Elated Reluctance

Just as the sun is beginning to set on the jagged horizon, Scorpious’ commanding officer relieved him for the evening, he rushes from the commander center to meet his roommates in time for dinner. Scorpious had only recently arrived back from his assignment in Fall’s Rest after his failure to keep Professor Metis from escaping. He had been kept busy in the command center for what seemed like weeks. He had yearned to see his friends, who had also just returned from their missions as well.

Scorpious opened the door to the wardroom and a sweet aroma entices him to hurry out of his coat and to head inside. He is not disappointed when he sees a lavish feast on the serving table, ranging from succulent fruit to freshly roasted owlbear on the table. He fills his plate as quick as he can, goes to his friends, who occupy the corner table, in the otherwise empty seating area.

“And that’s when the briga- Look who it is! Scorpious finally made it out of the command center.” Arceus says with a large smile, a long white scar now runs down the side of his face.

“You won’t believe the stories Arceus has Scorpious! He says he encountered a rogue band of Nav’i and had to fight them off!” Andromeda says as she ties her auburn hair back behind her head.

“A rogue band of Nav’i you say?” Scorpious says as he sits down next to Libra, who is devouring the heap of owlbear on her plate.

Arceus finishes swallowing and wipes his mouth with his napkin.

“Yeah, apparently, this band of Nav’i agrees with the rebels in the south and thought it would be a good idea to attack our convoy. I was half tempted to let them too! The only thing they would have gotten is some insurgents. How did your assignment go, I heard there were complications?”

“We had recaptured the Professor, and the General wanted to throw a ball in celebration.” Scorpious cuts into a pear. “To the best of my knowledge, some insurgents compromised a guest’s wagon and infiltrated the ball and took the professor. We searched for days to no avail.”

Andromeda gives Scorpius a worried look, “That is going to complicate things, this could potentially make this conflict last longer.”

He looks down at his plate, “I know, I should ha.. if only if I had done something different.”

Libra tries to comfort him, “You tried you best Scorpious, the rebels are proving themselves to be more and more clever. You can’t prepare for everything.”

“Yeah, you can’t predict for everything, you had a lot of responsibilities, honestly, I blame your General, he had you doing way too much.” Arceus says as he lays his napkin on his plate, “I don’t think I would have lasted a week with General Multo.”

“You guys are right. I’m sur-” Scorpious cuts off, when they hear the entrance slam open and several human officers stagger in, it is not long before the entire wardroom is filled with the unpleasant odor of cheap mead. The human officers are about to get their food when they notice Scorpious and the others. One of the officers, Dallin, staggers over with a snide look on his face.

“Oye, what do we have here,” he surveys the group, “what’s a bunch of knife-ears doing here? Didn’t the lot of ya’ get sent up north?” His captive audience cringes at his horrible breath.

Arceus says with a flat tone, “we just returned from our own assignments from the south. What’s it you do, don’t you guard the munitions storage?”

“I’ll have you whipped for that you sub-human. You are looking at the Captain of the Guard of Labos.”

“Sorry. Sir.” Arceus looks down and grows a small smile, “that they couldn’t find a better officer for the position.” Andromeda and Libra try to hide laughter. The other human officers surround the group.

Dallin standing over Arceus, “what did you say you piece of sh-”

“Now. Now. We are all fellow officers here.” Scorpious says as he gets up from the table.

“Sit back down, I didn’t tell ya that you’re dismissed,” Dallin says as he is now directed towards Scorpious, “wait… I heard of you, your Cassian’s whelp. You’re an awful long way from your roost.”

Scorpious does his best to avoid eye contact. “Yes, I was General Cassian’s aide for a time, he had-”

“Shut it whelp.” Dallin slams his fist down on the table, “tell me what did you have to do to get such a position, I heard you got it right out of boot.”

“Well, my father and Cassian were…”

“Oh so your dad pulled some strings for you could go play soldier, while the rest of us had to earn it.” Dallin grabs Scorpious by his collar and drags him up. Arceus tries to get up, but two human officers hold him down by the shoulder.

“I worked just as hard as you did. I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.” Scorpious looks Dallin in the eye. “The only thing my Father did was reached out to the General and asked if he would push me a little harder.”

“Oh, I’ll push you al’ight,” Dallin push Scorpious to the wall.

Scorpious gives Dallin a sharp look. “Hey! There is no reason to get-”

Dallin punches Scorpious in the stomach, which leaves him gasping for air. Dallin then hits Scorpious over the head causing him to fall to the ground.

Arceus spring up and tries to strike Dallin, but the officers grab him right before the blow lands. They throw Arceus against the wall next to Scorpious. Andromeda and Libra try to go get help. But several officers prevent them from leaving. The remaining human officers gather around Scorpious and Arceus. Andromeda and Libra can only watch in horror as Dallin and his miscreants rain down blow after blow on their helpless friends. After several minutes the mobs stops. Scorpious and Arceus then yelp in pain, as the entire content of the gravy bowl is thrown atop of them. The group of human officers laugh and congratulate each other as they exit out the wardroom’s door.

Libra and Andromeda rush to Scorpious and Arceus. There is no response from either of them. Andromeda shakes them, “Gods! Arceus! Scorpious! Wake up! Wake up!”

 

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