Monday, August 6, 2012

Shining Armor, Part VIII: Query Closed

8-1 YC114 1920

Geminate Region
HKYW-T System
Planet VII Moon 9

Ryven waited for his quarry to awaken.  He had snuck into the elusive Query's secluded safehouse on this quiet moon in an off-the-beaten-path system in Geminate.  He had taken him unawares, strangely enough, largely because the Query's best defense was the fact his identity was unknown and his location remote.  However, Ryven knew both his identity and location, thanks to Leela.  What a bombshell that had been.  Both had taken a day to recover before either had spoken to each other.

She had come to his quarters, and he had let her in.  Both seemed embarassed, a meekness worn by both of them, ashamed to have the other see them the way they had both been in Ibura.  They both shifted awkwardly before Leela broke the silence.

"I wanted to see you.  To, well, to thank you." She said, her eyes meeting his.  She seemed so very young sometimes, and yet, she had suffered so much.  He loved her still, in a way only he could.  She knew it as well.  He wanted to reach out and hold her close to him.  To protect her.  To always protect her.  But, he had failed.

"Thank me?" He looked baffled. "Leela.  You shouldn't thank me.  I should've protected you.  I should've kept you safe!  Instead, I ran off, charging at shadows while they..." He choked on his words.  The memory of her chained in agony, defiled and abused still too fresh in his mind.  His face was red, tears streaming down from his eyes and leaving trails on his cheeks, glistening.

"Ry, when are you ever going to learn?" She spoke softly, her own eyes filled with tears. "It isn't always your fault."  She reached up and touched his cheek, her eyes soft, pleading with him to forgive himself.  But, he couldn't.  He never would.

He broke the contact, turning around to regain his composure.  He spoke, an edge of steel in his voice. "It's not over yet.  I have to find him, and I have to kill him."

Leela nodded silently from behind him.  "That's not hard."

Ryven shook his head, frustrated. "He's a ghost.  No trail.  I don't even know who to look for.  Everyone knows him only as Query."

"Everyone except me." She corrected him. "I should.  He's my brother."

Ryven turned around, his face a look of surprise and confusion. "Brother?  What the fuck?"

Leela nodded, her eyes downcast. "My father had him created.  Similar to the manner in which he engineered me, but with much more intensive programming at a genetic level.  He was designed at birth to be a perfect servant, where I was always much more willful.  I am a year or two older than he is."

"You weren't obedient enough, huh?" Ryven said, disgusted.

"Turns out, he wasn't exactly perfect either, since he helped you liberate me, but, that was largely because of his own sense of familial duty to his sister."

Ryven stood, motionless, considering what she was telling him, and wishing he could kill her father again.  That man's evil survived long after him.

She continued. "When you killed my father, he most likely considered that a betrayal on my part, and blamed me along with you.  Having me captured and used as bait to trap you ensured having both his betrayer and the murderer of his father and creator in the same location.  If you hadn't managed to spring us both out of that trap..."  Her voice trailed off and she shuddered involuntarily.

"Where can I find him?"

She raised her eyes, meeting his, recognizing the fire deep within them and knowing what it meant, but she asked anyway. "Are you going to kill him?"

"Yes." He nodded.

She thought for a moment, and Ryven half expected her to tell him not to, that he was her blood and family, etc etc etc.  But, she didn't.  Her eyes met his and he saw a rage that surpassed his own.

She finally spoke. "Make him suffer."  She gave him the location and so much more.

He most certainly would make him suffer.  He left Egghelende the next day, traveling to the secluded moon and, after sneaking into the isolated home, managed to take Query unawares.   He drugged him, a syringe in the neck from the shadows.  The drug acted fast, incapacitating him.  Ryven had spent a good deal of time strapping him down to his own dinner table, the room kept dimly lit.  Now, Ryven just waited for him to awaken to the rest of his life, which he swore to himself would not be pleasant.

He had been surprised at first to find that the man looked nothing like he expected.  His few conversations with the man where there had been a video feed had all showed a dark skinned man with gold teeth.  This man was as fair skinned as Leela and bore a striking resemblance to her.  His hair was black, lacking the dyed red streaks Leela wore.  His eyes were a deep green, just like hers.  How could he have visited such pain on his own sister?

When the man who called himself Query awoke, he immediately jerked against his restraints in futility.  His eyes were panicked at first, but then he calmed himself, his mind beginning to process and seek avenues of action.  Ryven would have admired this trait, normally, but he was beyond anything but hatred where this man was concerned. Ryven continued to watch him in silence for a few moments before lighting up a cigarette, one of his personal stock.  If he was half as good at his job as Leela said he was, he would know exactly who he was dealing with.

The man's nostrils soaked in the scent and he immediately frowned. "Not very wise, Mr. K.  This will ruin our business relationship."  His voice showed no hint of fear.  Ryven remained silent. "Am I to assume you were able to free my sister?"

Ryven answered him. "Yes, I freed her from those dogs you sicced on her."

Query continued. "And she naturally told you where to find me." He stated it as a simple fact. "It appears I underestimated your abilities."

Ryven stepped into his view, his arms across his chest, one hand raised, holding a cigarette between the first two fingers, trailing white smoke in tiny wisps.  "You really did, Liam." He used the man's true name.

Liam shook his head. "I haven't been that name in a long time.  I don't miss it."  He frowned. "Everything I did, I did out of duty.  She betrayed me, and you were the instrument that did it."

Ryven shook his head. "No.  What you did, you did for vengeance, out of a warped sense of duty."

Liam laughed. "Funny coming from you.  Isn't this your vengeance?" His eyes jerked downward, indicating the current situation, him strapped to a table.

Ryven nodded. "Oh yes.  This is definitely going to be vengeance.  As it was when I murdered your father.  That bastard had it coming, though.  As do you."

Liam sighed. "Did you enjoy it?  It must have felt so good.  I read up on you Haijikiotens.  So bloodthirsty.  Runs in the blood, doesn't it?  I bet that eats away at you, having gone all holy warrior and shit.  Deep down, though, you can't really deny the blood, can you?  You enjoy the slaughter."

Ryven sighed. "You may be right.  I don't know."  He shook his head and slowly put out his burning cigarette on Liam's forehead. "But, I do know I'm going to enjoy this."

Liam gasped and clenched his teeth under the pain of the ember driven into the flesh of his forehead.  He spoke through his gritted teeth. "You'll never escape it, Haijikioten.  Once a monster, always a monster.  Your God and your shiny uniform change nothing."

Ryven ignored him.  The time for chatting was over.  Now, it was time to get bloody.

Five hours later...

Ryven was soaked up to his elbows in blood.  His brow was drenched in sweat from his exertions.  Liam's corpse lay on the table, a gaping hole in his chest, empty, where his heart used to be.  Ryven held it in his right hand, dripping, down by his side.  Liam's face was a lumpy pulp, his eyes dangling down on the sides of his head where he had left them when he removed them.  His arms and legs were covered in lacerations and burns.   Ryven had succumbed to his rage, and now he was trembling.  Liam's words were true.  He really couldn't escape what he was, could he?  Could he?  He shook his head.  NO! This was right.  This was not blind murder.  Sure, he had gone a little overboard, maybe.  But, if any kill was ever justified, it was this one.  He threw the heart on the floor and ground his boot on it, mushing it into a lumpy mess of tissue.

This mission was over.  Now he could rest again, and await the nightmares.


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