Master of Violence
by AJ Marks
Toncor looked around the room. He had returned back to the Pakkara to inform them of what the situation was back on Earth and what their options were considering their engines had been repaired.
“We can leave at any time,” Hakkas said to them. “The engineers have gone over the repairs and deemed the repairs complete.”
“Then we can finally put some distance between us and this Dark Race,” Aviella said.
Toncor almost winced a bit at the term Dark Race after using O’krads while on Earth’s surface. It felt like an irrational fear of something they didn’t know.
“The longer we delay leaving the more likely they are to find us,” another member said, Iccol. He had been selected by many on board to represent them in such meetings. Toncor wasn’t familiar with him too much, only that he had been getting into politics before the O’krads came to their world.
“We can have water and other supplies restocked within the day,” Hakkas said to them.
“Where would we go?” Aviella asked.
“With the latest information from the humans on the direction of the Dark Race and where they seem to come from we can calculate a new path which should lead us away from them,” Iccol said to them.
“There are a few promising worlds we can go to,” Hakkas stated.
“And then do what?” Toncor said speaking up for the first time as everyone looked at him. “We arrive at these worlds and do what? Resupply our ship, get more water, warn any race which might be there and then what? Leave and continue running forever.”
He looked around at the other three who now stared back at him in shock at his language.
“You have been around the humans too much Toncor,” Iccol said. “I don’t think you see the bigger picture anymore.”
“Or I’ve had my eyes opened to the truth and possibilities of what is going on out there,” Toncor said to them. “You criticize the humans yet do not understand them at all.”
“They are dangerous,” Aviella said quickly. “I know what they are capable of as well.”
Toncor looked over at her knowing she had seen the same history vids of the humans as she had, yet she hadn’t actually spoken with them for long periods of time, spent time with them learning who they really were. The history vids were only a small portion of who they were.
“Did you watch any of the vids of their architecture? How about their music?” Toncor asked watching as she avoided his gaze knowing she had not. “I’m not saying settling on their planet, it’s a very dangerous place.”
He recalled everything he learned about the planet. Many plants and animals on the planet were dangerous and even life threatening to him. Many were aggressive and the humans seemed to take it all in stride while fighting back and made it the top of the food chain of this planet. It was like the entire planet was formed for combat.
“Then what do you suggest?” Aviella asked.
“We could create a place of our own on another of their worlds. We have the ability to colonize a planet they call Mars,” he said to them.
He watched as Aviella looked it up and went over the details of the planet.
“It would take time, which we might not have,” she said to him. “The Dark Race might return at any moment.”
“And if the humans defeat the O’krad we are retreating for no reason,” Toncor said. “Look at the Volors, they have been on the run for a long time, their numbers on board the ship have dwindled and are now a mix of many races. We doom our children to a prison ship.”
“It is freedom,” Iccol said.
“Freedom within these walls, how is that any better than being a slave for the O’krad? We say freedom, but we really don’t understand the word,” Toncor said to them standing up and pacing the room and pointing at the walls of the room. “Freedom for what? Freedom to do what? Where will our children play? What is our future?”
The others seemed to look at him as if he had lost his mind.
“What are you babbling about,” Aviella asked. “You talk freedom, but what freedom would we have under the humans? They will only enslave us as well if given the chance, its all there in their history.”
“Perhaps, perhaps not,” Toncor replied. “True, they have asked us for more information than we have, but that isn’t enslavement.”
“No, its only using someone and tossing them to the side when you’re done with them,” Iccol said. “I think your judgement has been impaired, you are not fit to represent us.”
Toncor went silent and looked at them, his eyes resting on Hakkas.
“I wouldn’t be too quick to use those terms,” Hakkas finally said after a few seconds. “There is still a lot we don’t know and understand. If the humans really wanted more they could have delayed fixing our ship even longer than this.”
“They were not quick to begin with,” Iccol said. “It should have been fixed in half the time.”
“If they had the technology,” Toncor replied.
“And how do you know they don’t?” Iccol said.
“They have no ship with this powerplant, in fact it was only recently that we even caught a hint of such a powerplanet signature on the scanners,” Hakkas said to him.
“They could have hidden such ships,” Iccol said to Hakkas.
“Possible, yet improbable,” Hakkas said. “I doubt they would use such outdated technology on ships to defend their planet.”
The last statement from Hakkas seemed to take Iccol by surprise a bit as he went silent. Toncor considered a lot of options before finally speaking up.
“If you wish to leave, then you do so without me,” he said finally seeing a slight gasp from Aviella knowing he had shocked her.
“You would stay here with such violent creatures?” she asked.
“A chance to live on the surface of a planet against a ship, yes,” Toncor said after a few seconds of internal debate. “The freedom to actually be free against the illusion of freedom.”
“The others won’t want to,” Iccol said.
Toncor looked at the others before Hakkas spoke up.
“I think Toncor has a point we are missing,” Hakkas said. “I’ve lived on ships for most of my life, working my way up to captain. Its only bearable when you know you can leave. If we leave, we condemn everyone to living on this ship, nowhere else out of fear of the Dark Race.”
“You would stay with such a violent race?” Iccol asked.
“I think its worth staying for a bit longer to determine,” Hakkas said.
“We’ve already been here for a long time,” Iccol said.
“Here, but not actually down there, with them,” Toncor said.
“We shall put it to a vote then,” Aviella said.
Toncor held no illusion what the result of the vote would be but made up his mind, he would not be one of those who left. For that he would make his voice known.
Angie watched as Jack and Ben walked back into the camp after heading back to the communications point. She wanted to go as well but was persuaded to stay behind as they could move faster than she could. She pouted at first but managed to catch up with Heather over what had happened. Her friend had no information about her mother or family and had been on the run since the attack happened.
She also learned the other’s names, there was Crystal, the other woman, along with Sven who knew her uncle, had been stationed on board the Enterprise with him until last year when he left the military. The last person was Aku, who seemed to keep to himself. Heather mentioned something about him seeing his family killed.
Jack seemed to have some news as everyone moved over.
“What happened?” Sven asked.
“Got a reply back from Mark, especially considering we might be losing our ability to communicate with Earth,” Jack said.
“They are moving to clean up the area?” Charlie asked.
“Getting closer every day,” Jack replied.
“What about delaying them?” Sven asked.
“That’s what Mark suggested, only if we felt comfortable with it,” Jack said to them.
Angie looked on at them all wondering what they might do. She found herself for such actions as it might allow them to keep communicating with Earth a bit longer.
“Can we do anything?” Ben asked.
“There might be something,” Charlie said moving back to his tent.
Everyone watched as he came back with several packages.
“Fireworks?” Ben replied.
“Might be enough to make them slow down, nothing enough to hurt anyone, but scare them,” Charlie said.
“Might work,” Sven said as several others thought about it.
“It won’t hurt anyone?” Angie asked.
“Can’t guarantee anything, but we don’t have many options here,” he said. “We might also find something which might hold them up elsewhere.”
“I might be able to inform my friend, they could set them off as well, make even a bigger panic when they go off,” Jack said.
“Might be worth it to tell them to slow down as well, perhaps some information that Earth is planning to come and rescue us,” Sven said to them.
“A resistance within the slaves,” Jack said.
Angie listened in wondering if this would all work.
“How can we trust them?” Crystal, the other woman of the group asked.
“One is my friend, been friends for years,” Jack said. “He’s said they already are trying to rebel against them in secret. That’s why there are slaves from other races. They brought them in hoping to end the rebellious nature of us.”
“They act like they don’t know how humans think,” Charlie said.
“Perhaps they don’t,” Angie said speaking up taking a logical approach. “They invaded us, but have they been watching us?”
Those words caught everyone by surprise as they considered the question.
“I say we do this,” Aku said speaking up for the first time surprising everyone. “Those bastards deserve it all. Any of my friends, if they are alive, will gladly die.”
“Yes, but the point is, to paraphrase an old World War Two general, to make the other bastard die for his country, or in this case, race,” Sven said to him.
“He has a point,” Charlie stated. “We have to take some risks. Would your friend be willing to take that risk?”
“I think so,” Jack said. “The last time I spoke to him things were getting tense among the O’krad and the human slaves. I think they’ll be happy to help anyway they can.”
“If any of my friends are alive, they will willingly help,” Aku said.
Angie watched as the group seemed to look at each other in silence before anyone spoke. They all seemed to be thinking the same thing and the weight of their actions. Angie could not make such a decision, it went against what she thought was right but realized times had changed.
“I suggest we speak to them and set the traps,” Charlie said.
“Agreed,” Sven said. “We’ll need to be able to communicate with Earth for as long as possible, and perhaps help them when they come back.”
“Then we move out,” Charlie said. “A group will head out at first light.”
With the decision made everyone seemed to relax despite the fact things had taken a new turn and they were not going to be actively involved in the war for the first time other than giving information back to Earth. Angie considered what might happen next and hoped for the best. She also hoped her uncle and Earth wouldn’t wait too long before sending a rescue group to Sierra. She had no idea how long they could hold on.
End part 20