Intercosmic - Chapter 41 - The Draconian Empire

I move for a gun that I don’t have as a Draconian roars at me. He’s at least seven feet tall, retractable claws on the hands, glistening red scale, fangs in his mouth, muscles in places I don’t think I have. I’ve never met a Draconian before, but they live up to their reputation of being dragon like. I don’t know how one ended up in Edan’s apartment but, we need to get out of here. I’m competent in a fight, but not when drunk and not when taking on a damned Draconian. 

“Efrem calm down,” Edan grabs me. “Your old ass wrist comp probably doesn’t have a translator. Hold on.”

“I’ve got a translator,” I try to pull him back to the hallway.

“You’ve got an old ass piece of shit.”

Edan takes my arm and does a few quick motions, just being the tech wiz he is. My wrist comp turns off for a moment, a circle bounces around the screen for a few moments as it reboots. Edan takes a seat on the couch and looks proud of himself.

“Meet Velaphi, he’s part of my crew,” Edan makes the introduction.

“It is a pleasure to meet you,” Velaphi extends a hand.

“Hello, sorry about the whole fight or flight thing,” I attempt to shake his hand but his hand dwarves mine in size.

“I am sure Edan did not explain that an Alpha Draconian had been living in the guest room of his home.”

“Alpha Draconian? Is there more than one kind of Draconian?”

“Why yes. Our species has many different races. So many in fact that it has allowed our government to promote a caste system based on those races. I am an Alpha Draconian, born from true dragons. Alphas have wings, we have claws, incredible eyesight and are gifted with abilities such as telepathy, breathing underwater or in my case the most notable, breathing fire. The Beta Draconians lack these gifts, as well as wings. But, they are still incredibly formidable in battle. Choosing to rely on the mastery of weapons as their bodies are not as strong as those of an Alpha. Next would be the Gammas, they are the same size as you humans. Their scales are not as strong, they lack the talons we have and some do not have tails. Lastly would be the Delta Draconians. They are not Draconians at all, but citizens of the Draconian Empire who joined the society after their worlds were conquered. Although they may still refer to themselves by their species name, followed by Draconian. As the empire grows, many more Draconian types are bred.”

“Velaphi is pretty wordy, but I upgraded your translator, so now you can hear every sing word,” Edan stands up from the couch and stretches.

I’ve never met a Draconian before and I’ve got thousands of questions. It’s probably rude to ask some of the questions I have, but I might never have another chance. I’ve been to Revrell territory, but I’ve never been inside the Draconian Empire. Nobody goes there without some kind of risk and Draconians almost never venture from their own region of the galaxy, and never this far. But here one is, sitting across from me, on my brother’s couch.

“You seem to have questions,” Velaphi interrupts my thoughts.

“Why are you here? I mean, how did you get to Sol?”

“Well that’s a long story you both have in common and I’m going to bed,” Edan salutes us both before heading off towards a bedroom.

“Your hatch mate seems to believe we share a common past,” Velaphi turns back to me.

“Hatch mate?”

“Draconians hatch from eggs, I believe you species, who are born live, refer to each other as siblings. You are both male, you would be brothers.”

“Yeah, that makes sense.”

“What is your story?”

I fill Velaphi on how I made it to Invicta, how I was afraid to go back to war. I was so ashamed to tell anyone this story in the past, but it seems easier each time. Renan, Mom, Dad, and now Edan. It gets easier each time. I’m not entirely comfortable with it, but at least I can admit it now. Velaphi stops me occasionally to ask about my feelings and thoughts on certain events. His voice is harsh, graveled, yet the baritone sound is calming. His speech pattern is similar to the therapist I was forced to see, but more relaxed. We discuss my feelings in great detail, he explains he is attempting to understand human emotions, something Draconian soldiers aren’t taught.

“That’s how I ended up here,” I finish my story.

“Amazing, your hatch mate is correct. We do have much in common.”

“How so?”

“I was raised to be a soldier, a heartless killer. I was not to feel for my enemy and my enemy was whoever the monarchy placed in front of me. I went into my first battle at 13 revolutions. I did as I was told. On that day, I eliminated an Abkid cluster. No. I murdered a family of Abkid. It sat with me for years, I could rarely sleep. When I did, memories of that night would haunt me. I continued to do as I was told. Until the age of 36 revolutions, I continued to murder. Many Draconian individuals and those of other species would feel my blade even after I fled the army. Each of their faces would join those that haunted me already,” Velaphi pauses.

I provide him the same comfort he provided me as I told my story. I give him time to elaborate on his feelings. He struggles to put words to them, but when he does they are precise and understandable. I don’t need to listen to the next part of his story to know it matches my own.

“I grew disillusioned with the home world. Conquering others, yet never caring for them. We would force them to pay tribute, yet leave their societies to crumble. No matter how much they paid in taxes, they could never really be part of the Draconian Empire. I came to realize I was born to fight, but I was not born to cause pain. Being marked as a dissident in the Empire means to be marked for death. There is no way out of the ranks other than retirement at 80 revolutions. I did as you did, I ran. I was in charge of tracking a group of smugglers who were fleeing the home world. I chose to hide on their ship instead. That ship belonged to your hatch mate.”

“Different species, different wars, but we are brothers of the same struggle.”

“Indeed.” 

“Have you struggled with finding your place in the universe? Knowing you can’t go back to the only thing you’ve know.”

“I do. I take it you feel the same.”

“Every single day.”

“I am glad that Edan brought you here tonight. I was unaware that there were humans who felt the same as I did. He seems to be able to translate my, emotions, better than I can. He does not understand them in the words I say, but he knew that you would share them. The same experiences from a different life. I would be honored if you allowed me to call you, a friend, as you say,” Velaphi seems to be very proper with everything.

“I’d like that.”

“Thank you. You and your hatch mate have shown me more, kindness, than I have ever known.”

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