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Last updated:
10th Jun 2001

Unwelcome Guests and Fair Trades

An Untold Tale of the Legion
The action takes place between pages 26 & 27 of LSH 50.

The Legion of Super-Heroes were getting increasingly ticked off by their Sklarian "guests". In the first few hours of their visit they had systematically ransacked every room, workspace and deck of anything portable and valuable. Apparently being friends with one of the Sklarian number, namely Kono, conferred no immunity from the Sklarian's piratical ways. In desperation the LSH had called an emergency meeting to sort out a way to deal with the thorny problem of evicting their unwanted guests, who as family to Kono technically warranted hospitality but whose behaviour called for otherwise.

"They're little more thieves!" Loomis exclaimed, quickly adding, "Er, no offence Sussa."
"None taken. They're just trying to make a living, I say leave well alone."
"Well, I say shove them through the nearest airlock." Suggested Vi.
"But we cannae do that!" Said an alarmed Devlin.
"I was joking!" She sighed. While Devlin's naïveté and politeness were often refreshing they all too often bordered on the irritating.
"Perhaps Sussa has a point." Jo said.
"You surely can't condone their actions?" Said Ayla in surprise.
"Maybe not but, I have been in a similar situation, so I can appreciate why they're doing what they're doing." Jo replied.
"I thought you'd be glad to be rid of them after all the sexual harassment you're getting from them." Ayla continued.
"Nah! Jo's a big boy! Aren't you, Jo? He loves all that attention, eh?" Said Sussa ruffling Jo's hair. Much to his annoyance and almost everyone else's amusement.
"Hey! Pack it in!"
"I think we're straying from the point" Said Rokk, attempting to restore a semblance of order to the proceedings.
"Yes, nothing seems sacred. They've even been through the medi-lab, I'm sure they'd've taken the bed from under Dawny if Brin hadn't growled at them!" Said Ayla.
"The Sklarians ignore our constant requests to stop thieving and refuse to check their weapons. They've even made "light-hearted" threats of death and mutilation." Said Loomis.

Brainy had quietly slipped away. Throughout the meeting he had kept alert but silent, until he could no longer see any reason for staying. He could understand their feelings even if he didn't share them. His private quarters had been rummaged through but his lab was safe. Hermetically sealed and triple security locked, the things that mattered most to him were quite safe. He entered his lab surveying his inviolable kingdom allowing himself a touch of righteous superiority. The hermetically sealed and triple security locked bulkheads cut off his cry "Oh my Gawl NO!!", as they closed shut behind him.

"Rokk you must do something. My whole lab has been turned upside down. They are a patent liability. My lab is full of highly sensitive equipment. Suppose one of them had accidentally triggered BION?!?" Brainy demanded.
"Sigh. Fair point Brainy. But short of terminal response I don't see what I can do. They're Kono's family, after all."
"Oh more of those great leadership skills. Eh, Rokk?"
After this revelation the meeting quickly degenerated into a slanging match.
"Hmm." Mused Sussa. "Jo, could I have a word." She said quietly taking Jo to one side, "And you needn't look so worried, I'm not after your body. This time..."

Some hours later the Sklarians finally left. The whole team had gathered to watch them leave the docking bay, and now they congregated around the main control room monitor to watch the ship leave local space.
"Thank grife for that!" Exclaimed Loomis, voicing the common feeling, as the Sklarian's cruiser pulled away from Talus.
"I suppose we'll have to make an inventory to see what we're missing and re-supply." Said Rokk stoically.
"Oh, I don't know." Said Sussa.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Asked Rokk suspiciously.
"Looks like we're counting our blessings too soon. They're coming to a dead stop about 20 klicks out..." Interrupted Ayla, temporarily serving as the flight supervisor.
"Oh gawl! Don't tell me they're coming back." Cried Loomis in mock anguish.
"Actually, they look dead in the water." She replied.
"Incoming message." Said Devlin, switching it from the smaller communications console he was manning to the big central monitor.
The livid image of Captain Bel An'nan appeared before rapidly launching into a tirade "You chuffing thieving treacherous bastards. Return our equipment immediately or we'll blast your verminous asteroid to ions!"
"What the bloody hell is she talking about?" Implored Rokk.
"Now, now. That's no way to address your daughter's friends." Said Sussa pushing in front of the gathered throng.
"Fire away our shields can take your worst." Remarked Jo joining Sussa.
"But not their best." Loomis added under his breath.
"What is going on?" Rokk said, his confusion growing.
Captain An'nan's attention had been distracted, she was looking away from the view screen and concentrating on a hastily whispered message, before suddenly exclaiming, "Gods!! The sneaking, conniving... !"
"Er... Please forgive my earlier outburst." She said regaining her composure with admirable speed. As a merchant captain she was well able to control her temper, and knew when to threaten and when to negotiate, or else she was liable to be rapidly replaced by a collection of loosely associated atoms. "You are quite right our behaviour is quite unforgivable.
"But enough of your amusing little joke". She paused briefly to emphasise that it was anything but, "Please, return our property to us."
"What property is she talking about?!?" Cried Rokk. "Jo, Sussa, is this your doing?"
"Well, you are merchants, perhaps we could agree to some kind of exchange." Sussa continued.
"Exchange?!? Exchange what's rightfully ours? That's blackmail! There can be no deals!" Retorted Captain An'nan.
"Oh no, they couldn't have." Said Ayla, suspecting what Jo and Sussa had done. "Oh that's priceless."
"What? What?" Asked Rokk getting seriously distressed. The light suddenly dawned "Oh no! Please, tell me you haven't!"
"OK. I suppose we could always wait, content ourselves with... salvage... later." Sussa continued speaking to the Captain ignoring the furore around her.
Captain An'nan's mouth opened and closed briefly, her mind turning over a number of appropriate fates for the Legionnaires. In desperation all she could come up with was, "You wouldn't dare..."
"Jo, what are you playing at?" Kono's voice suddenly came from off-screen.
"Hey c'mon Sussa that's a tad vicious." Said Jo giving her a sharp look.
"Drive coil, weapons systems couple," She said producing each item as she named it. "Life support is intact but your power won't last forever."
"This is too, too beautiful." Exclaimed Vi, that part of her that still viewed things from a military stance admiring the simplicity and effectiveness of her friend's action. "Each item small enough to carry concealed. Yet vital to the running of the ship."
"Oh God. They have." Said Rokk flatly.
"Sussa and I took them from the Sklarian ship using our unique talents. We figured we couldn't just take our things back by force but we could use this stuff as a bargaining tool to... er... trade it back." Jo explained quietly to Rokk.
"But, we're Legionnaire's dammit! We're supposed to stand for something!" Rokk retorted.
"Rokk, shut up." Put in Ayla.
Meanwhile, Captain An'nan continued to ponder on the view screen, then abruptly came to a decision, "Alright. We agree." She said resignedly.
"Dump everything you've lifted into a container and jettison it. We'll pick it up, and once we've checked it we'll return your drive coil, navi-comp core and main weapons system couple." Sussa instructed the Sklarians.
"But that'll take hours!"
"OK, your funeral, you shouldn't have been so greedy."
"Alright, alright!" Said a seething Captain An'nan cutting short the exchange, by terminating the comm-link.
"Must've been something I said."
Brainy couldn't help a broad grin. "Morally suspect though this course of action is, it is a truly delightful piece of strategy, quite masterly." He said.
"Brainy! Not you as well!?!" Rokk exclaimed.

Six hours later the last of the cargo containers had been unloaded and its contents checked off. If nothing else the speed and thoroughness of the Sklarian's had to be admired. Tired but pleased by the outcome of their little scheme, Jo had excused himself and found a secluded port with a good view of the Sklarian ship. Now he watched as the Sklarian ship left, for real this time, the glare of its rockets quickly dimming before making the jump into hyper-space. He was sad to see Kono go, but even more deeply troubled with the company she now kept. Kono's many pranks had just been harmless fun but now the "pranks" would be backed by a blaster and the fun didn't seem quite so harmless. And, as recent events had showed, the Sklarian's could appear disarmingly roguish until you got on the wrong side of them. Still, she was a tough cookie, she could look after herself, and she was with family after all. If only he could be sure, but then nothing in life was certain. He sighed and said goodbye again, he was going to miss her.

— FIN —

Notes: The appearance of the Sklarians "merchants" in LSH #50 prompted me to write this little diversion. I just can't see the Legionnaires sitting idly by while their headquarters were being ransacked. In the event, it was Sussa who initiated the "retaliation", but considering the nature of the course of action taken, I doubt that the team would've acted on it even if they'd come up with it. After reading Bel An'nan's comments in L* #10 I briefly considered toning down the ending, but on reflection given the Sklarian's actions in LSH #50, I figured she was a lying cow.


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