The Council of Peers had assembled the next day. What is the Council of Peers, you ask? Why, it’s the ruling body of Nebulos. It is where all laws are decided and it is where Zarak addresses the people. He took the podium and cleared his throat before starting. “My friends,” he began, “it is clear to me that something has upset a certain percentage of the population. If I can find out what it is, I will address it and fix it. However, it has become clear to me that these…upset citizens do not wish to go through the usual methods, believing those methods to be too slow. I will be the first to say that speed is necessary for addressing grievances, but, members of the Nebulan Destiny Movement. taking the law into your own hands is NOT the way. It only causes people distress. My own daughter, usually a level-headed woman, has been so stressed that one of the founders, one who she wishes to marry, would do such a thing. She has attacked ally and enemy alike to gain answers to answer why Galen became so power-hungry. In all honesty, I can only pity him. He has fallen victim to power, forgetting his responsibilities as head of the World Watchers, our peace-keepers. Now, I cannot fully disregard him or the voice of the people, so I will leave the floor open for any who wish to object. Anyone?”
“As a matter of fact, yes,” called a voice. Llyra rose from her seat and took the podium. Zarak wasn’t too scared. He figured he had it in the bag. “Nebulans, it IS true that a new movement is scary,” began Llyra, “but I have heard no testimony, nor have I seen any evidence, of this group being a terrorist organization. Trema and I have researched any police activities relating to this group.” Zarak raised an eyebrow at this, concern reaching the front of his mind now. “I am not aware of any law stating that holding public debates was a criminal offense. I have seen no graffiti on public property, I have not even heard any word of toppling our government, and whoever told my father that I attacked both ally and enemy is uninformed of what happened. My main source of answers was being treated wrong and I simply…reminded the offenders of a concept that some people forget, manners. After I heard from the Second in Command of the World Watchers that Galen was arrested, I had to find his family and inform them personally. I knew they would cover all bases, but Trema wasn’t on Nebulos. I found her on a planet called Mobius. Back when many of us were young, it was the site of the last battle in the Great War between our Decepticon allies and their enemies, the Autobots. I am, of course, implying that Earth has become this Mobius. A group of them have become her friends and have voiced their disapproval of Galen’s imprisonment. Obviously, interstellar notice would bring ruin to us. Therefore, I must urge his release. I do have the necessary petition to release him, the necessary signatures, even from the off-worlders, and the Seal of Approval from the Prison Warden.”
“…With what my daughter has said,” grumbled Zarak, “it would seem a vote on Galen is in order. Because my daughter and I are involved, we cannot vote, only act on the will of our fellow peers. You have 10 minutes to decide.” He and Llyra then left the Council chambers and waited outside. “You would dare retrieve a petition behind my back?!” he hissed.
“Galen is my betrothed, Father,” replied Llyra. “His voice has weight on the Council. Trema needed help to get her son out. I fail to see the issue.”
“The issue is that you are falling for Galen!” shouted Zarak. “He is dangerous! Power-hungry!”
“The man I love may be many things,” argued Llyra, “but power-hungry is not one of them. This locking up of political rivals isn’t like you! Nor is promoting an idiot like Monzo to Traboon or allowing members of the High-class to lord their status over their enemies or Low-class fellows! What’s happened to you?!”
“I have issues that demand my attention!” replied Zarak. “Some things need to be sacrificed for the greater good of Nebulos!”
“Be careful saying that, Father,” remarked Llyra. “Those who would tell others to give up a few of their freedoms to gain safety deserve neither.”
“Llyra, I have a summit coming up on Blesagh (Wednesday, by our calendar), and I do NOT require any demonstrations during that time!” snarled Zarak
“You would get demonstrations out the rear if Galen stays locked up!” argued Llyra. At that moment, a Councilwoman poked her head out the door.
“Excuse me,” she called, “the vote has been decided.”
“We will discuss this later,” Zarak hissed to Llyra as they entered the chambers.
“Supreme Councilor Zarak, Son of Zoonthar,” began the speaker at the podium, an elderly female, “Llyra, Daughter of Zarak, the Council of Peers has made its decision. As you are peers, you are bound by your oath to abide by our decision even if it goes against your personal feelings. Do you understand?”
“We do,” replied Zarak. Llyra nodded to confirm Zarak spoke for her.
“The petition, while acquired in an unorthodox manner,” declared the speaker, “IS legal and has gained interstellar attention. It would look poorly upon our honor and dignity if we locked up a voice that simply spoke ideas contrary to our own and has committed no aggressive action. Galen is to be released at once.”
“…If that is the decision of our peers,” hissed Zarak, “my daughter and I will abide by it. I trust there is no objection to my allowing Llyra to open Galen’s cell?” The voting board flashed red, indicating no objections. “Very well,” said Zarak. He handed Llyra a key. “He is in Cell 25, Block 4, Ward Y,” he told her.
“Thank you,” bid Llyra. She then left the chambers with a fat grin on his face.
“…Now that THAT’S out of the way,” sighed Zarak, “we have other business to attend to. Farmer Ramzar is requesting 50,000 Gorruks for compensation of his Shplenargh (Nebulan beast of burden, a combination of a camel and horse). It seems that one of the overseers we assigned to that farm allowed the beast to die of an untreated infection.”
Galen sat in his cell, still dressed in his usual red splendor. He played a small song on his flute, a present from Llyra. Once he finished, he then contented himself with staring at the instrument for a while. It lasted a few minutes before he spoke. “Llyra,” he mumbled, “I swear by the Rings of Nebulos, I WILL escape this prison and return to your loving embrace!”
“I thought jailbreaks were illegal,” called a voice. It was at that moment that Galen could see Llyra and all four of his parents.
“How did you get special permission to visit my cell?!” yelped Galen. “Not that I’m ungrateful, but visiting hours are over!”
“We’re not here on a visit,” answered Llyra as she produced a key. “We’ve successfully swayed the Council of Peers to release you and absolve you of whatever crime my father wrongfully accused you of.”
“We even have off-worlder signatures on our petition,” supplied Trema.
“I thought you didn’t like Llyra,” remarked Galen.
“She managed to show that she DOES care about other people,” answered Trema, “and she revealed to me a little secret.”
“I’ll tell you when we’re at the safety of your estate,” replied Llyra. “For now, we need to celebrate your release!” She put the key in the lock and opened the cell door. Galen stepped out and hugged everyone.
“I am forever indebted to you all!” he cheered.
“And I am indebted to Llyra,” replied Trema. “Without her help and knowledge of the current state of affairs, I would have joined you in your cell.”
“Well, thank goodness THAT didn’t come to fruition,” chuckled Galen.
“Shall we?” asked Llyra as she gestured towards the exit.
“Lead the way!” bid Galen. They left the prison to see Gort waiting with Amy, Natalie, and Sira outside. Galen’s eyes popped open to see them. “Tam nar ger-renkarta Galort trukinark, ram?(You the off-worlders Mother mentioned, are?) asked Galen
“Ro ram,” (We are.) replied Sira. “I am Sira Mayworth. This is my wife, Natalie, and my student, Amy Rose O’Hedge.”
“Those sound like Earth names,” mused Galen.
“They are,” replied Sira, “however, the planet has been renamed to Mobius since the dawn of people like Amy.”
“It’s good to see you,” greeted Amy as she gave the Nebulan salute.
“And you,” replied Galen. “Mother has told me a lot about you, especially how you managed to stomach Heart of Gorfuu.”
“It’s actually very tasty,” giggled Amy.
“I’m afraid I was a little squeamish,” replied Sira.
“Enough chit-chat,” declared Trema. “My stomach rumbles.”
“To the Gardens of Eternal Peace and Harmony Macrobiotic Restaurant!” proclaimed Galen.
“The…what?” quizzed Amy, not even daring to try to say it all.
“The Gardens of Eternal Peace and Harmony Macrobiotic Restaurant,” explained Galen. “Or, if you wish to use the English alphabet, the GEPHMR, a High-class, multi-floored restaurant that has the most delicious cuisine on Nebulos.”
“Sounds pleasant,” mused Sira. “Let’s check it out.”
The GEPHMR is a rather large restaurant, even for Nebulans. All citizens of all classes have eaten there. The entertainment is also one to view, with comedians, singers, dancers, and other various performers that would knock your socks off. One of Nebulos’ most famous comedians, called Rokeri Berlim, had a steady job at the restaurant. What’s he like? …He’s Nebulos’ George Carlin. The topic he was poking holes in was about a phrase used on Nebulos. “‘Have a nice day!’” he said in a nasally voice before adopting his usual tone. “Yeah, yeah, yeah! Would you give me my f***ing change, please?” The crowd laughed. “Some people are really insistent! ‘I SAID, HAVE A NICE DAY!’ All right, all right! OKAY, GODS DAMMIT, ALL RIGHT! That’s the trouble with ‘Have a nice day’! It puts all the pressure on YOU! Now YOU’VE got to go out and, somehow, manage to have a good time! All because of some loose-lipped off-worlder! ‘Have a nice day’! Maybe I don’t FEEL like having a nice day! Maybe, just maybe, I’ve had 63 nice days in a row! And, by the Rings, I’m ready for a CRAPPY day! Let someone wish me a crappy day! I never hear that! ‘Have a crappy day!’ That’s no problem at all! All you have to do is go for Ban’graza practice some mornings! There’s no planning involved!” That got another roar of laughter from the audience. As the routine went on, Trema and her group arrived at one of the food counters. The Chef, a fat man, approached them.
“Tam roko al ogi, balt di?” (You wish to eat, what do?) he asked.
“Let’s see,” mused Galen, “we’ll have some Dormako,”
“Dormako,” repeated the Chef as he served it up, purple looking ground beef.
“And some Galtorii, no sauce,” continued Galen
“Galtorii, no sauce,” replied the Chef as he put the food on a plate, a red lettuce-looking vegetable.
“And some Borgu,” finished Galen. “Wait, would that be too much for our smaller visitors?” The Chef cut up smaller portions of a light violet fruit that looked like an apple with warts on it.
“And Borgu, with smaller portions for the smaller visitors,” he confirmed.
“May I?” asked Amy.
“Don’t be alarmed,” warned Galen. Amy picked up a small pinch of the Dormako and winced.
“Galen, I can’t eat this,” she replied.
“I know it looks odd, but…” assured Galen. Amy turned to the Chef.
“What are you trying to pull here?!” she snarled.
“Is there a problem?!” boomed the Chef.
“Your preparation of Dormako!” answered Amy.
“If you don’t like it, don’t eat it!” roared the Chef.
“This thing looks purple!” declared Amy. “I want it to look as if it was bathed in your Gods’ blood as your ancestors destroyed them!” The Chef then realized where Amy was coming from.
“I see you have tasted both the well-done and the RARE stuff!” he laughed. Galen was surprised.
“You’ve tried rare Dormako?” he asked.
“Your mother brought a sampling of many Nebulan dishes,” explained Natalie.
“We prefer the rare stuff,” assured Sira. “The well-done stuff made us barf.”
“I like off-world customers that know cuisine when they eat it!” cheered the Chef. “One minute!” He took the plate back and dumped the contents into a bin labeled “Rokamro” (Compost) and put the plate in a sink. A fresh plate was taken and he put blue Dormako on the plate along with the un-sauced Galtorii and the Borgu.
“Much better!” praised Amy. “There’s nothing worse than scorched Dormako.”
“On that, you will receive no argument,” agreed the Chef as he accepted Galen’s payment. “Rakel!” (Enjoy!) Galen’s group then found a table and sat down for their meal. They ate with chopsticks. Galen then noticed that Llyra’s chopsticks were holding a piece of Dormako near his lips. Galen smiled before eating it. He then gave a piece to her and she accepted.
“You two lovebirds enjoying yourselves?” teased Gort.
“Wait until you fall in love,” chuckled Galen. “You’ll see why we do what we do.”
“Doubt it,” replied Gort.
Over at the Council chambers, near their landing pad, Zarak was awaiting an arrival via Space Bridge. Krunk and Grax flanked him, all three looking nervous. The Space Bridge portal appeared. “Here they come,” gulped Grax.
“We’re going to catch some beri (s***), aren’t we?” mumbled Krunk.
“The notion has crossed my mind,” replied Zarak. Figures then appeared in the portal and came towards them in a slow, purposeful march. A flying object followed them. Soon, they revealed themselves to be Starscream and his Seeker Trine, Eggman, the Metarex Five, and Megatron. “My allies,” called Zarak as he knelt, “you honor my house with…”
“Get up,” demanded Megatron. “Kneeling isn’t like you.”
“No, of course not,” replied Zarak.
“Now, I believe you have a report on the state of affairs here?” quizzed Megatron. Zarak gulped.