The Crystal Eggs
Xanto P. Jones
Flash Gordon fans
Doctor Who fans
My friends and family
John E. Sator
Santiago R. Maldonado
A. Jim Moore
Captain Sundance Starmont and his trusty sidekick Lieutenant Septimus “Timmy” Falken were heading to the New Earth Museum of Artifacts in Sundance's shiny, new hovercar. The top was down and the cool night air was blowing through their previously perfectly coiffed hair. The gentlemen were dressed in their best looking tuxedos. Colonel Graves, their superior, had asked them to check out the gala that was happening at the museum. He mentioned that a family friend was running it and he wanted to make sure that nothing weird went down. So, off Timmy and Sundance went.
Sundance wasn't looking forward to it because he was sure that it was going to be boring beyond measure. He envisioned some snobby, old person would unveil an old metallic relic that was no more important that last week's trash. He never liked these artsy fartsy events. Too many people who thought they were big and important standing around sipping warm champagne. He had wanted to beg the colonel to assign the detail to someone else, he wasn't one to beg.
Timmy on the other hand was very excited to go to the gala. He always loved to dress up and go to gala events. As a kid, he frequented museums and loved all of the exhibits that came in. He liked to rub elbows with the big and important people and share his views on the exhibit pieces. He found that they valued his opinions and offered their views as well. Sundance saw the joy in Timmy's eyes when Colonel Graves gave them the assignment and thought it best to just go ahead with it.
“Captain, you might want to go a little bit faster,” Timmy said, looking behind them. Traffic was backed up behind them. Sundance was going ten miles below the speed limit. “People are going to start honking at us.”
“Let them honk, Timmy,” Sundance said.
The car directly behind them honked.
Sundance sighed as he put his foot down on the accelerator. He was trying to put off getting there as much as he could. He supposed he shouldn't punish the people behind him.
“That's showin' 'em,” Timmy said, smiling. He turned back around and watched as the museum came into sight.
The driveway to the museum was lined with giant search lights that swayed from side to side, making sure that no one could miss where the event was. Hovercars were lining up outside, anxious to park.
Sundance groaned because he hadn't even thought about parking. This added another layer of annoyance to his evening. He caught up to the line and waited his turn to get onto the property. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel and mumbled under his breath.
“It's going to be fine, we'll get there.” Timmy tried to calm Sundance, but he knew that this wouldn't happen until it was time for them to go home. He was determined to have a good time regardless of Sundance's attitude.
“This place should have valet parking,” Sundance said.
After fifteen minutes of slowly driving through the parking lots, Sundance was led by the museum attendants to the next available parking space. Sundance turned off the ignition and the car slowly lowered to the ground. The two gentlemen got out of the car and shut the doors. Timmy and Sundance each took out a small mirror and combed their hair back into place.
“Please let this be a quick and easy night,” Sundance said to the powers that be.
“At least we're getting paid, right?” Timmy asked, placing his mirror into his back pocket. He saw Sundance smile for the first time tonight. “See, there's always a silver lining.”
“Very true.” Sundance clapped his hands and bowed his head. “Let us earn our paycheck with little or no action.” Timmy laughed and the two of them followed the long line of people to the museum.
Sundance was not surprised by the scenery when he walked into the courtyard. There were lights strung from all of the trees that surrounded it. There were tables draped in green and black linen cloths with hors d'oeuvres and champagne. Near the front of the courtyard were the wide steps that led up to the museum entrance. There was a table with red linen cloth with a large display hidden by a black cloth. Sundance supposed that was the reason why they were all gathered there tonight.
There was a growing crowd of elegantly dressed people, most of them with white or graying hair. Sundance assumed they were all rich diplomats and didn't care to associate with them. He found the nearest table to him and picked up a glass of champagne. He drank it down like it was a shot. It was warm. He set the glass back down on the table and thought about taking another. He looked at Timmy and saw the disapproving look on his face.
“We just got here! It's too soon to be hitting the champagne.” Timmy placed his hand on Sundance's shoulder and led him from the table. This made room for a woman to approach the table. She picked up the empty glass and glared at Sundance. “Besides, we're here representing the SPACE Control Corps. We need to be on our best behavior.”
Sundance felt like he didn't need to be reminded. He saw the concern in his lieutenant's blue eyes and smiled. “You're right, Timmy. I'll lay low on the champagne... It's not even all that good.”
Timmy smirked at Sundance for a moment and asked, “Captain, answer me this: If you thought this assignment was so bad, why did you take it?”
Sundance smiled and said, “I knew you'd like it and I wanted you to be happy, even if it meant my own personal suffering.”
“How chivalrous of you.”
“It's just the kind of guy I am.” Sundance let out a laugh that betrayed his boredom.
It was then that Sundance noticed a young woman wearing a black dress with white studded diamonds peppered throughout it. Her blond hair was tied up in a bun. Sundance couldn't make out what color her eyes were, but he was sure that they were equally as stunning. She was making her way through the big and important people, shaking their hands and welcoming them to the gala. She made eye contact with Sundance for a second before she moved on to the next person. Sundance found himself straightening his tuxedo to make sure he looked presentable.
The woman finally made her way over to Sundance and Timmy. “You must be the two SPACE agent the good colonel sent me,” she said. She looked at Sundance and revealed that she had green eyes. They were like gazing at two emeralds. She saw the surprised looks on their faces and smiled. “Don't look so surprised. You're the youngest people at this event. I just took a wild stab in the dark.”
“Yes, that would be us,” Sundance said. “I am Captain Sundance Starmont and this is Lieutenant Timmy Falken.” He reached out and shook her hand.
“Nice to meet you.” She then shook Timmy's hand. “I am Astralyn Winner, the chief curator at this museum.”
“We're very excited to be here,” Timmy said. “Thank you for having us.
“Well, truth be told, I don't really want you here, but Grover insisted.” She looked away bashfully. “So here you are. Anything you can do to keep this event safe, I would appreciate it.”
“Not to worry, miss,” Sundance said. “We'll keep our eyes open... hard as it may be.” Sundance couldn't help himself. Astralyn just smiled dutifully at him.
“Excuse me, I must greet the guests coming in. Enjoy yourselves.” She bowed and stepped away.
Sundance watched as Astralyn quickly greeted another set of people as they came up the stairs. Timmy saw this and grinned.
“See something you like, Captain?” Timmy nudged Sundance with his shoulder.
“Maybe,” Sundance said. “She seemed nice, don't you think?”
“Yeah, except for the whole part that she doesn't want us here.” Timmy crossed his arms. “Oh well. We'll be sure to do a good job, right?”
“Right.” Sundance saw an attendant carrying glasses of champagne on a tray coming their way. He stealthily snatched a glass and drank the contents before returning it to the tray. The attendant didn't seem to notice.
Sundance and Timmy began to work. It was difficult to get a read on the many people that continued to spill onto the courtyard. There were so many men in black and white tuxedos and their accompanying lady friends in lavish gowns to keep track of. Timmy wondered just how many people were expected to show up tonight.
Three men showed up and stood on the edge of the courtyard. Their eyes were dark and shifty. Their suits were wrinkled and disheveled. No one seemed to mind their presence. No one seemed to notice that their youthful faces would sometimes blink out of sight, leaving behind a black space before returning. This shimmer was momentary and only lasted for a blink of an eye. Otherwise, there wasn't anything offsetting about them. They slipped into the crowd and separated, pressing their ears to check on their radio signals. Their plan was to hide in plain sight until it was too late.
When it appeared that all of the guests had arrived, Astralyn walked to the end of the courtyard and walked up the steps towards the museum entrance. There was a podium next to the hidden display. She approached it and tapped on the microphone. It let out an annoying whine, letting everyone know that it was time to pay attention.
“Thank you all so very much for coming!” Astralyn looked out into the audience and was astonished by the sheer amount of people standing there before her. She tried not to get nervous. She was usually good at public speaking, but she was unsure if she had ever spoken to as many people here tonight.
“As you know, I am Astralyn Winner, the chief curator for the New Earth Museum of Artifacts. Tonight we have a very special treat in store for you. The artifacts that I have the pleasure of unveiling tonight are the Silver Ovarium Crystal Eggs! These eggs are the reason that we colonized this planet. As many of you know, we once lived on a planet called Earth, but due to the war between humans and the Freerangians, or Space Chickens as we call them, we were forced to abandon Earth.
“The Space Chickens used the Silver Ovarium Crystal Eggs to power a weapon known as The Scrambler to destroy Old Earth. While the people of Old Earth searched for a new home, we were able to find this planet, which we named New Earth. The Space Chickens found us and began to attack. Halfway through the attack, the Chicken King Chanticleer called a truce. We brokered peace between the humans and the Space Chickens. As a sign of good faith, the Chicken King gave us six of the crystal eggs to ensure that all twelve would never be used against us again.”
The audience applauded.
“To honor the treaty of the New Earthlings and Space Chickens, I now present to you the Silver Ovarium Crystal Eggs!” Astralyn pulled the black cloth off of the display and revealed a green tray carrying six ostrich egg sized crystal eggs. The crowd ooh'd and aah'd. Astralyn put the tray into a glass display case. “Tonight we celebrate peace!” The audience cheered.
Suddenly, a voice shouted from the back of the courtyard, “A peace built on lies!” Everyone in the crowd turned around to see who had said that. There was a young man with his hands behind his back. “Those eggs weren't given to you under the flag of peace; they were stolen!”
“How would you know that?” Astralyn asked.
“Because.” The young man looked to his left to his teammate and nodded his head. He turned to his right and did the same. They whipped their arms out from behind their backs and hit a button on their wrists. In a flash of light, the shimmers displaying a youthful face disappeared and were replaced by a face with yellow feathers and a beak, dark beady eyes. The people standing near them gasped and stepped away.
“Our history tells it a little differently,” the lead Space Chicken said. He pulled out a large red laser rifle and started shooting into the air. His two teammates did the same. People screamed and scattered. “Now we have come back to take back what was stolen from us.”
Astralyn looked out into the crowd and saw that Sundance and Timmy had pulled out their laser pistols and were ready to intercept the chickens.
“Give us back the eggs and there won't be any trouble,” the lead chicken said.
“You're right, there won't be any trouble if you cluck off and go back to wherever you came from,” Sundance said, proud of his little joke. He showed them his SPACE Control issued laser pistol, which he named 'Hunter'.
“You think you're funny?” the lead chicken asked. He aimed his laser rifle at Sundance. “Let's see how funny you are headless!” He shot the rifle and a red beam shot out. Sundance ducked just in time. He felt the heat whiz over his head.
“Chickens charge!” The three chickens rushed the courtyard. They pushed the people who were still in the early stages of evacuating the premises out of the way.
Sundance and Timmy waited until a majority of the people are out of the way before they opened fire on the chickens. Red and yellow laser beams flew across the courtyard. Despite the dangers, the chickens continued to press forward. Sundance and Timmy took cover behind a cement planter near the top of the steps at the museum entrance. They fired their pistols from behind the planter. The chickens had taken cover behind a planter on the other side.
Sundance looked and saw that Astralyn was hiding behind the podium. He signaled to her to stay hidden there. Astralyn nodded her head and ducked further.
“Just give us the eggs,” the lead chicken shouted.
“Yeah, so that we can use them to destroy this planet, too!” said a subordinate chicken.
“Dammit, Birdy,” the lead chicken whispered loudly. “We weren't going to tell them that! This is why you never get invited to away missions.”
“Sorry, Hawkeye,” Birdy said.
“The cat's out of the bag, now!” Sundance shouted. “How about you guys go home and forget this ever happened?”
“Nothing has changed,” Hawkeye replied. “You can either die now or die later. It makes no never mind to me.” He and Birdy stood up and fired their rifles.
Sundance and Timmy peered out from behind their planter and began firing. Sundance looked at Hawkeye and Birdy and tried to locate the third bird. “Timmy, where's the third one?”
“Third one, sir?” Timmy asked, looking at Sundance. He turned around and looked at the two chickens shooting at them. He stuck his head up briefly to look around before ducking back behind the planter. “I have no visual on the third chicken, sir.”
“Where could he have gone?” Sundance stood up and fired a few shots at the chickens, scanning the courtyard as much as he could before being forced to duck and cover again. “This guy is good.”
Astralyn watched the fire fight intensely. She looked at the Crystal Eggs across the way and decided that they needed to be closer to her. The chickens weren't focusing on her. She could take the eggs inside the museum and put them in the safe. The chickens wouldn't be able to reach them there.
She peered around the podium and saw that Hawkeye and Birdy were actively engaged with killing the two SPACE agents. This was her chance. She stood up and ran to the display case. She opened it and took out the tray of eggs. They glistened and sparkled as it caught the light from the warring laser beams. She had successfully rescued the eggs; now it was time to get them inside.
Astralyn turned around expecting to see the front door of the museum, but instead found a tall Space Chicken standing there. It clucked at her, blinking its beady eyes at her. It reached out and grabbed the tray. Astralyn clung onto the tray as tight she could. The Space Chicken grew tired of this and used one hand to reach out and smack Astralyn. She let go of the tray and fell backward. Astralyn let out a scream.
Sundance heard this and looked over to the podium. He saw that Astralyn had fallen to the ground. “Astralyn!” he shouted. He stood up to go defend her, but a laser beam flew by his face, which caused him to hit the ground once again.
“I found the third bird!” Sundance said. “He's fighting with Astralyn. Cover me!”
“You got it, Captain!” Timmy aimed his laser pistol at the enemy planter and shot covering fire. Sundance got up and ran up the steps to Astralyn and the third Space Chicken. He didn't see Sundance coming up behind him. Sundance jumped on his back and beat on his head with his laser pistol. The Space Chicken dropped the tray of eggs. Astralyn reached up and caught it. One of the eggs rolled off the tray and went behind the podium.
The third Space Chicken threw Sundance off his back. Sundance quickly stood up and punched the chicken in the beak, instantly hurting his hand. The Space Chicken just chuckled and punched Sundance square in the face. This sent him tumbling backward. The Space Chicken wasted no time and took the tray of eggs away from Astralyn. She tried to put up a fight, but the Space Chicken kicked her away.
“Hawkeye! I have them!” he shouted.
“Great job, Rerun!” Hawkeye stood up. “Retreat!”
The three Space Chickens immediately ran out of the courtyard. Timmy started shooting at them in the hopes that he could hit the one carrying the tray, but he was unsuccessful. Timmy got up and ran to Astralyn and Sundance, who were recovering from the whole ordeal.
“Captain, Astralyn, are you alright?” Timmy looked to Sundance and saw that his nose was bloody. Timmy got up and grabbed a napkin that was resting underneath a glass of champagne. He came back to Sundance and gave it to him. “That was quite the fight, eh?” Sundance nodded his head.
Timmy then attended to Astralyn. She didn't look like she was hurt too badly; a few strands of hair misplaced, but otherwise fine. He helped her stand up, she leaned on him for support until they were both upright. “Are you alright, Miss Astralyn?”
“I'll be fine,” she said. She looked out onto the courtyard saw that the tables had been overturned, napkins littered the ground, glasses spilled free of their contents. These were the remains of what started out to be a great evening. She had worked really hard to put on this party and now it was over.
“At least no one was hurt,” Timmy said.
“Easy for you to say,” said Sundance nasally. He stood up and removed the napkin from his nose. He wondered if his nose was broken; it probably was. He was almost proud in a way. It wasn't his first fight and it certainly won't be his last. “I'm just pissed that those chickens ran off with all of the eggs.” He said this with a hint of defeat in his voice.
“Not all of them.” Astralyn walked over to the podium and knelt down beside it. She searched for a bit before picking up the last Silver Ovarium Crystal Egg. She stood up and held it triumphantly in her hands. “They missed one.”
“Wow!” Timmy said excitedly. “All is not lost! We still have one! Isn't that great?”
Sundance wished that he could see the silver lining in this. He knew that this so called victory was a ruse. It was only going to bring more suffering. Whoever those Space Chickens worked for was going to be pissed that they only retrieved five of the six eggs. They'll be back for the last egg very soon. He bet his breakfast on it.
Astralyn rolled up her sleeves and sighed. It was going to take hours for her to clean up the courtyard. She was still feeling the adrenaline rush from the Space Chicken's takeover. She wanted to stop shaking. She continued to play the events over in her mind. She kept looking for moments where she could have done something different than allowing the chickens to make off with the eggs. Each time she reviewed the mental footage, she felt more and more helpless. What else could she have done?
“Miss Astralyn, are you going to be okay?” Timmy asked.
She turned to him and tried her best to smile, but she wasn't able to convince Timmy that she was alright. “I will be in a bit. I'll just clean this up and hopefully that will take my mind off of everything.”
“We'll stay and help you clean up,” Timmy said.
“We will?” Sundance asked. He saw Timmy turn to him and nod his head towards Astralyn. He glanced at Astralyn and saw how worn out she looked. He felt sorry for her. This was supposed to be a great night for her, but it ended up to be a big tragedy. He took a big breath and said, “We will. It shouldn't take too long.”
Astralyn smiled at them, this time, more convincingly. “You guys don't have to stay. I can take care of this.”
“We wouldn't hear of it!” Sundance rolled up his sleeves and walked down the steps towards an overturned table. He picked it up and set it on its legs again. “See, no problem!” He gave Astralyn the victory sign (much akin to the peace sign given on Old Earth). He walked around the table and picked up the white table cloth that had been laying next to the table. He folded it up and set it down nicely on the table.
“Well, the tables need to be folded up and taken inside,” Astralyn said.
“We can do that!” Sundance went to the table and started to fold the legs in until it was flat. He held the table with one hand and waited for further instruction. Astralyn took out her keys and opened the front doors to the museum. Sundance marched into the museum and set the table down on the dolly that was located near the entrance of the lobby. He marched out of the museum looking pleased with himself. “Don't just stand there! Let's get to work!”
Timmy and Astralyn laughed as they followed Sundance down to the courtyard. They started picking up the champagne glasses and setting them on their respective trays. Sundance was sad that all of the champagne had been poured on the ground, wasted on the grass. He thought that he could have used a few glasses.
An hour later, after all of the tables were folded and set aside, the plates and food thrown away, and the table cloths were folded and put away, the courtyard was clean. Sundance, Timmy, and Astralyn sat down on the steps, tired.
“It's all over but the screaming,” Sundance said, wiping the sweat from his brow.
“We've had plenty of that, don't you think?” Astralyn replied.
Sundance felt like he had put his foot in his mouth. “Right, of course. Sorry.”
“It's okay. I'm just glad that you two were here.” Astralyn didn't want to think about what might have happened if Timmy and Sundance hadn't been there. She knew that she would not like the possibilities.
“I think it's time we call it a night.” Sundance stood up and offered his hand to Astralyn. “Would you like us to escort you home?”
“I can't even think about going home right now,” Astralyn said, taking Sundance's hand to help her stand up. “I've got to write a report about the theft and I should do so while the details are still fresh in my mind. Then after that, I have to make a report for the insurance.”
“That sounds like an awful lot of work to do in such a short amount of time,” Timmy said. “It can totally wait until the morning. You need your rest.”
“That's very sweet of you, Timmy,” Astralyn said. She didn't want to tell them that she was afraid to close her eyes because she was sure she was going to see the Space Chickens again in her dreams.
“The Space Chickens could come back tonight if we're unlucky,” Sundance said. “It would be wiser if you went home. You could write the reports at home, even.”
Astralyn shook her head. “All of things I need are here.” She bowed to Timmy and Sundance. “I must be getting to work now. Thank you for all of your help.”
“I'm going to leave Timmy here with you,” Sundance said. He looked at Timmy who gave him a thumbs up. “Just in case. One can never be too sure.” Astralyn didn't argue, which was good because time was wasting. At any moment, the Space Chicken could discover their blunder and come back.
“Where the egg?” Sundance asked.
The egg had been placed inside the museum while the cleaning had been going on. Astralyn set it inside of a box and handed it to Sundance. “It's better that this not be here. I'll take it to SPACE Headquarters where it can be watched closely.” Astralyn nodded her head. “You try to get some rest. Timmy, don't let her work too hard.”
“You got it, Captain,” Timmy replied, saluting.
Sundance, not really a fan of saluting, simply waved at Timmy as he walked past him. He carried the heavy box down the long stairs back to the parking lot. He stopped a few times thinking that he should go back up there and command Astralyn to get in the car with him. When he decided that he can't just order civilians around, he continued his journey down the stairs. He just hoped that he was doing the right thing.
Sundance finally reached his car and placed the box in the back seat. He checked inside and gazed at the silver egg. “To think so much trouble was started because of you. Hmm.” He got in the car and started it. The car began to hover above the ground. Sundance backed out of his spot and drove away from the museum, leaving his gut feelings behind.
The Space Chickens returned to their hideaway shack on the outside of town where they found that no one patrolled. Rerun, Birdy, and Hawkeye paraded into the shack and clucked excitedly as they set up their communications array.
“That was so awesome,” Birdy said. “We totally wrecked that party! I don't think I've ever had so much fun in my life.”
“Yes, it was fun,” Hawkeye said, patting his excited compatriot on the back. “Now we get the hell off of this planet and watch it burn.” That excited him even more. He had always wanted to see a planet burn up. He had only read about the last time the Chicken Empire fought the Earthlings. He was prepared to make history. “Rerun, hurry up with the communications array.”
“Yes, sir,” Rerun said, resisting the urge to say that he was going as fast as he could. He didn't feel like ruining the perfect night they had just made for themselves. Rerun pulled a viewscreen monitor out of a bag and attached the speakers to it. He found the power source in the shack and tapped into it. Static appeared on the viewscreen.
“Dial in to Queen Chickadee,” Hawkeye commanded.
“Yes, sir.” Rerun began scanning for the frequency in which they would use to communicate with their sovereign. When he found it, he opened the channel and sent a request to the main ship, which was hiding just beyond orbit. In a few minutes, the request was accepted. Queen Chickadee's face appeared on the viewscreen. Her pink feathers, which indicated royalty, came in loud and clear.
“Report,” she said.
Hawkeye knelt down to where he could be seen. “We have acquired the eggs, your highness.”
Chickadee's black eyes glistened when she heard the news. “Show them to me! I must see this with my own eyes.” She rubbed her hands together excitedly as she waited.
Hawkeye commanded Birdy to give him the tray of eggs. Birdy had put them down by the front door of the shack. Birdy picked them up and obediently gave them to Hawkeye. Hawkeye raised the tray up to the array and grinned. “There they are. They're so beautiful. I can't imagine why King Chanticleer would give up something to precious.”
“Chanticleer was a weak minded fool who let his emotions get in the way of true conquest.” Chickadee chuckled as she said this. She gazed at the magnificence of the eggs. It was at this time that she noticed that there was something amiss. “Hawkeye, count the eggs.”
Hawkeye counted the eggs up to five. He seemed satisfied, but quickly noticed that Chickadee was not so satisfied. “What is wrong, my queen?”
“There are supposed to be SIX eggs! SIX!” Chickadee screamed. 'Where is the other egg?”
The three chickens looked at each other in confusion. As far as they knew there they had gotten everything. It was then that Rerun replayed the fight at the museum. He remembered that the curator had rushed him and taken the tray of eggs from him. It was possible that she had taken one and hid it from him. Rerun was pretty excited that it had been him that had retrieved the eggs. He was perhaps too hasty to celebrate his usefulness.
“Rerun, you've got that look on your face like you have something to confess,” Chickadee said. Rerun was chilled by her ability to see into his soul.
“I think I may have lost one of the eggs to a woman at the museum,” Rerun admitted. He winced in preparation of the berating he was sure to get. “I think that she has it.”
“Then you must go back to that museum and get it from her,” Chickadee commanded. “You must let nothing stand in your way!”
“Why if she won't give it back?” Birdy asked.
“Kill her and take it from her,” Chickadee said coldly. “I won't let her stand in the way of my revenge. You have your mission. Report back to me when it is done.” She waved at them and the image went to static.
The three chickens looked at each other and sighed. They were not looking forward to going back into the city. Their electronic disguises barely worked the first time. Could they really drive through the town unnoticed the second time? They hoped that word of the event at the museum had spread and fewer people would be driving, including law enforcement. The Chicken Queen needed to be appeased and the best way to do that was to just get out there and get the egg. The sooner this happened, the sooner they could get off this rock and watch it burn.
Sundance arrived safely onto the SPACE base. He drove his car through the base and saluted his fellow SPACE Rangers. He was well liked on the base so many people knew who he was. They all shouted and waved at him as he drove past. He finally reached the main headquarters where his superior's office was housed. He parked his car and grabbed the box with the egg in it. He walked proudly into the headquarters without having to stop at the checkpoint to verify his identity. He marched through the top secret hallways and greeted familiar faces as he passed them. He made it to Colonel Graves's office and opened it without taking into consideration whether the colonel was busy or not.
Colonel Graves was on the telephone. He looked up and saw that it was Sundance who was entering and waved him in. “Understood. Keep me appraised of everything that happens in the city. We need to keep this contained.” Graves hung up the phone and invited Sundance to sit down at his desk.
The office was decorated heavily in New Earth colors: red, blue, and gold. There were flags, awards, and photos of Graves with influential people that adorned his shelves. One could tell that Graves was very proud of his military career and wanted people to know about it.
“So, I take it that you heard about what happened at the gala at the museum,” Sundance said, sitting down. He set the box down on the colonel's desk. Graves nodded his head. “Then you know that the Space Chickens have somehow infiltrated our space and are lingering about somewhere on the planet.”
“Yes, I am aware.” Graves interlaced his fingers and sighed. “I was afraid of something like this. That is why I asked you and Lieutenant Falken to attend the gala. It is known that the Space Chickens harbor much hatred towards us. When I heard that Astralyn was planning on unveiling the Crystal Eggs, I had to take precautions.”
“I think we could have used a few more Rangers over there,” Sundance said. “The Space Chickens outnumbered us and were able to make off with five of the six eggs.” Sundance reached into the box and pulled out the last remaining Silver Egg. It sparkled in the harsh fluorescent light. “Astralyn was able to save this one, but I don't think it was enough.” Sundance sighed as he placed the egg back into the box. “What can these eggs do? Why are they so important?”
Colonel Graves sat back in his chair and coughed. “The Silver Ovarium Crystal Eggs were used in a powerful weapon that destroyed the previous planet we occupied. Each egg is a power cell in this massive machine.” He paused for dramatic effect, which was something Sundance hated. “If what you say is true and the Space Chickens have made off with five of the six eggs, then this planet, no, the universe is in danger.”
Sundance raised an eyebrow and said, “Perfect. So we keep this last egg under wraps and the Space Chickens won't know where to look for it.” Colonel Graves nodded his head. “Good. I'm glad we talked about this.”
“But that won't stop the Space Chickens from tearing the planet apart looking for it,” Graves said. “Sundance, where is Astralyn?”
“She's back at the museum,” Sundance replied. “I tried to get her to go home, but she insisted on staying there to work on some reports. I left Timmy there with her just in case sokething goes wrong.”
Colonel Graves looked very upset by this news. He leaned forward and picked up the phone. He dialed the museum's number and let the line ring. It continued to ring for a minute before the answering machine turned on, giving him the option to leave a message or call back during business hours. Graves hung up the phone. “Dammit! You have to go back there. If... no, when the Space Chickens find out that they don't possess all of the eggs, they're going to go back to the source, where they will find Astralyn.”
“I knew that her staying there would be a bad idea,” Sundance said. “I should have forced her to come with me.”
Colonel Graves chuckled. “I've known Astralyn Winner a long time; you don't force her to do anything. She wouldn't have left the museum. Wild horses couldn't drag her away.”
“She just hasn't met the right horse,” Sundance said. He stood up and saluted the colonel. “I'll go get her and bring her back here.”
“Please hurry,” Graves said. “We haven't any time to lose.”
Sundance left the box with the egg in it on the desk. He figured that the colonel would put it somewhere safe until the moment was right. He raced out of the office and ran down the hallways, knocking over people he passed. All he could think about was getting back to the museum before the Space Chickens did. The museum was on the far east side of town. If traffic was light, it would take him maybe twenty minutes to get there. He hoped that he wouldn't get in too much trouble if he sped.