In this scene between the immortal Pietas and his father, the two are arguing a familiar topic: humans. It opens with Pietas speaking.
“You want us to treat humans as equals. They never treated us as such. Even now, we’re hated and reviled. Putting them on the Council will make them haughtier. I want nothing to do with humans.”
“Then you want nothing to do with me, Son. Humans are all I care about.”
And wasn’t that the naked truth of his father’s betrayal? He had turned his back on their people. He had turned his back on his son.
“You’re right, Father. I want nothing to do with you. I care nothing for mortals.” He flipped his silver circlet into the air and caught it. “They all die.”
“How can you not care? We were created to protect them.”
“Correction. You were. Unlike you, my twin and I were born, not created. We will not submit to the slavery of humans the way you did.”
“The circumstances of your birth have no bearing. You were elected by the council, and you serve at their pleasure.” He jabbed a finger at the ground. “They want this treaty. Remember that.”
“How can I forget when I have you to remind me? Go back to Mother and tell her not to worry. I never forsake duty.” Pietas twitched his fingers, dismissing him. He waited until Mahikos reached the door. “Did it never occur to you?”
His father faced him. “What?”
“The council elected me to head these talks and removed you. You want to bring in humans. I do not. Perhaps the council hates humans more than you think.”
A wave of aggravation emanated from Mahikos. Licks of emotional flame scorched Pietas’s skin. Accustomed to the pain, he did not flinch.
“Son, surely you realize they elected you to keep you close and control you.”
“To control–” Pietas broke into laughter. “Did they? How unenlightened.” He shrugged. “Well, they can try. I must say, your annoyance today is a refreshing change from your usual indifference. I’d begun wondering if you had any emotions regarding my takeover. It must nettle, knowing your lowly son succeeded your rule.”
“No one would consider you lowly.”
Pietas lifted his chin. “Except you.”
“I’m surprised you even bothered to show up, as much as you hate humans.”
“It’s nothing personal. I hate humans no more than a physician hates germs yet still takes time to eradicate them. Humans are dangerous.”
“Humans are the reason we exist, Son.”
“Perhaps that was true in your reality. Humans have abused, misused, and betrayed their creations throughout their history. This peace everyone clamors for comes from concern about humans. I care less than nothing about them. As for their good graces? I have no faith they exist.”
“You know, Pietas, one day you’ll rely on the mercy of humans.”
“You think humans show mercy? How amusing.”
Head down, Mahikos rubbed a spot between his eyes. “I hope I’m there to see it. When you realize even humans have value, that will be a good day for all of us.”
“How well you preach love.” If only his father gave it half as well.
“Son, when the conference starts tomorrow, all your mother and I ask is that you try to be gracious.”
“I’m certain I already am. Just this morning when I knocked on your chamber door, I heard Mother say, ‘Oh gracious. That must be Pietas.'”
“Why can you not be serious about this?”
“I consider these talks of utmost importance. It is you I do not take seriously.”
Mahikos glowered, but for once, did not argue.
“Such a lovely chat, Father. Do give me an evening alone before I subject myself to the presence of humans.”
An enhanced human and a not-quite-human grapple through a deep dilemma in this hopeful but angst-filled SciFi military bromance set in the far future.
Available free on Kindle Unlimited
Romance Lives Forever Books http://bit.ly/boc1-rlfb (print, autographed, shipping included)
Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She’s a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.
Join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group Download four free books and get news about books coming soon. You can unsubscribe at any time.