There was an air of vigilance on the Endeavor as well as the Sacchrinda Kingdom. News had gotten out about Rooshee and Dr. Ganshar skulking about and everyone was slightly worried. Unfortunately, the inevitable argument of what to do with them after they were caught again had come into play. Even Arsha found herself at odds with her cousin, Midiriki’s daughter, Laywam Rotano. Laywam was a genius when it came to catching criminals, but I’m sorry to say, her empathy for them was a little lacking. She never really bothered to take in that some criminals were forced to commit crimes because of desperation and felt it was best to either lock them up or execute repeat offenders. “They’ve clearly proven that they don’t care about anyone else!” insisted Laywam during a call.
“They need help!” replied Arsha. “We can’t just kill them!”
“We keep trying to help, but they keep slapping it aside!”
“We need to keep trying!”
“Arsha, if we keep trying after they keep refusing help, we’re just as insane as them!”
“And going down their path makes us saner than them?!”
“It’s not THEIR path if we’re only doing it to protect our society!”
“Laywam, do you know how many families would be broken?”
“Their families are already broken, and they want to move on without the black sheep!”
“There’s still some form of love in their hearts, I’m sure of…!”
“I hate to interrupt,” called Midiriki as she entered the shot, “but I need to call the doctors. I heard there was a vaccine report.”
“All right, I’ll see you two later,” Arsha finished the call and shut off the video feed. She then recalled what Midiriki said. “Vaccine report?” she muttered. “Computer, locate Marshii.”
“Dr. Marshii Borontho has just arrived on the bridge, making her way to the Ready Room door,” reported the computer. The door chime then rang.
“Come in,” invited Arsha. Marshii then entered the room, looking giddy. “What can I do for you?”
“We’ve got a vaccine!” cheered Marshii.
“Are you sure?!” asked Arsha.
“Positive! It’s passed all the trials and we’re ready to send it out to the public!”
“Perfect! Organize vaccine distribution efforts!”
“You got it, Captain!” Marshii ran out of the room, leaving Arsha to relax.
“Arsha Royana,” she asked herself, “what would you have done if vaccine research went any longer? …Yeah, going nuts and buggy seems to be the usual reaction.”
As promised, the poor were given the vaccine first, then it worked its way up to the Royals. The disease died out before it could get any worse and the public health restrictions were lifted. Masks came off and gloves were removed as people hugged each other in public now that it was over. However, that didn’t mean the Endeavor’s problems were done. Dr. Ganshar and Rooshee were still out there, plotting revenge on the crew. Jonthar offered full assistance and it was readily accepted. The Kingdom Guard and Endeavor crew conducted sweeps across the area to find Rooshee and Dr. Ganshar. The Maropwems also joined in the search, wanting justice done for Anful and his family. Rosalmia and two of her lovers, an Orc man from the Endeavor called Lekshanth and a Zephyr man from the Kingdom Guard called Emfemafal (sometimes called Emfem), discussed that subject. “It’s just not fair!” complained Rosalmia. “Anful’s baby is going to grow up without him! What’s gonna happen when they’re old enough to start asking questions?! What do you tell them?! A vengeful Elf and Minotaur duo killed him just to deliver a message?! How can anyone handle that kind of truth?!”
“It’s a dilemma that defies answer,” replied Emfemafal.
“I can’t think of any answers either,” muttered Lekshanth.
“You know, in a way, I hope we DON’T find Rooshee and Ganshar,” growled Rosalmia. “I don’t trust myself not to say or do anything to them!”
“Well then,” chuckled Lekshanth, “Emfem and I will have to make sure that we keep them safe from you.” The three had a good giggle.
“Thanks for listening, boys,” bid Rosalmia.
“Any time, Rosie, any time,” assured Emfemafal as they hugged her.
“Right,” declared Rosalmia. “We hung around here long enough. Let’s get going on our patrol.”
“We’re right with you, Rosie,” affirmed Lekshanth as they moved off. “Never fear.”
Elmar, Bashoon, and two Guardsmen approached Arsha and Jonthar’s position in the woods. Jonthar was kneeling as Arsha had declined her head. Both had their eyes shut as they prayed. “Captain?” asked Elmar.
“We’re all right,” assured Jonthar, not looking up. “This was the spot where Tulmek was taken, right?”
“That’s correct,” replied Elmar.
“We were just praying that he would recover,” explained Arsha. “I already increased my donation amount to mental research.”
“This shouldn’t have happened at all,” sighed Bashoon. “It simply…” She was interrupted as magic blasts surrounded them. “Oh no! It couldn’t be…!”
“BARMEK!” bellowed a voice. Rooshee then teleported behind Bashoon, grabbed her by the hair, and flung her aside. Bashoon picked herself up as Dr. Ganshar swooped in and fired her wand at Arsha’s group. As she distracted them, Rooshee towered over Bashoon.
“By the Ones!” breathed Bashoon. “Rooshee! You ARE free!”
“No thanks to you!” snarled Rooshee.
“You’re blaming me?!”
“I told you that what I was doing was for the benefit of the Realms! I told you that the fight against new diseases was getting harder! I told you not to let Realmfleet know! I ORDERED you! But no! You disobeyed orders and I paid the price! Now, it is only fitting that I return the favor! Now I will…”
“You’ll shut up, that’s what you’ll do!” Bashoon drove her feet into Rooshee’s stomach, knocking her back. Bashoon got back up and drew her wand. “You’re getting exactly what you deserve!”
“What I deserve?!” Rooshee picked herself back up and the two circled one another, daring the other to make a move. “I didn’t ask to be stripped or rank and imprisoned!”
“And if you just used your call to demand some form of apology, I would have given you one without a second thought! But no, you broke out of prison, got yourself an accomplice, and terrorized a pandemic-stricken kingdom! You’re still a callous cow and whatever regrets I had are now gone!”
“For that, Barmek,” Rooshee inserted her wand into her axe, “you can expect a whole new form of torture!”
“I somehow doubt that, Ex-Admiral!” Bashoon inserted her wand into her knife and the two fought like their lives depended on it! Bashoon made energy waves with her slashes! Rooshee made rocks fly out of the ground! It was a fight that would be remembered!
Dr. Ganshar was still taking potshots at the group, separating them from Arsha. Once they were far enough, Dr. Ganshar leapt out of the trees and attacked Arsha. “TRAITOR TO SCIENCE!” she bellowed as her kick knocked Arsha to the ground.
“Says the lady who abused her child!” growled Arsha as she assumed her armored form, this time, leaving her rose in her hair.
“I won’t be judged as a criminal! Jansha was supposed to be a prototype! If she learned her place, it would have been a new era of robotics!”
“That ‘new era’ would have been built on suffering! You practically gave her the means to join Dr. Borg!”
“That was YOUR doing and yours alone! Your constant questions gave her the means of independence when she wasn’t ready!”
“Her desire for independence was not yours to dictate!”
“She is my creation, and I WILL get her back to fix her!”
“She’s made herself beyond a mere software update!”
“SHE IS MINE!” Ganshar then leapt onto Arsha with the fury of a wild tiger! As she slammed her fists onto Arsha, she ignored the pain that came from bare flesh striking steel. The force of her blows was pushing Arsha back slightly.
“Ganshar, stop! You’re gonna hurt yourself!” Ganshar didn’t listen. As she struck, her rage increased. Her vision was so tunneled, fixated on Arsha. At this point, she was incoherent in her speech! “All right, this has gone on long enough!” Arsha knocked Ganshar back and drew her sword while setting her wand into it. She kept making energy waves to keep Ganshar at bay. Unfortunately, Ganshar was acting so animalistic, she kept moving on all fours at speeds one doesn’t usually obtain in such a posture. She then climbed a tree and leapt over the energy waves to get the jump on Arsha. She resumed slamming her fists onto Arsha. “TAWENDO!” announced Arsha as she slammed her fist into the ground. The trees’ branches then extended and wrapped around Ganshar’s limbs, restraining her in the air. Unfortunately, Ganshar was thrashing so much, the branches threatened to break.
“TAWENDO YAL!” shouted Jonthar. The branches became thicker and thicker until Ganshar couldn’t move anymore. She bellowed in animalistic fury, unable to do anything. Her roars…then became screams of tear-ridden frustration. Her goal of revenge at that night was ripped away from her! Her fear of losing to Arsha again came true! In her moment of clarity…she just resorted to loud sobbing. Arsha still held her fist to the ground as she panted, her armor dissipating and her rose turning brown. She took it out of her hair as Jonthar knelt by her, placing his hand on her shoulder while she caught her breath. “Nature magic not your forte?” he asked.
“Not at a Fae’s level, no,” replied Arsha. “Being half human is also a disadvantage in that regard, not that I want to be a full Kitsune. I love myself too much for that. …Well, I love myself a lot more than Ganshar loves me.” Arsha and Jonthar looked at Ganshar in pity as her sobs got softer.
“Such a brilliant mind,” sighed Jonthar. “What caused her to be so cruel?”
“Her own family,” answered Arsha. “They were a High Elf family that wanted a son instead of a daughter. Nothing she did would earn their approval. They insisted that their cruelty was their way of showing love to her. They died of Stoneblood disease.”
“As a father, I can assure you, cruelty is NEVER the answer.”
“I hope Ganshar can get the help she needs.”
“We shall ensure…” Jonthar’s sentence was interrupted as a large spike split into a four-pronged claw and attached itself to the back of Ganshar’s head, shocking her with a gratuitous amount of electricity. Ganshar screamed in pain as the electricity ripped through her body before the device stopped and fell off her head. Her eyes shut as her head slumped forward while the person that used the spike stepped out of the shadows. They wore a cloak and armor that concealed everything about them, including their gender. The person pulled a sleeve back before speaking into a radio in their glove.
“Dr. Ganshar: neutralized,” droned the figure in a distorted voice.