“So, are you going to let me in?”, she said.

“She”, of course, is Kaili An-Tegeth.  A first-line Blood Raider captain responsible for hundreds of successful captures, and was always permitted the first blood in the Bleeding ceremonies.  Her long, dark hair acting as a hood to her intense eyes.  It was said most of her captures weren’t because of combat, but because her beauty was so captivating that the enemy ship’s captain merely surrendered.

Such beauty, however, made no mark on Orakkus.  “No.”, was all that he said.  His ice blue eyes meeting hers unflinchingly.  Orakkus was cursing at himself on the inside for not bringing his pistol.

“I would think you’d be more kind to the person who kept you alive all those years.”  Each word seemed to drip with honey.  “Look at you now!  A capsuleer!  And to think, I thought you were a dead man when you took my father’s cruiser.”  Her words gave Orakkus enough of a hesitation that she push past him and into his chamber.  It was more than a little frustrating to Orakkus.

“Humph.”, he smirked.  “I didn’t steal your father’s ship.  I killed your father when he decided to make me lunch.  The ship is, therefore, mine.”  Orakkus walked over to one of the holotransmitters, keyed up the Ashimmu cruiser in storage, and pointed to a particular part of the ship.  “See, right there is where I broke his neck.  I still have the spanner I used too.  Want to see?”

A brief flash of anger showed, then was quickly replaced by an almost non-descript, generically seductive look.  “Nice try.  You almost got me to… react.”  She looked around the room.  “You should have stayed with us.. even your slave’s quarters were nicer.”  She rubbed a finger on one of the consoles.  “Certainly more ornate.  But, you never did like all that much clutter.”  She walked around a little more, “A Brutor through and through.”

Clearly there was something going on.  Orakkus may be physically bigger and stronger, but Kaili was a top of her class hand-to-hand combat specialist.  She generally lead her capture teams onto the unfortunate ship, which meant that she had honed those skills against fanatical, often suicidal, opponents.  He doubted he could take her since he spent all of his time improving his ability to fly spacecraft.  “Out with it Kaili.  What are you doing here?”

She promptly sat down on the couch.  “I need your help.  Well, you wouldn’t really help me.  Or my sister, rest her blood.  I guess it would be better to say that Teil needs your help.”

Teil.  Orakkus had not heard that name in a very, very long time.  Teil was Kaili’s little brother, a few years Orakkus’ junior.  A nice kid born to a throughly evil culture.  He was quite stubborn too.  And the one person who made it possible for Orakkus’ escape…

The conflict was apparent on Orakkus’ face.  “Look, Teil needs your help.  He may not admit it, but he needs it.  You may hate me, my people, my culture.. but you are now in a position to pay Teil back.”  She stood up and marched up to Orakkus.  “Look, Teil may be a traitor, but he’s still my brother.  He’s a traitor because of you!”  She couldn’t help but scream those last few words.  Orakkus saw that her eyes had briefly started to tear up.

“What do you mean?”, Orakkus snapped back.   “That happened years ago and he was too young to be branded a traitor then.  Even the priests of Sani Sabik doesn’t hold grudges that long.”

Kaili walked to the hanger door, and looked out on the rest of the station.  “Yes, you’re right.  Sure,  he got disciplined.  Forced to study at the most strict convents until he could recite scripture without error.  Daily beatings for even the slightest failing.  The usual.  Eventually, the priests proclaimed him “accepted” by God once again.”

She sighed.  “He seemed cured of your influence.  They even let him go on some blood raids in Empire.”, she smiled.  “Then one day, after he managed to gain the trust of his captain, Teil decoupled the gangway while they getting ready to board a particularly good haul, a space liner that had gotten lost,  and blew most of the crew out into space.”

“The operative word was “most”.” She continued, “The backup crew had not gotten into the airlock yet and a little while later they managed to overtake the bridge and capture Teil.  The vids and computer logs of his actions were all that were needed.  He was branded a traitor, to be struck from the book of life forever, and to be executed..”, she took a long, slow breath and spoke in a whisper.  “.. to be executed in a Blood Maggot ceremony.”

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