Part four of my Planet Animalus Summaries.
16. A Thief on a Planet of Dragons
Takes place a few years after the last story. After years of negotiations, Animalus is given permission to set up a colony on a recently discovered life supporting planet. Thus, a ship full of colonists, about 20,000 adults over the age of twenty and 50,000 under the age of twenty, is being sent there, consisting of mostly hardy nomads and low-ranking criminals looking for a new lease on life. Among them are 500 police officer/security guards, 500 soldiers, and 100 Wild Beast officers, to keep the colonists protected from raiders and prevent crime.
The leader of the group is Zena. She came to help supervise the construction of the settlement that the people would reside in, as well as keep the criminal elements in check. With her is Julia, who is heavily pregnant. Julia is curious about her unborn child, such as how it would look, and its gender. Zena uses a view-wrap to check on the progress of the child and see how far along it is. However, all that Zena tells the young woman is that the child is coming along fine. However, the secret that Zena is keeping to herself is that Julia's got triplets, a human, a horse, and a dog, all boys, though she is puzzled as to why two of the boys are hybrids, but she suspects that it is due to Julia's parentage.
With the check-up complete, Julia asks Zena to turn around, so that she can undress and put on her sleeping clothes with a sense of privacy, though Zena uses a mirror to peak at her. Julia senses this and asks her to stop peeping, as she is nervous, given her condition. Zena remarks that if she were still a thief and Julia was a jewel in a museum, she'd break in and take her away. She then turns around and plays with her a bit, before letting the woman finish dressing Zena then takes off her robe and, given her sleep-swallowing condition, as well as Julia's pregnancy, swallows the woman for safe keeping, so that she isn't accidently killed when the two of them were sleeping, though Julia would be completely safe inside of Zena's stomach, thanks to a special pill.
A few days later, the ship lands on the planet, and the crew and passengers disembark, though the officers of the Wild Beasts seem to think it's necessary to salute Zena every time they see her, but that's because they are new to the group and haven't gotten over the formalities of the military, or to a minor extent, the police. Thus Zena is constantly telling them "At Ease" as the Wild Beasts, though made up of police officers and soldiers looking for an even more difficult challenge were highly informal, except during certain situations. Zena eventually goes over to the other leaders of the people, who are planning the layout of the settlement, but she feels a presence up on a hill. At this, she decides to take an indirect route there, and do some exploring. Along the way she watches the others, who, between getting tables and cooking fires set up, were having fun, with more than a few couples looking for more secluded areas to have some privacy. Also, the officers, from the police, military, and Wild Beasts were wearing their finest uniforms, including Zena.
Eventually Zena makes her way into the forest, where she notices that Julia has followed her. The young woman remarks as to how they'd gone a little far just for some privacy, but when Zena looks at her, she sees the real message in her eyes, that someone was watching them. Zena says that she was planning on going farther, but since the young woman was tired, they could stop and take a break. She also makes the comment that anyone foolish enough to bother them would be in big trouble. The two of them go to lay down by a tree.
A few minutes later, Julia sees something that looks like a large snake, but it vanishes like a chameleon before her eyes. Then, Zena springs up, and thrusts her claws into the trunk of the tree, saying "Got it!" The wolf starts pulling something off of the tree, which turns out to be the snake-like creature that Julia had spotted. She takes some guesses as to the creature's abilities, especially the color-changing, and notices a human-sized bulge that was moving. The wolf walks over to the bulge and starts to cut it open, revealing a human-like creature. The creature looks at Zena, with reptilian-like eyes, and hugs her, talking in a language that Zena hadn't heard before, so Zena decides to try and read its mind, and finds out about the creature and what not.
As it turns out, the creature is something called a Charzan, which has the unique ability to create a new body should the previous one get eaten, a useful tactic considering the various predators on the planet. Zena also finds out about a creature that Charzans shared a unique relationship with, dragon-like Chargons, which regularly ate them, but thanks to the Charzan's ability, there wasn't any real worry of running out of them. She also finds out that the two species lived together, with relations that varied from those like a farmer and his livestock to that of friends, and, in certain taboo instances, that of lovers, as well as everything in-between. However, the most important thing she finds out is that there are a large number of them nearby.
With this information, Zena and Julia head back to the spaceship and the story changes to the view of the Charzan, who is named Charoz. Charoz takes a look at the snake creature, a chizion that Zena had killed, almost by decapitating it. He also takes a look at the tree and sees how far Zena had stabbed into it, which astonishes him. He then gets his knife, which is really a serated tooth, and starts cutting the chizion up, as well as waiting for his friend, a Chargon named Chiran. Also, Chiran is the Chieftain Chargon's eldest son, and Charoz is one of Chiran's personal Charzans.
After sharing their information about the strangers with each other, the two of them head back to there village, where they find out that there is not only the Chargons and Charzans of their tribe, but those of the neighboring ones, and more arriving every moment. It seems that the pair were not the only ones to notice the strangers, and the tribes are gathering, especially the hunters and warriors. The question was whether there would be war, or peace, between them and the strangers. Chiran remarks that he hopes that the tribes would try the peaceful approach first, which catch his father's attention. The Chieftain asks him to share his story with him, and Chiran tells him what he and Charoz and seen, and what their opinions about the strangers' potential capabilities in a fight. The Chieftain asks Charoz if he can confirm the story, as Chiran has a tendency to exaggerate things. Charoz tells the Chieftain, that they had seen several thousand of the strangers, and that no two of them were exactly alike, and that they wouldn't believe it unless they saw the sight themselves.
The Chieftain asks if the two of them saw any that looked to be the leader of the strangers, and Charoz tells him about the one that he had encountered, Zena. The Chieftain, Daranz, then tells his son that he can go and get himself something to eat, while he and the others work out a plan for dealing with the strangers.
Meanwhile, Zena and the passengers are talking about what they were going to do, as it is against intergalactic law to set up a colony on a planet that has sentient life already on it. Zena manages to convince the others that they can deal with the natives, no matter the situation. The group then works out a plan.
A few hours later, just before sunset, the chief Chargon shows up at the landing site. Zena walks up and starts talking to him, in his language. Needless to say, he's shocked, as he was told that the strangers spoke a different language.
Zena tells him that they could fight, but that would be disastrous for both of them, or they could be friends, which would benefit both groups. One look into Zena's eyes and Daranz can see that the wolf is telling the truth, so he agrees to a pact of friendship. He then signals the others, telling them that the strangers are friendly.
Later, after the feast, Chiran and Charoz are talking to themselves, and wonder what the future will hold for their kind.
17. An Illegal Experiment, A New Hybrid
Starts a few months after the last story. A man doing undercover work for police on EarthTwo breaks into a medical facility and discovers something terrible; illegal experiments are being done on young teens and children. The man, Robert Marans, is shocked at what he sees. While he is a thief and all, this was not what he had expected to find.
Robert then promises the young people that he has located that he will be back with help. However, on the way out, he gets captured when someone shoots him with a sleeping dart. He wakes up, strapped to a table, surrounded by lights. He is questioned, but he refuses to say much, if anything, even when one of his interrogators starts to beat him. Robert mentions that he has a brother who is a cop who will hunt them down, due to a tracking chip in his hand. Extreme pain then comes from Robert's hand, and he hears his interrogators mention something about testing a new injection, at which point, he blacks out.
When Robert wakes up again, he finds himself in a dark room, but he can still see somewhat, and he is still strapped to the table. He takes a look at his one hand, and feels sick. The ring and pinky fingers, along with that part of the hand, have been removed. The tracking chip has been removed. He then looks at his other hand and sees something else, claws. He brushes his tongue over his teeth and feels how sharp they are. He realizes that something must have happened while he was knocked out, and decides that now would be a good time to escape. He coughs up a lock pick he had hidden in his stomach and starts to make his escape, but one of the doctors, a woman named Victoria, comes in to check up on him.
Being careful, Robert engages the woman in polite conversation, trying to figure out what was going on. After the woman mentions something about making Robert her pet, and that she was only following orders, to which Robert replied that he heard about a similar group of people who said that, and had died, Robert manages to free his hand. He grabs the woman by the throat, and forces her to free him, or he'd tear her throat out, especially after she mentions that he was now part cheetah. After she frees him, Robert then uses the woman as a shield, and uses her to escape the place, making a vow to free those still trapped there. He then forces the woman to take him to a diner near the Animalus embassy, so they'd blend in with the regulars.
However, a dance is going on, and Robert persuades Victoria to join him. Robert manages to get Victoria to talk about what she was doing, and as it turned out, she'd had no choice, as she'd been framed for rape and murder.
Then, the pair's dance is interrupted by a guard from the facility sticking a gun in Robert's back. Robert then challenges the man to a speed contest, to see if the guard could shoot faster than Robert could move. Robert manages to move fast enough to steal the guard's gun and point it in his stomach. Robert then threatens to kill the guard, unless the man agreed to turn on his bosses, and tells the guy that he is to pay for breakfast. The guard reluctantly agrees to this, and Robert motions him over to an out-of-the-way table, with Victoria following them.
The group then orders breakfast, with Robert ordering ten pounds of meat for himself. The waiter asks if that was really the amount Robert wanted, to which Robert replies that he and Victoria had a very, interesting, night. The waiter leaves with a smile after this explanation.
A while later, as Robert has finally gotten the trick of cutting his meat one-handed, Robert's old face shows up on the television, The report said he'd jumped parole, and that anyone with information was to call the police, specifically the number for a certain officer, William Marans, Robert's brother. Robert then asks the waiter to bring over a phone, saying he needed to call up an old friend, who was like a brother to him.
Robert then calls the police, telling the officer on the receiving end to transfer him over to William's phone, saying he had information regarding his brother's death. William asks Robert how well he knew his brother. Robert then describes a tattoo that was on his shoulder, a police badge, and says that William had one of a prison window, with Robert's saying, "My better half" and William's saying "My worse half". Robert then tells William to meet him at the restaurant, saying that he had more information, which could only be told in person.
Some time later, William shows up wearing his uniform, his face identical to Robert's old one, except for a neatly trimmed mustache and beard. The guard's eyes pop when he realizes that he is dealing with a pair of twins, especially once Robert gets the waiter to bring William over. At first, William doesn't recognize his brother, until Robert says a few things, calling him Billy, and tracing a pattern on the table. He tells William that he stumbled across something big, which included a large number of missing people, mostly children, and more. Robert also says that he was one of the lucky ones, as there were those in worse situations. William then asks who Victoria and the guard were. Robert says that Victoria was an unwilling accomplice, and the guard was a person who was willing to flip on his bosses, in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Robert then gives the guard his gun back, telling him to tell his bosses that he (Robert) and Victoria were dead, and to pay for the meal. Robert then threatens to kill him if anything happened to the children. At this, the guard put money on the table and left.
William then takes Robert and Victoria to his place, after Robert sets up his and Victoria's apparent demise, by sending Victoria's vehicle into a lake. Robert and William then argue about their father, whom they both blame is the cause of their situations, as their old man had committed tax fraud and caused Robert to lose his house, and William to lose his chance at a promotion. However, the argument heats up, and Robert's eyes change to a reddish color, which causes William to quiet.
Robert then says that he is tired, and hungry in a way he can't quite describe. William tells him about a guest bedroom, as well as some leftovers in the fridge, and warns him that his girlfriend is coming over. William then gets in his vehicle and leaves, and Robert and Victoria enter the house. When Victoria goes to the fridge to get the food, Robert tells her that's not the hunger he was talking about. He tells her that there is something in him that just wants to take her, and mate with her. Victoria says that they had better not do that in the kitchen, so the two of them go to the guest bedroom to do it.
A while later, Robert woke up, not recognizing anything: not the room, and not the woman sleeping next to him. However, a look at his mutilated hand brings back everything in a flash. He remembered what the woman had done to him, and felt the urge to kill her. However, the thought of doing so sickens him. He then comes up with another idea; having her stay with him, and make her see what she did to him, for the rest of her life. Then he saw her neck, and saw the vein throbbing. He then heard a voice say "Kill her for what she did to us." Robert refused, telling himself it wouldn't be the human thing to do. The voice said "Have it your way," and the presence subsided.
A few minutes later, Victoria gets up, and the two of them get some clothes on, and go warm something up. On the viewscreen (TV) is a clip about Planet Animalus' colony. It said that the planet had inhabitants known as Chargons and Charzans. The clip was also made by Zena, an ex-thief that the police had tried to get a hold of to check out the facility, before they made due with Robert, who had been arrested just then. Victoria then asks Robert about how her bosses would get caught, to which Robert replies, "Elliot Ness," and gives her a quick history lesson about how one of the biggest mob bosses on Old Earth was arrested for not paying taxes.
Then, the doorbell rings, and Robert tells Victoria to hide. He then gets out a gun he'd stolen earlier, and asks who's at the door. He hears a woman's voice, saying "It's me, and Sandy. Remember, you asked for me to come and to bring my girlfriend with me?" Robert then remembers what his brother had said and says "Come in."
As it turns out, William's girlfriend is a fox hybrid from Planet Animalus, and her girlfriend is a lion hybrid, and what's more, the two of them knew Victoria from school, and all three of them were GIRLFRIENDS! Robert, wisely, decides to let the three girls get reacquainted.
Several hours later, William comes home to find Robert pointing a gun at him. Robert pulls the trigger, and something whizzes past William's ear, causing him to cup it. However, an even greater interest is the thud of something falling behind him: a man with a gun in his hand. Turns out, the guy had been watching the house, waiting for William to show up, so that he could kill him.
Later on, William receives some bad news; he's been taken off the case, due to personal conflict. Robert then suggests that the five of them got to Planet Animalus, ostentatiously so that William could meet up with his girlfriend's family, but in reality, to go to yet another planet, and recruit the greatest thief of all, Zena herself.
Several months later, after a quick visit to Animalus, the group is on the planet known as Char. By now, Robert has prosthetic fingers on his left hand. Also, he has dealt with the presence which shares his body.
One of the first people they meet up with is Zena. After telling her their story, Zena agrees to help them out, once she's taken care of some local matters.
Several months later, Robert and Zena raid the facility, Robert going for the children, Zena for the alarms, scientists, and guards. After the children are saved, and the scientists and guards captured, and evidence collected, Zena places several explosives, and blows the place up.
18. A Thief's Reasons
Several months after last story.
The trial of Victoria's boss begins. The witnesses tell their stories; the Defense tries to disprove them. However, the biggest piece of Key Evidence might be Robert himself, and the Spirit that posses his body.
Also, Robert is trying to find the courage, and time, to propose to Victoria, but he get's cold feet at each opportunity. Will he be able to do it?
19. A Thief on a Planet of Giants
Starts ten years after previous story.
Zena finds herself on a planet of giant creatures, and dealing with a young soldier at the same time. Will her mission of peace be a success, or failure?