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For nearly five years, since the day the Lords had blocked his ascendancy from War Lord to a Lord of the High Council on fabricated charges of cowardice, he had hated them with an unbridled passion.  As a belated peace offering, the Lords appointed him to the position of Chief Analyzer of the Kingdom’s new hydroponics complex in the Atacama Desert.  Since his appointment, he had run a flawless operation . . . increased hydroponic production and without any escape attempts during his long, tedious years of overseeing the complex.  But now, with the latest escape, in a complex under Ruiz’s protection, the Lords may need his influence over his former tribal territory.  And if this was, indeed, an Alliance attempt, which he was beginning to believe with growing conviction, how could the Council not request his services?  No individual alive within the Kingdom knew the Alliance as he did.  If they turned to him, it would be grudgingly, with resentment, and with as little acknowledgement as possible, but if the circumstances surrounding this escape, deepened, turn to him they would.



The feeling of his self-proclaimed importance faded as quickly as it had entered his mind.  With the number of attempted escapes from other sectors, the Council cannot long ignore my talents, my thoroughness.   His resentment again full-blown, Teis talked at the huge screen, “Should this have the stench of Alliance involvement; the lords know my talents will prove invaluable in this tenuous situation.”  Teis smirked.  His resentment again replaced by an air of self importance, he sat heavily into his grav chair and let the reality of the situation wash over him.  Can you realistically make a difference Chief Analyzer?  Even when you have secretly let mules escape for the pleasure of hunting them with stalkers, it has been over five years since you did battle with the Alliance.  Back then the Council would have said yes.  They would have fought amongst themselves for your services . . . but now?  He clenched his jaw.  “Face it Chief Analyzer,” he said with a self-mocking heaviness, “you’re nothing but a lackey who must do their bidding least they take from you this complex, the lone remaining vestige of your former greatness.” With a heavy sigh, Teis turned his attention toward the gemplasma screen.  It was standard Kingdom practice, with each escape attempt, to present, to all complexes, each escaped mule’s data and holograph.  This practice enabled the personnel within the Snow Kingdom’s security structure to study the information in order to determine if the escape had had clandestine help.


The chimes sounded again, the bios accompanied by their holo pictures of the mules filling the screen.  Arms folded across his chest, Teis sat back and dutifully studied each mule’s drawn, haggard, addictive features.  “Everything appears normal.  I don’t recognize…”  He sat forward, his focus on the two pictures in the center of the screen.  “Hmmn, how odd, how very odd indeed, Chief Analyzer.”  He hit the voice lock.  “Computer, pull and display comp files 12871-F and 12872-G.”  The huge screen faded briefly only to show the information Teis had requested:


12871-F           Maseru, Rambika: Height 2 meters — weight 90 kilos

12872-G          Tasca, Castille:      Height 1.9 meters — weight 89 kilos


The information on the screen stimulated Teis’s curiosity in a manner he had not felt for years.  “Computer hold both files in current mode.  Display, this complex, all mule bios from the last escape attempt.”  With his final word, the screen filled with bio data and holo images.  Teis, on the edge of his grav-chair, studied the pictures with a War Lord’s intensity.  Though his curiosity was thoroughly piqued, years of experience told him to proceed cautiously, logically.  Teis sat back into his chair unawares he was rubbing his nose between his right thumb and forefinger, a sure sign that he was nervous.  “Computer . . . retrieve displayed files 12871-F and 12872-G from memory lock 1-1A-2.  Include all viable data, security gamma one priority.”


Satisfied for the moment, but still unable to scratch the itch that annoyed him, Teis let his fingertips drum idly on the chair’s arm rest.  “Might as well take one more step, Chief Analyzer.  Computer, lock immediate loop, central data bank all prisoner bios involved in Sector D’s past escape exhibiting no physical addictive characteristics.  Correlate pulled bios, this region with all non-addictive bios with all regions reporting escape attempts.  Present upon completion.  Correlate all prisoners in escape attempts that were Alliance soldiers.  Postulate logictate why the prisoners were able to negate the snows addictive powers     Teis: E. O. L.”


Feet propped comfortably atop his desk, Teis smiled contently, his full-blown smugness embracing his innermost thoughts.  If I’m correct the Lords cannot deny my efforts.  Those bloated parasites will have to handsomely reward me for my effort and information.  His smile widened as he studied the screen.  Ignorant mules!  What purpose did they think their escape would serve?  All they accomplished was to put an end to their miserable existence.  The information on the screen slowly changed, piquing Teis’s interest.  Sitting forward he read the data:

Maseru, Rambika                    Estimated age mid forties

Prior ID                                   Gypsum Miner

Origin                                      Unknown

Charge                                     Encroachment, Quad 1 A Sector D

Interred                                   1-15-2359

Facility                                    Atacama Hydroponic Complex Sector D

Status                                      Mule – Level Four

Escaped                                   2-20-2359

Addictive Characteristics       Negative


Tasca, Castille:                        Estimated age mid forties

Identification                          Gypsum Miner

Origin                                      Unknown

Charged                                  Encroachment, Quad 1 A Sector D

Interred                                   1-15-2359

Facility                                    Atacama Hydroponic Complex Sector D

Status                                      Mule Level Four

Escaped                                   2-20-2359

Addictive Characteristics       Negative

Author Notes


Tim Hillebrant


Hi Ray,

Boy, Teis thinks a lot of himself, doesn’t he? Wow. I think too, he’s got some plans for Tasca and Maseru too. Not good plans either.
The story structure is strong, and I liked the detail you go into in telling it. I looked for nits/typos that kind of thing, but didn’t see any. I enjoyed the read, and look forward to getting into the next part.


Raymond Tobaygo


Good afternoon, Tim

Again, thanks for the input. I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.

Take care and stay safe,


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