Posted on August 31st, 2019 by Kathryn Harper
The Xovul officer, formerly a prisoner aboard the Federation starship Atlantis, now stood on the bridge of the Ykavosh’s flagship, holding the weapon of his dead commander. At its essence, the weapon was simply a spear, but technologically, it was much more than that, a highly-advanced device containing several ways of killing an opponent. Symbolically, the spear was an honor only afforded to decorated field commanders, and the officer still did not find himself worthy to hold it. The human that insisted he take it said that the Ykavosh demanded that it be delivered to him, so that duty he would perform, and here he stood, about to complete it.
Something was not quite right, though. He knew that he did not really feel like himself, but attributed it to his capture and imprisonment, which was a blow to his morale despite the good treatment he had received aboard Atlantis. He could have done without seeing that traitorous heretic scum that now called himself Vance, though; that human had worked among them for years, claiming to follow the Xov, and only now revealed himself to have never believed, likely to endear himself to his own kind again to save his skin during the battle. Pathetic.
Vance… the encounter with him was short, but he remembered waking up in a small room, possibly an interrogation chamber. It would make sense that the Federation would want to question him, but why had he been asleep in the first place? Had they drugged him?
The Ykavosh nodded with pride and extended his hand, expecting to be given the spear. “You have done well to survive and deliver this weapon to me, away from the unwashed hands of the Federation. They do not comprehend its worth or significance, and allowing them to keep it as a trophy would be an unforgivable insult.”
This defeat was his fault, and he leads you into ruin. The best thing for all is to kill the Ykavosh.
The officer blinked several times and took a deep breath, tightening his grip on the spear, wondering where that thought had come from. He could no more kill the Ykavosh than he could kill himself; such thoughts were against everything he believed. Straightening his posture, he started to raise his arm to place the spear in the Ykavosh’s extended hand and fulfil his duty.
The Xov itself has failed you. Kill the Ykavosh with the spear, now!
His arm stopped moving as he gasped in surprise. Whose voice was that in his head? It was not his. And questioning the Xov? He had never done so before.
The Ykavosh’s eyes narrowed as he asked, “What is wrong? You have done the Xovul a great service today by returning this to us. Give it to me and complete your duty.”
All Xovul will benefit if you run him through!
He fell to one knee, suddenly breathing heavily and astonished at how much he now wanted to kill the leader of the entire military sect of his society. Fighting the intense urge took every ounce of willpower he had, and his breaths acquired an undercurrent of guttural growls. One of the bridge officers, a doctor, rushed to his side, but he pushed the doctor away and regained his feet, then spoke through clenched teeth, “I try to obey.”
“You will obey,” came the Ykavosh’s assertive reply. “You have not yet earned the right to wield that weapon.”
What are you waiting for? Kill him, now!
“NO! TO BOTH OF YOU!” he roared. Security officers drew their sidearms, but hesitated as he waved the spear at them, fully aware and respectful of the weapon’s capabilities.
“You overstep your place in the world,” the Ykavosh asserted. “That is an irrational act, so you clearly need help. The Federation must have done something to you. Give me the spear, and you will be helped.”
Yes, give him the spear! RIGHT IN THE FACE!
“Help… yes, I need help,” he panted, still brandishing the spear, turning it to slowly point at the Ykavosh. A war raged in his mind between his usual self and this new insurgency that sought to topple everything he held dear, and he started to wonder if he had the strength to win it. “Help me, please.”
“I will. Put the weapon down, and I will personally see to you getting the help you need.” The Ykavosh took a step forward.
Fire the lightning! KILL THE YKAVOSH.
“No! Stay back! BE QUIET! The re-education camps are not help!” The Ykavosh and the security officers paused as he waved the spear at them, eyes wide and wild as his chest heaved. The voice in his head thundered, and his will began to falter. Perhaps the voice was right, and the Ykavosh had brought this defeat upon them. But how could the Xov have failed them in this way? The code of beliefs that governed every aspect of their lives was infallible… or at least he had believed it to be up to this moment in his life.
QUIT STALLING! Kill him now now NOW NOW NOW NOW
“SHUT UP!” No one else in the room had spoken, so the Ykavosh gave his security officers a quick glance. As they started to raise their weapons, he lifted the spear and extended it straight toward the Ykavosh. Its tip trembled in the air as his arm shook. “Weapons down! I will kill him!” he yelled, and they complied.
“You will not kill me,” the Ykavosh confidently stated as he stared down the length of the deadly weapon. “Your duty is to the Xov, and you will perform it.”
It is your duty to the Xovul to kill him kill kill kill KILL KILL KILL
“My duty,” he quietly confirmed through haggard breaths as he lowered the spear and turned its tip toward himself, “is to the Xov.” The Xovul officer pressed the button to activate the lightning.
A white-hot flash, then merciful oblivion. The voice was finally quiet.