If you want to read the first part, it’s here. Now, we continue. I hope you enjoy.
Relentless – Part 2
You’re an arrogant fool.
Elyse Ryder stood on the command bridge of Molech’s monstrous flagship, the Pathfinder. It was a repurposed mining ship that was originally built for two purposes: provide capability to mine precious ore in an asteroid belt and survive; provide long-term shelter for all the miners with their families and necessities. It was big and it was strong. It was not beautiful.
Elyse was the daughter of Salem nobility and betrothed to the Sovereign Prince of the Bara galaxy. Aesthetics were part of everyday life. They weren’t the only sacrifices she had made for this.
Joshua, please understand.
The bridge was large, square, and lined all the way around with various navigation, weapon control, and communication instruments. It was filled with at least twenty other people all dressed in dark animal fur that left much of the dirty Hattatian skin exposed. Men and women alike. Their heads were shaved, a sign of their allegiance to Molech. Their skin was marked by complicated tattoos, a sign of their allegiance to their gods.
Elyse wore a Hattatian high priestess’ gown. It was made of a thick, white fur and swallowed every inch of her. She was thankful that the high priestesses were modest, but she was oddly most thankful that a hood covered her locks of brown curls. The crew around her already watched her with suspicion. She didn’t want to give them one more reason to distrust her.
She, however, didn’t trust any of them, but especially Molech. She knew he was only after blood. There wasn’t much more motivation in anything he did. Blood and chaos were the only two things he cared about, and her entire plan hinged on him.
On him, and on Joshua.
She looked at Molech as he sat in his throne-like command chair. He sat on a raised platform in the middle of the room; a man isolated by choice. He scared her, if she was truly honest with herself. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and let it out slowly.
I’m here to bring down the Federation.
She had to keep that in mind. If she lost her resolve, she could die. Or Joshua could die.
Joshua, I had no choice. Believe me, this was the only way.
The Federation was corrupt. Joshua couldn’t see it from where he sat on his throne, but his beloved Federation was the cause of more atrocities than Molech or any other madman before him. She loved her prince, but he was blind at times. Because of that, because of his inability to see evil in the government his father had created, and because of her love for him, she had to act.
It ripped her heart out when she thought about the last time she was with Joshua. She had told him that she didn’t love him; that he was a pompous, weak willed puppet of the Federation. Then, she had Molech kidnap her. It was a risk, but one she had to take. She believed that Joshua still loved her. Her plan rested on that more than anything.
Holographic images played on the forward wall. They detailed a battle on the planet Hattati between Molech’s ground army and a Federation garrison. Green outlines of the landscape was populated with blue and red dots that represented the opposing armies. The Hattatian army was being slaughtered. Molech watched from his chair and smiled.
“How long?” He said in his soft growl of a voice.
A shiver went down Elyse’s spine. Every time he spoke, she thought of one of the childhood monster stories that made her hide under her covers as a little girl.
“We reach Salem in fifteen.” A young woman to his right said.
“Bring it up.” Molech said. He leaned back in his chair and placed steepled fingers against his lips.
The holographic images of the slaughter on Hattati disappeared. New green outlines appeared on the forward wall. This time, they detailed a familiar landscape to Elyse. It was Salem, her own home. Thankfully, their target was not a city, but the Federation’s command base.
“Possibilities?” Molech asked.
“We can hit them from here.” The same girl answered.
“And how long before we can land?”
“Ten minutes now.”
“Then let us give them ten minutes to prepare for our arrival. Begin, now.”
A blue dot appeared on the screen and moved rapidly toward the green outline of the Federation’s base. It reached the outline and disappeared, so did part of the outline.
“Boom.” Molech said quietly. “That’s one.”
Steady was the flow of blue dots to the Federation’s base. Molech counted each one and his tone never changed. Calm. Cold. Detatched.
His plan was simple, and Elyse knew it well. Bomb the base incessantly, land, and then attack with the vast ground army housed in this ship. The Federation would crush the assault. The bombs would do damage, but the ground assault would fail. Molech knew this. He had told her as much. He didn’t care.
There was a trick he was saving for the very end. A trick that he was sure would bring the Federation to its knees: her. It was his last trick, his last hope, because it was her last hope.
The Federation wouldn’t care that Molech had her. They wouldn’t hesitate to obliterate his ship with her in it. Collateral loss, they would claim.
It was Joshua who made the difference in this plan. He would know that she was with Molech. When he found out that Molech was here attacking the base on Salem, he would come. He would come because he loved her and he would risk anything for her.
Elyse hoped that he would. She hoped and she believed in the very fiber of her bones that his words were not just words. When he told her those many times before how deep his love was for her, she believed him. Now, she was risking everything on that love.
Joshua would come for her. He would come and he would see the truth.
No, this would not expose every evil the Federation had ever committed, but it would open his eyes. Finally, his love for her would help him see how foolish and misguided his love for the Federation was.
It had to work.
Please, Joshua. Please, my love.
Molech stood and walked to the back of the room where double sliding doors opened with a whisper. “Are you coming?” He asked Elyse.
She turned away from the images on the forward wall and followed him out of the bridge.
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