Thursday, November 17, 2011

Breaking Point

Eleya raised an eyebrow at her niece, lips pressed tight and already annoyed. “I do not know what that is. You are aware that technology was never the focus of my studies.”

“This is the newest version of our translator. Yet it is not an evolutionary design or a revolutionary design... it is a Human design.” Carbon’s voice lowered, accusatory. “There have been modifications, but the core of it is decidedly Human in origin.”

Alex wasn’t quite figuring out where this hostility was coming from, other than the normally antagonistic relationship they had. Still, Carbon seemed to have a very specific source for her anger this time.

“That is curious.” Eleya seemed to cool off quickly, walking down the opposite side of the conference table slowly. She gave Alex - still sitting in his chair - a quick look with no small amount of scorn in it before returning her gaze to Carbon. “Though I admit, I do not see what that has to do with why we are here.”

“It has nothing to do with why we are here, but now is a good time to discuss it. Years ago, you said you wanted us to have better access to Human technology. Did you not?” Carbon leaned against the table, glaring across it at her aunt.

“Yes, I do seem to recall saying something like that. It was several years ago... Before we undertook the venture with the humans.”

“I believe you exact words were we will get back three times what we give, in one way or another.”

“You were not-” For a moment, Eleya’s composure broke. Her lip curled up in anger and her eyes shined with rage. A heartbeat later it had passed, her cool demeanor only betrayed by her shaking frame and clipped words. “I never said such a thing. Whoever told you that was fabricating it.”

She looked over her shoulder, hard eyes turned in the general direction of the cloaked soldier that was moving up behind them. “I have not been told, dearest aunt, I have been shown.”

She pursed her lips and glared at Carbon, hands balled into fists. “By who?”

Carbon smiled faintly, azure eyes cold in the overhead lights. “Many people. They thought I was part of your plan to steal Human technology... I think they were right, but not about the role I was to play.”

Eleya looked like she had bitten into a particularly bitter lemon. “While this has been a delightful talk, I still do not see your point. We both knew that handing over our waverider drives would advance Human waverider technology by decades. There is nothing wrong with wanting equitable trade.”

“The trade was letting us use their research and ships to find new planets!” Carbon burst out, slamming her hand down on the table. “New planets for our people. Not to sneak about, stabbing people in the back to get what you want.”

Her eyebrow went up again, looking between Carbon and Alex. A coy smile crossed her face, a hint of malice in her voice. “Ah, I see. This is about your toy, is it?”

Carbon snapped. She grabbed the chair next to her and slammed it into the cloaked guard behind her then leapt up onto the table. She crossed it in a step and snapped a foot out into the air, the guard next to Eleya flickering into existence as her boot caught him in the neck. She pushed off from the table as he started to buckle, riding him to the ground. Before anyone really knew what was happening, before Alex could even sit up, Carbon had retrieved the fallen guard’s sword and pinned Eleya up against the wall, the tip of the sword pressed into her throat. Her lips curled back, eyes burning with hate. “Perhaps you would like to rethink your words, dearest aunt.”

There was a certain amount of fear in Eleya’s eyes now, wide with surprise. She took a few moments, gazing into the response she had provoked and started to laugh. “You are your mothers daughter.”

This did not make Carbon ease up. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Your father would never have had the fortitude to do that.” She waved her guards back. “And your mother did. Tashen and your father had to pull her off of me once...”

“I can only imagine what for.”

“I am sure you remember.” She sighed and lowered her voice. “I am sorry. I should not have been cruel.”

Carbon relaxed, removing the tip of the sword from Eleya’s neck and letting it drop... though it was still held ready at her abdomen. “I hope you will refrain from that in the future.”

Eleya looked her in the eye, decades of regret clear in her face. “I do not think you will trust it, but you have my word.”

“It lies with you to prove it good.” She released Eleya and stepped back, flourishing the sword and handing it back to the wavering form of the guard she had taken it from before returning to Alex’s side.

“So it will be... To ease your concerns, I had nothing to do with the attack on the young prince. If you do not believe me, consider that it was not nearly convenient enough.” She straightened her jacket and settled into a seat. “But when your house has spiders, dear niece, you ferment them.”

“I see.” Carbon sat down as well and Alex set his hand on hers with a concerned look. She gave him a faint smile as the Colonel and Sergeant took their seats after her. Carbon turned back to Eleya as she mulled it over, foot tapping nervously under the table. “It does not seem like something you would have ordered. There were not enough ways for you to turn the situation to your favor.”

“Very good. I knew you had been paying attention all these years.” Eleya smiled broadly, delighted. “Now, do you mind if we turn to the matter at hand?”


  1. *jaw hanging open* Will have to get back after I think about that a bit.

  2. Let me know what you think when you have!

  3. Carbon's such a badass!
    Also enjoyed that Alex was slow on the fact that the hostility. I winder what dear old Aunty has done to Carbon, or others, in the past. Its clear Carbon thought she was more that capable of ordering an attack on Alex, then executing the very loyal guard who followed her orders. Also given the fact that the "incident" was the tipping point for Carbon's and Alex's marriage, more advanced human medical tech, and the translator, I wonder how else she could have maneuvered such events to more so in her favor.
    Again, good read, very enjoyable.

  4. She is. She's had a lot of training over the years and I've done nothing with that, which is sad.

    Eleya loves schemes. She makes plans for everything. Since I have no idea when I'd get to work it in without actually having a chapter where she lays out how she would have done, I will just say she wouldn't waste a loyal guard when there are plenty of people she'd be more than happy to frame. Plus, Alex was unknown at the time. She would have waited until there was some sort of public sentiment to exploit.

  5. Ah, I'd have thought the loyal guard not worth more than a pawn to her. Apparently she has morals, which just makes her all the more interesting.

  6. Eleya has been changed by her position and circumstance. There is much more to her that I haven't had the opportunity to show, yet.