Lotor had no idea if he was making progress with the rewiring of the computer, the colors beginning to blur together, leaving him confused over which ones he had switched and which ones he had not. There was so many of them, the wires coiling around each other, and in some places tangling together. Currently he was working to untangle a red wire from around a blue one, all in the vain hope that it would bring him one step closer to activating the computer.
The knot of the tangle proved especially difficult to work free, Lotor picking at it with his nails, muttering gruffly under his breath. Allura did not comment on his mumbling, the girl long used to him talking to himself. For the most part they ignored each other, Allura sitting across the room from him, brooding. Sometimes she’d turn her attentions to the crates, and a pile of books was stacked up on the floor, the princess paging through them.
Occasionally Lotor would hear her express her awe at the pictures inside the book, Allura marveling at the life like photographs. He knew it was like nothing she had ever seen, and ordinarily Lotor would have enjoyed taking the time to explain how those pictures were possible.
Instead he focused on his shoddy attempts at repair, Lotor having worked long hours into the night on the computer. He had slept perhaps three hours at most, Lotor not wanting to allow anymore time to be afforded to Merla’s schemes. Sometimes he thought his desperation was making him clumsier, and the more time that passed, the more stubborn he got about forcing the computer to do what he needed.
He refused to acknowledge that this wasn’t working, and no matter how many electrical shocks he received, his fingertips getting burnt, he never gave up. Some part of him recognized that he needed a break, that three hours of sleep wasn’t cutting it, and the lack of food was making him light headed with hunger.
Another zap of electricity, Lotor jerking his hand back with a muffled curse. “You should take a break.” Allura’s voice sounded, the girl not looking up from the book she currently studied. “That’s the fifth time in as many minutes that you’ve been shocked.”
“I wasn’t aware you were keeping track.” Lotor said, and now she looked up from her book.
“It’s kind of hard not to, with you crying out all the time.”
“I wasn’t crying!” Lotor protested, rubbing his tingling fingers on the thighs of his pants.
“Yes, Lotor, you were.” She returned her attention back to the book, pages being flipped to the next available picture. “I know you want to be free…” She continued, eye focused on the book. “But working yourself ragged is not going to help us.”
“Then what do you suggest?” Lotor demanded, and she sighed.
“I don’t know.” She admitted. “There doesn’t seem like there is any other solution besides waiting in the hopes that someone rescues us.”
“While we wait, Merla and her lackeys will do untold amount of damage to the humans!” Lotor pointed out. “They’ll ruin any chances my people have of coexisting with yours…”
“Believe me when I say I understand the urgency of the situation.” Allura snapped the book close, leaving it to lay on her lap. “I don’t want Merla to win, and I definitely do not want her to mess things up for you and the other Drules. But Lotor, I also understand that there is nothing we can do at the moment to stop them!”
“And that’s something I cannot accept!” Lotor said, turning back to the computer and it’s mess of wires. He heard her sigh, and then the book hit the floor, Allura standing. He didn’t turn to track her movements, and was nearly taken by surprise when she lay her hands on his shoulders. “Allura…don’t…”
“You’re so tense.” She commented, her fingers began to massage and knead both of his shoulders. He noted how careful she was to avoid the injured part of his one shoulder, the girl’s fingers quickly passing by the make shift bandages. “You’re working too hard…you barely slept at all last night…”
“Drules don’t need as much rest as humans do.” He replied, trying not to soften to her massage.
“But they still need rest.” Allura insisted. “I’m worried about you Lotor…”
“Worried about me?” He echoed surprised.
“Yes. Worried you’ll work yourself to the point of collapsing. Lotor…” She began working on one knot in particular, her fingers feeling like magic. “Take a break, even
for just one hour. Please…it’ll give me peace of mind.”
“But the computer….” He offered a feeble half protest, eyes closing half way at her massage.
“It will still be here when you wake up.” She quickly assured him.
“I must be more tired than I realized….” Lotor muttered, and Allura made an oh of sound. “You’re almost too persuasive in this moment.” She let out a soft little laugh, and he smiled to hear that pure sound of joy.
“Then lay down.” Allura said, lifting her hands from his shoulders. “I’ll keep watch while you sleep.”
“I’d rather you continue that massage.” He told her, moving to cover the computer with the blanket. Allura began to laugh again, but he couldn’t tell which she was more of, happy he was giving in to her suggestion of sleep, or amused that he wanted the massage to continue. He picked up Merla’s sword, handling it careful by it’s hilt. No one had thought to take it from him, but then no one had dared set foot in this room since the night before.
Standing, he stretched out his back, trying to work out the kinks from kneeling so long on the floor. It was then that he heard the loud beeping, the signal that someone was attempting to open the storage room door. “Allura!” Lotor called out urgently, and she nodded, already fleeing to hide behind the crates in one corner of the room.
He barely had time to turn towards the door, the metal sliding open. And with it came the torpedo of half a dozen lasers, red and blue blasts shooting towards him. He brought his sword arm up, attempting to twirl Merla’s blade in order to ricochet the lasers off it’s metal surface. But steel made a poor man’s lazon, the blade shattering into two halves, the lasers slamming into Lotor’s body.
The air was forcefully expelled from him, Lotor’s body flying backwards, slamming into the wall. He still held on to one half of the broken sword, but the lasers beam held a powerful stunning force to them, relaxing his muscles, his fingers letting go of the sword’s hilt. As he slumped downwards, he heard the clatter of the sword on the floor, heard a man laughing.
“Oh don’t worry Lotor. You’re not dead yet. I just need you incapacitated for the show.”
“Ca….Carp?!” He slurred out the name, Lotor trying to squint so that his vision stopped showing him blurred doubles of everyone and everything. He couldn’t make out much of the faces of the people moving towards him, and he could hear Allura frantically calling his name.
“Secure him.” The one he assumed was Carp said, and several men reached for Lotor. The King growled in warning, trying to make fists, and take swings at the people attempting to touch him. He couldn’t even lift up his arm, floundering like a fish out of water as he was forced up on his knees. And then his arms were wrenched behind his back, pain shooting up the length of them, Lotor biting back a howl.
He continued to struggle, even as metal cuffs were slapped into place around his wrists, binding his hands securely in place behind his back. He could still hear Allura calling for him, her voice colored with her fear. His tongue felt swollen in his mouth, Lotor trying to speak, wanting to assure her he was fine. Someone slapped him across the face, Lotor dropping the rest of the way to lay on his back on the floor.
The ceiling seemed to spin in place, the tiles moving as he stared up at it. He didn’t realize it at first, but he had blacked out for one brief instant, and during that period, Allura had stopped calling his name. But she hadn’t stopped screaming, letting out panic stricken cries that couldn’t quite drown out the all too satisfied sound of a masculine laugh.
“Al….Allura…” His voice seemed to echo, shout coming from a distance, Lotor struggling to roll over. Somehow he succeeded, ending up on his stomach, no longer staring at the ceiling. His head felt so heavy, Lotor trying to shake it, to cast away the effects of the lasers they had pumped into him. “Allura!” His shout came a little louder, Lotor lifting his head when he heard her scream out his name.
“Oh good…” Carp’s voice, hissing in satisfaction. “You didn’t pass out on us after all.”
“Carp!” Lotor blinked rapidly, trying to focus, seeing Allura cringing on the floor, Carp crouching besides her, his fingers curled around one of her wrists. She was trying to pull back from him, her free hand pushing at the Drule’s chest. “Get your hands off of her!”
“Now why would I do that?” Carp demanded, a wicked looking smirk on his face. “After all, she’s the star of this show. About to give the performance of her life!” Carp jerked on Allura’s wrist, forcing her to lean into him, her hands unable to keep distance between them.
“Pe…performance?” Lotor was confused, barely able to focus on the pair before him. Whenever he looked at Allura, he noted how pale she had turned, how stricken with fear, and palpable her disgust was.
“Let me go!” Allura cried out, Carp digging his claws into her wrist. The fabric of her sleeve had torn ragged beneath the Drule’s nails, and Lotor thought he saw flashes of crimson, Allura bleeding.
Carp ignored Allura’s protest, eyes narrowed in Lotor’s direction. “Don’t pass out on us now…the fun’s just getting started.”
“Fun, what fun?!” Lotor demanded, and his alarm allowed him to focus just a little bit better.
“Why my fun, of course.” Carp laughed, and suddenly slapped Allura, right across her bruised cheek. It was not gentle slap, the force of it rocked Allura’s face to the side, Lotor spying how wide her eyes had grown. His vision was still too blurry to tell if she teared up, but he heard a growl, and realized it came from him. “Temper, temper.” Carp warned, wagging a finger in Lotor’s direction. “Getting mad will not help the situation.”
“What do you want?” Lotor gritted out through clenched teeth. Was it his imagination or did Carp actually pout?
“Oh no, you won’t spoil my fun by being reasonable. I’ve been looking forward to making you squirm.” He had let go of Allura’s wrist, transferring his grip so that he hauled on a handful of her hair. She hissed in pain, being forced to look at Carp once more.
He may have been groggy, but his mind still worked, even at a slower pace. “Damn it…” He muttered in between growls. “This is about the crown. You want to force me to marry Merla.”
“Frankly I don’t care very much if you marry the bitch. I say we take our chances with the infighting. However…you have been a lot of trouble for us all.” Carp pressed the back of his fingers to Allura’s cheek, almost gentle now as he caressed her face. “And as such, that trouble should be rewarded.” His gentleness was at an end, Carp pressing a claw into Allura’s skin, making her bleed as he dragged his finger downwards.
Allura whimpered in pain, her body trembling violently as Carp scratched a line into her face. “I wonder….how much do you value this human?” Carp asked him, and Lotor let out a wordless growl. “Merla seems to think she matters more to you than any of the other vermin on this planet. I’m not yet convinced it’s nothing more than her jealousy speaking.”
“Merla is a very, very jealous woman.” Agreed Lotor, struggling to somehow push up off the floor so he could sit up on his knees. The effect of the lasers were receding, his anger and fear for Allura helping to combat the mind dulling, body numbing effects.
“But then…I suppose I can’t blame her.” Carp mused, fingers absentmindedly stroking Allura’s throat. Lotor couldn’t tell if he bled her, or was tracking the blood from her cheek onto her throat, the King shaking, shocked with the amount of fear he felt for Allura at the moment. And with that fear came more anger, waves of it, bringing clarity to mind, and allowing him to see without squinting.
“You do so dote on these humans…” continued Carp. “Certainly more than you dote on your own people.”
“I am trying to secure a home for us!” Lotor snapped, but his words weren’t able to sound as angry, not with him holding his breath each time Carp caressed claws over Allura’s throat. “A way for us to live with the Arusians….”
“So you waste our resources, give away our medicines and share some of the secrets of our civilization with these insects?!” Carp had laughed before speaking, the sound snide and derisive.
“It was a gesture of friendship!” Lotor retorted, Carp’s lips curling back in a wordless snarl. “And they gave us things in return.”
“It wasn’t enough!” Carp shouted. “You should have been concerned with your own people, rather than catering to the humans. Maybe then none of this would have happened!”
“What’s this?!” Lotor demanded, but Carp remained silent. “What exactly are you and Merla going to do to the humans?!” He wanted to pound a fist on the floor Lotor letting out his own snarl. “Damn it Carp, it’s not too late. I can stop this, you can help me to stop her, to stop them.”
“And then what?!” Carp demanded, claws curling into Allura’s throat. Lotor stilled, fearing the Drule was about to tear out the princess’ throat, and he knew that in the moment, even if his hands were free, he wouldn’t have been able to reach him in time to prevent that from happening. “Would you have my kind go back to hiding on the ships, hidden away while your kind reap the benefits of the humans worship?”
“NO!” Carp’s voice was a passionate shout, his fingers still curled dangerously around the silent Allura’s throat. “We will not be content to live a life of hiding. We will not remain in the shadows, shunned because we are not as pretty as you are!” His lips curled into a sneer, Carp shaking Allura by her throat. “These humans will never accept us! But we neither want nor need that from them, we’ll just take what we want!”
“You got it all wrong!” Lotor shouted. “I never meant to keep you hidden forever! It was only until we could slowly introduce the rest of our people to the Arusians! If you had just given me enough time…”
“You had more than enough time.” Carp said coldly. “And now it’s time to pay for your delays.” He suddenly slammed Allura down onto the floor, the girl on her back, making fitful sounds as she began squirming. Lotor felt alarmed to see her struggle with Carp’s fingers digging into her throat, the King shouting our a protest.
The Drule reached towards the front of Allura’s dress with his free hand, hooking fingers into the bodice seconds before he gave a great jerk of his arm. Whatever the fabric, it didn’t stand a chance against Carp’s claws, the dress being ripped down to her waist, revealing the white slip Allura wore beneath it. She gasped then screamed, struggles becoming even more frantic as Carp looked down at her.
“I’m going to enjoy this.” The foul Drule said, licking his lips as he appraised Allura with his eyes.
“Damn it Carp, I’ll marry Merla! I’ll do what ever you want me too, make any decrees, just leave Allura alone!” Lotor couldn’t believe he was reduced to begging, the King struggling off his knees. Carp seemed to pay no mind to his actions, more focused on drawing up Allura’s skirts as the girl beat her fists against his chest, crying our in revulsion.
“This human brat has really weakened you.” Carp was still holding Allura down by her throat, ignoring her fists as he tried to get her kicking legs to spread. “You really were never fit to rule over my kind…Merla should have thought to get rid of you a lot sooner than this.”
He wasn’t going to stop, Lotor understood that, realizing Carp did not care about gaining his obedience. No, Carp held a deep seated grudge against Lotor, and he wanted to make the King pay, the ugly Drule aware that hurting Allura was just the ticket to hurting Lotor. So focused was he on Allura now, still struggling with her legs, the girl actually landing a foot in his face, that Carp did not pay any mind to Lotor’s movements.
“YOU BASTARD!” That was all the warning Carp got, Lotor crashing into him, shackles and all. His lunging motion knocked Carp away from Allura, the Drule having let go of her throat to deal with her kicking legs. Together, Carp and Lotor rolled on the floor, Lotor scrambling to sit up and kick out with his foot.
“Lotor!” Allura cried out, her voice sounding distorted with her crying. He couldn’t answer her, too busy kicking at Carp, when the reptilian Drule rolled out of the way. Struggling to stand, and still moving too slow, Lotor’s face was rocked to the side as Carp slammed a fist into his cheek. Before he could recover from the punch, Carp struck him again, and then a third time, Lotor starting to see stars.
“You know, this is just as satisfying!” Carp laughed. “I’ve wanted to have a go at you for the longest time, your highness.” He sneered out those last words, punctuating the sentences with his fist. Carp didn’t just focus on Lotor’s face, he landed punches in his stomach, forcing the wind out of Lotor, the King gasping and wheezing. Carp continued to laugh, grabbing Lotor by the hair, forcibly slamming his face into the Drule;s upraised knee.
Lotor choked on blood and saliva, his face hurting, the King wondering if a rib or two had been broken. It was hard to breathe, and even harder to stay upright, and Lotor knew just a few more punches would knock him out completely. He raged at the helplessness of his situation, Lotor growling nearly the entire time Carp beat him.
“Not so pretty now are you?!” Carp taunted. “I bet even Merla won’t have you after she sees your ruined face!” Carp let out wicked laughter, pulling his arm back, hand clenched into a fist as he aimed for Lotor’s still intact nose. But then something strange happened, Carp’s eyes widened in shock. Lotor stared, not understanding why a mouthful of blood fell from Carp’s lips, the man letting go of Lotor’s hair to stare down at something protruding from his chest.
And then it was gone, Lotor thinking he imagined it. Only to see that red colored object appear again, Carp turning in time for Allura to slam the jagged end of the broken sword into the Drule. She was panting with exertion, her blue eyes wide with fear, and though her lips moved, he could not hear any sound coming from her mouth. Carp seemed to sway before Allura, the girl pulling back both fists, the sword held in her hands, blade biting into the palms so that he couldn’t tell if that was her blood, or Carp’s.
With a thud, Carp fell face first onto the floor, and then Allura was screaming. Her dress was disheveled, and covered in blood splatters, and Lotor watched in dull amazement as she began viciously stabbing the sword into Carp’s back, again and again. She began to cry, tears streaking down her cheeks, and still she did not stop stabbing Carp.
“Allura!” Lotor called, doing an awkward crawl towards her. “That’s enough Allura! He’s dead!” She didn’t seem to hear him, frantic as she drove the broken sword into the body a seventh time. She didn’t seem ready to stop, forcing Lotor to bump into her, knocking her away from Carp’s body.
“It’s okay!” Lotor said, when she turned to him, her hands empty of the sword. The broken steel was stuck in Carp’s back, Allura’s hands red with the blood. “He’s dead Allura. He’ll never hurt you again. He’ll never hurt anyone again.”
She stared uncomprehending, and then with a loud sob, Allura flung herself against Lotor, nearly knocking him off balance. He winced as her tight hug reminded him of his bruised possibly broken ribs, but he didn’t order her to let go of him. Instead he listened to her cry, Lotor resting his chin on the top of her head, nuzzling her despite the pain in his face. He found himself whispering soothingly to her, the words didn’t matter, just the tone did, Allura shaking and clinging to him in her moment of crisis.