A pop was heard. Sounded like one of Karoz’s guns with the silencer removed once more. There could be no mistake about it. She started counting backwards from 100. She would give the situation time to clear. But at 56 she could wait no more. Baker Blinker crept, tree by tree, back toward Collagesity.


On Meditation Knoll nearer the eastern edge of the forest (closest to Collagesity) lay sprawled the very red body of a humanoid alien being. It was Lockfry, wounded in the arm. Baker saw Karoz in the distance, scrounging around for something in her house. She edged closer and closer to the body.

“Just leave me alone here to die,” the being said in a bass voice (low so that Karoz couldn’t hear).

“Are you hurt bad?” Baker responded. “My you are red; hard to tell if there’s any blood or not.”

“No blood. But I will die here. Karoz is going to bury me alive and not know it. I can slow down my pulse. 10 beats per minute. 2… 1. And I’m gone to the world. A parrot that has ceased to exist. Like Karoz has in his apartment. Have you been to his apartment lately? He’s a sick boy. A sick puppy. Karoz deserves no more love than I do.”

Baker Blinker asked the next obvious question. “Are you *him*? I mean, it would seem you have to be. You’re on the spot where I last heard The Master speak.”

Karoz had found a shovel in the house and was heading back toward them. He stopped in his tracks when he saw Baker Blinker, but then moved forward again, more slowly.

Lockfry whispered “goodbye” to her as he approached.



So it was The Master, or the little man inside him who only wanted to be released from bondage, just like yourself.

Baker Blinker:

It appears so. I’ve been tending to him for 2 days now. He was hurt more by the sudden transformation than anything else. I kicked ol’ Karoz out; he was basically mended up by then. So I just traded one wounded boy for another. They’re similar in other ways.


Do you hate Karoz for what he did?


Well, he had had enough, just like me. He was just defending me. But it was still wrong. He could have killed an alien being… another one.


But he didn’t. He unconsciously aimed for the arm. And he didn’t even kill the first Ancient.


I know that *now*. A bb gun! That’s what he thinks a real gun is. Bb’s!


Carrcassonnee could have added: “And a baker b. gun at that.”

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