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THE TROUBLE WITH TERNI

By ... Steve Lucky

CHAPTER FOUR

"You're not as smart as they give you credit for," Detrina snapped coldly. "If you figured out I worked for the Ruler, you never should have told me."

Peter lowered his head, but then raised it again with a new look of determination.

"They probably also told you that I'm not afraid of guns," Peter replied.

"You will be," Detrina predicted. "if I have anything to say about it."

"Where are my friends?" demanded Peter still not backing off. "They've probably passed out in the cargo ship by now," Detrina guessed unsympatheticly.

Peter had heard enough he started running back to the cargo ship to save his friends.

"By the time you get there, it will be too late!" Detrina called out after him.

Peter didn't listen to her. He knew that Detrina couldn't shoot him in a public place, so anything she said wouldn't make any difference. Detrina watched him go thinking she had already won, but Peter wouldn't give up without a fight.

TIME : 5:36 P.M. (17:36)
PLACE : The cargo ship

Peter got to the cargo ship as quickly as he could which he still didn't think was quick enough. Then, he got four small oxygen tanks and put one around himself so he could avoid the gas.

The two soldiers had gone back to their hiding place so they didn't know what Peter was up to even though they saw him enter.

Peter wasted no time in giving Hank, Linda, and Lisa some fresh oxygen. Fortunately, the gas was none toxic. He knew Detrina wasn't a murderer in spite of everything else she had done wrong. When he knew the others would recover, Peter concentrated on finding the source of the gas. Unlike Hank as the time, Peter didn't have to worry about the gas so he had all the time in the world. He finally found the device and deactivated it.

He knew Detrina had sabotaged the ship while Peter had given her a guided tour and felt guilty about what had happened to his friends. He also felt an anger towards Detrina that he never felt before. He had been used!

As Peter opened an air vent to let the gas escape, he heard somebody stirring. It was Lisa. She was the one who had warned him about Detrina. He felt like he should have listened to her more than he did.

"What happened?" she groaned noticing the oxygen mask she was wearing and looking up at Peter.

"Detrina sabotaged the ship," explained Peter. "You passed out when the ship was flooded with gas."

"I knew she was up to something," Lisa declared in her famous "I told you so," voice.

Hank and Linda recovered too and Peter told them what had happened.

"Don't feel bad, Peter," Hank advised him. "We were tricked too by the soldier who told us the computer was sabotaged. He must have been in on it too."

Peter thought about what to do next. Suddenly, an idea came to him.

"I got a plan," said Peter. "Contact Shawn and tell him..."

TIME : 5:45 P.M.
PLACE : The Ruler's ship secretly orbiting Terni

The Ruler, as usual, was staying safely out of the way. However, he wanted to be there to personal deliver the ransom note for the fifty frozen hostages. A message was coming in on his classified channel.

"Report," the Ruler commanded. He wasn't in a good mood.

"Everything is going to plan," Detrina reassured him. "Hank, Linda, and Lisa are unconscious inside the ship, Peter has run off, and Shawn is nowhere in sight."

"Where did he run off to?" the Ruler insisted.

He was already suspecting something wasn't right. He had lost to M.W.G.D. too many times to be optimistic.

"Back to the ship," she muttered. "but there is nothing he can do there. The gas would be too much for him."

"Never underestimate your opponent," scolded the Ruler. "He is very resourceful."

"When do I get payed anyway?" yelled Detrina knowing that the Ruler was known for double crossing people.

"You will get payed as soon as you give the suspended animation chambers and not a moment sooner," the Ruler shouted back. "so I'd advise you to get that ship to me as soon as possible."

"Understood," Detrina responded reluctantly. She headed back to the cargo ship to get things over with.

The Ruler predicted Detrina would fail, but he was prepared for it. As long as he remained undetected he could head wherever he wanted to go without anybody stopping him. It took a long time for him to get his first empire and he didn't expect it to be any easier to achieve his second.

TIME : 5:52 P.M. (17:52)
PLACE : Outside the cargo ship

Detrina stood at the door to the ship while the two soldiers approached her. She turned to the one from M.W.G.D. and glared at him. Both of them backed away slightly. They knew who was boss.

"Did anyone else come this way?" she questioned.

"One person did," the soldier from M.W.G.D. replied. "but he never came out."

"Good," bellowed Detrina with a good idea who it was. She couldn't help feeling sad that Peter had made a foolish risk to save his friends when he could have gotten away safely, but she kept her feelings to herself.

Slowly and cautiously, the three of them enter the ship. To their delight, Peter, Hank, Linda, and Lisa were sprawled all over the floor. Detrina hovered over Peter's body.

"The fool!" she cursed no longer able to hide her emotion. "Why did he have to try and save his friends? Well he got what he deserved."

Unknown to her, Peter was fully conscious and could hear every word she was saying. All he had to do was wait for her to turn her back on him. Detrina did turn her back on him, only for a moment, but a moment was all he needed.

"Freeze!" Peter commanded leaping to his feet. This time it was his turn to point a gun at Detrina. Hank, Linda and Lisa followed suit pointing their guns at the Altair 7 soldier and the traitor from M.W.G.D.

"Drop your weapons," Peter ordered again.

The two soldiers did so right away. Detrina turned and ran toward the exit, but Shawn was there with the police. Detrina faced Peter once more and dropped her weapon. She hung her head in shame.

Peter's face was cold and unyielding. Only his eyes gave away his regret that things had to end the way they did.

"I was only in it for the money," she said coming as close as she could to an apology.

Peter gave no response, not even an indication that he had heard her.

"Answer me!" she screamed as if she could yell him into submission.

Peter unintentionally did with a single tear streaming down the side of his face. He knew she had used him, but he had forgiven her. She was going to be in jail for a long time and there was no need for recriminations. Lisa wasn't as understanding.

"I hope you spend the rest of your life in jail," Lisa snapped.

A sad smile appeared on Peter's face. He knew Lisa had made that last statement only to say she cared. Detrina too was satisfied. She wanted to be yelled at much more than she wanted the silent treatment.

The police took the two soldiers away and as they came for Detrina, Peter whispered, "Good bye, Detrina."

"Good bye, Peter," she whispered back as she was taken off the ship and disappeared from Peter's sight.

Shawn, Hank, Linda, and Lisa all looked at Peter sympatheticly. They knew that Peter had been in love with Detrina before she betrayed him. At last, Lisa spoke for all of them with some words Peter had used when she wasn't feeling well.

"I just want you to know that we've all been routing for you and we'll all be praying for you," Lisa said quietly.

"I'll need some time to myself," Peter explained. "but I'm glad to hear it."

TIME : April 3, 2014 8:30 A.M.
PLACE : The restaurant at the Galactic Executive's Hotel

The cargo ship had taken off carrying the fifty suspended animation chambers so their secret location where they would stay for about ten years until it was time to revive them. Farlos, Terni, and the five from M.W.G.D. had watched the ship take off and then returned to the restaurant for breakfast.

"I understand you're having girl problems," Farlos commented. Everyone knew he was talking to Peter. "When I was your age I some problems with women myself. Did you ever hear the story of how I proposed to Terni."

"Yes," Peter replied though he had a feeling he was going to hear it again anyway.

"At least we have plenty of vacation time ahead of us," Shawn reminded him. "I'm on my vacation too, so I'm just as free as the rest of you."

"Let's let Peter decide what he wants to do today?" suggested Linda.

The others agreed, so Linda turn her attention to Peter.

"Well, what do you want to do?" she asked him.

Peter closed his eyes. When he reopened them, he slowly looked up at Linda with a mischievous grin on his face.

"I want a rematch with you in knock down," he sneered.

That day, Terni declared a double elimination knock down tournament with was free to the public. Peter was the overall champion. The crowd cheered as he took his victory lap around the playing field. His playing ability was better than ever. Ironically, the runner up in the tournament and only person to beat him was a redheaded girl who was going to stand trial for sabotage, theft, and kidnapping and who was the defending knock down champion named Detrina.

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