Falco Invictus: Demons That Do Not Rest
Historians note: The account which is told here takes place three months following the Great Rashalon according to the date as given by Princess Sitara to the Lady Arshira when asked about her birth: “September ninth, twenty-eighteen… three months after the Great Rashalon.” Naturally Sitara must have referred to her hatching and not the date that her mother bore forth her eggs. It should be considered that at this juncture the Falcanian Khanate was in its infancy, much like our Shotar’s twin children. Also, the fall of the USA had been very recent and the Imperium yet to rise from out of its ashes. We must also consider that The Singularity, that is,“Techno Rapture” and its effects upon the Earth were still being processed. But then The Techno Rapture is another story…
[India, Kuras: September 20, 2018]
Sharr stood in his office, glanced over plans for Vorkrür Island. Three months ago he had been a man, a simple mortal and now he had become something more. Together he and his friends stepped into the Rashalon Engine and at last became that which they had long envisioned to be, a true biological Falcanian.
Moreover his wife and Queen T’Kara had just given birth to twins, two girls: Sitara and Ariel at the moment she nursed them in their chambers. Her mother Ambika certainly fussed over her new grandchildren.
Intently the Shotar listened as the foremen discussed progress on the Island which they constructed out in the Bay of Bengal. The Shotar swayed his plated tail and adjusted his black translucent wings and continued to pleasantly think about his wife whom he had not seen all day as well as his newly hatched daughters.
“Excuse me sir.” Atar Kran succinctly interrupted the meeting between the foreman and his Shotar.
“Yes Atar?” Sharr looked up at his Drakorian.
Kran gave the foreman a warning glance and the engineer excused himself.
“What is it?”
“You remember that little side project you entrusted me with after we left The States?” Atar watched his friend’s eyes widen and his whole body go ridged.
“Yes.” the Shotar remembered, jaw clenched.
“We found him.”
“Where is he?” Sharr spoke in a cold clipped voice.
“Montana, with a survivalist militia.” Atar gave Sharr a moment to think about that. “They’ve clashed with fragments of the old American government, that ‘Legion’ ruled by the Neo-Roman Marine who calls himself Romulus.”
“Get me a strike force!” commanded Sharr, he had heard enough.
“Sir – “
“Do it!” warned Sharr, he felt his heart thump; a fury began to burn in his blood.
“Sharr I realize you want to get – “
“You don’t understand Atar.” Sharr informed his Drakorian and turned to look out the window at the small Falcanian settlement and beneath the whitecaped Himalayas. “No one trusted me…” he put his hands behind his back. “Nature bestowed upon me a warning and instead I ignored it. Not that my word meant anything, I was biased – even crazy…” being where he now stood Sharr appreciated the irony. “Not even my friends believed me, perhaps with reason? I don’t know.”
“The Queen believed you.” Atar assured.
“Nadia has a unique vision.” Sharr responded coolly, a lethal edge to his voice. “Do you know Nadia had to be the one to tell me what happened to Aria? And then because of the war he got free, without punishment. I shall avenge her!”
“We all agreed to stay out of other countries affairs. It’s a war zone my Lord. We are still few.” Atar understood his friend’s impulse, but it was risky going into that wildness for one man. “At the moment the US isn’t a nation, more like a collection of animals fighting for power. Perhaps one mighty beast will take control soon and make something better?”
Brooding Sharr at last said. “I shall have vengeance Atar. With my own hand I will plunge my Kraris into his heart and then take it to burn as an offering in her memory.”
“I’ll gather some men.”
“Thank you Atar” Sharr Khan at last sounded pleased. “And I shall be going with them.”
Curtains parted around the cushioned nest when Sharr entered his chambers which he shared with Nadia in their Indian mansion, which had grown to become a small palace. The Shotar wasn’t surprised to find that Nadia’s parents were in the room tending to their daughter’s every need. The birth of the twins had been hard. Multiple gestation had been unexpected; it wasn’t at all certain a Falcanian female could carry more than a single egg at once. Despite a possibility of complications Nadia had insisted she would keep both eggs until it came time for her to rear them forth.
“Sharr!” exclaimed the Maharani who rested in bed, her hatchlings in a nearby cradle, designed to meet the young Falcanians need for warmth.
Without speaking a word the Shotar kissed his mate.
“I told you that you would see him.” Ambika smiled.
“Perhaps we should leave Ambika?” Turhan Korelia looked up from over his grandchildren’s bassinet.
Ambika and Turhan quickly left the young couple to themselves.
“You’re very quiet my love.” Nadia observed taking Sharr’s hand into her own. She couldn’t read him; the pregnancy had affected her telepathic ability turning it inward.
“Nadia…” he looked into her brilliant-blue almond eyes. “There’s something I need to do. I’ll be leaving Kuras for a few days.”
“Where are you going?” she asked her voice betrayed her worry. The world had fallen into chaos – at least the little chunk of it they built for themselves remained relatively safe.
He didn’t want to lie to her, most of the time he wouldn’t even consider it since she’d only learn of it with her telepathic abilities. Sharr had no wish to burden Nadia however with what he was about to do in Montana. Not now, not with the children. His desire for vengeance couldn’t spill over into their lives.
“I have to return to North America.”
“No!” Nadia repeated firmly. “It’s not safe! There are factions fighting for ground to rule, the radiation and poisoning have scarred the land. The danger is too great –“
“I’m going to go there and kill him.” There he laid it out plain as day. The look on her face told him she knew what he meant.
“You know where he went?”
“Atar has kept an eye out for me.”
She nodded, brushed back a strand of brown hair to reveal newly oval pointed ear. “Our people are effective, I trust Atar’s Drakorian. Do Kvaltar and Shuriken know what you are planning?”
“You know what they would tell me, I don’t want them to know, not yet.”
“I understand.” She touched his face. “Would you like any Valküri?”
“No the Imperial Guard will be enough.”
“I understand, Roder… Sharr.” Nadia forced a smile. “I hope this heals that wound in your heart.” Nadia wished she had avoided using the word “hope” the minute that she said it and so she changed the subject. “Kalpana Aranskrai is pregnant, Dr. Makross just told Me.”
The abrupt topic shift took him off guard, Sharr blinked, exhaled deeply and said. “That’s good to hear, more of our kind to populate the world.”
[Montana. Formerly Part Of The American Republic]
Functionally closer to a Colonial settlement, certainly that would be the tech level things were at, it was nothing but a shantytown located out in the hills. The electromagnetic pulse had rendered most microchip-based technology inert. Had one to measure the human species by this town alone, one would never guess that The Singularity had struck the planet Earth. The survivalists colorfully called it Resurrection City. With a population of little more than one hundred souls, many sick from ambient radiation and lack of resources the name had been meant to inspire trust.
A council of men were Resurrection’s city leaders, the core militia that had established the base after the American Republic’s fall. These were hardy enough men after all, they had waited decades for the day to come when the “End Times” would herald in a new kingdom For God. None of the armed men of Resurrection however were ready for the death about to rain down from the sky on what was, all things considered a rather pleasant evening.
Falcanian F-1 Razor-Claw gunship choppers hovered over the shantytown. The gunships loosed suppression fire, took out guard towers along the perimeter. Soon after the Falcanians began landing troops into the small settlement, and effectively occupied it. All completed in a matter of hours with hardly a defensive shot fired at the Falcanian troopers.
The gunship which ferried Sharr Khan soon settled into the town’s center. A raven-like armored figure disembarked from the black helicopter. Hidden in a cowl and in his right hand he brandished a shinning single-edged long-knife, while in the other a newly purchased Grenadier Firearms EM-3 coilgun hummed charged and ready to fire. The Shotar hovered forward, powered by the jets of his Garuda “wing-pack”. Behind him his plated tail snapped. Tri-claw boots sparked on the broken stone.
Wielding a makeshift crossbow a lone figure sprung at the Shotar, discharged a bolt that bounced off the dense technologically superior fibers of the Falcanian jodtok which Sharr Khan wore not even leaving a faint scratch. Drakorian started to intercede yet the Shotar waved them aside. He had been more stunned that the man had only a crossbow with which to defend himself. So primitive. Sharr could not know that the Militia counsel had forbidden most of its citizen’s heavier weapons.
Titanium blade lifted the Falcanian ruler waited for the man to make another pass. Predictably he did, of course to his own peril. Firing his EM-3 the Shotar hit the man in the shoulder and brought him to his knees. Sharr rotated on his jets, casually lopped off the arm which held the makeshift bolt thrower. Blood gushed out of the wound and the attacker fell to his knees. Thrusting past the wounded man and with a swift arc of his Claw-blade Sharr put him out of his misery. A gasp could be heard from the gathered settlers as their comrade’s head fell to the ground. Coldly Sharr continued forward, his Drakorian formed a tighter knot around him. They’d no wish to endure a scolding from the Queen should Sharr be harmed. “Find him!” Sharr commanded. His Ox-blood armored men jumped to obey his order and swooped over the gathered crowd.
“We are looking for this man.” Atar Kran produced a picture of a pudgy blond man. “We know that he is among you.” The Drakorian growled in a deep voice.
Now it’s not everyday one sees winged beings descend upon you. To the people of Resurrection Falcanians looked alien, or in the very least demonic with their mammalian wings and armored tails. Above the gathered folk sounds of wing beats pushed on the air. None among the residents were genetically or otherwise enhanced and generally such people were frowned on in the town, as it was believed the technologically augmented were blame for what had become of Earth.
Sharr peered out from beneath his cowl, and his harsh glare fell upon a man. A shot rang out from the darkness, and struck Sharr Khan right in his chest causing him to reel backward until he stabilized his hover. off Sharr’s dense armor the low caliber bullet dinged onto the ground. Drakorian ripped the man from the crowd, forced him to kneel before the unhurt Shotar. He allowed himself to laugh, a laugh filled with coldness and loathing. Actually Sharr Khan had been more than a bit amused by what had just happened. Nadia wouldn’t have seen it at all that way, yet Sharr couldn’t miss a Shakespearean irony. “I was the one who came here to kill you.” Sharr spoke in a low voice so only those close could make out what he said. He descended closer to the man, spoke in a deadly whisper: “I thank you for presenting yourself to me.”
Forcing the pudgy man upward two Drakorian held fast to his arms. Lack of a good diet had taken some of the meat off his stout frame, his face had gone gaunt. Suddenly a woman forced her way to the protective line established by the Drakorian and demanded. “Let my husband go!”
“Husband?” wondered Sharr.
“Angelica, my wife.” Explained the pudgy troll of man still not certain about the situation.
Studying the dark-haired woman the Shotar nodded, under other circumstances he might even have found Angelica attractive. “Brad, is she anything like Aria?” Sharr spoke the name with such venom that his hate became a steadily freezing river. The very tone chilled his prey. Before him Sharr watched the pudgy man go pale. Brad hadn’t thought to hear Aria’s name ever again.
“You’ve no idea who I am, do you?” spat Sharr in disdain. And in that moment Sharr knew himself confirmed to be the superior, he raised his Kraris, placed it over Brad’s neck to shear a line of blood, and glared down upon the mere human. He had but to rip the Claw-Blade across Brad’s throat to finally end this.
Angelica began to scream, Drakorian held her back.
“This is about Aria?” asked Brad.
“Yes.” the Shotar growled.
Brad looked under the concealing cowl, where a goateed face hid behind a form fitted bird-helmet glowered back at him with eyes which reflected a green-light like that of an animal. “Roderik?” wondered the pudgy man. There was something suddenly familiar in the tone. “It can’t be!”
“It is.” Sharr’s tone became more dangerous.
“You have to know I didn’t kill her?” a nervous sound came out of Brad’s mouth. “Besides… “
“What I know is that you ran when the police questioned you.” Sharr accused. “I also know that you were aware she started her affair once more with Saul.” To Saul Berkowits credit it had taken much effort on Aria’s part to re-ignite things with him. “You were nothing but a replacement for Saul and became enraged with her… killed her for it.” Sharr had begun to find this discussion tedious aside from his self-awareness of superiority over this man, he had no intention to allow it to go further, he brought his blade up for the killing strike.
And then Brad said: “Did you ever think you’re as me guilty? You obsessed over her.”
The blade rattled to the ground with a metallic clunk. Sharr turned away and heavily exhaled. “Bring him in chains!” Sharr ordered. “Find a dark cell and leave him there to rot for all life, never to see the light of day.”
In that moment Sharr’s own guilt overcame him. Whatever the facts of the case, it would always remain true, that yes, he had been, and was obsessed with Aria. She invoked in him demons that could not rest. It was also true that he knew what he knew, and because of his lack of perspective Aria DeFalco had died for his inability to act to protect her.
At rest in the small room that served as his throne room, barely larger than the mobile home’s room he had once resided in back in the United States not all that long ago, Sharr contemplated his growing settlement. He had chosen a sturdy chair to act as his royal seat, a simple black wood, cushioned with heavy pads colored the ox-blood red of his Drakorian Guard. A canopy hung over the throne and camouflaged him from anyone who might enter. The Shotar sat with his head heavily in his hand lost in his thoughts.
“Hey there!” Nadia strode into the room, placed herself onto her mate’s lap. Possessively she curled her tail around his body.
He hugged her closely. “You weren’t here when I returned.” Sharr Khan remarked.
“Maa, I and Shalimar took the children to temple.” Nadia explained. “I witnessed something interesting there.”
“Really what?” asked Sharr genuinely curious. A slight hint of a smile touched his lips. Seldom did his expression waver from a neutral one, something that he had worked long and hard to cultivate. It had been noted Sharr rarely looked “enthused”, this was by design.
Nadia stroked Sharr’s hair, which had begun to grow long, Sikh like, just as she preferred it. “I watched a Hindu Priest welcome one of your Tahru Jahs as a brother, together they blessed our children. Your religion is taking root my Lord.”
“That is good to know.” Sharr indeed was most pleased.
“Is it done?” Nadia asked referring to Brad.
“The matter is taken care of.” Had Nadia actually learned what had become of Brad she would not be happy. Better it would have been to kill him outright she would have told him. Sharr and his battalion of Drakorian had deposited the man in an out-of-the-way place before returning to the Subcontinent. The Shotar would be able to get amusement out of his eternal detainment locked off from the world – Brad would die decrepit and alone in darkness.
“Ahem,” The sound of a man clearing his throat interrupted the couples’ moment. “My Shotar, Maharani.”
“Shreik!” acknowledged Sharr his majordomo Shreik Hro Trakan. “What may I help you with?”
“I wanted to inform you my Lord that his Excellency Naresh Singh shall be arriving to dine with you this evening.”
“Oh yes,” Nadia said. “Maa says the vote for our recognition of sovereignty is almost assured to go in our favor.”
“Good.” exhaled Sharr pleased by the news.
Sharr was convinced that Ambika Sen had somehow managed to stack the Indian Parliament in their favor. The Shotar had never exactly been certain what tools his mother-in-law had at her disposal to bend people to her will.
“And a diplomatic package has arrived from the Shogunate, Japan wants to open relations with us as well and negotiate a technological exchange. It seems our genetic modifications have impressed them.” the Majordomo informed.
“Indeed Shreik very promising.” Sharr leaned back in his chair while Nadia nuzzled close.
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