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Cheldon ch'Doro:"Sands of Crime."


Piweh

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Cheldon ch'Doro sat quietly reading at his desk. The standard issue office chair was sized for a regular sized Andorian, and buckled under his 350 pounds of bulky musculature. It barely came past the middle of his back when his 7'5" frame sat upright. 
He was busy studying a tome on Vulcan meditation, handily ported to a PADD for the convenience of the modern reader. He had become something of a spirtual seeker in the last several months. He had never been a spiritual person before Theta 122, when the Brotherhood of Thet had saved his life. 
He had spent much of his life in animalistic survival mode. Competing with others for scraps in the orphanage, on the streets, or in the fighting pits. The scars that decorated his blue body like a tapestry laid bare tales of violence for all to see.  On the opposite side of the scale, a fortunate encounter had put him into excess and luxury body guarding a local crime lord. That too vanished, and the ensuing gang war, and prison sentence had brought him back to a more primal survival mode. 
His path to salvation had begun during a prison riot, which afforded him a chance at escape. A month later the cult had found him in the desert (no place for an Andorian, and much too reminiscent of his time on Telstrus 3) near the wreckage of his stolen cargo shuttle. They had saved his life. And he had thought, for a time, saved his soul. 
Their ascetic lifestyle actively embraced the destitution that marked his formative years, but traded the struggle against others for a real family. It likewise revealed to him how foolish and wasteful the hedonistic lifestyle he later had embraced was, and the futility of the revenge plot that had followed.
The Brotherhood was gone now, it's gods proven false, but it had made an indelible mark on his soul. He would forever more be a seeker of truth. The behemoth Andorian had read more books in the last months than the rest of his life combined, each one about some spiritual tradition. He had studied dozens of them by this point.
Cheldon had bought passage on this Andorian freighter to his ancestral home planet from Star Base 812. The Captain didn't seem too curious when he was handed the Latinum. ch'Doro had earned it over several months of bouncing bar. The job had been a natural fit for a man of build, skill set, and now much calmer personality. Some fortuitous gambling had added to his nest egg, and he would be comfortable for the foreseeable future, especially with the monk like lifestyle he had continued to embrace.
His belly rumbled, and he ignored it, favoring his contemplation of this particular passage. When it protested more vehemently, he acquiesced, and slowly pulled his massive form into an upright standing position. Ducking low, he stepped through the door into the corridors. The mess hall was not that far away.
From his own quarters he turned right and walked about 15 meters, before taking a right down a t-intersection. On the left, another 40 meters were the doors that opened into the mess hall.

It seemed more crowded than usual, and after replicating a very simple plate of Andorian tubers and bread, he was forced to set at an already occupied table. Not only did his unusual size make him stand out, but the fact that he was a passenger. Everyone else at this table were wearing their navy blue work jumpsuits, while he was in black leather boots, blue jeans, and a white tank top. Worse yet, the Andorians at this particular table might even be an established quadruple, as there were two masculine, and two feminine ones, and they each acted very familiar with the rest.
Cheldon spoke up "I hate to interrupt, but mind if I take a few of the empty seats?" There really was no other place to sit for someone his size. The four looked between themselves, and finally, one of the feminine ones spoke, the taller of the two. "I think we can make room." The masculine ones scooted closer together and let the stranger in. The shorter male, with his round face, decided that he wanted to befriend the mysterious giant stranger. "We've all heard about the tall passenger. But this is the first time any of us have ever seen you." Cheldon looked over, and down, craining his head. "You've probably heard that I only come out of my quarters to eat, and that I always sit alone, then," the giant retorted.
The other male, several inches taller, with a pointier chin, chimed in "Our husband didn't mean to be rude, he's just a friendly, and curious type." Cheldon shaked his head "Yeah. Sorry. I didn't mean to be rude, either. I'm Cheldon." The taller male replied again "My name is Vart, he's Raf, she is Dagy, and she is Sinena. It's nice to meet you, Cheldon. So you are going home?" The big blue monstrosity shrugged "I guess you could call it that. I've never been to Andoria." 

Simena, the shorter of the women spoke "You grew up on a colony?" Cheldon simply shrugged heavily "Who I was before us dead. I don't like to talk about him, sorry."  It was true, the Brotherhood, false as it turned out to be, had fundamentally changed him. Seeing as he wasn't contributing much to the conversation, his new acquaintances went back to conversing amongst themselves. This was fine by Cheldon, and it gave him time to return to his meal.

He paced himself, eating his humble plate in a manner that was befitting of an ascetic. He let them talk, hut his thoughts returned inward, until one particular phrase caught his ear. Telstrus 3.

He looked up, suddenly, as if he been violently roused from a deep slumber.

"Telstrus 3?" He asked, in a startled tone.

His visit there had been unbearable.

Dagy, responded "Yeah. A family friend of my parents is moving there."

Cheldon frowned deeply, his huge face full of disapproval.

It had been 14 years ago. In the middle of the violent gang war that had ultimately landed him in prison. The cousin of the man who had tried to kill his employer ran a drug ring there. The targeted assassination at his remote outpost went smoothly, and they began their trek back to the shuttle.

They had stashed their landing shuttle in the desert, a desert, and a cave that he would be reminded of later, when he joined The Brotherhood. They were a mere mile out, and Cheldon, with his artic loving physiology, was already miserable. Sweat flooded his body, and ran down his face, stinging his eyes like an angry hornet.

A breeze kicked up from over some far off dunes, and it seemed to bring respite, but it did not in fact bring respite. The wind continued growing in intensity, and they had walked directly into a sandstorm. Fine particles of eroded rocks flew against every exposed millimeter of skin, sand blasting each of them. To make all of this worse, it was blowing in from the direction of their destination, trying to push them backwards.

The sand was so thick that they could no longer see, and Cheldon chided himself for not packing sunglasses. He heard a voice shouting, it was Ving, a former Romulan soldier that had joined his former employer half a decade before he had. "Role call!"

"Here," Cheldon called out when he heard his name.

They pushed on, taking role on the fives. Each of them being constantly set upon by blasts of sand trying to strip their skin. Cheldon couldn't see, but as it grew even louder, and the atmospheric pressure changed noticeably, he was sure that a dirt devil was passing near them. This had to be the most miserable experience he had had since he almost died in the fire, and began thinking about the Hell the Nuns had preached at him in the orphanage. He almost didn't hear the role call.

When the wind did die down, the cave was no where in sight, and it took them hours of back tracking to locate it. Fortunately, no one seemed to have found them to make them answer for the killing.

Cheldon looked askance at the woman named Dagy. "It's no place for an Andorian." She quirked a brow at the stranger. "Is that so?" He nodded "It's enough to make an Andorian hate a cool breeze in the desert."

Edited by Artinus Serinus
Quotations around title.
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