BACK ON PLOOSNAR

The Muse of Mischief arrived at the bottom of the place stairs on Ploosnar. There was no need for her to call ahead; she and Brzko were always welcome here. Before she got to the top of the stairs, the palace guards had announced her arrival. Emperor Bartala was waiting for her.

“Emperor, it is always a pleasure. I see you still have the new Londo hairstyle. Has it created the excitement you hoped it would?” the Muse of Mischief asked with a big smile

“Yes, it is now the most popular hairstyle on Ploosnar. When I am ready to change I will ask you for another suggestion M; perhaps another style from one of those silly Earth science fiction stories.” Bartala said with a chuckle.

“You got it Londo,” M quipped “oh I mean Bartala.”

This was met with the great joviality she loved so much about her dear friend Emperor Bartala. When he composed himself after having a good laugh at her Londo joke, she continued.

“We figured out what, and who, is sending the random Earth items to Ploosnar.”

“It seems the only mystery you and Brzko can’t figure out is that of your own origins. Let’s go inside and get comfortable, I have a feeling this will take a while.” Emperor Bartala turned and walked toward the main entrance of the palace, the long velvet coattails of his bright green jacket rippling behind him.

Emperor Bartala and the Muse of Mischief had settled in one of the many palace sitting rooms. Today they were enjoying the green sitting room. The magnificent room looks as though it is carved out of single piece of marble; there is a green rug under the sitting area. The sofas are a lighter shade of green and the mantle above the fireplace has a collection of green vases. From right to left, they get darker as they get taller. The flames of the fire are even green. But as usual, the thing M finds most impressive is the high vaulted ceiling with windows at the peak, letting in light. Three green tapestries are suspended from the ceiling. The movement of the tapestries and the light coming through the high windows create an effect that M never tires of.

Once they were settled with refreshments, and Bartala’s staff had left the room, M began to fill him in on what she and Brzko had learned about the origins of the Earth dump here on Ploosnar.

“What  do  you  know  about  Myaad?”  she  asked  the Emperor.

“It is a small planet, not far from here. I think it is the size of our moons. It seems like they used to be great explorers but I can’t recall hearing anything about them in recent years.”

“Yes,  they  were  great  explorers.  Then,  almost  two hundred Earth years ago, an illness infected them and their hives. Very few survived and their hives no longer function, which means they cannot reproduce. They lost contact with all of the explorers that were off planet at the time of the outbreak. They shut down their flashports, and haven’t allowed anyone to enter or leave the planet in order to make sure they didn’t spread the illness.” M explained.

“Flashports…” Bartala said slowly, as if he was searching his own mind for details of something that sounded vaguely familiar. “I think I remember these devices. Aren’t they transportation devices that run between their ships and planet? The Gaznzulians use something similar. But the Myaads used them to transport commodities back home, and provide supplies to the explorers.”

“Yes, and it was wise to shut them down when the illness hit. But between that, and not maintaining their communications equipment, all of their explorers were stranded. They’ve been shut off from the outside for so long that I presume some of them may have died of old age. But one was a child, trapped on Earth for over one hundred Earth years. Most of that time spent alone.”

“Ohhhh that is dreadful, he was alone in a strange place for that long? How did he survive?”

“The Rogsaar’s ship still has some functionality. It is able to replicate sustenance and it provides shelter. I think after giving up on fixing the ship Rogsaar started attempting to reach home by sending things through the flashport. The flashports on Myaad were not online to receive, so by tinkering with the flashport anything sent ended up on a nearby planet…”

“Ploosnar!” Bartala said, finishing M’s sentence for her “Yes. I haven’t confirmed this yet but it makes sense. Brzko is with Rogsaar now.”

Just  then  Empress  Nalau  walked  in.  The  Muse  of Mischief stood to greet her.

“Empress Nalau, it is a pleasure to see you today.” M offered a small curtsey. They may be friends but M still regarded Nalau as royalty, and she did not enjoy the same level of familiarity with the Empress that she had with her old pal the Emperor. Based on Nalau’s appearance alone she deserved this regard. Today she dressed in a long, bright green, flowing gown that trailed behind her. The color matched Bartala’s jacket. She wore  a  short,  long  sleeved  coat  of  a  golden  color.  She  had adopted a hairstyle similar to Bartala’s, but hers had golden threads that matched her jacket woven throughout. It wasn’t just the royal garments that made her appear so regal, it was also her kind and graceful nature.

Emperor Bartala’s greeting was more casual, “My dear, I’m happy you have returned earlier than expected. The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko have discovered how and why all of these Earth items are appearing here on Ploosnar. It turns out a being from Myaad has been stuck on Earth for a very long time with no contact to from Myaad, the home world. In fact there was no contact with anyone. Tinkering with a nonfunctional transport device  caused  the  items  to  start  ending  up  here,  instead  of Myaad.”

With all of the poise and compassion that M had so come to admire about Empress Nalau, she asked only one question, “How are we going to help Bartala?”

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