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Old June 21st, 2019, 07:53 PM
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The Pakkrat The Pakkrat is offline
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The two sat up late into the ship’s night hours talking. Zhevra had Gevaudan Cannagrrh tell her about how he tricked his sister into becoming Alpha of his Pack.

“Ah, about that,” Gevaudan chuckled but then sobered. “There is a stupid tradition in the Pack Cannagrrh. If there are three or more candidates to succeed an Alpha who is abdicating, that Alpha may choose that Vargr. In the Pack, there were three branch factions on the family tree. Two of those branches had black marks against them, the Progressives faction and the Traditionalists faction. But the balancing fulcrum between them was my dam’s faction which was smaller but hinged on Emissary work instead of scientists and artists bickering across the aisle with business Vargr and military warlords. My grandsire chose my dam as Alpha. Years later, she had to abdicate for health reasons and because she was tired of the responsibility at that age. Everyone in the Pack with any amount of charisma knew full well that her successor had to be an Equal and of our branch of the Pack family. Both Qithka, my elder sister by minutes, and I had passed the Equality Test. However, when there are only two candidates and both are equally qualified and supported by sufficient numbers in the Pack, the tradition states that the current Alpha must preside over an Infighting combat to first blood, a wound that would prove one’s charisma over another. I hate that tradition.”

“You refused to harm your elder sister in ritual combat,” said Zhevra and she smiled. Such brotherly love. Zhevra wished she had siblings with that kind of kinship. Suedzuk were close-knit, but her sire and dam had only her for a child, showering her with all the opportunities to attend trade school, and Service academy and come up with the funds to tack on NOTC to boot.

“When we got the coded, hardcopy notification, Qithka and I were devastated. We had fought like sibling rivalries for a long time. But by the time that letter arrived we had mended our rivalry and became close, too close to ever harm each other. I was contracted to deliver Qithka home, but in doing so I would be forced to Infight her, no small task I’m telling you. We had Infought many times in our youth. She always had the upper charisma to field against my bodily power. Neither of us were military or even fighters of any true skill. She was a new magazine field correspondent and propaganda actor. I was a Scout-Courier. However, both of us were proficient in Infighting, just as any Vargr learns to bite, claw, wrestle and throw an opponent.” Gevaudan paused to pull a can of hard cider from the refrigerator which gave Zhevra time to interject.

“How then did you trick her?” asked the female stealing a draw from the same can as the white Vargr.

“She had been a pain in my side, covering my adventures Rimward for five years in that company, the Artemis Group,” Gevaudan said as he watched Zhevra take a long draw on the hard cider. Her swallows rippled down her creamy white throat and behind the capture collar. Continuing, he recounted, “But in those adventures I learned that Qithka could not stand to miss a story and that she needed to be around others, hence why she became a Journalist and Entertainer – to be put in the spotlight of others’ attention. She followed me to be near me as her older sister, I her younger brother. Both of us almost died in separate occasions in that chapter of our lives. The near deaths made us appreciate life and each other better. I needed her just as much because she far outmatched me in her charismatic star power where I was just another, everyday Vargr in a flying Human can. We worked well together, though there were times we did not recognize it.”

“It hurt me to have to trick my Sister-Dame. So, when the gears touched down on the asphalt of Ouse Faeg World Downport, I let her disembark first as was her station. She was received by her patron magazine, a heroine of theatres of war, a snooper of secrets, willing to go toe-to-toe with Human Nobles and dignitaries who otherwise shunned the media. Kfan Uzangou, her magazine, welcomed her home. My contracted fee hit my account as soon as her footpads touched the warm tarmac. She turned to look up at me as I closed the airlock door and gave the order to lift. The local control tower bitched at me the entire way to orbit. Zhevra, she called me on her wristcomm. I didn’t answer her. I knew she was the better choice and I knew I had to make her give up her career as a rabble-rousing propaganda actress and step into true responsibility above and beyond the objectivity of press coverage and observation overt reporting or investigative snooping. It would have gotten her killed. No. Better to see “Blooded Fang” Dame Qithka Cannagrrh ascend to Alpha in my absence and refusal to appear in Pack court. If I ever return to the Pack territory, I still fear to this day that that stupid tradition will get dredged up out of some Pack bylaw file or document and force Qithka and I to Infight. No, this way was better. Through the years, she has led the Pack and been efficient just as our dam had as an Emissary. Qithka’s reporting integrity has served her well. I believe in her and am a coward to visit her. I don’t know what she thinks of me killing her career as a reporter and forcing an Administrator career of responsibility as Alpha of Pack Cannagrrh. I have my project as you now know. The Collapse is decades old and has Splintered Vargr space. I mean to do what I can to heal its peoples, including the Suedzuk, Zhevra.”

Noble, cowardly, gentlemanly, polite, and valorous if the story behind the statue was true. Gevaudan’s Mag and Lek did not betray him with the tells of spinning yarn to Zhevra’s sensitivity. Not once did his fields rise in a lie. The two Vargr shared the cider in the can until it was very late and almost time for bed.
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