The Symphony of Revenge
Alathea was on the bridge with the captain, watching the ship drift into the nebula. Inertia would take the ship out of it in a few hours. She glanced at the Captain, noting her expression. The captain was helping a creature that threatened her with death, damaged her ship, and endangered the whole crew.
Something Alathea never saw done in the Empire. Quite opposite in fact.
A memory washed over her. It was a scene from her past, starkly contrasting to the compassionate act before her.
She stood behind a Reverent Mother, focused on the twitchy guard behind the seated priest. The agreement for the meeting called for no weapons, but twitches of that guard signaled he had a hidden weapon under his left armpit.
“It is hard to believe that you hold any respect towards any deity,” Priest whined, awkwardly moving his hands.
He had something in his sleeves, most likely some dart weapons. A brief glance towards the Reverent Mother confirmed she saw the sleeves weapons. Reverent mother inched into a position perfect to launch herself at the priest. Alathea returned her focus to her guard. Sister on the other side of the reverent mother was monitoring the other guard.
“That’s on purpose. Our apparent disinterest in any deity allows us to negotiate and collaborate with most factions in the Empire.”
Priest tilted his head and squinted his eyes. He didn’t like the Reverend Mother’s answer. They were in space, on a rotating part of the huge highliner, parked in the middle of nowhere. The Imperial spaceships were so quiet in a parked state. Here, in the passenger part of the highliner, not even the rumble of the thrusters used to rotate the passenger quarters could be heard or sensed through the floor where she stood.
“That exposes you to the dirt of heretics.”
“Who are we to judge dirt? The sweetest meat this side of heaven comes from garbage.” Reverent Mother interjected with a touch of sardonic humor.
“The decadency is the end of decency!”
The guard moved, reaching for his weapons, and Alathea jumped up, launching herself on the guard’s head, avoiding the direction of the priest’s hands. She felt her heel meeting the hard bone of the skull and sending it backward. Her last training was in the two G, so this room, with one-third of G, made her fly. She felt a light tug of her clothing and saw the Reverend Mother launching herself on the Priest.
She moved her feet, grabbing the guard’s head between her shins and, with the sharp movement, breaking the guard’s neck. Releasing the head, she maneuvered her body to grab the weapon the guard had under his left armpit.
She landed on her feet, facing the other guard. Alive, with another knife in his hand, taking a step towards her. She threw the knife at the guard’s neck, buying herself a few seconds to glance around the room. The other sister lay dead, and the priest and reverent mother were alive. Her eyes snap back to the guard just to see a knife hitting him in the neck. The idiot didn’t deflect.
She relaxed her muscles, looking at the Reverend Mother for more instruction.
“This betrayal requires punishment,” she said to the priest.
“You witch. If you think you can get out of here alive, you’re sorely mistaken.”
Alathea rolled her eyes. Stupidity of some people.
“And you’re disappointing.” The Reverend Mother took out the hidden communicator and said, “Clean up.”
This time sounds penetrated the silence of the room. The cabin experienced a series of loud thuds and vibrations as if the ship suddenly decided to do an impromptu dance routine. Alathea felt the weak gravity fade away, letting her float in the room together with the Reverend Mother and the priest. And all the blood droplets spouting out of the guard killed with the knife joined them. The priest’s eyes danced between the two of them while he mowed floating blood droplets, not even noticing.
“What is happening?”
“Our forces are battling. Apparently, they’ve decided to have a little skirmish right outside our cozy little cabin.”
“Your forces. But there were none. You could not come with over two members of your personal.”
“The same rule went for you, but you ignored it. Are you so stupid to believe that only you would break it?”
Silence fell in the room. Three of them and three corpses floated gently around. Alathea moved the guard corpse, the one she killed first gently into a galaxy of the blood droplets cleaning them up and leaving her and the Reverend Mother enough space not to get bloody. The Reverend Mother nodded approvingly at Alathea’s impromptu cleanup efforts.
There was a dart in the other sister’s neck surrounded by tiny red droplets. Seems like she was a better pilot than a fighter.
Priest finally noticed what she was doing and saw all the blood he picked up. He tried to clean it up and winced as soon as he moved his arms.
“I need help. You broke my arms, and I’m bleeding. I can die.”
“You will not. It takes time till the effect of Zero G on wounds takes its hold.”
A sudden jolt of Voyager almost knocked her off her feet.
“Not paying attention?” Captain smiled at her.
“Ah, just another casual day reminiscing about the good old days in the Empire, where assassinations led to symphonies of punishment.”
Captain Janeway raised an eyebrow. “Symphonies of punishment?”
Alathea nodded. “Yes, a grand orchestration of imprisonment, torture, and retribution. Quite a performance, I assure you.”
“Reverent Mother ordered the fraction to be punished. The man who was with us was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for life, while his fraction suffered major losses and attack by Bene Gesserit.”
Chakotay joined the conversation, perplexed. “And you find that similar to our situation?”
Alathea shrugged. “Well, you’re letting this creature go. In the Empire, we’d have a full-fledged opera of revenge by now. But hey, different strokes, right? Endings are not the same, but beginnings are. Both situations involved death threats and even the killing of lower-ranked members. But you’re right, the similarity ends there. The outcomes of both events are different because the main actors in both cases are very different.”
“Which one you consider a better outcome?” Captain asked.
Alathea turned towards her and bowed. “Yours. You are exactly what you say you are. Honorable, honest, and someone who really tries to do the best possible. That is worth of admiration.”
Captain Janeway smiled. “Well, I appreciate the compliment. Now, about joining us, I meant it in a more permanent sense. We could use someone like you on Voyager.”
Alathea smiled at the captain and bowed again. “I am all yours.”