Within the newly revealed spacecraft, a celebration unlike any other roared well into the evening hours. Already, Lieutenant Godiva and Niko donned replacement costumes, effectively removing the garments from a few of the many frozen mannequins posed around them. Godiva was fortunate to find a similar silver outfit to the one she had worn previously, while Niko could only find a green tunic, which seemed to suit her just fine. While the outfits were extremely skimpy and revealing, it still felt reassuring to know that they wouldn’t continue to be ogled within their once naked state.
Sergeant Magnum continued to stay right by Meg’s side, despite her unmoving condition. Deep inside of his soul, he ached knowing that he couldn’t hear her warm laugh or her playful Scottish accent. Still, with her recovery within sight, there was a glimmer of amusement as he ran his hands across her stiffened body, tracing every contour of her seductive figure. Within the plastic shell, Meg could feel delightful peace as her adored sergeant caressed every inch of her paralyzed body. Every soothing touch of his hand would send tremors of pleasure bounding through her, and her condition as a helpless maiden added to the sensual nature of Magnum’s warm touches. ‘He even loves me as a common mannequin,’ thought Meg in glee, excitedly longing for the moment when she’d be able to return his amorous foreplay.
At first, the dejected Valerian officers and employees were apprehensive about trusting their human counterparts. The thought of revolt often crossed their minds as they struggled to hide their growing disdain, yet they didn’t want to provoke the wrath of Lieutenant Godiva. With her psychic abilities at a peak, she was easily as powerful as Emperor Titus had been during his wretched life, and the cautious Valerians feared she’d find a way to control them as Titus had for so many horrifying years.
Well aware of the growing animosity between the two species, Lieutenant Godiva immediately endeavored to remedy the rift between the very different cultures. Using consoling words, she introduced the concept of freedom to the dedicated officers. That’s when Lieutenant Godiva began to realize an obvious language barrier also came into play, since the unfortunate laborers couldn’t even comprehend the concepts of free will or liberty. Eventually, Lieutenant Godiva projected a few shining examples from her short lifetime of experiences to the anxious and confused aliens, attempting to introduce the foreign concepts to the legion of brainwashed servants.
One tentative Valerian stepped forward delicately after receiving the vivid mental projection from the silver warrior. In a halting tone he said, “So, are you telling us that we don’t have to answer to a higher power anymore? Are we free to live out our own lives?”
“Precisely!” replied Godiva excitedly. “On our planet, you will be free to build a life for yourself: choose a career, search for a life partner or spouse, or purchase a suitable dwelling. As humans, we value personal freedom and cherish that liberty as a prized privilege.”
Suddenly, the grim and determined expressions on their faces began to change, altering to wondrous expressions of awe and hope. Lieutenant Godiva beamed with rapture as she saw the mistrustful aliens beginning to warm to her presence. Within moments, the once aggressive adversaries relaxed as they began to actively participate in the joyous festivities. Once Eddie and Lillian returned from their successful mission, the entire party tossed back warm libations, pilfered from Scientist Turner’s private supply of alcohol.
As Eddie slumped down into a comfortable chair, he handed Lieutenant Godiva a small laptop device. “This is Stephen Davis’ computer,” said the exhausted editor with confidence. “I’m certain there is sensitive information regarding the Nil Corporation on this thing. Maybe we can find a way to prove that cold bastard ordered the hit on poor Lillian so many years ago.”
In an instant, Godiva dived into the tiny contraption, swiftly maneuvering around the security passwords with graceful skill and technological prowess. Without even shifting her glance away from the flickering screen, she asked, “If I do find proof of Davis’ involvement in Lillian’s demise, how will that affect the situation?”
Eddie pulled out a small file folder, then said, “Well, according to this business charter for McAlistar/Davis, any egregious illegal activities by any senior officer would be grounds for immediate termination and forfeiture of all ownership. In fact, the penalty aspects of this arrangement are retroactive, so if we can find evidence of misconduct, then in essence, it will be as if the Nil Corporation never existed in the first place. If we can prove beyond a doubt that Stephen Davis ordered Lillian to be killed, then total ownership of the massive Nil Corporation empire would be granted to Lillian’s rightful heir.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Lillian as she hovered next to Eddie. “I had forgotten about that clause. My lawyers insisted on adding that language so many years ago, I had never given the matter much thought. I had always thought I was powerless to reclaim my legacy.”
“Well, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?” replied Eddie sympathetically. “I’m certain none of this treachery would have occurred if you and your heirs were able to maintain control. Let’s just say, this is my way of making things right again.”
Suddenly, Lieutenant Godiva shouted, “Hey, I think I found something!” Quickly scurrying over to witness the discovery, Eddie and Lillian gasped as they caught a glimpse of the small video display. Flashing on the screen was a bank transfer of one hundred thousand-dollars to a mysterious enterprise called Allied Cleaning. At first, Eddie was going to silence their growing excitement, fearing the slight information was scarcely enough to warrant transfer of ownership. Godiva merely smiled playfully as she stabbed at the enter button. Without delay, a pair of crackling voices rang out from the miniscule computer.
“Are you sure dis is necessary, boss?”
“I told you before… this is very important. What are you worried about, anyway? She’s only one sick woman. If you can’t handle this situation in a professional manner, I will report your weakness to the tribunal. Then you’ll be lucky to get work killing the family pet, you mutt! I don’t care what it takes, I want Lillian McAlistar killed!”
“Alright, alright. You doesn’t haveta git snippy wit me boss. What amount did we agree on earlier?”
“One hundred thousand. Fifty now, and fifty after the deed is done. You in then?”
“Yeah, I’ll meet wit your associate tonight.”At first, Lillian began to rage as she heard the awkward arrangements, each word effectively sealing her fate so many years ago. Yet, as she began to return to her senses, she immediately realized the gruff conversation would serve to her benefit; maybe her noble corporation could be restored after all. As Lieutenant Godiva popped a high capacity disk into the drive, she muttered excitedly, “The telephone numbers all correspond to the parties involved. That foolish Stephen Davis didn’t even bother to use a pay phone to summon this hitman, and the idiotic henchman was likewise contacted at his office, Allied Cleaning.” With a giggle, Godiva concluded, “Add in the bank transfer to Allied Cleaning, and I think we’ve got some pretty conclusive evidence, if you ask me!”
Eddie instantly leapt up and gave Lieutenant Godiva an excited peck on the cheek before hugging her tightly. For a few rapturous moments, the two of them danced around across the floor as Lillian hovered above. As the lively mood settled, Eddie asked Lillian, “So, who shall control the McAlistar Corporation now, Lillian?”
Lillian mulled it over for several moments, trying to recollect the most recent version of her last will and testament. With her lingering illness, she remembered restructuring the contents of her will several times, and she focused to recall the most accurate version from memory. In a modest tone, Lillian said, “It’s always been Rochelle.”
Lieutenant Godiva replied, “Rochelle? Your lifelong assistant?”
“Yes, Rochelle Ginsberg. In truth,” confessed Lillian, “she’s a bit more to me than an assistant. We were lovers for many years, right up until my life was cut short. We were even hoping to adopt a child of our own and raise a small family together. Rochelle and I have always been kindred spirits, and my heart still aches for her.”
“I’m sorry you weren’t able to live out your dream with Rochelle,” whispered Eddie sympathetically. “You would have been a warm and compassionate mother, Lillian.”
Batting her eyes as a mortal reflex, Lillian replied in a low moan, “Thanks, Eddie. I guess it simply wasn’t in the cards for me.”
Desperately wishing he could hug and console Lillian during her time of need, Eddie felt helpless to offer warmth to his darling ghostly companion. However, at least he could take comfort knowing her legacy would be secured as a result of their efforts. As the urgency of their situation began to loom over their heads, they all headed towards the hologram control room, anxious to reveal to the world the truth about Pure Adrenaline.
With dedicated skill, Eddie spliced together the twin perspectives captured onto disk. From Kelly’s singular perspective could be seen the cruel capture of dozens of humans into unmoving plastic, including poor Meg. The chilling scene of capture within the preparation room paralleled the action within the control room as Emperor Titus tortured and taunted Niko, creating a chilly example of Titus’ peerless cruelty. As the battle raged between Godiva and Titus, Eddie beamed as he studied his footage, amazed by the clear and focused recording of the glorious battle for freedom.
Continuing through the subsequent confrontations with Scientist Turner and Stephen Davis, Eddie utilized the footage from Davis’ personal camera to add even greater proximity to his editing, showing the conniving CEO in his true colors with his own menacing words. As he rapped up his efforts on the completed edit, he only regretted not having any footage of the spacecraft’s shocking transformation as it lunged out of the depths of the ocean. However, with careful consideration, he soon realized a way to remedy the lack of spacecraft footage. Quickly, he sped down to security and studied the recordings from the many security cameras located throughout the island. With a gleeful hoot, he found three cameras that were able to capture the grinding commotion of the spacecraft’s stupendous surfacing, so he popped out the disks and plowed back up to his editing suite. With a few well-chosen cuts, he was able to properly display the shocking scene, both inside the structure and out. After popping out the finished work, he slung a camera over his shoulder and tapped a number into his communication unit.
“Danny Masterson, please,” uttered Eddie dryly. After a lengthy pause, he continued. “Hi, Danny! This is Eddie Lambert. How is everything going over at the news desk?” After several minutes of polite banter, Eddie finally got to the point. “Danny, how would you like to get the scoop of a lifetime? Uh huh. Yeah, it’s about Pure Adrenaline, all right. Do you have data-link capabilities? Good, check out some of this footage!” Instantly, Eddie slid the shimmering disk into the awaiting slot in his communicator. Even Godiva could hear the voice on the other end shouting in delight as he scanned the incriminating and surprising footage. After a long pause, Eddie said, “Did you get all that? Right, the whole contest was a scam. Hundreds of humans are trapped as we speak. Can you get a crew down here to help us out? Yeah, that map file I sent should lead you straight to us. Oh, and one more thing, can you call the coast guard for us? We are going to need some help getting out of this tin can we’re in. You got it, Danny, and remember, you owe me one.”
“So, the Calvary is on its way, then?” asked Lieutenant Godiva with a wry smile and wink. Slowly, however, her expression began to change to worry as she asked, “What will they do to me once they discover my new abilities? I don’t want to be treated like a guinea pig in some laboratory!”
Lillian immediately spun around the concerned warrior, saying in a reassuring tone, “I promise you, Carrie, I won’t allow anyone to access the competitor files from Pure Adrenaline. So, even if your amazing powers are displayed for the world to see, nobody will be able to find out your true identity. In fact, once Rochelle gains control of my corporation, I will instruct her to offer you a job with the company. We will have a lot of difficult work ahead, and I’m certain your abilities will save us months of arduous work as we begin restoring all of the trapped competitors. Don’t worry, Godiva, I won’t let anybody harm you now.”
“And I will tell my buddy to keep you out of the spotlight as well, Ms. Godiva. Now, how will all of the contestants be restored?” asked Eddie quizzically.
“Each statue will need to be soaked in a curing bath,” replied Lillian to her dedicated friend. “We will need to build large cylinders which will be filled with restoring solution. As the original living tissue begins to shed the durable mineral protein strand, the reanimating contestant will float up to the surface as his or her density changes back to its initial structure. Then, the restored contestant will be lifted out of the cylinder, and another contestant will be loaded in to start the process all over again.”
“So, it’s only a matter of time before we can restore all of our friends, right?” asked Lieutenant Godiva wearily.
“Without a doubt,” replied Lillian. “And don’t forget, we’ll need to retrieve any abandoned statues from the island as well. I’m sure your friend, Lady Petula, will be excited to see you again, Godiva.”
“Yes,” said Lieutenant Godiva confidently. “I can’t wait to rescue her from her prison of diamond. So, we’ll need to send out excursion teams to retrieve any competitors still trapped out in the field.”
“That is correct. However, we will be getting plenty of assistance once we are able to free a few hundred from their frozen slumber. I think our best course of action will be to restore anyone located inside this ship as soon as the materials become available.” Swiftly, Lillian spun around to leave. Just before passing through the outer hull, she said, “I’m on my way to visit Rochelle right now. Hopefully, we will be able to expeditiously recover enough restoration solution to begin the rejuvenation process as soon as I return.”
“Okay, Lillian!” shouted Eddie in excitement. As he tucked away all of the important evidence into a sturdy lock box, he smiled at Lieutenant Godiva warmly. With a concerned expression, he said, “If you are still worried about your identity being discovered, Ms. Godiva, I could disguise your face without too much difficulty. However, nobody will know about your heroic actions if we hide your features. You know, I think our society has come a long way. Maybe people out there are ready for someone with your incredible talents?”
With a thoughtful expression on her gorgeous face, Lieutenant Godiva replied, “I guess I don’t mind having my image on the broadcast. After all, I do want my family and friends to be proud of me, don’t I?”
“Of course,” said Eddie in response. “They have every reason to be proud of you, Ms. Godiva. Heck, I barely know you, and I’m incredibly proud of your skill and knowledge. Why not take pride in your brave efforts, eh?”
As they strolled over to the elevator that would take them back down
to visit with the rest of their group, Lieutenant Godiva imagined what
the world would think of her and her incredible psychic abilities.
‘I just hope they are ready to accept me for who I am,’ thought Godiva
To be continued...
On to Part Twenty-Four