((OOC: Reader discretion is once again advised, maybe even more so this time around. Enjoy, and stay tuned for the conclusion!))
((Theta 122, Brotherhood Camp, Baths))
As Cheldon toweled off, he continued to recall his past.
Cheldon had enjoyed his time at the upscale Brothel, and for the first time in his life, things felt like they were going well.
All good things must end. Another cliche, but just as true.
((Flashback: 17 years ago.))
((Therenis 4, Meltown, Rosedale District, Tripene Square, Melandra's, Owner's Booth))
Donnie Marlino, was the underboss in charge of the local drug trade. A boorish braggart that loved to boast that he came from a long line of organised crime. He, tanned, unhealthily thin, with his thinning, and graying black hair, and goofy soul patch, was in the booth next to the boss yammering at him.
Donnie: You know, my family has been in the biz since my great however many grandpa was made by the Gambino family in the 1970s.
He pronounced every syllable of the decade distinctly "Nine teen sev en tees."
Everyone knew that. Anthony mentioned it at least once in every conversation, stated in the exact same sentence, with the exact same odd pacing for the 1970s. A canned line if Cheldon had ever heard one.
Like his ancestry could compensate for him being just the local underboss of a throw away little planet with only one real settlement. A Duke in a Kingdom of slums, feeding the diseases of the filth covered peasantry for his lord's enrichment. But what did that make him?
Existential questions aside, Cheldon wanted to roll his eyes, but he dare not offend one of the boss' lackies.
oO Yeah, yeah. Get a new shtick, Tony. Oo
Even the bosses' face relayed his annoyance with his underling's penchant for running his mouth quicker than his brain. Finally, Anton LeFoi got tired of it.
Anton: Donnie, you never stop telling that story. Get some new material. You need to think less about the glory days of the New York Italian Mafia, and more about why sales in your department are down by 7 percent this quarter!
Donnie stammered, then replied.
Donnie: We're doing some reshuffling. Lost lots of the old guys to cops. . .
Antone: No excuses. Get the new guys up to speed. Yesterday, you son of a wh. . .
Donnie Marlino had killed every man that had ever talked bad about his mother, and the fact that man doing it now was his supervisor didn't do a thing to stop the rapidly building rage. In one quick motion he reached for one of the steak knifes on the table.
3. . .
Donnie leaned down and extended his right arm out, grasping the handle of the serrated knife next to his plate.
Several of the bodyguards present around the room, drew their sidearms. Cheldon's was a Klingon disruptor pistol of a model that had left active service about 50 years prior.
2. . .
Donnie simultaneously sat up and spun his waist inward turning his knife arm toward Antone's porcine form.
Sidearms were raised and leveled on the attacker, and triggers squeezed.
1. . .
With one fluid motion, the thin man managed to drag the serrated edges of the knife diagonally downward and leftward over the fat man's throat. Before his body dissolved away in a hail of fire that impacted so quickly that no-one could determine whose shot hit first.
The immediate threat eliminated, the pack of bodyguards went to render first aid, and as soon as the kit was delivered from it's storage place on the back wall, they set to bandaging the cuts without applying too much pressure to the neck. One of the others called the local mob doctor, and he rushed over there, walking them through the procedure on the call as he drove over.
Twas just a flesh wound. Donnie had missed the important stuff. Donnie Marlino had killed every man that had ever talked bad about his mother, except one.
No-one saw what happened next coming. But had they taken the boastful little gremlin's tales of connection seriously, they might have.
((Time skip: 5 days.))
He was surely dead. This was the hell that the nuns had warned him about. It was all here. So was he, and he deserved it all. Even if he didn't deserve the things that drove him to it.
The unbearable dancing flames, the smoke, the gut wrenching screams. Oh God, the screaming.
((Melandra's, Cheldon's room))
Cheldon sat up with a start, it was just a dream. Involuntary inhaling, his lungs were not filled with air at all, but smoke. Just like the dream. He rolled off of his bed onto the floor and began crawling towards his door as fire consumed his room. Breathing again, he got oxygen, as the smoke was gathering above him.
oO Oh God, the screaming. Oo
He made it to the door, and foolishly reached for the handle. A third degree burn on his right palm the payment for his folly. Flinching in agony and momentarily joining the cursed chorus of scresms, he withdrew the hand, and willed himself to stand, holding his breath.
He walked backwards and ran forwards, shoulder slamming the door. Once, twice, three times, before the hinges buckled and he was in the hallway.
He made his way back to his knees, and began to crawl again, toward the nearest secret staircase.
Not risking another hand burn, he shoulder rammed the door to the stairs, until it too gave way. He stooped low as he began his descent. Halfway down the second flight, Cheldon was violently tossed forward, tumbling over, by a fallen support beam.
Laying there, the last thing he remembered thinking was that now he'd be seeing that hell for real.
((End of Flashback))
Seems that crime did pay. Until it didn't. But that literal and figurative crucible hadn't been enough to straighten him out.
Cheldon pulled his pants up, and buttoned the fly as he recalled in quick succession the hospital stay, the year and a half of laying low, the revenge scheme, the ensuing gang war it led up to, and the inevitable arrest. It was more of a surprise that he hadn't been arrested before.
Prison. That was it's own thing.
Brotherhood of They
As simmed by:
Lieutenant Artinus Serinus
Chief Security Officer
USS Arrow, NCC-69829
Publicity Team/Social Media Team