
Our valley would be destroyed. How do we know you're right?"

"You don't. But I believe I am. I have learned things that weren't known
25 years ago. Hakaan was not prepared for what came to them. I know how to
prevent it."

"But can you cure it if you're wrong?"

There was a long silence. The Governor smiled and nodded. "Well, we might
find out some important information from the round ears anyway."

"If I'm wrong, we will know before we ever open that airlock," the doctor
said. "And what important information would that be?"

"Whether the round ears are immune to the plague. So we know if our plan
for them works."

"Plan?"

"Never mind. It's between the Mayor and me now. I don't think I should do
this, but in some ways I guess I don't have a choice. I am going to do this
because I trust you as a friend and as a doctor. And may the God Jeswa
forgive us all if you are wrong, doctor." He looked at Roobine. "Bring
them down."

Scooter couldn't help but break out a huge smile.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The boys were elated when the news was radioed up to them. They were
prepared to leave on a moment's notice.

"Is everybody tied in?" Alex asked.

"Take us down," Mike replied. "We have an hour and a half of air left."

"Gotcha."

Alex released the clamps holding the "Survivor" to the "Paxton", gave the
side retro rockets a little thrust, and let the starship slowly drift away.
Then he fired the main rockets and headed back towards the desert planet
that was under him.

This was the third time Alex had flown a shuttle into Inferno's atmosphere.
He entered it smoothly, remembering the first time when he had to abort.

"You know, Stevie, I'm almost beginning to think I know what I'm doing.

"It's not you at all, Alex," Stevie said with a giggle, "it's your expert
copilot."

Alex smiled as he flew the shuttle deeper and deeper into the atmosphere.
It shook a little as it hit some turbulence.

"Hey," Mike radioed, "watch out for the bumps. That was hard on the butt."

"Well, in your case it has plenty of cushion," Stevie radioed back.

"Speak for yourself, Stevie."

Alex laughed until they hit another bump. Then he realized maybe this was
more than regular turbulence. The shuttle shook and bounced again.

"What's going on up there?" Mike demanded.

"I'll get back to you," Alex said. "I think I better work on flying this
thing."

Alex radioed the control tower. "We have a lot of turbulence all of a
sudden."

"A sudden storm came up in that area," Roobine said. "You know that Inferno
can come up with them in a hurry and with no warning."

"Is it safe to land?" Alex asked.

"The worst parts hardly ever get down into the big valley since we can
control the weather there. But to allow you to land, the weather controls
have to be turned off. It will get a little windy, but nothing too
dangerous for an experienced pilot."

"Well, I'm not experienced," Alex said. "And I've only landed right half
the time. Last time it got tough I didn't quite land in one piece."

"Well, everybody walked away," Scooter said right to Alex.

That gave Alex a smile and took away some of his nervousness. Both of them
had forgotten the boy who broke is leg on the first landing. Then the
shuttle bounced hard up and down and the butterflies came right back has he
struggled with the controls.

"Don't you guys forecast the weather?" Alex asked. He was getting irritated
and the winds seemed to be getting stronger. "I mean you used to land
shuttles there all the time."

"We did. But the weather stations went down a long time ago. We only know
the weather we make in the big valley. The rest of it usually surprises us
now."

Alex wanted to say more but the shuttle took a sudden dip and he had to pull
up hard to straighten the aircraft out.

"Hey, you're shaking up my bones!" Mike screamed into his microphone.

"Shut up and let me pilot!" Alex yelled back.

The shuttle bounced hard, knocking the boys in the airlock around even
thought they were tied in. The ropes weren't very tight and they could
still be knocked around some.

Roobine had Alex come in over the north end of the valley, because it was
the only way to land over the hills. Roobine noticed the wind picking up
outside. That was strange, because it usually blew over the valley, kept
out by the weather control field. Only now it was blowing down through the
valley, which meant they had to be extra strong up higher and was forcing
itself through the field. It took a very strong wind to do that. Roobine
was worried and told everyone in the room.

"Then he can't land," the Governor said.

"We have no choice," Roobine said. "He doesn't have enough fuel to fly
around. Plus the boys in the airlock have less than an hour's air left."

"But if he crashes, we could all be exposed to whatever caused the plague on
Hakaan."

"That's why we have the three boys in a vacuum in the airlock," the doctor
said, forgetting that a crash would break the seal of that vacuum.

Roobine quit listening to them and went back to instructing Alex. "You need
to keep the nose level," he told Alex. "You will fly smoother."

"No, it needs to stay up," Alex replied. "We've hit some wind shears."

"It's a standard thing with the shuttle, it flies best level when it's
attacking a wind and landing. You won't be shaking everybody up."

"Not with this wind. When I lower the nose the shuttle shakes and drops.
Hitting the ground nose first shakes people up."

"That's okay. Just don't keep it high until it's ready to land."

The wind hit the shuttle hard, shaking it, bouncing the boys in the airlock
around. Alex was able to hold it steadier by keeping the nose up higher,
but the wind still rocked it. He could see the big dark green hole that was
the big valley up ahead in the distance, and the small valley up closer.

"What's the wind like in the valley?" Alex asked.

"It's strong enough to penetrate the weather field. How's your fuel? You
might have to wait for it to die down."

"Too late now. Not much fuel. We're burning it up fast."

Roobine was wishing Alex would listen to him and follow his instructions.
He would bounce around less if he kept the nose more level and raised it
when he got over the end of the valley. Roobine had never actually landed in
a strong wind. Twenty-five years ago had weather prediction and could avoid
strong winds. He was basing his instructions his own flight training.

A gust hit the shuttle, pushing it down, and Alex fought for control. "If
we'd been level it would have pushed us toward the ground," Alex told
Stevie.

"You're shaking the donkey up back here," Mike said.

"Shut up and bounce!" Alex yelled. "Let me land this bastard!"

The "Survivor" was approaching the north end of the valley. Alex kept his
nose up, fighting the strong wind. Another gust hit, sending him close to
the hills.

"Keep it level, he says," Alex grumbled. "That would've put into the hills
if we had."

Roobine watched the shuttle through his binoculars. "Keep it level," he
said to himself. "Level out until you're halfway down the valley," he told
Alex. "The wind is going to hit you from everywhere now."

Mayor Andorn gave Scooter his binoculars. Scooter could see the shuttle in
the distance, but it was hard to hold the binoculars steady. The "Survivor"
was too far off and his hands were shaking too badly because he was so
nervous. He kept losing the shuttle and then trying to find it again
through the glasses.

Alex saw they were over the valley now. The wind was blowing him up and
down and side to side and he was having a hard time keeping it flying steady
and straight. He could see the runway at the other end of the valley.

Every Hakaan who could was out watching the shuttle come in to land. They
were all talking about the wind and about how it was blowing as hard as they
had ever seen in the valley. They could hear the engines of the "Survivor"
strain as Alex worked hard to keep it steady. He tilted his nose up higher
for the landing.

Roobine watched Alex struggle. Now get the nose up, he said to himself,
just as Alex worked to raise it up higher. The shuttle was close enough for
Scooter could keep it in sight through his binoculars even with his hands
shaking. Then it got close enough that he could lower the glasses and look
at it through the control tower window. Come on, Alex, I know you can do it
this time, he thought.

Scooter sent a mental message to his lover. "I love you, Douglas". Douglas
heard it and felt it and sent it back. Scooter smiled inside as he watched
the shuttle struggle against the strong wind.

Alex lowered the landing gear as the wind blew him up and down and made the
shuttle crab to the side as it descended. The three boys in the airlock
held on to keep themselves from bouncing around.

The shuttle flew over the end of the runway. Alex knew he was close to
touching the ground.

Way to go Alex, you're almost there, Roobine said to himself.

A gust hit the shuttle, pushing it down. The back wheels hit the ground
hard, and the shuttle bounced up, then landed hard again. Travis was
twisted and slammed against the wall, and screamed inside his helmet from
pain. After another bounce the wheels hugged the ground and Alex got the
nose wheel down, then hit the reverse thrusters and slammed on the brakes.

Scooter watched as the shuttle raced past the control tower with its rockets
roaring. Alex got it slowed down, turned and taxied to the hangar. The
other shuttle was now parked outside in front of the hangar. Alex folded
the wings and brought the "Survivor" up close to the second shuttle. He
aligned the airlock with the airlock on the other shuttle and taxied as
close as he could.

A couple of workers had installed an airtight coupler on the airlock. They
were working to hook it up the airlock on the "Survivor". Petras had been
radioing instructions, but he was now directing things from the ground.
When the airlocks were joined they started doing leak tests.

Inside the airlock on the "Survivor" the three boys were all shook up.
Travis was moaning with pain and holding his arm. Mike saw him and radioed
him.

"Are you okay, T?"

"It's my arm," he moaned. "I think I broke it. It hurts."

Mike radioed Alex giving him the news. Alex radioed the tower and was told
they could do nothing until the plan was finished. He told Mike and Travis.
All Travis did was moan with pain.

"No leaks," the workers announced.

The air was pumped out of the second shuttle's airlock and out of the
coupler. They were lucky it still had the pump. A lot of parts of it were
long gone as salvage.

"You guys have to hurry," Mike said. "T is hurt and we only have 15 minutes
of air left."

"We're going as fast as we can," Petras said. "Just be patient."

"Shit, I haven't been patient since we got locked up in this thing!" Mike
yelled.

"Okay, you can open the outer door to the airlock," Petras told them.

Mike punched the numbers in, turned the handle and the door opened. He went
out the door and into the coupler. Then he punched in the numbers and
turned the lever. The outer door to the other shuttle's airlock opened and
they went into it. It was time to listen to the doctor's instructions.

The doctor told Mike to pick up the gun like tool that was on the floor,
which Mike did. The doctor had him close the sunscreen on his visor and
instructed him to run the light coming from the gun across the entire
coupler. Then he had him take an array of lights and set it up in the
airlock on the "Survivor". Mike did everything he was told to do and
returned to the airlock on the second shuttle.

The doctor told them to stand in the middle of the airlock. All three boys
did. There was an array of lights set up in there the same as the ones that
Mike set up on the "Survivor". The doctor started explaining that they were
ultra-violet microbe killers. After they received word of the plauge on
Hakaan, doctors tried to find a way to protect the people of Inferno, with
little success. Enghar's father and another doctor had been working on an
array using a combination of ultra-violet and other light to kill microbes.
The hard part was, they didn't know what caused the plague on Hakaan. They
had to find a combination that would destroy every known microbe without
harming the Hakaan host. After many attempts they had come up with an array
that seemed to work. It was an array that would decontaminate shipments
coming from Hakaan and preventing the plague from spreading to Inferno, but
no other ships had ever come. Even with no ships coming, creating the
anti-microbe array had been a priority. This would be the first real test
of the array.

"This is all very interesting, Sir," Mike said, "but we're running out of
air fast."

The doctor apologized and told them to close their sunscreens and their
eyes. Travis couldn't reach his switch with his broken arm and Douglas
flicked the switch for him, lowering the sunscreen on his visor. They told
the doctor they were ready.

The entire airlock lit up, and even with their visors closed they could tell
it had become very bright. The doctor was sitting in a seat on the second
shuttle looking at a readout. Any microbe the three boys might have brought
into the airlock on the "Survivor" was being eradicated. Ten minutes went
by and the lights went off. The doctor's read out showed both airlocks and
the coupler were sterile. The boys could now leave the airlock and enter
the shuttle.

Because the air on the "Survivor" had never mixed with the air that was
pumped out of the airlock, it didn't have to be sterilized. The tank that
held the airlock air would be pumped into an airlock and sterilized later.

Suddenly the boys could hear the hiss of air coming into the airlock. It
was being pumped in from the second shuttle. Even though it couldn't fly,
the second shuttle being there allowed them to return to Inferno and had
saved their lives.

Douglas and Mike started taking off their space suits. The doctor and
Kallama, who was helping him, helped Travis. No matter how they did it, he
would feel a lot of pain, but they finally got it off. Then the doctor took
Travis down the steps to the ground and to a waiting ambulance.

The other boys rushed up to welcome Travis, then saw Mike and Douglas come
down the stairs. Scooter rushed to Douglas as soon as he hit the ground.
Douglas picked him up, kissed and hugged him, and they both started crying.

I was so worried, my love, Scooter thought at him.

I love you, Douglas thought back. Always and forever.

The front door to the shuttle opened and out came Alex, Stevie, and Petras.
Mike waited for them to get to the ground, then he went over and hugged
Alex.

"Awesome landing job, love," Mike said.

"It could have been smoother. It looks like I left another broken bone."

"Only because he wasn't smart enough to stay in his seat. You'd think
Matthew would have taught him a thing or two," Mike laughed. Then he hugged
Alex again. "And I'm so sorry for the way I acted while you were landing.
I didn't make your job any easier."

Alex kissed Mike on the lips. "You were locked in a box and scared. I was
scared. It came out all right." Then he flashed a grin at Mike. "Just
don't let it happen again." They gave each other another hug and a kiss.

Mayor Andorn welcomed them back. Bandar and Enghar were there too. The
whole group walked back to the terminal together, then they all broke up and
returned to their homes.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That night there was a big party at Kallama's house. All of the boys were
there, along with Bandar, Enghar, Hajo, Mayor Andorn and his Meshanna,
Doctor Mandor, Roobine, Petras, Quan, some of their Meshannas, and even the
Governor was there for a while.

Bottles of Pahkah were opened. Also a drink called Shangra, which was a
fruit alcohol drink that was not as strong as Pahkah. It was the type of
drink that was used to teach Hakaan children how to drink alcohol. It was
like training wheels on a bicycle. The boys found themselves loving it.
Alex, Stevie, and Travis were drinking Crysta, a nonalcoholic fruit drink.
Travis wanted to drink, but he was on painkillers for his arm. Alex and
Stevie didn't touch alcohol. The twins got a watered down version from the
Doctor. The rest of the boys found themselves getting quite drunk on
Shangra. It only took a couple of drinks to get the brains of Scooter and
Matthew spinning. They both were feeling good. The Hakaanen boys were used
to drinking Shangra and it took longer for them to feel it. The adults drank
Pahkah.

Roobine went over to talk to Alex. Scooter translated the best he could.
He was feeling the drinks in him and it was hard for him to concentrate.

"Great job of landing, Alex."

"I bounced too much. The wind hit hard right before touchdown. I caused my
second broken bone." He pointed to Travis, who had his arm in sling and in
a cast. "Landing with me is getting to be pretty dangerous," he laughed,
but he didn't really think it was funny.

"Well, everybody walked away." If Roobine had stopped there Alex would have
been cool with him. But he went on. "You should have stayed more level
coming in though. And you had your nose too high when you landed. If I was
flying I would have tried keeping it smoother."

"Well, you weren't flying!" Alex told him. "And if I'd had it level in
those wind shears there would have been more than an arm broken. You would
have been picking up the pieces on some mountain top. And if I had the nose
lower landing the front landing gear would've hit first and I don't have to
tell you what would have happened then. I'm sure you can figure it out."
Roobine had a hurt look on his face.

"Look, Roobine, I appreciate what you did to help. But you always landed
when the weather was perfect here. I didn't always have that choice on
Earth when I was flying small planes. In other words, you don't know shit
about landing in a windstorm." Alex walked away leaving him standing there.
Scooter shrugged his shoulders. Roobine rubbed his hair and smiled back,
then went back to join the rest of the party.

Petras told them during the party that the landing gear was damaged by the
hard landing. They would have to use some parts from the old shuttle to
repair it and it would take at least a week.

"Can the starship fly back to Hakaan?" Jim asked.

"We won't know until we look at the stuff Mike downloaded," Quan said. "We
should find out in a couple of days."

Scooter walked away drinking some more Shangra. It was getting too hard to
translate, and he wanted to be with Douglas.

Scooter found Douglas on a couch and sat next to him, cuddling close.

I'm so glad you're back and safe, my love, he said mind to mind.

I love you. I'm not having any more. I think I'm a little drunk on this
stuff. Let's go upstairs and make love as soon as everybody leaves.

They sat on the couch kissing and making out, loving that they could do it
in the middle of a big party, not even worried if anybody saw their
erections while they did it. They certainly weren't the only boys there
with hardons.

Soon the party started to break up. Douglas gave Alex an extra tight
squeeze, thanking him for once again landing them safely in tough
conditions. Alex thanked Douglas for being the one to lead them to this
point. They kissed each other deeply and with love, and Alex, Stevie, and
Jim helped a very drunk Mike out the door and to a carriage.

When everybody was gone Scooter led Douglas up to their bedroom, happy his
love was alive and safe. There they made long, sweet, delicious love into
the night.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The sun was streaming in through the bedroom curtains when Douglas heard the
phone ring downstairs. He looked at the clock. It was almost noon. He had
a little headache, but didn't feel too badly. He heard Pahkah gave bad
hangovers, but that Shangra hangovers were much milder. Well, I didn't have
that much to drink anyway, he thought, although he couldn't be totally sure
since he had never been drunk before.

Then he heard Kallama call Scooter's name. Douglas woke up the naked boy
cuddled up close to him.

"W...w...what?"

God, he had been so loving last night, Douglas thought. Sometimes I think I
could just stay here on this planet and be with him forever and I'd be as
happy as I could ever be. But, it's not what I promised when I became
leader. I promised to get everybody home.

"Telephone, I think."

Scooter blinked his eyes sleepily. "For me?"

"No, for your teddy bear, my love, but since he was left behind in the
'Starkeeper' you're going to have to answer it." He kissed Scooter's lips,
loving the smell of his sweet breath, even in the morning.

Scooter answered the phone. It was Matthew, who, after Scooter, he was the
best speaker of Hakaan.

"What's up, Matthew?"

"We got some bad news this morning, and I got picked to tell it to you."

Scooter felt his heart race, afraid that one of them got hurt during the
night.

"What is it?" he said, holding his breath.

Matthew told him. Kallama, who already had been told what the news was, saw
Scooter go white.

"T..thanks, Matthew. I gotta tell Douglas." He set down the phone and
bolted up the stairs.

"Who was it, my love?" Douglas asked.

"Matthew," Scooter said.

"Oh, cool, what did he want?" Scooter walked past some of the sunlight
coming through and Douglas saw the frightened look on his face.

"Scooter, what's wrong?" Douglas jumped out of bed and grabbed hold of
Scooter, hugging him close. He could feel the fear coming from him, and it
filled up Douglas too.

"It's Robert Charles," Scooter whispered.

Douglas looked into Scooter's eyes, while he held him.

"What about Robert Charles?"

"He's gone. He escaped from the prison last night."

NEXT CHAPTER 44 Robert Charles

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to all of you who have written so many kind comments
about The Survivors. As the story winds down I find I will be missing your
e-mails almost as much as I will miss the characters. While the story is
winding down, there are still a few twists and adventures left. I hope you
enjoy them.

Douglas

Constructive comments are welcomed. E-mail me, Douglas DD, at
TheHakaanen@Hotmail.com

 

 

 

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