Jobs for Eternity

Lately, Vahlok had been doing the same jobs over and over. “Go get this, go get that!” was all Stasis ever told him to do. So that was what he did. Endless fetch quests. Today’s job was no different. Vahlok had to capture this rogue ‘Unhumin’ scientist. Apparently this thing was just a disgruntled Thrope with a god complex, but they had recently struck out on their own, breaking a deal they had made with Stasis. Vahlok was there to teach him a lesson and deliver him to the Lord of the Void personally.

Except it turned out, someone had beat Vahlok to it. He could smell an odd, familiar scent. An unusual warmth that should not have been present on the cold ship. Vahlok had planned to charge in, grab this stupid being then charge out again, but now he had to be sneaky. And Vahlok’s primitive, Varga side hated being sneaky.

As Vahlok rounded a corner, he realised just how bad everything was. Inches away from his target was a being that terrified him. The Veth Prime. The loyal servant of Death herself. What made matters worse was that the Veth Prime had spotted him.

Vahlok didn’t want a fight. There was no way he’d be able to defeat that monster.

“What are you doing here?” the Veth Prime blinked as he grabbed Vahlok’s target by the throat.

“I…” Vahlok gulped. It was obvious he was scared. But he was embarrassed too. What if someone else saw the Arch-Warrior, Stasis’s most prized subject, shaking and panicked? “I… was… coming to pick that Unhumin up… and deliver him to Stasis…”

“Huh…” The Veth’s reply was blunt. “Why?”

“Because he planned to betray us?” Vahlok wasn’t completely sure himself. “But you can have him. I… I’m not going to fight you. That would be suicide. Especially after you so easily bested me on the edge of Kinigi.”

The Veth Prime shrugged, glanced at his target, then in a single, swift movement, chopped off their head in an explosion of blood. He then dropped the body on the floor, letting the head roll away, and stepped towards Vahlok. Vahlok considered running, but knew that it would not help him.

“Are you alright?” the Veth Prime suddenly asked.

“How do you mean?” Vahlok was confused. Was this monster taking… interest in him?

“You don’t seem yourself. Is working for Stasis not all you hoped it’d be?”

The Varga had no idea how to answer. He decided to be honest though. He had no idea how the beast would react if he lied. “No. Not really. Better than dying in agony, but I feel like I got the bad end of the deal. Stasis got a servant for life. I got to keep my mind and not turn into a feral monster, but all I do these days is fetch things!”

“I totally get that!” The Veth was smiling. “You can call me Arkay, by the way. I know your name’s Vahlok, so you should be allowed to call me by my real name. Let me walk you back to the hangar.” Arkay put a blood-soaked arm around Vahlok and started walking him back the way he came. Vahlok noticed how small the Veth Prime was, a good twenty or so centimetres smaller than him.

“Yes… Arkay…”

As they walked, Arkay seemed very friendly. As if he wanted to talk to Vahlok. Or rather, as if he hadn’t spoken to another being in a long time. “But yeah, I totally understand. This wasn’t the job I wanted. I assumed I’d just be a normal Veth like everyvok else.”

“You don’t want to be the Veth Prime?” Vahlok asked, still confused. “I assumed…”

“Well I assumed you wanted to be Stasis’s favourite little servant too. But here we both are, stiffed by our masters, doing jobs we hate for eternity.”

“I don’t think I was stiffed…”

“No?” Arkay shrugged. “Well, you’re just being used to do menial tasks. As far as I’m aware, Stasis put all his conquest ideas on hold after that whole Corruption thing. You thought you’d be a hero, a great unifier. But you’re just a mortal that he uses to affect other mortals…”

Something about what Arkay said clicked in Vahlok’s mind. Maybe he was right. Maybe Stasis WAS just using him. But that felt… not right.

“But Ve- er, Arkay, even if he is using me, I can’t…”

“You can’t what?”

“I can’t leave. He provides me with the resources to keep my mind intact. If I leave, then I turn into a horrible, dumb beast, just like every other Varga.”

“So that’s how he’s tied you in…” Arkay muttered. “Suppose it’s better than eternal torture, which is what Kinisis threatens me with if I don’t do as I’m told… Bad enough SHE broke her end of the deal, not me…”

Vahlok didn’t say anything and instead let Arkay grumble about how he disliked his job. Occasionally, Arkay would ask Vahlok something and he’d offer a quick answer. While they were both very different beings, it seemed that Arkay did the same menial jobs that Vahlok did, just with a lot more death and destruction.

The two beings reached the hangar in no time. It had taken Vahlok twenty minutes to get to the Unhumin’s chamber, but there they were, already back at his ship. Arkay grinned as he saw it and climbed onto the bonnet, like an overly excited child. He then slid off and leaped back towards Vahlok.

“Your ship is awesome.”

“Thank you. But…” Vahlok panicked slightly. “What do I tell Stasis?”

“That I got here first?” Arkay suggested. “After all, you don’t have the same travel technologies I do. I can go almost anywhere. You’re slowed down by the transport you have to use.”

“That’s true…” Vahlok sighed. “I have been meaning to ask for a faster ship. I do… have one question before I go though.”

“What is it?”

“Why are you talking to me? Rather than killing me?”

Arkay grinned. “Because you’ve done nothing wrong. You just do as you’re told. You’re just like me, following orders from impossibly powerful beings. You don’t deserve to be eternally punished for a job you had no choice but to take.”

“Well… Thank you…” Vahlok sighed, looking at his watch.“I have to go…”

“Aw, that sucks!” Arkay tutted as he watched Vahlok climb into his ship. “But I understand. These personifications and their insistence on being on time.”

“Yes, unfortunately…” the Arch-Warrior smiled. The engines of his ship blasted into life and the ship began to take off. “Farewell, Arkay!”

“Bye, Vahlok!” the Veth Prime shouted back. “See you soon!”