(J21 - Imynusoph - CFS) Torture, Love, and Civilized Conversation

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            Previous chapters of the Perilous Adventure!
Chapter 1: Meet our heroes!
Chapter 2: Meet the devious Colonel Corbett!

Chapter 3: Raiders of the Lost Jungle Planet!

Captured by pirates! While searching for the natives of Imynusoph, our trio are beset upon by the cavalier Colonel Corbett's callous rogues! The murderous pirates and their flamboyant leader drag our heroes to their camp, where intrigue abounds!




The Story (And Pictures)





Clod blinked against the harsh light streaming in from above. His hands were shackled. It wasn’t the worst situation he’d been in, he thought. Then, to his surprise, his next thoughts were about his two companions. He hoped they were alright. It would be a million years before he’d admit it.
                The sergeant called “Slyfoot” stood in the darkness a few feet away. He could feel the man watching him, disturbingly calm. Precise.
                “Look at you,” he sneered. “A treasure hunter. Ha! I believed Klatoonians to be nothing but pirates and scum.”
                It was a struggle to form words, but Clod couldn’t give up the opportunity for a zinger. “Look how the…tables have turned.”
                He almost immediately regretted it. The droid administered a searing shock to his ribs that sent his limbs convulsing. His skin burned. He shouted, and for a moment, he panicked.
                “Such wit. No more of that, I think,” he heard Slyfoot say. “You should put your words to better use, like securing a release for you and your companions. All you must do is tell me what it was you were searching for.”
                “Fat chance—Augh!” Another shock. More horrible pain.
                Slyfoot stepped into the light. He slowly shook his head.
                “’Fat chance’, you say? On the contrary, Mr. Clod,” he said, and a smile crept onto his face. “I quite like my odds.”




                “Tea or Caf, Professor?” offered Colonel Corbett, busying himself with a gleaming pot and an ion heater.
                “O-Oh, tea, I suppose.”
                The Colonel looked up at him, a pleasant expression on his face. “I see you appreciate my décor!”
                Floon had been staring at some of the trophies scattered about; horns, hides, huge eggs, droid parts, scraps of clothing. Some from beasts, others from treasure hunters who’d come before.
                “Why…yes! It’s very…eclectic. Er, thank you again for having me, Colonel.”
                “Of course, of course! I must say, I’ve positively chuffed about you being here. An academy man! On Imynusoph! Chandrila, you say?”
                “Er, yes. I had, er, tenure at the Chandrila Academy.”
                “Ha! Chandrila! A professor from Chandrila makes my acquaintance here, of all places. Who would have thought it would happen? Certainly not me! I admit it! Please, make yourself comfortable, my questions are bound to be numerous.”
                The Neimodian professor looked nervously around the tent. One of the pirates loitered at the door. Floon felt that he should do some great act of bravery, try to free Mr. Clod and Ms. Rigo, but he didn’t know where he would even start.
                The question shook Floon from his thoughts. “Oh, y-yes?”
                Colonel Corbett smiled. “You don’t look very comfortable. Come, you’re in good company. I am a man of learning and intelligence myself.”
                “Why, o-of course!” said Floon. Unable to muster a relaxed smile, he summoned a polite grimace.
                The Colonel frowned. “Professor, I brought you here that we might engage in riveting conversation! Without conversation, I have no reason to bring you here rather than lock you up in our brig. Do you understand?”
                Floon did, but he was not very good at staying calm when faced with threats. He knew all too well what the murderous pirates might do if the Colonel permitted. With a great amount of sweating and stuttering, he apologized. “I’m…m-most…s-sorry, Colonel. Most s-sorry. Let us…er…converse, s-shall we?”
                “Very good, very good!” said the Colonel, settling in and looking at the professor expectantly. “Well then, let us get down to, as they say, brass tacks. I want to hear everything you know about the giant birds of Imynusoph! I expect I’ll be quite fascinated!”
                “Er, yes…” mumbled Floon. “Quite.” 






                “Let go of me, you idiots!” Kitsa did her best to break her restraints through sheer will, but no dice. She settled for whacking one of her captors instead, sending him reeling with a broken nose. She couldn’t believe how lucky her aim was. And finally, something for her story!
                “Let the Stud take care of her! I don’t want to get kicked again,” whined one of the pirates. The others parted, allowing the largest one, the one with the bandolier and the AT-AT driver helmet, to step towards her. He was enormous, at least 6’8”, and not what you’d call ‘lanky’. There was no chance she’d make a dent against this guy. He settled one giant hand on her shoulder, and he steered her away.
                She muttered threats as they walked through the Imperial camp, shooting glances around to take in everything she was seeing. They had left the treeline onto an open savannah. The camp had clearly been an Imperial outpost, but now was all ramshackle and bolted together to keep out the wildlife. There was a junkyard of impounded vehicles that caught her attention. Most of them were scrap, but one airspeeder, red-and-white, looked intact. She took note of this for later.
                She eyed the pirate. He was a muscular guy, that was for sure. Where was he taking her? A pit of gundarks, or an interrogation chamber?
                Neither, it turned out. She was escorted to a quiet corner of the pirate camp, a breeze-blown tent with foliage breaking in overhead and enshrouding the space.
                “You can stay here,” said the big pirate.
                She scoffed. “What are you, good cop? And what’s this place, the torture waiting room?”
                “It’s, well,” the pirate hesitated. “No, it’s just a tent. I had a wife when we came here. This used to be hers. Thought you’d like it more than a cage, but if I’m wrong…”
                That was unexpected. She turned and sized him up suspiciously, but there wasn’t much to observe in the blank stare of the helmet’s facemask. “A wife, huh? What happened to her? Your pirate buddies shoot her?”
                “You think they’d get past me? Nah, not in a million years,” he chuckled, but his tone turned somber. “No, one day she went out to get clean water, our purifier was broken, and one of the jungle beasts came out of the trees. She couldn’t get away fast enough. Her blaster misfired. That’s all it took.”
                In a rare moment, Kitsa didn’t know what to say.
                The pirate took a deep breath, then said, “So if you were thinking of running, I wouldn’t.”
                “Sure,” she nodded, collecting herself. “Sorry about your wife. Thanks for the tent.”
                “No problem,” said the pirate. He then stood there awkwardly for a moment, before asking, “So, uh, you, uh, some kind of reporter?”
                Kitsa lit up. “I sure am, Galactic Gazette.”
                The man swayed on his feet, coughing uncomfortably. “What’s, uh, what’s going on out there? In the galaxy? Rebels gone, yet? We heard we had another Death Star.”
                Kitsa stared at the emotionless facemask for a moment. Of course, it made sense. When was the last time they would’ve heard any news?
                Her story was really heating up.
                She smiled and deflected the question. “What’s your name?”
                “Deksen. They call me ‘the Stud’. What’s your name, uh, miss?”
                “Kitsa Rigo,” she answered smartly. “What do you say about sitting for an interview with me, Deksen? In return, I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”
                The pirate said nothing for a moment. He looked over his shoulder to see if anyone was watching. “I guess that’d be alright. We don’t exactly get much press on Imynusoph. I suppose you can tell the galaxy about our bravery.”
                Kitsa sat on the medical bed, her pen poised. “So, Deksen, what’s it been like for you, out here?”
                The pirate set his gun to the side and took a deep breath.
                “Well…” he began.




                Another shock, another burn, another stab. Harnaby Clod struggled in the interrogation gurney, his mouth full of spit. He couldn’t take much more of this. He felt like his mind was slipping through his fingers, jolted free by every prod from the droid. Karfing droid. He’d smash that droid to bits if he ever got out of this.
                Another stab of a needle. His vision swam. He’d get out of this, right? Could he?
                “Tell me why you’re here. Tell me what you know,” Slyfoot said, walking around him. “I’d love to see you dead, believe me. Who will remember you if you’re gone? Some dog-faced lunatic on the edge of the galaxy, no one important. No accomplishments, no fealty, nothing of note. Another dead alien.”
                “Hm, perhaps. But tell me…am I wrong, Mr. Clod?”
                The dark room blinked in and out of existence before Clod’s eyes. He felt his tongue go limp. His heart felt like it was drying up.
                The sergeant watched him, smiling cruelly. “Alright, I’ll get it out of the Neimodian, then. Good bye, Mr.-“
                “Waitsh, waitsh!” Clod gasped. “Ah’ll tell yoush…”
                Slyfoot brightened. “Indeed, Mr. Clod? If you tell me, as I’ve said, this can all end.”
                He couldn’t do this anymore. What was he thinking?
                He wasn’t. Anything to stop this. Karf this place.
                “Ah’ll…ah’ll…tell yoush anything…” he wheezed.
                Slyfoot straightened his cap. “Very good, Mr. Clod. Go on then.” He leaned in, until his face dominated Clod’s view. Slyfoot tried to manage his own expectations, but he couldn’t suppress his excitement. He looked down at the drooling Klatoonian.
                “Mr. Clod,” he said. “Is the treasure…real?”




                “Wow!” muttered Kitsa, scribbling in her notebook.
                “That’s just how it is out here. It’s made the other pirates what they are. It’s made me…” he shrugged. “Changed.”
                “That’s really…tough! I’m so sorry you’ve had to suffer through this place.”
                “Hm, I’ve been lucky…I think. But what about you, Ms. Rigo?” asked the pirate called Deksen.
                He leaned in attentively. “How does a woman such as you find yourself in a place like this?”
                Even with the facemask in the way, Rigo felt his gaze on her face. She frowned.
                “Well, I work for the Gazette.”
                He tilted his head. “Because you wish to tell stories?”
                “Because I want to…” she paused before answering. “I want to make others see the truth.”
                Deksen nodded slowly. He was impressed by the honesty of her answer. “Will you tell me more?”
                In a strange moment, the both of them felt the softening in their spirits take its full course, and they entirely let down their guards. Kitsa avoided his gaze, but launched into a treatise on how it was she ended up here, the absurdity of the situation, and how she hoped she might get something out of it anyway because while she was here there was no one investigating the Ubrikkian corporation and something had to be done soon because those poor Duros in the factories had no one standing up for them, and if no one else was going to take Ubrikkian to task, she sure as shaft would.
                Deksen listened quietly, occasionally asking questions or affirming how Kitsa felt. Eventually she had completed her story. She took a deep breath, which she had expended whilst going on about her passions.
                Deksen folded his hands. “Your spirit…moves me.”
                “Oh!” said Kitsa, not sure how to respond. She felt her cheeks burn, and said quietly, “Thanks for listening.”
                “And thank you for talking.”
                She laughed. “You’d be a much better editor than the one I’ve got. Getting him to listen is a full time job.”
                A breeze blew through the tent, carrying the sounds of harsh laughter from where the other pirates were getting into the brew. Far off, Kitsa heard a howl of pain that made her skin crawl and her mind turn towards her lost companions.
                After a moment of silence, she looked into Deksen’s facemask. It was a risk, could she trust an ex-stormtrooper-turned-pirate? Strangely, she felt that she could trust him more than almost anyone she’d met. This disturbed her in a profound way, but she didn’t have time to dwell on her emotions. She had to take action.
                “Deksen, I need to get out of here.”
                “Yes, you do.” His shoulders slumped as he prepared himself for the choice he was making. His life would never be the same after this. “And yes, before you ask; I will help you.”
                Kitsa sighed with relief, but there was no time to waste. They had to get down to business. “Alright, here’s what I was thinking. Tell me if it makes sense…”





                “Spiritual creatures, you say?”
                Colonel Corbett stroked his moustache, listening to what Professor Floon had to say with a most attentive mind.
                “Well, y-yes. Regarded as spiritual creatures by…” Floon kept himself from revealing the natives at only the last moment. “…by all who visit this planet, I’ve heard.”
                It was all Floon could do to keep the existence of the native tribes a secret. Apparently these pirates had no clue they might still be around.
                “Fascinating! And you say the wingspan…”
                The words tumbled out of Floon like a brook. His trepidation could not dampen his excitement. “No one has seen it in millennia, but I do not lie when I say,” he leaned in, saying conspiratorially, “it is said to be three men across!”
                Corbett rubbed his hands together and grinned. “Incredible! Simply incredible. Say, Professor, I know you count yourself among the squeamish, but do you suppose that shooting down a bird of spiritual importance grants a hunter more, how do you say, ‘bragging rights’?”
                Floon raised an eyeridge and stared. “Are…are you…joking, sir?”
                “I assure you, I am not!” said Corbett, jabbing the desk with his finger. “A hunter such as myself has precious little time for jokes, what with so much glory left unobtained. You’re the closest thing in the galaxy to an expert, Professor. Do you believe killing such a creature would grant me more glory?”
                Floon watched the officer nervously. His eyes were eager, his face covered in sweat. The heat was dull and damp in the shade of the tent, the kind of environment Floon had been born into. Very much a comfort zone.
                The professor summoned up all his courage, swelling up his chest in rather an alarming way. Corbett’s eyes widened.
                “No!” squeaked Floon.
                Corbett was puzzled. “…’No’?”
                “No!” Floon stood his ground. “How can you talk of killing a creature such as this? For all your talk about appreciating great beasts, you end their magnificent lives with such…relish!” He licked his lipless mouth, his words sputtering and cracking as adrenaline shot through him. He’d never confronted anyone in his life. Certainly not anyone who was willing to kill him. “I don’t mind saying that it is…despicable! Yes, despicable!”
                Colonel Corbett, who had initially been very surprised, now furrowed his brow. When he spoke, his tone was dark. “Professor…I’m not used to being talked to in such a-”
                “Indeed, indeed!” squawked Floon, suddenly desperate to turn his situation around. “But nor are you used to talking to your intellectual equal, as you have said! This is true, yes?”
                Corbett considered it. “Yes, it is true,” he admitted.
                “Then please, hear my words, as another man of learning! These creatures are not for killing, they are for studying! For conserving! For…loving! Please, take my offer of friendship and understand I mean you no ill will. I only wish to see a force such as yourself used for…better things!”
                Colonel Corbett looked bothered. He had never thought of it in such terms before. Professor Floon breathed heavily, waiting in silence, heart hammering, hoping for a reaction that spared his life.
                Finally, the Colonel’s expression softened, and he began to speak. “Professor, I—“
                “Colonel Corbett!” came a voice from the tent’s opening. Floon, uncharacteristically, cursed in his head. His heart sank.
                “How dare you interrupt me? I said, very clearly I thought, that no one was to interrupt!”
                The pirate at the opening was the huge, shirtless one, with the AT-AT driver’s helmet. “But it’s the others, sir, they’ve broken out!”
                The moment had passed, Corbett’s mind was on other things. He grabbed his cap and marched towards the entrance. “Well then! Wait here with the Professor, we must hunt them down!”
                Corbett marched toward the tent flap, where he was promptly whacked in the head with a blaster handle, and fell flat on his back. He lay there, hair mussed, tongue out, and unconscious.
                “Oh my goodness!” cried Floon.
                “Quiet, Professor! It’s just me, Kitsa. Ms. Rigo.”




                Indeed it was. The reporter came ducking in, blaster in hand. The large pirate stood guard while she knelt down to rummage in Corbett’s holster.
                “What-what is going on? Who is this abnormally large man at the door?” asked Floon, who’s voice dropped to an anxious whisper as he added, “Is he not one of the pirates?”
                Kitsa pushed a strand of hair out of her face. “Huh? Oh, that’s Deksen,” she explained simply. “He’s gonna help us escape.”
                The pirate named Deksen raised a hand in casual greeting.
                “O-Oh, how do you do?” Floon replied weakly, and he tipped his hat on instinct. “You are…very big!”       
                “I get that a lot,” came Deksen’s reply, filtered through his helmet.
                “He is, isn’t he?” Kitsa grinned.
                “Y-Yes—hold on; escape, you said?” squeaked Floon, who’s brain was beginning to catch up at last.
                “Yes, escape,” she repeated firmly, looking him in the eye. “But we have to go now, understand? Otherwise we’ll die?”
                Floon withdrew a handkerchief and dabbed at his face. “O-Oh, my. This is all rather a lot. And so sudden…”
                “Yes, it is. We still have to save Clod, against my better judgement.”
                “S-Save…Clod, you say?” said Floon, wilting with every word, and very close to fainting.
                Kitsa smiled wryly and patted him on the shoulder. “Come on, Professor,” she said, and she handed him the Colonel’s blaster before turning to leave. Deksen made to follow her.
                Floon went after them, but before reaching the tent’s exit he spun around awkwardly to address his host.
                “I’m…very sorry for all this,” he said to Corbett’s unconscious body. “It really w-was lovely meeting you.”
                Floon felt it was polite for one to wait to be excused, but Corbett did not reply. 
                Thus, with a great deal of stumbling and nervous mumbling, the professor hurried to catch up with the others.



                “And the natives,” said Slyfoot with relish. “You said you’ve met them before, is that true?”
                “Yesh,” spat Clod. He eyed the interrogation droid floating a foot away, its red receptor blinking, prod extended towards him.
                “Then you could lead us to them. You will lead me to them.”
                “Didn’t you hear a word I said? They found me the first time. I don’t know how to find them now!”
                Slyfoot waved a hand dismissively. “Well, no matter. They asked you to return, I’m sure they’ll show up to you soon.”
                Clod wished he could wipe his mouth where he’d drooled after one of the many electroshocks. It was starting to chape. “…Thought you…were gonna let us go?” he groaned.
                Slyfoot laughed. “Really? You did? I didn’t take you for a fool. No, Mr. Clod. You’ll stay in this luxury for many days to com--I said I wanted no interruptions!”



                Light had flooded the room from the now-open door. He heard a blaster go off, and a red bolt smashed into the interrogation droid, knocking it to the ground.
                “Pardon me!” said Professor Floon, turning the gun on Slyfoot. The pirate sergeant raised his hands in surrender. “I nearly forgot something on my way out!”



                “P-professor?” slurred Clod, craning his neck to see. “I can’t believe it.”
                “That’s right, it’s me! I’ve come to rescue you, Mr. Clod.”
                Clod groaned with relief. He hadn’t expected this in a million years. “You gotta get me out of here, doc.”
                “Indeed!” said the Professor, who prodded Slyfoot with his pistol until he gave up the key to the bindings.
                “Nice entry."
                Floon seemed pleased. “Thank you! I am honored by the compliment, especially from someone as…daring-do as yourself! I practiced on the way here.”  
                “It paid off. Now…” he stretched and groaned his weary, burnt muscles. Then he turned towards Slyfoot, who held to his dignity even while fear seeped in the cracks. Weakened though he was, the Klatoonian was dangerous. He proved this to Slyfoot by knocking him to the floor with a right hook.
                “Jerk. Wish I had more time.”
                “We really must go, Rigo is waiting! She found a way out!”
                Clod looked at the Professor and raised an eyebrow. “You already saved her?”
                “Saved her?” replied the professor, leading him into the daylight. “Why, it was her who saved me!”
                “You’re kidding!”
                “I am not kidding, Mr. Clod! I assure you, I am entirely serious!”

                They caught up with Kitsa and Deksen at the camp’s boneyard, where ship and vehicle carcasses formed a monument to the pirates’ past conquests.
                “He’s fine,” said Kitsa, in response to the alarmed look on Clod’s face. “His name is Deksen, he’s helping us.”
                “Nice to meet you,” said Deksen, voice filtered through his helmet.
                “Sure, sure. A pleasure,” muttered Clod. “Listen, I told that creepy imp about the natives.”
                Kitsa and Floon looked at him with dismay.
                “It wasn’t exactly by choice,” grumbled Clod, but he avoided their gaze. “I’m betting they didn’t torture either of you.”
                They answered by way of silence.
                “Of course not,” he grunted. “Who else here has a face like a Corellian hound?”
                “Ahem...I cannot imagine what you went through in that little room, so I cannot blame you for anything you’ve done,” said Floon seriously. “Besides…I let slip quite a lot about the wildlife to the Colonel, and I was under no compulsion besides a foolish enthusiasm for my subject! Oh, how moronic of me. I’m far worse than you, Mr. Clod. Fear no condemnation from us.”
                Clod looked at him with something approaching humility and gratitude.
                “I didn’t tell anyone anything,” said Kitsa. “Except about myself.”
               “Their knowledge simply means we must make greater haste to find the natives first. And with the skills and talents of us three, I find our chances encouraging!”
                Kitsa gestured to their soon-to-be-stolen ride. “Especially with this thing.”
                Clod hurried forward to look at what she’d found. Underneath a tarp sat a small, aged red-and-white craft. Barely enough space for two people. “What is this, an Incom? Tiny, isn’t it?”
                “Who cares who built it?” she replied shortly. “It’s an Airspeeder. Deksen says it’ll still fly.”
                Deksen shrugged. “We use it for scout missions.
                “Wait," Clod frowned. "We can’t leave yet.”
                Kitsa threw up her hands. “Why not?”
                “Oh, for karf’s sake--I got your hat, here. Can’t believe you’d get us killed over your hat.”
                “My hat! You’re alright, Rigo.”


                Deksen cleared his throat. “You three should climb in, you don’t have a lot of time.”
                They threw their things in the speeder. Clod clambered into the pilot’s seat and brushed some crumbs off the controls. He checked various switches and toggles with an air of familiarity. Floon crammed himself into the back.
                Kitsa was last to get in. She turned and threw herself at Deksen, hugging him awkwardly. She didn’t hug many people. Were you supposed to do it so forcefully? Fortunately, Deksen didn't seem to mind. He folded her gently in his massive arms.
                “Thank you. I wish you could come with us.”
                His tone carried a smile she couldn’t see through his facemask.
                “It was good to meet you. I’ll see you again.”
                “And you’ll be okay? The other pirates won’t…”
                He put a calming hand on her shoulder. “You think they could?”
                “Miss Rigo!” called the professor from the speeder. “I’m quite nervous waiting in here! I wouldn’t say anything, except that my muttering has made Mr. Clod angry.”
                The two shared a chuckle. Kitsa smiled sadly and let go of him. She clambered into the airspeeder with the others, where she discovered it was a much tighter fit than she’d expected. Once she’d negotiated space with Floon, she leaned against the window and gave Deksen a final wave.
                The pirate waved back.


                “Whoof. He’s ripped, huh?” she said wistfully.
                “Ripped?” Floon squeaked. “I’d say his shirt is beyond ripped, madam! There’s hardly a shirt there at all!”
                The speeder was humming to life, the way any vehicle does that’s taken some battering. A warm, clanky kind of hum.
                “Alright,” said Clod from the front. “Off to find the natives?”  
                “Before the pirates do!” said Kitsa.
                “Oh my! A race against pirates, for the good of knowledge and sentient life!” flushed Floon. “It’s all rather exciting, isn’t it?”



The Heroes



You already know these three! But just in case...

Harnaby Clod: Hyperspace scout and treasure hunter, the sardonic Clod has two pet peeves: people making fun of his face, and being kept from a big score.

Kitsa Rigo: A reporter from the Galactic Gazette sent to record Harnaby and Floon's adventure. Would much rather get back to her investigations in the Core Worlds.

Professor Pod Floon: The neurotic professor is here to meet the local tribes and, with their permission, establish a CFS research post. Hungry for excitement, but entirely new to danger.


More Pictures





Thanks for looking! Next: Fight and Flight!


Edited by RocketBoy

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On 10/15/2020 at 5:25 AM, Simulterious said:

You're a great storyteller! Keep up the good work!

Thanks man! I appreciate it.

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