ruth-black Ruth Black

Colonel Tor Borghahn leads an extraction team to apprehend a killer. The search takes an unexpected turn as Tor figures out the truth.


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The Search For A Killer

Deep Space

Borkhan Empire Territory

November, 2722

****************************************************************

Colonel Tor Borghahn awoke after a good night's sleep. He normally didn't sleep well the night before a mission, so this was a very pleasant and welcome change.

He hoped the capture would be an easy one. The details of the wanted man's whereabouts since landing on the planet were quite "teiknud", a Borkhan word Tor used regularly. In Terran, it translated to the word "sketchy", as well as "not quite on the up-and-up.“

After showering, he sat on his bed to get dressed. He was a tall man, 6'5", 35 years old, with long brown hair braided down his back. He had thick hair on the top of his head only.

Like all Borkhan men, he had no hair on the sides or back of his head but, instead, had tattoo-like markings. They went down his neck as well as his right arm, left shoulder, part of his chest and most of his back.

He was extremely muscular, a bear of a man, with deep blue eyes, a chest full of hair, and wore a thick beard that came to a point below his chin. The point of his beard was long enough that he would occasionally put it in a small braid when the mood struck him.

He'd never been married, but had experienced a devastating breakup ten years earlier. He and his then-fiancee hadn't had children.

He was now married to his work. Despite hating certain aspects of the job, 98% of the time he loved his work. He was a Colonel in the Borkhan Empire, an Empire based on his home planet of Borkha, in the Tertiar Quadrant.

He was a full-blooded Borkhan, although some mixed Borkhans did exist. None were mixed with humans though, since the Borkhan Empire had just come across humans in the last 2 years or so.

What wasn't known by anyone in the Federation Directorate was that he was a senior member of the Borkhan Imperial Family. His father was the Emperor.

Borkhan men were tall and, other than warrior-like markings on their heads, necks, arms and upper torsos, looked exactly like humans. They had an extremely thick accent, very similar to a combination Norse/Icelandic accent last heard centuries earlier on ancient Earth.

Borkhan women looked the same, although they weren't as tall as the men. They had full heads of very long hair, with tattoo-like markings on their faces instead of their heads and necks. They braided their hair into very intricate designs, many times putting beads into their braids.

The Borkhans were a fierce warrior race. However, they were very loving and devoted spouses and parents.

Family and honor were everything. They were extremely loyal and faithful to their friends and allies, and utterly terrified their foes. They lived by a strict code, rarely breaking it.

The Borkhan Empire had recently begun an alliance with Earth's Federation Directorate, an interplanetary government based on the planet Earth in the distant Terran Quadrant.

Tor liked the people he'd met in the Directorate so far but, like any good Borkhan, was more than abit skeptical of them.

He'd recently been assigned to a Federation Directorate ship as a liaison officer on loan to the Directorate from the Empire in the new Warrior-Sharing Program.

One of the Empire's "warriors", as the Empire called their officers, was assigned to each Federation Directorate vessel, with a Federation Directorate officer assigned to a Borkhan vessel as well.

Tor, along with all other Borkhan warriors in the program, weren't required to wear the uniform of the ship they were assigned to. They were allowed to wear their own clothes.

Those clothes were very reminiscent of clothes seen in Earth's historical records, clothes the Vikings wore.

There was a longstanding Borkhan legend that Earth's Vikings had been the first race to discover and colonize Borkha as well as Scandava, a planet in Lambda Quadrant, the Quadrant nearest to the Tertiar Quadrant.

While by all historical accounts that was clearly impossible, both Borkhans and Scandavans claimed they were descended from the Vikings.

Although, with enough ale in them, they'd sometimes claim the Vikings were actually descended from THEM!

Seeing a Borkhan or a Scandavan, it was definitely hard not to believe the legend.

Tor met up with the Extraction Team in the officer's dining hall for an early breakfast. They were a friendly bunch, he thought, but abit unpredictable compared to what he was used to.

He liked Ensign Rufus, a young man just out of the Academy, and saw great potential for him as a warrior. He just needed more confidence. That would come in time, though, Tor thought to himself.

Rufus was similar in build to Tor, but somewhat shy, especially around the hulking Borkhan.

After breakfast, there was a final meeting with the ship's commander before leaving. ”Gentlemen, this man, Portu Natia, is armed and dangerous. He's human, but with a bad attitude and a penchant to kill.

“The planetary government has told the Federation Directorate he's down there being harbored by a tribe of indigenous people, the Ulghans.

”On your small-screens, you'll see pictures of him as he truly looks, as well as pictures of him in disguise. There are also audio recordings for you to listen to. Those will help you to recognize his voice.

”Now we have general vicinity coordinates of the village, but nothing concrete. We've been told the Ulghans are primitive but sneaky. They live in huts with no technology whatsoever.

“They're apparently a warrior race as well. That's hard to imagine without some sort of technology, but that's what we've been told. Also, rumor has it Ulghan women are quite beautiful, although that's NOT why we're going there!

“We've been told to approach them with caution, and to proceed against the Ulghans with extreme prejudice. Follow the Rules of War protocol at all times!

”We've asked for, and received, permission to enter into Borkhan territory since Dhaster's in their territory.

“For this op, Colonel Borghahn of the Borkhan Empire has Point. He's the guy in charge! I want absolutely NO repeat of what happened in that indigenous village on Carseth 6 months ago, when the Directorate thought they'd cornered Natia! We're better than that on this ship!

“Tor, you'll be in the Command Shuttle. You and I will coordinate things from there. Keep your portable communicator on you at all times once you've landed. The rest of you will go in support shuttles.

”Be careful, gentlemen!“, he said. ”Keep your eyes and ears open at all times!“

”Excuse me, Commander.“ Tor said. ”May I ask a question?“

”Yes Colonel. Shoot.“, Commander Slocombe replied.

Not quite understanding the slang, Tor replied, “I much prefer to use my spear, axe, arrows, and knife, Sir, as opposed to my gun. Although I can see where a gun could be beneficial at times in battle.”

“Noted, Colonel.”, the Commander replied, realizing the slang had gotten lost in translation. “What's your question, Tor?”, he asked, calling him by his given name.

“My question has to do with the Ulgans. If I recall Empire history correctly, the Ulgans were originally from a territory in the southern hemisphere of Borkha, my home planet. Up until last year, Dhaster was part of our Empire, and had been for centuries.

”We've heard rumors that most of the planet disagreed with leaving our Empire. Vehemently disagreed with it.

“There was a totalitarian takeover just a few months ago, after the original secession leaders were killed. The new government was illegally installed, so the Empire retook the planet.

”The new leaders are fighting us. Are Federation Directorate heads sure this isn't just a way to punish various groups on Dhaster who don't support seceding from our Empire?“, Tor asked.

”That's the first I've heard of any of that. It could be possible, but I doubt it. Our source is highly credible.“, Commander Slocombe replied.

”Not to sound rude, Sir, but even the most credible source can be bought, if the price is high enough.“, Tor said.

”Noted, Colonel Borghahn.“, the Commander replied. ”Okay everybody. Let's go before it's sun-up down there.“

The team boarded the shuttles. Tor told Ensign Rufus to accompany him in the Command Shuttle.

Once down on the planet, they arrived in the general vicinity of the Ulghan village. They landed in a clearing about one quarter mile away.

”Okay. Hopefully they haven't heard us arrive. We'll go hut-to-hut and see if he's there. Remember, Rules of War protocol is to be followed at all times!“, Tor said.

His portable communicator beeped at that point. It was the ship's Commander. ”Vid komum bara hingad!“, he said, slipping into his native tongue, as he looked at his portable communicator. ”We just got here!“, he said in Terran so they'd understand him.

”Go on ahead men. I'll be there momentarily.“, Tor told them.

The men went on ahead as he went back into the Command Shuttle. He poured himself a glass of Lemon Sugar Water then, a few minutes later, Tor sent a live stream to the Commander.

”We just got here, Commander. We saw the village when we were flying in. It's definitely primitive. We ran scans, and there were absolutely NO signs of technology!“, Tor said.

”Are you sure? Is there a chance your scans missed something? Our source says they're primitive, but he's definitely there.

“He never goes ANYWHERE without several different types of technology! He always has several portable communicators, scanners, signal jammers, travel pod, shuttle, all sorts of things.

”Maybe he used a signal jammer, Tor. Maybe that's why you saw no technology.“, Commander Slocombe said.

“No Sir. We saw none whatsoever. I mean, if Portu Natia's here, we should have at least picked up any technology he has, even if it's handheld.

”We'd most definitely be able to see evidence of a signal jammer. But, Sir, there was nothing, not even a travel pod or shuttle! Absolutely NOTHING!

“I'm sur...Hvad i fjandanum?”, Tor replied, once again slipping into his native language. “What the hell? Commander, I've got to call you back! Something's going on.”

Rather than run the quarter mile to the village, he flew his shuttle, landing there a minute later. All the huts were ablaze and the villagers were dead, slaughtered.

Stepping out of his shuttle, he heard a woman screaming. He ran in the direction of the screaming, and saw several of the men attempting to rape her. Ensign Rufus was desperately trying to stop them, yanking their arms as hard as he could. Tor quickly ran to her rescue.

“STOP! RELEASE HER...NOW!”, he yelled at his men. Looking around at the bodies of the woman's fellow villagers, he asked,

“What happened here? These villagers aren't soldiers! They're simply men, women, and children! They weren't attacking you, were they? I demand an answer...NOW!”

He pulled the woman to him by her arm. She glared at him, but he knew her glare was meant to cover up her terror.

“They wouldn't tell us where the combatant was, Sir. Things got a little out of hand, Colonel. I tried to stop them.”, Ensign Rufus replied.

“A little out of HAND, Ensign? You men slaughtered almost an entire village of innocent civilians! Primitive civilians at that!

”You've left one survivor and, after having your fun with her, I'm sure you planned on killing her as well! That's not things getting out of hand!

”That's cold blooded murder! It's against the Rules of War for your Federation Directorate, MY Empire, and for ALL species as well!“

Looking at the trembling woman, Tor noticed cuts above her eye, on both her cheekbones, plus other bruises.

”Miss, despite everything that's happened here today, you're still considered to be my prisoner. Things can go easy for you if you do as you're told, and don't resist. KEYS!“, he called out to his men. Ensign Rufus handed him a key for the cuffs she was in.

Tor unlocked the cuffs, handing them back to him along with the key, still holding her hands in a bound position.

Before releasing her hands, he said sternly to her, ”Do NOT mistake my kindness for weakness!

“You are STILL my prisoner, and shall remain so until I choose otherwise! Do NOT resist, and do NOT attempt to flee, if you do not wish to join your village there! Do we have an understanding?“

She nodded nervously. ”Good.“, he said. Looking at the dead villagers, he asked her, ”How does your kind tend to your dead? Do you bury or cremate them?“

”We build pyres and light them.“, she replied softly.

”We don't have time to build pyres. Men, RESPECTFULLY, and with FULL DIGNITY, put all the villagers' bodies in one pile, then light them.

“Afterwards, collect all their belongings and bring them to my shuttle, so that our prisoner here can choose what she'd like to bring with her to the ship.”

“Miss, you will come with me to my shuttle and I'll tend to your injuries.” She started to resist, trying to pull away from him, and attempting to kick him.

He held both arms tight, swiftly wrapping one leg around both her legs to restrain her, then said, “Do NOT mistake my kindness for weakness, and do NOT resist, or you'll join your friends in that pile!

”This is your absolute LAST warning! You'll receive no more! I can make your captivity easy and comfortable, or I can make you wish you were in that pile with the others!

“The choice is completely yours! Do you understand me?“ She nodded, and he released her legs. ”Good. Now...walk over to my shuttle so I can tend to your injuries! The rest of you, get started on the dead!“, Tor said.

Once inside the shuttle, he had her sit on the bench across from the third chair. He then brought out the first aid kit and, after applying some antibiotic ointment, put small bandages on her cuts.

While treating her injuries, Tor took the opportunity to have a good look at her.

She was slim, quite petite, had long blonde hair, and tattoo-like markings on her face that looked oddly familiar to him.

Her hair was disheveled, but was very intricately braided with beads in it, and hung over her shoulders halfway down her back. She was dressed in Borkhan attire, and wore dainty earrings that dangled.

Everything about this young Ulghan woman screamed ”Borkhan!“ to Tor in his mind.

”What's your name?“, he asked. She didn't answer. ”I asked you a question. I'd like the courtesy of an answer. Remember our agreement. What is your name?“, he asked.

”Gudrun.“, she said. She had a very thick accent, one very similar to his. He'd noticed it earlier, but had thought he was just hearing things at the time.

“It's nice to meet you, Gudrun. I'm Colonel Borghahn of the Borkhan Empire. I'm sure you've heard of us, even before today.“ She nodded nervously.

”I apologize about what happened to your village.“, he said, handing her a glass of Lemon Sugar Water, which she drank straight down.

”I assure you, I'll be filing an official report with our ship's Commander. He'll take disciplinary action against them.

“Demanding they take care of your dead was my part of that disciplinary action.“

”Why will you not release me? I'm no threat to you, or to anyone.“, she asked.

”Unfortunately, I can't. Despite what my men did, they WERE looking for someone, an enemy combatant, whom we were told was in your village, being harbored by your people. So, according to the Rules of War protocol I'm required to follow, you're my prisoner.

“Petta er lygi! Petta er lygi!”, (“It's a lie!) ”There was no-one there!”, Gudrun exclaimed in Borkhan, struggling to break free from his grip.

”Stoedvid petta!“, he shouted at her, in Borkhan as well. (”Stop it!“) After a few more seconds of resisting, she settled down.

“I believe in treating my prisoners humanely. If they resist my kindness, let's just say, it won't end well for them. I'm a very fair man, but I'm also a military officer. You most definitely DON'T want to cross me!

”As I said earlier, I can make your captivity easy and comfortable, or I can make you wish you were in that pile out there. I'd much prefer to make your captivity easy and comfortable.

“SO! What we're going to do is, I'm going to inform the men that you're not only my prisoner, but you're also my woman, and that you'll be doing me 'special favors'.”, he said, tracing from her jawline down to her neck, all the way to her chest with his index finger, then gently kissing her throat and neck. She tried to pull away from him.

“Shh...remember, no resisting. I'm not going to hurt you, Gudrun. You're going to stay in my quarters for your safety, leaving only when you're in my company or with the guards with my permission. Once I can trust you completely, I'll remove that restriction.

”When out among the crew, to keep up appearances that you're my woman, I will occasionally kiss you. Don't resist. Do you understand me, Gudrun?“, he asked.

”Yes, I understand.“, she replied.

”Good.“, he said. He then gave her several tender kisses before kissing her passionately.

”See? That wasn't too bad now, was it?“, he asked, smiling.

”Nei.“, she replied in Borkhan, blushing from his kisses.

He was slightly surprised she'd answered him in his native tongue, saying the Borkhan word for "no". He just assumed she'd done that, including their earlier tense conversation in his language, knowing he was Borkhan.

A knock was heard on the shuttle door. Ensign Rufus and another man had arrived with belongings for her to sort through.

”Have you all finished attending to her dead?“, Tor asked.

”Yes, Colonel.“, replied Ensign Rufus.

”Good. Then let's get back to the ship. She can sort through the items when we get there.“, he said, having her move to the third seat and strapping her in.


21 de Agosto de 2022 às 06:42 0 Denunciar Insira Seguir história
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