Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Rensho Kraft

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“Oh, my,” she said as she peered down at the prisoner. “You wrapped my present for me.”
“Just the woman I came here to see,” he growled back at her.
“Hello, Vadima.” A pause. “I don’t rate a ‘hello’?”
“No, you do not.”
“Wife, you disappoint me.”
The guards twitched.
“I seem fated to do that.”
“Come down here and say that.”
She laughed, but she did take the stairs down to stand closer to him.
He watched her every step of the way. He didn’t even glance at the others with her.
“You have some new scars, my love.” She stood right in front of him. Her fingers brushed over his epaulettes; he had some new rank, too.
“I value the scars you gave me the most.”
“I would never mark that face.” Her finger traced the welts that radiated in three distinct lines across his right eye. “Is the eye damaged?”
“No. I can still see how beautiful you are.”
“Who did this?” Her lips pressed against the scar that marred the top of his left lip and stretched up towards the base of his cheek.
He chased her face when she pulled away, until the wrist cuffs held him. “It doesn’t matter; I killed him.”
“Because otherwise you would do it for me?”
“He damaged what is mine.”
“Wife, you do not share well.” He gave her an enigmatic smile.
“I do not.”
He had a small pouch on his belt. He saw her glance down at it, but with his arms held, he could not stop her opening it. “Do you still have it?” she asked.
“I do.”
She pulled a ring from the pouch. It was hung on a chain.
“He is your husband?” the guard with her asked.
“Yes, he is. I do not lie.” To him, she asked, “Why the chain?”
“So it stays with me when I am out of uniform. I cannot wear it for obvious reasons.”
Leaning in, she pulled the collars of shirt apart enough to plant a kiss on the skin of his lower neck. “I would see you out of uniform,” she whispered, and she hung it around his neck.
“Release me,” he said.
“You are our prisoner,” the guard objected.
“No, lady. I am a husband who has missed many conjugal leave visits.” His eyes gleamed.
Vadima’s laugh was a delight.
Rensho raised one eyebrow. “Or... we could just do it here.”
“Do I have your word you will not harm anyone?” she asked.
“Captain, no!” a junior officer objected before Rensho could answer.
Vadima rounded on them. “Do you dare to question my authority?”
“No, ma’am.”
“Did he hurt anyone when he was apprehended?”
“No, ma’am.” They risked a glance at the prisoner. The capture seemed too easy now given how dangerous he looked.
“You do know who this is?”
“No, ma’am.” They sounded more doubtful, now.
“This-” she waved a hand at him, “-is Rensho Kraft; designer of the Kraft method and leader of the interrogation squad for the imperial forces. If he wanted you dead, you’d be dead.”
The officer paled. They had all heard of the Kraft method. He got inside people’s heads, it was said, but that was not possible. They suddenly realized what he had done; he had got inside theirs and had cleverly manipulated them and they hadn’t even noticed. “He said he wanted to see you and we brought him right to you. I am so sorry, ma’am.”
“Indeed. Lucky he is not here to kill me, just to-” She stopped.
He smiled at her. He finished the rest of her sentence with that smile.
“Give me your word, Rensho.”
“I give you my word that I will not... kill anyone on your ship.”
She tilted her head. He had left a loophole; injury was allowed. “I accept. Release him.”
She spun on her heel and marched away, knowing her orders would be followed.
Freed, he jogged to catch her up. He didn’t try to touch her, but followed a step behind her; not directly on her heels. They made a striking couple. He taller by a head and so pale with his grey hair. She was darker skinned with glossy black hair. They both radiated authority.
At the door of her quarters, he followed her in, watched as she locked it with a command code he automatically memorised, and then he was kissing her.
They didn’t speak. They lived their lives assuming others were watching or listening to them. As their bodies joined, so did their minds. It had always been that way with them. An ability he had used and expanded, and she had kept a close secret. It had bound them together far more effectively than a ring, and as a result, neither ever trifled with another.
When everything they had was interlaced, he showed her the information obtained during an interrogation. A conspiracy so vast and deep that they were all betrayed. He had left everything behind to come to her and warn her. He had come to her to try to save her.
Now, it was up to her to save them both.
© AM Gray 2014

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