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Posted: Feb 11 2012, 05:24 PM
Member No.: 970
Joined: 6-January 12
Author's note: To kind of celebrate the next chapter of OGC (which will be done soon) I wanted to do a few drabbles of stuff that led up to the beginning of my fanfic...Some side-stories that explain a little bit about the characters and their different motivations and things. Enjoy! Should be more on the way soon, and hopefully the next chapter will be done before I leave the country for a few weeks.
“...Then there was Arbatsu. They were the second,” Krillin paused. “It was bad. Really bad. Yamucha and Juunanagou, they don't talk about it...even if you ask them...”
Councilor Ainaa strolled into his solarium after his morning exercise, as he did every day before he settled down at his workstation. He lifted his eyes to his study desk as he sipped imported tea from a milk-porcelain mug...
...and froze as he saw he was not alone.
“Good morning, Councilor,” the humanoid seated at the desk put his hands behind his head, flipping his black ponytail over one shoulder. “Enjoying your tea? Smells like Ceylon.”
Ainaa's posture became like granite, along with his face. “What do you want?”
“Where is my family?”
His reply to that question was evasive. “Out,” he said finally, using one hand to pull a black bag to place on the table.
“I know why you are here,” said Ainaa, putting his mug on a nearby island. “Arbatsu will not bow before Chikyuu like common sycophants.”
“Well, that's where you are wrong...because by my understanding, you already have.” He put his booted feet up on the desk, leaning back in Ainaa's chair. “Turn on your monitor.”
The movement behind him was a flutter, a kiss of wind that startled Ainaa all the same. And the other 'guest', this one with chilling blue eyes, stared holes into his skull while handing him his monitor's remote.
The image crackled on, and Councilor Ainaa only needed a couple of seconds for it to register what was playing out in front of him.
“General Voller and the others voted this morning. Unanimously,” The note in the intruder's voice, the only one of the two to speak so far, was more somber than Ainaa expected. From everything he had read about the man, it was surprising that he wasn't offering a toast.
Ainaa didn't let the shock show on his face. They would not have that. Not from him.
Instead he said, “They say Voller does his best work behind one's back.”
Then came the easy, charming smile he remembered from the Farolian press. “Maybe all he saw was the writing on the wall.”
“Arbatsu has pride in its culture, its people,” Ainaa began.
“...Will 'pride' feed 20 million starving children, Councilor? Will it grow an economy?” He stood, walking around the study with the grace of some exotic feline. “70% of your working class is illiterate. You have no exports to speak of, no crops...how many riots were there last week at your ration areas? Eight, nine?”
“Fourteen,” said the man with blue eyes, his first words in the conversation. He had moved to stand about ten feet behind Ainaa.
“Fourteen in one week. It's getting worse,” the other man returned.
“My planet has its struggles. We accept them.”
“It sounds like the only thing you have on this rock is your army. And it's impressive...especially considering the way you've been using it to bring in revenue.”
If Ainaa felt anger, guilt, or regret...it did not show.
“Hiring out your special ops units, fighting proxy wars for other countries that can't afford their own military...It brought in a lot of money. But since the Arjunians...the Firstborn going from planet to planet, working out treaties...no war. And no war, no money. Right, Councilor?”
Ainaa looked again at the black bag. He thought of his son and daughter, playing in the Serulian sand when they all went on holiday a few weeks prior. His face was still.
And following his line of sight, Chikyuu's Secretary of Informational Exchange reached into the bag and pulled out a thin, crimson-colored sheet. It looked like a transparent bookmark, and he waved it in front of his face to peer through it at Ainaa.
“You've signed enough of these in your lifetime to know what this is,” he said. “An Arbatsu-jin 'blood paper'. On my planet, we call it a 'death warrant'.”
The soft release of breath from the councilor's lips was the only sound in the room. The hand he had on his tea started to tremble slightly.
“But the Arbatsu-sei way is a little special, isn't it? The recipient of the paper...his immediate family...his servant staff...”
He walked towards Ainaa, his footfalls becoming like cannon blasts.
“...All your known associates...your advisors...and their families, too.”
He slapped the blood paper on the island's marble top.
“You can scan it for authenticity if you want. I assure you, it has General Voller's seal.”
“...And I can see that you don't doubt it, either.” the visitor said, his voice hushed.
Ainaa took the flimsy sheet, rotating it in his hand. The hot Serulian sand. His son's laugh.
This Lordling of Chikyuu—no, now that Ainaa was close, he could see that the man was much older than he had thought—gave his companion a stiff nod. The Blue Eyed one walked outside without a word.
When he was satisfied they were alone, he said, “This was not our decision.”
“Understood,” replied Ainaa, his voice fighting for stabile ground. “It is the way of my people.”
A pause. “There is a shuttle in port, headed for Chikyuu tomorrow. Your family is already on it.”
For the first time since he entered his study, Ainaa looked the man in the eyes. He watched him turn suddenly, retrieving the black bag.
“I can save them,” he whispered, faltering.
“...But you cannot save me,” finished Ainaa.
The Lord Secretary pulled a small blaster from the bag, placing it softly on the study desk. And now the man could no longer look at him for more than seconds.
But Councilor Ainaa simply picked up his mug, and finished his tea.
“They call you Yamucha, yes?” He didn't wait for a nod. “I won't say I thank you.”
The Lord Secretary lowered his eyes to the floor, the bag in his hand.
“Just save as many as you can.”
Yamucha nodded, and after a moment he dared to say, “I'll leave you to it, then.”
He walked out after his companion.
Juunanagou was waiting by the simple, iron gates to the house. “So what now?”
Yamucha said nothing. Instead, he waited. And from the solarium, there was the muffled burst of a single blaster shot. The cyborg's head whipped back to the house out of instinct, but he slowly relaxed as he realized what had come about.
Yamucha opened the bag, and dozens of flimsy red sheets stared back at him.
“We go to the next house,” he answered.