Counter Earth Chronicles Chapter 33: A Chance Encounter

Story by Worlds Apart on SoFurry

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#34 of Counter Earth Chronicles

Last Chapter-

Alex's weekend servitude continued Sunday morning as he cleaned Lady Vermin's apartment while the she beast continued to recover from the emotional injuries she received from her latest mission. A mission that no one will tell Alex what really happened during it, no matter how many times he asks....

Counter Earth Chronicles

Chapter 33: A Chance Encounter

Day 106 continued

I turned around to look at who was addressing me. On the table at the far end of the room, I noticed a masked something or someone in some weird type of clothing.


The being was immobilized on the table and unable to move save for its head, however it could speak though.

"Geez, another fricking rebel! You know I am starting to get tired of the constant incursions you and your kind are making here at the castle! And for that matter you and your kind in general!" I said as I tried to interpret who or what I was seeing in the dim light of the lab. "The last incursion I was in nearly killed someone I cared about! Can't you guys find what you need at a general store or something?!"

"We have tried- but Castle Wundagore has such a better inventory!" The mask being shot back.

(Smart ass.)

Hmm.... it was a male human (I think). He didn't look like any of the rebels I had encountered on Counter Earth thus far- in that his clothing wasn't tattered, disheveled or dirty in fact it appeared to be some sort of red and black costume with a spider insignia in the chest area.

"Nice comeback. You don't look like a typical rebel- not like the ones I have seen any way."

"I'm not a rebel actually just your friendly neighborhood Spider---." The masked man started to say before I cut him off."

"Hey, you are the man-spider rebel that everyone has been looking for!" I exclaimed.

The masked man turned his head toward my direction as if to say something but thought better of it.

"Not exactly, but close enough." He joked.

" The hub said that you had been spotted near World Four."

"Don't believe everything you see on that. It is just as bad as television where I come from." He said to me struggling in the device that had bound him.

"Well, well, lookie at what the security system caught!" I said condescendingly to the rebel as I carefully approached the table. It looked like his hands and feet were completely covered not to mention restrained in some type of cuff device that was attached to the table preventing any sort of movement. During my analysis I also took a good look at his mask and the rest of his costume with that spider insignia on the front. Very mysterious.

"See anything you like?" He asked snarkily.

"I do like the mask, the web-like cape and the spider symbol is rather flashy. But seriously, someone in your predicament should not be joking. I know the knights from the five cities, the dictator and the public at large have been searching for you everywhere and boom! Here you are in this lab! I also heard that you aren't a beastial, but a mysterious genetically modified human- what happened to the enhanced senses and the super strength?" I asked the masked man.

"Neutralized. I... think, I mean I hope." He said gesturing at the contraption that caught him.

"How unlucky for you!" I shot back.

"You think that Lady Ursala would have warned me that the castle defenses had been slightly tweaked since my last visit. It would have been the polite and honorable thing to do since I was kind enough to assist her." The mysterious man said.

"Yes yes, my mistress, can be quite devious when she wants to be- wait, what?! "When did you assist her?" I asked the man.

"Oh it was few weeks ago. She and Junior Knight Ram were on a dire mission to rescue some of their comrades who had gone missing and were ambushed by a trio of bandits. It looked really really REALLY bad for them before I decided to lend a hand out of the kindness of my own heart."

"You assisted the Knights of Wundagore in apprehending the Bandit Trio?! Details, details, please!" I pleaded.

The man spider rebel had my full attention now. My complete utter attention.

He started to say something- was he going to tell me about this secretive dire mission that took my mistress away from me for ten days? The same mission I had been pumping her, Sir Ram and Lady Vermin to tell about for a while now? Was I finally going to know the truth?

"It's classified." He said smirking through his mask.

"DAMN IT! DAMN IT! DAMN IT!" I shouted exasperated. "That is all anyone will say to me! ARGH!!!!"

"You could say thanks sir for saving the Knights of Wundgore and helping them with their mission." He said to me jokingly.

"Only if you give me details rebel." I said still staring at the masked man.

"Let's just say that some things happened on that mission cough, cough *AMBUSH* cough, cough- that they would rather forget and agreed never to talk about- again." The man spider rebel said to me.

"Wow so my mistress ran into an ambush too? How interesting!" I said stupidly in front of the rebel.

"Mistress huh? Hey, I recognize you! You live with Lady Ursala?!"

"Uh, how do you know that?" I asked continuing our exchange.

"She has an interesting picture of you on her communicator dressed in a loincloth. Why would you wear something like that?"

(OH GEEZ!!!)

"Um, I think that day I was cosplaying for the superhero convention here in World One." I responded trying to change the subject- quickly.

"As what loincloth man?" The rebel asked inquisitively.

"So she was ambushed by the Bandit Trio? I can sympathize I experienced the same thing a few weeks ago."

"Yeah I heard about that, you were one of two investigators that were ambushed by The Poet!"

"Yeah, not one of my proudest moments." I said humbly. "But it wouldn't have happened if you blasted rebels hadn't bugged the castle. A close friend of mine was wrongly accused and nearly convicted of being a spy and rebel sympathizer because of it. You and your kind visit the castle frequently- you might have seen her a hot looking leonine female."

"I did hear about that too." The man-spider said. "That led to the investigation in World Three and the demise of The Poet and his resistance cell. If I remember correctly he was wanted by the knights alive, dead or otherwise...."

"That piece of scum did not value life human or beastial, only his cause and he got what he deserved. I tend to think that all the rebel cells think like that."

"Not all of them." The masked man responded candidly.

"Say, how is it that you know so much about me?" I asked him.

"Despite the misfortunate incident with your friend, the bugs do provide us with valuable intel from time to time."

"AHEM! It looks like your intel isn't that good. It failed to tell you about the system upgrades that were made after the discovery of the bugs." I shot back. "So what brought you to Castle Wundagore today masked man?"

"Well yeah, I was looking for some medicine for a friend who developed a recurring case of lycanthrope courtesy of an evil beastial scientist. You might know him- two horns on his head. Super intelligent and he likes to experiment on the judged, convicted and condemned." The wanted rebel said to me.

"So that is how you got caught. Too bad for you." I said to him.

"Say can you help a fellow off-worlder out of a jam?" He asked.

"Absolutely not! I am in a jam myself and don't want to add to my punishment."

"Hostile much?!" He asked making puppy dog eyes at me.

(He was being such a smart ass for someone in his predicament.)

"Why not? We are quite similar you and I both from different worlds arriving on this planet by happen stance. When I arrived, I was interrogated by the dictator before being freed by the resistance. He said that I was an unwanted variable in his grand experiment and has hunted me ever since. However you actively live with the beastials, how is it that you aren't hunted as well?"

"Because I think the High Evolutionary learned from the mistake he made with you and has allowed me to live among his creations." I said to him. "You are right, I am an off worlder- but from an alternate reality if you will. I accidentally traveled to this world while looking for another. When I tried to return, I discovered that my world had been destroyed, all life on it had ceased. So I became a resident here siding with the beastials in the process."

"You were the one!" He exclaimed.

"I am the one what?"

"You're the refugee who crashed the Knights of Wundagore's staff meeting in late January!" The masked man said laughing. "Nice entrance and great way to make a first impression!!! Good job!!! Let me guess, you were arrested, interrogated, judged and convicted for planetary trespass. For some reason your crimes were forgiven and you were adopted by Lady Ursala!!! You picked a horrible place to touch down on this world, what's wrong you couldn't find a nice forest or pasture to land in?!"

(Wow! No one except for the Knights of Wundagore, Tauren, Sorren, Lurie and Lea should have known that.)

"Um, yeah." I said folding my hands behind my head. "I had no control over that- I landed where I landed. But it did work out in the end- my mistress-- err my guardian was in attendance at that meeting. It was one of the pivotal events- my meeting her and the Knights of Wundagore that led to my adoption- that and the dictator determining that I was not a threat to him and his rule. Oh, and she goes by Lady Ursa not Ursala."

"She does now. But that was not always her name. It appears you know her, but how much do you know ABOUT her?" The rebel asked me.

(Really?! My list of questions for my she beast keeps growing- her embarrassing secret, the Bandit Trio mission and now why she changed her name.)

"That she is my guardian and I love her with all my heart."

"Is she now? I will have to add that to our extensive database on you."

(He's joking again?)

"Ok you know my life story. What's yours? How did you wind up on this world?" I asked the masked man.

"Like you. I am also not from this world as well." The man-spider said to me. "I too am from another world. I came to this one seeking a friend who joined a resistance movement to over throw the dictator and end his tyranny. He refuses to leave with me until this task has been completed. So I decided to help him and the resistance on occasion- but I am not part of it. I have spent most of my time exploring this world and looking forward to the day the High Revolutionary is defeated and we can return to our own world."

"Interesting so you claim you aren't a rebel but a independent agent- a mercenary?"

"No. more like a vigilante and by the way have you seen this world? There isn't any television, radio or movie theaters only the hub!"

"It must be a pain being wanted, having to look over your shoulder all the time." I said to him.

"Yeah, but I have my secret identity to fall back on- hello? Masked man remember?"

(He is such a smart ass.)

"However I would rather live in privilege and comfort like you instead of in the slums." He said to me.

"You misunderstand me sir, my life here- that did not come easy. As punishment for trespassing on this world, I was given to Sir Ram. He was planning on dissecting me for study. At the last minute- I was given a reprieve and was adopted. My adopter didn't have to save me. But she did. To repay her for that selfless act, I assist her, her colleagues and the empire when I can." I said as I studied the trap the man-spider was in.

"You say you earned a last minute reprieve from your impending demise? How sure are you that that wasn't staged to buy your loyalty to the empire? How sure are you that you aren't being used for some other purpose?" The man-spider rebel asked.

That question was disturbing. I don't think my sentence and reprieve was staged, hell I almost died from the experience.

"You are not the first to ask me that. Hmm... this trap- it failed to alarm. Chances are you would have remained here all weekend- until someone found you."

"Someone did find me." The man-spider said joking again. "A collaborator of the empire."

"You misunderstand me sir, I am a loyal citizen of the empire." I said annoyed.

"You mean you are a citizen of an empire that allocates benefits and privileges to its first class citizens (beastials) while refusing those same benefits and privileges to its second class citizens (humans). Many of which are suffering- living in poverty and squalor, some are kidnapped and experimented on. Some are tortured. All of them are tagged and tracked like animals. I have seen it first hand." The vigilante said to me. "You know loyal citizen of the empire whether you realize it or not, you too are a second class citizen even if you do not live in the same conditions as the rest of us."

"ENOUGH! Yeah, it is true! I admit it! But I am not actively trying to over throw the dictator or trying to bring an end to the empire! The High Evolutionary looks down on the human populace he rules over. He finds them flawed, aggressive, adversarial, irrational and self destructive and you know what? He is right." I said to the masked man. Look at this world before he came to power. Look at the resistance movement on this world now most of them have dubious methods and those are the ones that aren't slaughtering innocents!"

"But he is a despotic dictator." The masked man countered.

"Be that as it may, he brought order and peace to this chaotic world. There hasn't been a single war under his reign."

"YET!" The man-spider countered.

"This civilization, while not perfect, is thriving and prospering under his reign. The world I came from was filled with chaos, destruction, hatred, war, disease, misery and death. I do not see that on this world."

The man-spider's eyes grew very large when I made that statement.

(Nice trick.)

"Um, well most of it on this world."

The masked man then turned his head to give me such a look as if to say- do you actually believe what you are saying?

"Ok there is hatred and misery in some places on this world."

He continued to stare at me not saying anything. I felt stupid. Very stupid.

(Implied face-palm.)

"Ok a lot of places on this world." I said reluctantly.

"That is because the High Evolutionary has taken away many of the humans' rights and dignities; there is inequality between beastials and humans. I have seen it first hand." The man-spider countered. "You have probably have seen it too."

"I know that!" I shot back. "He has done that because the human populace won't follow the same rules he sets forth for his beastials. If they did- I don't think there would be strife between first class citizenry and the second class."

"No I don't think so. Even if the humans of this world did obey the same rules set for his beastials nothing would change- the beastials would remain first class and humans second class. That is why the resistance is trying to remove him." The rebel said to me.

I was angered at his statement.

"You and others like you are constantly going on and on about overthrowing the High Evolutionary and ending his rule. But you fail to look beyond that. For the sake of argument, let's say the resistance wins. What do you think will happen once he is gone?" I asked the vigilante.

"I suppose the humans on this world will establish a new government and rule the planet."

"What do you think will happen to the first class citizens- the beastials?" I asked the masked man.

He thought about it for a minute. He started to respond, but I was quicker. "I think they will become second class citizens under the new order, enslaved to humanity and be treated as the humans are now. In time they will grow dissatisfied with their human rulers and another resistance movement will arise perhaps leading to a war- or worse than what is going on presently."

"That could happen." The vigilante said- but it will be the humans' decision to determine their destiny- how to govern the planet and themselves when the High Evolutionary is gone. At any rate it will be better than the conditions they are living in today."

"Will it?" I asked the masked man. "I just see the pendulum of power swinging the other way. If that future resistance is successful the pendulum will swing back the other direction to the way things are now. And it goes on and on and on."

"So you are a sage now in addition to being a collaborator?"

"No, clairvoyant. Humans and beastials on this world will have to come together and learn to live with each other in peace. Beastials will have to stop viewing humans as less than cockroaches and humans for their part will have to stop viewing beastials as abominations of nature. That is the only way, otherwise this cycle will continue." I said to the rebel. In other words- both sides need each other. Look, I came from a world where there were no furries or beastials only human kind. We fought amongst ourselves to the point of destroying the planet. The beastials are a counterbalance to the humans's destructive nature on this world."

"Well that is one theory." He replied.

"I know this to be true vigilante, I am living proof. I have resided among the beastials for a time."

"You mean five months." He clarified.

"Yes, yes five months and I have enjoyed their culture- science, arts and entertainment. Many of them are dear friends of mine, who accept me as I am and still others are much closer than that. When the prejudice is put aside there can be peace."

"So exactly how is that going to be accomplished?" He said struggling with his bonds again.

"Like you, I have also seen the inequality between humans and beastials that the resistance seeks to eliminate. I on the other hand believe it is better to work within the system to fix this inequality rather than over throw it. How many of your kind are actually tired of looking over their shoulders wondering if and when the knights are going to take them down? If you were to work within the system you would not be wanted criminals. In fact one edict from the dictator could end all this." I said to the man-spider.

"That is nice rhetoric you have there. Well practiced and well rehearsed." The masked man said to me. "Look, I don't claim to have all the answers, but if that is true than why doesn't he issue one?!" The vigilante asked me directly.

Damn, he had me there. I didn't really have a response to that.


"The answer is that he IS the system and the system is broken, that is why the resistance exists!!!" The vigilante said looking directly at me. "For the sake of argument, let's say this come together theory of yours is right and does need to happen. What are YOU doing to promote it?"


"What exactly are YOU doing to resolve the equality issues between the classes?"


"What are YOU doing to prevent second class citizens from feeling disenfranchised and joining the rebellion?"


"What are YOU doing to convince beastials and humans that they need each other?"

"I, ah...."

"What are YOU doing to make everyone lives better collaborator?"

He had me there as well. I didn't have a response to that either. "Um, I am trying to assimilate into this society by learning the common languages on this world and helping the knights on their missions from time to time."

"That is for the preservation of the empire, to keep the status quo. But what are YOU doing to help the less fortunate? The helpless, the powerless, those who don't have a voice? Your missions with the knights are just treating symptoms of the overall disease. But what are you doing to treat the underlying cause?"

I looked at the masked man.

"You don't get it do you? It is the misery and suffering that is causing the insurgency and no amount of lecturing to rebels to work within the system is going to resolve that. Only making the disenfranchised feel better about their lives and themselves will resolve this." He said turning to me. "So what are YOU doing to make their lives- our lives better?"

He had me there.

"Listen collaborator. I am in the fight day in and day out- every day! I help the poor, rich, privilege, underprivileged, disenfranchised, beastial, nonbeastial, rebel, nonrebel on this world. And what are you doing?" He asked me again.

"Sleeping in a comfortable bed, and experiencing the culture of my adoptive world." I reluctantly admitted.

"There is another movement on this world away from the rebellion to alleviate some of the misery and suffering of those who are oppressed, perhaps to educate, change hearts and minds as well. When your MISTRESS lets you out of the house, go to the corner of Liberty Street and Battlefield Road here in World One to see it for yourself. It is a small movement, but maybe it will grow into something bigger."

"What is that another meeting place where a radical faction awaits to slaughter the innocent?" I asked skeptically.

"No the man-spider said. Something special is happening there Mr. Sympathizer. It just might rattle your cage and cause you to change your rhetoric."


"Well, my sermon is done. How about releasing me so that I can be on my way?"

" So you believe I am going to release you from this trap?" I asked the masked man.

"From one off-worlder to another who are on opposite sides of a complex issue." He said to me.

I thought about it for a minute. " It looks like we are two travelers caught up in something much much larger than ourselves." I said to the wanted vigilante.

"So you ARE going to free me from this trap?" The masked man asked again.

"You have me mistaken sir."

"I think that you will. At any point in our conversation, you could have called castle security." He added. "You didn't."

"You are right. I could have. You see, I am not a vigilante or rebel sympathizer like you, I am a loyal citizen of the empire. I have a good life here, an education, a warm bed to sleep in and those who care about me and my well- being and I have no desire in all the universe to to screw that up!" I said as I walked to the front of the lab and started rummaging through the drawers.

"So you aren't going to help me? You are going to leave me like this?" The man-spider asked.

"No. You are going to help yourself."

It was then that I found what I was looking for. A spare communicator. I grabbed it and returned to the table the man-spider was on.

He looked at me curiously as I placed the oval shaped device on his chest.

"Listen carefully. I am going to tell you a bit more than I know..."

"What?" He exclaimed.

"The humans and beastials of this world must learn to love one another, they must learn to live together in peace and harmony. All other paths will lead to destruction." I said as I walked away from the table he was on and grabbed my mop and cleaning supplies.

"I hope you find what you came here looking for. Now if you excuse me I have to resume my rounds."

"What am I supposed to do with this?" The masked man asked.

"That is a voice activated communicator. I know for a fact that Lady Vermin has the hots for you. She told me that she even kissed you once. If you want to get out of that trap- and I supposed you do, I would recommend it's time you call her and go out on a date. It also appears that you are good at keeping secrets masked man- so keep this one... you did not see me, I did not see you and our conversation never happened. Chow."

"Riiiight." He said as I left the lab.

I learned quite a few things from our encounter. I assumed that since he was wanted by the empire the man-spider was up to no good. After our lengthy conversation, it turned out that was not the case. He seemed to be an honorable rogue. If such a thing exists.

I guess not everyone wanted by the empire is truly guilty. Lea's case proved that. I surmised that this other off-worlder was nothing more than a vigilante who had experienced Counter Earth in more detail than I have- much more detail and decided to do something about the suffering he has seen; to make a difference in citizen's lives whether they are beastial or nonbeastial. He encouraged me to do the same because my rhetoric about working within the system was not going to change enough minds on either side for peaceful coexistence to take affect not when there are those that don't want it. But addressing the underlining causes that lead to humans and beastials feeling the way they do about each other just might. At the very least. He gave me much to ponder during my weekend servitude. There's that critical thinking thing again.

As for the man-spider rebel, I heard days later that Lady Vermin did indeed go out on a date with the wanted vigilante and rebel sympathizer- apparently he was questioned by her as well. She also thanked him for his assistance during her previous mission. I don't know if it was intimate or not though.

To Be Continued....

Next Week: Alex spends some quality time with the Commander of the Knights of Wundagore the one and only Lord Tiger.

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