Revenge and Resistance: Part Seven
Previously: Sprax, an Alien Aisha in Sloth’s command, went after Fyora. Although he had orders to kill her, he could not do it and left her under house arrest secretly. Meanwhile the Resistance, after hearing news that Fyora was killed, planned a new attack on Sloth and his forces. Gormos instructed Garoo to return to Sloth to lure his forces to Kreludor.
Skyfire had not served as much leverage, it turned out. Gormos spent a long time trying to figure out how they could use the mercenary to their advantage, but nothing was evident. It seemed that Sloth’s higher-ups were more expendable than he originally thought.
Nevertheless, they tried to break her spirit as much as possible. Feeding her only the bare minimum and leaving her alone for days on end didn’t seem to help much. Gormos was stumped. Nothing was working to try and bring the Acara’s strength down. She was still as stubborn as she was when he had first spoken with her. It seemed there was nothing that could hurt her. He even had asked Garoo for advice, but even the Acara’s former comrade had no idea. She would simply have to stay where she was until Gormos could come up with a better way to use her. This was fine in his mind, anyways. Revenge was sweeter this way.
The preparations were going well. One of the recruits had formerly worked at the Space Weapons shop on the Space Station and had managed to smuggle quite a few of them to his new home on Kreludor. They were put to good use for the Resistance. Late that night, a group of Grundos reported back to the headquarters with the news that they had secured a blast cannon which would be immensely helpful in the siege against the army. The owner of Café Kreludor managed to bring in new recruits nearly every hour.
They just might have a fighting chance, Gormos thought as he watched. And to think, he had started all of this. It was truly miraculous. He smiled and hurried to help roll the blast cannon into storage.
Amidst the chaos, no one noticed the figure slip into the makeshift cell of Ylana Skyfire. The Acara looked up when she noticed she was not alone. Her eyes curled into a glare.
“What do you want?” she spat.
“They want me to return,” Garoo said. “They want me to return to him, and I... I cannot do it alone.”
“And why not?” she asked. She was curious, but couldn’t let him see that. He was a fool for letting his emotions get the better of him; she must not do the same.
“Do you think I even have a chance with him if I return by myself?” he whispered. Every few seconds he glanced back at the pile of rubble that served as a blockade. “He’d send me down the garbage chute without even a second glance.”
“So you want me to be your leverage once again,” she shot back angrily. “No way. I’ll find my own way out.”
Garoo scoffed. “Gormos has you under constant watch. It just so happened that in the midst of all these ‘preparations,’ there was no guard. So either we leave now or you’re in here until this war is over, which it looks like will happen unless we high-tail it back over there,” he said matter-of-factly.
Skyfire glared at the Blumaroo, but had to agree. “I suppose you’re right,” she said as she stood, dusting herself off, “but you still owe me.”
Garoo nearly laughed. “I owe you?! Might I remind you that I am the one freeing you?”
“But only to serve your own purposes,” she countered. “So you owe me.”
“Whatever,” he muttered. “I’ll be back in an hour or so to get you. There’s a lot going on right now, but someone still could see. They should be going to sleep soon, and besides, I need to tie up some loose ends with Gormos anyways.”
Skyfire nodded. “Don’t drag it out too long. I’m hungry.”
Garoo rolled his eyes and leaped over the blockade neatly. He was, after all, a Blumaroo.
It turned out to be nearly two hours later when things had finally quieted down in the abandoned mines. Quietly, the two mercenaries darted through the headquarters and out through the side entrance, originally used for transporting unrefined moon rock.
“My ship should still be in that small hangar by the compound,” Skyfire said when they were far enough away from the mines. A half an hour later, they were taking off as silently as they could toward the Space Station which loomed over the planet ominously. They knocked on the door to their master’s office once they arrived on the Station.
“Enter,” came the voice. The door slid open and they entered. Sloth looked up, and after a small shock, smiled.
“Welcome back, Commander.”
“She’s gone! The Blumaroo double-crossed us!” Gormos yelled angrily. A thought had finally occurred to him—a way to use the Acara. But when he went to speak with her, he found she had vanished.
Gorix had a sinking feeling in his stomach. Things had gone from good to bad in a matter of seconds. They weren’t faring well from the start; this was not good. Another hit like this and they’d be done for.
Neopets had already gathered around the cell, including Cylara. “What’s happened?” she demanded of Gorix. “I heard shouting.”
“Skyfire’s gone. Garoo must’ve set her loose. He’s double-crossed us, Cy,” he said dejectedly. The other Neopets had begun chatting worriedly amongst themselves as well.
The Cybunny scowled. “I knew it,” she muttered. “I knew keeping that Acara here was a bad idea. And don’t even get me started on that Blumaroo. I told Gormos he was bad news; why didn’t he listen to me?”
Gorix frowned. “No sense getting mad at him,” he said. “It wasn’t his fault.”
“Yes, it was!” she hissed. “He shouldn’t have let them in!”
Gorix was about to retort, but another voice cut him off. “But I did,” Gormos said as he climbed back over the pile of moon rock. The two young Neopets were surprised to see the Kougra’s hollow expression. All emotion had gone out of his face. “I made a mistake. You were right. It’s all my fault.”
“Nonsense,” Gorix said, trying to smile but failing miserably. “It could have happened anyways. That Skyfire, she’s pretty crafty.”
“But my desire for revenge clouded my view. I shouldn’t have done it,” Gormos murmured, more to himself than to the others.
Cylara nodded angrily. “Finally, you speak some sense! I have a question for you, Gormos: what are we going to do about our plan now?” she asked. “Our cover’s blown; they know our plans!”
“Ruined,” Gormos muttered hollowly. “It’s all gone down the drain.”
“We better get started on a new plan of attack, then.” Gorix sighed. He elbowed Cylara, who was still glowering at Gormos. “You’re not helping!” he hissed.
“It’s no use,” Gormos replied. “We’ve tried everything; there’s nothing left to try that Garoo doesn’t know about. We’re finished.”
“Come off it,” Gorix said, voice rising. He could understand a little sadness, but this was ridiculous. “You’re not going to stop Sloth if you act like that!”
“You’re right, Gorix. I’m not going to stop Sloth.”
“What do you mean?” Cylara demanded.
“I resign,” Gormos mumbled. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not the right person to do it; I can’t handle this pressure. Pressure from all you, from the Space Faerie, from all of mankind! It’s too much. I can’t do what I thought I could.”
“What?” Cylara asked incredulously. “You can’t quit! You’re the leader, the brains!”
“And if you can’t handle that much pressure,” Gorix added frantically, watching the Kougra head for the door slowly. “You can always delegate more responsibilities, or something.”
“Someone else be the leader for once,” was the reply. By now the Kougra had shuffled to the exit miserably.
“Wait!” Gorix yelled after him. “We can’t do this without you!”
Gorix looked at Cylara unhappily. Things had just gotten worse. Much worse.
Sprax was exhausted. Plunking his blasters down onto the small table in his cramped “bedroom” on the Space Station, he flopped into the sleep pod and tried to get some sleep, disregarding the fact that he was still wearing his battle uniform. As he readjusted himself, his space suit rustling loudly, a speaker above his door crackled loudly.
“Sprax—you are needed in Master’s office.”
He groaned. “Why now?” he muttered. He yawned and pulled himself out of bed grudgingly. He strolled to Sloth’s office, not in any real hurry. Sloth could wait; it was the only real “punishment” he could think up for making the Aisha get out of bed.
“Yes, Master?” he asked with a yawn when he entered the office. It seemed like that was all he (or any of the other mercenaries, for that matter) ever said anymore.
“Sprax, why did you not report to me when you returned to the Station?” Sloth asked without looking up from the map he was poring over. His attitude didn’t betray any emotions, which worried Sprax. It was disconcerting. And just plain creepy.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was just very tired, you see, and—”
He was cut off abruptly. “That is no excuse.” Still, Sloth didn’t as much as glance at the Aisha. “And it is also not why I called you here. It has come to my attention, Sprax”—he said the name with obvious contempt—“that you have not done what I asked you to.”
He decided to play dumb. “What do you mean, sir?”
“I asked you to do one simple thing—kill Fyora. And yet you could not do a simple task such as that. Why is this?”
Caught. “It didn’t feel right, sir. Killing the leader of the faeries? That is harsh, even for you.”
“I am trying to take over this silly planet!” he roared suddenly. “Nothing is too harsh! Now hear this: you will go back to that palace, and you will finish the deed! Do you understand me?”
Sprax was taken aback. For Sloth to go from calm and composed to the complete opposite was frightening. He had never seen this from his employer. He wished he never had to see it. And yet, he still stood by his decision.
“I cannot, sir,” he said firmly.
Sloth’s eyes were ablaze with fury. Moving too fast to be seen, he pulled out a concealed stun gun and shot three blasts in quick succession. The Aisha crumpled to the floor with a wheezy gasp. After concealing the blaster once more, Sloth sat back down and pressed a small emerald button on his desk.
“Yes, my lord?” a voice rasped from the speaker next to the button.
“Send someone in to clean up this mess.”
The two mercenaries were not quite back to the amicable state they once shared. Skyfire still held a grudge for Garoo allowing her to be captured, though that was slightly negated by the fact that he released her. Nevertheless, the two were forced to work together once more, and Sloth stressed there was to be no animosity between the two, for fear of the mission being ruined.
And this mission was of the utmost importance, their master had told them. He entrusted the two to do it, but if they did not succeed, he warned, they would have a significantly shorter lifespan. Needless to say, the two put aside their bitterness against each other for the common welfare.
So as the two took off from the Space Station hangar, they didn’t say much. The trip would only last a few minutes, after all.
“Nearing the target,” Garoo said.
“I know,” snapped the Acara in return, though not as bitterly as it could’ve been. “Need I remind you that I spent just as long as you did there?”
Garoo began to retort but decided against it. This mission was awkward enough as it is, no sense in making this any worse. He refocused on the task at hand, and realized he was just about over the target. Letting the ship’s targeting program do the work, he waited until the objective was in the right zone and let loose a barrage of blasts. Skyfire did the same, and soon they could hear an explosion from below.
“Think that’ll do the trick?” he asked with a malevolent sneer as he watched his handiwork.
“Yeah, let’s get back to the Station,” his accomplice replied. The two twisted the controls of their fighters and returned to their home, leaving the moon of Kreludor. Behind them, the Resistance headquarters lay in ruins, a column of smoke rising from the flames.
To be continued...