Chapter 25 of Death and Coping


This here is another quickie chapter, a lull before the storm maybe? anyway if you havent read the previous chapters, go to for the whole shebang.

Chapter 25

Blair hit the wall hard, his entire body slamming against it. He slumped to the floor in a broken heap. Stars were spinning in his eyes and every muscle and bone creaked in protest as he pulled himself up before the hulking Kilrathi that had just tossed him across his cell. He stood defiantly and locked eyes with his interrogator, not backing away as the massive feline creature approached him.

"I... I told you. We had nothing to do with what happened down there," Blair said as he braced himself.

"Lair!" the Kilrathi screamed as he backhanded Blair, sending him flying across the room. He landed on the table and bounced off of it, sliding across the floor. Every nerve in his body was on fire and his head throbbed dully. He pulled himself up, much slower this time and stood as straight as his body would allow him. He couldn't take this abuse much longer. He was getting far too old to take a beating from a Kilrathi. He stared defiantly at the alien again, letting the cat know that he had not broken him.

"Stop this. I am Colonel Christopher Blair of the Confederation Space Force. I demand to speak with the Kal Shintahr," Blair said angrily. The Kilrathi loosed a deep gutteral growl and strode towards him once again. Blair had had enough. "Don't you dare hit me again you pathetic sack of fur!" The Kilrathi cursed loudly and lunged towards him, intent on ripping him apart. Blair ducked under the much larger aliens' arms and slammed his fist hard into the Kilrathi's sensative nose. He roared in pain and Blair quickly slid his leg being the cat's and pushed with every bit of strength he had remaining. For one lingering second he thought he had failed and would surely be torn apart. But then, as if giving in to his wishes, the Kilrathi fell, slamming into the ground. Blair pulled back quickly and watched in amazement as the Kilrathi effortlessly flipped back onto its feet and hurled out a primal roar that shook his body.

"Ohhh shit...", Blair said, knowing he was in over his head. How marines fought them and lived amazed him. At least in the cockpit they were on more equal ground.

"How dare you, Terran! Who do you think you are?" The Kilrathi screamed as he hurled towards Blair. Blair stumbled backwards, trying to sidestep but it was too late. The Kilrathi was upon him, and just as suddenly was off him again. Another Kilrathi had apparently entered and had deftly plucked the other out of the air and now held him by the neck, several inches off the ground.

"He is the Heart of the Tiger foolish cub. The bringer of cleansing fire and the herald of Kn'thrak. He is the destroyer of worlds. You are not worthy to touch him. Leave now and grovel before Sivar for atonement." The younger Kilrathi nodded and quickly left, shamed. Blair pulled himself up a bit and eyed his savior, recognition dawning on his face.

"I'll be damned. Good to see you again, Melek." Blair stood and faced the old Kilrathi.

"I wish I could say the same to you. This is now twice I have spared your life. Give me reason to believe that I had good reason to do so," Melek said. His voice was cold and hard, but it had taken on a strength that it had lacked the last time they had met.

"I understand your caution. I can't fully explain what has happened on T'Mog."

"Explain. Let me explain it for you then, ape. Three Million of my people are dead. Thirty of our crew on this carrier added to that by simply breathing the air of that world. Why? Why do you slaughter us again. Was not our homeworld enough for you."

Blair looked at Melek hard, each ones eyes piercing the others'. "I had nothing to do with that. It's been torturing me for the past week as it is. I tried to come here to stop it." Melek took a step back, uncertain of what he was hearing.

"You knew of this beforehand and did not warn us?" Melek screamed.

"I dreamt of it, nothing more. I wasn't even sure it was real until I saw it with my own eyes."

"You had a vision? Then the prophecy is true."

"I don't understand?" Blair asked, confused.

"Are you so blind, Terran? We have feared you since we recognized what you were when you fought on the Tiger's Claw. We knew then but did not want to believe. That was when we named you the Heart of the Tiger."

"Yes, you named me because of the carrier and my actions. I still don't understand."

Melek laughed, a deep throaty laugh. "No, hairless one. Your honorific has nothing to do with the Tiger's Claw."

Blair stepped back, confused. "Then why?"

"We Kilrathi have in the Tome of Sivar a prophecy that speaks of our fall. It tells of one with the heart of a Kilrathi, but is not Kilrathi born."

"What are you saying, Melek?"

"It speaks of one who will bring cleansing fire upon us. You, Christopher Blair, are the cleansing fire. You are the Heart of the Tiger. Of the Kilrathi."

"You're kidding me, right? You can't believe this," Blair said. What Melek was saying was crazy, impossible.

"Have you ever wondered, terran, why you were the one to destroy Kilrah? Why you were the one to slay Prince Thrakkath in battle? Why is it you were at every critical battle? You are nothing more than a pilot and yet you brought our entire race low. You were chosen for this. You were born human, but your soul is our soul. That is why you dream of us. That is why you are here now."

Blair reeled back and sat down at the table. He had never thought about why things had happened as they did. Why it almost always had came down to him. But it was still too insane. One man could not be that important.

"I think you have lost your mind, Melek. But you are right on one thing. I'm willing to do whatever I can to help. My companions, where are they?"

"They are safe. They were not... interrogated like you."

"Why did you let him beat me if you knew who I was?"

"I had to be sure you still had our soul. I feared perhaps it had only resided in you until the prophecy was fulfilled. You would have died in there but for me but you would have died with honor. That is why you live. Now tell me, do you know who has brought this plague upon us? We have sent two teams down. The first all died. The second did their studies and found a virus that apparently attaches to our pheromone receptors. Transmission is one hundred percent. They have no idea how to block it.""

"My god... Call them back up... we have to head deeper into Kilrathi space. I think it is a rogue Confed force with a score to settle. If we wait any longer another world might die like this one."

"I agree but our scientists will not be coming back up. The risk is too great. It is a miracle that you did not carry it with you onto our ship."

"It's not luck. It was engineered that way. I'm sure of that. Whoever did this didn't want humans to be able to carry or catch it. We lack the pheromone receptors that you do, I'll bet. We could never catch it but every Kilrathi is a vector for it.

"Come, we will free your friends and we must talk with the Kal Shintahr. I only pray that we are not too late."

There is no God but myself. No destiny but what I deem for me. I walk my path and no others, for I am free.