Gods of Sagittarius – Snippet 36
“It may take a while to explain it fully,” said Tabor. He looked around, then shrugged. “What the hell. It’s not as if you’re going anywhere.”
And he explained as much as he understood about the magic of the Old Ones, about the origin of the term Old Ones and Cthulhu, about his experiences on Cthulhu, and as much as he knew — which was minimal — about what he and Shenoy were doing on Cornwallis.
“Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?” he said in conclusion.
“Certainly not,” replied Jaemu.
“Not crazy,” said the Vitunpelay. “Just wrong.”
Tabor stared intently at him. “Wrong in what way?”
“I know what your boss is looking for,” said Jaemu, “and it’s not on Cornwallis. But it was here, once upon a time, as the saying goes.”
“Those goddamned bastards!” snapped Tabor.
“Oh, I like that!” said Jaemu.
Tabor frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“Goddamned Bastards!” enthused Jaemu. “In ways it’s even better than Fucking Clowns!”
“Get back to the subject!” growled Tabor.
“My subject or yours?”
“The Old Ones’ artifacts!”
“You needn’t yell,” said Jaemu. “I’m right here. Mostly.”
“When did they destroy them?” persisted Tabor.
“When did who destroy what?” asked Jaemu, clearly confused.
“When did the Paskapans destroy the Old Ones’ artifacts?”
“They did?” asked Jaemu. “When?”
It took all of Tabor’s will power not to take a swing at the Vitunpelay. “You just told me they did!” Jaemu shook his head. “No, I told you that the artifacts aren’t on Cornhole.”
“Cornwallis, damn it!”
“Right,” agreed Jaemu. “They aren’t on Cornwallis Damn It.”
“Then where the hell are they?” demanded Tabor.
“Oh, they’re not in hell yet.” A paused. “At least, it seems unlikely.”
Tabor closed his eyes and forced himself to take ten deep breaths in succession. Then he turned to Jaemu again. “Do you know where the artifacts are right now? Answer yes or no.”
“Seems silly, but all right: yes or no.” Jaemu stared at Tabor. “You face is becoming a bright red, did you know that?”
“Let’s try it again,” said Tabor. “Do you know where the artifacts have been moved to?”
“Yes, absolutely,” said Jaemu.
“Are they on this world?”
Tabor exhaled deeply. “All right. Now, where are they?”
“I won’t tell you,” answered Jaemu. “But I’ll show you.” He smiled. “Get me out of here and I’ll take you to them.”
“It’s a deal,” said Tabor. “As soon as Rupert gets here I’ll have him pay both our bails and we’ll be on our way.”
It sounded simple enough when Tabor said it, but it got considerably more complex when Shenoy showed up in another hour. He approached them, walking down the long corridor to their cell, accompanied by two uniformed Paskapans, and stopped at the doorway.
“No farther,” warned one of the guards.
“Are you all right, Russell?” asked Shenoy.
“Yeah, except for a couple of bumps on my head and a slight hole in my pride. How about you?”
“I’m fine. But I had to drop all charges against them for assault and harassment and what-have-you in order to be able to see you.”
“And here you are,” said Tabor. “Pay my bail and get me the hell out of here. And this critter is Jamie.”
“Jaemu,” the Vitunpelay corrected him.
“Jaemu,” said Tabor. “He’s going to be very important to our mission, so pay his bail too. We can bill your employers for it.”
“Important?” repeated Shenoy. “How?”
“He knows where the artifacts have been moved to, and is willing to lead us to them.”
“Excellent!” said Shenoy enthusiastically. He turned to his guards. “All right, take me back to the magistrate.”
Then turned and accompanied him down the long corridor, turning to their right as they reached the end of it.
“That was your partner?” asked Jaemu.
“Why would I talk to him like that if he wasn’t?” growled Tabor.
“I like you!” said Jaemu.
Shenoy was back ten minutes later, still accompanied by his two Paskapan guards.
“That was quick,” said Tabor. “All taken care of?”
“I’m afraid not,” replied Shenoy.
“It seems your cellmate killed six Paskapans with his bare hands. Well, tentacles. He’s awaiting execution in five days. No bail.”
Tabor turned to Jaemu. “You didn’t tell me that!” he said furiously.
“You didn’t ask,” replied Jaemu.
“I’m afraid that’s not all,” continued Shenoy.
“You roughed up a bunch of police officers. There’s no bail for you, either.”
“I’m stuck here?” demanded Tabor. “For how long?”
“I don’t know,” replied Shenoy. “I’m flying in a top lawyer. The problem is that it may take two or three months before the trial.” He turned to Jaemu. “He’ll represent you too, if you’re still alive, though your case seems quite hopeless. Anyway, if you’ll just tell me what I need to know, I can begin my quest, and I assure you your name — once I learn it — will be prominently mentioned in all my notes and scientific papers.”
“I thought I was supposed to be the only Vitunpelay here,” said Jaemu.
“I beg your pardon?” said Shenoy, frowning.
“If I tell you what you want to know, you have no reason to pay your lawyer to defend me, no reason to pay any expenses required to get me out of here. I know what you need to know, but I’m not sharing it while I’m in jail.”
“I hope you’ll reconsider,” said Shenoy. “But whether you do or do not, I simply cannot spend two or three or six months waiting for the pair of you.”
“Six months?” bellowed Tabor.
“Who knows how long trials take on Cornwallis?” replied Shenoy. “You’ve already seen how much paperwork and bribery it takes just to get through the day here.”
“And what exactly do you plan to do in the meantime?” demanded Tabor.
“I’m not quite sure,” admitted Shenoy. “I intuit from what the two of you have implied that what we’re looking for is not, or is no longer, on Cornwallis. I’ll spend two days studying everything I can find in their library here in this godforsaken new village, and then I’ll head off to the likeliest location, wherever that may be.”
He turned and began walking back the way he had come, still accompanied by armed guards.
“He won’t find it in the library, will he?” Tabor asked Jaemu.
“No,” replied the Vitunpelay. “If there was anything useful to be found, it would have been found already.”
“I was afraid of that,” said Tabor. He grimaced. “Well, we’ve got two days.”
“To do what?”
“Break out of here and join Shenoy before he takes off from this dirtball.”