Original Content Bought and Sold. Chapter 40, Arc 3

MyNameMeansBentNose

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Everyone's in a rush! Why? I don't know!... Well, actually I do know, but telling would be spoiling...

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Previous | Beginning | Technology | Wiki | Next
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Chapter 40
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Aurula sauntered over to Otto and threaded her left arm around his right. Her left wing opened slightly so she could push herself even closer.

Lopulm watched with hawk-like focus, naturally.

“Good morning Otto,” Aurula warbled contentedly, leaning right into him, her primary and secondary crest rising. Otto had to control the urge to roll his eyes as she very clearly antagonized Lopulm. The action did cause the male Leralin to flinch however and Lopulm shrunk every so slightly.

“Good morning Aurula,” Otto greeted in return. Aurula had waken up extremely quickly, and he could see small spots where her feathers were out of order. Tsury’s warning had certainly made his bluebird move quick. But Aurula had previously explained the possibility and nature of this sort of play, so he played along. Otto brought his left hand up and combed it through her crest and Aurula happily closed her eyes to enjoy the experience.

The third Leralin in the room, Oriashka put a wing around Lopulm, grabbed his arm and pulled him away. Lopulm resisted until her wing broke his line of sight. Once that happened he let himself be dragged away with no further trouble. Or at least as far as Otto was concerned, no further trouble for now.

Otto could still feel a couple cuts still tugging at his back, but he decided against worrying about that right now. He dropped his head, putting his face near Aurula’s hidden ear. “Now was that necessary?” he asked rhetorically. He did feel a little bit bad for Lopulm, although not enough to have changed how he was going to act.

“It was necessary!” Aurula replied. “He needs to know exactly how I feel about your companionship.”

“Well then,” Nualula interrupted. “Now that we have moved beyond that issue, shall we talk about the ring and our preparations?”

Otto moved back to the table with Aurula staying close. “In here?” he asked the ruby coloured Kraltnin.

“Well, yes, I am not ready to have you encounter my general personnel just yet.”

Once again Otto was reminded of Tingtantun as Nualula turned her head to look at him and bobbed her head sideways. She was much bigger than Ting had been of course. Her single eye watched Otto closely.

“I get the feeling you’re about to ask a favour of me.”

It wasn’t Nualula that asked. Another voice spoke up from the back with a recognizable lilt and warble. “Yes, that is accurate, and I will be helping.”

Otto turned his head to see Oriashka back in the room sans Lopulm. He swivelled his head back to Red Tail. “Me specifically?”

“Yes, I wish to borrow your unique capabilities,” Nualula noted, nodding in response to his question, “In the meantime, the rest of your companions can rest. We have a technician capable of offering your own tech, Matchka, some assistance with maintenance. Then I will be making use of that Human endurance to send you off on another mission as quickly as possible, depending on talks with a third party. Talks that are already happening.”

Nualula explained what she had in mind, but Otto did make sure to pull Tsury aside and thank her, even if the action only served to earn him a conflicted look in return.

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Oriashka
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“Here, here and here. When the connection breaks, you have to watch this line in particular as that is where the primary feedback will surge in from. If you don’t catch it in time, it can be very damaging.”

Oriashka shook her head, her crest fluttering as it bounced back and forth rapidly. “How you track it all is impressive,” She admitted in at least temporary defeat. “How do you handle the intensity of the signals? The flickering from module to linkage is intense.”

Otto’s attention remained on the Kashto as he finished the work. “Your vision is much more advanced than mine, isn’t it? Wouldn’t having to bounce around be easier for you?”

She didn’t respond at first, watching closely as Otto’s strange data package manipulated the slave package in ways she hadn’t thought possible. She didn’t know the basis of his data suite, and now she was really curious. But as for his question… “When it draws my attention, it is too difficult to keep track of all the previous threads. Every new movement draws my full focus.”

“So when the main link goes and everything starts to unravel you have problems?”

“Precisely,” Oriashka admitted. “Certain actions are quite easy for us to manage, flight is very nearly autonomous for instance, but trying to keep track of that unravelling slave package with multiple points of activity is… a problem.”

Otto nodded back in the material world as he let the Kashto go. “So it’s like seeing several fleeing rodents running in multiple directions? Instinctively, you can only focus on one of them?”

“Exactly,” she agreed. The white Sapient flinched, raising a short arm to his throbbing head. “That way to the waiting room,” Oriashka directed. “Please remain there until we are finished.”

“Yes ma’am,” the poor guy agreed. She hadn’t seen a single person come out of this without varying degrees of major headaches. The Monos was the worst, Otto had helped carry the prideful male to the waiting room as the Monos couldn’t manage himself through the pain. That had been interesting to watch. The Monos was bigger, bulkier and heavier, but Otto had still struggled through.

Aurula, who had been watching the whole time, opened the door for the next person. Oriashka wasn’t sure how she felt about the pair being together. It didn’t really upset her like it did Lopulm. Aurula was clearly satisfied with Otto’s companionship, and they almost certainly were together through coincidence. Whether the relationship would last was another question, but for now, Otto was caring for the blue Leralin and Aurula seemed more than happy.

The next one to be cracked was a white Kraltnin. He sat himself down on the stool and Oriashka plugged the cable of the monitor into the back of the guys head. Then she dived in and watched as Otto went to work once again. He drove the initial spike in and then went to work pulling the package apart. He isolated the punishment routines, starting with the self-destructive portions, then moved to clean up all the leaking signals and slowly took the whole package apart, wiping whole sections clean as he went.

Otto was setting up the packages he was taking apart in a method unlike how he had developed his own, she could tell that much. A cursory examination of his own suite only showed a standard slave package when he was relatively inactive. He was nearly indistinguishable from normal slaves when he wasn’t doing anything. That changed when Otto was active of course. The density of the information rolling out of him was impressive, to say the least. Common packages wasted a great deal of space and bandwidth in comparison. She was just skilled enough to be aware of the discrepancy. Certain races simply had better, denser code. Achun were a good example. Psioxern were another example if Oriashka remembered correctly.

But all of the people he had cracked here Otto had cleared off entirely, scrubbing their heads of everything he deemed dangerous. “Leaving the disguise means lingering effects,” had been part of Otto’s reasoning.

She only wished he was able to do something about her own sladier package. Soldier slaves such as herself and her brother were much more difficult to crack than regular slaves by far. Otto had taken a cursory look and the freedoms Crawk had granted her allowed the attention. But Otto didn’t dare go any further with his knowledge and resources. ‘If I only had SPIRE or Clouds,’ he had mumbled to himself.

Then something shifted, yanking her attention back to the task at hand. The Kraltnin jumped forward off the stool, a hand reaching, and failing to grab Oriashka. His body betrayed him and he spasmed, falling into a twitching mess on the floor. Oriashka could see why. His slave package had reacted… differently.

Otto’s signal jumped in power as the Human reacted. “Found one!” he sent. Oriashka was already activating countermeasures as the databomb went off.

And then she saw the worm. It came together from multiple strings of data, taking up Otto’s full attention. It struck the databomb, the trap package designed to unfold endlessly and occupy all available space found itself being devoured by a more powerful attack with a similar purpose. The Kraltnin struggled and flailed as he weathered the assault. Otto took the little space available in the Kraltnin’s head first and then slowly burned away the attack. Once it was done, Otto pulsed a command and the worm disintegrated.

Finally, they were done. The Kraltnin, Spec, was taking shallow, pained breaths from where he lay on the floor. Otto had his head in his hands and his legs were twitching with barely contained energy.

“Are you well Otto?” Aurula asked with worry, rushing over to put her hands on Otto’s shoulder. Oriashka might have done the same, but she had to be careful to keep her distance. There was no one in the building more likely to send the blue Leralin off her perch than Oriashka herself. But that was only if she got too close. As long as she didn’t get too close to Otto, as long as she kept a respectful distance, there would be no problems between herself and Aurula.

“Yeah… I had to react quickly there, I will need to cool down for a minute,” Otto responded.

Oriashka stood up from her own stool and stepped around it to then crouch next to the Kraltnin. They had expected some infiltrations from Hatherkey’s group. She had even found one before. A fortunate catch, getting rid of that white furred Kashto before he could betray their base like they expected Crawk’s own personal base had been wiped out. Unlike this time, however, that Kashto had died when his implants had burnt out and thrown him into a seizure.

Spec seemed like he would live as Oriaskha gingerly scanned his implant. As she surveyed the damage it seemed he might not be happy about that fact for a little while. Otto was still in there slowly patching the damage he had done.

The Kraltnin opened his eye, his second lid closed, the pupil of his eye constrained to a small point.

“Spec?” Oriashka called gently.

“What-” he choked out, “what happened?”

“You were compromised, there was a trap buried in your slave package, but it’s clean now.”

He froze up in fear, then realized exactly what had happened to him and started to shiver with shock and realization. Oriashka stretched her wings out to shelter and cover him, allowing the Kraltnin the impression of hiding. It wasn’t like he was betraying them on purpose after all.

Spec started sneezing, a sure sign of Kraltnin stress. Otto would have time to cool down. He needed to be fresh if they were using him to check those most likely to be leaking information. There weren’t that many people in this base, and it wasn’t taking Otto an exceptionally long time for each check and scrub, but this was already turning into a long day.

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Matchka
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“Yes, good!” Matchka confirmed as the Kraltnin Grey pressed the fuse module into place with a satisfying click.

It was a decent workshop with several work tables and various makers around the borders of the room. The luggage from the shuttle was tucked into one corner, with most of the boxes opened up… although those boxes were mostly empty at this point. The harnesses and weapons were laid out on the tables.

Hiknik was quite young, just losing his last traces of blue, but the Kraltnin had plenty of potential. Nualula’s main tech, a blue and black Kashto, was busy fiddling with another of the harnesses. “A good design consideration, but I wonder at the feedback when the fuse blows,” the Kashto, Luren, commented.

“Some feedback, yes,” Matchka agreed. “But harness still functional. Important.”

The Kashto nodded in agreement. “If the user can handle the feedback from an attack that would make these fuses necessary of course.”

“Humans. Kraltnin Primary,” Matchka explained. “Impressive biology.”

“Yes, a good point.”

Matchka went back to working on her own harness. Red Tail had given them a basic outline of what they were getting into, and Matchka had quickly realized they were going to want her on hand for her technical expertise. They would be infiltrating by ship after all. That would add quite a few technical wrinkles that Otto’s general espionage talents might not quite cover.

She was rather excited by the idea. Nervous, but excited.

Nualula herself was playing with a piece of one of the harnesses. She was handling one of the kinetic weapons the brothers had made, clearly intrigued by the unique design. One of the makers was singing away with a high pitched whine as it printed new bullets for the rifles. It was rare to find technical makers capable of synthesizing volatile materials, but it made sense to find one here.

Specifically, Nualula was inspecting one of Matchka’s harness mounted weapons, although it was currently disconnected. Matchka had one of her own kinetics weapons of similar design to the rifles. A pistol Mike had designed for her with a suppressive extension on the barrel. Ideal for her. No power draw, very little noise, lightweight. There was the issue of ammo, of course, she could only carry so much. But if she was in a sustained fight, she had probably already lost anyways. If the worst happened she had a plasma pistol as a paired weapon, but that was the last resort.

A couple beeps and a ping announced the arrival of a drone. A typical floating orb, it made straight for Nualula. “Direct connection established, do you wish to take the call here?” the androgynous voice asked.

“Yes, put on the monitor,” Nualula replied, her tail lazily twitching back and forth.

She didn’t recognize the person, but Matchka was surprised to see the face on the screen.

“So you’re the Red Tail, right?” the person asked. “Chack says you wanted to borrow one of my shuttles?”

“Indeed, I already have Chack’s willingness to cooperate” Red Tail replied confidently, “and I suspect you’ll be interested in helping yourself.”

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Otto
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[Command. Attack. Fragmentation pulse]

He fired out multiple packets of data, letting them slam haphazardly into her barrier. Oriashka was using a barrier similar in concept to the one Aurula had displayed in practice, but there was a notable difference in quality. The liquid-like barrier splashed and rippled, but his attacks did little more than cause pockets of the wall to explode into apparent steam. The damage quickly filled itself at the moment there was a gap.

Oriashka herself had enough control and presence of mind to avoid letting him see her command execution. Projectiles that looked like feathers rained down on Otto’s own barriers. The recursive defence revealed another wall behind any barrier that Oriaskha managed to bust down.

Otto was somewhat impressed with Oriashka’s mastery of her own weapon set. The attacks she was using were limited to what she’d been given. She had a specific range of tools, weapons and defences, but she was practiced with their use. Oriashka didn’t just rely on what had been given to her and obtained some options he suspected didn’t come bundled with her original set. She had come to learn the tools at her disposal. That made this fight deceptively hard. But Oriashka had already given away one of her weaknesses in their earlier conversations.

[Build Complete. Combined program. Attack Towers, regenerating barriers.]

Otto had been trading small attacks with the white bird for a little while and he had managed to hold his ground just fine. Seeing an opportunity he had begun building the towers early on in the fight. He had exploited her focus problem to draw her attention to his obvious attacks and defences. She hadn’t noticed the towers building, although it probably wasn’t quite obvious within the camouflage of the castle.

The visual construction of Otto’s castle didn’t take much processing power, although that might change if everything was actually animated rather than static, but it did provide a potential screen. Dresk Stoyaf had taught Otto that.

This fight with Oriashka was much different than the short fight against the Helix though. The plant mammal symbiote was subtle and slow. He had attempted to hide the bulk of his offense within Otto’s visual constructions. Oriashka hit hard and fast, striking anything that dared to draw her attention.

An overload spike fell upon the tower closest to Oriaskha and the tower with the thickest defence. All three of the ‘towers’ opened fire on her at the same time. Otto was now in the position of just maintaining all his active programs, he’d maxed himself out with this.

She pounded the first tower with multiple different attacks, probing for its weakness. It was a bit more difficult to defend here. Otto didn’t have any viable paths to redirect attacks away from himself. That forced him to accept and dismantle whatever she threw his way, and she was throwing attacks quite quickly.

Something about her mental address made it difficult to pin her down, however, and Otto found several of his towers initial attacks fizzling, improper aim causing them to bug out and malfunction. It mimicked her natural ability to fly quite well in fact. With his maxed out processing, he couldn’t actively disable the attacks coming in, and it was difficult to correct the ‘aim’ of his towers.

In this space, it was very much like he was watching Oriashka circle around his castle as he took pot shots at her from his vantage on the battlements.

The towers were more like nodes, but it helped him to think of them in the same sort of sense as a tower defence game, where he built up his constructs and they fended off whatever came his way. They fired upon the moving avatar of Oriashka, attempting to catch and pierce her defences.

Several spikes came down, bursting through the barriers Otto had built around the largest tower, temporarily disabling the construction. Otto placed himself on top of the tower and used his personal defences to absorb her next attacks. It had been difficult to build these towers, It wouldn’t do to let them go just like that. Thinking she had an advantage, Oriashka ratcheted up her attacks, attempting to capitalize on the damage. Then Otto’s fourth tower unleashed its attack. The release of mental resources as it hit her, and her own personal processor, was a relief to Otto.

Not so much a relief to Oriashka as the one large attack froze her up long enough for the other three towers to get their own direct attacks in on the white bird. Oriashka quickly found herself overwhelmed by Otto’s volley of overload and fragmentation attacks.

“I surrender!” she cried out. The simulation froze. Oriashka dropped to the battlement of Otto’s castle and Aurula popped up next to them.

“You win!” Aurula exclaimed happily jumping up to hang off his shoulder with her wings momentary hiding him from view.

“Yes he did,” Oriashka admitted from where Otto couldn’t ‘see’ her past Aurula’s simulated wings. “That was a good third round, where did you learn to make those nodes?”

“I’ve been using them for training recently,” Otto admitted. “Not good to rely on normally I don’t think, but good for a surprise.”

“I’m shutting down the simulation,” Aurula warbled happily. It was clear to Otto his bluebird enjoyed showing off her mate.

They dropped out of the simulation and Otto pulled the cable from the collar of his civilian harness and let it draw back into the simulator pod he’d stolen from the warehouse. Aurula and Oriashka mimicked the action, returning the cables to the pod. Otto kneeled down to unplug the power cable in the base of the thing.

“Well Oriaskha, I hope that went as well as you wanted.”

“Oh yes, the practice was interesting,” the white Leralin chirped happily, although her wings hung down slightly, indicating her fatigue. “It has been some time since I have had the opportunity to test myself against a new opponent. Perhaps we can have another match later?”

“Later, I don’t see why not,” Otto agreed, “But for now, I need to rest, we’ve been busy.”

“We have,” Oriaskha agreed, “I also need to rest.”

Aurula hopped up from her stool in Oriashka’s office where they had been testing and cracking packages earlier. Due to those exertions, Otto had initially turned down Oriashka’s spar request, but she’d argued one never knew just how things were going to change, and that tomorrow might be too late. So Otto had grudgingly accepted the offer.

Otto stood up and tapped a control on the side of the cylinder. The top closed up and he picked the thing up to feed it back into the carry case so he could sling it over his shoulder. “Well, I’m going to go get some rest before anything else comes up,” Otto repeated, “So thanks for the match, talk to you later.”

“You too Otto,” Oriashka got up and moved to a desk in the corner, pulling a plug from a module hidden under her feathers and placing the plug into a receptacle in a monitor.

Tossing the cylinder over his shoulder, Otto lead the way out of the room with Aurula right behind. They weren’t that far from their room at least.

He was tired and he had a headache. After all that, Otto just wanted a nap before Aurula started to get too antsy to just leave him be. She followed just behind him as he paced down the hall to their room. Then he realized his door was still open.

Otto wasn’t surprised when Lopulm stepped out. The sigh that accompanied the realization was almost completely involuntary. At the very least this was a poor time and place for Lopulm, what was his rush.

“Lopulm is it?” Aurula asked confidently.

“I challenge you Otto!” the white bird declared. “You have nothing to offer her but fleeting warmth! It should be I beside her!”

“You barely know her,” Otto replied with annoyance. “How disrespectful can you be?” What Otto heard next surprised him.

“If you don’t accept the challenge, he won’t leave us alone,” Aurula explained.

“That’s right, you have no choice Human.”

Otto took one big deep breath in, then let it out in a long sigh. “This is gonna tire me out quicker,” he warned Aurula as he stepped forward. This wasn’t really a game he wanted to play, but this too was part of the conversations he and Aurula had had on the mating matter back while they were travelling to Karkantantar.

As Otto looked at Aurula, she nodded back in understanding.

He stepped forward, rolling his shoulders and flexing his hands alternatingly. Otto paid close attention when he did that, mostly as an experiment. He opened a hand all the way as if to stretch it, then clenched that hand into a fist while stretching out the far opposite hand. Lopulm had picked the hallway to make this challenge. He probably expected to get his talons at Otto’s throat right at the start of the fight. Not necessarily a bad idea purely based on the Leralin’s superior speed.

Otto flipped that switch in his head for the second time today.

He felt the momentary shock of alarm kick off as the adrenaline switch did its work. That now familiar surge of energy followed right afterwards and his heart began to thump. Otto had to control his urge to move as the blood pulsed through his body. He had to lull the bird and make Lopulm react in the way Otto wanted. Just rushing the white Leralin would do him no good.

Lopulm opened his hands, baring his talons. His wings unfolded halfway, ready to move him in a moment’s notice. In a surprise fight, Otto expected the Leralin might come out on top. In this situation, perhaps not as much. He was already used to fending off Aurula’s passionate swipes. She couldn’t help but act aggressively since her instincts encouraged her to rile up her partner.

Lopulm may have simply been trying to claim a spot as the ‘second male’. The one who would take over in case the first male was injured either in hunting or during mating. Whatever his goal, Otto wasn’t interested in being all that nice and Aurula certainly wasn’t in a forgiving mood.

Lopulm carefully closed to within lunging distance. Otto watched the twitches and motions of the Leralin’s body closely. The bird was having a hard time keeping himself contained as well, Otto could tell. At least Lopulm had some proper respect for the heavier and stronger Human he’d picked a fight with. Lopulm approached closer yet.

He didn’t miss the ever so slight coiling of Lopulm’s legs as the Leralin prepared to leap. He was paying attention when Oriashka had complained about the way her attention and focus worked. Otto snapped the fingers on his left hand loudly. He had noted Lopulm giving greater attention to the artificial right hand. Otto had timed it just right. Lopulm lunged at the exact same moment, but the slight distraction acted as Otto had guessed. The sudden sound and motion surprised Lopulm, drawing his vision just enough for Otto to react.

It was over as quick as it started. The distraction slowed Lopulm just enough for Otto to grab the reaching hand. Instead of Lopulm putting his terribly dangerous talons on Otto’s neck, Otto instead grabbed the bird’s wrist, snatching the extended hand away from Otto’s neck. Now holding Lopulm’s left wrist with his own artificial right hand, Otto yanked on the bird to pull him past where Otto was standing. Suddenly Lopulm found himself with a much heavier and stronger Human behind him. In the next instant, Otto had crushed him up against the wall.

“Urk! Rawk!” Lopulm complained, unable to articulate an intelligible response.

“Give up!” Otto grunted harshly. Lopulm’s head turned, beak wide open. Otto’s hand grabbing his neck forced the dangerous weapon away and pinned Lopulm against the wall with crushing force.

“I give!” Lopulm squawked out, his voice warped in pain. Otto’s grip on his neck was anything but gentle. Otto leg go of Lopulm’s wrist and shoved the bird away from him with the grip on the Leralin’s neck. Lopulm landed on his side. He coughed, wings twitching and spasming with pain, his hand hovering near his own neck.

Finally, Lopulm collected himself and looked at Otto. Aurula wrapped herself around Otto’s arm as the white Leralin looked up at them. “You were… quicker than I expected,” Lopulm admitted.

Otto sighed again and dropped his head, then looked sideways at Aurula. Borrowing some Human body language, she shook her head.

Otto looked back to Lopulm. “I deny you the place of second Lopulm, your shallow attentions are not wanted.”

With Aurula hanging off Otto’s arm, he pulled her into the room. Lopulm didn’t try to stop them.

The door shut behind them and Aurula reached up to Otto’s neck. She was careful to keep her talons away, brushing at his skin with the pads of her fingers. “He almost got you,” Aurula noted gently. She pulled her hand away to show Otto the blood seeping from a cut on his neck.

“Yes, he almost did, but almost wasn’t good enough.”

“...I’ll grab the nanofix.”

“Thanks, Aurula.”

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Wastad
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Carefully, he navigated the border between The Peaks and the portion of the orbital ring in orbit above, Cliffside. The city itself was clean enough, although one had to bounce around rapidly to try and confuse efforts to track. But the orbital ring was where things got mean. Wastad ramped up his defensive measures as his mind delved forwards and upwards.

The space pinged him almost immediately. It was a simple enough request. Pay a toll and one would have access to certain limited areas without a problem. But he would be tracked while he did so. If your refusal was too obvious, then one would find themselves weathering constant checks and maybe even attacks. This was part of why Chack was so dangerous and why Hatherkey had chosen to take over the city first. Red Tail was physically impressive and tactically intelligent, but she failed on matters of dataspace security.

It was unfortunate for them that Chack had decided on sight that he did not like Hatherkey. The most dangerous Monos always had good instincts.

After circumventing the toll access, Wastad had to move forward carefully as he pushed through. It did help that he wasn’t contacting anyone within the ring, but someone docked at one of the many ports. Finally, he made contact.

“I have made the connection,” Wastad reported.

“Good,” Hatherkey responded. He connected to the space and Wastad had to force himself to relax as Hatherkey’s complex mind came to settle in the area. “Push the connection through.”

Wastad pulled the thread in and opened up the dataspace connection. The face of a Monos appeared before them. A red backed Monos with more than a little intelligence behind his eyes. Prock was smart for a Monos, although he was still burdened by the fact that he was still a Monos. He hadn’t overcome his weaknesses like the much more impressive member of his race that made contacting Prock dangerous. Prock was in the middle of rebuking a member of his crew.

“-aid be SILENT!” Prock barked at an off-screen subordinate before turning to look at the screen. “Who are you and what do you want?” he demanded.

“Ship Lord Prock,” Hatherkey greeted the captain, not reacting to the rude attitude on display. “Allow me to introduce myself, I am Hatherkey.”

The aggression dropped away from Prock’s expression. He raised his chest and crossed his upper arms. “Interesting! For a big name like yours to contact some unimportant shiplord such as myself… What might I offer you?”

“You understand very quickly!” Hatherkey laughed, the beak of his Veprutasian avatar clicking with amusement. “Yes, I have reason to believe your enemy will be taking action against a holding of mine on the outer ring. I wish to borrow your manpower.”

“An enemy of… you know of the Humans? That I will have a chance to relieve my irritation upon those bastards?”

“I have good reason to be certain. You will have your chance at them.”

One of the Monos’ big paws rose up to scratch his jaw as Prock thought about it. “I like it, but what about Chack? That’s a big problem up here.”

“The bulk of my power is in the city, yes, but I am not without resources. Some of those resources I’m willing to lend,” Hatherkey’s head turned sideways and he shook out his wings. “I am also willing to help you replenish some of your lost subordinates. You are down an operator are you not?”

Prock turned his head to the side to talk to a different subordinate. “Send this through to my office!” he then turned his face back to Hatherkey. “I would be honoured, let’s talk this out.”

“Of course.”

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End Chapter
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