Slave 017

The sounds of electronics greeted him, computers beeping, the motor of the fax churning as it kept up a steady printing of some kind of readout. A Drule technician was hunched over the paper trail, eyes studying every line carefully, his voice a soft murmur as he read it out loud. Occasionally other Drules would react to something he said, fingers flying over the keyboard of their consoles, setting right some error that had been found.

There was many monitors lit up in the small, cramped room, view screens showing different parts of the castle, and the land outside it’s stone walls. One on such screen, Lotor could see slaves in a line up, laboring as quickly as possible to load lazon onto Drule ships. Drule soldiers stood watching them, cracking whips to get them to move faster, their expressions merciless as they watched the slaves work themselves to the point of exhaustion.

On some monitors were various commanders of Lotor’s fleet, reporting in from the towns across the planet. Lotor was pleased to see it reported that the last signs of the resistance had faded away, the people losing all hope of a savior from this nightmare Doom had plunged them into.

Losses were being tallied, the population dwindling downwards at an alarming rate as a result of the wanton killing the Doom soldiers had engaged in. It was a practiced move, a culling of the weak and old, of those who would fight back, all in order to bring the population under manageable numbers. Doom’s Empire, big as it was, did not have a limitless number of soldiers, a set number was dispatched to each planet, ready to stamp out problems before they began.

Lotor walked over to one of the computers, it’s technician’s eyes locked on the monitor, reading the numerical code that’s meaning was lost to the prince. He tapped the man on his shoulder, the Drule turning to look at the prince. “I’m taking this.” Lotor announced, picking up the technician’s data pad off the console’s keyboard. The man was hardly in a position to object, merely nodding and making a note that he would have to get a replacement data pad.

Lotor turned away, fingers adjusting the knobs of the data pad, the monitor flaring to life with a bright glow of color. Information immediately set to transmitting itself on the device, Lotor ignoring it as he began typing in his private code and channel, intent on reading private reports addressed to him. There was many that had come in since the destruction of his previous device, Lotor holding back a sigh at the work he had to catch up on.

He strode over to a vacant chair, dropping himself into it’s padded seat, his booted legs swinging upwards to rest on top of the desk. His men tried to ignore his presence, resuming their work, the sound of typing filling the room as Lotor continued to read the latest news from his commanders.

Camps were being set up near the mines, the newly acquired slaves being forced to live in less than ideal accommodations. They would be worked to their breaking points, sent down into the mines until they were on the verge of collapsing. Only then would they be allowed a reprieve, others being sent to replace them as they worked to remove the lazon from the earth.

The factories were ready for the next shipments of lazon, the metal needing to be refined and processed before it could be sent on to Doom. The slaves there would not be worked as hard, they needed to be rested and alert so as not to ruin the lazon with mistakes. Of course, Drule soldiers would be on hand to watch over them carefully, quick to catch and prevent any sabotage of the lazon supplies.

Many of the towns had been ruined, their smoke charred remains hardly worth living in. It would be some time before the people of Pollux would be able to recover and rebuild their homes. Doom cared little for their comfort and well being, far more interested in the free lazon the planet offered.

The codes to the shield had been changed, encrypted in Drule’s ancient dialect. It would soon be back up and running, ready to guard against any planets that might dare come to Pollux’s aid. As the leading supplier of the galaxy’s lazon, the taking of Pollux would arise much concern in other empires. Lotor smirked, thinking of the grand ship battles that would light the atmosphere of the planet, his mind already thinking towards who to employ in the defense of this planet.

Lotor was still studying the data pad, his face lit up by the glow from the monitor when he became aware of a soldier standing nervously at his side. Lotor let him stand there a few moments more before lifting his head, fixing a disinterested glare at the Drule. “What is it?”

“Prince Lotor, sire…His royal highness King Zarkon wishes a word with you.”

Lotor blinked, surprised. His father rarely called to check up on him, preferring to let Lotor win or lose without input from Zarkon. “Why wasn’t I informed of this immediately?” Lotor demanded, lowering his legs onto the floor. The soldier merely shrugged, at a loss for words, Lotor realizing that in ignoring the messenger, he had succeeded in keeping his father waiting.

“Put a line through to Doom.” Lotor said, his voice loud and commanding, the prince rising to stand. He set the data pad down carefully, gesturing with his free arm. “Immediately!”

The room became even more active, technicians hurrying to obey the prince’s command. The largest of the monitors flickered, showing static for a moment as they sought to establish a connection with planet Doom. The private study of King Zarkon appeared on the screen, the ruler himself sitting back in a chair, his clawed fingertips drumming impatiently on his desk.

“Father!” Lotor offered a low bow to the monitor, his hair sweeping forward to obscure his vision for the moment. “A million apologies for keeping you waiting. I wasn’t informed until just now that you….”

“Enough Lotor.” Zarkon interjected, his fingertips never ceasing their impatient tapping. “I’ve no doubt you were busy. Conquering a whole planet takes time, rebuilding it even longer.”

“Yes, father.” Lotor nodded, relieved Zarkon wasn’t as angry as he could be.

“How are things going?” Zarkon asked, questions hurrying out of him. “When can we expect the first shipments of lazon to arrive?”

“Any day now father.” Lotor answered, trying not to frown. Surely there would have been communications between Doom and Pollux, Zarkon alerted to the fact that ships had already left, bound for Doom.

“Good, good.” Zarkon nodded, but he did not look pleased. “That was some feat you pulled off. Exterminating the royal family after I brokered a deal with them. You’ve benefited us well with the acquisition of the lazon mines, but at the expense of alienating us from future dealings with other planets.”

“With the lazon at our disposal, we can always take those planets.” Lotor was quick to point out.

“True, true.” Agreed Zarkon, stroking his chin. “Still it’s not like you to be so…..impulsive. Not when so much risk is involved.”

“Risk?” echoed Lotor, brow furrowed.

“The taking of Pollux could have backfired on you. You could have just as easily died as Avok had.” A grim, humorless smile from Zarkon. “I’d hate to lose my only heir this late in the game.”

“Fear not father.” Lotor was quick to assure him. “I made sure that the events on Pollux could not play out any other way. I even relied on Haggar to assist me with her magic.”

“Ah the witch…” Zarkon said musingly. “I was wondering where she disappeared too.”

“As long as they are no further delays…” Lotor began, a strong hint in his voice that this call was one such thing. “I should be able to return to Doom within the next two days.”

“And have you had many delays?” Zarkon asked, clearly not willing to let the conversation end just yet.

“Oh no father.” Lied Lotor, not failing to notice the studious way all the Drules in the room became busy with their own work. It was no secret among his men that Lotor had been distracted, spending much of his time dealing with the little slave from Arus. “Only one or two, you know….rebellious slaves needing to be taught a lesson. That sort of thing.”

“Hmm.” Just a sound, but it implied that Zarkon was not convinced. His eyes met Lotor’s, gold bright with suspicion. “Speaking of slaves…” His fangs flashed, Zarkon frowning. “I have received some troubling news about YOUR actions regarding a certain slave.”

“Oh?” Lotor kept his face a polite mask of interest, fighting the temptation to send an angry glare at the men in the room. He was already wondering just who had been in contact with Zarkon, when the King continued.

“Yes. It seems you are engaging in some inappropriate behavior with one in particular.” Now Zarkon’s eyes bore into his, the King studying Lotor’s face carefully.

“What kind of inappropriate behavior?” Lotor asked, trying to sound innocent.

“Oh…such things as allowing the slave back talk you, and strike you without the threat of repercussions.”

“Father you know me.” Lotor forced an uncaring laugh, trying to appear unconcerned. “Would I really allow a slave to get away with such things without a good beating or worse?”

“They say for this slave you do just that.” Zarkon stared at him, Lotor fighting not to fidget under his stone cold gaze. “They even say you’ve taken to shunning the other girls in your harem, keeping this one slave close at all times.” A tsking sound then, Zarkon shaking his head no. “Reports even say you’ve ignored your work here on Pollux to dally with this girl.”

“And just who is this they you speak of?” Lotor demanded, unable to keep the snarl completely out of his voice. A toothy grin was his answer, Zarkon shaking his head no. “It’s all lies…” Lotor continued. “I know of no such slave that can command my attention away from my duty and other women.”

“Don’t play coy with me boy.” Zarkon snorted, breath huffing out heavily from his nostrils. “I know you’ve got the princess from Arus clustered in your bedchambers. I just want to know why.”

“Why?” Now Lotor smiled, a confidant smirk. “For sex of course, and nothing more.” A cold glance from Zarkon, the King not believing him. “It’s the truth!” He inwardly winced at the desperate sound to his voice, Lotor forcing himself to appear calm. “Honestly father, if I was so….infatuated with this slave, would I really be taking another woman into my harem?”

“Oh?”

“Yes, the former princess of Pollux.” Lotor said, a relaxed smile on his face. “She is a comely wench, and should provide a moment or two of entertainment.”

“And that’s all any of your slaves should be.” Zarkon retorted. “Entertainment and nothing more.”

“Really father, you do not have to remind me of that.” Lotor told him, chuckling. “I won’t make the mistake of falling for any of my slaves.”

“For both your sakes, I hope so.” Zarkon retorted. “All right Lotor. I’ll ignore the fact that you’re keeping the girl in your room this time. You did after all capture Pollux for me. However!” A clawed finger was raised, Zarkon pausing for a beat before speaking. “Do try not to let her distract you so much in the future.”

“Of course father. As you wish.” Lotor bowed his head, Zarkon giving a dismissive wave to someone off camera. The screen turned to static, the harsh noise irritating to all who heard it.

Lotor raised his head, the easy going smile gone from his face, replaced with an angry glower. “Find the informant.” Lotor said, his words a brisk order to all in the room. “I want the man feeding my father this information found.”

“What should we do when we find the informant?” asked one of the soldiers, Lotor giving him a look that implied the man was stupid.

“Bring him to me.” A positively evil look accompanied his next words. “I’ll make an example of him, undeniable proof of what happens when one betrays the crown prince of Doom.”

“Yes, sire!” The soldiers saluted, and hurried out the room, Lotor hardly paying any mind towards what tactics they would use to locate the informant. He cast a look around the room, the technicians still standing in place watching him.

“Well?” Lotor arched a brow, a stern glare on his face. “What are you waiting for? Get back to work!” At his shout, they quickly resumed their duties, using the various devices as they busied themselves with work. Lotor stifled a sigh as he rolled his eyes, sitting back down, data pad in hand. He would have much to do if he wanted to return to Doom within the next two days.


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