Beast of Xeriel

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Chapter Seventeen

Tumakako’s ship suspended in dark space outside the large green planet. An impenetrable blockade of Pratham war ships prevented entry. Aligned in the arrow formation, each colossal ship staggered to prevent any chance of sneaking past all layers.

Tumakako sat still in the pilot seat awaiting to hear from the blockade. The war ships upgrades were quite daunting in comparison to the ships she remembered. Much larger since her crusades so many years ago. Small speeder designs filled the gaps, not to be taken lightly, as their accuracy and fire power were undeniable.

Tumakako didn’t have to contact the Planetary Watch, for some reason they intercepted her first. She was certain something unforeseen had transpired to require a blockade and high alert. A flashing light inside her ship signaled the fleet was attempting to reach her via her communication system.

She hovered over the switch before moving it to allow the connection to become complete. “This is Commander Saul of the Prathaman Planetary Watch, state your vessel ID and code.” The voice sternly ordered. “I am Tumakako of the Flagship Hope. Code KO4018-WS.” She responded. It had been years since her last departure from Pratham, but the countless times she repeated that statement, it became engrained information in her memory.

The Commander’s voice did not immediately return. Tumakako waited patiently. She understood returning here would be a gamble. The Council were not men and women of clemency or mercy. Her disappearance would undoubtably be considered treason.

She believed they would not be beyond erasing her from the records and destroying her ship where it sat stationary in space. Enough time had passed since her missions, only persons with highly classified clearance may remember her. Minutes turned into an hour. No word from the Commander; nor an aggressive maneuver to suggest she was unwelcomed. Tumakako looked back at her precious cargo.

Lale’s body remained on the table, while Fei’s dominating frame on its side. What a feat to have these two beings’ lifeless in your ship. Not even the armies of Pratham had been able to kill them after having them dead to rights, only for them to escape.

Finally, a small window opened for her to descend onto the planet surface. Tumakako, cautiously approached and proceeded through the barrier. She begrudgingly took in the view of Pratham. She hated the idea of returning here. The planet was the birthplace of the evil she chose to be rid of. A disease.

Dara’s mother helped her to see that. Now, after failing her, the only choice she had left to make was that of providing their daughter with the opportunity of a life free from the woes she endured. Free from the horrible things they would without question force her to do. This was her chance to undue it all.

Immediately upon touching down, she was surrounded by the Pratham Army and ships. Unconcerned by the display of strength, Tumakako positioned her two lifeless passengers on tables she formed from her ships deck. Placing her shards on the floor a couple feet in front of her and standing arms out to display her defenselessness.

Her mesh suit was more tattered and torn from the years of isolation and harsh elements on Tetcht. She often practiced unarmed scenarios during her training. Tumakako, was a true warrior, just as comfortable weaponless as she was fully armed.

Soldiers advanced, encasing the ship and blasters at the ready. The sleek star styled ship approached. The Nova was synonymous with Magnus’s arrival. It gracefully landed amongst the army. Magnus emerged from the crowd.

Tumakako used all her efforts to conceal her rage and trauma she was experiencing at the sight of her former leader. Magnus advanced alone halting just outside of the rear entry. Tumakako stared, part of her wanted to fire her ships weapons and end it all.

Or a surprise ambush from above and disassemble his body piece by piece. Her mind raced with many ways she could remove this blight on humanity from existence. But she had to be careful and smart. Magnus was no simple leader. Him proceeding alone is most likely a trap, obviously goading her into attempting a rash act.

He couldn’t possibly believe she would be so uncharacteristically ignorant. Yet, she had contemplated many rash decisions. He knew her well enough that invoking the thoughts would get her off her game. All the while his calculating look deserved to be wipe away forever.

Tumakako, understood just killing Magnus would only belay the Council’s efforts to hunt down her daughter. She had to remain focused on the bigger picture. “Entrance.” She uttered. The door slowly dissolved to bring the two individuals together.

A grin slid across the old man’s face. “You’ve kept very well General.” He said, taking in the interior of the ship. “Thank you, Councilman. You’ve aged. Not taking enough Iku I see.” She returned smugly. Magnus chuckled at her insult.

Seeing she was not in an aggressive position; he took a very vigilant step onto the ship’s floor. “I assure you, I am unarmed, and my shards currently sits closer to you than I.” She said not breaking eye contact. “You would require none of the such to still be more than enough for me.” Magnus retorted as he entered the ship.

Magnus glanced over her shoulder to observe Fei and Lale. His stoic expression quickly subsiding into uncertainty. His eyes unsure where to look. The threat directly in front of him or the two greatest threats accompanied by the former.

“I bring the bodies of traitors Fei Zeall and Lale of the planet Pratham…………Unable to capture alive I’m afraid. They’re less problematic this way.” Tumakako said. Although in this moment, she rather her former leader replace the two great warriors instead. Magnus’s face refusing to release his look of disbelief.

“Am I to believe you defeated the warrior as fearsome as yourself in combat and the most domineering and fatal threat to our world? Believe, with no army or aide they lay lifeless before me. After your desertion, you inexplicably found the two individuals our infinite resources have been unable to locate?” Magnus questioned.

Tumakako dropped to one knee, arching her neck to resemble her submission and willingness to die. “Am I not the Hope of the New World. Cleanser of Earth’s failures? The only explanation that would be unreliable and invalid is my arrival with all parties alive and you not already dead.” She mockingly gloated.

She hated the words she just said, quickly growing tired of the façade. She much rather remove his head and be done with it. But the constant consideration of her daughter kept her desires at bay.

Magnus pondered her words briefly, walking past her to examine the bodies for himself. Tumakako’s body urged her to attack, snap his neck while his guard was down. Or was it? Magnus was only one of the Councilmen, she would need to infiltrate and kill them all to save her daughters future.

She had to remain patient. Magnus observed their wounds, before accepting the truth of their death. “I’ve returned to Pratham to resume my affairs of cleansing those who are deemed unfit.” Tumakako said.

Magnus returned opposite her position, helping Tumakako to her feet. “I deny your request.” He said quickly. “What is the basis of my denial Councilman?” She asked politely, fighting the urge to grit her teeth.

“Your efforts have not been verified. Your whereabouts yet to be accounted for, nor trust regained. More importantly, your talents are more appropriate in the pursuit of the child Jesh Zeall. Seeing as you so easily dispatched his parents, you will prove your loyalty in the way I estimate suitable.” Magnus said retrieving her shards.

“Zeall?” Tumakako questioned. “A lot has changed since your departure General. Your ignorance correlates with your absence.” He said storing her shards away on his person.

“The child of those two traitors has since escaped my grasp with our greatest remaining war general Kyah and her crew, including my daughter Gala, the fierce Da-Xia, the annoying and deadly twin shifters, and a member of Fei’s Vanakan Sentry. He goes by 19. Not too worried as he isn’t nearly a threat like the others. Jesh however, has undergone the blending and possess more power than all of Pratham combine.” Magnus stated.

“I have no doubt they are in pursuit of the child named Dara, who according to 19 has survived the great Beast of Xeriel as well. I suspect you and Vanakan’s research had some success, yet I haven’t received a briefing from either of you in quite a while. Perhaps your work in genetic splicing has progressed further than you had led us to believe.” Magnus said, his pale wrinkled skin aiding the curvature of his sadistic smile.

Tumakako couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had lost the advantage of surprise. In fact, she may have never had it. Her delight in finding her child, deterred her better judgement of setting 19 free, thus costing her this moment.

She tried to simulate outcomes in her mind without losing focus on the present or giving away her attempts to do so. She may have to cooperate to see her daughter again. Tumakako contemplated as many possibilities as she could. “Seeing that you are suggesting reclamation of your status and titles, this may restore my conviction and stave my hesitation.” Magnus finished.

“Forgive me Councilman, I would have imagined my skills to be needed by your side?” She suggested, feigning loyalty and buying more time to think. “On the contrary, Pratham is safe. We have a surplus of terrain, no crime, the Iku, a thriving class system, and the strongest form of military might in most galaxies. Civil war is all but over.” He paused.

“And due to your aforementioned tenure as General, a controlled population of the most genetically evolved citizens.” He said smiling. She tried not to wince at the mention of her past. The disgrace she felt pressuring her face to reveal itself. She hated him. Always a step ahead of everyone else, she had been careless. Messy when dispatching Vanakan and her troops, letting 19 escape. Her past finally catching up and seizing her by the throat.

Tumakako tried to remain focused, his arrogance proved more infuriating than she remembered. “Forgive me again. As you said, I have been gone for quite some time. Surely, you will be joining the fray to bear witness to our triumph?” She asked.

“In some form. Yes. I will send Colonel List Rainer and a rather sizable army to aide you in your conquest. Which should be very brief having knowledge of where the assembly will be heading.” Magnus said.

Tumakako was losing more ground with every verbal sparring match against her former leader. Magnus had always been a tactical genius even when she operated as a general. His cunning and strategy unparalleled in the military. Magnus continued in his same disrespectful tone.

“And the detail you so graciously omitted about your rescue operation. Your daughter? Isn’t she? Vanakan was quite precise about the research you had been hiding from him, before you both went dark.” Tumakako’s body tensed.

She was unsure if she should attack. Would she be able to overpower him before he could retreat? Has his power increased in her absence? He seemed uncharacteristically cautious. “I’m sure, it was a ploy to trap and defeat the two before me. Clearly, you possessed prior knowledge of the child’s connection to the traitors. Very keen to exploit her distress and lure them to you, using their interest in her.” He said.

Tumakako knew he had found her out. Trying to continue her aloof persona and salvage what could be from her façade she stayed the course. “Your insight remains as my skill. Unequaled.” She said, hoping he would understand her double meaning. “Despite not having your necessary assistance I will prevail and return with all traitors in custody.” She said

Tumakako began to walk to her pilot’s seat. “General, I’m afraid I will be commandeering your ship.” He said with a sinister smile. “I wouldn’t dare send you into battle unequipped. You will be departing with your new battalion of troops in our latest war vessels. Under heavy guard. I’m sure you understand.” Magnus informed her.

Tumakako saw the unwavering in his eyes, she would refrain from pressing the issue. “As you would have it Councilman. I will have the soldiers ready my ship and transport the traitors.” She said heading for the exit.

“The traitors will remain on Pratham, with me.” He said, gently placing his hand on her shoulder as she attempted to pass. Tumakako, couldn’t take it anymore. She felt the urged to attack. If only for her dignity she must dislocate his arm. Surveying the exterior, the army would swarm her.

Unlike her rash comments, she was confident she would be able to strike a fatal blow before he could escape, however the odds weren’t in her favor in the grand scheme. He had bested her, most of it due to her own negligence on Tetcht. She should have killed 19 when she had the chance. The next time they meet she would not repeat the same mistake.

“Do you reason me a fool?” Magnus began, by whispering in her ear. “I know exactly why you’re here. It’s the same reason any of your kind would be here.” Tumakako felt her rationality slipping away. Her enemy standing firm, taunting her to attack.

Magnus took a step back, bringing her into complete view. “You believe me a cruel man.” He nodded. “I am. You know me to be a murderer.” He nodded again. “I am. You believe yourself to be precise about what the future should be.” Magnus shook his head.

“Know this General. There is only my rule. There will never be life without someone to have dominion over others. I am simply the one who seized power. Those who aren’t strong enough to survive were mercifully exterminated. All thanks to our joint effort.” His words stung. Tumakako was responsible for much of Pratham’s prominence. Perhaps Fei was right.

Only someone like him could rip the power away from the Council. Tumakako had lost herself, she wasn’t vicious anymore. Dara had softened her heart. She no longer wanted to fight. How could she? She deserved as much of the blame as Magnus or any of the Council members.

“So, out of respect for the effort you have done on behalf of Pratham. And because I too am a parent. I offer you a chance to survive. A choice. Die, right here. Or die with the rest of the traitors and your daughter far away like the many people you slaughtered under my orders?” He proposed.

Tumakako watched as he withdrew. A crushing defeat worse than any physical wound. Her spirit was quelled. Two of the greatest threats to Magnus lay beside her.

Whom she fought valiantly, yet she remained motionless as her past taunted her and escaped. Her choice had been made. “And what of my armor Councilman!” She called out. Taking one last sorry attempt.

“As I said, you would require none of the such to still be more than enough for me. Two children against one army of elite soldiers. They’re defeat is imminent.” He returned as he disappeared into the sea of Pratham soldiers. Tumakako followed behind the multitude of soldiers tasked with escorting her to the briefing of her perceived final mission.

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