|This article, Foundations/Cast Aside, was written by UnggoyZealot. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|Date Published||May 8, 2018|
Cast Aside is a short story in the Foundations collection that focuses on the Kig-Yar Vike Vok and his life in the previous pirate crew he served in before Oru 'Vanuxee's. It is the third of six short stories that will be written for the series.
|101th Unit // Cycle 76 // Post-War Era
Location: Aboard DDS-class storm cutter Blade of Gold
Blam! The final Unggoy fell down in a heap, soon being carried away to a pile where the others were. The ship was taken. The ship was theirs. Vike Vok relished the thought of what treasures might lie in wait inside this vault of splendor, waiting for the others to finish cleaning up their mess. They had taken the vessel by force, and would now be rewarded. Vike examined the other three Kig-Yar hauling the Unggoy into the air lock, clearly disgruntled about it. Vike did not have to though, for he was the prime commander of his Shipmistress, who had command of their ship Blade of Gold. They had just raided an Unggoy merchant ship, and were now getting rid of the corpses. Two of the Kig-Yar which Ruutians continued their work, while a third, a T'vaoan, walked up to Vike.
"We better be gettin' our share of the money, Vike! Especially for us having to take out the trash!"
Vike nodded, and looked up at the T'vaoan who towered over him. They were muscular, far more so than most of the Kig-Yar subspecies from T'vao that Vike had seen. "You'll get yer money, don't worry. I'm the second-in-command to the Shipmistress anyway, as you know, and we didn't hire half a crew for nothin'. I'll get in touch with her. You guys can kick out the grunts in the meantime."
The T'vaoan nodded in approval before heading off to help the others. Vike turned around and headed towards the boarding tube that lead back into the depths of the Blade of Gold, but stopped short upon hearing something from one of the storage compartments. He whipped his head around at the noise, and slowly crept over to the small door, keeping his pacing soft so he would not be heard. Vike did not need to do this, but it was always fun to let victims think they were safe before pouncing. Natural instinct, I guess.
Vike cautiously slung his Beam Rifle off of his back, and gripped it lightly, loosening his axe from it's grip as well, in case he would have to grab it from his hip. He heard a sniffle from inside and deduced what was hiding there. Vike chuckled before flinging open the compartment and firing his Beam Rifle. Whatever it was didn't even have time to scream. The Ibe'shan looked down and rested his gaze on the still corpse of an Unggoy merchant. They must have been one of the grunts that hid. Vike assessed the shot. A clean shot, right through the noggin. Vike didn't even have to use his axe, although he did have to keep both hands steady. I'm just gettin' better an' better with this Beam Rifle.
The T'vaoan called out from the other room, "Hey, everything alright in there Vike? I heard somethin' fire!"
"Everything's fine," Replied Vike. "Just another one of these gas-suckers trying to escape fate. Look's like I helped fate catch up with it though."
The last few words brought a round of chuckles from the Ruutians, and even the T'vaoan smirked. "Alright, well we're gonna blast the monkeys out now." Vike acknowledged, before exiting through the tube as a large sucking noise burst through his ears. He entered the Blade, and the tremor evaporated from his ears.
Vike strode past another group of Kig-Yar, most Ruutian, but some Ibi'shan like him, and turned the corner that led to the bridge. He entered, and sat down in a comfy, luxurious sofa that they had stolen from a human ship they raided a few months ago. Several Kig-Yar were lounging around, taking time off from running the ship. In the command throne sat a Ruutian Shipmistress, leader of the Screechers, Fak'U-Lar. Vike bowed in respect to her, as most would do to a Shipmistress, and rose. Lar swiveled around in her throne, facing Vike. She would usually rise to discuss business with him, but this time, she did not, rather staying seated in the chair.
Vike was the first to speak. "Shipmistress Fak'U-Lar, we have scoured the merchants' ship and killed off every last one of the grunts. We now await my orders on your command to salvage the goods. I await your response."
Lar just chuckled, as if she knew something that he did not. She looked up at him, contemplating his face for some sign that he did not know of. Finally, she spoke. "I do not believe that will be necessary, Vok. I have news for you."
"What news?" asked Vike hesitantly. No one called him Vok. Ever.
"Well first of all," said Lar, "I thank you very much for your service to me these past years. Without you, I would never have succeeded. Second," She continued, starting to drawl, "I believe that I have finally gained the ability to manage this ship myself, without your help. My power has grown, and so has my understanding of leadership. I believe this will mark an exponential point in both our lives, definitely mine, and I have come to a decision. I can manage this ship fully well on my own, and have no need for a commander anymore. You are no longer my second, but rather a normal crew member like the rest."
Vike's brain ceased to work for a moment, trying to comprehend this absurd decision. His mind was scrambled all over the place, while his physical stature was starting to wane. Quickly, Vike recomposed himself and turned to Lar.
"So, you mean that I'm not your second anymore, Shipmistess? But it's always been that way! I've always helped you!" Vike's voice started to raise; he was getting furious at this proclamation.
Fak'U-Lar just shrugged her shoulders, waiting for him to finish. "Well, I've learned all I need to, and don't need you anymore. And besides, you would make a great frontline raider."
Vike's fists tightened, his eyes twitching in the slightest. How could she do this? He and Lar had always had each other's backs, no matter what! How could she just thrust him out like this? He had always been loyal to her, always bringing out her orders, always obedient to his Shipmistress. And now... She had just betrayed him; tossed him aside as if he were just another expendable Unggoy. She failed to see my potential. She doesn't have what it takes to command this ship alone. She doesn't deserve to, anyhow, not after all I did for her. I'll show her, I will!
Vike muttered a curse under his breath, and tried to convince Lar. "But I'm your most valuable man! You can't just thrust me out like this! You can't just have me cast aside!"
"Actually, I believe I can. I am the shipmistress, after all."
Vike's face reddened with anger. He had just been betrayed, in some way, by his own Shipmistress. He contemplated striking out, but decided not to, loosening his fists and calming himself. He looked up at Lar, and she waved her hand at him dismissively.
"Now then, I believe you will be a great deal of help in hauling out the treasure. Especially your ten percent."
Vike growled at her. Now his portion of the money had been sliced down to ten instead of twenty five percent. His life would only plummet downhill from here. Vike returned to the Unggoy merchant ship where the T'vaoan and the Ruutians were, the Unggoy out of the airlock. The T'vaoan stopped his plundering and strode over to Vike, who now had a sullen look on his face.
"You look down in the dumps," said the T'vaoan. "Why?"
Vike ignored the use of a human idiom and shrugged. "Rather not say."
"Okay then. Now, you gonna help us haul out the goods?"
"Yeah, sure," answered Vike as he and the T'vaoan wrenched open a chest full of credits and jewels. Vike sighed at the gems- they were the cheapest kind- and continued stuffing the credits in some light containers. When they were done, the four leaped back into the Blade as the gravity dispersed. They set the containers in the armory, and went their different ways to each one's quarters.
As Vike sat down in his quarters on his soft, inviting mattress, he contemplated what to do now. First of all, I gotta find a way to get my authority back, show myself an' the others how strong I really am. Second, I'm gonna depose that stupid little Fak'U-Lar. She's gonna pay for what she did to me. She's gonna pay. But not now. But when she does, she's gonna know how it feels to be cast aside.