Next week's prompts are:
“Usually when someone calls me on something I…”
“You're back to being the same imbecile as you were originally, I see.”
“It’s a fact of life.”
“What did you do to the TV?”
“Just follow the Muse.”
“I've gone to some pretty extreme lengths to…”
“Don’t kid a kidder.”
“What are you up to?”
“Did you know they hide listening devices in our cheese?”
“It’s where your dreams come to life.”
or use: crystal, forest, soil
or use: hat, dust, bumper
or use: their, they’re, there
or use: pillow, brick, pad
or have your character go dumpster diving
or use: wood, stroke, squirrel
or have a character go to the dentist
or have a character fly a plane
or have a character cut down a tree
or use: ladder, blue, tape
or “You win some, you lose more…”
or have a character play a jukebox
or “You’re more coldblooded than a polar bear in a snowstorm”
or “I be a pirate and I be wanting your booty…”
or “Well, shut my mouth and color me Peewee Herman!”
The first scan finished. The light blinked, and a readout appeared on a monitor. Then the light blinked off, only to reappear as blue. Starting at the top of Varo’s head, the beam slowly made its way down his body, stopping to check repairs made to broken ribs, then later to a broken wrist.
A small beep sounded, and the beam continued its journey. Adlar studied the results on the monitor. He was relieved the broken bones had mended properly, and Varo was healthy.
“It’s a gods bedamned rock,” Varo snarled at Adlar through the glass of the chamber. “It’s maddening. The benefit to so many societies is unlimited.”
The refusal to allow any outside mining operations on the planet had caused several societies to become disgruntled. Unfortunately for those races, the Helkans were self-reliant and uninterested in trade treaties.
Adlar cocked his head. “Many? Or yours?”
Varo clenched his fists. “What does that matter? It’s a cheaper way to power the warp core on a starship. It would enable struggling planets to travel and trade.”
“But it’s funny, only your people declared war for it.”
“We needed access to that crystal so we can farther expand our exploration of space. Who knows what we could find out there? Your people have no right to refuse to share such a needed resource, Adlar.”
Adlar’s lips tightened. “This is not a debate on rights, and yes, we do. Shall I tell you what mining, especially unsupervised mining, can do?”
“Oh stars and curses, you act like mining is the worst thing ever,” Varo huffed.
“Environmental impact can include erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface water by chemicals from mining processes. There’s also the forest logging that’s often done in the vicinity of mines to increase the available room for the storage of the created debris and soil.”
“But… but… the advantages!” Varo yelled.
“Besides creating environmental damage, the contamination that results from leakage of chemicals also affects the health of the local population. Biodiversity loss is a significant risk factor in business development, and a threat to long-term economic sustainability.”
“How do you know that for sure?”
“Oh for fracking sake, all you have to do is look at a mining planet. The evidence is there to see. No advantage is worth doing that to our planet!” Adlar yelled back. Noticing the looks he received from the technician, he took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. “Enough.”
A beep signaled the scan was completed.
“Come out, Varo.”
Varo stepped out and stood silently, his gaze examining the room, not speaking. It was a sterile room, nothing but white walls and equipment, but he’d noticed how Varo subtly noted everything.
Did Varo actually think he would ever have the chance to relay the information he gleaned? Adlar was almost tempted to disabuse him of that idea, but didn’t. Why tell him? Varo would eventually learn he was stuck here.
Once he logged the scan results, he faced Varo. “Time to go.”
Varo glanced around, nibbling his bottom lip. “May I ask where we’re going?”
“Home.” Adlar noted the unconscious gesture of nervousness. He’d bet Varo was unaware of the tell, and he was more than willing to make use of it.
Adlar rested his hand on the small of Varo’s back, encouraging him to walk toward the turbolift at the end of the hall. He felt Varo stiffen.
“And that would be where?” Varo asked.
For a moment he thought Varo would jerk away, but he didn’t. The doors to the turbolift opened, and he allowed Varo to enter first. With a hiss, the doors closed. Varo immediately stood as far away as possible.
Adlar didn’t react, but it was close. He’d barely resisted the urge to jerk Varo closer to him. How dare he? If he wanted Varo on his knees next to him, then down the other male would go. One way or another. His body tensed, as if preparing to fight.
His fingers itched. He wanted to bury them in that long hair and…. Stunned at his reaction, he purposely made his muscles relax. He was close to pinning Varo in the corner and kissing him senseless. And that was just for starters.
Where had his valued control gone? As the leader of the D’noir, his control was better than most. Such a lapse was horrifying, and one he refused to allow again. In silence, they returned to the battle shuttle.
“Don’t have a personal shuttle?”
“Of course.” Adlar opened the battle shuttle’s door. “It’s at Command.”
Varo stopped at the door, mouth slightly hanging open. “Wait. You’re taking me to Command? You’re going to let me see—”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
Adlar nudged Varo inside and pointed to a bench in the middle of the shuttle. “Sit there, and strap in.”
Varo smirked. “Are you afraid to have me behind you?”
Adlar hiked an eyebrow at the challenge he saw in Varo’s face. “Are you needing a refresher course on how your collar works?”
Varo wiped the smirk off his face and sat. “No.”
“Good.” He checked the straps on Varo’s harness. “As far as you seeing our Command Center and its layout…. Well, why not? It’s not like you’re ever going to have a chance to share that information.” Adlar stared into Varo’s eyes “Nothing, short of death, will get you off this planet, princeling.”
Varo’s eyes widened, but he kept his mouth shut.
“And I plan to take very good care of you, just in case you think death is an option to escape me.”
Varo gasped. “I would never… To take one’s life is a grave insult to our gods. Life is precious.”
“Funny, we feel the same. I’m glad we share the same belief.” Satisfied, Adlar walked to the cockpit and strapped in.
They were soon they were on their way to Adlar’s private residents after a quick trip to Central.
Chris T. Kat
Julie Lynn Hayes