I, Lysithea, page 1
Copyright 2010 Tara Loughead
A Bulays and Ghaavn Adventure
The Karshi Imperative Part 3
For Len Wein and Dave Cockrum
Copyright 2010 Tara Loughead
A Bulays and Ghaavn Adventure
The Karshi Imperative Part 3
For Len Wein and Dave Cockrum
"They have a statute that foretells the future?"
"Yes, the Sons of Zeus, do. Of Lysithea," Ghaavn replied.
"Why pick her? Zeus seemed to have lifted the skirts of half the women of Ancient Greece, or Jove did, if you prefer it Roman style."
"They're a cult, Bulays. It doesn't have to make sense to normal, rational people." He paused. "In addition, they have their very own moon named after her. Or so it seems to them."
"And their statue started talking about blue aliens?"
"Yes, apparently so."
"Ok," said Bulays. "'Ell, think I can go with most things, now."
"So Lady G wants us to investigate."
"Of course she does. Who else would go and talk to a statue?"
"I think you might be surprised, Bulays, especially for a glimpse of the future."
Bulays and Ghaavn sat in a dark, dingy bar on Lysithea waiting for their Sons of Zeus guide, because, well, on Lysithea if you aren't a cult member there aren't a lot of other places to go.
Bulays was chatting up the woman sitting at the end of the bar who was nursing a beer against one of the well-rounded orbs putting pressure on her dirty shirt from the inside.
Ghaavn was surprised when the not-very-talkative bartender deposited a drink in front of him, especially as he hadn't ordered one. "It's from the lady in the corner," he said, and went back to wiping the not very clean bar surface with a not very clean bar rag.
Ghaavn took the dark, foamy brew, and got up and walked over to the pair of legs he could see extending from a chair shadowy corner. "Thank you for the beer, Miss...?"
"No need for the 'Miss'," Ghaavn, the woman said. She sat forward. A dark, black coat wrapped a supple figure, and matched her boots. Her long hair was tied back in a wide, dark ponytail, and she wore dark glasses. These she lowered slightly, to give Ghaavn a glimpse of the power in her eyes.
"Ah," he said. "Sister number...?"
"Number four, if it matters. You already know one, three and five. My name is Osar. Please, have a seat."
Ghaavn accepted the invitation. "I'd have to say it is a pleasant surprise to encounter a subtle approach."
"Yes, some of my sisters have enough ostentatious flamboyance between them for a whole Solar System," she smiled, reaching to touch Ghaavn lightly on the back of his hand. "Apart from a stout that is actually not too bad for such a terrible establishment," she said, hefting her glass, "I come with a warning."
"All is not as it seems on Lysithea."
"Apart from a cult with an oracular sculpture that speaks?"
"No, there is something deeper, here. Tread carefully."
"No more information than that?"
"Here we were thinking that you were a spy," said the Earth Princess of Neptune, head moving slightly upwards to indicate the ceiling. "Now, she said softly, come and sit closer. Make it look like you are interested." Ghaavn did so, scraping his chair across the floor until it was next to hers, and their thighs touched. Osar put a hand between the agent's thighs, stroking.
Ghaavn put an arm around the back of her chair and leaned his head in towards her neck. "How do you know I'm not interested?"
"That is not what I said," she murmured, running her hand up to his groin. "However, at the moment I'm only interested in your brain."
Ghaavn and Osar continued to pretend to pet until Bulays stood, ending her idle bar conversation. One of the Sons of Zeus had entered, so he looked over at Ghaavn and gave him a hand signal. Ghaavn rose, and Osar gave him a whack on the arse and a desultory wave to send him on his way. She signalled to the bartender for another drink.
Bulays and Ghaavn went over and introduced themselves to the man. "Welcome, I am Hellen. Thank you for coming. I have transport, if you would like to follow me." A hovercar waited for them outside. Bulays got in the back, and Ghaavn sat in the front seat next to Hellen, who smoothly started the vehicle and they were on their way.
Ghaavn initiated a conversation. "Hellen, how can we help?"
"I actually have a background in classics," the man replied. "We do not usually expect oracles to be well...so direct in their pronouncements."
"Cuttin' out the middle-man is bad for business, eh?" Bulays put in.
"That is one way to put it," Hellen replied warily.
"Relax, Hellen," Ghaavn said soothingly. We aren't here to investigate your operation. You can carry on as before."
"Right," said Bulays. "You could even have hot and cold running thil and Venusian tavern girls this trip, and we wouldn't notice. Consider us blind to everything but statuary with an alien fascination."
"How is it communicating with you?" Ghaavn asked.
"By speaking. In a woman's voice, in ancient Greek."
"'Andy." Bulays said. "You understand this, of course. I don't think either of us do."
Ghaavn shook his head. "Do you have recordings?"
"Yes," said Hellen. "A lot of it is similar, though."
"To make something long-winded and vague short, basically about blue flying men from the stars, and of Uranus, Hyperion, Skathi, Venus, Dione and Saturn. Not in any really specific detail, though."
That list caused Ghaavn to frown. "Have you had the statue examined scientifically?"
"No, we do not have those sorts of resources out here. What I could do I have done discreetly, but nothing seems out of the ordinary."
"How often does it talk?"
"Generally late at night. Not every day though. No sort of oracle works on a schedule, it seems."
"We could get the science girls to come and have a look if you like. Make up some excuse about something else and work something out, if you want," said Bulays.
"I am hoping that will not be necessary. Giving a couple of potential donors a tour I can easily explain away, though."
As nowhere was very far on this moon of Jupiter, they had arrived at the Sons of Zeus compound. A utilitarian, single story flat building with another statue. This one, though, was completely silent, male, and of the leader of the Olympians the cult took their name from.
"We usually have dinner around now, so please join us for a meal, such as it is, then I will show you around."
The spartan repast accomplished over some idle conversation, the duo went with Hellen to look at the statue.
"Looks like a fairly standard Greek statue to me," said Bulays.
"It certainly is," said Hellen. "As that is what I asked for when I commissioned it."
"How old is it then," Ghaavn asked?
"Only about 10 years old, but it was made to look considerably older."
"Should basically be free of ancient artefacts then," Bulays pointed out. "Not a Thaumoformer activated problem."
"No, I suspect this has a rather more recent and rational explanation," said Ghaavn. "Has anyone else heard it speak?"
"No," Hellen replied. "I am the only one allowed to attend the statue, other than the Priestess."
"You didn't mention any priestess," Bulays said sharply.
"No, but what sort of oracle would not have a high priestess?" Hellen said. "You can talk to her at the statue tonight. I have business elsewhere for a few hours, but I will leave a message for her. If you come with me, I will show y
"You think this priestess has something to do with it, then?" Ghaavn asked.
"Seems like an explanation to me. None of the cult members we saw seemed likely, although can't be certain, of course. I wouldn't have thought Hellen would be trying to run a scam on us. Seemed to genuinely not relish the idea of the authorities poking around his sweet little earner. Anyway, we'll see what we will see. Think I'll 'ave a bit of a nap, now."
Ghaavn sat thinking while his partner dozed off.
At the appointed time, Bulays and Ghaavn went to do some statue observing. This time, the priestess was there. A tall, woman with long white hair flowing down to her waist, she wore a long robe with voluminous sleeves and a hood. As they approached the woman they saw that more than a few sculptors would like to get their hands on her to produce a statue from her likeness. Bulays felt a familiar stirring in her presence. When she doffed her hood, Bulays could see why, in the power of her eyes. "I don't think this is the source of the oracle," Ghaavn.
Ghaavn agreed. He bowed to the regal, classic looking white-haired woman. "You must be Number 2."
She inclined her head in greeting. "I am Ilar. I have been waiting for you."
"Undercover," asked Bulays. "You and Osar are like the spy sisters, then?"
Ilar regarded Bulays sternly, and Ghaavn put a hand on his partner's arm, to still her.
"What have you discovered, Princess?"
"Not much as yet, other than to verify that it does talk and say what Hellen says it does," Ilar replied. "I have been waiting for a time to examine the piece alone, without Hellen's presence. I am only going to be able to be the substitute priestess for a short time. Now you have given me my chance."
"Nice to be a useful decoy," Bulays said quietly and cheerfully.
The Wind Princess of Neptune moved to stand in front of the statue, and put both her hands on it, palms flat. They began to glow with a white energy, as her hair started flowing behind her, as if in a breeze. She stood there concentrating, the muscles on her forearms tightening as her sleeves slipped back along her raised arms. She did this for several minutes, until, with a sigh, she turned back to face them, one hand closed. She opened the hand, palm out. In it was something very tiny. Bulays took out a small magnifying lens from a belt pouch and examined it. "Some sort of advanced technology, transmitter or bug, most likely, Princess," was the blonde woman's guess. She passed the magnifier to Ghaavn. His opinion concurred.
"I shall leave it with you, then," Ilar said formally, "and return to my short role as the facilitator of a now-silent oracle."
"Thank you again for your assistance, Princess," said Ghaavn. "We'll go and wait to meet Hellen." She inclined her head in acceptance, and returned to the hooded and robed role of the priestess they had seen on entry.
"Hellen seemed happy enough Lady G, when we told him he could now pass it off as a bona fide miracle now that it had stopped, and that nobody would find anything," Bulays told the head of The Ministry.
"Yes, I'd imagine that would be helpful for his finances," she replied.
"They seemed quite harmless, though, for a cult. If they were all like that, there would be a lot fewer problems to deal with." Ghaavn added.
"The science girls say it is definitely Karshi, then?" Bulays asked.
"Without a doubt," Lady Gerald replied. "Recently made, and we certainly don't make them here."
"So now the question is why," Ghaavn interjected.
"This smells of a spy game to me," said Lady Gerald. Now whether it is disinformation, or a lure, or a double-red-herring, we currently do not know. That, however, is what I am going to have you find out."
Artwork by arthurx Titanium
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The Adventures of Bulays and Ghaavn
More to come.
The Gender Switch Adventures
The Beast-Jewel of Mars Reshone – Lee Brackett
Other author's books:
- Wolf Woman of LunaDevil Fighters of TitanThe Gebriahl SetupShadow Emperor of PhobosHeart Breakers of HyperionI, LysitheaDesert Empress of DeimosAmazon Arena of Mars
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