Chapter 26

“Now hold up.” Conmer gestured for Loscia to wait, stopping her just before she reached her shuttle. It pained him to spoil what could have been the perfect dramatic exit, but he wasn’t about to walk away empty handed. “Ain’t you forgettin’ somethin’?”
Loscia growled. “Right. Fork it over.”
“You first.” Conmer’s eyes narrowed. “Unless this whole get together was jus’ snake oil.”
“I’m honest. You’re a rosearn.” Loscia moved a hand toward her gun. “You first.”
“I’m smart ’nuff to know breakin’ your word is bad business. You’re stubborn ‘nuff to ruin your life outta spite.”
“…Fine.” Loscia pulled a small electronic card out from her coat, and tossed it over to Conmer. After checking to make sure that the card was legitimate, untraceable, and contained the agreed upon amount of credits, Conmer returned the favor by tossing over a folder held shut with tape and filled to the brim with information. Specifically information about the old human colony he’d found.
Without saying a word, Loscia picked up the folder and walked back into her shuttle. All that fuss over who handed over their package first, and she didn’t even check to see if the documents were fake. Not that they were fake – nothing came back to bite you quite as quickly as an easily discovered lie – but Loscia didn’t know that. Clearly, she was either smarter than she let on or really gullible, and Conmer knew better than to assume the latter.
“Well, she’s gone. I can finally drop this humiliating accent.” Conmer turned toward the Happy Mango. “Come on, Genrou. Let’s go home.”
Genrou stood silent for a moment. “Don’t speak to me.”
Well that wasn’t good. “I hope you aren’t mad at me, Genrou. It would be petty of you.”
“Petty!? Do you know what you did to me?” Genrou turned away from Conmer, deliberately avoiding eye contact as he ranted. “I suppose you think you did me a favor? Saving my life? You saved nothing Conmer, you stole! You stole my purpose. Every moment of peace is agony for a warrior, agony! Our only joy is on the battlefield, and our only rest is death. I was truly alive for the first time in years, Conmer, and you tore it away from me.”
“Maybe, but I’m not risking the lives of all five hundred and twenty three of my subordinates just to feed your addiction.”
Addiction!?” Genrou froze for several seconds, so offended he couldn’t even organize a sentence. “This is honor! Something a selfish coward that only lives for himself could never understand!”
Conmer’s face turned completely blank. “Right. Of course. My mistake. Obviously, when you violated three of the tenets to your code of honor by betraying the Alliance, it was all for the sake of honor. How stupid of me. I suppose it’s because I come from a worthless culture that teaches you not to care about others, and holds no form of behavioral code or ethics. Truly, I am merely a savage dressed in an elegant facade.”
Genrou stopped dead, then slowly turned to look at Conmer – who was already boarding the shuttle. “…Conmer… I… I didn’t mean…” Genrou stammered unintelligibly for a while, then fell silent. “No, you’re right. This is my problem, I’m sorry.”
“…Just get in the shuttle, Genrou. I don’t want to talk to you right now.”



A note from the author ninja:

Oif… That was… something. How about a humorous rosearn factoid to lighten the mood? Yes? No? Well, here it is anyway:

“While rosearn may lack natural facial expressions, and their tone of voice may default to ‘apathetic’ – one would be mistaken if one believed they had no involuntary displays of emotion. You see, use of language, eye movements, minor habits, and certain types of body language can all be difficult for a rosearn to maintain conscious control over. In addition, only an estimated ~20% of rosearn lack the natural urge to laugh.”

This should have given all of you a mental image almost as amusing as Conmer with the hiccups. (Yes, rosearn get the hiccups.)

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