On the dragon head Ship Swift-Strike
Jaric; tilmer-N had spent most of his early life studying this strange animal that called itself ‘Human”. He was the youngest of his study group, small, with only two claw hands worth of members when all but Master Riel and his assistant were instructed to leave home and travel with the expedition that would finally and officially bring the new planet into the empire.
He had no formal training in military matters excepting the standard year eight that all received. A brief instruction in shipboard procedure and he was through the wormhole and on Earth. With the almost bloodless occupation completed, and that was how they were supposed to run, tilmer-N’s youth, dispensability, and superior linguistic skills, (he could speak a half dozen of the native languages with the ease of a native), led him to be selected to travel with this minor mission to the Alchibah star system.
Things had not gone as well here. There was bound to be a lopping and blunting of claws over this but tilmer-N was well clear of any responsibility. Alertness to the danger and overwhelming force would make quick work of things now that force rather than persuasion was to be employed.
When the Swift-Strike, as it’s human crew called it, landed in the south there was no opposition, nor had there been to the first ship. The Yelsig were realists, spears against armed and armored human soldiers was not a winning situation. He would tell them what was required of them soon enough. Right now he needed to interview the captive plucked from the north before the destruction of the city.
Escorted by two UN troopers, an average sized middle-aged male was brought in front of him and shackled with a short chain to a recessed ring in the deck. “Your name slave!”
No response except a look of defiance. It had been a long time since tilmer had seen that expression on a human. No matter, it would not last. He raised his controller, set at low power, and reached out brushing the human’s neck. The man withered in pain but remained standing. “Name slave!” Again no reply.
Increasing the power and another touch. This time the man went to his knees and a gasp escaped through his clenched teeth.
“You will answer me—or you will die. Again I say, Name slave!”
This interrogation would need to be recorded and circulated for the edification of all the Rogon. In the hundreds of interviews tilmer-N had conducted on Earth this set a new record, futile of course but revealing. One more notch and the human would have died. As it was all tilmer got was the name Erbert Neilson before the man lay still, unconscious, on the deck, and was dragged away.
“Bring him back when he recovers; we will start again.”
Three hours later, drenched from repeated buckets of icy water, the man was once more chained to the deck and still looking defiant.
“Now Mr. Neilson, you see how hard you made things for yourself? I have read your UNWG dossier, you really are small potatoes you know, and I must say your continued failure to answer all of my questions fully and completely will only bring more of the same punishment. Perhaps you think you are protecting your friends of your brother Lars. Be aware that unless you cooperate when we do bring in your brother, he will be put to the touch and beg for death while you watch powerlessly.
“You will supply me now with all that you know about the splinter group you call the Leviticans. As you can see, you are not our only source of information. Any lies will be evident, if not now later and a price will be extracted.”
“What a waste of time,” Jaric; tilmer-N, said to the ships captain an hour later. “The slave knows almost nothing about the group of humans called the Leviticans except the member’s names and physical descriptions. Nothing at all about what they have been doing or their plans and intentions.”
“Interview you will a Yelsig next. Information vital is.”
“No experience, have I with the Chewpess’s client species. But think I, they will react to pain as all organism react.”
Yelsig was troubled as he had never been before. In the past there was always the Guardians to call on. Now they were silent. Could it be the new religious cult turning so many of the tribe from the old ways? What could these Rogons possibly want from the people? To travel years in time and light-years in space for slaves and meat animals, it made no sense. He was being taken to the second skull ship and perhaps something would happen to reveal the inner workings of the mystery.
“You will speak to me and answer all questions.” The voice of the Rogon was much smoother, more like the earthman Yelsig had become accustomed to, than the Rogon who addressed him when the first ship landed.
“Why would I do anything else?”
“A willing slave? This is indeed a surprise.”
“The Yelsig bow to the inevitable in all things.”
“I know the purpose of the medallion you wear. We have blocked its ability to transmit or receive along with any other such device in this system.”
Whether that information disturbed the Llama like creature tilmer-N could not discern. The tribes body language was unknown to him, perhaps somewhere in the ships database. Given time he would learn.
“Explain to me what the humans are doing on this continent and whatever else that you know about them.”
Again, and to Jaric; tilmer-N’s amazement, the slave told without further prompting a story about strange beliefs and religious conversion. Human religious belief was something tilmer was very familiar with, but not, that as a client of the Chewpess, the Yelsig were susceptible to change. The war starting up between the factions was something no Rogon would have predicted. There was much to ponder in this revelation and time while other things happened.
“You will order all of your followers to search out the humans on this continent and report their position back to us. You will have them relay this information to all other members of your race they come in contact with. You will do this at once.”
One of the human troops entered the chamber. “Master, we have made contact with the one you spoke to us of.” And looking at Yelsig said, “Am I able to speak freely?”
“Wait,” the Rogon said. “Take this slave away first. He is of no further use to me and has no time to waste.”
Burt Buchanan sweated even in the sub freezing temperature in the hold of the colony’s freight ship, pulled ashore for winter outside of the Neilson brothers’ boatyard. For some reason neither the ship nor the boatyard building itself had been touched in the attack on Liberty City. There was a lot of valuable materials left in the frozen boatyard Burt was doing a little salvaging, actually some might call it stealing, but he needed to survive the winter. Then the fighting, fires, and explosions, started happening in town. From the elevation of the ships deck he saw Lars and Erbert Neilson, rifles in hand, head towards the city.
Listening to his personal com unit, he tried to make some sense of what was happening. This was nothing like he had envisioned. He went into the ship’s hold where after taking this guard job, he had placed his other com unit, the one no one but he knew existed and the one whose signal he had been assured could only be detected by a similar device. Activating it for the first time since training on Earth, Burt plugged it into a jack on his usual unit and saw the dim green all working and proper light, but no sound or text on the small screen. Now he had a real problem. Stay here? Or seek cover until the fighting is over?
Paralysis overcame him, try as he might he was unable to make a move in any direction. Not able to leave the darkness, and wholly imaginary safety of his surroundings, he huddled in a corner of the hold until the sounds of fighting finally faded away. He stared all the while, fixated at the com screen, until nothing else existed in his universe. He was going slowly insane and was watching every step. It was well past dawn when the device came to life and barely coherently, with fumbling fingers he was able to complete the security password exchanges. After years of waiting he would finally get everything he had earned and deserved.