Sensual Sentient ♥ Episode 7

NortokShip

image source: I.F. 221C by Andree Wallin on Deviantart

Know Thy Enemy

The echo of Sida’s screams followed Blake and the others over the valley, as the Meylosian cruiser rushed them toward their fate.

“Commander?”

The familiar, muffled voice came from the other side of the black wall of Non-Terrestrial squished against Blake’s right side. “Johansen?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered.

“Who else?” he asked.

“Lupo, sir.” Engineering Junior Grade, Torance Lupo, replied.

“And Kass, sir.”

Ensign Baron Kass was a medical officer Blake had never seen outside of the infirmary before and he prayed he wasn’t the only one Sida had ordered to join the field team. The thought of her and the rest of the crew being stranded on an unknown planet without a medic didn’t help his already foul mood. Especially,  when he knew they’d most likely sustained injuries in all that chaos with the other patrol cruisers. Of course, that would only be a problem if the NT’s didn’t decide to cook them up for dinner. Fuck!

Blake ground his teeth in frustration, but he wasn’t completely irate. He would get captured a thousand times over if it meant his captain was free with a fighting chance of survival, and hopefully a rescue plan.

“Okay crew, as you’ve probably noticed, we’re dealing with the Meylos, who are supposed to be non-hostile neutrals. Filthy bleeding liars,” Blake swore, despite his lungs going numb from lack of space. “Just stay calm and I’ll get us out of this somehow. I doubt the opportunistic vultures want to go to war with Earth.”

The hot air that rushed over them wasn’t all natural, but enhanced by the cruiser’s energy field and proton net. The only thing Blake was grateful for was that he was facing the underbelly of the ship, rather than the valley far below. That would certainly make it difficult to think clearly. The trek over the jungle grew a little cooler as they passed over the large lake that followed. In no time, they were in the city that he and Sida had spied from the ridge, yet his limbs had still managed to turn into pin-prickling uselessness from lack of circulation. Noise assaulted them from every direction, but it was recognizable; the din of a bustling urban center.

The ship’s descent was somewhat nauseating and by the time it came to a hovering stop, a million different scenarios had already raced through Blake’s mind. A thousand logical steps to take. His adrenaline was still churning, while he tried to capture every new invasion to his senses. The net was slowly lowered and only a few seconds ticked by, before he felt solid ground beneath his back.

“Well, well, what do we have here?” The unmistakable nasal curl of a Meylosian’s voice questioned from somewhere nearby.

It was a male, though higher pitched than the average human male range. The Meylos accent was unique, sounding equally Austrian and British without any distinction between the two, yet warped into some kind of dual inflection.

“When I heard there were Earthlings running about the jungles, I just had to come see it for myself,” the speaker continued.

As the Meylos started his speech, the net was released and Blake’s lungs immediately inflated with the additional room, causing him to suck in huge, audible breaths. The relief from the weight and renewed circulation made his skin tingle painfully. He couldn’t even attempt to sit up while the feeling slowly returned to all his limbs. It didn’t seem to be an issue for the NT, though, who released a snarling battle cry and lunged off the tarmac. The Meylosian soldiers standing by merely cocooned him in his own personal proton net and watched him topple over onto the ground.

“Imagine my surprise in this moment to see that it’s not only true, but we have in our company, officers from Earth’s Galactic Navy, itself. To include its Commander,” the Meylos continued.

Blake and his team were lifted off the ground by the soldiers and their commentator finally came into view, stopping directly in front of Blake. His long, spindly finger ended in a talon and flicked the insignia embedded into the material of Blake’s AABV. It took a considerable amount of restraint not to deck the thing right in its ugly little face. Meylosians were supposed to be neutral diplomats, mediators and negotiators that helped set up mutually beneficial trade business between planetary systems. Blake had always found them to be an extremely pretentious race, but altogether harmless. They were the yuppies of the universe.

Blake towered over him, for the Meylos were quite petite in stature. They made up for it with the long, broad feathers that grew out of their narrow, oval scalps and curved backward like a headdress. This alone was their only distinguishing feature, each style, color and pattern unique to the individual or a genetic marker of their bloodline. Otherwise, they all looked the same. Pale coral skin, their noses nothing more than a thin spine down the center of their faces that ended in two small slits. Their mouths were small and scaled like a lizards, their eyes round and eerily identical to those of a baby Caiman’s. They were like the missing evolutionary link no one ever wanted to find.

“Last I heard, GINESS was welcome in the Meylos System,” Blake stated.

“But of course,” the Meylosian gestured grandly to their surroundings. “You, I’m afraid, will not be seeing the Meylos System anytime soon, Commander. Toss them on the transleigh.”

Blake didn’t fight when those orders were followed out by the soldiers. He and his crew watched as the NT was lifted onto his own separate sleigh, still trapped in a net. Cargo sleighs were designed to hold up to five tons without losing altitude, which was only about three and a half feet off the ground. The Meylos leader lounged across the buffer ledge at the front of their sleigh, staring down from his mild perch at Blake and his three unfortunate crewmates. Pretentious bastard. The sleighs started moving, heading off the brightly lit tarmac and into one of the large hangars that were open at both ends.

“You and I both know you didn’t come here by ship, Commander,” their captor spoke, as if there had been no lapse in the conversation.

The nice thing about dealing with narcissists was they enjoyed the sound of their own voices so much, they tended to reveal pertinent information in their outpouring of bullshit, with next to no prodding. The truths were typically springboards for their embellishments, easily transliterated into vital details by applying sheer common sense. Blake didn’t know which was more pathetic, that they were so transparent or that they actually believed they weren’t?

“We are on a planet in the most remote outer reaches of space, that with Earth’s rudimentary jumping technology, would take generations for your people to reach by ship, without any detours or delays.”

Blake looked down at the sleigh beneath him and then around the large hangar full of cargo. “So, the natives here trade with their imaginary friends?”

Okay, perhaps he was a little cranky and too sore to muster the pretense of civility. He’d just spent the better part of three weeks on a dust-filled planet with little oxygen, a slight hangover and a nagging libido he hadn’t been able to slake, only to end up on a potentially volcanic planet full of spear-wielding NT’s and not so non-hostile Meylosians. He wasn’t a frigging android. The unexpected jab served its purpose, at any rate, causing Mr. Arrogant to pause in the middle of his “I’m an evil villain” monologue and lean right into Blake’s face.

Blake leaned back just as slowly, to keep the distance between them the same at all times and never broke eye-contact. Johansen was directly behind him, so Blake used the exaggerated motion to distract the birdbrain from the fact that he was grabbing the fixall laser tool out of Johansen’s AABV. He shoved it up his sleeve, because he knew they’d be stripped of their vests once they got to wherever they were going. He wasn’t about to get imprisoned without a Plan B.

“Your kind has always been so crude, so unrefined. It’s a cosmic wonder you ever made it out of your caves, let alone your planet’s atmosphere,” the Meylosian sneered. Maybe. It was really hard to tell.

“At least we don’t look like we still belong in them,” Blake remarked.

“If you must know, the beings that trade in this region of space are so far beyond your scope of perceived intellect and grandeur, that the chance of your kind ever meeting them redefines the meaning of ‘worst odds’,” he continued, talking right over Blake’s insult. “Elite races from these most advanced civilizations would never bother making contact with any of the insignificant star-systems you know of.”

“I know of yours,” Blake smiled coolly. “And I’d like to see how you plan to explain this to the United Federation of Earth’s Intergalactic Alliance.”

“I won’t be explaining anything to anyone,” the Meylos answered. “I’ve never met you or any of your crew and my people know nothing of this planet or what happens here. We are a neutral race with no ties to any alliance or their laws.”

Make that pretentious underhanded bastards!

That was fine, though. They had plenty of those on Earth and Blake knew exactly how to handle them. He’d never had much patience for the sport of manipulation. He’d earned his stripes by being the best without having to kiss anyone’s ass in the process, because both GINESS and the Galactic Bureau of Exploration and Scientific Research liked his results far more than they hated his attitude. That and they knew he could just as easily ditch the regulations and protocol and make a killing on the Galactic Black Market running his own Starblood smuggling operation.

The only reason he didn’t, was because then his crew would be made up of untrustworthy mercs carrying around their own shitty attitudes and a pension for mutiny, while competing with the universe’s worst mobsters. None of which gave a lick about the lives, ecosystems or general planetary stability of other worlds. Blake could be a dick, he even wore the badge with pride most days, but he wasn’t into mass genocide for profit.

“Now, Commander, why don’t you tell me who else you have here on Pralldex with you. Your Captain, undoubtedly,” the Meylosian picked up again. “It’s only a matter of time before we find and capture them all. My cruisers never return empty.”

Blake nearly pointed out that two of his cruisers hadn’t returned at all, but that would only confirm the Meylosian’s suspicions, which he wasn’t about to voluntarily do.

“I’m afraid you caught me on my first solo mission that our captain entrusted me to lead.” He scowled grimly for affect. “Just a small group of scientists trying to find more alien bugs to add to our collection.”

The Meylosian glanced over his shoulder toward the end of the hangar they were rapidly approaching and came very close to smiling, when he looked back to Blake.

“I have a feeling your answer is about to change, Commander,” he said confidently.

Blake spread his hands in an innocent gesture, retaining his bluff. Then the sleigh veered left out of the hangar and right into a docking station full of Nortokian Class B fighter ships. Dread didn’t even begin to cover the sinking weight in the pit of Blake’s gut, because as far as the universe’s worst mobsters went, Nortoks made them all look like fucking amateurs.

©A.C. Melody

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more of this SciFi serial, or if you like a little more fantasy in your alternate worlds, check out Thief of Dragons under The Wicked Web on the menu bar. There’s already 25 episodes available and counting! 🙂

Advertisements

Thief of Dragons ♥ Episode 7

winging-it

Winging It

Roehn forced the effects of Arcylaen’s words, of that wicked little gleam in his eye far away and stepped out of his reach. Her gaze swept the crowd, anxious that someone may have witnessed the encounter that felt a bit too intimate for such a public affair. Once again, she didn’t want to give the wrong impression. Especially to Arcylaen. She needed him to lose interest, not hold onto it. Before she could say a word, Roehn spotted Lord Haraj coming through the crowd with a purposeful stride, and a disgruntled look upon his face.

Roehn couldn’t fight the smile she gave Arcylaen, while lifting her glass in a mock toast. “Looks like your phone call is coming back to bite you in the ass, my Lord.”

Amused by the near eye roll that moved across his handsome features, she snickered into her champagne and stalked away. She wished to spend the rest of the evening alone and out from under the weight of male arrogance, but the Dragon’s Head didn’t seem to agree with that plan. After only a ten minute reprieve, he came to stand just behind her right shoulder. She hadn’t made it terribly difficult for him to find her, at any rate, having returned to her study of the plaques. She felt the most comfortable there, separated from the rest of the crowd by a row of display cases.

Too bad they don’t keep the Dragons at bay.

“Did you and the Griffin kiss and make up?” She asked, without looking at him.

“Mm,” he humphed. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that, but he’ll get over it.”

Roehn gnawed on the inside of her lips, debating whether to push the subject or not. It sounded as though he were referring to more than just a phone call, which had her bristling about all that arrogance again. Yet she couldn’t be sorry it was Arcylaen standing there rather than Lord Haraj. She still hoped to dissuade the Dragon’s interest, but if she had to choose between them, she much preferred getting stuck in conversation with someone who spoke directly. All of the pretentious pleasantries made her head hurt. Or perhaps that was the strain of keeping her eyes from rolling.

“Why do I get the feeling I won’t have to worry about brushing off his advances again anytime soon?” She asked.

“Soon?” Arcylaen laughed quietly, the sound deep and sensual. He waited until she was brave enough to look him in the eye, before his mouth curved ever so slightly. “I think you underestimate the whole of my intentions, Leandra.”

Impossible. He’d done nothing to hide his desires since they’d met. She knew very well what his intentions were. His words were far from being the only direct things about him, but his statement seemed to hold a deeper meaning beyond her grasp and that made her nervous. What exactly had he said to Lord Haraj to send him away so quickly? Roehn wondered if it might cause friction between the Griffins and Dragons. Not that she cared about their issues, just that she’d undoubtedly get blamed for it.

The only thing she’d studied about the Dragons, was what they held in their vaults and how clever they might be at protecting it. She wanted to keep them distant, behind the misty veil of anonymity, rather than living beings with individual faces and personalities. For five years, they’d simply been ‘the Dragons.’ One entity. One target.

Now the tables had turned, and she was the one in their sights. Roehn just needed to remember that she’d chosen to be there, because it served a greater purpose. Which did not entail cozying up with the enemy! Before she could think of a rebuttal to discourage his claim, an older Owl approached them.

The Owls covered the spectrum of academic trades from teachers and scholars to alchemists and physicists. The Echelonite napping on the older man’s shoulder was a Great Horned owl, which were known for their accolades in cultural history, philosophy and theology. Could this be her new boss?

“Lord Draea, it’s time to start the unveiling,” the Owl announced.

“Thank you, Lord Krennys,” Arcylaen nodded, answering Roehn’s question without knowing.

Lord Krennys was precisely the name of the curator she was scheduled to meet in the morning. The Owl merely gave them both a polite nod, before turning away again. Arcylaen remained for a suspended moment, his gaze narrowed on Roehn as if he were considering an important quandary. Was he still waiting for her to reply to his last statement, or was it something else? When the other hosts started entering the roped off area to begin the ceremony, his gaze finally focused on hers briefly and then he joined them without an explanation.

Throughout the ceremony, Arcylaen kept his eyes locked on hers, making it difficult for Roehn to focus on the short speeches Lord Krennys and the other hosts made. She didn’t know what compelled her to stare back, unable to look away, nor was she comfortable enough to investigate it further. Only when it was his turn to take the podium, did his gold dusted eyes leave hers to slowly skim over the crowd, which grew quieter under his scrutiny.

“Citizens of Lonnex, of Skaulling,” he began. “We’ve come a long way from where we were five years ago. Many of us couldn’t imagine standing in our heart city without the weight of tyranny holding us down. A life free of the Black Dogs of Cayen seemed too inconceivable a dream, yet here we stand. Free. Victorious. Our cities breathe with renewed life, flourishing toward a future filled with hope, rather than fear and dismay. You’re wondering why it is, then, we would choose to honor our former oppressors with their own exhibit in a museum that nearly fell into oblivion under their rule? Why would we want a reminder of the cruelty that reigned for too long and destroyed so many lives?”

He paused and appeared to be considering his next words, which Roehn found surprising. Was he just winging it? She would’ve thought he’d have a prepared speech for such a monumental occasion.

“I thought I had those answers sorted out,” he continued, looking directly at Roehn. “Then someone made me see that we owe it to ourselves not to forget. We owe it to our future generations to remember what happened, so they can prevent it from ever happening again. To allow the Black Dogs and their crimes to get swept under the rug, would be far too easy an out for them. To allow them to slide silently into the passages of time, would be a pardon they do not deserve.

“So, my friends and fellow citizens, let this not be an honorary memorial to them or a reminder of all we’ve lost,” he concluded. “But a tribute to our resilience and courage. Let it be the evidence, that no matter who or what attempts to crush us and keep us down, we will always prevail!”

The citizens erupted into cheers and applause. The passionate conviction empowering Arcylaen’s words had been felt by all. Even Roehn hadn’t escaped the effects, though for entirely different reasons. Clapping with the rest of the crowd, she watched as all the hosts pulled the curtains down together, unveiling the exhibit at last. Exquisitely crafted relics made from rare woods, gold, silver, opal and a rainbow of gemstones had the guests gasping in awe, while the velvet ropes were moved out of their way.

Only Roehn remained where she’d been, as Bears took up closer positions in the new exhibit area.

“Not interested in seeing all the artifacts you’re so determined to preserve?” Arcylaen asked from just behind her again, somehow sneaking up on her while she’d been distracted watching the crowd.

“I’ll be seeing them up close and in person first thing tomorrow,” she reminded him, disliking the way his presence could alter the very energy around her. “And I won’t have to suffer anyone’s jabbing elbows to do it.”

He chuckled, while Shursja gave a slow stretch, before sitting up. Her tail swished leisurely against Roehn’s skin, completely relaxed.

“That was quite an impressive speech, Lord Draea,” she commented, finally facing him. “I especially liked the part where you made sure the entire building looked right at me all at once, that was marvelous.”

“Just giving credit where it’s due,” he replied pleasantly. “Besides, whether you like it or not, Leandra, you’re already in the spotlight. I thought it would be easier for you to be in the right kind, before people start filling in the blanks however they see fit.”

Roehn laughed, unaware of the bitterness it revealed. “I’d say thank you, my Lord, except we both know one speech isn’t going to remedy that. Blanks have been getting filled in since the moment I arrived, including by you, so your help seems a little more self-serving than genuine,” she pointed out. “And believe it or not, I don’t need your help guarding my reputation, Meive isn’t without its share of social cliques and gossip columns.”

She’d expected him to laugh again, or appear properly scolded by her critical assessment, but he did neither. She wasn’t sure what to think when his eyes darkened and peered into her more intensely.

“What happened?” He demanded, instead.

Taken aback, her brows creased and she started shaking her head. “I don’t know what-”

“Yes, you do,” he cut her off. “I hit some kind of mark with my comment about blanks getting filled in, and while it’s fascinating to see just how clever that sharp tongue of yours can get, Leandra, you’ve been baring your claws ever since you returned from the powder room–quite in a hurry, I might add–to get as far away from whomever cornered you there. I could start making wagers, but you’re far too dignified to give me a name, so I’m going to go with the most obvious choice of Eleqwyn Turvo.”

Roehn nearly laughed again. Talk about having a bad reputation! Unfortunately, Arcylaen saw right through her to the truth. The fact that she was familiar with Eleqwyn’s name, and couldn’t mask her immediate distaste over it. His eyes flashed dangerously, and his mouth pulled taut with displeasure.

“Let’s take a walk,” he said quietly.

As far as suggestions went, it seemed sorely lacking in the choice department.

© A.C. Melody

Stay tuned for the next episode by simply adding my blog to your reader! If you’d like to catch up on previous episodes, you’ll find them under the Wicked Web link on the menu. Thanks for reading! Continue reading with Episode 8

Save

Save