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Broken Bonds

by Catherine Guillotte about a year ago in Sci Fi
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A prequel for future series

Broken Bonds
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Taggot shook his head, glancing about the Gallant Fox. Anyone that believed they were safe from the Empire was delusional. Even here on Whirlaway, on the edge of Va’Lori dominion, no one was safe.

Once a Commander in the Imperial Fleet, he knew personally how the Elite of the oligarchy were all too willing to turn on their trusted military leaders. If the Senate felt their power was threatened, they eliminated that threat.

Turning his attention to the stairs, he adjusted his course for the exclusive section. He had reserved the penthouse earlier, though it had cost him every last Sorrel he’d earned from his stent in the Va’Lori military. He even threw in the rose gold locket he’d bought for Kya. Shaped like a heart, it was probably too feminine for such a fierce female. Luckily, she didn’t know about the would-be gift. No harm done.

Then again, if this meeting went well, he might be able to give Kya an even better gift.

Flashing the glowing vixen coin that served as a certificate of payment, Taggot didn’t slow as he passed the guards and climbed the stairs.

So many stairs.

“One of the largest, most expensive and exclusive clubs in all the galaxies, and it doesn’t have an elevator.” Taggot grumbled, reaching the top of the fifth flight of stairs. Only twenty more to go.

“Commander.”

The electronic voice of The Lady Wrath’s AI filtered through his ear piece.

Taking the distraction as a welcome respite to catch his breath, Taggot looked up to his destination. This would have been the perfect place for an elevator. A teleporter even.

“What is it?”

“A Va’Lori battleship just warped in…” the AI spoke in a slow monotone, but the extended pause gave away the uncertainty. “It’s The Destiny.”

“Perfect. He’ll be on time.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea, sir? He is no longer your ally.”

“No, but he’s still my friend.” There was only silence on the other end. “Do me a favor, leave a review for The Gallant, and request an elevator.”

“Yes sir, as you wish.”

Taking one last breath, Taggot looked up to the top of The Gallant Fox. Next time, choose a rendezvous point on the lower level.

If there was a next time. It had been some time since he had last seen his dear friend, at least as Solaxus’ true self. This thing, this creature he had become, a puppet for the Va’Lori, was not real. He knew Solaxus was still in there somewhere.

Solaxus just needed a reminder of who he was, the joy he once felt, the love that still existed for him.

The Senators had turned his best friend against him. Solaxus had been denied visitors during the darkest time of his life, healing from injuries sustained from a land mine during a failed mission. Solaxus should have died that day.

It would have been a merciful fate. Instead, the Va’Lori had cruelly twisted his friend into a cybernetic fiend cut off from his humanity.

The dark thought sent a shiver down Taggot’s spine as he forced himself up the next few steps. Perhaps Solaxus did in fact die that day…

It would explain the rage, the pain in his dear friend’s eye the last time he saw the poor bastard. The last time they met in person before Taggot went AWOL… and Solaxus was sent to recover him for trial of treason. A final test no doubt for the Senators’ newest experimental toy.

If he could get Solaxus to calm down and see reason…

Taggot chewed his lip a moment, debating the odds of getting the cyborg to see beyond his new programming.

What felt like an eternity later, the penthouse door finally came into view. Reaching into his pocket, he removed the coin and held it in front of the scanner. The device chirped before a soothing, feminine electronic voice welcomed him inside.

The doors lit up an inviting deep pink before sliding open, revealing the modest suite within.

“Huh, so that’s where the elevator funding went,” Taggot mused, looking about the intricately designed suite. All the latest trending gadgets were visible along with the most luxurious furniture.

“Greetings, Master Taggot.” He turned his head, looking to a sensually designed robotic servant. It was weird what turned some people on. Giving the robust, and honestly voluptuous, metal maid a once over, Taggot merely shook his head. “The suite was adjusted to your exact specifications.”

“Uh-huh.” Taggot nodded absentmindedly, trying to remember if he requested anything. He doubted it as he picked up a remote, and began playing with the controls.

“My guest will be allowed entry?”

“Of course. As long as the description and name match the ID downstairs, he or she, will be permitted entry. Will you require any nourishment, or performance enhancements for tonight’s appointment?”

“What?” Taggot’s head snapped up at the last bit, looking away from the remote as the shades around the windows all lifted up, revealing Whirlaway in all of its electric and grungy glory. “No, no, absolutely not.” Taggot shook his head. Given Solaxus’ current physical state, he doubted that would ever be an option ever again. A pity really.

“I’ll just… wait for him.”

“As you wish.” Giving a slow nod, the shapely metal servant turned and walked away, polished hips swaying with each step.

“The detail they put in those things…” Taggot muttered, before his earpiece buzzed to life.

“Taggot… quit admiring the scenery.”

A nervous grin broke over the human’s square features as Kya’s voice growl through the static.

“I’m looking, not ordering,” Taggot laughed nervously. Turning, he took a moment to walk to the windows and look out. Whirlaway was a trash planet. Only the lowest lifeforms lived here. A few good people were lost in the waste, but mostly it was rogues trying to make a living out of the Va’Lori’s taxes and regulations. The beautiful lights illuminating the city and planet were a fake veil easily erased by dawn.

“Has there been any movement from The Destiny?”

“No… the ship’s just hovering above the planet.”

“Is The Wrath visible?” Taggot looked up, hoping to catch a glimpse of The Destiny in the night sky, but the smog blocked out the night sky.

“Hopefully not.” Kya’s tone voiced unease, “I think you should leave.”

“It’ll be alright, Kya. He hasn’t opened fire yet. He received my message. He knows I want to talk. He showed up, didn’t he?”

“There’s still a price on your head, you moron… mine too.”

Taggot smiled briefly. Outlaws all of them now.

It was well worth it, leaving the corrupt Va’Lori. They might not be allowed in civilized orbits, but that was fine. They knew how to survive on their own. They had made it this far, they could keep going.

He just wished Solaxus would join them.

Things were not right without him. Knowing he was pushed away by lies made it even harder.

Solaxus just needed to see, to hear, the truth. Perhaps they were far enough out of the Va’Lori’s influence that he could finally get through to his friend.

“I can’t see a damn thing.”

“I’ll let you…”

Taggot tilted his head as Kya’s voice trailed off. “Kya… what is it?”

“The Destiny. It’s moving, a door’s opening.”

“A door?” Taggot’s eyes lit up a moment. He was going to accept?! He knew it! “So he’s coming?”

“I, I guess so. I wasn’t expectin- oh. Oh no. Taggot, get the hell out of there now!”

“What? Why?” his expression of delight, and hope, diminished quickly at Kya’s panicked tone.

What was happening?

“The Destiny, it’s…” her voice was lost to the static, another channel overcoming The Lady Wrath’s signal. Only one ship in the current vicinity had that type of power.

Taggot found himself looking up once more, still unable to see through the smog. However, the blackness of Whirlaway was slowly dissipating, a red light illuminating the sky overhead.

“Goodbye, old friend.”

Taggot felt his heart drop as he heard Solaxus’ voice. It was hard to recognize the hoarse, mechanical voice that once rivaled sirens.

That was it.

Taggot could only blink, staring into the slowly brightening red sky. Solaxus didn’t even try to parlay. He was done.

In that moment, Taggot realized he too, was done.

Not just because the ray coming down from The Destiny was going to obliterate this planet and everyone on it, but because there was no hope left. They might have survived this far, but there was no way they were going to live and win. They would always be running.

The Va’Lori were right. There was no escape.

Only death.

Taggot never looked away, his gaze fixated upon the red beam cutting through the clouds and heading straight for the Gallant Fox. A loud rumble spread across the planet, the Gallant Fox shaking at its core as the atmosphere was pierced by the ray.

This was it.

As the ray drew nearer, Taggot winced, the light burning his retinas becoming unbearable.

Aboard The Destiny, Solaxus watched as the ray hit Whirlaway. The Gallant Fox was the primary target, eliminating the exact spot that Taggot had requested for their rendezvous point.

It had been tempting to go, to see his old friend once more.

That would have made it harder. Taggot would have begged him to reforge their bond. Then he would have left and Solaxus would have had to shoot blindly.

This made it easier.

Whirlaway exploded as the ray burned its way through the surface and into the core of the planet. Soon enough, Whirlaway imploded on itself, its now super heated core melting the planet from within. With the atmosphere in ruins and the planet being rearranged from the inside, life on Whirlaway ended within moments.

“Sir. The Lady Wrath is within range, beyond the moon.”

Solaxus remained fixated on the destruction below. His one good eye watched with growing horror, while his new cybernetic eye scanned the planet below, adding up the death toll. The numbers echoed through his mind much like the buzzing of electricity and whirring of gears throughout his body.

“Sir, The Lady Wrath is about to jump.”

“Pursue her.” Solaxus replied, looking away at last. “The ship won’t last long without her captain.”

“Indeed.” The Destiny AI agreed as Solaxus sat in the captain’s chair.

“Make sure to send the report to the Senators. Commander Taggot has been neutralized.” Solaxus spoke calmly, despite the strain in his voice giving an unnatural growl that was only enhanced by the mechanical whine from his new bits and pieces.

“As you command.”

Solaxus nodded, keeping his head up and gaze forward. The holographic illusion that hid his mechanical bits from view, giving him the false sense of wholeness likewise hid the single tear that welled up in his organic eye.

The faintest bit of wetness was noticeable on his skin as the tear rolled over, sliding down his face. Soon enough, the tiny bit of emotion made corporeal reached the edge of his skin, crossing over to the strips of metal and rubber making up the majority of his body. At that point, he lost track of the tear, and the pain.

All that was left was emptiness, a black void slowly filling fill with rage. Rage that he would soon vent upon the surviving members of his old crew, the same crew that abandoned him to this wretched and miserable existence.

They would know the loss he has endured, the pain that has consumed him since that unfortunate raid.

The Lady Wrath had nowhere to run. It would be an easy task hunting down his former comrades like the vermin they were.

A point on the map flashed as The Lady Wrath lurched into warpspeed desperately attempting to flee. A slow, evil smile spread across Solaxus’ thin lips as his target blipped off the map.

So the hunt begins.

Sci Fi

About the author

Catherine Guillotte

Writing, gaming and creating art are my passions. Along with cats. All hail the mighty felilne overlords! Fantasy- traditional and urban- are my forte, but I dabble with romance, sci-fi and occasionally horror. Let me know what you think!

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