Tale – Wrong Steps

The second Tempo set foot on the planet’s soil, ten heavily armed but rather small Panvok beings held her at gunpoint. Behind them were about fifty larger beings, all armed with what looked like gunstaffs.

“Get down on the ground!” The creatures shouted.

Tempo hesitated, then did as she was told. One being, in red and gold armour, cuffed her arms, legs and tail, then telekinetically lifted her into the air.

“Is this how you treat everyone who comes here?” Tempo tried to joke, but the beings were having none of it. They carried her towards a large, circular building, then took a sharp turn to the right and headed down a staircase into some sort of temporary holding area.

After marching down to the furthest cell, marked with a sign that read “Xen. Cell”, they stripped her of her equipment and weapons, sealed them inside a large box, then sealed Tempo inside the cell, cuffs and all. Some of the larger soldiers wheeled her equipment away.

Tempo watched the beings, and they watched her. They stood perfectly still, until someone shouted. The beings neatly moved to one side and someone who waw clearly a higher rank than them stepped forward.

“It hasn’t even been a year and you Temthans are already breaking our peace treaty.”

This being was beautiful. Grey skin, green and silver armour, glowing red eyes and a pair of demonic wings. In one hand it held an ornate gunstaff.

“… Peace treaty?” Tempo muttered. “No one told me about a peace treaty…”

“You are associated with the Temthans. We signed a treaty with their leadership stating that no Temthan was to step on Rethan soil and no Rethan was to step on Temthan soil, in order to push any sort of agenda. That both were to remain outside of their associated territories. Yet here you are, a Temthan pushing an agenda.”

Tempo tutted. “I’m actually a Temmar. We’re associated with the Temthans but we are not Temthans.”

“The Vrekans are associated with us Rethans. That did not stop you.”

Tempo was unsure what was going on. Apart from the fact that this race were called Rethans, she didn’t know anything about them. “I apologise, I do not know who you are.”

The creature growled. “I am High General Elkay Theanon, ruler of the Retha. The Temthans attempted to invade us last year and failed. And here you are, pushing a new religious agenda.”

“You seem angry…” was the only thing Tempo could think of saying.

“Angry?” General Elkay laughed. “I should be furious. I just… You are fucking idiots. Coming to a system where religion is taboo and pushing the idea that we should all follow your gods to get good things rather than working towards our goals ourselves. You’re all dumb. Lost in the dark ages.”

“The Temthans are the leaders of billions of beings, following the might of the Dragon of Time,” Tempo tried to explain. “We want what is best for-”

“NO YOU DON’T!” General Elkay shouted, his attitude completely changing. “You just want power! You do not care! Your Temmar gave your freedom up to join them. Or you were invaded. What do I know?”

Tempo fell silent. The Rethan leader knew he had the high ground. But Tempo noticed something odd. These smaller Rethans, they looked ever so slightly like that Veth Prime.

“I could kill you right here. I have the right to. And I am tempted to, especially since the Temthans have caused me pain. But I won’t.”

Tempo blinked. “You won’t kill me?”

“I want to.”

“But you won’t.”

“Because you’re an idiot who set foot here not knowing what your empire does. Your Temmar may not have been complicit in the invasion we fought off, despite the fact that you are part of the Temthan empire and thus part of its treaties. But I cannot execute someone because of ignorance.”

“You’ll spare me.”

“I will. On condition that you never come back to our system.”

A Rethan walked up behind General Elkay and whispered something. He smiled, then turned back to Tempo.

“We will tow your ship, and you, out of our system. If we detect your ship or you here again, we will not hesitate to kill you. Do you understand.”

“Yes, I understand,” Tempo nodded.

General Elkay opened the door of her cage. Two of the soldiers stepped forward and lifted Tempo up, carrying her back the way they came. Two other soldiers carried her crate stuff and carelessly threw it into her ship. One of the soldiers undid her cuffs, and Tempo could finally stand up straight.

“Thank you for being lenient, High General,” she smiled. “I have one question though. Do you know what a Veth is?”

General Elkay glanced at his soldiers, then back at Tempo. “What does that have to do about anything?”

“You look a bit like a Veth I have seen, roaming the starways. Very similar.”

The High General shrugged. “I can assure you, the Rethans are not Veth. I think we would notice if we were minions of Death itself.” General Elkay sighed then changed the subject. “You should go. Before I change my mind. And before the Vohra in our system find out you were here.”

Tempo smiled and climbed into her ship.

“Thank you.”

General Elkay sighed. “You’re welcome. Now don’t come back.”