martes, 19 de julio de 2011

El Juego - SDIV Chapter Six Pt1

First Class State Room
Prelate’s Light
Unknown Location
Fold Space

“You need to read this,” commented Shanna, throwing a rolled and partially chewed parchment in front of him, “there are things within in which concern you.”

“Cost-cutting?” grumbled Cornelius, as he put down his drink and indicated the high-tech machinery around him.

“This is a priceless relic ….” interrupted the young woman, but was angrily silenced by Shanna.

Butt grinned, feeling a little better at the effect his words had. Not malicious by nature, rather by training and at least partially vocation, Cornelius was apt to provoke instead of questioning. Unconscious responses could be extremely enlightening, but were always entertaining. Reaching for the scrap of paper, he unrolled it, using his brandy glass to weigh down one end, which again brought an outraged gasp. His little game was spoilt just a little, when he had to move the glass and turn the parchment the right way up. In order to drown out the tittering from Shanna, he began to read…

“…and then there will come to pass the birth of a mighty hero, steel-thewed and pure of heart, he will hearken to the call of the righteous. Tall, clean-limbed, of the greatest line of Taartun heroes, will he be. When the Egg, the Hero and the Blade are united, will our foes tremble.

Shattered earth and broken bones will litter the Tower. The Beast will be called forth at last, to do battle with the Taartun Hero and the …”

“Something missing?” asked Butt sarcastically, waving the parchment in the air.

“Yes!” snapped the young woman, “At least half the Mighty Hero!”

“Clari!” reprimanded Shanna, even whilst she hid her mirth, “He was rightfully chosen, there can be no doubt!”

“I meant,” stated Cornelius, as he reappropriated his drink and winked outrageously at Clari, “the other half of the parchment?”

“Ah...yes...” replied Shanna, patting her pockets, “I seem to have mislaid it, but I’m sure I’ll remember where I left it before you leave.”

“Leave?” queried Cornelius, “Not likely. I like it here.”

“Did I say anything about giving you a choice?” asked Shanna, as the muffled report of a pistol spat twice.

“No…” responded Cornelius, as the drink slipped out of his hand, in time with his hold on consciousness, “…actually…you didn’t…”


“Clari, put the weapon down!” snapped Shanna, as she spoke into her communications device, “he has been chosen.”

“As what?” asked Clari, her hostility apparent, “the favourite butt of everyone’s joke? Give me a break, learned one, which part of the prophecy does he actually fulfil? Steel-thewed, clean of limb, pure of heart, t…?”

“Of the Greatest Taartun line…”


“Do not interrupt me again, girl!” Shanna warned her, “You heard me, and that!”, she snarled, pointing at the enraged creature, which stood on Cornelius’ chest, its tail lashing from side to side. “There is not a single way to fake the choice, She cannot be mistaken!”

“But ...” protested Clari.

“Exactly ...” replied Shanna, waving the Guards,and the net slung between them, forward, “Although you, my dear, are the least of my problems. I’m worried about the Blade, the last I heard, he was in an even worse state than this one, if that’s at all possible.”

Muttering to herself, the old hag rose to her full height and swung the cane over her shoulder. Whistled notes floated back towards the still surprised Clari, as Shanna sauntered after her unconscious charge.

Prison Complex Alpha

“It seems to be working, Sir,” the Inspector glanced at his assistant and the pile of papers in his hands.

“What would that be then?” he asked, “Have you some news?”

“I think I have,” replied the assistant , “true to his nature, our subject made the first contact. The Taartuns have him and things appear to be progressing nicely.”

“Speak plainly boy!” snapped the Inspector, “How many times must I remind you?”

“Our agent on board the liner indicates that Butt has disappeared, as have a number of influential passengers. The ship’s crew are not asking too many questions, they are in fact glad to see the back of him.

They dropped out of Fold Space temporarily to carry out an unexpected repair and the Taartuns demanded to leave the liner. Strangely enough one of their craft was nearby and they disembarked, taking all of their belongings with them.”

“And now?” queried the Inspector, “Where are they?”

“On their way, we believe to their final destination,” grinned the assistant.

“Oh, good,” smiled the Inspector, “send the pre-arranged message, then.”

The assistant nodded in agreement and left the Inspector alone. Time would tell whether Butt was the right person for the job or not. It did not do to have only one option though, and the call would bring just the right type of balance. He relaxed in his chair, folded his hands across his stomach and closed his eyes. He had time.

Unknown Location

He was somewhere dark, stale and rancid. Apparently his sojourn as the Mighty Hero had been short-lived, as even he could not see anyone treating their chosen one this way. Movement by his face and the familiar rubbing of scales against his cheek reassured him that he was not alone. At least there was one thing loyal to him in this universe, and that for Cornelius Butt was a first.

Voices outside prompted his survival response and he tried to call out, but something had been pushed into his mouth, deadening any sound. All movement was practically impossible, as he was bound hand and foot and mentally he had demoted himself from Hero to Death Row occupant in one swift breath. He must be inside a crate, because he felt himself lifted, the screech of metal against metal, and the rasp of ropes indicative of such movement. With a thud, his prison was dropped and landed on something, a transporter no doubt, and the sensation of travel began again.

Twisting, he saw the twin red orbs of his favourite creature next to him, if only the thing could talk, or was endowed with some supernatural skill, then at least he could pass the time, or even escape. Instead, he resigned himself to whatever fate was to come, the comforting presence of at least some light, helping to calm him. Cornelius was not fatalistic, he knew that he always got one chance; he just had to be ready for when it smacked him right between the eyes.

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