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She Learned from the Best

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In all probability, kidnapping the commandant of the Peacekeepers should not have been that easy. Sikozu imagined that if she deployed the same method of capture against War Minister Akhna, she would have been recycled into scrap metal by now. The difference perhaps owing to the loyalty of Akhna's forces and Grayza's seeming inability to inspire trust in her command outside of her boudoir—another justification for Sikozu's present endeavor.

“This,” Sikozu said, drawing her blade across Grayza's forearm, “is for Scorpius.” Truthfully, Sikozu could think of more ironic retribution for Grayza sabotaging Scorpius' coolant system, but sustained heat would only have aggravated Grayza's Heppel gland and Sikozu wasn't entirely certain whether her genetic modifications rendered her susceptible to the oil. No matter; irony, she found, was highly overrated.

“This is for John Crichton.” Sikozu dug the blade in deeper, sinking it into a nerve Crichton's people called, “the funny bone.”

Grayza, of course, didn't scream. Peacekeepers were trained to be stoic in the face of torture. Sometimes for as long as a cycle, Sikozu thought dully. “This is for Meeklo Braca.” And sooner than she intended, Sikozu stabbed the blade through the Heppel gland and into a lung.

Given the show she put on about brokering peace out of some latent maternal instinct, Sikozu wasn't surprised when Grayza broke her silence to plead for the life of her unborn child. Rather maudlin in Sikozu's opinion. She barely listened to the chorus of unremarkable pleas (“my baby, my baby, save my life for my baby, get a medic, my baby, it's not too late, my baby, my baby”) until Grayza rasped, “He's the father.”

“Crichton?” Sikozu asked. No wonder Grayza found the offspring so desirable.

“No.”

Having worked under Scorpius for three cycles, there was very little that shocked Braca. He was given significant pause, however, when he walked into his quarters that day. The trail of blood was by no means surprising, but rather irritating. After much debate, he and Scorpius had agreed not to cause excessive bloodshed in their quarters (that is, outside of recreation). A Peacekeeper captain's quarters was their refuge from the harsh demands of command. And, also, the upholstery was new. Braca sighed. “Who did you kill this time?” he asked, rounding the corner into their bedchamber.

Finding Grayza's corpse leaning against the wall, her belly gouged out of her, was also not surprising. Braca knew Scorpius had been aching for revenge, especially after certain events that occurred under her command came to light.

No, Braca's surprise was caused by the tableau in the corner of the room: Sikozu Svala Shanti Sugaysi Shanu back from the dead, holding a bloody Sebaceanoid infant who was being cooed over by Scorpius.

Braca wondered if he had entered the wrong room. Although what room would be appropriate for this situation he had no idea.

He glanced at Grayza's body and back at the infant. “Hers?”

Sikozu looked up at him, a small grin forming on her lips. “Yours.”

Braca calculated that if his prowler was fully fueled, he could be zacrons away within sixty microts. Instead of taking him to his private hangar, his feet staggered over to the chair where Sikozu sat. “Mine?”

Scorpius smiled at Sikozu approvingly—a familiar smile used to reward subordinates for fulfilling their duties beyond requirements—before clasping Braca on the shoulder. “Ours, commandant.”