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Avery, The Lost Star

by

Sidgal



Published by Sidgal at Smashwords

Copyright 2019 Sidgal


Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to your favorite ebook retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.





Prologue





Avery Thomas was twenty-one and a superstar. She'd been a child star and never lost momentum. It wasn't easy being a superstar across entire galaxies. She lived on the planet, Gorn II, but she was also known on Earth, Terkon, Grenta, the Marsian colonies and several other planets.

Not only humans, but alien races also adored the young star. She'd lost her mother the day she was born, but her father, Jacob Thomas had done everything for his daughter and her older brother, Luke. The Thomas family was incredibly wealthy. They owned precious stone mines on several planets.

Avery had grown up in pure affluence, but now that she was a superstar, she didn't need her family's wealth anymore, but she still lived in her dad's house, with Luke who preferred to be a playboy instead of getting married and settling down. She was a country musician; the best around. She'd picked up the music genre when she'd gone on a three year holiday to Earth. She was the reason country music from Earth was now loved across the galaxies.

Yeah, Avery got the good end of life, but not everyone had it this good.

****

In a posh condo inside the city of Reni, Ash Karmer worked on the electrical circuit of The Bodmer family.

Ash was twenty-three, 6ft 2", light-skinned black and very efficient. He did all sorts of jobs. Electronics, mechanical, plumbing, advertisement, sales; everything.

He made a more than a reasonable sum from his multiple talents, but everything went into payments for his stay and upkeep in this posh city. Reni was the commercial giant of the entire planet of Gorn II and being here gave opportunities you wouldn't find anywhere else.

Ash was competent, efficient and strong. He sang too, but it was just a hobby for him. He cared little for celebrities, or anything that had to do with them. All he wanted from any celebrity was a simple job with great pay.







Chapter ONE





Avery Thomas stood on stage at the Ternom arena; the largest arena on her home planet. She was a 5ft 8" bundle of talent. Her fans were gathered below. They were cheering loudly. She'd just finished a great show. She had on a flame-blue dress with open toe stilettos and her long white hair was done full and fluffy. Her earpiece was visible over her left ear, with the tiny microphone inside.

"Settle down, everybody," she spoke, but nobody obeyed.

A woman came out onto the stage with a guitar and handed it to Avery, while a piano rose from beneath the stage. These caused the crowd to go silent as they wondered what was about to unfold before them.

"So I know it's already been a great show tonight, but there's a new song I'm still working on and since I'm here in the Terwon arena, right here in my home town, Reni," Avery began, but the crowd's cheering cut her off.

She let the cheering die down before speaking again.

"Since I'm right at home, I felt I'd play you all this new song," the lady spoke. "At least what I've got so far on it."

The crowd began cheering again but they fell silent when Avery began playing that guitar.



VERSE 1

Tis been a long hard day on this old dirt road

Been doing things from dusk till dawn

I met a pretty lil’ child with real great big dreams

And a perfect smile that'd melt the sun

Now this here child say she's scared of the dark

But says yeah when I ask her if she loves the stars

And that's when I told her my mama's words

.(Damn that woman's words never get old)


Say child, don't be thinking about what will be

(Yeah)

Cuz in time, everything's gon' be right with me


CHORUS 1

See the sun goes down and the moon comes up.

Darkness falls, all seems lost

And at the very moment it seems all gone,

That's when the darkness.........Lets in the stars.

Stars

Stars

Oh it lets in the stars

stars

stars

Yeah it lets in the stars.


Say pretty lil child there's a lesson here.

See there aint no stars without the dark


CHORUS 2

Cause them stars of ours.....need the darkness to shine

shine

shine

need the darkness the darkness to shine

shine

shine

(Oh they'll shine so bright)

shine

shine

(yeah in darkness, there's light.)



Avery ended the song there and the crowd went wild.

"Thank you all so much for coming out tonight!!" the girl yelled to be heard over the roaring fans.

****

Avery walked into the luxurious, main living room of the Thomas mansion. She was tired and just needed rest. She sat down on the long, soft sofa and turned on the holograph screen TV.

#The Zerkun bandits strike again# said the newscaster, a being of the Rumo race.

The Rumo had large heads with four, all-black eyes. They were 7ft tall on average and their colors varied between blue, gray and red. The news cater Rumo on the holoscreen was red in color.

#The bandits struck a luxurious jewelry store on the planet Earth. Yes, they actually executed a robbery on the highly secure planet Earth. The unknown bandits are still at large and........#

The news was cut off of as Avery turned off the screen.

"I just completed a big tour and they'd rather cover news about jewel thieves," she thought aloud.

"That is a selfish way to think," came her father's voice and the lady looked back to find her father at the living room door.

Jacob Thomas was a big man, 6ft tall and with a big build. He was fifty, but would pass for a fellow in his late thirties. His hair was brown, with white strips.

"Oh c'mon, dad, be real," Avery told her father. "Why aren't they talking about my concert?"

"Because a jewelry store was robbed and these Zerkun bandits are growing bolder with each successful heist."

"I guess you're right," the lady admitted. "There are planetary police and galactic police. How can't they catch these common thieves?"

"They try," her father told her.

"They don't try enough," she stated.

"You win," her father gave in.

She smiled now.

"I always win," she told the man.

"That's why you're my baby girl," he man agreed.

Another young lady ran into the room. She was Maisie Inken, Avery's manager and Personal assistant. Maisie was a tall human, woman, flashy, sexy and very efficient.

"Good day, Lord Thomas," Maisie greeted as she rushed past the man.

"You won't believe who just called, Avery!" Maisie said, so excited.

"Who was it?" Avery asked.

"Wesger Yooha from the board of the Decadus Galacticon and he wants you to do the opening for this decade's convention," Maisie announced.

"Oh my stars. Oh my stars. Oh my stars. Oh my stars," Avery chanted in excitement.

"You deserve it, princess," Lord Thomas stated.

"I'll be opening the Decadus Galacticon," Avery said, almost doubting it.

"This decade's convention will be hosted right here on Gorn II," Maisie spoke. "They're doing it in the Ronguut arena in the city of Wemna."

"Data overload," Avery said. "I think I'm going to faint now."

She spread open her arms and fell backwards on the sofa. Her father and Maisie laughed.

Chapter TWO





Ash got to his condo on the 64th floor of the 82 storey Banto condominium building right in the middle of Reni. He tried the hand of the door and it was open.

"Guess Elsa's home," he murmured, opening the door.

The door opened onto a beautiful and lavishly furnished living room. There were two sofas, a wall mounted projector which would generate a holoscreen when turned on. There was a glass chandelier above the living room area and a balcony that looked down on the space from upstairs.

There was an exercise area in one corner of the room and a dining table in another. This duplex condo had a large kitchen, four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a medium sized Jacuzzi.

"Back early, huh?" came a female voice from above.

Ash looked up at the balcony and found his house mate and co-owner of the condo, Elsa Grim. Elsa wasn't human, but of the Pefton race. Her skin was grey in color, her eyes, red and she had 15cm antennas sticking out of her green hair. Peftons also had retractable claws, wings and tails, but they only let them out when they felt like doing so.

Elsa had on only a bikini and Ash just shook his head at her.

"Will you ever not behave like a rebellious teenager and learn to act twenty-two?" he asked.

"Oh shut up," Elsa replied. "This is my condo too. We are co-owners and supposed best friends, but you always act all mature and boring."

"That's because we are both adults and should act like it," Ash stated.

"Tell me you have a mergaani roll in your backpack for me and I will give you the mail that came in for you today," said Elsa.

"I was too late to get the mergaani roll," Ash stated, taking off his backpack.

He opened the bag and took out a plastic container.

"They still had cheese puffs though," he said, waving the plastic container.

"They'll do," Elsa spoke, generating her gray, batlike wings and leaping off the balcony.

She flapped the massive wings and landed before Ash. She retracted the wings and tried to snatch the plastic container from Ash, but he pulled it back.

"My mail first," he told her.

"On the center table," Elsa replied him, pointing at the glass center table in the middle of the living room area.

Ash looked at the table and Elsa snatched the plastic container from him. He ignored her and walked toward the table.

"You are the worst best friend, Ash," Elsa spoke, munching on a cheese puff. "You know I'm a rising model and still, you bring me these unhealthy and fattening treats all the time."

"I bring you treats once in awhile, Elsa," the guy corrected her, picking up the envelope on the table.

He tore it open and took out a folded piece of paper. He unfolded it and was amazed at what he saw. He read the words on the paper in silence and Elsa watched him.

"You gonna tell me what is?" she asked.

"It's from the Hartom agency," Ash replied with excitement. "They are among five agencies here on Gorn II awarded the contract of planning for the Decadus Galacticon in Wemna city in two months' time and they want me to be their head of lighting and electrical fittings for the convention!"

Elsa screamed with excitement. She even spat out the cheese puff she had in her mouth and ran to Ash. Ash caught her in a hug, lifted her in the air, spun her around and they both fell on the floor; laughing like crazy.

"Please tell me you get tickets for handling a job like this," Elsa spoke, laying on her back.

Ash turned onto his side and looked at the Pefton lady.

"I get three free tickets, back stage passes and access to the after party on the last day of the convention," he announced.

"Ten days of hot, nonstop music and we get to attend the after party with all the super stars," Elsa said, looking up at the ceiling. "We'll see Coded Ray, Sergan, The Fluchan boys, The rugged diamonds, Imhodan and maybe even Avery Thomas. I admit it, Ash, your job is way cooler than mine."

"Oh shut up," Ash told her playfully. "You're a model and I'm a guy who just does odd jobs for rich folks and agencies of all sorts. I don't have anything steady."

"Your unsteady jobs just landed you a job in a music festival that happens only once every decade," Elsa pointed out. "That's pretty big."

She lay on her side now and stared into Ash's eyes.

"You never know, the Hartom agency might just offer you a permanent job if you impress them, Ash. Other bigger agencies may even send you offers too. This might be the gig that gets you so much money that you move out of here and go get a mansion in the city, or maybe even on another planet. I might be losing my housemate soon."

Ash got to his feet and helped Elsa up to. He saw the sadness in her eyes when she spoke.

"I'll never leave you behind, Elsa," he told her. "You're my best friend in the universe and no one can take that away from us."

"Thanks, Ash," Elsa said, hugging him.

Ash put his arms around Elsa and gave her a little squeeze, then they parted.

"So who gets our third free ticket and pass?" Elsa asked.

"I don't know," Ash replied. "I guess we'll just see who deserves it in the end amongst all the people we meet over the next two months."

****

Avery stepped out from her giant bathroom and into her even more gigantic bedroom. The place was like a small hall. The bed sat on a dais in the middle of the room. There was a glass wall with doors in it that led out to a grand balcony. There was a seating area with sofas, bean bags and single chairs. There was a bar in one corner of the room. The bar was unnecessary, but she said she wanted it, thus her father fitted it.

The general color theme of the room was gold. There were golden sheets, the tiles on the floor was gold. The walls were painted gold with beautiful splashes of silver.

The lady's white hair was wet. She had on a red, silk kimono. Her body was towel dry and a pair of soft, fluffy slippers on her feet kept her from wetting the tiled floor, or slipping on it. She hummed a tune as she walked up to her grand makeup table. She sat down on the stool and admired herself in the mirror. She was beautiful.

"Who's opening the Decadus Galacticus?" she asked her image.

"You are, you hot thing," she replied herself, laughing.

She picked up her hair spray and sprayed some on then the nozzle made a "Shhhhh" sound.

"Finished already?" Avery asked, looking at the can. "Darn things never last."

She threw the can on the floor and a small, block-shaped robot rushed out from a hole in the wall, magnetized the empty can to itself and vanished into the hole once more.

"Now, I have to go get another can," Avery spoke. "I'll get an entire pack of them this time."

She stood up with a grunt and stomped towards the glass doors leading out to her balcony under the beautiful night. She got to the doors and they slid open, but she stopped in the doorway.

"I guess I'll just enjoy the drive into Reni tomorrow anyway," she said, smiling and turning back into the bedroom. "The city is the commercial giant of the entire planet. There's bound to be some stuff out there I'll enjoy seeing. Run into some fans even."

She walked towards two large wooden doors which led into her massive, walk-in closet.

"I guess tomorrow will be a good day after all," she said. "Now to get changed and get some beauty sleep."







Chapter THREE





Ash's cruiser was moving along the roads of Reni. The sun was up and the day was promising. The cruiser was black in color, with a transparent, plastic roof over it. The guy had the A/C turned on. He had a holograph image projected over his dashboard. On it was written things he would need for his latest and biggest job yet.

"Just gotta have Tron arrange for the stuff on this list, then head over to the Tenrom agency to accept my new contract," Ash said.

His cruiser turned into the open gates on a two storey building with the words, "TRON EMPORIUM," above it. Ash noticed five large, SUV cruisers in the parking spot. He put his cruiser in the space next to one and got out. There were two figures in black, armored body suits standing behind the five big cruisers.

"Who the lark could this be?" he thought aloud, looking at the cruisers.

He walked out of the parking spots and into the shop, whose doors opened as he approached them. Inside, there were three more security agents next to the doors.

"Miss Thomas will not like these," Ash heard a female voice say. He looked ahead and found his friend and owner of this place, Tron Emin, talking to a woman. The woman was human, but Tron was not. He was of the Vidon race.

Vidons were humanoid beings with black colored skin, long, pointed ears and legs which bent backwards at the knees like the hind legs of a horse.

Ash walked up to where Tron and this woman stood talking. He stood a few feet off and waited for the conversation to be over. He watched the workers and salespersons in the store as they went about their business.

The woman Tron was discussing with was Maisie Inken, Avery's P.A. Tron towered above the woman, standing at 6ft 8". He was fit and always dressed in the finest suits. His long ears were adorned with golden ear rings and his fingers displayed gold too. He had on sandals on his large, three-toed feet and dark, gold rimmed glasses over his eyes.

"I'm not saying we don't have the product, madam," Tron told Maisie. "All I'm saying is that it is yet to arrive and once it does, I will have a carton sent up to the Thomas mansion. I'll even throw in three free cans."

"The Thomas mansion," Ash murmured. "As in Avery Thomas' family?"

"Avery?!!" came screams from the front door of the shop.

Ash looked in that direction and saw that three ladies had just entered. Two were of the Pefton race like Ash's housemate, Elsa and the third was of the Labrai race. She had green skin, white eyes, black stripes on the exposed part of her skin and a long, black, slender, tail like that of a big, wild cat.

The girls were looking in one direction, but a shelf was blocking Ash from whatever they were looking at. Suddenly, from behind the shelf emerged the country music star, Avery Thomas. The girls ran at her, but the three security agents with her, held them back.

"Avery, my name's Onesha," said the Labrai lady. "I'm the president of your fan club here on Gorn two, remember?"

"Uhm....yeah," Avery lied. "Let them through."

The guards let the ladies through and they assaulted the star with questions and photos. Ash smiled at the sight.

"Star craze," he said, shaking his head.

"Okay, Avery," said Maisie now, leaving Tron and walking toward the star. "We bought what we could and what we can't, Mr. Emin will have sent to the mansion once they arrive his store."

Ash watched the woman as she walked towards the star. She looked serious. She was curvy and hot, but looked and acted very serious.

"Personal assistants," said Tron. "They are there to supposedly assist the stars, but they're actually the ones who get to exercise authority and brag about the wealth."

Ash looked at the Vidon and both smiled at each other now. He walked up to the store owner and they shook hands.

"What brings Gorn two's greatest hustler to my store this morning?" Tron asked.

"That Avery Thomas sure is prettier in real life than on TV," Ash said, looking back at the star.

"If you wanna stare at super stars in my store, then I'll have to charge you," Tron spoke now.

Ash looked up at the guy and they both laughed.

"Well I'm not here to look at stars, but to hand you a contract," Ash said, holding out a slim, black memory stick.

Tron collected the stick and pushed a button at its side. From the top of the stick, a holograph image appeared. The Vidon looked at the stuff on the list. He scrolled down a little, then looked at Ash over his dark glasses.

"This looks like an incredibly big job," he told the man. "What you get yourself into?"

"One of my agencies was given a contract in the preparations for the coming Decadus Galacticon and they have tasked me with taking care of lighting and electrical fittings," Ash replied with a proud smile.

"Ash, my boy!" Tron screamed, hugging the guy tight. "Oh you got this job and you brought the supply section my way. I love this kid."

Avery, her fans and Maisie all looked at Ash and the store owner. The big guy seemed really happy and Avery couldn't help wondering why.

"I'll make all the arrangements for the materials you'll need," Tron told Ash, letting go of him now. "I'll import what I don't have and...."

"Chill, Tron," Ash told the guy. "I'll have to go to the agency and get a plan of what they are going for. Then I'll know what I need and how much I'll be working with."

"Oh I'll give you the best prices," Tron promised. "I always did, didn't I?"

Ash laughed. He looked at his digital wristwatch and his eyes widened.

"Okay, gotta go now, or I'll be late, Tron," he said.

"Well then you'd better get out of my store and go secure that contract!" the Vidon barked.

Ash turned and ran out of the store. Avery watched him as he ran by, then he stopped before her. He turned to face her and she just looked at him expectantly.

"Can I get a picture with you real quick, Miss Thomas?" he asked the star, taking out his phone. "It's not for me, but my friend. She really loves you. It would just make her day."

"Sure," Avery said with a smile.

The bodyguards stepped aside and Ash came over to the star. He stood next to her, held his phone up above then and took several pictures.

"You should take one with me," Onesha spoke. "I'm the president of Avery's fan club here on Gorn two."

"You're Onesha?" Ash asked, genuinely surprised. "My friend follows you. She reads all your posts and watches all your videos. Oh she'll love me taking a picture with you."

Ash got in close to Onesha and took some pictures with her too.

"Okay, I gotta go," he said once he was done. "I'm almost late for something big. Was nice seeing you, Miss Onesha and an honor running into you, Miss Thomas."

"Hey, what's your name and your friend's name?" Onesha asked him.

"I'm Ash Karmer and my friend's Elsa Grim," Ash replied.

"She's of the Pefton race," he added, pointing at the other two ladies who'd come in with Onesha. "Also, remember to always buy from Tron Emporium. If it aint here, it aint worth having."

"That's my man!" Tron yelled, holding a fist up in Ash's direction and smiling broadly.

Ash gave Tron a thumbs up, then rushed out of the store.

"Wow," said Onesha. "Some guy, huh?"

****

"I'm home!" Avery yelled as she burst into the main living room of the family mansion.

Two figures immediately sat up on the long sofa that backed the door. One was the star's older brother, Luke Thomas, the playboy. The other was a female of the Labrai race like Onesha at the store earlier. Both were topless and the Labrai lady had her hands over her naked breasts.

"Again, Luke?!" Avery snapped.

"Just go home," Luke told the Labrai lady. "I'll call you tomorrow."

"You have a bedroom for this nonsense," Avery told her brother.

The guy got up now. He had on pants. He was 6ft tall, with brown hair and an athletic build. He was twenty three, two years older than Avery.

The Labrai lady left the room now, Avery stepping aside for her to get out the door.

"I work hard at the office every day," Luke said now that the lady was gone. "The least I could do is date who I want and do whatever I want, wherever I want. The women want me, so I give myself to them."

"Twenty three and still dumb as a block," Avery told him, shaking her head.

"Don't you speak to me like that, little sister," the guy warned.

"Or what?" she asked. "You're pathetic."

Avery turned around and left the room.

"She's wrong," Luke thought aloud. "I'm loveable. Why else do all the women want me?"

****

Ash and Elsa were seated on a sofa in their living room. The Pefton female had Ash's phone in her hands. She wasn't half naked this time, but dressed in shorts and a loose blouse.

"Wow, these pictures are great, Ash," Elsa spoke. "So this is Onesha? Younger than she looks during her broadcasts."

"Yeah, she should be about nineteen," Ash said in a drab voice.

Elsa looked at him and he looked away. She knew something was up.

"What's up, Ash?" she asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Ash let out a sigh. He looked at his friend now.

"I met with the Harton agency earlier today," he told the lady. "The music festival will be in Wemna city and they want me at the city until the show."

"What?!" Elsa exclaimed.

"I have to be there and supervise everything," Ash replied.

"Why don't they just host it here in Reni?" Elsa asked, getting up now. "We have the biggest arena on Gorn two anyway."

Ash bowed his head. Both friends were taking the news hard.

"So you're gonna have to move out," Elsa said in a low voice, her back to Ash. "We're being separated already."

"Maybe you could join me," Ash suggested. "Come with me to Wemna. This doesn't have to be my big break alone. You are such a great planner and architect."

"That part of me is gone now, Ash," Elsa told him. "I'm a rising model now and I'm doing pretty good. It pays better and I'll be a star some day."

"You should come back to construction and maintenance," Ash told her, getting to his feet. "We used to be so good working together. We have hustled and scratched to get here. We are still so down, we have to share payment for this condo. Join me. Let's work on this contract together. The agency just handed me this job because they like my character and wanna help me, not because I earned it."

"When do you leave?" Elsa asked, turning to face him now.

"Tomorrow morning," he replied. "Please say you'll come with me."

"I have three photo shoots tomorrow morning alone," Elsa replied, making to walk past Ash, but he grabbed her arm, stepped up to her and put his lips against her own.

Elsa immediately pulled back and slapped the guy. Ash put a hand to his face, rubbing it.

"We tried this two times already and both times, it didn't end well for either of us," the lady told him. "Let's not make the same mistake a third time, Ash. We should stick to just being friends."

Ash looked into the Pefton lady's red eyes. Her gray skin seemed to glow. She was so beautiful, but she was right.

"I'm so sorry," he said. "I shouldn't have done that."

Elsa's batlike wings grew out from her back and she lifted off the living room floor. She went up to the balcony overlooking the room. She touched down and walked to her room without even looking back once.

"I guess that side of us is finally dead," Ash murmured to himself, looking up at the balcony where Elsa had just landed.

****

Avery and Maisie walked into her bedroom right now. Maisie had a Tele-Con organizer in her hands. It was a large device with a glass screen controlled by touch and thoughts.

"So barely two months before the festival begins," Maisie spoke as they walked. "I have arranged for a convoy to Wemna tomorrow."

"And why are we going to Wemna now if the Galacticon is two months away?" Avery asked.

"Because you need to get the lay of the land, Avery," Maisie replied. "This is a music festival, but there is still competition for who's performance got the most out of the fans and we have to do everything to make that big reaction come during Avery Thomas' performance."

"Don't refer to me in the third person, Maisie," Avery said, screwing up her face and going out the glass doors leading to her balcony.

The balcony was beautifully furnished. There were sofas, two seaters, potted plants and a soft rug spread out on the entire surface. The scene from here was beautiful. It looked down on the Thomas mansion garden. The sky was dark now, but the land was lit up by Arsuma, Gorn II's very bright moon.

"Well if you don't want me refer to you in the third person, then get your head in the game," Maisie told her boss.

Avery went to the parapet and leaned on it. Maisie came to stand beside her, still making plans on the tele-con device.

"We leave for Wemna tomorrow so you can meet your fans in that city," Maisie spoke. "Get them hyped up. The Decadus Galacticon is happening right here on your home planet, Avery. Let's use this to our advantage. I'll speak with Greyor. You should work on a few new singles before the Galacticon arrives. They'll sell now and sky rocket after you pull off a stunning performance at the festival. Girl, we are looking at millions. Millions in all sorts of currencies. You cannot joke with this."

"I'm not joking, Maisie," Avery replied. "Just a little overwhelmed by all these big things you expect from me."

"Come on, Avery," Maisie said, placing a hand on the star's shoulder. "You can do this, okay. You area a star now. Ever seen a star not shine at night just because some attention was drawn to it?"

Avery looked at her manger with a smile.

"Most times, you're my friend, more than you are my manager and P.A," she told the other lady.

"Every good manager should aim to achieve a balance like that, Avery," Maisie told her boss. "Now, we'll call that fan president girl we met at the emporium today. See what she can do for us in Wemna. We'll lodge in your family's hotel while we plan this stuff."

Avery laughed aloud.

"It's always business with you," she told Maisie.







Chapter FOUR





Next day, at the city of Wemna. Avery walked into the suite she would be staying in at the Grand Thomas Hotel. The suite was grand. It had a living room, a luxurious bathroom and a large bedroom. It had a very high ceiling, making the space look much bigger than it already was. The color theme here was gold like her bedroom at home; it was her private suite after all.

"Ah I haven't been back here in what, six years?" Avery spoke, looking around the space.

Maisie had her Tele-con organizer with her and her eyes were pointed down at it. Avery took off the wool coat she had on. She threw it up on the 6ft high back of the sofa which sat before the 72inch wall mounted TV. She admired the thick, black, glass centre table with golden symbols etched into it.

"Oh this place is beautiful," she said, bending over and feeling the glass table.

There was a knock on the door.

"That must be Onesha," Maisie said, turning to the door now. "Open the door for her."

Avery picked up a remote which sat on the centre table. She aimed the sensor at the door and pushed a button. The door slid open to let in a very excited Onesha. The Labrai girl was very happy. She had on a big, black T-shirt with Avery's face on it.

"Good afternoon, Miss Thomas, Miss Inken," she said, still standing outside the door.

"Oh do come in, dearie," Avery told the girl.

Onesha walked into the suite now, her eyes roving around.

"By the star gods," she said. "This is your private suite?"

"Her family also owns the entire hotel, big whoop," Maisie said sarcastically. "We are here for business, not play."

"Will you just calm down, Maisie," Avery snapped at her manager. "The girl's what? Nineteen? Twenty? Let a child enjoy being in the presence of her favorite star. Sheesh you're such a workaholic."

Maisie looked at Avery with a serious face.

"With all due respect, Avery," she spoke. "The Decadus Galacticon is coming here and you get the honor of being the opening act. This is a big opportunity and I'm not blowing it. If you want to be unserious, then you'll have to fire me and get yourself a new manager who'll be willing to play when it's time to work. I'll go into the city and see what I can find about the Ronguut arena and other viewing spots in the city. Hopefully that will be enough time for you and your fan to enjoy meeting each other again."

Maisie completed her semi-angry speech, then walked towards the door. She pushed a button on the panel next to it. The door slid open and she went through.

Onesha looked at the door with pursed lips as it slid shut after Maisie, then she looked at Avery. Avery shook her head as her frown vanished.

"Bad timing?" Onesha asked.

"It's not you, dear," Avery replied, letting out a sigh and sitting down on the high back sofa. "This whole Galacticon thing just has us all on edge."

"I'm sorry," Onesha said, fiddling with her fingers.

"Come sit with me," Avery told her, patting the spot next to her on the chair. "I'll order some ice cream or something for us. We can talk."

"Wow, I'm so glad I ran into you at that emporium yesterday," Onesha said, letting herself smile now. "I'm actually here with Avery Thomas helping her prep for the Decadus Galacticon. It's like a dream."

Avery laughed.

"So how old are you?" the star asked.

"Nineteen," Onesha replied.

"Then one of my guesses was right," Avery said, clapping her hands.

Onesha laughed now and walked towards the sofa.

"And school?" Avery asked.

"Home school," Onesha replied. "I attend an online, virtual university."

"Wow, I attend one like that too," Avery said, turning to the girl who was seated by her now. "Fitzmanter's virtual higher institution."

"Mine's Gregori virtual college," Onesha spoke. "We have so much in common. I mean, I love Avery Thomas and you must love her too."

"Not so much," Avery replied, screwing up her face. "Avery Thomas can be a weirdo sometimes."

Onesha burst into laughter at the joke.

****

Ash's cruiser arrived the gates of the Ronguut arena in the city of Wemna. Heavily armed security agents stopped him and one approached his window, while the others scanned his vehicle. The security had Trajits with them; large hounds, 5ft high and ripe with muscles. One bite from these things could kill a human man. Their teeth were massive and their bite force was tremendous.

"Sorry sir, but the arena is closed while it's being readied for the Decadus Galacticon," the agent at his Ash's window spoke.

"I'm with the planning team," Ash replied, passing the agent the card he'd been given by the Hortman agency.

"Run this," the agent told a comrade, handing her Ash's card. "Someone come do this man a DAA."

A female agent came forward and put a scanner before Ash's face.

"DAA?" Ash asked.

" DNA and appearance authentication, sir," the lady explained. "Some people make very realistic and convincing masks. Some other races, just have the ability to shapeshift."

The other agent returned with Ash's card and it was handed back to him.

"Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Karmer," the agent apologized, "but these security measures are....."

"Oh don't be sorry," Ash told him. "You are just doing your job like I'm here to do mine."

The gates were opened and Ash drove into the massive compound of the Ronguut arena. He looked ahead at the arena building. It was massive. A giant pyramid with the top cut open. Silver plates covered the body of the structure, protecting it from nature and some levels of weapons.

"That thing is gigantic," Ash spoke.

He drove forward, until he neared the building. He pulled his car into one of the parking spots across from the arena's front doors. He got out and walked into the building. The front doors were about 12ft high and 20ft wide. The inside was beautiful. There was one long corridor with doors on either side and one large one at the end.

Ash went through that door at the other end of the corridor and he found himself inside an abnormally large hall. There were small vehicles moving people and stuff around. The hall was that big.

"Oh sky above," Ash said, looking around the hall. "This is no simple job."

"Not at all," came a female voice from behind him.

Ash looked back and saw a lady walking towards him. She was of the Rumo race. 7ft tall with a big head that held four black eyes. She was curvy and all, with red skin. Her dress was gorgeous and it hugged her curves.

"Hello," Ash said to the lady.

"Ferwei Tuya," the Rumo lady said, offering a hand.

Ash shook her hand.

"I'm handling food and drinks," she told Ash. "You?"

"Lighting and electric fittings," he replied. "It will not be easy at all. I heard this place was gigantic, but I never imagined this."

"You're not from around here then?" the Rumo lady asked.

"No," Ash replied. "I got called in from Reni. We have the Ternom arena there, which is the largest on the planet. I've been to that, but I never imagined any other one would be close to it, but this one is definitely impressive."

"Ah the city of Reni," Ferwei said with a sigh. "The commercial giant of Gorn two. Best damn city on the whole planet."

"Best in its own way," Ash replied, "but not a place for relaxation, thus, not a good holiday destination for me. I'd rather go to the mountain cities in Gold peaks mountain chain."

"That is true," Ferwei agreed. "Reni is not a place for relaxation, but for work."

"Oh I have to make a call," Ash said suddenly, taking his phone out of his pocket.

"Don't let me hold you back," Ferwei replied with a smile.

Ash stepped aside and held his phone before him. The holograph image of Tron Emin appeared above the device soon.

#What are my buying, my friend?# Tron asked.

"I'll need you to come over by the weekend with a full cargo vessel of suspension beams, light bulbs, mobile cranes, forklifts, diggers, steel poles, reinforced beams, cement and sealant at least a thousand bags each...."

#Wait. Wait. Wait.!# Tron snapped. #Too many for me to hold in my head. Make a list and send it.#

"I'll need a team of at least eight hundred, Tron," Ash spoke. "The arena is almost the same size as The Ternom. I'll submit a request for at least three million creshiins to be able to pull of this thing."

#Make the request five million," Tron said with a grin. #We could need more, huh?#

"I'm trying to impress the agency, Tron," Ash told him. "Gotta ask for little and show them I can work with it."

#That's foolish,# Tron told him. #You start with small budgets and they'll always give you small budgets no matter the project. You'll struggle every time. You'll be digging your own grave.#

"That's true," Ash agreed. "Okay, five million creshiins it is."

#That's my boy,# Tron told him.

"I'll draw up a plan for what I have in mind and have it sent to you with the list of what I will need to see it through," Ash spoke. "Make a 3D holograph rendering of the plans for me. I'd render it myself, but I'll be too busy with what I see here. I'll need all the help I can get."

#What about that hot housemate of yours?# Tron asked. #The Pefton girl. She's a great builder and designer too. Elsa, right? You should get her on board.#

"Nah," Ash replied. "She's got other stuff. I gotta go now. Have to submit my budget request and begin working on that design plan."

****

The next morning, Avery walked out from her bedroom in her private suite. She was still in her pajamas. Her hair was a mess, but the rest of her was still gorgeous and she wasn't wearing makeup.

"Sorry for waking you up so early, Miss Thomas," Onesha said, stepping out from before the high back sofa.

"It's okay," Avery replied. "Maisie wakes me up really early sometimes too. Sorry for keeping you waiting so long. I had to wash my face. Wanted to do something about my hair too, but I thought my fan president would be pleased to see me like this."

"I am definitely thrilled," Onesha replied, smiling and messing up her yellow hair. "I'm still in my PJs and my hair is a mess too."

"Messy, PJ, early wake up picture?" Avery suggested, pointing at the phone in the girl's hand. Onesha squealed with delight.

The two got together and struck dumb poses, while Onesha took shots. They were having so much fun, but the door opened now and Maisie walked in. She was already cleaned up, in her skirt suit and her tele-con organizer was with her.

"Okay, enough pictures," she told the other ladies. "Avery get washed and dressed. We are going to see the Ronguut arena."

"Good morning to you too, Maisie," Avery told her manger with a sarcastic tone. She let go of Onesha and walked back into the bedroom section

"You can be grumpy all you want," Maisie told the star. "As for you, Onesha. We need you ready by evening. We will all be meeting with fans for Avery to sign autographs at the Getti mall. We will need the fan club present."

"Yes, ma'am," Onesha replied, standing straight. "I'll contact the fans here and have them hyped up for the meet this evening."

"Smart girl," Maisie told her. "True fan club president material."

****

Ash stepped out from the bathroom of the apartment the Harton agency had put him up in here in Wemna. He had on boxer briefs and a big towel was in his left hand. He came before a full length mirror. His black, curly hair was shiny and glossy. His light brown skin was without blemish. His body was fit. Abs, biceps; everything.

The bedroom he stood inside was okay. It wasn't small, but not so big either. A king size bed sat against a wall with a cupboard on each side and a wardrobe with sliding metal doors. There was a wall mounted holo-screen projector and vents from which cool air seeped into the room

Ash's phone began ringing. It was a sweet, melodious tune.

"Answer!" Ash said aloud, turning and looking at the device where it sat on the bedside table.

The holograph image of a human man appeared above the device. He had on an orange bodysuit which was stained with grease.

"What do you want, Arnie?" Ash asked, rolling his eyes.

#Man, I heard of your big contract with Hartom agency,# said Arnie, as Ash had referred to the caller. #Why didn't you tell me? I could help.#

"Sorry, Arnie, but I got tasked with lighting and electric fittings," Ash replied. "You are an air vessel mechanic. I don't see how you could help me with this one."

#True that,# Arnie agreed. #So I actually called to ask for a small favor.#

"I knew it," Ash spoke. "Just talk."

#So I worked on this Leyton PR47 luxury craft and I just want you to check out the flight module I put in. See if it's okay. The craft should be arriving the Wemna southern port in a few minutes. It will be in dock B4G. It will be left open by the pilot. He and I are in on it together.#

"Simply put, you put in a low quality module when you were given money for a higher one. You and the pilot of the craft's owner split the extra cash and now, you want me to check if the module will hold up," Ash explained.

#See? You always understand me, Ash,# Arnie spoke.

"Oh shut it," Ash told the mechanic. "I'll look into it, but don't expect me to do stuff like this for you ever again."

#Just do this one and leave the future for later, man,# Arnie replied. #Wemna southern port. Dock B4G. Flight module. Simple stuff. In and out before the pilot or vessel owner returns. You can risk being seen by the pilot. He knows you'll be there, but his boss must not see you.#

"I get it, Arnie," Ash told the guy.

#Okay. Bye, big money contract man,# Arnie told his friend. #I expect to enjoy that payment with you when it arrives.#

The connection was ended and Ash let out a sigh.

"Arnie. Arnie. Arnie," he said, shaking his head and pinching the bridge of his nose. "You will get me in trouble some day."

****

A Leyton PR47 luxury craft landed in dock B4G at the Wemna southern port. This was an indoor port with a hole in the middle of the ceiling through which crafts entered, or left.

The rear ramp of this luxury vessel dropped down to reveal six figures all suited up in black armor. They had guns and other weapons on them and their faces were exposed. These were the notorious, efficient, Zerkun bandits. The team comprised of five humans and one non-human. Five males and one female.

Aaron, the team leader. Forty years old. 6ft 1" tall. Dark skinned. One eyed, with a metal patch over his left eye. He was muscular and as hard as any living being could be.

Zeb, 6ft tall with black hair and a pretty face. Thirty-three years old and very good in close range weapons combat.

Timmy. Thirty years old. 5ft 8". Brown haired. He was the first genius of the team.

Ruddie, second-in-command. She was the female on the team. Twenty-eight. 6ft 3" tall; a very tall woman, blonde hair and a nasty attitude. She was dangerous and smart. Not a good opponent.

Wes, the team's second genius. Two years younger than his big sister, Ruddie. He had blonde hair like her. Wes stuck close to his sister so much and with his brains and her skills, they kept this group functioning.

Lastly, Drake, the muscles of the team. He was 7ft tall with a green mohawk on his head. Drake was the only non-human on the team. He was of the Urbah race. Urbahs had thick bodies and limbs. Muscular by nature. They had short legs in proportion to their bodies, but they were firm on those short legs. Their teeth were all sharp like those of a dog. Drake was a fine specimen of his race, 5ft across from shoulder to shoulder.

"Okay, people," the boss, Aaron, spoke. "I intercepted information and an exact luxury craft of this make and color is scheduled to land in this very dock B4G in about an hour. That is enough time for us to execute our job, get back to this craft and be out of this port before the real luxury craft arrives. The ramp stays open for easy entrance and to give the illusion that someone is still on board. Making repairs maybe. Let's make this work. Remember, the pay for this is incredible so don’t mess it up."

The team mates pushed buttons at the sides of their helmets and black masks with dark glass visors covered their heads. They walked down the ramp now.







Chapter FIVE





Ash walked past dock B1G. B2G. B3G.

"Port B4G," he said as he came to the port.

Sure enough, there was a Leyton PR47 luxury craft in it. The rear ramp was down.

"Okay," Ash told himself as he walked up the ramp. "In and out as fast as possible."

He walked up the ramp, looking both ways as he did so. He had a bag on his back with the few tools he needed in it.

****

Avery's four cruiser convoy was driving towards the Roguun arena. The star was seated in the backseat of the third cruiser. Maisie was seated next to her. Avery was dressed in leather leggings and a big, red, net blouse over a white body-fitted tube top.

Avery looked at Maisie now. The manager was operating her tele-con. Avery raised her hand slowly to the woman's face and grabbed her nose gently.

"Stop that," Maisie said, her eyes still on the device in her hands.

Avery laughed and applied pressure to her grip on the manager's nose.

"Ooooow!" Maisie cried out, laughing as she did so.

Avery let go now. Maisie looked at the star and laughed. She massaged her nose.

"I'm sorry for snapping at you yesterday," Avery apologized. "Shouldn't have done that. You were only looking out for my best interests."

"It's okay," Maisie replied. "I get that you feel pressured right now. I'd feel the same if I were you. I'm only so organized because I'm just your manager. You're the one who has to get on stage and impress the crowd."

"Awww," Avery said now, hugging the other lady.

There was a sudden loud bang as a large, armored cruiser slammed into the front of their vehicle. Both ladies screamed as their car was pushed by the one which had slammed into them. The cruiser suddenly stopped and the sound of gun and blaster shots filled the air.

The guards in the front part of the cruiser bearing Avery had been killed as a spike attached to the front of the ramming cruiser had come through their own and through the guards. Avery and Maisie were shaking with fear, then Avery's door was pulled open to reveal a masked figure wearing black armor.

"Get out of the cruiser, Miss Thomas," said the figure in a masked, deep voice. It had a gun pointed in at the ladies.

"Please, just tell me what you want," Avery begged. "We'll pay. We'll pay you anything."

"Out of the cruiser," the figure repeated. "I will not repeat myself again."

Avery got down and Maisie made to follow, but the figure took out a spray from his belt and sprayed it all in the manager's face.

"Nooooo!!" Avery screamed as Maisie fell backwards on the seat.

"Okay, let's get going," said another fake voice from behind the star.

Avery spun around and saw another figure. This one's suit had a female figure to it. Breast cups and the hips were curved. The female figure stepped forward and grabbed Avery by the back of her neck.

Avery was dragged to the other side of the cruiser. She saw that similar armored cruisers to the one hers had been rammed with, had rammed into all three of her escort cruisers. There were a few security agents out, but they lay dead next to their cruisers. Three other masked figures stood close to the other cars. All had male physiques and judging by the shape of the biggest of them, she guessed he wasn't human.

The road was empty for some reason. Avery wondered how they'd pulled it off, but she wondered more what they wanted with her.

"Where's that idiot with the car?" asked one of the other four figures as Avery was pushed towards where they stood.

"Don't you call my brother an idiot!" the female one snapped.

"Please, what do you want?" Avery asked. "Anything."

"Don't you get it, sweetheart." the male figure who'd sprayed Maisie said. "You bloody celebrity types can be so stupid most times. You're getting kidnapped. That simple enough for you to understand now?"

Another big SUV cruiser drove up from the left and they all got in, forcing Avery with them.

"Please just let me go," Avery begged. "How much do you want? My father will pay you."

"Okay, get us out of here before some security officer goes by and calls in about those road blocks at the junctions," said the female member of the kidnappers.

"Got it, sis," the driver replied and the cruiser sped off.

****

"Wow, either Arnie has grown really stupid these days, or he's up to something," Ash spoke as he walked towards the open rear ramp of the luxury craft. "That flight module was of the highest grade and in perfect condition."

The guy was a little angry as he walked. He reached into his pocket.

"I'll call him and give him a piece of my mind," he said, just as he was got to the top of the craft's rear ramp.

He heard the sound of voices and quickly ran back into the vessel. He put himself under a table in a dark corner of the small, but well furnished hall the ramp led into. He had a clear view of the top of the ramp and he saw three men enter the craft. The men were dressed in black armor suits. They had on no masks and had guns strapped to their bodies.

"What the heck?" Ash murmured.

There was the sound of a car screeching to a halt outside. The three armed men stopped and looked down the ramp. Four other figures rushed to the top of the ramp. One of the new four was a man. He had on the black armor. One was a male of the Urbah race. He too donned the black armor. Ash knew of Urbahs. He did some reading. The other two were females. One was a tall woman dressed in the black armor who he knew nothing of and the other was a woman he'd seen recently.........Country music super star, Avery Thomas.

Ash's mouth dropped open in shock. The star was being pushed from behind by the female member of the kidnappers. Avery was crying and begging to be freed. These were obvious kidnappers.

"Okay, Web, go lock her up, while Wes get out of here," said a one eyed, dark skinned human. "We should be gone before the real vessel this dock was reserved for gets here."

The others moved further into the craft, while the one eyed man stayed back. He looked out the ramp. Ash determined this was probably the team leader. The man turned and walked further into the craft now.

“Okay, shut the rear door!" he ordered as he went.

Ash stepped out from under the table. He crept out from beneath the table, got to his feet and crept towards the ramp. The engines of the vessel hummed as they came to life. Ash peeped out the side of the hall's wall. There was no one in the corridor leading further into the vessel. He moved quickly towards the rear ramp as it began lifting shut. He was almost at the ramp when Avery's scream suddenly filled the entire craft.

Ash was shocked by the sound. He looked back down the corridor. There was a loud smacking sound then the lady fell silent. Ahs looked at the lifting ramp again, then back at the corridor. The vessel began lifting off the ground.

"I can't," he said, continuing towards the ramp.

****

Zeb dragged a crying Avery to her feet from the deck before a small closet.

"Scream like that once more and I won't just be replying you with just a smack," he threatened her. "Stupid celebrity dummy."

He opened the closet, pushed her in, shut it, locked it and walked off. He went into the small control room where everyone else was gathered. Wes was behind the wheel and Timmy was in the co-pilot's seat.

"Now, we get this thing back to the Zerkun outside Gorn two and get out of this galaxy before the galactic police, or intergalactic army get word of this and set up space check points," Aaron spoke.

"Whatever you say, boss," some of the others replied.

"I can't wait to get back to the Zerkun and just get a good rest," Ruddie said, stretching her arms.

"I could help you rest better, Ruddie," Zeb told her, biting the corner of his lower lip and rolling his waist slowly.

"You said that one more time to me and I'll carve out a good, tiny portion of you," Ruddie threatened the guy.

She walked out of the cockpit now. Zeb stuck a tongue out at the door of the cockpit.

"Stupid fellow," Drake said in a deep, gentle voice.

"You're the stupid one," Zeb told the Urbah man.

Drake growled and Zeb immediately apologized.

"We are clear of the port and heading into the sky now," Wes announced.

"Just shut up and fly this thing," Zeb told the younger guy. "Your freakishly tall sister isn't here to defend you now."

"That's enough out of you, Zeb," Aaron ordered.

"I'm outta here," Zeb said, walking towards the exit.







Chapter SIX





Maisie opened her eyes. She sat up immediately and found herself inside a hospital ward.

"She's up!" said a male voice.

Maisie's eyes focused on a man in a black coat who was sticking his head out of the hospital room. She saw three other similarly dressed individuals rush past the glass window that looked out to the corridor.

The other three persons entered her room now. Two were humans and the other two were females of the Labrai race, Onesha's race.


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