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Rated: E · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2286406
Sci-fi Western with an interstellar bounty hunter Dirk Dilemna
Stranger in a Strange Land
A Science-Fiction Western

N.A Miller

It is far out in the depths of space, out past the edge of massive arms of the Milky Way Galaxy and out beyond the dual nucleus of the K Class Star known as Andromeda, into the tri stars of Orion that this story begins. It is here that a lone planet, out of five planets, orbits the planet Dwarf ‘kin 7, around the life-giving dwarf star of this world. A lone ship approaches the orbit of this world, a passenger liner, not unlike the ancient ones that crossed the seas on Earth, that slides silently toward the bright radiant dwarf star that makes up the sun of this solar system.

The planet is like Earth, a little smaller in size, and it has a shorter orbit and rotational period in comparison to the planet Earth. A solar day is ten hours long, and a year is three hundred days. The planet is temperate to searing in levels of zones on the planet. It is sixty-two percent making up the land mass, with forty percent of seas that cover the surface of the planet on one side. Gravity is zero point, nine bars of Earth, a little lighter than planet Earth’s gravity zone, it has nitrogen oxygen, and more heavy metals in the atmosphere, making it a little thicker than Earth’s ozone.

It is here that the ship has arrived, bringing visitors to this world, and a stranger to finish the job he had taken on Earth.

Dirken Dilemna, an interstellar bounty hunter, stands clad in the familiar jeans, a simple old-style western vest and boots, and over the top a brown leather duster that hangs low, over the top of his laser six shooters attached to his belt and tied to his leg. Dirk is that of a Cyborg, a half-man, half-robot. He is human with alloy implants and a combat chassis attached to the body to make them stronger. He is the man/machine assigned to recover the desperado in this age of 2456 A.D and he travels to the planet far out in Orion’s belt where the villain had fled.

The ship thundered as it hit the retro-rockets and slowly it descended toward orbit, where it took station to complete one orbit before slowly descending into the atmosphere. As it sinks deeper onto the planet, the skin of the ship heats up as it rubbed and created friction against the atmosphere. A few minutes would elapse and the massive ship would appear in the blue sky above the many land masses that is scattered throughout the greenish-blue oceans that make up forty percent of the seas on this planet. It slowly descends to the planet, landing in the sea with a gentle splash, and slowly would steam toward the shore and the docking crew that awaits its arrival.

Sitting on the bridge of the ship somewhere, Captain Rejnik sat in the chair as the ship as it slowly descended toward the planet. As she turns her head, she casts a quick look at the bridge of her ship. A reptilian helmsman named Raja sits at the console in front of the control room. Seated next to her, sits the insect-like navigation named T’Lsss St. John pushing the buttons on his computer console. At the Communications station, a young humanoid named Kristen Troi sits at her console. Captain Dtor Joski, a young human sits in the central station. Folios Catilis, a feline being sits at the science station. This crew is now in control as it successfully guides the ship to the planet from SOL and Earth. They have brought the three hundred passengers successfully on their journey to another world and one of those passengers is the bounty hunter who would take back a villain.

Fifteen minutes later, the ship would wallow to an abrupt stop, and slowly the gantry opens, stretching out like a giant arm, as it reaches for the ship and the huge doors on the side of the ship. The double doors hiss as they equalize the pressure of the outside, and crews from the planet rush across the gantry, attaching the umbilical cords from the planet for power and other services for the ship. It is here that Dirken checked his chronometer.

“Welcome to Planet Dwarfs ‘kin 7.” The announcement said, “Planetary conditions are as follows: Weather is clear with patches of rain clouds in regional foothills. The current temperature is twenty-five degrees centigrade, pressure is twenty-nine point nine nano bars on the scale, and gravity is point zero nine of Earth. Local time is seventeen hundred. We have docked at the main space station of Dwarf’s cove. For all passengers who are continuing onto Astro 7, in Andromeda, the ship will be departing tomorrow morning at eight A.M Local Time. Enjoy your stay, and thanks on behalf of the crew for your journey with us.”

Dirken did not hear any of that as he took up his saddle-bag, and adjusted the duster he wore over his body. He then picked up his western hat and placed it on his head before walking with the typical heavy footsteps of boots, with saddlebags in hand, to descend the gantry onto the shore of the planet. He heads toward the main gate where little men stood, clad in the uniform of the local militia and ground crew of the station...

The men were stocky, and well-built, with long beards, close-set eyes, and long shaggy hair. The uniforms were a leather vest with silk sleeves, and pants that matched, along with boots. The emblem of the planet is a triangle with three stars on each side, which is emblazoned on the breast of their tunics.

“Welcome to Dwarf’s gate, Mister Dilemna.” The rough-looking dwarf said, “Any fruits, vegetables, alcohol, or illegal firearms to declare?”

The Cyborg merely managed to turn and open his coat revealing the laser six-shooter at his side. He flipped out the interstellar ID 01110101010100110001. They used a hand-held device to scan the bar, and it identified him as a bounty hunter working for the interstellar committee of the Federation who was assigned to the case of Baden Bart, that fled the planet Earth and came to this planet to elude the Federation Authorities.

“Ah! Welcome, to the planet mister Dilemna.” The man laughed, “I have followed your recent exploits. Nice piece of work that one was.”

The recent exploit has been on the planet Ambrosia 2, located in the Antares Galaxy, in which he had apprehended a fugitive with force for the local authorities. He had jumped bail and ended up single-handed rounding up his whole gang. Dirken merely nodded, tipping his hat as he passes the ground crew, and his heavy boots echoed on the wooden dock.

“Much Obliged.” He muttered, “Which way to the Inn?”

Dirken’s voice had been loud enough to be heard, but it also surprised the young dwarf who greeted him. A bounty hunter is a fair-sized man, tall and well built despite the implants, but surprisingly his voice is very quiet, an almost lisp.

“Go down the street and to the right.” The man replied, “Ask for Miss Casey. She’s the proprietor.”

“Much Obliged,” Dirken repeated, and with that, he flips a coin to the man who caught it. It was a gold coin that was worth over one hundred Yulee on this planet as currency.

“Thank you, Sir!” He gasped elated, “Anything you need from the local Militia, don’t hesitate to let me know!”

Dirken walked with heavy footsteps toward the building, keeping his duster closed as he entered the interior of the spaceport. It is a greenish-yellow building that was two stories, the interior was a pressure pot of people all here to gain transportation to and from this planet. Many of the visitors here are tourists to this world. As he crosses the main floor of the building, he heads to the entryway onto the street of the local town. As he does so and exits through it, he pans a long stare at the many buildings here that are in many strange shapes and many sizes. Electric, air, and anti-gravity vehicles roam the streets here and roll past him as he steps onto the walkway. A typical town that would be found like in the old west back on Earth three hundred years ago. He crossed the street, made of dirt, and on the far side of it, he turned the corner. It is here that a large building making up the post office is here, the flag of the Federation fluttering in the breeze, alongside the triangle and three stars flag, colored a deep maroon color in the cool breeze. He walked down the sidewalk, one block, and on his right was the inn, just as the gantry operator had said. Here was the inn and saloon where he would be staying.

He went to it immediately, and as he walked toward the door of the polygon-shaped building, colored a deep blue, he passes many tourists who eyed him warily, holding their children back as he passed. The Bounty hunter ignored them as he moved to the door that slid obediently open for him. Walking toward the desk, the inn is typical of anyone he found in the Federation. It is lavishly decorated with old-school furnishings, with a desk on the wall of the interior of the building and two elevator shafts in the exact center of the room. Many couches circle the room around the lifts and a few people sit talking with each other.

“Greetings, sir, how can I help you?” The staff member of the hotel asked as he stands behind the desk.

“I’d like a room,” Dirken said, as he flipped out two silver Yulee coins.

“Ah, I have one in mind, third floor, and on the corner.” The man said, “Quiet and off the beaten path.”

“I’ll take it.” The Bounty hunter replied, putting a cigarette into his human lips.

“Sorry Mister Dilemna, There is no smoking here in the building.” The man said, “If you must, however, you can go outside or enter our smoking room.” He pointed to the doors of a room, and inside the cloud of smoke could be seen there.

“I see.” The Bounty-hunter said, “I’d like to go to my room.”

The desk manager hit the button and a bell on the desk dinged. A moment later, and beside him, a youthful-looking dwarf woman appeared. She is clad in a maroon uniform that is tight, shapely to her body, and shows a lot of skin, in the right places with attractive cleavage.

“Come this way, sir.” She told him elated, and he followed, his heavy boots echoing on the tiled floor. People started to notice him now and turned the people eye him fearfully as he passes them by. He still carried his leather saddlebags at his side, his duster hanging open revealing the laser six-shooter at his side. He managed to step into the lift that opened for him, with a whoosh, and it closes after he stepped inside it. The bellhop touched the electronic panel and the lift moved rapidly upward.

“Third floor.” The computerized voice said, and the lift doors snapped open. Dirken managed to step off as the young woman led the way and handed him the key after opening it, stepping aside to allow him to step into the lavish room.

It is well-lit and very large; a bed sits in the center of the room beyond. A small kitchen is on the left side and a closet is on the right. A sitting area with a table and chairs sits catty-corner to the bed. Here, Dirken put his saddlebags down and removing his revolver he placed it on the table.

“Fancy-schmancy.” He grumbled, “Pshaw.”

He managed to walk to the window and open it, allowing the cool breeze to enter the room. He removed his duster, and it revealed the plaid vest he wears over his ripped upper body. His skin is tanned, and the alloy implants are visible on his upper body as a network of metal that covered his body. Dirken did not require sleep at this time and turned to his saddlebags to open them. He pulled out a toolkit that is specifically for his robotic implants. He took out a small cup, and opened it, taking a spoon that he ate the concoction of what appeared to be a K-ration type instant food as he sat in the chair. As he eats, he also quickly examines his revolver that lay on the table. The weapon glistens in the light, the promise of a lethal end if you messed with the man who held the weapon. Dirken is an ace using this weapon of choice, but also was an expert in hand-to-hand combat of the ancient martial arts. He quickly checked the load of sonic shells that he used in his revolver, clicking them in and closing it with a snap. He checked it over, as he spun the chamber with a whizzzzzz sound. The revolver made a thump on the table as he places it there, his weapon ready for use to eliminate his target at will.

Turning, he began taking inventory of the shells he brought with him, and other weapons. He manages to bring twenty-five sonic grenades, over five hundred rounds for his pistol, a few ancient versions of the Claymore Mines, a combat knife, also a few throwing darts. Here he managed to pull out papers, scanning them that were handed to him at the Federation HQ. He begins reading about his target for bounty, but not without plugging in a cable to a small device on the table. Taking the other end he plugged it into his nano-bot implants. There is a beep a moment later as the device conducted a full diagnostic, which he performed nightly to keep himself at peak performance.

As night fell, Dirken closed his human eye, and shut down the nano-systems as he meditated, keeping alert at instant reaction time if he must react to a visitor or anything happening around him. His scarred body shone in the low light, as he sits in the chair, the green monitor flashing as it runs through all systems of the Nano-bot implants. When it was completed by morning, the device beeped as it finished. He knew he is ready for his assignment, and opening his human eye and his robotic eye, they focus on the empty room around him.

A knocking made him turn his head. He immediately reached out, and grabbed his revolver, clicking off the safety to point it at the door. It is an instinctive reaction. He has been ambushed overnight by the target’s henchmen before on other assignments, learning of his arrival and more than once he has taken lives away from those who got in his way of the bounty associated with his target. Slowly he rose from the small chair, and walked toward the door, but not without putting on the hat that hangs from the back of the chair. Another hollow knock sounded on the door.

“M…Ser.i.c.a!” The broken voice said cheerfully.

“Who is it?” He managed to bellow, and there was a click in the door. The knob turned and the door opened, as Dirken aimed his weapon and his finger found the trigger quickly.

The pile of towels lowered, and there was a piercing scream. The maid, as she enters, saw the revolver, and it is aimed at her. She dropped the towels and quickly turned to flee toward the door. He managed a grimace when seeing the maid and the door slamming behind her. Here Dirken moved to the stack of towels, picking them up and taking them to the lavatory.

“Oh, Shit!”

He put the revolver in its holster and slid on the duster that is draped on the chair. Turning he grabbed the remote nearby and clicked on the TV, the flash of a menu screen appears. As he hits the button, he changed the channel to the picture of two dwarf people, a man, and a woman who appear on the screen.

“Today’s news: July 13, 2456 A.D, in today’s news…” The voice said, he grimaced, changing the channel.

The futuristic weather channel appears on the screen next and a chart appears there with a notice about sunshine, a few clouds, and the temperature which reads about twenty-six degrees Centigrade or Seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. A piece of mellow music echoes the room as he watched the report that flashes on the screen. Quickly, Dirken found out it is going to rain here with a little fog following it, approaching harder on his target outside the city. He knew that his bounty is more if his target was living and not deceased, however, and he might be forced to eliminate him together.
“Great.” He murmured, frowning at the screen before he turned to walk toward the door.

Upon approaching the door, he glanced at his chronometer. It read nine-thirty, local time, as set by Dirken’s hand. Stepping through the door, he closed it behind him, and locked it, with an electronic sign ‘Do Not Disturb.’

With heavy footfalls he walked down the hall toward the lift and pressing the button, the door opened with a whoosh, allowing him to enter. He went to the first floor and exited the inn, a few minutes late. He walked down the walkway toward the Livery Stable, where he managed to step through the gate.

“I need a horse. I’m heading to Pell’s gate.”

The proprietor smiled as he turned, but a look of fear appeared on his face, seeing who it is making the request. The man working the Livery, the face has paled three shades of white when seeing the Bounty hunter. Even in the future, they still used Horses and other animals for transportation into the rustic and wilderness countries. The horse here is an animal with six legs; a little larger than the size of an Earth horse, but it is shaggy with long hair all over its body.

Pell’s gate was inland a few kilometers, and near a large river that flows through the semi-desert terrain that made up this planet’s surface. He has a job to do.

“That will be five hundred Yulee.” The proprietor said.

Dirken nodded as he peered at him.

He is a wisp of a man named Sam Cummings, who had also been a target for the Bounty hunter a long time ago. He surrendered and spent time in a penal colony. The proprietor of the Livery Stable knew why the bounty hunter is there, and what he is after. Sam knew there would be no way in hell for the target to escape, and it would be dead or alive. Dirken was a hired killer, and despite his implants, one tough hombre.

The bounty hunter managed to flip out five gold coins onto the counter that jingled as they fell against each other. Taking up the gun he assembled, a long rifle that he slipped it into a holster that he strapped to the horse. It is a repeating laser rifle, a futuristic rifle with large caliber slugs, and long range. There was a scope attached. A set of saddle bags brought with him was placed on the futuristic-looking animal and put his foot in the stirrup as Dirken raised himself to mount the animal.

He took up the reins and turned the animal toward the gate and with a nudge of his feet, the animal bolted forward through the gate. He is on his way to destiny. He managed to follow the road away from the futuristic town and he entered the planet’s outer harsh environment. It is here that he scans the terrain with the robotic part of his body. He can sense heat and it would be a fair day today, relatively cool to travel. The rider nudged the horse, and it sped down the trail further and further away from Dwarf’s Cove.

An hour or so later, the rider came upon the gate that made up the rustic Pell’s Gate settlement. It is a rustic place that is far from the main cities near the mountains, a mining town that searched for Platinum, Rodium, and various elements in this area. A fence stretches off in both directions on either side and in the middle of the desert is a vast grassland where the equivalent of Earth cattle graze on the lands, fenced in around the town. Dirken managed to use his implants well, scanning the land here carefully. He knew there was nowhere for an ambush except for the mountain area pass that he already went across and knew he was safe, except for a bullet from his target bounty who would probably not surrender to him anyway...

As he approached the outskirts of the town, the desert around this town is dry and desolate, outside the lush grassland that was irrigated by water that was pumped in from the coastline. Dirken managed to nudge his horse and it trotted through the gate of the outskirts of the town.

It is dusk by the time he reached Pell’s Gate a fair distance of 50 kilometers away, and utilizing as much daylight as he could, Dirken has timed it right to get her in a reasonable amount of time. He did not want to be caught out in the desert after dark, this planet is known for its large poisonous creatures that roamed the night. Also during certain parts of the three hundred-day years, this planet is a lot shorter in rotation and orbit than Earth, it is known for the hostility of the terrain, and the temperature of the desert here is over fifty-four degrees Centigrade.

The rider let out a breath as he approaches Pell’s gate, and as he entered further into the rustic town, he steered his mount toward the nearest Saloon called Kinshaw’s Peak. It is a bar with a typical saloon door entry and a neon sign outside. It is the place where he will find his target for his bounty, who is unaware that he is here.

Dirken got off his mount and stretched, pulling his rifle from the holster. He quickly tended to his mount, tying it up at the hitching post, and stepped onto the wooden walkway that stretched out along the front of the buildings. Next to the Saloon is a hotel, a general store, and so forth like the ancient western towns on Earth of the Eighteen Hundreds. He carried the rifle and his saddlebags toward the hotel, and stepping into the room through the door, he tipped his hat, greeting a young reptilian being named Ihss’trr who ran the place.

“Can I help you, ssssir?” She asked, and he managed a nod.

“I’d like a room with a view.” He said and flipped out the coins onto the wooden table.

“Please, come this way.” She replied quietly, as she led him up the stairs and down a hallway to his room. Dropping his gear on the table, he tipped his hat as the young reptilian woman smiled at him. He checked his revolver at his side and knew at the Bar next door was his bounty, Bart who is said to have taken up residence there as he hid from the law.

“Have a stable boy tend to my mount and take it to the Livery.” He said as the young reptilian woman managed to nod her head in agreement.

Dirken readied himself for the bar, mentally and physically. He did not know what to expect from his bounty.

“Will I have to kill him or not?” Dirken asked himself, “Will he come peacefully?”

There are too many variables for the bounty hunter to consider. He couldn’t compute what the outcome of the confrontation would be.

“He might even blow me away.” The Cyborg thought. “And I can’t enlist the sheriff or his deputy. They would just get their men killed if they put together a posse.”

He knew what he must do, and confront his target alone. Dirken always worked alone for a reason, and this was one of the reasons why.

“Too much innocent blood could be spilled.” He thought, considering all the alternatives that would be put ahead for this outcome. Turning, he walked toward the target and the bar where his contact would be. Glancing at the chronometer on his wrist, Dirken read the time. ’19:35’ it said, and he knew it was still not time.

Crossing the street yet again, Dirken headed to the office of the Sheriff, who no doubt knew he was in town, and he was going to make doubly sure to keep the civilians back.

As he approached the office, he found the Sheriff was not in his office and was out on the town somewhere. Turning to the Deputy, who sat with his feet up, Dirken grimaced at such a laid-back attitude of the law enforcement of the town.

“Ah, the hell with it.” Dirken muttered, “I’d better go get him before he gets wind I am here and tried to flee. Then I will have to kill him.”

Exiting, the bounty hunter walked down the dark street, the glow of neon lights flickering all about the town. He saw the bar in which he was to meet his contact and he turned to walk with heavy footsteps toward the dim lights and the low music he could hear from the interior of the bar. When he stepped through the saloon-type doors, he managed a pan to the interior of the darkened bar. It is very large, with a bar on the one wall, where patrons sat drinking. A jukebox sat catty-corner from it against the wall and in the low light of the bar itself many tables are scattered throughout.

Sitting at the bar, a dwarf-like resident clad in a flight suit sits drinking across from two robotic drones that sit tending the bar picking up empty drink glasses. Across from him is a green ogre-like creature, clad in a slinky maroon dress over her curvy figure, her long blond hair falling to her shoulders and partially obscuring her blue eyes. Across from her is the stud card table, and there is a small creature with a bulbous head, and two forward-set eyes sitting there. The dealer is the target that Dirken had come for. A pistol sits on the table, as the outlaw Baden Bart sits on the dealer side, flipping cards to the players. He is not noticed in the dim light, as Dirken put a cigarette on between his lips and with a thumb, strikes the match to light it. When he is noticed Bart almost dropped his cards as the bounty hunter stood in the low light.

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” Dirken warned, drawing back his duster to reveal the large caliber pistol, holstered at his side. “Dead or alive, you are coming with me.”

Bart leaned back casually, his hand slowly reaching for the weapon. Dirken’s hand flashed to the revolver at his side and as Bart grabbed the weapon that the bounty hunter drew his pistol and pulled the trigger, nailing two of his henchman in the shadows with lightning reflexes. There was a shot, and the bounty hunter’s gun still smoked as he stood there in the light, a scream echoed through the bar as patrons ran for cover. The bounty hunter had been shot in the chest, but he still stood there as he popped three rounds hitting the target in the shoulder. Bart screamed as the hot rounds hit his shoulder and cut through his flesh, shattering the bone in his arm.

Dirken did not flinch as a patron hit him with the chair, and turning the bounty hunter grabbed the patron by his throat, lifting him off his feet and slamming him into the wall behind him. Dripping blood, Bart staggered to his feet, as he tried to aim his weapon, and could not make his arm function well enough to shoot straight.

Throwing a chair in front of Dirken, he darted for the door. The bounty hunter followed as he rushed the door, seeing Bart hop on a nearby horse, aiming that targeted the figure he squeeze off three rounds which Bart dodged two, the third hit him square in the back and he flew from the saddle onto the hard ground. He ran toward the fallen villain and was on him before he got up, throwing a punch to knock him out before he had time to react or escape. Grabbing his handcuffs, he bound his hands on Bart firmly.

“You’re hurt!” A female voice said, and he managed to turn to see Ihsss'Trrr next to him, clad in a white tunic and a brown dress. He glanced down at his chest, a bullet hole there in his chest, and a dribble of blood, but he did not feel any pain.

“I don’t have time to bleed now.” He said, taking up the cuffs and binding Bart’s feet.
“This man needs a doctor though.”

“Suzie, run and get Doc Danielssss.” She instructed, “For both men.”

The young girl ran down the street and toward the nearby house of the surgeon and doctor who practice medicine in his house. A moment later, she returned on the run with the Doctor in tow, who carried his black bag, clad in a white jumpsuit.

“What happened here?” He asked, “A gunshot?”

“Yessss Doctor.” Ihsss replied soothingly, “This bounty hunter apprehended a fugitive from the law and needs to be patched up before he can return to Earth.”

Doc Daniels managed to examine Dirken, noting a dent in the battle armor plate that covered his chest under the shirt.

“It’s superficial, he’s not in any danger, but he’s going to hurt like hell though.” The Doctor said, and he examined the outlaw. “Get his man to my office.”

“He is my prisoner,” Dirken said, gruffly and stood up with a grimace.

“If he does not get any attention, he will need the mortician.”

“I will come with him doc!” The bounty hunter said, and the doctor motioned to Isss T'rrr, “Not with a wound like that you won’t bounty-hunter. Take him and fix him up in the other room when we get to my house. A stretcher quickly arrived and they placed the unconscious form of Bart on it and carried him to the doctor’s house.

Dirken sat in the other room as the battle armor was removed, and the young woman patched him up carefully with gauze and tape, after cleaning the bruise with alcohol. He did not even flinch.

“You are one tough hombre.” She told him, amused, her eyes twinkling in the light, “You should take care of yourself more than you already do.” She had noted the hand-sewn scars on his ripped muscles where the bounty hunter had patched up his wounds after so many firefights and damage taken on so many bounties.

“You should settle down.” She said, and Dirken despite his rugged appearance, managed a slight smile.

“Don’t worry about me, Ma’am.” He said, “I’ll be fine, it takes more than that scratch to keep me down.”

“I noticed.” She replied, sweetly as she managed a nod of her head. “You can dress now.”

He slipped on the battle plate over the gauze patch and his plaid vest over the body armor.

“Much Obliged.” He told her, and slowly he managed to stand. The bounty hunter still had a job to do, and one of them was to return Bart to the Federation on Earth for his trial and probably his sentence which might include the death penalty. But that was light years away and he had a long way to go.

He staggered to the other room where a waxen form of Bart lay on the table, his hand handcuffed to the table, at the instruction of Dirken. He had not gotten away or lost a man yet, but he still might with the wounds inflicted upon him. But even then only time would tell and he would still be paid the bounty for being alive or dead. It didn’t matter he still would be paid.

“What a living.” Ihsss T'rrr mused, watching Dirken hovering near the outlaw as he stood on the edge of the room. She wondered how someone like him, an ex-soldier could become a bounty hunter but understood the reasons why. That was all he was trained to do, to be able to kill on command, as soldiers did. The young reptilian woman merely arched an eyebrow, knowing it is a long way back to Earth with an outlaw such as Bart, who is notorious for escape. She wondered if he could handle him alone but little did she know that he is already prepared for that.

Tomorrow they would leave for Earth, and Ihsss T'rrr silently wished he would take an extra day to relax, to heal from his wounds. However, the young reptilian woman knew that is not going to happen and silently said a prayer for him. She returned to her Inn and resumed her work that she had to do, leaving him and Bart alone.

The next day came quickly and Dirken marched Bart, at gunpoint, toward the horse. Here, he lifted the outlaw with one hand, setting him up on top of the animal. Ihsss T'rrr watched as he mounted his horse, and taking up the lead rope, they slowly both rode off into the desert heading back to the main city and the Spaceport where they had many light-years to travel on their way back to Earth for justice.

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