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There will never be a better time.
Lady Artaga stood on the deck of the speeding twin-hulled aquaplane; a sharp silhouette against the giant red sun sinking into the flat line of the horizon. The rushing air whipped her golden mane around like yellow flames and wrapped the thin green garments tightly to her body. Her perfectly proportioned profile was a study in symmetry and held the attention of many of the Sofian Templa guardsmen resting topside. As entranced as they were, no-one was foolish enough to venture nearer, huddling in groups of three or four and talking in hushed tones. The sky darkened to the deep burgundy of twilight as the gleaming royal craft powered its silver and blue passage over the turbulent brown waters.
The Lady turned from the railing, and as one, the grey suited guardsmen lowered their heads. As she swept past them, they glimpsed sinuous long leg muscles with skin that glowed with an orange luminescence. Some had seen her kind before; the Silico - a genetically engineered species, whose creators had become extinct in an unknown catastrophe. Moving with long elegant strides, the tall figure crossed the blue and white deck and motioned to a uniformed Silico steward.
"Shalko!" The Lady snapped. Her voice burst against his eardrums like the savage crack as a glacier breaks apart. The steward looked at her v-shaped brow furrowed in a permanent frown.
"Yes, Lady Artaga?" The stone-faced steward asked her as they met, mid-deck. The Silico steward stood nearly two and half meters tall, but even he had to look up to meet her face to face.
"Bring me the drone now!" The First Lady of Sofia snapped at him. Intense yellow eyes burnt into the steward. They were framed by her wide-cheekbones, angular chin, and pale lips of her chiselled face. A scarlet fingernail began to stroke the tight iridescent skin under her chin.
"Yes milady." Shalko answered her bowing. Then, glad to be free of her withering gaze, he trotted from the deck of the aquaplane, disappearing into the cabin.
There will never be a better time, Lady Artaga thought again, as she strode to the bow of the aquaplane, scattering the grey suited Sofian Guardsmen. Ahead lay the volcanic island of Kirraborre, its smoking mount just visible in the fading light. In the waters below, the shadowy outlines of Venea, large streamlined carnivores of the ocean that escorted the surface skimming craft. From above, the screeching cries of Halis, winged scavengers of the oceans and islands, circling somewhere overhead.
If what the stargazers report is true, I must act now or all is lost. She put her hands on her hips and drew in a deep breath of the fresh ocean air.
"Your guest, milady." The solemn-faced Silico addressed her. She turned to face the steward. His white eyes signified sterility and the closely cropped black hair indicated his lowly position in the Silico hierarchy.
"Thank you Shalko." She said curtly, wrinkling her nose and turning to look at the other figure.
Beside the tall Silico steward stood the short brown guest, shackled and muzzled. His pear shaped body hardly reached up to the waist of the Silico. It was impossible to tell where his head ended and torso begun and the rough bark-like hide covered every inch except his intense blue eyes. Thick wrists were shackled but he probably could have broken them apart. There was a vaguely familiar outline of a face moulded into the upper portion with knothole-like nose and eyes.
It was a Husker. Another creation of that ancient caste. A genetically engineered germanium-based biological mining machine the technologists created to find and extract the precious metals they once needed. They could withstand extreme conditions and were virtually indestructible.
This Husker was a drone named Raif Stum. He had lived most of his life in caves, deep in the mantle, where a natural supply of hydrogen sulphides existed, an essential ingredient of his physiology. His deep blue eyes matched the tall figures in intensity. The husker felt, rather than heard a question quivering within him.
The Husker shuddered. Somehow the imposing woman was broadcasting in ultra sound knowing his capacity to receive it. The Silico was a statue, unflinching.
Raif spoke through his small mouth, which wasn't muzzled but was masked by a respirator that fed a supply of sulphur rich air from a small reservoir on his back. A lot of the old literature still existed and some cultures were experimenting with borrowed technologies from that long lost race. His voice had the tone of gravel being shovelled.
"The Sofians ...", The husker drone said to the tall Silico woman towering over him and gesturing with his shackled hands towards the few guardsmen remaining on deck,"...call you Lady Artaga because you are wife of the Emperor Omel."
Fixing her with a steely glare, the Husker continued. "...the Lonalowi call you...the Rainling..." He declared and watched her calmly look away. Her features became almost serene as he concluded, "....the wrack of Jungaia!"
Lights blinked on around the cabin and deck. Passengers and soldiers were heading for where dinner was being served within the aquaplane’s plush interior, if not already there. A smile lit up the corners of Lady Artaga's shapely lips as an aqua deck light cast soft shadows across her flawless face.
"Ahh. How long has it been since I have heard my true name spoken?" The Rainling replied quietly at first, her voice becoming more threatening as she spoke. "Soon two worlds will become as one. Otherwise I'll leave behind a hole in space that will echo throughout the heavens and make the suns themselves tremble!" She looked away from the Husker, fixing her gaze on the volcano rising over the horizon.
The time is indeed right. Soon my love. Soon Jungaia.
Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.