Chapter 51

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At the sight of Kral Vanar's unpleasant grin, shocked silence once again gripped the hold.  Still keeping one hand in a pocket of his stolen spacesuit, the Ice Warrior used the other to unhitch Splurmfeen's body, and with casual ease, slung the lifeless Rigellian over his shoulder.

"Time to take my leave.  I'm sure you won't mind if I take the admiral with me—after all, it's not as though he's any use to you, now.  I require evidence, you see.  Proof of a job well done.  And, needless to say, a job well paid for."  Smile fading, he glared at Pok.  "You and I have unfinished business, monk.  Circumstances have conspired to save you, for now, but rest assured—your time will come."

Pok's small, dark eyes were inscrutable.  "As will yours, my friend.  As will yours."

"Damn straight!"  Mel advanced on Vanar.  "It's come right now, you sorbet-faced, sorry excuse for a snow-cone!"

"Oh, I don't think so."  Grin restored, the Ice Warrior withdrew his hand from his pocket.  "Do you see what I'm holding?"

"Yes," snapped Mel, still advancing, "but I won't, after I shove it up your—"

"Whoa."  Chek held up his hands.  "Not so fast, Earth-babe.  That's a detonator the ice-dude has got there.  A Wandoo Bangmaker Mini, if I'm not mistaken."

"Well, it's going to be an Ouchmaker Maxi, once I get a hold of it."

"Mel, wait," insisted Cora.  "If that's a detonator, then we need to find out what it detonates."

"You should listen to your friends," advised Vanar, somewhat surprised at the relief he felt when the woman stopped moving towards him.  He generally had nothing but contempt for any non-Acruxian races, but there was something ever-so-slightly unnerving about this particular Earthling.  He held up the detonator.

"I've rewired the drive mechanism of Councillor Kwoin's shuttle, transforming it into a crude but pleasingly powerful bomb.  One push of this button, and the shuttle, along with its annoyingly righteous passenger, will be instantly vapourised.  So I would think very carefully before making any sudden moves—I have excellent reflexes.

"And now that we have that cleared up, it's time for me to go.  Mr Wandoo's limousine will suit me nicely, as I suspect it has the best air-conditioning."  Keeping a wary eye on the hold's other occupants—particularly Mel—Vanar made his way to the exit.  "Take care, Earthlings.  After all, you're about to become an endangered species."

"Kwoin!  Are you there?  Answer me, damn it!"

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"Kwoin!  Are you there?  Answer me, damn it!"

With a weary sigh, the councillor sank as low in her chair as the bindings would allow.  She had thought her day couldn't get any worse—clearly she had been wrong.

Kral Vanar had switched off her radio's voice activation capability, to prevent her from calling for help, but apparently he hadn't stopped it from receiving incoming calls, as evidenced by the increasingly loud voice of the Chief Executive of the Galactic Conglomerate—Kwoin's boss.

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