Summer's Current: Witch Corps and Beyond 23-24


Summer's Current:
Witch Corps and Beyond

Antarran Redemption Hat.jpg

 

Chapter 23


 
 
FeLane Parliament, Capital, FeLane
 
 
“And so, my people; with great admiration for the quick and decisive action by our Parliament, I am pleased to announce that the regulation for permitted and certified procreation has been stricken from our constitution! Everyone- including your queen- can now be truly free to live life, enjoy life… create life, on our own terms, without embarrassing governmental control! Please join me this day in applauding our wise Representatives and Senators for their courage to rectify a law that was forcefully coerced into reality by the dethroned Regent Haturo. And now it is my pleasure to sign the document repealing and prohibiting this or any similarly intrusive requirement from ever being implemented.” I smiled to the streaming lens and confidently scrolled my signature on the ceremonial parchment then applied my thumbprint to the official notary scanner.
“Well? That should do it folks. Feel free to get it on- with no legal ‘red tape’… unless you’re into that of course!” I grinned.
The applause was deafening! In the holoprompter, my approval counter shot into the billions!
I waved for the applause to subside. It took several minutes.
“Since the intent and implementation of all hostilities against the crown has de-escalated and… been remedied, I hereby release EFMC Witch Corps from their protective ‘PROP’- ‘Planetary Royal Offensive Posture’- with my overwhelming gratitude for their long-standing service to FeLane, her allies, and her Confederation! As my great predecessor, Queen Libra, once did, I now return your unit’s focus to the defense and security of the Way. Godspeed, Witch Corps!”
I turned to my uniformed Coven sisters – some standing off to my right, some off to my left and applauded them.
Another deafening surge of applause attacked our ears!
“Witch Corps! Honors!” Lokust shouted commandingly as my sisters all transformed into their royal blue gowns eliciting loud gasps of surprise from the audience.
“Present! Wands!” She shouted and their wands were presented smartly in the ‘En Garde’ position.
I took two steps to the right of my podium.
Chance dismissed her wand, gracefully glided over, and crisply turned to her right to face me.
“Majesty.” She bowed deeply to me. “It has once more been our honor to provide security to the rightful monarch of FeLane and her Confederation! We shall continue to provide services to all Allies and friendly systems throughout the Way as per our charter!” Chance said before I pulled her into a royal embrace. We kissed cheeks and I released her.
“Travel well, High Priestess Chance Summers!”
“Rule fair and unbiased, Queen Kitty Sinae!” Chance declared with a huge smile. She winked to me. “Until we meet again, Majesty?”
I nodded.
“Coven! Dis-missed!” Lokust ordered.
The entirety of the Coven vanished!
Another deafening gasp filled the audience and more applause again deafened me and Tau!
Show offs!
“At this time all are welcomed to join Queen Kitty in seeing off our esteemed EFMC Witch Corps.” Tau announced after I returned the podium to him. “EFMC Pegasus will depart in two hours time. All are welcome to give regards and well-wishes on the Mall. Thank you for your attendance and support.”
Tau turned, offered his hand and proudly escorted me from the main floor of Parliament.
“Shall we make for the Mall, my queen?” He asked once we and our Royal Guardsmen entered my private hallway.
“Give me a sec. The royal kitten presses heavily on my bladder, my mate.” I said as I pictured my residence’s lavatory.
The chance to sit down briefly helped my aching back, but I had to hurry back to my entourage.
“What took so long, my queen?” Tau grinned cheekily.
“You try carrying the royal offspring, Mr. Prime Minister!” I grinned evilly.
“You know I know someone who can do just that!” I threatened as an afterthought.
“Indeed I do, my queen, but let’s not linger on that one specific detail.”
Lyra popped in just ahead of me. She began her report.
“My queen, Earth’s Horizon has received and secured Re-Tailed in her high security bay. Earth’s Horizon will arrive in three standard weeks unless there are more important matters pending?”
“Very good, Princess Lyra. Nothing jumps out to me at the moment.” I said with a big smile.
“Understood, my queen. Next, I request permissions to rejoin Witch Corps for myself and Princess Greer. Unfortunately, mother- Princess Sonya- has already left the residence on another important mission you yourself assigned. She and Captain Serangetti Kimbou seemed excited by your confidence in their abilities and have vowed their undying loyalties and commitment to a successful completion of the mission.”
“Very good, cousin! You have my blessing and my hopes of another successful mission. Please convey my best wishes to the High Priestess and the rest of the Coven?”
“As you wish, my queen. Might you be on your way to see us off?”
“I am, cuz. You know better than anyone here how I wish I could join that mission! Alas, I’m going to have a fulltime gig here for the near future.”
“See you out on the Mall, cuz!” Lyra smiled brightly then disappeared.
“Goddess! I wish I could go with them!”
“Did somebody call?”
“It was just an expression, Christina. You know that all too well.” I chided as I turned to see her walking behind us.
“And you guys just let her pop in?” I confronted my guards with a faint smile.
Of course they just smiled back. Those cheeky…
“My queen, shouldn’t we proceed to the Mall?” Tau insisted as I turned back to him.
I nodded- not sure if Christina was still behind me or not.
 
 
The Mall had filled to bursting! I think this crowd was even bigger than for our ‘arrival’! The turnout renewed my confidence in my popularity and ability to lead my people fairly.
It also said volumes for Witch Corps popularity.
Completely counter-productive to the whole ‘Spec Ops’ designation.
“My queen? Where are they?” The captain of my guards asked as he scanned the huge gathering for any signs of the Coven.
I knew this move.
“Alert your men to clear the area adjacent to Pegasus’ boarding ramp. The Coven is again going to make an ‘entrance’.”
He nodded with a quirky grin. “Understood, my queen.” Then he began laughing as he spread the order.
 
 
It took several minutes to clear away the well-wishers and paparazzi from around Pegasus’ boarding ramp. I noticed some people rubbing their hands or looking slightly confused after touching or bumping the ramp.
Chance was obviously not taking any undue chances with security.
“My queen!” A female voice called out over the crowd noise. “Tau Sohn and Felix Freschstip, Capital One News Stream. Can I get a statement?”
I nodded my agreement to my captain and my guards let Sohn and her Streamer closer.
“This is much appreciated, my queen, thank you!” She chirped happily as she bowed courteously.
I smiled to the veteran reporter with a slight head bow of my own. “What can I do for you, Sohn?”
She had been one of the freshman field reporters at my Coronation some nine years ago.
“My queen? What can you do… for me? I… I just wanted to ask your thoughts on EFMC Witch Corps’ timely and loyal arrival here to Capital? It seems they are never far from FeLane- as illustrated by their escort of you, your Highness, and Prime Minister Tau to the Parliamentary impeachment inquiry?”
Suddenly, the ten of us- Sohn, Felix her Streamer, me, Tau, and my six Royal Guardsmen were in Pegasus’ Observation Lounge.
Christina and Chance were off to the left smiling at us.
I rolled my eyes! “A little warning next time, guys?!” I growled.
Sohn and Felix appeared ready to pass out!
“Not a chance! Tau Sohn, Felix Freschstip, welcome aboard EFMC Pegasus. Please, make yourselves at home.” Chance waved around the lounge.
“How’d we git ‘ere? What’s goin’ on, Majesty?” Sohn panicked.
“That’s a good question, honey! Why did you bring us here, Lady Chance?”
I really wanted to know.
“Least she coulda done was give us warning on comms, PM.” One of my guards griped.
“You all should be familiar with the eccentricity of Witch Corps by now.” My beloved Tau reminded with a quirky grin.
“We thought our lounge would be quieter and more comfortable for your interview. Please. Sit.” Chance smiled brightly and motioned to the furniture.
I knew that smile! She knew something- something about the reporter maybe?
Sohn had been looking around the compartment and gasped loudly when she saw the nose of Hope and a Pair peeking over the aft portion of the transparent ceiling.
“By Libra! We’re actually aboard her?!” Sohn gasped in disbelief.
“Lady Sohn, I can guarantee that you are safe here aboard Pegasus. Please…” Chance motioned to a lounge chair. “Have a seat.”
“I’m no nobil’ty, High Priestess.” The reporter declined the offered title.
Now I knew something was up!
“Sir Felix, keep your stream disabled if you please? Security of our equipment is of utmost importance.” Chance recommended.
“Of course, High Priestess. As you wish.” Felix complied and fully turned off his device.
“Now, Lady Sohn, shouldn’t you begin your interview?” Chance prompted with a smile.
“What? Oh, yes… my queen, I…” Sohn glanced nervously at Chance and a still silent Christina. “I-I was wondering about you’re possible closer involvement with EFMC Witch Corps?”
I stood and called my modified uniform along with my wand.
“Answer your question, honey?” I grinned.
She and Felix had planted themselves firmly in their chairs, shocked!
“So the rumors… the rumors are true? You’re a member?” Sohn swooned excitedly in surprise.
I smiled even more. Sohn’s mouth dropped open.
“My queen?” Felix spoke. “Are you as powerful a Current Mage as the other members of the Corps?”
When I nodded, he continued, “So you could wave your w-w-wand annnnnnd d-destroy this planet?”
“Now why on FeLane would I want to do that?” I asked in stunned amazement.
“Yesterday… I suppose you could have bent Parliament to your will? Why didn’t you?” He questioned.
“Kitty is a good witch, Felix. She also knows the ins and outs of her position as queen. A Current –wielding Mage and a Monarch are two very different paths. Someone,” Chance nodded to me, “that has a talent for both needs to be morally secure not to mix the two or risk becoming a tyrant.”
“I am FeLane’s queen first and foremost! At first I resisted my forced destiny, but my family name and genetics prohibited any tangent. For your personal record, I’d much rather be ‘flitting’ about the Way with my Coven sisters. Which brings us to a really big question…” I turned to look Chance in the eyes- to confront her.
“Why did you bring us here, Chance? I recognized that impish smile instantly! Sohn means something to the Corps. What?”
Sohn was suddenly in uniform! She hadn’t realized it until my eyes widened in surprise.
Her scream was loud enough I expected Pegasus’ hull to crack wide open!
Yet Chance looked equally shocked. She instantly looked to a still silent Christina.
“SCION/Christina!” Chance and I shouted in unison.
“You called High Priestess? Majesty?” Christina giggled.
“Explain!” Chance’s voice echoed malevolently off the walls.
Nike was in the house!
“Relax, Nike, I have taken the opportunity to awaken Lady Sohn as we have discussed.”
“”I haven’t discussed anything pertaining to her as of yet, Scion!”
“Oh? Hmmm… I might have jumped ahead a bit. Oh, well.” Christina continued to giggle. “Let’s just work with what we’ve got, shall we?”
Both Chance and I rolled our eyes.
“What have you done to me?! I feel… very strange! My queen? What is going on? Why am I dressed like them?” Sohn was starting to lose it completely.
“Let’s just say that you have been pre-approved by the Corps as an embedded reporter, Tau Sohn.” Chance answered.
I had never seen my long-time friend this focused or serious. Nike? Had she taken over? I thought they had reached balance.
“What you now feel is Current; latent Current that has been within you since birth. All Scion has done is refine the connection between you and that Current. You will now be able to ask your Current to do ‘things’- marvelous ‘things’. Do you accept this challenge- this calling, Lady Tau Sohn?”
A very delicate, intricately decorated wand flashed into existence in her grasp. “Why me? Answer m-.” She shouted, but screamed and instantly dropped the ornate weapon when she finally noticed it.
“Why you?” Chance questioned- at least I hoped it was Chance. “I noticed your talent on our arrival to FeLane for Kitty’s coronation. I was intrigued. Since then we’ve had people keeping an eye on you, Tau Sohn- not the creepy type eye, but the ‘seeing to your safety and wellbeing’ kind. I had every intention of asking your permission to recruit you, but Christina- as usual- jumped the gun by a few days!”
“It wasn’t a few days, Chance!” Christina argued petulantly.
“More like a few weeks.” She grumbled her clarification then continued.
“I just thought she could come along and document the continuing mission of the Starship Pegasus as she seeks out new worlds, new civilizations; to boldly go where no-.”
“Christina! Enough! We all know you’re a first-class Trekkie! Come back to FeLane for a few more minutes!” Chance interrupted, raising her voice in annoyance.
“Sorry, Chance. I let myself run away there.” She apologized as some strange, meter-long, metallic lever appeared out of the floor in front of her. Grasping what looked like a handle with some sort of release mechanism on the thing, Christina pulled the lever toward her- the thing making a proportional ratcheting noise as it moved.
“There. Reality brakes have been applied and locked, High Priestess.”
Both Chance and I groaned!
“I blame myself.” Chance admitted as she rubbed her forehead in frustration. “Can we spare the sight gags, Christina? Sohn has every right to know the extent of her involvement.”
The strange lever disappeared.
Our tall Antarran sister nodded and silently manifested a small, framed portrait. It looked very, very old. Floating it over so the reporter could see it, she began her explanation.
“On our most recent visit to Antarra, and while touring the highly off-limits Royal Artifacts Storage Gallery, Chance and I noticed this painting. Though at the time, we had little or no idea that we knew the subjects. That’s you, Lady Tau Sohn.” Christina pointed to one of three very ‘Terran’ looking young women.
Yes, Tau Sohn was rendered completely speechless, as evidenced by her ears pinning back tightly through the wide brim of her pointed hat, eyes rolling back into her skull, and topping it all off, going completely limp in her lounge chair.
It took several minutes to revive her.
“That can’t possibly be me!” She claimed over and over again like a mantra.
“Isn’t it?” Christina asked with a devious grin to stop her.
“That woman is not even Lynxin! She has no physical-.”
“Chance, Lil’ Grey. Wanna port into the lounge for a moment, sweetie?” Chance said into her comm pendent.
Galantry Fenile instantly appeared beside her.
“You called, High Priestess?”
“Yes, Lady Galantry, I’d like you to show our guests your recent disguise.”
“Of course, High Priestess.”
Galantry’s Orion form instantly became Terran in appearance.
“Wonderful, sweetie! You’ve been practicing.” Chance nodded with a proud smile.
Sohn stared between the portrait and Galantry in shock.
“That’s you!” Sohn gasped as she pointed to the framed art. “But this portrait looks to be hundreds of standard years old! How? How can we both be the painting’s subjects? Who is the third female?”
From the frailty in her voice she sounded like she was on the way out of consciousness again.
“Oh! Both Ladies Chance and Christina can transit the ages.” Galantry offered an explanation.
“That painting is about two thousand years old, Lady Sohn.” Christina added with a huge grin.
“Thank you, Lady Galantry. That will be all.” Chance nodded and our disguised Orion sister nodded and vanished.
 
 
“I suggest you bolster your fright response, Sohn. Things only get stranger from here I’m afraid.” I offered after she came to again. “By the way… Welcome to Witch Corps.”
“But I thought Current Mages only…only manipulated Current? How can you affect time as well?” She asked as she started going pale again. I placed my hand on her violently shuddering shoulder in support.
“I’ve enabled your DataTab to access the Parliamentary database, Lady Sohn. Please search for ‘Scion’. I know you’ve seen just the name on your holoprompter when we first arrived the other day.” Christina recommended.
 
 
Again it took several minutes for Sohn to wake up.
“Now look up the FeLane Goddess ‘Victoria’, my lady.”
“Really, Christina? Must you push the envelope?” Chance groaned as she began to physically appear Lynxin.
“Victoria is one of our mythological goddesses- the Goddess of Triump-.”
“Don’t you dare conk out again, Tua Sohn!” Chance…Victoria snarled viciously. “Yes, I am the latest incarnation of your mythical goddess. The Goddess that FeLane history- as well as many others- claims put the hurt to the King of the Titans and banished him forever. Any questions?”
Chance was back and smiling ear to ear as we all waited patiently.
“Where was this created?” Sohn pointed back to the portrait after taking several minutes to compose herself. My guess is she really wanted things to return to something normal.
No chance of that when the Coven was involved!
“Antarra, why?” Christina offered casually.
“But I’ve never even been to Antarra! It takes too long to travel there!”
“About thirty six or thirty seven hours depending on orbits, but who’s counting.”
Sohn gasped!
“Christina! Ease up, please.” Chance chided.
“Hmmm… note to self. Get the ‘reality brakes’ checked before the next State Inspection.” Christina adlibbed.
Chance glared angrily at our Antarran sister.
Sohn began to snicker then laugh nervously.
“You people are completely bonkers!” She declared.
Lokust, Chance. Miss Shift has arrived at the base of the ramp.
“Thank you, Lokust. Chance, ou-. I swear to the Goddess, Christina Everhardt! When are you going to limit that impulsiveness?!” Chance glared as Cleo Shift stood still, in shock.
“What? You were going to port her up in exactly twelve seconds.” Christina defended.
I began laughing hysterically! I would really miss my zany sisters!
“Welcome aboard Pegasus, Lady Cleo…” Chance greeted then waited patiently while looking toward Christina expectantly.
“What?” Christina asked innocently.
Chance silently nodded her head twice toward Cleo.
“Auntie? Why are you wearing a Witch Corps uniform? Auntie, what’s going on? Where are we…wait! Are we really on EFMC Pegasus? Your Highness!” Cleo Shift questioned then her knees hit the floor as she saw me.
“Well, at least she didn’t pass out like her aunt.” Christina giggled.
“Are you through, Christina?” Chance hissed.
“For now.”
“Why did I even get out of bed this morning?” Chance mumbled to herself in defeat- her hands in the air in surrender.
“Umm… you were done sleepi-.”
“Christina!” Chance and I shouted.
Chance waited a few seconds then motioned to Christina. “Well?”
“Well what?”
“You going to force the sequence of events again, Christina?”
“Why would I do that, High Priestess?” She asked innocently.
Chance’s staff appeared. It looked fully charged!
“Fine!” Christina surrendered. She wobbled her fingers at our new guest. “Bibbidy-bobbity-BOO!”
Cleo Shift found herself in a Witch Corps uniform.
“Annnnd, we didn’t see that one coming, did we, girls?” I giggled as I levitated Cleo into a comfortable lounge chair until she regained consciousness.
“No comments or similar reactions, Felix?” I asked. He had been just sitting quietly and unmoving through this whole ‘interview’.
He just shook his head a few times. “I helped Sohn cover the coronation and High Priestess Chance Summer’s following interview, my queen. Need I say more?”
“Ah.”
 
 
“So you say me and Auntie are to accompany you to Ancient Antarra to complete your latest, ongoing mission?” Cleo repeated for clarity.
“Exactly.” Chance exhaled loudly. “Now I’d like you both to imagine your street clothes and ask- don’t demand- your Current to make the change from your uniforms.”
“We can do that?” Sohn looked confused.
“Try it and see, girls.”
It took a moment for both to achieve the desired results.
“Good! Now, Christina is going to port both of you out to where and when she grabbed you. We’ll officially ask you to come along as embedded reporters. Sorry, Felix, but it’s a girls- only trip.”
“That’s fine by me, High Priestess. I’m about ready to overdose on migraine medication when I hit the ground as it is. I trust you’ve already made arrangements with our bosses?”
“Yep. Christina’s doing it as we speak.”
“But she’s still right there.”
“He must not understand the word ‘Goddess’, Chance.” Christina grinned.
“Maybe ‘he’ is just completely debilitated by your sophomoric hyjinx.” Chance deadpanned.
“No, not at all… in fact, I get the comedy routine. It was meant as a means to disarm us so we, maybe, might just retain about half the info you were providing. “So we’ll be doing the original interview of your majesty where we stood outside?”
“Got it in one, Felix, though try to act like this… ‘incident’ never happened?” Chance smiled pleasantly.
Felix shouldered his streaming device and touched its side.
“I just placed it into standby. I’ll be able to edit it so no break is noticeable.”
“Good show, Felix! Your cooperation is commendable, sir!” Tau verbally applauded.
We were back outside Pegasus. Sohn blinked a few times then waited for my response- or what I would have answered had Christina not intervened.
“EFMC Witch Corps has never been very far away from FeLane, Miss Sohn. As you will recall, my grandmother, Her Very Royal Highness Libra, originally proposed and chartered Witch Corps back at the very beginning of her illustrious reign. I can honestly say that that kind gesture and affirmation of support has never been forgotten. In fact, the Sinae’s and the Summers’ have remained very close friends and allies throughout the generations.”
“Are you saying that you and High Priestess Chance Summers, are close friends?” Sohn feigned surprise as she caught up.
“Of course! Lady Chance and her Coven rescued me and several thousand others stationed on Mare De Tempest from a near successful Hoblin invasion almost ten years ago! I have never been more proud of Witch Corps’ achievements or performance! I can never repay the debt I own to them for my survival. Anything else you wish to ask, Miss Sohn?”
“Weeell… I’d really like to get another exclusive with the High Priestess if that can be arranged?” Sohn asked offhandedly. I noticed Chance walking down the ramp in her blue gown as the crowd began clapping and whistling enthusiastically.
“Why don’t you ask her yourself, Miss Sohn?” I said loudly to overcome the sudden change in the noise level and pointed to my Coven sister as she approached.
As predicted, Sohn’s mouth dropped open in amazement.
“Good afternoon; Miss Tau Sohn, is it?” Chance greeted with a pleasant smile.
“High Priestess!” Sohn answered with a slight bow. “Pardon, High Priestess, but would it be possible that you grant me an interview?”
“Well I don’t see why not. As a matter of fact, I came back out to wait for another reporter from your streaming service; might you know one ‘Cleo Shift’, Miss Sohn?”
“I do indeed, my lady! She is a very accomplished reporter and we’ve worked together on several occasions.”
“Perfect! It’s been a while since I’ve done battle with the media! As soon as Miss Shift arrives we’ll adjourn to Pegasus so you both can rout me with your questions, but I’m sorry to ask your streamer to remain out here. We have very specialized equipment and other ‘Special Ops’ type stuff that, for security reasons, we cannot expose to the public. Sorry.”
“Felix? That okay with you?” Sohn asked as she played along perfectly.
“As long as she cleared it with the higher-ups, I’m okay with it, Miss Sohn.” Felix answered.
“As a matter of fact, I just finished a communication with a ‘Mr. Rupert W. Holmes’? He has agreed to our specific terms to any interview and has also enthusiastically agreed to my request of embedding two unbiased reporters on our next mission… which will commence once we reach orbit and are cleared to leave FeLane’s System boundary.” Chance informed them excitedly.
Sohn gasped in shock! I wasn’t sure it was the fact that Chance had revealed her plan, or that my Coven sister was seemingly in two places at once.
“Is this a real invitation, High Priestess?” Sohn squealed.
“I’m not in the habit of teasing, Miss Sohn.”
I started coughing uncontrollably!
“Majesty!” Chance cried in concern as she instantly appeared in uniform, quickly called her wand, held it horizontally, and slowly ran it up and down my body, as if scanning for some reason for my distress.
“I just swallowed wrong, Lady Chance. I’m fine.” I quickly assured her.
Her blue gown reappeared.
The show off!
“How…h-how did you do that, my lady?” Sohn swooned with curiosity.
“Current Mage, Miss Sohn. We all can do it; makes getting ready for a party very quick and easy.”
“I am sooo, so jealous!” Sohn giggled.
Another female voice caught our attention.
“Oh? Felix? You’re still here… Majesty and Prime Minister! Forgive me for interruptin… Miss Sohn! I didn’t expect that you would be here already! I just received an assignment to report to EFMC Pegasus… High Priestess Chance Summers for an exclusive; plus, I was previously given these two passes by the High Priestess’ daughter, Savanna Summers?”
“The High Priestess has invited me as well, Miss Shift… share the stream?”
“It would be a pleasure, Miss Sohn, and I believe the second pass was meant for you anyway! I can hardly wait to get aboard! Imagine! We get to see what EFMC Pegasus looks like on the inside!” Cleo fizzed excitedly.
Cleo and Sohn’s faces both lit up with very canine-baring smiles.
“Funny. I thought the whole idea was to cover our mission and report on how we deal with any given situation.” Chance deadpanned neutrally.
I impulsively rolled my eyes!
Chance touched her pendant.
“Lady Chance to Lady Lokust. Our embedded reporters have arrived.”
Copy, Lady Chance, I’ll be right down. Lokust, out.
“I’m sorry to cut this short, Queen Kitty, but we have been contacted by the Antarran Trade Federation. Apparently, they need Queen Norge urgently. Some important homeworld matters that she and her ladies-in-wait need to negotiate. We have been tasked with their safe and timely return.” Chance informed me- mostly for the streaming device.
Geez, was she dropping hints about the mission!
She turned to the two reporters. “I hope you two don’t mind two missions for the price of one?”
Both reporters gasped in excitement.
“Ladies? I would ask that you wear these lockets? They identify you to our automated security and double as communicators.” Chance conjured two of our lockets and presented them to the two reporters. Both placed the jewelry to their necks and expressed shock when the devices closed and locked.
The crowd unexpectedly went wild!
Chance nodded with a smile.
“Please follow Lady Lokust into Pegasus.” Chance motioned to Lokust as she stopped at the base of the ramp. “We must resume our preflight and prepare for departure. My Queen, could you ask your Royal Guard to widen the perimeter around Pegasus? I must finish my preflight and need space to do my walk around. That and our vertical emitters create one hellish downdraft. Don’t want anyone injured.”
“You heard her, gentlemen. Make a bigger hole!” I ordered brashly with a smile.
“Lady Chance, I will miss you and the rest of your wondrous Coven. Be safe, and travel well, High Priestess!” I said as we embraced in a courtly goodbye.
“I’ll see you at the shower in two weeks.” Chance whispered into my ear before she stepped away. It was hard holding back my tears.
“We’ll be awaiting the birth announcement, Queen Kitty!” Chance winked then stood to attention, bowed, and turned around smartly. She walked off to Pegasus’ stern to start her inspection.
 
 

Chapter 24


 
 
“So now that you both have successfully accessed our security scanners, you’ll have the run of most of the ship. Of course, the compartments that I mentioned as off limits will still be off limits… for obvious reasons. Feel free though to walk around. As you’ve already seen, we have a very diverse printed library up in the Observation Lounge.” I heard Lokust informing our two guests as I topped the ramp. “Ladies Cleo and Sohn have been fully briefed on Pegasus’ security and compartments, Chance. Our Bridge crew is awaiting orders to start their preflights.”
“This way, ladies.” I said motioning us all forward.
Accessing the Bridge’s scanner, I motioned everyone onto the Bridge.
Cleo and Sohn gasped instantly!
“Have our guests resumed their places yet?” I asked my Ex-O.
Galantry- in her Terran form- appeared next to the Navigation tube.
Again Cleo and Sohn gasped loudly.
“Okay.” I said; I nodded to Galantry as she returned to her true form. “We have about ten minutes before Cleo and Sohn are back in position.” I turned toward our newest sisters.
“You two want to get with the program and get comfortable. It’s going to be about thirty-six hours to Antarra.” I said as my formal gown became a pair of denim Capris, a vintage ‘NASA’ ‘T’ shirt, and a pair of sneakers.
Thirty-seven hours, twelve minutes and some change, Chance. That is if we can keep Christina from going all ‘Scion Express’ on us!” Da… Charli corrected from the Nav station. “By the way, I’ve taken the liberty of calculating and plotting our course. Ready to send to the Helm on your order.
“Helm just wants to get us the hell out of here, Chance!” Mom groused quietly. “Bad enough I gotta share quarters with the damn ‘blue-hairs’ on this run!”
Awwww. Is poor widdle Hope getting her monthly? Cry me a river, my lady!
“Kiss my nice firm ass, Armstrong!”
“I’ll take you up on that after we get off duty, dear.”
Mom exhaled loudly. “Are we there yet?”
“Do you two mind? We have company!” I complained. “Gods, you sound like an old married couple!”
“Hey!” Mom barked. “I never said ‘I do’!”
“Are things always this… entertaining around here?” Cleo giggled.
“You gals oughta see ‘em after they downed a few drinks!” Kate chimed in with a snort from her Engineering station.
 
 
“Chance, all players are now in place.” Christina informed me about eight minutes later.
“Status?” I asked and received ‘all go’ replies from all stations.
“Dell, alert Capital Tower that we’re ready for departure.”
“Roger. Capital Tower this is EFMC Witch Corps Flight One: Pegasus requesting permission and vector for immediate Alpha One departure?”
Copy, Pegasus. You have priority Alpha One departure. Your immediate airspace is clear. Sending departure vector. Try not to break any windows on the way out. By order of Queen Kitty.
“Mother#%@^ing Spoilsports!” Mom hissed quietly from the Helm.
Boarding ramp has been stowed and outer hatch seal is positive, High Priestess.” Lokust reported. “All Brooms indicate networked and locked on docking pylons.”
“Weapons are online with safeties engaged, High Priestess.” Greer announced calmly.
“Maneuvering and main emitters are hot and waiting for Helm’s continued abuse, boss.” Kate grumbled.
Environmental is nominal, High Priestess.” Lyra reported professionally.
Navigation is patiently awaiting further orders.” Charli giggled.
COME ON! GIVE. THE DAMN. ORDER!” Mom hissed.
“Lady Galantry, please relieve Lady Hope at Helm.” I ordered calmly.
WHAT!!!!!” Mom shreiked angrily.
“Until you can play nice with others and not abuse the console, mom, I’m suspending your flying privileges. You are hereby relieved and confined to quarters!”
ARRRRGH! Sonofabitch!” Mom angrily vanished from her station.
“I’ll see what’s up with her, Chance.” Charli offered as she exited the Nav tube. “Link? All yours, sweetie. Course is ready for Helm. I’ll relieve you as soon as possible.”
Link nodded then quickly entered and logged in.
Navigation is ready, High Priestess.
“Helm is also ready and departure vector is received, High Priestess.” Galantry announced.
“Chance, Kitty. We’re all ready to go. Suggest you hold your skirts down.”
We’re clear down here. I’ll miss you guys, Chance. Good hunting! Kitty, out.
“Helm, X plus forty meters then take us out at just under Mach.” I ordered.
“Acknowledged, High Priestess.”
Our view of the Mall complex began to slowly drop from our view. Our two new sisters began to mute their excited squeals with their fists.
“X plus forty, High Priestess.” Galantry acknowledged.
“Landing struts stowed and secured, High Priestess.” Lokust acknowledged.
“Change of plan; engage Dynamic Camo; one tenth throttle, Helm. Assume Parking Orbit to pick up Mini-Van.” I smiled as we were instantly in space.
Cleo and Sohn instantly silenced- eyes wide; ears pinned back tight; mouths agape!
I started to wonder what they would do when we went Transdimensional.
“Sorry you both had to see that. Mom kind of puts ‘Barnstorming’ back into flying. She never acted this belligerent though.” I apologized.
“Lady Hope is your mother, High Priestess?” Sohn asked in confusion.
“Yep.”
“But she doesn’t look any older than you, my lady!”
“I’ll give her your compliment, Lady Sohn.” I giggled. “By the way, you should know that Current Mages live a very long time, girls. See… Mom, Charli, and Chantell are the founding members of Witch Corps.”
I figured I’d drop that little ditty on them first thing.
Yeah, it got reeeeaaal quiet back in the guest seats!
“You two did hear me, right?” I asked after an extended silence. I knew they were still coherent because I saw their eyes blinking rapidly in shock.
“That-tha-that makes them like fifteen hundred years old? That can’t be right?”
“They would argue about that figure, but yeah, close enough.” I giggled.
 
 
Within a half hour we had rendezvoused with Mini-Van and linked up.
“Dear, you have the Bridge. I’m going back to see what’s up with mom.” I told Lokust as I left my command station. I looked back at our two new recruits.
“Ladies, you’ll get a better look at what Pegasus can do from up in the lounge.” I suggested before I cued the Bridge door.
“Be careful, Chance! I’ve never seen mom like this for as long as I’ve known her. Something is definitely wrong.”
“Noted, dear. I’ll be careful.” I said as the door opened.
 

******


 
“So… What’s going on?” I asked cautiously as I popped into the compartment Mom and Dad were sharing with Aunt Cora and Link. The door had been locked from the inside.
“How could you?! My own daughter! I will not stand for it, Chance Summers! High Priestess or not! I will not accept this!” Mom attacked full of piss and venom.
“How could I…?” I repeated calmly. “You were the one making a complete ass of yerself, mom- in front of the reporters no less! What is wrong with you?”
“Chance? Conference? Now?” Charli quickly suggested before I could conjure a protective bubble around my highly aggravated, overly aggressive mother.
We were instantly up in the lounge.
“Chance. She’s not herself at the moment.”
“Tell me something I didn’t notice, dad!”
“She has a good reason, sweetie.”
“Okay?”
“I’ve seen this change in your mother one other time, Chance. Thirty-eight years ago.”
“And what was the problem or cause back then, dad?”
“You. You, Chance. You’re going to be a big sister.
 
**BOOOOM!**
 
“Say what?”
“Hope is pregnant, sweetie.” Charli’s smile filled her face. “She didn’t want to believe it, but my scans of her a little while ago say it’s fact.”
Charli narrowed her eyes at me a moment then called her wand and ran it up and down me.
“You are too. About a week and a half along I’d guess. Congratulations honey!”
 
**BAH-BOOOOM!**
 
“Chance? Chance, honey, can you hear me?” Charli’s voice called as I felt gentle tapping on my cheek.
“Well… I can see she took it well.” Christina smart-alecked from somewhere in the room.



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