The Space Incubus
Soon after Kamin, a homeowner and respected member of the Tetchkin community, left his home with his daughter, Varva, his trip was abruptly disrupted.
A few minutes on the road, to The Riab Galactic Travel Center, to investigate the arrival of a Galactic Space Cruiser, and a metallic spacepod crashed on his side.
“Stop the vehicle!” Kamin ordered Varva through the dust. “I have never seen such a thing.”
Kamin and Varva exited their vehicle and slowly approached the pod. Smoke poured out as they approached. A hatch on the side of the pod opened and two men stood in the shadows.
“Are you ok in there?” Kamin asked as he held Varva back with his arm.
Somyan stumbled into the light of morning with Kolpa standing directly behind him. Kolpa held a HUD-2 Laser Pistol to Somyan’s head.
“So Somyan this is Tetchki. I heard a rumor that Tetchkins are pacifists, interesting. Now move. We must hurry before the shuttle destroys itself as I have ordered it to do.”
Kolpa pushed Somyan forward with the Laser Pistol and, noticing Kamin and Varva, pointed the weapon in their direction.
“You two! Take us to a place where we can collect our thoughts in peace. Now! Or this man dies!” Kolpa barked as Kamin and Varva fell into ranks with Somyan.
Kamin led the group, quickly, to a place of worship located a few city blocks away.
Kamin held Varva close to him as he walked towards the holy building. Right as they reached the front door they all heard the escape pod explode. A large cloud of dust and debris flew into the air with the blast. Emergency vehicles were racing from all directions. The roads were full within minutes.
“Go into the building, now.” Kolpa hurried his small group of victims into the place of worship.
Immediately inside stood a Tetchkin Holy Man.
“Welcome. My name is Jac. How may I be of service? Please remove all footwear before prayer.” Jac looked disheveled and dirty.
“Well, we are strange beings.” Kolpa had everyone line up. “I come into your place of worship for the first time in my life and you cannot even dress tidy! Now Jac go lock the front door for me. Go. The rest of you take a seat and start your prayers.”
Jac coughed into his hands as he locked the front door. He then seated himself awkwardly on the edge of a clay pew where he rested his hands on his knees. He was small for a Tetchkin, barely six foot, narrow-shouldered, with a perspiring blue face.
Kolpa never imagined such a pitiable looking Holy Man would exist on any planet. As Jac sat there his whole attitude seemed to reveal a complete absence of dignity.
“I am now your business.” Kolpa started pacing back and forth. “The question is ‘how to survive?’ Wait, I am not just here to survive I am here to thrive. Where is an advantage here. Children. Where is the closest school from this Church Place.”
“I am not sure who you are or what your purpose is on our planet. I am a respected member the city of Riab. Let me help you to achieve your goals without involving our children.” Kolpa talked quietly while avoiding eye contact.
“Money? Power? Safety?”
“Anything other than our children.”
“I see. Who is this?” Kolpa put his fingers up to Varva’s face.
“No one. Let us give all our attention to fulfilling your needs.” Kamin tried to take Kolpa’s attention off his daughter.
“Oh she is someone. Well old man I may need your daughter.”
“Kolpa I am on a diplomatic mission to save this planet. Let me fulfill my promise and end this madness…” Somyan interrupted to plead.
“Somyan shut up. Your opinion is worthless.”
Kolpa began to think out loud. As he gave rein to his reflection he followed the expression on his hostages. Their faces remained impassive and immovable. Each face expressed one thing, fear.
Kolpa felt that they were only listening to him out of politeness and that no one comprehended the complexity of his situation.
“Obviously this group isn’t the brightest.” Thought Kolpa. “All so timid and dull beyond measure. Jac, I heard you enjoy an intoxicating tea here on Tetchki. Brew me some. Maybe that will open my mind to new opportunity.”
“I must move to the back to brew the tea may I take the girl with me for company?” Jac asked.
“No! The girl stays with me! Any funny business back there and the girl dies first.” Kolpa grabbed Varva and held her tight as Jac slowly walked away.
Within a very short period of time Jac returned with the tea. Kolpa released Varva and grabbed the cup from Jac’s hand. He raised his eyes from the cup to Jac and then back to the cup again. Along with an odd look that resembled hunger, he looked somewhat satisfied. A smile crossed his ugly face from ear to ear.
He drank the tea and smacked his lips. When he finished the very last drop he put down his glass, picked it up again, looked at the bottom of the empty cup. The look of satisfaction left his face.
“This is sacrilege. You cannot just drink tea outside of tea ceremony.” Moaned Jac.
“I’d say look at how small an amount you gave me.” Kolpa whined. “More. Bring me more!”
Jac left and returned with another cup that Kolpa greedily drank. Kolpa stretched himself out on a clay pew where he yielded to an uncomfortable feeling that suddenly overtook him.
“You are strange Holy Man. You are dirty, slovenly, rude, and stupid. What kind of people are Tetchkins to have Holy Men like you.” Kolpa went silent for a bit then continued. “Say! If I was a Holy Man I could do a great deal. I could deliver wonderful rousing sermons!”
Kolpa closed his eyes as if he fell into a dream. His hostages looked at each other in a conspiratorial way. Somyan made eye contact with Kamin right when Kolpa stood straight up.
“Jac get me a pen and paper and I will write one down for you and maybe make you famous.” Kolpa closed his eyes again for a second. “Hold on. Wait. I have been lost in thought. Oh, yes. Where is the closest school?”
Kolpa pointed his laser pistol at Kamin and demanded he explain directions to the closest school.
“Leave my father alone!” Varva jumped in front of Kolpa’s pistol.
“Who are you again? The woman in our group. Yes.” Kolpa walked closer to Varva with the pistol still pointed at her. “Come with me.”
He grabbed Varva by her arm and led her to the entrance of the place of worship. Kamin jumped up to follow but Somyan pulled him down.
“Open the door.” Kolpa pointed the pistol at Varva’s head. “Go on. Open the door.”
Varva opened the front door and light filled the place of worship. Diudya crystals of different color reflected patterns of light onto white pillars of clay.
Daylight filled the place of worship with a shadow of the hostages that made Kolpa wince a little.
Once their eyes balanced the brilliance into a dull shine they could see where a clean up crew finished picking up debris. Official looking vehicles parked in a line around the block. A line of Tetchkins walked arm in arm up the road examining rubble.
No one looked over at the place of worship even as the front doors opened and two figures stood still.
“The day is ours.” Kolpa looked over at Varva and felt a certain attraction.
“Alien with weapon.” Jac interrupted. “In moments this place of worship will be filled with a few hundred praying Tetchkins. May I suggest you fulfill a plan or hide behind the parapet.”
“Well then Jac let’s fulfill a plan.” Kolpa quickly returned Varva to the group.
He gathered Somyan, Kamin, and Varva at laser point and led them towards the back of the parapet.
“Jac, do you have a backdoor?”
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