DRAGONHEART - Draèí srdce


Pauline Botting
The story is pure fiction and the names of Lore and Data belong to Paramount.

Pøeklad od Lucyly

The market place was busy in the small town of Quinton. All the stalls were doing a roaring trade, all except Darla’s. She had sold nothing for the past two days and today her boss was returning from a business trip. Darla watched as the people walked by, there were a few people that stopped and had a look at her stall but they soon moved on. The trinkets that her stall sold were of no interest. Although the prices were very high. Darla sat down with a sigh and then something caught her eye. A movement behind one of the other stalls. She saw someone hiding and they were watching the people going by. Darla also noticed that further down the alley two Pakleds came puffing along toward her stall. The two odd looking creatures looked as though they had been running and their faces were covered with sheen of perspiration. They both wore very heavy looking uniforms despite the considerable heat, and they were both armed. One of the Pakleds looked at Darla and said,
“We are looking for him”
“Who?” Darla asked
“He said that he would makes us strong”
Darla sighed,
“Who are you talking about?”
“We knew him before and he lied to us and he said he would make us strong”

Darla gave another sigh and decided to ignore the two oafs. Just as she was going to sit back down she felt something touch her right leg. She looked down and at her feet was a human male but he looked different from the humans she was used to seeing. Darla crouched down and looked at the man and said,

“What are you doing?”
“Help Me,” the man said in a low voice.
“Help me get away from these two”
Darla looked up at the counter and then she felt a tug on her sleeve. She looked back at the man who gave her a pleading look.
“Please. I can’t let them find me”

Darla looked at the man’s features. Although he looked human, there was something a little different about him. His skin was very pale and his eyes were yellow. He was dressed in a black jumpsuit and he had black hair slicked back from a high forehead. He was rather striking and Darla thought for a moment. Then she stood up,

“Hey” she said to the Pakleds. “You know, I did see something a human came through here and was hiding over there behind that food stall.” Darla pointed a little over to her left. The Pakleds looked to where she was pointing and headed off in that direction.
“Thank you” came a voice behind Darla. She looked round and the man had stood up and watched as the two bumbling Pakleds waddled away.
“What did they want you for?” asked Darla
“I had business with them sometime ago. I didn’t realise they would have a good memory”
“MMM” Darla sighed, “It is not wise to double cross Pakleds. The are somewhat slow but they can be dangerous if provoked.”
“Thanks for the advice.” The man sighed. He then looked to see if the Pakleds were coming back. When he saw that it was safe to move on he started to go back toward the gates of the town.
“Hey” Darla called after him, “Who are you?”
The man turned back to her and said with a grin,
“You can call me Lore”

Darla watched as Lore walked away. He was the most unusual man she had ever seen. For the rest of the day she couldn’t help but think of him. Her thoughts though were soon shattered when her boss finally got back from his trip.

“You have sold nothing!” he shouted. Her boss was a Falcoron and his pale green skin seemed to take on a brighter tone when he was angry.
“What have you been doing all this time? You are the most lazy assistant I have known” his voice was getting louder and Darla just sighed and then said, in just a loud voice as his,
“What is wrong with you? Your trip not the success you hoped for? Didn’t Selene do you any favours!” Darla then looked over at the opposite stall and a very embarrassed looking Orion woman quickly disappeared behind her stall.
“What do you mean?” Darla’s boss demanded
“Oh come off it Tarkin, everyone here knows about you and Selene. Anyway no one is interested in these pathetic things you are trying to sell.” Darla shouted and then she picked up something from the counter and held it up to Tarkin.
“Who would want to buy a Klingon forehead cleaner. A Klingon has never been to Corbin 4 in a hundred years. It is all expensive rubbish.”
Tarkin’s mouth dropped open.
“You are fired” Tarkin said, pointing a shaky finger down the alley.
“Get out! Now and give me back that uniform!”
“Now?” Darla asked a little teasingly. She then pulled a sleeve down from her shoulder exposing a tanned upper arm.
“NO!” Tarkin said holding up both hands to stop her.
“Your welcome to your dress back” Darla said and then nodded her head toward Selene’s stall, “Is it one of her cast offs, besides it is not my style.”
Tarkin gave a exasperated sigh and said,
“I knew that I shouldn’t have hired a Ulonion for an assistant especially a female. They told me you could never trust the females! They said you would be trouble!”
Darla grinned as she walked away,
“Then go and tell them (she paused) there are completely right!” and she gave a laugh and headed for the town gates.
As Darla walked through the busy streets and headed for the town square, she saw a commotion going on. It seemed to as though a fight was going on.

As she got closer to the fight she saw Lore hoisting high over his head one of the Pakleds that had been chasing him. The other one Darla noticed was lying on the ground unconscious.  From the other side of the square, Darla saw a woman and she was running and pointing to the fight that had attracted quite a few onlookers by now, and behind the woman two law enforcers followed.  They pushed their way through the crowd. Lore looked and saw them heading toward him. He dropped the Pakled down and with a heavy thump and ran toward one of the side streets.

Darla saw where Lore had ran to and decided to follow him. Darla walked down the side street and it narrowed as it went on. She seemed to be walking for a long time, when suddenly as she rounded a turn a hand came across her face and she was dragged round and pushed against the wall.

“Why are you following me?” Lore demanded
Darla managed to pull Lore’s hand from her mouth,
“I was wondering where you were going,” she said.
Lore straightened up when he saw who it was.
“Well, well, well if it isn’t my saviour from the market stall”
“I saw you fighting the Pakleds” Darla said, “You must be strong to lift a fully grown male Pakled. Who are you?”
Lore smiled,
“You are curious” Lore grinned and he was about to say something else when Lore saw the two enforcers making their way up the side street. Darla looked to where Lore had seen them. She thought for a moment.
“They won’t stop until they find you,” she said to him. “I have a room at The Unicorn Inn, you can rest there.”
Lore looked at Darla for a moment and nodded,
“Take me there”
Darla then took Lore by the hand,
“This way” and they headed back the way they had come.
Darla’s room was only small just enough for one. It had only a couple of chairs, a table, and a small bed. Darla lit the only candle in the room and set it down on the table. Lore went to the window and looked out. It was getting dark. He then turned and walked across the room to the table.
“I don’t understand.” He said looking at Darla, “Why are you trying to help me?”
Darla shrugged, “I don’t like Pakleds. They smell”
Lore gave a little smile. “I do appreciate your helping me.”
Darla smiled, “Don’t mention it.”
“I could show you how much I appreciate your help” Lore said walking over to Darla and backed her up against the wall. “ I have never seen a woman like you before” he said getting closer to her. “Lovely red hair and lilac coloured eyes. You are an Ulonion aren’t you?”
Darla seemed unperturbed by Lore’s advances.
“Your powers of observation do you credit Lore but please back off.”
“I know why you helped me” Lore gave a smug look, “You couldn’t bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight.”
“I’m warning you Lore. Back off now” Darla’s voice remained calm and as Lore leaned toward her as though to kiss her, Darla placed her hand on Lore’s chest and with a strong shove she sent the surprised Lore across the room and he landed in one of the chairs. He looked at her opened mouthed.
“Feisty” he said as he got out of the chair. He kept his distance from her as he saw that Darla was ready if he tried again.
“I am sorry Lore, but I did warn you. I want to change out of this dress so if you wouldn’t mind turning round.”
“Do I have to?” Lore said
“Yes” Darla stated and she turned her back to him and fiddled with the buttons on the back of the dress.
“Need a hand?” came a voice behind her. Darla glanced over her shoulder and saw even though Lore did indeed have his back to her he was looking at her reflection in the window. Darla gave a grunt of disapproval and Lore put up his hands.
“Alright” he said “I will go and wait in the hallway” and with that he went to leave the room, Stopping at the door as he opened it, he glanced back and saw that Darla had removed the dress and she had on a short white slip. Lore smiled at the view.
“Nice legs” he said.
Darla looked up,
“Out!” she said pointing out into the hallway.

Lore walked out of Darla’s room and went into the hallway. He smiled to himself and thought of what had just occurred. He was beginning to like Darla. He went to a small window nearby and gazed out into the street. He saw lights coming on in some of the houses and quite a few people were either heading home or making their way to the inn. A door closed behind him, he looked round and Darla came out of her room. She was dressed in a tight fitting pale blue jumpsuit over which she wore a long black coat and she also wore black boots. Her titan red hair was tied back at the nape of her neck with a small leather thong and around her waist was what looked like a small knife. She walked up to Lore and he looked her over appreciatively.

“Very nice” he said.
Darla looked at him for a moment and then she said,
“I’m going down to the tavern to get something to eat and give this back.” She held up a bundle of clothes. It was the dress she had been wearing. “No need for this as I no longer have a job” and they headed for the stairs.

The Unicorn Inn was a very small but busy place. Down through the middle were long tables at which many people sat. Lining the sidewalls on both sides were small booths some of which had heavy drapes for people who wished to have some privacy. Lore and Darla sat down at one of the booths and a blue skinned woman walked up to take their order.

“Two ales” Darla said. The blue woman nodded with a little smile, pulled out a little electronic pad and tapped the order into the panel.
Lore was about to say something to Darla when she got out of her chair.
“Won’t be long” she said and walked over to a man and woman sat on the far side of the tavern. Lore watched to where she was going and saw her take a small bag from the man. They exchanged words and then he saw Darla throw the dress back at him. She turned round and came back to the table and sat down.
“What was that all about?” Lore asked
“That was my boss” Darla said, a little angry
“I was fired today. At least he has paid me” Darla then opened the little bag and counted the coins that slid out onto the table.
“Enough to get a meal. (She looked at Lore) Are you hungry?”
Lore shook his head.
“Tell me” Lore said and looked at Darla, “Why did you help me today? And don’t say it is because you hate Pakleds.”
Darla seemed a little hesitant.
“You intrigue me Lore.” She said, “Who are you? You don’t seem to be quite human”
Lore gave her a slow smile,
“Do you really want to know?” he asked and he shifted a little closer to her.
Darla nodded a little. Then as Lore was about to answer her, Darla sat closer to him and whispered to him,
“Two enforcers have just walked in.”
Lore was about to look round and Darla put her hand up to his cheek, her thumb rested on his chin.
“Don’t look round they will see you. Say what you were going to say”
Darla glanced up as the enforcers walked by and then she looked back at Lore. She pulled back from him a little and took her hand from his cheek. They looked at each other for a moment and for a spilt second he wondered what her reaction would be if he told her what he was. He decided to tell her.
“If you must know” he began, “I’m an android” and he waited to see what she would do. Darla sat back from him and looked at him opened mouthed.
“So that answers the question of your strength” she sat forward again just as the blue woman brought over their drinks. She placed two foaming tankards down on the table and Darla gave her one of the coins she had gotten earlier.
“Think a little differently of me now” Lore said a little coarsely.
Darla shook her head
“Should I?” she said, “ I have seen androids before, but they hardly were like you.” She looked at Lore closely as though she was studying his features. The slope of his forehead, his long nose and set of his mouth.
She came to the conclusion that for an android he was rather handsome.
“You have seen others?” Lore asked
Darla was about to answer him when they heard a voice say,
“You were the one causing the disturbance in the square today. Two Pakleds told us you attacked them. Please come with me. We would like to ask you a few questions.” Both Lore and Darla looked up and saw one of the enforcers stood at their table. He was very tall and thin. He was dressed in a black uniform. He also wore a helmet on which Darla could just see a small display on the visor and she could make out Lore’s image on the display.
“But you must be mistaken officer,” Darla said standing up. The enforcer looked at the woman, “This man has been with me all day”
“We need to talk to you as well. You and this man were seen in an alley just off the main square. You will also come with me.”
“I don’t think so” Lore stood up. The officer looked round,
“Do not offer any resistance. I am authorised to use physical force.”
Lore gave a little laugh. “What are you?” he asked,
“Enforcement droid 216 and you are under arrest.”
“That is what I was going to say” Darla said to Lore across the table, “The enforcers here are automatons.”
“A lost relative?” Lore said looking at the officer.
“Are you going to come with me?” the officer asked
“What if I say no” Lore walked around the officer and stood behind him. Darla watched Lore with interest as to what he was going to do. Behind her she heard a noise. Darla looked round and saw several more officers coming into the tavern. A circle of onlookers had formed around Lore and the officer. They were shouting and egging Lore on. Darla knew that the people who frequented the Unicorn Inn were properly lawbreakers themselves. She even saw some of them taking bets and saw a great deal of money being passed around. When the two other officers came in, Darla walked back into the crowd. She made her way through them and stood near to a man who was fishing around in his pockets,
“This looks like a good fight” and he got out several coins.
“4 Credits on the pale guy!” he shouted.

“I’ll take that bet,” Darla said and the man, not even bothering to look round, put 4 coins into her hand. Darla looked into her hand and thought for a moment and then made her way around the crowd taking bets from whoever wanted to place them. Then a yell from the other side of the room made Darla turn round. One of the enforcers had pushed a woman over and Darla recognised her as being the blue skinned waitress that had served her earlier on. The waitress had spilt a couple of drinks over a huge Droll miner. He was about 8ft tall with long shaggy red hair. They worked in the Droll mines in the hills just outside Quinton. Droll miners did not like being pushed around and even worse to have a drink thrown over him!

“Hey!” the giant shouted, “You have spilt my drink! Enforcer or not you are going to pay for that!” and he took hold of the enforcer in a headlock and pulled the officer down to the floor and started to kick him. The enforcer that Lore had been speaking to went over to help his colleague; Lore took hold of the officer as he walked past him and pulled back on the helmet and to Lore’s surprise it lifted back with a sharp snap! The helmet came away in Lore’s hand. He looked at the officer and where there should be eyes there where nothing but empty sockets from which wiring, circuitry and other components came spilling out. The officer gave out with what seemed like a high-pitched squeak and fell to the floor smoke too was beginning to pour from the empty sockets. The third officer ran up to Lore and tried to take hold of Lore’s arm. Lore turned round on the ball of his left foot and took hold of the officer by the neck and flung him over the heads of the crowd and the officer landed against the bar with a heavy crunch and slid to the floor in a heap.

Across the other side of the tavern, two men were taking an interest in what was going on. They both glanced at each other and nodded. They got up and headed for the door. Meanwhile in the tavern a fight had broken out in the crowd, Darla made her way through the scuffle and found Lore; he had lifted up a dwarf over his head, “Bite my ankles would you, you little…” Whatever Lore said next was drowned out by the shouting of the crowd. He laughed at the wriggling little being in his grasp and then he noticed Darla making her way through the throng. Lore threw the dwarf to one side not really caring where the thing ended up.

“Having fun?” Darla asked him.
Lore gave her a look and then said,
“Where were you during all this?”
Darla said nothing but showed Lore the now full bag of coins in her hand,
“I have been busy doing a little collection,” she said. Lore was about to say something when he looked behind Darla, he put his hand on her head and pushed her down toward the floor and punched the enforcer who had somehow managed to get through the crowd to them. The droid stumbled backwards and then dropped to the floor and remained still.
With a sigh Darla straightened back up again and said,
“I think we should get out of here”
Lore nodded in agreement and they both headed for the back door of the tavern.
Once outside Lore and Darla found themselves in a back alley. Just as they were going to move on a chair came hurtling through one of the windows. Darla looked at Lore,
“WOW Lore, you certainly know how to show a girl a good time” she said, a little out of breath. Lore gave her a smile,
“You are quite something yourself.”

They both laughed and started to run down the alley and headed for the town square.  From behind two shadows followed them. It was the two men who had been watching Lore and Darla from the other side of the tavern. As the two men walked on both Lore and Darla leapt out on them as they neared the town’s square. Lore wrestled one to the ground and Darla held her knife to the throat of the other.

“Why are you following us?” Darla asked calmly and she looked over at Lore and the man struggling under Lore’s grip.
“Keep still” Lore demanded and held him down.
“Do not hurt my son,” the other one said.
“Let him up” Darla said and Lore put one hand on the man’s shoulder and pulled him up to his feet. Darla lowered her knife.
“We mean you no harm” the older man said, “We only wish to speak with you.”
Lore had let go of the young man who turned round and glared at him,
“Don’t you touch me again!” he said, taking a stance.
Lore gave the man a sneer and took a step toward him.
“Let it go Lore” Darla said. Lore glanced behind him at Darla and then at the man and stood in front of him and folded his arms.
“Who are you” Darla asked, she still held the knife to the man.
“I am Drax and this is my son Kaleb. We are from Corbin 3” Darla glanced at the other man.
“We saw you in the tavern. I want to ask you both, (He looked at Lore) if you can help us.”
“To do what?” Lore asked.
“We need help on our moon. The dragon heart has been stolen from us. We thought that maybe you could get it back for us.”
Just then the first few drops of rain started to fall.
“Is there anywhere we can talk” Drax said and he pulled his cloak around him.
“We can try to get back to my room over the tavern” Darla said and as they turned to make their way back to the Unicorn Inn, the rain became heavier. They managed to find the back entrance to the tavern and made their way up the back stairs. Once in Darla’s room they sat down at the table and Drax told them of the Dragon heart.
Drax spoke in a low voice and said,
“The Dragon heart is a special stone that has been the source of light, heat and helped to grow our food. It is made of Masonite a rare stone that contains the suns rays. It is very old and two days ago it was stolen from us. My people are dying. We are not strong enough to find it and bring it back.”
“Do you know who took the dragon heart?” Darla asked.
“We believe it was Crivets.” Kaleb answered her.
“Crivets?” Lore asked, “ I have never heard of such a creature.”
Kaleb seemed to ignore Lore and spoke directly to Darla.
“Crivets are small creatures who live deep within the caves of the lower city on Corbin 3. They are only seen at night. It is believed that they had once lived in the main city before the earthquake.”
“Why would they take the dragon heart?”
“We are unsure” Drax said, “But we need help. We have transport in the space dock.” The old man got up and Kaleb did too.
“We are leaving in the morning. Will you come back to Corbin 3 with us?”
“Why should we believe any of this?” lore asked
“I agree that you only have our word on this. We just need help and by the display of your strength (he looked at Lore) and bravery I feel that you are the ones that can help us. If you do decide, meet us at space dock 9 early tomorrow.”
With that they said their goodbyes and left.
“What do you think Lore?” Darla asked sitting on the bed.
Lore thought for a moment.
“I don’t know. But we need to leave Corbin 4”
“What is this “We” business? Drax was really talking to you more than me.”
“Then stay here. No job and the enforcers will be after you now.” Lore said walking over to her. He sat down next to her on the bed and looked into her eyes.
“Besides it may be fun”
They looked at each other for what seemed a long time.
“Ok” Darla said “I was looking for a way to leave this boring planet anyway” and as she swung her legs up on the bed Lore sat a little further down the bed.
“Shall I tuck you in?” he asked a hopeful look on his face.
“We have a long day tomorrow I want to get some rest. Good night Lore.” And she turned her back to him.

Lore got up from the bed and walked to the window and saw Drax and Kaleb walking toward the other side of town. Lore looked back at the bed and Darla was asleep. He walked to the door and left the room.

He walked down to the tavern, which by now had quietened down and only a handful of people were still sat a few of the tables. Lore found an empty table and sat down. He thought of Drax and Kaleb and he was still wondering about the story of the Dragon Heart. He hoped that Darla would go with him to Corbin 3. He did like her, but a cold feeling came over him when he remembered Omicron Theta, his father Dr Soong, Data and the Borg. How would Darla react if she found out what really had happened in his life. Maybe he would tell her one-day, if she was still around. After a short while the tavern closed up and the last few had left to go home. Lore went back upstairs to Darla’s room. Darla was still asleep. Lore walked over to the bed and knelt down and looked at her. Darla was facing him and Lore leant close to her and watched as she slept for a moment. He thought of what she might do if she awoke and found him near to her. He smiled at one thought and then he remembered her pushing him across the room and he smiled at that thought too. Lore then straightened up and went to sit by the window and waited for Darla to wake up.

Once Lore and Darla had left the Unicorn Inn, it did not take them long to get to the space dock. Once there, they found Drax and Kaleb waiting by their ship. It was small, white in colour and it reflected the rays of the early morning sun. Drax’s face broke into a smile when he saw both Lore and Darla walking up to the launch pad.

“I am glad you have decided to help us. I know I have chosen well.”
Lore looked at Drax’s son Kaleb.
“Hello” Lore smiled.
The sullen youth did not reply but turned and walked up the little ramp and into the ship. Lore glanced at Darla,
“This will be an interesting trip”
Once inside the ship, Darla said to Lore,
“Don’t make trouble Lore. I don’t like the kid much myself, but behave yourself” and they noticed that Kaleb was sat in the pilots seat.
Lore sat in the seat directly behind Kaleb.
“You can fly this thing?” he asked.
Kaleb spun round at Lore.
“You bet I can! I ‘m a good pilot” the young man flared, “I could fly rings around you!”
Lore opened his mouth to say something but a dig in his ribs from Darla stopped him.
“Come now” Drax said looking at his son, and he sat in the co-pilots seat. “No arguing, Mr Lore is only joking. We have a long journey ahead of us”
As they took off, Darla looked out her window beside her and gave a little sigh. Lore leaned over to her,
“Happy to be leaving?”
She looked round at him and gave a little smile,
“In a way” she sighed, “Corbin 4 had been my home for a long time. But I have no fond memories. I am glad to see the back of it.”  And she turned and looked out the window again, and then she leant back in her seat. She looked round, Lore was still looking at her. He did not say anything, but after a moment he sat back in his seat.
After a while, Drax took over the piloting from Kaleb. Darla was a sleep as was Kaleb.
Drax glanced at Lore
“Do you dislike my son, Mr Lore?” he asked
Lore looked up,
“A little” he said
“Kaleb can be arrogant I will admit” the man gave a little sigh, “and he will not back down from a fight. He is the youngest of my four sons.”
Lore sat up in his seat. He accessed a memory file of Omicron Theta and how some of the young men there had reacted to him when he first was allowed out from Dr Soong’s laboratory. He had gotten into a fight with one of a gang of farmer’s sons.
“I have met the likes of your son before. I have learned not to trust them.”
The old man looked up,
“You seem to have a lot of anger in you, Mr Lore, but my son has done you no harm.”
“I have suffered at the hands of humanoids.”
“You are not human?” Drax asked
Lore was about to answer him when behind him he heard a noise, turning, he saw Darla getting up from a bunk at the rear of the ship.
“Are we nearly there” she asked still a little sleepy,
“Not long” Drax answered her.

The moon of Corbin 3 was covered in a dense jungle. The air was hot and humid. Although the weather did not affect Lore, he noticed that Darla slow in walking. The walk from the landing pad to the small town was only a short distance. Once in the main square, Darla noticed that in the middle of the square was a tall obelisk and at the top she also noticed that there was a hole and it was though something was missing.

“This is were the Dragon heart must be kept” she sighed.
“Are you alright” Drax asked her as he walked by.
Darla nodded “Yes”
“The air on Corbin 3 does take a little while to get used to. But you should be alright in a short while when you have something to eat”
Lore stood next to her and slipped his arm around her waist.
She gave him an odd look,
“Just for support” he said, with a little smile. “But please if you are to hurl me across the square, please not when anyone else is looking”
As they walked to the obelisk some of the townspeople came out from the small buildings that surrounded the square. The people of Corbin 3 were small and slender. Many of them had fair hair and nearly black eyes.
One man walked to Darla and Lore,
“Are you here to help us?” his voice was dry and his skin was like parchment it was almost transparent.
One man stood up on a platform just under the obelisk.
He said in a loud clear voice,
“Drax and Kaleb has returned to us with help. The two strangers have agreed to help. We honour you and make you welcome. Please tell us your names.”
Lore and Darla walked forward and it was Lore, who spoke,
“I am Lore and this is my friend Darla.” There was a hum of conversation around the crowd that had gathered. Some walked up and greeted the two strangers. Darla straightened up and Lore saw that she was a little stronger.
“We will prepare a feast,” said one of the men standing near to the obelisk.

Darla and Lore were led away to a room in what appeared to be a temple. The main chamber was filled with images of the sun and moon and high on one mural was a drawing of a bright red stone and it looked like the stone was being handed down to a man from the sky.

“What are we doing here!” Lore said and he began to pace up and down the small room.
“Just sit down Lore.”
Lore ignored her and still carried on pacing,
“There is nothing here but dust” he looked angry. “I think they just got us here for nothing
Darla stood up and walked to the window. The sky was black and not even a hint of stars or moon could she see.
“You are right Lore, it is empty here. There seems to be a sadness in these people.”
“Why don’t they just leave?” Lore said and he had stopped pacing the room and sat down on a bunk on the far side of the room. “They have a vessel! It could take them away from here to somewhere better!”
Darla gave a big sigh, walked over to Lore, removed her long coat and dropped it down on the bunk beside him.
“The people here need our help. We made a promise.”
“Well stay if you like. I am going to take that little ship and go. Do you want to go with me?”  Lore said standing up.
“I think we should wait and see what these people have to say. I mean we have come all this way,” Darla told him sitting down on the bunk.
“Well I don’t intend on staying here too long.” Lore said going over to the door. “There is nothing to gain from this! We have to tell them we are leaving!”
“Is that the reason why you came here to get something out of this?”
“Was it not yours?” Lore sneered at her.
For a moment the two of them held each other’s look and Lore saw that Darla was slightly blushing.
“They need us Lore” Darla said softly. Lore walked over to her and knelt down to her.
“They need?” he asked and with a smug grin, “How about you need?”
This made Darla blush even more. The colour of her face was nearly matching the colour of her hair. Darla sighed a little and looked down. Then after a moment she looked back at Lore.
“It was only a short time ago that, that I too thought like you. I would of come here and taken what ever I could from these people. I properly would of even taken their precious Dragon Heart as well”
Lore raised a quizzical left eyebrow, as he didn’t believe what Darla was saying. He straightened up and sat down on the bunk beside her.
“When I was younger” she turned to look at him. “ I rode with a gang of raiders. We were all arrogant and boastful. We raided villages and towns, taking anything we could get our hands on and not caring who we hurt or anything as long as we got what we wanted.” She looked deeply into Lore’s eyes,
“On one raid, we had gone into a remote village in the mountains. I had broken into a small house and was ransacking the kitchen. I picked up some food and a few pieces of clothing, when I heard a sound coming from the rear of the kitchen. I ran down to the where the sound came from and I saw a sheet covering something. I pulled it back and there I saw two children, a boy and a girl. The girl was crying and saying, “Please don’t kill us” both clung to each other, terrified out of their minds that I was going to kill them. But it was the boy who frightened me. He looked at me with such fear. Big black coloured eyes and he was so thin that you could see the bones under his skin. He said nothing but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. I dropped everything that I was carrying, turned and ran. I jumped into my transport and drove away, not knowing where I was going. I vowed then that I would never do that again. The look on the boys face will haunt me forever. I managed to leave Ulonia not very long after that. I soon found myself on Corbin 4. I drifted around for a while and then I came to Quinton and got the job at the stall.” Darla shuddered a little as she told the story. After she had finished talking she got up from the bunk and walked over to the window, folding her arms across her chest. She gazed out of the window for a moment and turned back to Lore.
“How did you come to be on Corbin 4?” She asked, leaning against the wall.
Lore stood up,
“Do you really want to know!” he seemed to a little uneasy.
“Yes” Darla said.
”How were you?…” she thought for a moment as though she was trying to think of an appropriate word? Then she looked up at him, “ made” she eventually said.
“I was created” Lore said as though he was correcting her. He walked over to Darla and leaned close to her. “Did you ever hear of a world called Omicron Theta?”
He was looking at her straight in the eyes. Gold into Lilac.
Darla shook her head as to say “No”
“That figures!” Lore sniggered
“Were you the only one?” Darla asked and she went and sat down at the table.
“No. There where five of the Soong family of androids. The first two would not function. So they were disassembled another by the name of B-4 was the next one but his programming had an error but I don’t know what happened to that one. Then I came along and I was perfect (At this Darla raised an eyebrow) I was functional in every way.” Lore paused for a moment and went and sat back down on the bunk. “ I was my father’s pride and joy” at this Darla cut in,
“Your Father?”
“Yes. I had a father. Good old “often wrong” as he was known”
“Why was he called that?”
“Because although my father was very clever, by human standards, he could never tell us apart. He made us all in his own image.”
“I guess it must been a little confusing” Darla sighed.
Lore lifted his legs and leaned back on the bunk against the wall.
“I can remember my grand unveiling” Lore said and he made himself comfortable.
“I was like his little performing pet!” he spat out the words like they had a nasty taste in his mouth.
“*Bend this iron bar for the people Lore* he would say. Recite this poem, do this, do that!! I soon became tired of it all.” Lore shifted a little uneasily, “ He promised
me that I was the one who was successful and that there would be no more! NO MORE!” Lore sat forward, elbows resting on his knees.
“He never gave me a chance” he said looking up, Darla frowned a little and watched Lore as he told her this story. He was very angry and upset by what had happened to him.
“I made them pay for what they had done,” he said
“What happened lore?”
“I wiped out the entire lot.”
“The whole planet?” Darla frowned.
“Everything!” Lore now stared at her awaiting her reaction.
Darla just blinked her lilac eyes in disbelieve, and then asked,

Lore hesitated before he answered her and even smiled a little, Darla was still in the room. She had not run screaming from there. There was something about this woman that intrigued him. He thought for a moment, pausing before he spoke,

“They took her away from me” his voice was almost a whisper and Darla saw something in his canary yellow eyes a misty look and even a tear maybe. But he continued,
“The one person that I had cared for on that paltry planet and they took her away. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye.”
“Who was she?”
“Her name was Jana. She was a lab assistant of my father’s. I liked her company. She treated me no differently than anyone else.” Lore looked over at Darla for a moment and then he said,
“You remind me of her a little”
Darla gave a little smile and listened as Lore continued.
“My father and I had an argument. I had gotten into a fight with one of the farmer’s sons. And as a punishment I was confined to the laboratories. It was there that I had found that my father had been commissioned to create another android. I saw the beginnings of his body in the lab.

Because of the incident I had become an embarrassment to my father. He had promised me that he would never create another but he was doing so. He said that the new android was to be called Data and he would be my brother. I was so angry I left the lab and found my way through to one of my father’s workshop. Jana was working in there that day. I walked straight through and found myself in a storage room. As I tried to consol myself, Jana had followed me. She asked me what was wrong, and when I told her, she comforted me. Before we knew what happened, we ended up kissing each other. (Darla smiled at this) We made love in that storage room. Following that we saw each other whenever we could. Before long I could be let out of the laboratories and into the colony. Jana volunteered to be my escort and most times we ended up at her apartment. Just to be with her was everything to me. After we would make love, I would lie with her, my head resting against her breasts and I would think of how she made me feel complete. But it was all found out and she was sent away to one of the Omicron moon colonies. My father argued that although indeed I do have a sexual program installed but it was wrong of me to use it in the way I had.” At this Darla stood up and walked over and knelt down in front of Lore. He looked down at her and Darla saw that Lore eyes were lined with a yellowish liquid as he continued,

“I maybe just an android, but I know what love is. I know the difference between accessing a program and making love. But my father didn’t believe it. Before long I found out that I was to be deactivated and taken apart.”
“And then you took your revenge out on the people there.”
“Yes” Lore said with a little grin but it soon faded and the yellowish liquid came back to his eyes.

Darla straightened up onto her knees, lifted and held Lore’s head in her hands, looked at him for a moment and then kissed him softly on the mouth. Lore looked back at her, paused and kissed her back. They’re arms slid around each other as the kiss intensified. A moment passed and Darla sat back on her heels, looking at him she said with a sigh,

“Mate with me?”
Lore was a little taken back with her request and then leant forward,
Placed his fingertips against her lips,
“Not here” he whispered, “ I can hear someone walking to this room”
Darla kissed his fingers and then stood up just as someone knocked on the door.
“Come in” Lore said.
The door opened and in walked Drax and two other men.
“We have prepared a feast in your honour. We do not have much but we will share.”
Lore and Darla were led out of their room and into the small square. In the centre, just in front of the obelisk was a long table dressed with a small amount of food
and drink.
“I don’t eat” Lore whispered to Darla.
She looked at him and smiled,
“Just pretend” she said, “ These people do not have much and you don’t want to insult them”
As they sat down at the table, Drax poured out a drink for Lore and Darla,
“We are glad you are here. When I saw you in tavern fighting with the enforcers, I knew that you were the ones that could help us.” Drax then looked over at a group of four young men. Darla saw that one of them was Kaleb and she guessed that the other three was Drax’s sons.
“Kaleb was not keen I will admit on my choice. Both of you stood up to the enforcers. They once tried to spread their authority to here but they soon found out that they were not welcome.”

Darla noticed that Lore had been given a plate of food and he was looking at what looked like a vegetable, he picked it up, sniffed it, made a face and then was about to put it down when he felt Darla tap his foot, he looked at her and she gestured for him to taste the item. He took a little nibble and put the vegetable back down on the plate. Darla tried not to laugh as she watched him.

Darla then looked up at the obelisk, 
“Is this where the Dragon Heart was kept?” she asked putting a little piece of bread into her mouth.
“It is” Drax answered her.
“How did you get the Dragon Heart” Lore asked remembering the mural on the temple wall.
“It is said” one of the other men answered, “ That a Dragon once roamed the land of Corbin 3. It became our protector and when it died it gave the people of Corbin 3 its heart. But that is a story that is told to our children.
The real story is that it came here from the skies and fell as a meteorite. The stone was unlike anything that was known. It had a rare quality of being able to contain the rays and heat of our sun. Even after the sun has set. The stone gives light and heat.”
“Then why did you think the Crivets took the stone?” Darla asked
“We are unsure” Drax answered her, “We think it is for the generators that help them work in the mines.” He then turned round and looked behind him and pointed of way into the distance.” The Crivets live in the mountains to north of here. We will guide you there tomorrow. It will take a day to get to the mountains. The old city is buried there and we believe that is where the Crivets took the Dragon Heart.” He then looked at Lore and Darla, “ I hope that you will be successful. We sent a search party up to the mountains not long after the heart was taken, but they never returned. Only Kaleb made his way back safely”

As Drax spoke, Lore noticed Kaleb was looking a little agitated about something. He was looking at his father and one of his brothers was trying to talk to him. Lore watched what was going on and then he smiled as he overheard some of the conversation.
“You must not tell father” Kaleb whispered to his brother, “ I will be guiding our rescuers and they will not be successful. I will make sure of that.” With that he got up from the table, made his excuses and left.
After their meal, Lore and Darla walked back to their room at the temple. Once inside, Lore closed the door.
“I noticed Kaleb talking with his brothers during the meal” he said making his way over to the window. “I think he knows more about the theft of the Dragon Heart then he would let us believe. He is to be one of the guides that will take us to the mountain tomorrow.”
“How do you know all this?” Darla asked sitting down on the bunk.
Lore grinned and tapped his left ear, “Good hearing,” he said
“I don’t trust him” Darla sighed as she let her long red hair down from the ponytail, and she yawned and then stretched out on the bunk.
Lore smiled as she did this.
“Room for one more?” he asked a little hopeful.
Darla smiled,
“Of course” and she slid back against the wall. Lore walked over and accepted her invitation and lay down next to her. Darla lifted the sheet up over both of them and then snuggled in against Lore’s side. They looked at each other for a moment, Darla lifted her head up slightly and Lore kissed her. After a moment they broke away from each other, Lore sat up and swung his legs out from the bed and stood up. Darla looked up at him a little confused,
“Is there something wrong?” she asked and sat up herself, she reached out and took hold of Lore’s left hand, and he turned back to her.
“It is not you” he sighed, “It is me”
“What do you mean?” Darla said and she got Lore to sit back down next to her.
“Is it because of what happened to that girl, Jana is it? Well it won’t happen with me. No one will send me away Lore” Darla said still holding his hand. Lore shook his head. He then kissed Darla’s hand and looked deep into her eyes.
“No” he eventually said and then his face took on a more serious tone,
“Have you ever killed?” he asked her in a very straightforward way.
Darla blinked her eyes.
“Why do you ask?” she looked a little taken back by his words. Lore took his hand away from her and said,
“Because I have killed” his voice sounded cold and then he told her everything. He held nothing back. He told her of the Crystalline Entity. How he manipulated Data, stealing the emotion chip that their father had made so Data could have feelings how he had wanted it for himself. The blinding rage that made him throw his own father across the room not knowing if he survived or not, and about the group of lone Borg that he had discovered and how he tried to change them, and how he nearly got Data to join him. How he felt after Data had fired on him and when Data deactivated him. He also said about the Borg when they reactivated him and turned him into a slave, their harsh treatment of him and how he managed to escape from them when the group started to break down and they started to fight amongst themselves.

Darla sat and listened to it all not saying a word until he was finished telling her everything.
“So” he said a little harshly, “ Still want me?”
Darla was still reeling a little, his words still in her head. Lore stood up and walked to the table, he didn’t see Darla’s tears.
A moment of silence existed and then Darla spoke,
“You have led a very troubled life Lore. And it seems that we both have pasts that we are not proud of.” Lore still stood with his back to her. But he still listened to her as she spoke.
“In some ways you have every right to be bitter. I know from experience, that humans can be suspicious about something they don’t understand, but it was wrong of them to treat you the way they did. But I know that deep down there is good in you, it was never given a chance to come out.
Some of the things you have said about are a little wrong. Were you jealous of Data?”
Lore shrugged his shoulders and then turned round to face her,
“Maybe” he said quietly “Data was given a chance to live and he has made something of himself. I was left in pieces to gather dust on the shelf.” His eyes were looking down at the floor and then he glanced up as Darla stood up from the bunk and walked over to him.
“Do you regret any of the things you have told me about?”
Lore looked at her for a moment and reached out and touched her mouth with his fingers again he gave a little sigh.
“You are beautiful”

Darla leaned in against his touch, turned her head slightly and kissed his fingertips. She took hold of his hand again and held it against her. She was still waiting for his answer.

“Only some of them” he finally said, “The way things turned out. I didn’t mean for it that way. I do regret what happened to Data and my father.”
“But you can’t go back and change anything Lore. It is no good living in the past. But you can make amends by what we do here and now. We will help these people to get their stone back. Maybe it is fate that we are both here together. Perhaps it is the chance we have been looking for.” Darla told him and they both walked back to the bunk and sat back down.
“I still do want you” Darla said, “But I do agree this is not the place for us.”

With that she lay back down on the bunk, beckoned for Lore to join her and he did so. Darla once again snuggled up to him, nuzzled against his neck and settled herself down and soon she was asleep. As they both lay on the bunk in the darkness, Lore thought about what he had told her. Darla had proved that she was not afraid of him. She trusted him. A time ago he would of delighted in betraying that trust, but with Darla, there was something about her that he could trust and that had not happened in a long time. He listened to her breathing as she slept. She shifted a couple of times in the night but she still stayed close to him. He decided that he did want her and he would wait until a more appropriate time and place.

The next morning was gloomy and the sky looked full of rain as Lore and Darla with three guides, which included Kaleb left the town. As they made their way to the mountain, Lore kept a close eye on Kaleb and came to the conclusion that if Kaleb in anyway hurt Darla or even cause her death, he would make sure that Kaleb would pay.

As they got to a high ridge one of the guides pointed to a large mountain in the distance.

“That is the home of the Crivets” the man said, “ We will turn back soon. Normally it is unsafe to venture any further. The Crivets hunt at night.”
Kaleb looked up,
“It is alright Elan if you and Tam wish to return home, I will make sure that Lore and Darla reach the foot of the mountain.”
Both Lore and Darla looked at each other.
“Stay sharp” Lore whispered to Darla

Darla nodded and they both followed Kaleb as they continued along the trail. They all walked in silence, but Lore knew that Kaleb was up to something. They found a clearing near to the foot of the mountain and decided to stop for the night. After a light meal, which consisted of mainly vegetables and bread, Kaleb said that he would take the first watch.

“Crivets hunt at night” Kaleb said, “and they are not fussy what they attack. They can get very hungry.”
“Have you seen them?” asked Darla
“Yes I have.” Kaleb seemed to be talking as though he was telling a story. It was as though all of this had been rehearsed in some way.
“When I was with the search party that followed the Crivets back to the mountain after they had stolen the Dragon Heart. They must have turned back and they attacked us. They are vile creatures and they will eat you alive if they can.”
Just then a noise came from the undergrowth around them. Darla jumped to her feet and she thought she heard a slight growl coming from behind her and she drew her knife.
“Stay close” Lore told her and he turned round to say something to Kaleb and he saw that he was gone.
“Where is Kaleb?”
Darla also looked round,
“The little coward has gone,” she said angrily.

Just then there was a quiet swoosh sound and Darla saw embedded in Lore’s neck was a small dart. He reached up and pulled the dart from him and threw it to the ground. Darla was about to say something Lore turned and took hold of her. Her world seemed to spin for a moment she was dizzy. The next thing she knew, she was lying on the ground under the bushes and Lore was next to her.

“What did you” she started to say, when Lore clamped a hand over her mouth.
“Shhh” he said very quietly and removing his hand, pointed to his left. Darla looked to where he was pointing and gave a little gasp and her eyes widened. There just a few inches from they lay were, which she guessed, Crivets. They were small, round and covered in what looked like spines like that of a porcupine. They had wide mouths, which were filled with very sharp looking teeth. But it was their eyes that seemed to make Darla shudder for they were blood red and very small. She turned back to Lore was about to say something when she was once again grabbed. This time she looked round and one of the Crivets had found her and was pulling her by the hair out from under the bushes. Lore then stood up and kicked the creature. It seemed to shoot up into the air as though Lore had kicked a spiky black football. The thing landed against the side of a tree with a loud snap and dropped to the ground. Darla felt something on her foot and she looked down and saw a very tiny Crivet and it was trying to take a bit out of her. She turned her knife downward and skewered the creature through the top of the head and lifted it up. It was wriggling on the blade for a brief moment and then it stopped. She lowered her knife and the little body slid to the ground.

Darla looked up and saw Lore had one of the creatures on his back. Darla was about to go and help get rid if the thing when she saw him reach round and grip the Crivet by the neck, lift it from his back, took hold of it in both of his hands and gave a it a sharp twist and he threw it to the ground. Lore pulled a few of the small, black spines from his hands and then saw that there was more coming through the trees and even seem to come out of the ground at them.

“We will have to go,” he said to Darla, “There are too many of them”

Darla looked round at Lore and was about to say something, she raised her knife and threw it toward Lore, he managed to duck out of the way as the blade swished by him, he turned to see one of the Crivets, skewered to a tree just behind him. Darla and Lore ran from the campsite, Darla paused to get her knife from the Crivet stuck against the tree. As she pulled the blade free, the Crivet slid down the tree trunk and down to ground, a line of a reddish brown fluid flowed behind the body.

As Lore and Darla ran through the trees, Darla glanced behind her and saw the Crivets chasing them. All she could hear where the Crivets making strange gurgling noises as they ran. She looked in front of her and saw that Lore was nowhere in sight. She stopped running and called out for him. There was no answer and she was about to continue when she felt something grip her by the back of the neck and she was pulled down. She started fighting with whatever had grabbed her and then she heard a familiar voice.

“Darla, Darla it’s alright! It is I, Lore”
Darla slowed her actions when she saw who it was. She flung her arms around him and he could feel that she was shaking.
“Are you alright?” he asked,
Darla nodded.
“I found a cave.” Lore told her and after a moment both Darla and Lore found their way inside, found a safe hiding place and watched as the Crivets ran past the cave.
“That was close” Darla sighed, “Where are we?”
“I think we may have found an entrance to the mountain,” Lore told her.
“Can’t we stay here? It is too dark to see,” she said straining her eyes a little trying to see in the darkness of the cave.
“We will be alright,” said Lore. He then tapped his left temple. “ I have good eyesight” he then took her by the hand and they walked on.
They seemed to walking for a very long time and even in the darkness, Darla could just make out shapes in the rocks. As she was looking around, Lore stopped in front of her. Darla nearly walked into him.
“Lore. What is it?”
“We may have a problem,” he told her and Darla looked in front of her and Lore. She saw in front of them was a large chasm. She looked up and saw far across was the other side.
“What are we to do?”
“We can jump.” Lore said, “Its not to far”
Darla gave Lore a double take.
“You are kidding!” she almost choked “I can’t jump that.”
“I can” Lore said and with that he took a couple of steps back and took a short run and launched himself across the chasm. He landed nimbly on the other side
and called back to Darla.
“Come on!” he called, “Aim for about here” and he pointed down to his feet. “I will catch you”
“Lore” Darla shouted across to him, “ Its alright for you. You’re an android but I can’t do this! There must be another way round!”
“There isn’t” Lore shouted back, “Now come on you can do this!”
“I can’t” Darla said and she took a step backward. She was about to turn round when behind her she could see something scurrying along the ground. She looked back and swore that she saw the blood red eyes of a Crivet looking at her from the passageway.
“Maybe I can do this,” she said to herself and she swallowed hard. She then heard Lore calling out again for her to jump.
Darla took a few strides back,
“I’m ready” she called out and she ran forward and as she got to the edge of the chasm, she lifted herself off from the ground just as she closed her eyes she saw Lore waiting for her on the other side. As she sailed across the nothingness, she thought that she really was going to do this but a hard slam into the rock face of the other side, brought her back to reality. She had opened her eyes and she tried to get a foothold but the surface was loose and she slid down even more. She started to panic a little when she felt something grip her coat by the collar and she was lifted up. One moment she was against the rock face, the next thing she knew she was looking into Lore’s yellow eyes. He had managed to reach her, pick her up, but lost his footing on the loose ground and stumbled back and Darla ended up on top of him. Lore was looking up at her and said with a grin,
“Anything to get me on my back”
For a moment Darla couldn’t say anything, then she got her breath back and said,
“Well Lore” she gasped, “ At least you can’t blame me for not trying”
“It was quite an athletic jump,” Lore told her. Darla then put her head down on Lore’s chest,
“Glad you liked it”
They then got to their feet and carried on walking.
They had not been walking for long when the passageway opened out into a large cavern. There all around them was what appeared to be ruins of buildings.
“The sunken city” Lore said looking around them. “Do you remember Drax said something about an earthquake that had swallowed the old city?”
Darla nodded, “I also remember him saying that this is where the Crivets live too.” And she started to look nervously around her. They walked on some more, down through what once were streets. There were fallen columns, which they had to step over. Darla looked up and high above them was the ceiling of the cavern completely covered in. Then as Darla looked at the ceiling she saw something.
“Lore, what’s that?” Lore walked back to her and saw her pointing up to something above. Lore looked up and then at Darla and they both said,
“It is a way out” Lore said still looking up.
“Can you see a way up there?” Darla asked.
Lore looked around him and a little further on he could make out a path leading upward.
“We could try there” and they headed for the path. They found the path easy enough and it did lead up to the light. But going the other way, they heard something. They followed the sound and they found themselves in another cavern, even larger than the one they had just left. As they found a hiding place, Darla started to cough and she noticed that her eyes were beginning to water.
“Are you alright?” asked Lore.
“I don’t feel to good” and she sat down and she started to cough again this time she put her hand over her mouth.
“I don’t believe it” she was almost gagging a little, “ I think this is a Droll mine.”
“Droll?” Lore asked
Darla nodded.
“What is Droll?” Lore said sitting down next to Darla.
Darla coughed again and Lore could see that it was getting worse.
“Droll” Darla managed to say, is a powder that when refined it is a very strong medicine mainly for painkillers. But in it’s raw state like this it can be used as a narcotic.” Darla was beginning to find it difficult talking. She took a few deep breaths.
“On Corbin 4” she started again “Quinton was a mining town. Droll was being mined in the hills outside of the town.” She again took a few more deep breaths. Lore told her to stay where she was and rest while he took a further look.

A little further on Lore came upon a high ridge. Down below him he saw hundreds of Crivets and they were working machines. Some were drilling others where packing blocks of Droll into small cases. Lore also saw walking among the working Crivets was Kaleb. Lore than saw high above the workers was a tall tower and at the top was a strange red glow. It seemed to be coming from a stone set deep in a harness and he guessed that this must be the Dragon heart. His eyes then followed what appeared to be a shaft of metal and at the base of the tower was a grinding stone from which Lore could see clouds of a grey dust billowing up. That is what they wanted the Dragon heart for so they could drive the grinding machine even at night. Lore then heard a scream and he looked round and saw one of the Crivets had got caught in a part of one of the drilling machines. Kaleb walked over and looked down at the little creature and the Crivet looked up at Kaleb and it looked like it was asking Kaleb for help and Lore could see that the Crivet was very badly injured. Kaleb shook his head, raised his foot and kicked the Crivet into a dark coloured liquid that was running alongside the working Crivets. Then from the other side of the tower came another man, Lore looked carefully at the newcomer and then recognised him as the Droll miner he had seen in the Unicorn Inn in Quinton. He had the been the one who had started the fight. Now he knew that Kaleb had met with him at the Inn to talk business properly used the excuse to come with his father to Corbin 4 to find help to meet with this miner. Lore made his way back to Darla she was still sat on the ground and she had her hands over her mouth.

“Are you alright? Lore asked.
Darla nodded taking her hands from her mouth,
“Did you find anything?”
“Yes” Lore told her, “I have found the Dragon Heart. And, I saw Kaleb and the Droll miner from Quinton”
Darla gave Lore a puzzled look and then said,
“The one who started the fight at the Inn!”
“They are using the Crivets as slave labour to mine Droll. I am going to go back and get the Dragon Heart.” As he stood up to go, Darla slowly got to her feet,
“You” he said to her, “Find the path that leads to the outside and wait for me there.”
“Lore” Darla started to say, “You can’t do this alone.”
Lore lifted his hand and placed it under Darla’s chin,
“Don’t worry” he smiled “ I won’t be long” and with that he leant forward and kissed Darla’s cheek, turned and headed back the way he had come.
As Darla made her back to the path, she glanced behind her and just saw Lore go out of sight. She paused for a moment and then carried on.
Darla soon found the path and in a short time found herself outside. She was on a path halfway up the side on the mountain. Below she could see a village and she guessed that it was the village where they had started.

She also noticed that her eyes, nose and throat was beginning to clear up and that she found that she could breathe more easily. She found a place to sit and waited for Lore. She promised herself that she would give him a certain amount of time then she would go in after him. Droll dust or not.

As Lore made his way down to the mine, he saw the stream of dirty water that had run past the working Crivets. At the waters edge he could see something. He walked closer and saw a tiny body lying in the water. It was the Crivet that had been injured and Kaleb and kicked it away.

Lore lifted the little body out of the water and the Crivet raised its head and gave a snarl at Lore. Ignoring the Crivet, Lore put it down on the ground and he could see that the creature’s left arm had come out of its socket. As Lore touched the arm, the Crivet again snarled and this time made a pathetic attempt to bite Lore’s hand. With a sharp twist, Lore managed to push the arm back into the Crivet’s shoulder. The little creature squealed in pain and was about to launch itself and attack, then it paused, waved its repaired arm up and down and even Lore was surprised to see a little smile come over the Crivet’s face. The Crivet stood up on its stumpy legs and then hopped up and over the rocks, turned and looked back at Lore and then it jumped out of sight.

“Your welcome” Lore said to himself.
“Aw “ came a voice; “ Taken a liking to the little things” Lore looked up and saw Kaleb standing nearby.
Lore stood up and made his way over to Kaleb.
“So you survived the attack. I didn’t think you would.”
“Happy to disappoint you” Lore gave Kaleb a sneer.
“What happened to that friend of yours? I was thinking if you had died then perhaps she would favour my attentions.”
Lore ignored the last remark,
“Well as you have made it this far I will show what I am doing here” 

Kaleb then led the way down to the mine and Lore could see all of the Crivets working.
“Strange creatures” Kaleb said watching the Crivets. “They were difficult to start with but with the Dragon Heart I got them to work for me. You see the stone emits a powerful glow and the light can cause the Crivets blindness. The Dragon Heart keeps the machines going and the Crivets working. You see they are not used to any kind of light.
As Kaleb was talking, Lore looked around him. The little creatures looked tried and weary.
“Why are you doing this?” Lore asked,
Kaleb thought for a moment,
“Anything to get away from this place. Production is nearly finished and we have a buyer who is interested in the Droll. Very valuable in Quinton.”
“So that is it. For personal gain?”

With each word Lore said, he was slowly getting angry. He knew what it meant to be a slave and he briefly remembered being a slave to the Borg.

Lore reached out and grabbed Kaleb by the throat and pushed him down to his knees. Kaleb was unprepared for the Lore’s sudden movement and as Lore was choking him he tried to pull Lore’s hand s from him but the android was much stronger but just as he thought he was going to blackout, Lore’s grip was released. Kaleb looked up and behind Lore was the huge Droll miner. He picked up Lore by the scruff of the neck and lifted him up and threw him to the ground. Lore seemed to fly through the air and as he landed back down, he slid along the ground and into a group of Crivets. The Droll miner smiled to himself and then looked at the Crivets surrounding Lore, clicked his fingers and pointed to the Crivets to attack. Nothing happened. Kaleb and the miner glanced at each other. They both looked down at the group of Crivets and standing in front of them was the Crivet that Lore had helped. The little creature looked back at the crowd and then at Lore, then the Crivet gave a little, sharp bark and the Crivets that were around Lore, jumped up and ran forward, Lore jumped too and punched the miner, he went down and the Crivets leapt on him and somewhere in the frenzy, Lore could see the Crivets pulling at the miner’s hair, scratching his face and then one of the bigger Crivets took a bite out of the huge man’s arm and then the rest of the Crivets joined in and started to tear him limb from limb. His screams were mixture pleas for help and Kaleb at first was rooted to the spot as his friend was practically devoured in front of him, he then noticed Lore walking over to him so he turned and ran toward the tower of the grinding stone. Lore gave chase. Kaleb climbed the tower, making his way to the top. As he turned to look to see where Lore was, he was surprised to see Lore directly behind him. Lore punched Kaleb and as he hit the ground, Lore bent down, picked up Kaleb by his left ankle and held him over the grinding machine.

“Don’t let go of me!” he said panicking
“Just tell me it was you who stole the Dragon Heart” Lore said calmly  “and I will pull you up.”
Kaleb started to struggle,
“Don’t struggle” Lore told him “I may not be able to keep a hold of you. I could drop you.” And Lore lowered Kaleb down a little,
“NO!” Kaleb shouted, “Just pull me up!”
“Confess to the theft” Lore then shook Kaleb a little
“Alright. It was me who stole the Dragon Heart.” Kaleb gasped, “Now let me up!”
“Oh no, no, no”Lore said, “Not quite yet” and he thought for a moment and then said to the wriggling thief.
“Did you kill the search party that came up here after you stole the Dragon Heart?”
“I couldn’t let anyone find out about this mine, not even my father.”
“So you killed them” Lore said and again lowered Kaleb a little more.
Kaleb gave a shudder,
“If I get out of this” He seemed to be getting brave, “ I will get you for this.”
“Like to see you try!” Lore glared at him and with that Lore pulled Kaleb up and dropped him on the ground.
“Now” Lore said and pointed up to the top of tower at the Dragon Heart. “Climb up there and get that stone. You are coming back with Darla and I and you are going to tell your father everything.”
“What if I don’t?”
Lore bent down and hauled Kaleb up to his feet and then still keeping his hold on Kaleb Lore lifted him up off of his feet and held him by the throat.
“You will” Lore told him as he watched Kaleb for the second time start to choke. “Now go up there and fetch that stone down” and Lore threw Kaleb up to a high ledge.

As Kaleb climbed up he didn’t see a Crivet scurrying up the other side of the tower. Kaleb reached the top and loosened the harness in which the stone sat and the Crivet shot out its hand and sliced Kaleb’s hand as he lifted out the stone. With a yell he dropped the stone and lost his balance and fell, the Crivet along with him. Lore looked up at the sound and held his hands out and in one hand he caught the stone, the other he caught the Crivet. Kaleb flew past him and straight into the grinding machine. He disappeared under the huge stone and as it came round, Lore could see a thick red smear of blood.

“Ouch” Lore grimaced.

The Crivet in Lore’s other hand made a little squeak and as Lore sat the Crivet down the little creature snuggled against Lore’s right foot and then scurried down the tower. Lore watched the Crivet go and then he looked at the Dragon Heart it was flat and the colour was a dull red but it was warm to the touch. He made his way down the tower and passed what was left of the Droll miner. Lore bent down and picked up a piece of clothing and wrapped it around the stone. He started to walk away to find his way up to the path that led to the outside, when he heard a sound behind him. He stopped and looked round to see all of the Crivets following him.

“No” Lore said, “Go back” and he pointed back into the mine. All the Crivets looked to where Lore was pointing and back at Lore.
“You can’t come with me. This is your home”

The Crivets turned and looked at each other and it seemed to Lore that they were talking with each other. Then one walked forward and it was the one who Lore had helped with his arm. It raised it arm and then gave a little smile. It was like it was thanking Lore for helping them. Then they all gave out with a loud snarl and they were looking at something in front of Lore, he looked round and saw Darla making her over to him.

“Lore” she shouted, “Look out” and she drew her knife. Lore held his hand up to her, as she got closer.
“It is alright Darla” and he glanced back at the Crivets.
“Darla is my friend,” he told them. Darla stopped running and looked at Lore in amazement.
“Did you just talk to them?” she sounded confused.
“Yes” Lore told her. The Crivets still were snarling and then the leader of them gave a little bark to the others and they soon fell silent. Lore then bent down and picked up one of them and held it to Darla.
“There take hold of it”
Darla shook her head,
“Its alright” Lore gave the Crivet to Darla. She slowly took the little Crivet and the creature started to purr slightly. Darla smiled,
“It’s purring or something”
Lore nodded,
“They are quite affectionate.” Lore smiled.
“We have to go now,” Darla told the Crivet and she put it back down and it ran back to join the others.

As Lore and Darla walked to the entrance of the cavern, the Crivets followed them but turned back when they got to the daylight. All expect one. It was the one who Lore had helped. It stood at the mouth of the cave and watched as Lore and Darla walked back down the path that would take them back to the village. When they were out of sight, it turned and walked back inside.

As they made their way back, they noticed that the skies were clearer and everything seemed to have a fresh look. It seemed that life had returned to the valley.
Lore stopped and unravelled the stone.
“Wow” Darla said “So that is the Dragon Heart”
Lore nodded,
“Darla when we give this stone back to Drax, we will have to tell him about Kaleb”
“He has a right to know Lore. But they have their stone back and you can see everything is looking better now. I think that Drax has an idea what Kaleb was like.”
As Darla walked on, Lore stopped and called her back.
“When we leave here,” he began, “ Will you leave with me? You wont be tempted to stay?”
Darla smiled; she knew what Lore meant, she thought for a moment, walked back to him.
“I will go any where if I can be with you” she said, “My feelings have not changed”
Lore slid his arm around Darla’s waist,
“Nor have mine.” He gave her a little squeeze and pulled Darla in against him.
Darla looked into his eyes.
“I don’t know about you, but it felt good to do something like this. To help someone. I think I could get used to it somehow”
Lore nodded,
“So could I.”
“I knew that deep down inside of you there was good. I know that in some way you did regret some of the things that had had happened to you in the past as I do with myself. Maybe it is time to change. What do you think?”
Lore sighed,
“Could give it a try. It could be more rewarding.”
They kissed and then carried on arm in arm.
Drax was waiting for Lore and Darla by the entrance to his village.
When he saw them he sent word back that Lore and Darla had returned.
The village people ran out to greet them and Drax led them back to the square. Lore handed back the Dragon Heart and one of Drax’s sons climbed up the obelisk and replaced the stone in its harness and as if by magic the whole village became brighter.
“We knew that you had been successful when the light had returned to our home.”
Lore glanced at Darla and said to Drax,
“Can we talk to you?”
Drax nodded and they walked to the room at the temple.
Once inside, Lore told Drax about had happened to Kaleb.
The man hung his head for a moment and then said,
“I knew Kaleb was involved with Droll production. One of my other sons, Lomax told me the day after you had left. Kaleb had been addicted to droll for a while. I remember him telling me that he had to go to Corbin 4 for a meeting. I saw an opportunity to find help when the Dragon Heart had been stolen. I knew that in some ways, that the Crivets did not steal the stone. We never had any trouble from them before.”
As he looked up Lore and Darla could see tears in the man’s eyes.
“What will happen to you?” Drax looked at both Darla and Lore.
“I certainly wish for you both to stay here with us.”
Darla and Lore looked at each other.
“We thank you for the invitation” Lore said, “but I think we both would like to move on.”
“There is not much here on Corbin 3, and I don’t think you can go back to Corbin 4.” Drax looked a little sad,”But you can take the ship that brought you here.”
“Don’t you want to keep it?” Darla asked.
Drax just smiled,
“It could only take us from here. This is our home. I was born here, I wish to die here. My people are not the adventurous type. Take the ship as a thank you for what you have done.”
“Thank you” Lore said and the two men shook hands.
Early the next morning Lore and Darla left Corbin 3. Once out of orbit, Lore set a random course into the ship’s computer.
“Where are we going?” asked Darla.
“Anywhere the ship will take us.”
Darla stretched in her seat and got then stood up.
“It could take a while then for us to find a destination”
Lore nodded and then he reached up and took hold of Darla’s hand and pulled her to him, sitting her down in his lap.
“I think we owe each other something,” he said and he slid his arm around her waist and then onto the hump of her hip. Darla followed the movement of his hand and then looked at Lore.
“I don’t know about that,” she said teasing him a little. “They only have a few bunks at the back.”
Darla then slid from Lore’s lap, leant forward and kissed him fully on the mouth.
“But” she said still close to Lore. “ I did notice on the journey to Corbin 3, that there is a Captain’s cabin at the rear of the ship, which I think would be more accommodating. She then walked away and started down toward the rear of the ship.
Lore watched her go, sat forward in his chair, activated the autopilot and followed Darla to the rear of the ship.





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