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Betrayal of Love


Shedet
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Betrayal of Love


The rain pattered down gently on the Iraxan trees that spread their long, wide green leaves over the ground below. Nugra leaned up against the soft blond bark watching as his young girl danced and swayed through the rain swinging her stick at imaginary foes. Unlike most children her age, she had skill and grace that was unmatched by many; her body honed and eyes fierce with controlled fury. The tired Gorn allowed his eyes to roam around the dirt road that stretched from one side of the forest to the other, with only the small field carved out of the endless trees. In the north of this open plain a large monastery stood in stony splendor. it's ancient carvings still standing out even from years of weathering.


"Father, are we going to head back to the village?" Iria’s voice called to his conscience. Nugra shook the tiredness from his mind and straightened up.


"No, dear. There are Tova berry bushes all around. Help yourself."


The young girl did not even question how her father knew what was edible on Peska Alora, but with implicit trust, she dove into the thicket to gorge herself on the berries. How could he have taken all that exuberance and turned her into a killer?


***


The shuttle closed slowly under the guise of floating wreckage. Much of the orbit around the green-blue planet below was filled with dead ships of the Gorn Confederation and the rebel faction. For one hundred and ninety-six years that had tried to kill each other with a few short years in the middle filled with an uneasy peace. Nugra and eight other Gorns were crammed into a shuttle and they stared at the hatch in a mixture of anticipation and exhaustion. What he did not see was fear or regret. Too long the factions had been at each others throats to allow the hatred fade.


Nestled up against him, wearing a loincloth and a piece of fabric around her chest made of old military uniforms, his daughter Iria waited. Her bright sixteen year old eyes watching and waiting. He could feel the tension in her body, but it was not of fear, but of excitement.


"Standard exit pattern," Nugra said in a low voice. The shuttle was barely running on any power so it could hide among the ambient radiation of the vessel graveyard. "We hit them hard and go for the throat. Team 1 and 2 have auxiliary control and the engine room. We have the bridge."


The other Gorns growled acknowledging and one took a peek out the nearby window.


"What do you see Krutak?" Nugra asked. The scarred Gorn quickly got down.


"The Dragon's Claw is right where we thought she would be, sir. I see they have shuttles out scavenging for parts. Senior Commander Mrr'Sak did hurt them terrible in the last engagement."


Nugra nodded silently. Mrr'Sak had sacrificed his frigate to cripple the GSN Dragon's Claw. The Dragon's Claw had become the command vessel of the insurrectionist fleet and though it made him sick to think of the lost lives and ship, it had hurt the only plasma torpedo armed vessel still in service to the point of hiding. Hundreds of years of fighting had pretty much decimated their energy reserves and weapons. Now, most of their plasma beam weapons were given one charge for one shot like ancient human gunpowder weapons called muskets. Everything was now hand to hand.


"Breaking through the wreckage." his helmsman called.


"Go to dead power now!"


The last of the computers shut down and went in to a fast reboot mode. The shuttle immediately darkened and went silent. Only the light of the stars coming through the window and the singular red button blinking of the shuttle dashboard gave them an light to see by. The shuttle began to tumble and drift looking just like the other debris around. Nugra waited for Krutak’s command. He was still watching out the window.


"Now, Senior Master!"


Nugra immediately tapped his commbadge three times and the helmsman slammed his scaly fist on the reboot button. The shuttle came alive and the burst of acceleration caught them all. It was now a race to connect the grapple and cutters before the insurrectionists realized they were under attack. The attack team held their collective breath until they felt the ship connect to the hull and the cutters fire.


***

The giggles and laughter woke Nugra up from his idle nightmare and he quickly located Iria. She was running around with a couple village children wielding sticks. He relaxed and watched them play happily. The taking of the Dragon’s Claw had been hell, the teams had been originally pinned down, but it only succeeded because of the young girl running about and playing. Iria had developed a method of hamstringing attacking Gorn troops by racing and bobbing around them while strike at their heels with her knives. She had gotten to good. The sound of her laughter as she cut them made him shiver. Though she was seventeen in age, her mental age was much younger. All she had known was war and blood.


‘What have I done?’


Coming back had put in to light how much of a monster he had become. How could he have done so much to such an innocent girl whose world was caught in the crossfire? Iria had become an excellent killing machine. A little murderess that delighted in destroying the enemy.


The doors of the monastery creaked open and immediately the kids took off running. Iria instead turned, brandishing her stick ready for a fight.


“Iria, come.” Nugra said softly. Immediately, the girl was by his side ready to strike.


Four women wearing elaborate dresses of scarlet with violet trimming, their faces were obscured from the veils across their faces. They approached with a graceful, but a walk full of purpose. The exquisite decoration spoke of their years of tradition and dedication to their creed. The people of Peska Alora were used to them, but to strangers unfamiliar with the outer rim of the galaxy, they would have found them strange and obsolete.


“Father. They are trained,” Iria said not removing her eyes. “How do we proceed?”


“We don’t. Stand down, daughter.”


His words caught her by surprise and she broke her gaze to look at him for some sign of his meaning. She obeyed though without hesitation.


“The celestial mother sends you her greetings, Nugra son of Moong.”


Nugra bowed his head to the leader and placed his left hand on his heart. “and I accept them with open heart, sister.”


The Gorn could not see the expression from under her veil, but even if he could see her face, their thoughts and decisions were enigmatic.


“The celestial mother has reviewed your request and has accepted. She has also accepted your offer in trade. We shall take her now.”


Out of the corner of his eyes, Nugra watched Iria’s expression and to her credit, she understood what they meant.


Her curiosity changed to hatred and she dashed forward with a battle shriek. From under her tunic, she drew a short sword and it flashed out towards the throat of the lead sister in a blur of silver. It was met by a small, decorative blade and easily deflected. Two of the other sisters stepped forward and intercepted Iria’s erratic and ferocious blade. Together they cornered her, batted her weapon from her hand and subdued her. Iria found herself caught in an interlocking hold that pinned her arms behind her back and placed pressure on her spin.


“Father! Help me!” Iria shrieked.


A darkness descended on Nugra’s heart as he did something he knew would [...] him for the rest of his life. He turned and began to walk away.


“Father? FATHER!” he heard the agonizes screams of his daughter as the Sisters of Conscience and Fidelity began to drag her to the monastery doors.


“DADDY!” the sobs called. “Daddy! Please save me!”


Tears welled up in Nugra’s eyes as his continued to walk down the path away from the estate. The doors thundered shut and silence descended on his walk.


He had just betrayed the one he loved to those who could help her become a proper member of society. His love for her had burned any chance of being loved back ever again. The betrayal was complete. He had become a monster.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Captain Nugra

Commanding Officer

USS Victory, NCC-362447

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




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