Chapter 17 Stunning plans

Ungar's carriage lurched up to the cathedral stopping over an oily spot on the pavement. As Ungar struggled to exit a guard ran up, “Senior Elder Davin requests your immediate presence in the conference room.” Clutching the stunner close to him, he slowly trudged after the guard to the conference room and came into view of the micro drone's camera. Seeing both the head of security Marshal Banner and Davin he set the stunner down on the table and collapsed into the nearest chair to see what his fate would be.

Davin glanced at the stunner, “What is that?” “It's a gift from the starship. They call it a stunner. They said you can point it at someone, pull the trigger and it will completely immobilize anyone for about ten minutes.” Davin picked up the stunner, pointed it at Ungar and pulled the trigger. Ungar immediately slumped down deeper in the chair, and his eyes went blank. Davin walked over to him and backhanded him hard. Getting no reaction he looked at Banner and grinned. “Your men will have fun with this. No more getting scratched up by women who resist. What did your watcher's see?” “Not much Senior Elder. A man met him at the base of the boarding ramp and led him into the ship. He came out about forty minutes later and went back to his carriage. The stunner must have been in his pouch.”

With a jerk, Ungar came to and sat up straighter. Wincing, he rubbed his jaw and stared vacantly around the room before turning his eyes to Davin. “Tell me what happened,” snapped Davin.

Ungar swallowed hard, “The man, his name is Ben, met me at the end of the boarding ramp and led me into the ship.” “How big is the crew, did you see any weapons?” demanded Davin. “I only saw two people on board, and I don't think there were any others. I didn't see any weapons but you already know they have some. The woman with the long blonde hair is the captain and apparently in charge. They were not happy our man shot at her. They could have killed all that were there if they wished.” Marshal Banner seemed incredulous, “Just two people are on board that big ship and the whore is in charge? How big of a problem can that be? We separate them and take them out one at a time. I'll take care of the whore with long blonde hair personally.”

Ungar stammered, “I don't think this will be that simple. The ship is extraordinary. I only saw a small part of it, but they have a lot of technology. You should proceed with much caution. I told them we were sorry about the, ah, incident, the shooter was a new recruit and would be disciplined. The stunner was a gift from them to show good faith. They also said I'm the only one who will be allowed to visit the ship and I always have to come alone. They said there are  more exotic goods they can provide in exchange for things they may want.” 

“What did they say they might want to trade that we have?” asked Davin. “They didn't, and I have no idea what they would like. Seemingly they have way more than we do.” “You're useless Ungar, think of something we have that we can trade for to get more of these stunners.”

A sweating Unger searching for an answer blurted, “We do make some fine special reserve brandy. They served me a glass of theirs while I was there and it was just okay.” Marshal Banner rubbed his hands together and looked up at Davin. “I would trade a case of our best brandy for every stunner I could get my hands on.” “Ungar, gather five cases of good brandy and go to the ship tomorrow. Get me more stunners....or else”, snarled Davin as he left.

Ben turned from the vid towards Celeste, “do you have any good ideas?” “Well brandy isn't high on our needs list, but we will accept it. You can taste it, and if it's any good, I'll sample it and add it to the galley replicator. Maybe we can trade or give it to the Gaians. I've checked the records. The Eaulanders used a rare earth mineral in their water treatment systems called Rhabdophane. It's quite valuable in some places. It was mined in the mountains to the west of the city. They might have some left over since their exports seem to be at an all-time low.”

Celeste sighed, “These are not good guys Ben. We have to be careful with them. For this world to have any chance at all something has to give, and I think it's the Eaulander's Elders that need to be bent first, and hard.” “Could we get a drone into the chamber where the sacred book is located? I'd like to see what this Oneness business is all about?” “A good idea Ben,” said Celeste. “I'll take one of the micro drones and see if I can find a way in later tonight. It's time for dinner, I'll cook, and you clean up and pick a vid. Have you ever had popcorn?” Ben looked bemused. “Nope never heard of it.” “It's a popular snack in some cultures and almost always associated with watching vids. I'll make some later this evening for you to try.”