Chapter 2.5

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Sam and Mark had found no sign to point them to the missing shuttle or people, and things were becoming increasingly tense on the ship. Vortran had taken to hiding out in the kitchen, drinking copious amounts of coffee as the two men argued over where to start. Files on all three missing people lay on the table and Vortran began thumbing through the only file that had been largely untouched. Mark had said the missing tech guy was a quiet, awkward young man. The file painted a picture of a brilliant technopath who had only had a few short-lived jobs before, with letters of recommendation from each. The name was ringing a bell in the back of Vortran’s mind though.

“Calvin Sutro…” The pascal climbed down out of the chair and carried both the file and mug of coffee to the control room. Everyone else was moping in their rooms, leaving the computer wide open. The name brought up nothing special, except for a family tree which Vortran scanned for any other familiar names. One of the names rang a very alarming bell and just as Vortran jumped out of the seat to retrieve Sam and show him the power died.

“Gods-dammit, Vortran!” Sam’s voice rang out from down the hallway, “What did you do?”

“It wasn’t me this time, Sam!” Vortran called back, just as the sound of a boarding saw began from the hold area, “I don’t think it was me!”

“You two are nothing but bad luck.” Mark shouted, making his way into the hold first.

Whoever was trying to board them was taking their sweet time, and all three of them were ready and waiting when a tall flash of yellow and black bounded through the newly formed hole and pounced on Sam. Sam dodged to the side and they got a brief look at the man-sized cat-like creature attacking.

“I will kill you, life-destroyer!” The creature lunged at Sam again but was stopped short by Vortran barrelling into it’s legs.

“What did you do to piss off a Mr’kana, Sam?” Vortran managed to pin it’s arms and Mark helped hold the struggling Mr’kana down.

“I don’t know… wait, I know you.” Sam knelt down and got a good look at it’s face, “You’re the one who sold me those faulty pods! You almost got me killed!”

“Sabotage does not work, bombs do not work, I will kill you with my claws!” It hissed and struggled against the others.

“Sam get some rope, I’m not in the mood for a rodeo today.” Vortran cuffed the Mr’kana in the back of its head and it lay still for a moment, growling.

***

It took longer to restore power than it took the boarding saw to cut through, and Vortran had forgotten about the family tree in the struggle to restrain their intruder. Now it stood glaring at the pascal, who was taking a turn on watch as they drifted slowly to the nearest station for repairs.

“So why are you trying to kill Sam… um…” Vortran hesitated, uncertain what to call it.

“That man betrayed me, turned me into a cat, I will kill him for my honor.”

“I’m pretty sure you were born that way… um…”

“Yikikik.” The name it offered came out more as a serious of weird noises and Vortran found it impossible to replicate.

“Can I call you Yik?”

The Mr’kana seemed to think this over, and nodded, “Yik is acceptable, little warrior bear.”

“I’m not a bear.” Vortran huffed, feeling slightly offended.

“And I am not a cat.” Yik countered. Vortran let out a sharp barking laugh at that and shrugged.

“Fair enough, Yik. But why would you try to kill Sam?”

“He put in words for me with the military, the others say I am his pet now. This cannot stand!” Yik growled out the last part.

“I suppose that’s reason to dislike him, but killing him is a bit harsh. And what about his kid?”

Yik’s ears flattened and he glared at Vortran, “He has no kid, I studied him. He is always alone.”

“Used to be, yeah, but the last eight years he’s been raising his little girl. We’re trying to find her now cause you got them separated.”

“There was…” Yik frowned down at the ground, “There should be no child, this is not right.” He fell silent, shutting his eyes and bowing his head.

When Sam entered Yik sprang to life again, throwing himself at the man’s feet.

“I did not know there was a child! You must let me help find them for my honor! Then revenge!”

“What?” Sam backed away from the prone figure and looked at Vortran.

“I think he’s saying he wants to help… because his revenge won’t be honorable since he didn’t mean to hurt a kid?”

“Yes, what the warrior bear says!”

“You want me to trust you to help find my daughter after you tried to kill me twice?” Sam raised an eyebrow incredulously.

“Three times! And yes!”

“Three… and then you’re still going to want to kill me afterwards?”

“Yes! When child is safe!” Yik managed to prop himself up on his knees despite both arms being tied, and looked up at Sam with bright, eager eyes.

“Huh.” Sam frowned at this scene.

“Not the worst offer we’ve ever had, Sam.” Vortran struggled not to laugh as Sam’s frown turned into a withering look.

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