The Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko were downstairs for an early breakfast with Emperor Bartala and Empress Nalau the next morning. It was going to be a busy day. The Empress would make sure that her Suus guests had a delightful time. Emperor Bartala, the Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko would visit with the Rogsaars and make sure they were ready for the journey back to Myaad. Afrit the Great had departed the palace early. Today he was off exploring the moons of Ploosnar.
The Emperor and Empress were, as usual, a stunning fashion statement. She wore an ankle length teal dress with flared sleeves; she wore a brooch with her family crest on the left side of the high collar. There were ribbons of the same color woven through her hair. He wore black slacks with a long black velvet jacket. The jacket was lined and accented with the same teal color as the Empress’s dress. The Emperor had donned his family’s crest for today’s activities. He displayed it proudly on a chain, just under his teal necktie.
As today was going to be busy, breakfast was served buffet style. There was no time for elaborate, formal service that was customary at most palace meals. Nalau, M, and Brzko sipped their morning tea as Bartala made his way through the delights that were presented on the buffet table. As he neared the end, Nalau began working her way down the buffet spread, she called to M.
“Muse of Mischief I hope you will try the pragma fruit this morning. It is perfectly ripe right now. I find it delightful with gashi grain.”
M stepped forward to see what the Empress was talking about. When she came up alongside Nalau, the Empress leaned toward her and whispered, “I don’t know what you said to him last night but I must extend my sincerest gratitude. We have been struggling with the conditions of having a child. It has been frustrating and painful for both of us. But somehow you were able to help my beloved husband see the issue from a different perspective.” Empress Nalau slipped her free arm around M’s waist and leaned toward her, giving a sideways hug. “Thank you M.”
M noted that Nalau had casually called her by the nickname M. “You’re welcome Empress, I’ve known Bartala since we were children and when he’s acting like a child I’m able to call him out.” The ladies started giggling, they couldn’t stop, it escalated into full blown laughter as they each pictured the many childish ways of Bartala.
“What is so funny about breakfast you two?” Bartala asked from his seat at the head of the table.
“Nothing to share here…”
“Just girl talk.”
“Uh-oh Bartala, I think they may be plotting against us today. M, what are you up to? Brzko asked playfully.
“Nothing, just getting some breakfast. You should really try the pragma with gashi grains.”
Knowing their efforts to be let in on the joke were futile the men exchanged looks. They both knew continuing to push wouldn’t work, so why bother?
With everyone seated at the table they conversed about their plans for the day. “The final count of Rogsaars returning to Myaad with the Suus is 86.” Bartala announced. “The kitchen staff has packed three times as much food as they will need. It is better to be prepared. Once we finish eating I would like tour the Suus ship and see if they need anything else to accommodate the Rogsaars.”
“I’ll go with you. Do you need help with anything Empress Nalau?” M asked.
“Thank you for asking M. I do not think I need any help this morning. I am going to tour the gardens with Kiik and our botanist. It is a luxury for me to spend time touring the gardens. I cannot resist an opportunity to see it through the eyes of a Suus. It should be thrilling to tour our extensive flower gardens with a species that appreciates of scent of individual flowers.”
“This pleases me Nalau. Thank you for giving yourself permission to enjoy today. You work so tirelessly to please others.” Bartala said.
“I was thinking about accompanying Ruur on his mission to become familiar with bisporks. I’m curious to see how they react to a Suus.” Brzko announced.
“So you’re wondering if they bisporks will talk back to a Suus, they way they always seem to talk back to you?” M asked. “Yep, uh-huh, that’s it. And I think it’s about time to depart for the stables, so if you’ll excuse me your majesties, M.”
Brzko said as he stood and prepared to make his exit.
“Enjoy your day Brzko.” Bartala said.
“Thank you for offering your companionship to Ruur, Brzko. You and M are like family to us, and we sincerely appreciate your efforts.” Empress Nalau said.
“It’s my pleasure Empress. We certainly appreciate all that you do for us. Bye M,” he said as he bent down and kissed her cheek.
“Bye, have fun. Bartala I’m sure it’s time for us to go too.” M said.
As Brzko departed a palace butler stepped into the room,
“Your majesties, Kiik and her companions are waiting for you at the entrance to the palace.”
“OK thank you.” Bartala said.
When the trio arrived at the entrance Brzko and Ruur were already gone. Empress Nalau, Kiik, and another of her team, headed down the stairs with the botanist, their tour would start with the gardens at the bottom of the stairs. Nalau had arranged for several members of the gardening staff to join them with various carts and storage containers. It looked like they were going to be quite busy.
The other two Suus were waiting for the Muse of
Mischief and Emperor Bartala at the top of the stairs. “I am Taat and this is Lyyl, we will be assisting you with preparing our ship to transport the Rogsaars to Myaad.” the Suus on the left projected. Luckily he had gestured toward Lyyl during the introduction. Otherwise they would have not been able to determine which was which as the communication was telepathic.
“Great, let’s go to the ship. The supplies should have been delivered early this morning.” Bartala said as he headed down the stairs. It was a short walk to the private landing zone where the Suus ship was. “Have you enjoyed your stay on Ploosnar thus far?” he asked them.
“Yes,” Lyyl projected. “We do not often have time to freely explore the gardens of other planets. We both work in transport. Our time is spent moving cargo to and from Suus. This has been a very enjoyable diversion from our normal duties. There are many flowers, and many scents here that we have not previously encountered.”
“It will not take long to load the cargo today. And if your ship needs no modifications we will have a lot of free time. We also have all day tomorrow. Is there anything either of you would like to do or see while you are here?” Bartala asked.
The response to the question was odd. There was no direct telepathic communication. Instead a general feeling of conflict seemed to emanate from one of the Suus. It was like an answer was on the tip of the tongue as they say, but it was being suppressed.
“What is it, you can speak without fear of reprisal and our conversation will stay confidential.” Bartala assured them.
It was Taat that answered. “We understand that there are races with the aircoaches, we would both like to see these races and if possible operate an aircoach in a competitive manor. We do not have this type of activity on Suus.”
“So you want to be race coach drivers? You’re going to love it.” M said.
“We will need to obtain permission from Kiik.” Lyyl projected.
“Really? Where is the fun in that? Hmmmm, let me take care of getting permission from Kiik. I have an idea she will not be able to refuse.”
“As you wish Emperor.”
They had arrived at the Suus ship. “Good. Now let us get this freight loaded so we can continue on with our day.”
Once the Suus had the ship open it didn’t take Bartala’s crew long to load the stockpile of food, basic medical supplies, and other consumables.
The Muse of Mischief was curious about the actual space the Rogsaars would be in for four days. “May we tour the space where the Rogsaars will be staying during the trip?”
“Yes, the dormitory is this way.” Lyyl walked toward an opening in the wall of stock room, it looked like a closet space but it was rounded. Once M, Bartala, and Lyyl were inside a force field covered the doorway they had just walked through. M had just the slightest sensation of dropping. She noticed the area outside of the doorway had changed. It was some type of elevator system and it was smooth. They stepped out into a long hallway. It was lined on both sides with small rooms. Each room had a bed, a sink, and a sitting area with a desk and communication portal.
As the group made their way down the hall Lyyl projected the answer to the question that both M and Bartala were pondering, “We have modified the cargo space to hold 110 individual rooms. Down here at the end of the hallway is a community area and kitchen facility.”
“Wow, this is quite impressive, all for a four day journey. The Rogsaars will be traveling in style.” Bartala said as he looked over the community area.
“You said the space was modified, so these rooms were installed just for transporting the Rogsaars?” M asked.
“Yes” Lyyl projected. “We transport a variety of freight around the Universe. The Suus are often called upon to provide aid services to refugees, sometimes we transport groups that do not have access to their own ships, and sometimes we provide evacuation transportation. The rooms that you see are modular; we are able to set them up in this space to accommodate a variety of needs.”
“I’m beginning to like you Suus more and more all the time!” Bartala exclaimed. “Is there anything else that needs to be prepared prior to your departure?”
“I do not think so. Taat, is all of the cargo loaded?” Lyyl projected. Taat had entered the room behind them.”
“Yes, all cargo is loaded and secured. The only remaining cargo to load is the personal items that the Rogsaars bring with them. We will begin loading them and their personal items midday tomorrow. Tomorrow night we will all sleep on the ship, with an early departure planned for the following morning.” Taat projected to all of them.
“Excellent, then you two are free until midday tomorrow. I need your help with something.” Bartala said. M knew from his tone of voice that he was up to something. “I’ve already sent a message to Kiik and asked for her permission to have you two help me this afternoon. She of course gave her approval.”
“It is our pleasure Emperor Bartala, how may we assist you?” Lyyl projected, thinking that the Emperor really needed his help.
“I’m short by two drivers at this afternoon’s aircoach races. I need you two to fill in as drivers.” Bartala said with a chuckle.
“Oh way to go Bartala, I knew you would find a way to help Lyyl and Taat get to race.” M said. Bartala was absolutely beaming. “While you boys are playing go speed racer I’m going
to go visit with the Rogsaars and let them know when they will be moving to the Suus ship. Have a great time and be careful.”
“Are you two ready?” Bartala asked as he headed toward the exit.
Both Lyyl and Taat projected affirmation and excitement as they followed Bartala to the door.
The Muse of Mischief activated her com link to Brzko once she was outside. “Hey Brzko where are you? Back at the stable yet?”
“Yes, we returned a few minutes ago. Ruur and I are feeding the bisporks. Is everything OK?”
“Yep, the cargo is loaded. I’m heading to the stables now.” The Muse of Mischief said as she arrived at the front entrance to the bispork stables.
“So how was the ride Ruur, did you enjoy yourself?” The Muse of Mischief asked.
Ruur was clearly beside himself with joy as he brushed the bispork he had been riding. “I enjoyed the ride very much. I had no idea what it would be like to ride such a large being that has free will. It was… exciting.”
“Were you able to communicate with the bisporks?” M asked.
The bispork answered for him “Green been, good ride, like him but heavy.”
The Muse of Mischief, Agent Brzko, and the bisporks all laughed out loud, while laughter emanated telepathically from Ruur.
“How far did you ride?” M asked Brzko. “We went all the way out to the dump.”
“Oh that’s a pretty long ride, but the trail through the forests is beautiful.”
Ruur agreed, “Yes, we took some extra time and I was able to investigate the forest. There are some magnificent flowers there. The scents are quite intoxicating.”
“How did thing go with loading the ship? Is everything ready for departure the day after tomorrow?” Brzko asked.
“Yep,” M said as she climbed up on the stable fence and sat cowboy style. “The only thing left to load is the Rogsaars and their personal items. That will commence at midday tomorrow. I’m headed over to fill them in after this.”
This caught Ruur’s attention, “If you would not mind, I would like to accompany you. I should first check in with Kiik, but after that.”
“Sounds good, do you need me to have someone locate
her and the Empress?”
“Thank you, no. I can reach her telepathically.” Ruur projected.
“Just how far can you be from each other and still communicate?” Brzko asked.
“It is dependent on many factors, possible interferences, but certainly we would be able to communicate anywhere on this planet without having visual contact.” Ruur projected, “Once you involve atmosphere the variables can have more impact. But we are also able to communicate across long distances if we have a visual link, like with a communications portal.”
“Impressive!” Brzko said.
“Well if you two are ready then, let’s go to Lecur. Hmmmm Ruur, we can contact the palace to send us an aircoach, or if you’re up for an adventure you can go with me.” M said.
“You can transport beings with you?” Ruur projected, his excitement could be felt.
“Yes, we have to be in physical contact and you have to be willing.”
“I don’t know what to say, that would be excitement I had not anticipated. Yes, I am certainly willing.” Ruur projected, “what do I need to do?”
“Keep me from getting poked by those little needles on your skin.” M said sort of jokingly. “Actually just relax, I’ll take your arm and you won’t even notice we’re moving….” M stepped forward, alongside Ruur; she put her left hand on the forearm of his upper arm, and placed her right hand in his lower hand. “… until we’re there.”
And they were. Moving others in mid sentence was a mischievous little thing she liked to do. It kept the hitchhiker from having a chance to get nervous, or doubtful. That happened with Bartala when they were young, he’d get nervous, she’d go and arrive without him. She kept having to go back and get him; so, she learned not to build up to the departure.
She kept a firm grip on Ruur’s arm and hand, just in case he was unstable upon arrival. To be in a different location in the time that it takes to blink can be a little unnerving for some. Brzko was right there with them, on the edge of the courtyard where they had met with the Rogsaars a few days ago. Ruur was stable, she stepped back and looked at him, “Welcome to Lecur, how do you feel?”
“Like I want to do that again!” Ruur projected. “Suus believe that we have an advantage over some beings because we are telepathic. But the ability to move yourself to any location by far exceeds telepathy.”
Brzko patted Ruur on the shoulder, “That’s what almost everyone says. Are you ready to meet some Rogsaars?”
“Yes, I look forward to it.” Ruur projected.
The trio began walking toward the central courtyard; there were a few dozen Rogsaars in the area. The only way to tell them apart seemed to be their age and the style of their garb. Several of them turned and looked towards the trio. Then they began staring. At first the Muse of Mischief was confused, what could be wrong? Then she realized that most of these Rogsaars had not previously seen a Suus. Four armed, green beings tend to attract attention around fair skinned two armed bipeds.
“Muse of Mischief, Muse of Mischief, do you remember I, ahhh remember me? I am Rogsaar of Earth!” A Rogsaar had run up to the group as they approached the courtyard.
“Rogsaar, hello! Yes of course we remember you. Are you ready to return to Myaad?” M asked.
“Yas, yas, I enjoyed Ploosnar and the orange rooms in the palace but I have not been to Myaad since I was a small Rogsaar. Will we leave soon?”
Brzko fielded this one, “Yes, tomorrow at midday all Rogsaars that are returning to Myaad will board the Suus ship. You will depart early the following morning.”
“Oh very good, very good, we are excited to go home.”
Rogsaar said. “I will tell the others to prepare, when we are leaving. Thank you for finding me Brzko.” He just about jumped into Brzko’s arms to hug him. He was clearly very grateful that M and Brzko had found him after spending so many years alone on Earth. Before Brzko could even introduce Ruur, Rogsaar ran off to tell the others of the pending departure.
The trio continued on, “Let’s take a seat at one of the tables. I suspect there are a few Rogsaars that would enjoy meeting a Suus.” M said as the group took seats at one of the first open tables. She was right.
A Rogsaar dressed in a black jumpsuit, with red stripes running down the side, approach the table. “May I join you?”
“Of course.” Brzko answered as he stood, Ruur followed his lead and also stood.
“I am of course Rogsaar I was on an outpost on Smd which is a moon of Drolla O0. There is a small trading colony there, they gather precious elements and trade for other supplies. After being stuck there I began helping a local sarfet with his trading shop. I am pleased to be returning to Myaad, and I suspect it is you that I have to thank for that? Are you the Muse of Mischief and Agent Brzko? The ones that found the Rogsaar of Earth?”
“Yes, that’s us. I’m glad you’re excited to be returning to Myaad. With the help of the Suus aberidus has been eradicated and now there is an opportunity to rebuild your society.” M said.
“Suus, I have not met a Suus, but I think you might be a Suus?” Rogsaar said as he turned toward Ruur.
“Yes, I am a Suus. My name is Ruur I am the first to the captain of our ship, Kiik. Much pleasure will be received from helping Rogsaars return to Myaad.” Ruur projected.
Rogsaar looked a little perplexed, “That was in my head. I was told that Suus are telepathic but I did not understand what communication would be like. This is very fascinating. Can you read my thoughts?”
A small group of six or seven Rogsaars were now surrounding the table. They were all very curious about the species that would be taking them home to Myaad. “Suus are trained to only read the thoughts of others when they are conversing with telepaths. With non-telepaths we use our ears to hear words, or thoughts.”
“What do you eat? One of the Rogsaars standing near Ruur asked.
“Vapor, Suus obtain their sustenance from vapor.” Ruur answered.
“What will we eat on the way back to Myaad?” another asked.
M fielded this one, “Emperor Bartala has been kind enough to stock the ship with more than enough provisions for your journey home. There is a common area with a large kitchen where you can prepare your meals.”
“Can we see the ship? We are curious about it.”
“That is up to Ruur.” M answered.
“Yes, you can see where you will stay on the ship. I will confirm with Kiik. It is not too far from here, we could walk. How many of you would like to go?”
There were only about twenty Rogsaars that wanted to see the ship. M suspected that the remaining Rogsaars wanted to maximize their time in the fresh air.
While Brzko and the Muse of Mischief were not official representatives of Ploosnar, they did have a standing here and would always do what they could to represent the palace. It did not seem right to let Ruur and a group of Rogsaars wander over to the Suus ship unescorted. Brzko stepped up.
“I’ll go over to the ship with you Ruur, in case you need anything from the palace along the way”. He said.
“Thank you Agent Brzko, I do appreciate your attendance.” Ruur projected.
Brzko bent down and kissed M’s cheek, “I’ll see you in a while M.”
The small group departed, M was left sitting at a table with a few Rogsaars. “Have any of you decided to stay on Ploosnar?” she asked the group.
“Yes, I will be staying and I know of several others.” answered a Rogsaar that was dressed in Ploosnar fashion. M couldn’t help but wonder what his white hair would look like if he took on the Londo style that Bartala was so fond of.
“Where were you before?” M asked.
“I was on Wrexna. Have you heard of it?”
“Yes, I’ve been there a few times. They invent some great gadgets but the food was not much to my liking.”
“I agree the food is very bad. That alone is enough of a reason not to return!” Rogsaar said.
“And you don’t want to return to Myaad?”
“Maybe someday. But after struggling to survive on Wrexna for so many years I do not have an interest in being on Myaad while society is rebuilt. There is a lot of work to do in order to rebuild. I am not young, I want to contribute in a way that I enjoy but I do not want to struggle again. The Emperor Bartala has been kind enough to offer us places in his society. I have already been given private quarters, and an assignment that is much to my liking. I will be a member of the palace kitchen staff. After so many years with the food on Wrexna I am looking forward to the assignment.”
The Muse of Mischief chatted with the Rogsaars for a while. They were all much more relaxed than during her previous visits. It didn’t take long for Brzko to return the small group of Rogsaars that been on a tour of the Suus ship.
“Where’s Ruur?” she asked Brzko as he returned.
“He was summoned to meet up with Kiik and his crew at their ship. They have some final preparations to attend to before the Rogsaars board tomorrow. I’m sure they want to load the flora specimens carefully. It sounds like they will be taking a large collection home with them.”
The Rogsaar that had been on Wrexna spoke up, “If you will excuse me, I must also prepare for tomorrow. I am not departing on the ship but I am moving to my private quarters here on Ploosnar. I’m sure the returning Rogsaars need time to prepare as well.”
“Of course! Thank you for chatting with while the others toured the ship.” M said. “I’m sure we’ll see you again, we are often on Ploosnar. We will be here to see the others off tomorrow.”
The remaining Rogsaars made their way back to their temporary quarters to prepare for departure, leaving Brzko and the Muse of Mischief alone in the courtyard. The silence and blue flowers were peaceful, but it didn’t last long.
“Ah ha! I thought you two might be here.” Bartala called as he approached.
“Hey Bartala, did you manage to turn the Suus into
aircoach racers?” M asked.
Bartala let out a very hearty laugh as he took a seat at the table. “Ohhhh yes and I think it will be a new passion for them. I may have ruined them. It was as exciting for them as it was for me. Luckily no one was hurt.”
“Good. I bet they had a fantastic time. I don’t think Suus do a lot of racing on their home planet, or any type of recreation for that matter.” M said.
“Speaking of home…..” Brzko said, “We’re
probably not needed here until tomorrow M, let’s go home for a while.”
“Great idea, I can hear the ocean waves calling!”