“There’re always consequences with DICK.”
Terrible and Tyrant are discussing something as they come into the room. It sounds interesting, but I know better than to interrupt it and ask for clarification. Fortunately, I have a little exposition entity sitting next to me in the form of the woman who is basically queen.
“What’s going on?” I whisper the question to Tania.
“Oh, they made a bunch of big sentient mantises consume the intergalactic tax department, it’s called DICK. Or it was. Now there’s someone coming to attack us for that because apparently they were due a large rebate which has now been consumed by the mantises.”
“Okay. So that’s both boring and gross.”
“It was gross. It wasn’t boring. Last big case of my career. Then it turned out that my boss back on Earth was an alien reptile who tried to poison me when I got back in case I talked.”
“Whoa. Makes me glad I never had a boss. I bet they would have tried to poison me too. I had an ex who tried that, but it was with chalk and chalk’s not actually poisonous…”
She’s looking at me like I’m trash. I don’t blame her. I kind of sound like trash. I might even technically be trash. That’s no doubt why Terrible doesn’t want to have a relationship with me besides putting his dick in me. I’ve had a lot of relationships like that. Dudes are really into my insides. They just don’t want to deal with my outside and all the other parts that aren’t tight and wet.
“Anywayyy… kind of awkward.”
“We’ve all got a past,” Tania says kindly. “Especially up here. Whatever we were on Earth doesn’t matter.”
It does, though. A lot has changed up here. I am different in many ways. But fundamentally, I am still treated the same. I’m an inconvenience, and really, an accident. I’m here because someone was careless. And I’m not really what they want. I’m out of place, and they all know it.
I fuck Terrible because it feels good, and feeling good is basically the highest value to me. But it feels less and less good every time I see how disposable I really am, and how my value only comes in the form of others. If something happened to Tania and King Tyrant, there would be no need or use for me anymore. I’m like an appendage.
“Why do you look so sad?”
“It’s just my face,” I lie. Tania’s a really nice person. I can see why the king fell in love with her.
“The EnD have declared war on us,” Terrible is saying. “There is a flotilla headed in our direction.”
“Once we may have been able to call upon an almost endless army, but now we are adrift alone, with limited resources, and even fewer options.”
I stare at Tania. She didn’t mention any of that stuff about being adrift alone. That sounds bad.
“Who are the EnD?”
She shrugs, but Tyrant overhears me, and to my great surprise, answers me.
“Evil n’ Death. It’s an acronym.”
“They called their entire species Evil n’ Death? How are we supposed to take them seriously?”
“They live up to their names.”
“Should we be having these discussions in front of the ladies?”
“I have all my conversations in front of Tania. We have to keep her safe. At all costs. She is burgeoning with my child. It could be any month now. It could be tomorrow.”
“So you guys are actually in deep shit,” I say. “I mean, you’re all advanced and whatnot, but you’re basically alone. How many soldiers do you have? How many war planes, or whatever? How are you going to…”
“You do not need to worry about this. You and the king’s mate are going to be sent somewhere safe.”
“Uh huh. And what are you going to do?”
“I am going to lead what remains of our forces and go meet the EnD.”
“Oh. So a suicide mission.”
They both look grave, and the colors which flash over their eyes and scales are more muted than ever. This conversation started almost casually, and now I realize it was one of those horrible things masquerading as a normal thing.
“I intend to distract the EnD long enough to ensure the safety of the royal house. That is my role. That is my honor and my duty.”
Honor always sounds so fucking stupid when it means someone justifying a reason why their death won’t matter. Duty isn’t any better. Terrible is going to sacrifice himself, and maybe he doesn’t give a shit about me, but I care about him. That’s my pathetic, weak, stupid human side.
I’m upset. I’m going to lose him. I can feel it. He’s going to fly off into oblivion and then I’ll be the handmaiden to a heavily pregnant queen. That’s not what I want.
“Sire, I believe it would be best for you and your household to leave now. The sooner you are at great distance, the better. Your destination should remain secret, even to me. There should not be any way for you to ever be traced.”