“This is not going to happen.” said Malus with disgust as he shook the loincloth and collar he held in his hand. He and Kaylee had been taken by two copper-skinned men wearing loincloths, similar to the one Malus now held in his hand, to a room two decks below the level of the control room where they had entered the vessel. As far as they had seen there were no others aboard the ship.
“Wouldja stop whining already.” said Kaylee. “At least you got a loincloth. All I got were bracelets and earrings.”
Malus eyed the jewelry Kaylee held in her hand. “You put yours on first, then I’ll stop whining.”
Kaylee glanced at the bracelets. “You know very well we have to disable this ship.” she said looking back at Malus. “If Dejah launches it’ll destroy half of Clockhaven killing who knows how many.”
“Dejah?” Malus sneered. “You are on a first name basis with the mad alien princess now?”
“We don’t know that she’s mad.” snapped Kaylee, not sure why, exactly, she felt the need to defend their captor. “We don’t know much of anything really. Like how did she get here?”
“I think the more pressing question is not how she got here but what she intends to do now that she is here.” replied Malus.
Dejah Thoris was still in the large control room two decks above Malus and Kaylee. She was speaking into a device that was shaped like a funnel with a long tube connecting it to the wall when she noticed a disturbance outside through one of the small round windows. Returning the funnel-like device to a hook on the wall, she made her way to the window. There appeared to be about two dozen large green creatures, known as Tharks, converging upon someone or something in the great cavern below.
Dejah grabbed her pistol and quickly made her way to the door. Upon pushing a sequence of jewels on her bracelet it opened with a hiss. Quickly, she made her way down the ladder to the floor of the cavern.
“TARS!” she called out in her native tongue. At once the largest and fiercest Thark turned to face her. “Do not harm them – at least not yet.”
“Would you like them taken to the ship, your royal highness?”
“No.” she replied, eyeing the tall man with shaggy grey hair and his shorter serious looking companion. “I have enough pets for now. Take them to one of the cells and hold them until Joseph arrives. We will let him determine their fate.” She was about to leave when she turned back with a warning. “Watch the little one Tars, he looks dangerous.”
Dejah Thoris was not typically one to knock, yet she hesitated before the door and gave it a soft rap.
“Come in.” Kaylee replied to the knock. Dejah Thoris pushed a series of jewels on her bracelet and the door opened. Kaylee turned to face the door adorned in the fashion of a royal Martian courtesan.
“The look suits you Kaylee Faulkner.” Dejah Thoris said with a smile, glancing around the room. She furrowed her brow slightly. “Where is Martin Malus?” she asked.
“He is in the lavatory.” Kaylee replied. “I did not wish for him to see me change.” Though Kaylee spoke casually enough, Dejah was suspicious by nature. She glanced across the room and noticed the door to the lavatory was shut. Crossing the room, she was just reaching for the knob when Kaylee discretely sneezed. Suddenly the door opened into the room, knocking Dejah Thoris to the floor. In a moment Malus was upon her – snatching the bracelet from her arm and running for the still opened doorway.