Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Voord is the Word: Retribution

(An ongoing series set in a Divergent Universe...)

 This adventure takes between Way Down Yonder
 and The House That Ur-Cjak Built

Turlough's stomach churned yet again at the foul stench from Vaeta's burned flesh. He'd hoped he would start to get used to the smell but by now was beginning to think it would put him off cooked meat for life; still a long life as a vegetarian was better than a shorter one as a carnivore. He glanced across to Nyssa, but she was as inscrutable as ever, watching as Vaeta and Kalfin exchanged barbs.

"It is most unexpected to encounter you again, Vaeta," the Voord leader intoned. The dead voice was an impassive as the mask it emerged from behind.

"I'm sure it is." Vaeta mangled a bone between his scarred, mangled jaws and spat them into the dark corner where the rest of his meal lay decomposing out of sight. "You probably thought we were all dead."

"You have proved your longevity. What do you want with us?"

Vaeta plucked the blade from Kalfin's belt, as though fascinated by the glinting knife. He dragged it across the doorframe with a spray of grey dust. "We want revenge. Justice. To claim what is ours." He turned, the point of the knife slicing through the air close to the chest of the captive Voord leader.

Turlough flinched, expecting the Voord to be killed in front of them.

Kalfin didn't flinch or even react to the threat. If anything it seemed bored. "Such originality. Do you have a specific grudge against the Voord or is to assuage your guilt and shame? You all knew the risk of the harvest and price of failure if you were deemed unworthy."

"Your machinery was at fault!"

"I had forgotten how pedantic you could be," Kalfin mused.

"We did all we were asked of, and more. We did not fail."

"Yes, you did," retorted Kalfin. "You joined the Voord to swell our ranks and aide our cause. You failed miserably to do either. Did any of your honestly expect gratitude and rewards? Did you think we would grant you a commendation for being useless?"

Vaeta was quiet for a moment. His rasping voice was tight. "None of us expected to be left to die."

"Yet you are still alive," the Voord pointed out. "How nice for you."

"But many of our friends and colleagues and family are not. The Voord butchered them."

Kalfin stepped forward. Everyone was so fixed on the argument between them, no one made a move to restrain the prisoner. "But Vaeta, you are Voord. You are still under our control - or why else would we be talking this this? You cannot lure us halfway across the galaxy and then deny we have no influence over your behavior. I never thought you naïve." Had the Voord leader still possessed a face, Nyssa was sure it would be twisted into a cold smile.

"You are here so we may kill you," hissed Vaeta angrily. "We are not fools!"

"That fact remains open to debate, I am afraid."

The guards limped forward and seized the Voord's rubbery arms, seizing it.

"Don't mock us!" shouted Vaeta. "Or I may kill you here and now!"

"Do I not recieve a last request before I die?" asked Kalfin innocently.

"You have one."

"Just one," said the Voord, and swiveled its helmet to look at Turlough and Nyssa. "You time travelers shall save my life. If you do not, if you allow me to perish than in a few zeniths I will be unable to rescind the order to execute your companions Tegan and the Doctor."

"What?" Nyssa explained.

"You're bluffing," accused Turlough calmly, but he was far from certain.

"Fear is more powerful than money," Kalfin said. It turned to Vaeta. "Do you still trust them to be your allies now I have their friends' lives under my control? Even if you kill me now, Vaeta, can you be sure they won't turn against you? Let us see just how little it takes to make your little commune tear itself apart!"

"Vaeta," said Nyssa firmly. "The Doctor is far more use to you alive than Kalfin is to you dead."

"The Doctor is a Time Lord," hissed Vaeta, pressing the tip of the knife into the side of the Voord's torso above its right hip. "He can regenerate to survive whatever execution Kalfin has ordered."

"Maybe but Tegan can't!"

"Then at least I can avenge her death ahead of time!" the ringleader laughed and plunged the knife deep into the sensitive nerve cluster in the Voord's side. A wet, muffled grunt of pain emerged from the grille in the mask and Kalfin convulsed against its guards. Vaeta twisted the knife first clockwise then counter-clockwise and then tore it loose. The triangular helmet sagged forward, dragging the Voord's body free from the guards and onto the filthy floor of the metal shack.

Vaeta regarded his dead enemy for a moment and then turned on his heel to face Nyssa and Turlough.

"And now we must decide what to do with you..."

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