Chapter 2: Fenris
We were preparing to go to on to Ellion, the home of the ever powerful Elliate race. The richest species in the galaxy with hundreds of planets under their economic control. Nikita was adamant that we be prepared. I think she is going to make us overly prepared, but I know it’s leftovers from the years she spent alone as a mercenary.
To do so we had to stock up on weapons, parts, and food for the trip to Ellion, and possibly to the human hideaway. Areli was in a hidden room on the ship and he was only allowed out at night or when the window shades were down in the front of the ship. The room was small and I noticed that Nikita didn’t like being in there. I can only assume that it carries terrible memories.
The preparation for the trip had all of us going to Elysium. Elysium used to be a utopia run by the Elysians a race which were a light blue color with neon eyes, and were about the size of Nikita. They had supposedly had very similar features to a human. However, after a pandemic a huge amount of their population was completely wiped out, and after so long of being ‘better’ than the species around them; they refused to intermix. This created a huge inbreeding problem, and their population just kept getting smaller, and dumber as the years went on, along with changing their appearance greatly. They morphed into stumbling monsters that looked like they should have spent more time in the womb. Half-grown arms with stubby fingers with large webs in between, and legs that were weak and often broke but no one could fix them, healing in strange ways. Eyes and ears placed in strange parts of the face, and paper thin usually balding purple hair covering the top of their heads.
A famous Yeneran conman by the name of Lyebven Terfiyly convinced the idiotic remnants of the dying race to allow him to settle. It soon attracted the attention of criminals across the galaxy and became a haven for them. Which was strange for his race considering that criminals usually look up to someone with physical strength, and Lyebven had none. No Yeneran could generate much strength with their thin hollow bones, and small starved-looking, bodies. Nikita’s mother had compared them to an earth bird called hummingbirds. However, that was just their metabolisms not their looks. When it came to their looks they were often compared to cheetahs, animals with tawny fur decorated with strange black markings. These beings had the exact opposite coloring patterns, but moved with the same cat-like grace as the human animal.
Elysium was the capital of the galactic drug and slave trade, and the capital of the weapon black market, and any other black market. Anything possibly illegal you could hope for exists on this planet or has someone who can get it for you.
As a former slave I know this planet extremely well. I lived here for 7 years from the time I was 11 to last year. I had been one of the best slave fighters that the pits had ever seen. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I was recognized. Despite my longer hair, and the fact that I was wearing a black trench coat, a dark grey shirt, dark brown pants, and boots. Slaves weren’t allowed such luxuries as jackets, shirts, and shoes.
This preparation has caused Nikita and I to constantly be running errands and to split up. I was going looking for a little part that we needed on the ship to sustain any type of long distance space travel. Nikita has a few but she always requires at least three backups for everything.
As I was making my way towards a less crowded part of town, which meant there were no brothels around, I noticed a tail. I kept calm and pressed a little device Nikita called a panic button that would track you and send your coordinates to anyone that was actually privy to its existence. It might be a little bit of overkill but it wasn’t strange for the Slavers of Elysium to recapture old slaves.
After I did that I made my way towards the nearest alleyway and waited. The tail was a little Recer that reluctantly entered the alleyway. However, he was followed by a man I know well. Exceri Tyler’gi a relative of the great Lyebven Terfiyly and the owner of the fighting pits.
Exceri was some type of mixed breed which had, supposedly, gotten him a lot of flak in the beginning of his career. He looked like he was part Yeneran, part Polychromian, and something else. The little tail I had was a Recer. Recer’s were reptilian looking creatures with short spikes on their heads. They usually came in three colors dull green, amber, and beige. However, I’ve seen some others in different colors like black and orange. The Recer’s were usually on Elysium and were ideal scavengers and spies, especially if they had the rare ability to blend into their background.
“Ah, look who it is the Halfling. Everyone missed you very much-”
“And I would appreciate you leaving my slave to his errand. I sent him to do something and you’re fucking it up.” Nikita groused as she appeared in my line of vision over the head of the Recer who just about jumped out of his skin. The amber colored bipedal reptilian scurried closer to its master.
Exceri turned towards Nikita and appraised her. He couldn’t see her traits as she was wearing her trademark dark grey trench coat that hid her features. She was carrying a blaster in a gloved hand, and Exceri seemed amused at the sight.
“Ah, he’s your slave? Do you know that he was once a great victor in the fighting pits?”
“Yes,” there is no tell of the fact that what she has said is a lie. “The person selling him mentioned it trying to get people to buy him, not many want a human Halfling. As a mercenary, it’s nice to have some muscle you don’t have to pay.” There is a smile in her voice.
“So what are you? What little being such as you would be so daring to get what no one else wants?”
“Someone who doesn’t give a shit, and that’s all you need to know.” I could almost hear her glaring laser rounds at the silver-tongued slaver.
“You know what I believe I’ve heard about you. The tiny little thief that has quite the record you’re the Eidolon aren’t you?”
That was Nikita’s nickname, it meant ghost or phantom. It was an honor for a mercenary to gain a name among the mercenary community and some waste their entire lives trying to do so. Nikita had done it in a few years and had gained some notoriety for that. People and mercenaries alike were afraid of her and her abilities considering what she could do and she has done in the past.
Fenris knows however, that Exceri was dangerous as well. He might not be as physically dangerous like Nikita, but he had the legendary silver tongue of his ancestor. His words could slip into your ears as easily as water but would quickly congeal into black sludge that would plug up your individual thoughts and take over like a virus. His small body hid a multitude of weapons, and enemies hidden in the shadows. Nikita would have to be careful with this man, he knew how to destroy armies of mercenaries. One mercenary no matter how powerful would still be helpless against him.
“Yes, I am the Eidolon. What is it to you?”
“Please let me introduce myself, my name is Exceri Tyler’gi. I apologize for getting off on the wrong foot.”
“That’s a human expression.” Exceri blinks his two eyelids sluggishly compared to a human’s before nervously asking.
“What?” Nikita senses weakness in this foe and goes in for the verbal kill.
“The expression ‘got off on the wrong foot’ it’s a human expression. I didn’t think that humans managed to make it this far into the galaxy.”
“Of course they managed to get this far, it just wasn’t in the records of course.” I can see the sweat glands on his neck swelling causing his voice to be a little higher.
“It’s still strange that a slaver would make some relationships with humans considering that slavery is not legal on any of their planets. No money to be made off the self-righteous primates.”
“You’re a human sympathizer, I mean you have a human Halfling with you.” Exceri pleaded with her. I have never seen him so out of his element.
“Why would I be sympathizing with a race that got themselves killed?” I can tell that Nikita is enjoying this as much as I am.
“You and I know both know that that is a bold-faced lie.”
“Yes it is and I must say I know that better than anyone.” Nikita lifts her hood, and Exceri is unable to speak for the first time I have ever seen. “I am a human. My mother escaped from Red Vale on a ship she was commissioned to work on. She had to watch as they destroyed any of the ships trying to leave the planet. I was born a few months afterwards. My mother sacrificed her life so that I could live and I became the only thing someone that shouldn’t exist can be.”
“Y-you’re a human?” Exceri’s eyes looked like they were about to burst outside of his slightly elongated skull.
“Yes, strange isn’t it.”
“You’re a female of his kind. I thought females were supposed to be completely reliant on their male counterparts.”
“Some of them were, however, I don’t know how much of that was the conditioning that girls often went through, instinct, or just their personality. I am not and my mother wasn’t either.”
“Come, we must speak in private, even in places that don’t exist foes can have eyes and ears.”
Nikita gives me a look as she pulls her hood back up. We both keep our hands on our weapons as we follow Exceri back to his home. I try to go in front of her but she just hisses.
“They know all about you’re fighting style, and you were something of value to them they might try to get you back more than they would try to get me.”
I accepted her reasoning and followed behind her closely. While she wanted to protect me, I also wanted to protect her, and while she might be my main line of defense I wasn’t about to let her be taken out. We are equals and partners and that’s how it’s going to stay. She’s different from most of the females on my planet. They were either amazing warriors or brood mares that were useless in a fight.
Nikita is multi-talented, and could go toe to toe with most of the warriors on my planet and come out unscathed. She calls her technique of using her opponent’s weaknesses, and false assumptions against them, strategy.
We pass hundreds of tenement housing with various gnarled Elysians peeking with squinted eyes from the shadows that they live in. They thrive in darkness, the opposite of their ancestors, whom thrived in the light.
The streets were muddy and on the sides it was littered with trash, and various pieces of rusted equipment. One Elysian child screeched as its half-formed stub like foot was impaled on an unrecognizable rusted part of machinery. It dislodged the piece from its foot and ran into one of the building screeching incomprehensibly.
Once we get past the tenement housing we end up a nicer area. The streets are clean and paved, and the houses well-kept, but I know that inside these houses they were just as dysfunctional and ruined as the tenement streets. As we go on the houses get larger and larger. Then we go through a gate and end up in the boss section. In this town called Edener, once the capital of Elysian, there used to be no poverty and this area was the marketplace, said to have been filled with tradesmen from as far as Relira the planet on the farthest reach of the Milky Way galaxy. Now it was filled with large houses for the bosses and heads of various illegal activities.
Exceri’s house was always different from the others, strangely built and planned out compared to the houses of the other bosses. Everything seemed too big for the creature that only came up to Nikita’s shoulder. Nikita mumbled something under her breath.
“This looks like the pictures of human mansions my mother showed me a child.”
It was a large structure. It was about as tall as twice the length of Nikita’s ship. I probably couldn’t have even jumped to the top of it. Nikita told me I could jump almost three times the length of some people that were called parkour practitioners, and she told me that they could jump at least 6 feet. That was something most children aged 5 on Candila could surpass.
There were huge doors that were at least twice my height and made from some strange earth metal called copper that started out a beautiful golden reddish brown, but faded to green every time Elysian had a rain.
The doors opened and revealed a large marble hall with a large silver colored stripe when you just get into the door. As soon as we get into the building he has us stand on this stripe and it reveals electromagnetic hover plates.
“This must have cost a fortune,” Nikita tells me saying it lowly knowing that my Canilid hearing will pick it up despite the quiet of her voice.
As they lift off I manage to keep my balance and while on the outside I barely look like anything had happened, only slightly leaning back and my eyebrows raising slightly. On the inside I had felt the sensations of having my stomach drop and my entire body tilt down to its doom. Nikita barely even flinched, and I had no idea if her experience was similar to mine.
Exceri is obviously used to it, the creature’s arms being folded behind his back. He seems to be at complete ease with these things obviously he has been using them for years. The little slaver had the electromagnetic plates guide us up to an office.
This wasn’t the office I know. This office has a light blue holodesk that is also held up using electromagnets. His seat is nice and covered with a shiny fabric that reminds me of the leather of a bewer, animals that canilids hunted down and ate. They were large creatures, and slow, but I can never forget their strength. Easily able to fling three warriors who had been twice my size. Their bodies had been well used, there was no waste of the bewer not like other planets who would kill a certain animal for a few parts and waste the rest.
There were two chairs the were in front of it. They were nicer than the wooden chairs that usually were used in the pits and other areas. They were still shiny and brightly colored wood from the planet Verit whose wood was a calming blue color. It also had cushions that were a deep purple color that were unadorned.
Exceri collapses into his chair which unlike ours, was a reddish brown. He looks at us with a strange expression on his face that seemed like Nikita’s when she was scolding Areli. Well, before she’ll scold him and is getting him to confess his crime.
“A real pure human, I never thought I would live to see the sight again.”
“Again? So you have seen us.”
“I have it was a long
time ago and a part of my past I would really not remember.” Nikita is silent.
“There are more humans alive, and you are not the only ones that were fucked
over by the Sway… A long time ago I ended up under their control. I am a very
strange mix of species and I ended up being snatched along with my family.” His face looked worn and his eyes tired.
“You had children and a wife?” I ask. I had never known him to have any family, and to know that they had existed but were gone would explain why he put so many young slaves in training before putting them in the ring.
“Yes, yes I did. We were taken to a special facility and given strange medical treatment and had ourselves cut into and sewn back. Forced to survive on little food or water. Some species didn’t survive even a few days other had been there for years. One of the hardiest had been the humans. There were about 10 of them mostly males, and they withstood most of what was thrown at them. Except for if the doctors hit an artery then they died usually slowly and painfully surrounded by their life blood. I promised them that if I ever got out that I would keep any human I ran across safe from the Sway.”
“Then why put me in the fighting pits?”
“Because you would survive, and you are safer in the pits with your imminent doom hanging over you every day than even having a negligent thought of the Sway directed towards you. The female was correct to always cover her features and become a mercenary. You stay in the underbelly of the galaxy and live your lives. You will live longer than your forefathers.”
“And one more thing Eidolon, even though you might share blood or ancestry with someone that doesn’t mean that they will be someone you can trust.”
“Thank you Exceri, but have you ever considered getting the Underbelly to strike back. Not a lot of people like the Sway, not their taxes, not their regulations, and certainly not the way they make people disappear.”
“How many planets have you gone to?”
“I was born on Vivica, and I have traveled almost every planet in the middle ring of galaxy and some on the outer rim.”
“That it is a… surprising amount of planets, and everyone didn’t like the Sway?”
“The majority only the people that would betray their kind and work with the Sway as their spies like them even a little bit. Though that was mostly because they got benefits.”
“I see… I’ll… look into it.”
“Thank you, we will see you Exceri.”
“You as well Eidolon.”
We walked out of the inner ring of the city and went towards the market. It was always covered in neon advertisements one of which had someone I recognized almost immediately. It was my half-brother, the one that I defeated; the one’s whose defeat made my father sell me into slavery.
The one who wanted a rematch.
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