Toren Logo

 

Latest  Archives  Gallery  Forums  Characters

Previous Page          Next Page

Episode 8 Part 7

By:  Wynn

“Just to let you know, we’ll be arriving in just a few minutes.” Vonter’s eyes shot open as he heard the Guardsman’s voice burst from a speaker near the bed that he had somehow ended up sprawled upon.  Blinking blearily, he glowered at the speaker, wondering if the Nathian had turned up the volume on purpose; he was just one room away, couldn’t he have merely shouted?  The pirate captain sat up in the cramped bunk, shaking the last clinging remnants of slumber from his mind as he glanced down at himself.  His eyes widened as he noticed the wrinkles that had resulted from his impromptu slumber, and the Guardsman’s words replayed in his mind for the entire instant it took him to cross the hallway and step into the Silverfangs lavatory.

     Bullet smirked as he caught the blur of motion before the door slammed. “Sorry, was that too loud?  I’m not accustomed to having company, so I never have to use the intercom,” he apologized brightly, reaching over to crank down the volume before it slipped his mind.  The following silence revealed that the offense had at least been forgotten, if not forgiven, as Vonter desperately strived to repair his appearance for his upcoming performance.  Smirking, Bullet turned his attention back to the monitors before him, attempting to contact the Decadence before they approached it.

     Moments later his hail was answered, and after Bullet keyed in his acceptance a cold voice issued from the speakers on the command console. “Back so soon, Nathian?” Bullet’s eyebrow quirked at the haughty, dismissive tone, but he bit his tongue as he imagined how the speaker would react to his ‘cargo.’  Chuckling despite himself, he reached over to turn on his own microphone.

     “I would like to request clearance to land.  I have… certain matters to discuss with your resident ‘deity.’”

     “Very well.  Transmitting coordinate data to your computer now.  Decadence out.” Still somewhat amused by the sharply critical inflection, Bullet shook his head and flipped off his microphone as the channel closed.  Almost immediately after, the information on the landing bay he was being referred to popped up on one of his consoles; this time, he was being directed to a bay far aft of where he had originally entered the ship earlier that day.  Probably far enough away from the guests that rumors would not spread of his failure, he noted with a grim smile.

     This had not been a good day for Bullet Ruissir.  Between self-proclaimed deities and foppish pirates, he was beginning to long for the silence of solitude.  However, while on Earth he had heard the adage “Misery loves company.”  So far, he mused as he glanced again back towards the lavatory where Vonter was furiously trying to mend his appearance, it had proven quite apt.  Now… to see how far it would go.          

 

******

 

     “Nathian!” Though Bullet had done everything he could to prepare himself for the ear-piercing pitch of Cruluxiam’s voice, the Diyetian’s anger raised to it entirely new, and even more intolerable, levels.  The squat shape of the ship’s master barreled towards Bullet as he walked calmly down Silverfang’s ramp, and the four guards that trailed the Diyetian wore expressions that ranged from stern disapproval to belittling smirks.  Cruluxiam himself was turning a rosy pink color, and his rounded face bulged at the cheeks as he choked on his anger. “You assured me that you would be dealing with that black-hearted rogue Vonter, and yet you have the gall to show up here mere hours after you departed, bearing no wounds yet with your tail tucked between your legs!” Despite himself, Bullet glanced behind him to check, but his tail was hardly as the cruise ship’s majordomo described. “So much for your vaunted Nathian pride and honor!  I lay my curse upon you, Bullet Ruissir!” Though he tried fiercely, Cruluxiam’s efforts at looming over Bullet failed to impress.

     “Oh, you’ve already accomplished cursing me, don’t worry about that,” Bullet replied tersely, thinking about his ill-advised pact with the Silverfang’s other occupant. “I admit, I failed to arrest the entire crew of Derek Vonter’s pirate fleet as I had planned.” Cruluxiam swelled again, ready to unleash another tirade, but Bullet didn’t allow him the chance. “On the other hand, I did acquire a few things that should placate your passengers.”  He paused, giving the Diyetian a moment to deflate. “Such as the goods stolen from this ship.”

     “Wha- what?” The previously-varied expressions of Cruluxiam and his bodyguards now displayed a uniform shock that gave Bullet a slight bit of gratification.  The all-but-whispered “Ahem!” from behind him robbed him of such bitter joy, and groaning internally Bullet motioned back up the ramp.

     “The other thing I brought you was…” Bullet spoke mechanically, realizing that he was expected to offer the cue for his unwanted passenger’s emergence.

     “Good evening, gentlepeople of the cruise ship Decadence!” Vonter erupted, swaggering down the ramp towards Bullet and the others. “Though I’ve hardly been gone long, it is a relief, a blessing!, to be reacquainted with your smiling faces.” He beamed down at Cruluxiam, whose jaw was making an admirable attempt at descending to his knees. “Though I will admit that I hardly expected to be returning so soon, I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to correct the misgivings and misinformed impressions that my parting may have left.”  He stopped beside Bullet, directing the full brunt of his smile down towards the ship’s majordomo. “I take it that the choking sound you’re making is your species’ way of expressing joy at a reunion, no?”

      Something about Vonter’s words made Cruluxiam’s jaw snap closed, and he turned to the nearest bodyguard with a cool glance. “Shoot him.”

      As the guard hastily unholstered his gun and moved to comply, Bullet stepped in front of Vonter, his hand unsubtly resting on the hilt of his sword. “I wouldn’t do that,” he warned, glaring into the guard’s eyes. “He deserves a full trial, at the least.”

     “Gentlemen, gentlemen, please!” Vonter injected, placing a hand on Bullet’s shoulder and trying, without success, to guide him out of the way. “Surely we can think of a more mutually satisfactory conclusion than that.” He offered the group a placating smile, but his eyes lingered on Bullet’s impassive face, as if trying to remind the Guardsman of their prior agreement.

      Cruluxiam gazed balefully at Vonter before turning again to the guard, who raised his gun and started to point it at the pirate.  A soft whisper of metal on leather stalled his motion, and the sword leveled at his throat made him reconsider the benefits of being overeager in pleasing his employer.  He glanced nervously at Bullet, sweating at the small smile on the Nathian’s lips and the lack of such mirth in the eyes above.  His decision made for him, he nodded, gingerly, and slowly replaced the gun in its holster.

     “Now, as I was saying, I think it best that we consider all possible solutions to the problem at hand.  After all, as my new compani- I mean, as the officer here will attest, I have voluntarily surrendered all of the possessions pilfered from your vessel.  I have also yielded myself into his care,” these words carrying a special weight and a surreptitious glance towards Bullet, who sighed wearily, “and have come to make a full apology to those affronted by my earlier actions.  Such should go a long way to repairing the lamentable division caused by our earlier… disagreement, is it not so?”  Smiling brightly, Vonter swept his arms out towards the Diyetian, but had no intention of letting the other speak. “After all, I feel compelled to make amends for my actions, and that must prove more satisfying than hasty, irreversible brutality.”

      Cruluxiam stood silently, glowering at the pirate, whose brilliant grin refused to waver.  His eyes flicked over to the subdued guard, as if considering a repeat of his earlier order, before passing over Bullet and back to the loquacious pirate. “Very well, I shall consent to-”

     “Wonderful!” Vonter burst out, stepping forward and patting the squat majordomo on the shoulder before the guards had a chance to react. “I shall immediately present myself to the passengers of this fair vessel and make my humble, public apology, renouncing all of my previous actions in the hopes of redeeming my good name.  Let’s see, the primary dining hall should be this way…” He breezed past the guards, who were too stunned to think to stop him, and left Cruluxiam spluttering in his wake.

      “Wait… no, you mustn’t… no, stop, I…” The Diyetian waddled after the pirate captain, his gasping protests hindered by the pirate’s speedy progress deeper into the ship.  Sharing bewildered glances, the four bodyguards trailed after, leaving Bullet alone in the docking bay.

      Bullet couldn’t help but chuckle to himself as he ordered the Silverfang to secure itself.  He would catch up to Vonter and the others before they reached the dining hall; he was still responsible for insuring the pirate didn’t commit any further crimes, though he somehow couldn’t imagine Vonter capable of personal violence.  And anyways, the Nathian noted to himself as he trotted across the floor of the docking bay and into the hall that the pirate and his ‘escort’ had taken, at the very least Vonter’s presentation would be interesting.

 

Previous Page          Next Page