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"Star Keys" (Mark of the Knights: the Star Chart)

“Phwoom!” The bird of prey zooms through space.

In a quiet stupor, in his sleeping quarters aboard the Mother Doom Clone, maybe having had too much intoxicating drink before bed, prior to covering up, Yabba Yea glances to a picture on a nightstand. “White Wicker Pass, I’d seen the wolves. Too, the woman was testy. Beautiful, I almost had a wife. Ah. Moments. We all remember moments.” Sniffing, sighing, he then strips, pulls covers from his bed, and slips between sheets. Shortly, he sleeps.

Attendants to the Mother Nova Ghint’e guide the majestic vessel.

One hour later, Yea snores. As he does, one, lazy arm rolls from his soft bed. Against the left corner of his cozy room fingers flop to a bookcase corner, its ledge covered by scarlet cloth. Here, there’s a glistening, new web. As well, two of eight legs twitch. Yea, who treasures sport, has been careless; or, an attendant has. Perhaps Araneae viola escaped when being fed. Maybe the toxic creature with devilish eyes leaked from a lab. It might have been transported in the pocket of an attendant; or, the spider might have leapt to a robot that cleaned cages of dangerous pets. Regardless, usually timid, the violet spider is in Yea’s private room. Now, the masked marauder is put on guard by pink flesh. Multiple eyes glare. Yea’s heavy palm, turns. The teensy wonder jerks. To avoid being crushed, in self-defense, the miniature demon, bites.

“Ugh,” Yea grunts.

Seeming barely disturbed, Yea’s fat palm rolls and slaps. The venomous spider of Carmadon’s depleted rain forest, is crushed. Yet, too late, General Yea has been poisoned. He’s been stung. Now, a tiny amount of toxic serum seeps to capillaries.

“Oh.” Eyes closed, still sleeping, General Yea’s lips slide; and he swallows.

Three hours later, Yea dreams. He dreams as all men dream. However, lines about his face tighten. Now, Yea shivers. He sweats. Squinting, he groans. More than moaning, he makes words.

“Ah. No. No more.”

He continues to perspire. In a deep sleep, he licks lips.

“Wolves. No. You must not. Don’t. Your husband will die.”

He stirs. One thick arm flops right, his large belly rolls in the same direction, and his massive right thigh and lower leg that help make him an invincible Spider warrior of 2-5 Dekadon world games, follows.

“Put the knife, down. Don’t cut her. Yes. Your children? Yes, they’ll be safe.”

Breathing heavily, lying on his side, beneath covers, eyelids quiver.

“No. Don’t. You can’t harm her. Wolves. I’ll spare your children. Ah,” he gasps.

Laboring badly, now, Yabba kicks sheets from his grandiose body. One arm extends. His palm depresses an alert button fixed to the wall. In but silky trunks about his large waist, heavy legs swing. As if he’d swallowed a stone, he chokes. One hand flies to his head. One arm pushes on his bed as he begins to get up, to stand. But legs buckle. He slumps to the floor.

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