((OOC: Long, and dark. Reader discretion, as well as patience, is advised. Stay tuned for part 2.))
Cheldon ch'Doro was a bad man. Was, being the operative word, or was it? Surely even the gods could forgive him for using his skill and talent for extreme violence in defending their sacred waters. At the tub, he methodically washed the blood from his clothing, and performed the holy cleansing ritual on his heavily scarred blue form, contemplating the routes his life had taken.
He'd not always been the one driving, but once he'd seized the wheel in desperation and rage he'd only driven more dangerously, taking even rougher paths, frantically holding down on the accelerator, intoxicated on power and adrenaline. The only redemption, before the real redemption, were the few smooth patches here and there.
((Flashback, 36 years ago))
Therinis 4 was supposed to be a paradise planet. And for a time, the small colony had been a true heaven. A temperate climate and abundant resources as well as it's location in an emerging trade node brought early prosperity to the small outpost.
That was not the Therenis 4 that he had been born on. Nearly a century before, a global crisis in the form of a super volcano had ushered in a global cooling event that darkened the skies and devastated the local economy. The traders and the rest of the better off population fled in their trading skiffs and private shuttles. The rest hunkered down, some as individuals and family units, others in larger ad hoc communities based on race, religion, or ideology.
Once the greater Galactic community became aware of their plight, Federation aid helped to get the colonists through the worst. Andorian families came looking to help, or for adventure, or any other numbers of reasons, attracted to the now Andorian hospitable climate. His great-grandparents had been in this wave of immigrants.
People struggled through the climate crisis, and some of the Andorians grew relatively rich, farming the already fertile and now ash enriched soil outside of the main settlement of Meltown, acclimated to the weather and pocecssing This brought a class component to already growing divisions in the local society.
((Meltown, Dramarkt' district, Saint Damine of Talos Orphanage.))
The nun shivered as she opened the doors, someone had rung the front door a few hours after dusk, and she had a good idea what that meant, suspicions confirmed momentarily. A loud, high pitched siren of a scream came from a plastic box, which curiously, didn't have any blankets overhanging it. The blue tint of the baby worried the worn and weary elderly woman, until she noticed it's antennae. Stapled to the box was a note.
The streets are too warm for this one. Work is hard to find, and we all all in ill health. You are this child's only hope. His name is Cheldon ch'Doro.
Cheldon wrapped his cut right triceps in the frawns of the indigenous Trusklani plant, and tied the ends together. The dried leaves, semi-porous, with natural analgesics, were well suited for bandaging. His chest, and left thigh had already been taken care of. Just more scars for the tapestry that was his skin. Cliche as it was to say, each scar told a story.
Left manibubalar bone: The time two older ophans beat him for a pair of leftover rolls he had stashed from dinner at eight years old.
Chest, halfway between the inner right shoulder blade, and the clavicle: Having run away from the orphanage, again, at age twelve fighting back (and winning) against the kid that tried to steal his day's beggings.
The one that sliced inward over his left orbital bone, to his cheek, barely missing the eye itself: Sixteen years old, blessed by puberty to have height and muscle. Illegal knife fighting, to incapatitation, pay out 1 bar of latinum. He had won.
All that, and more before he even got off of his home planet.
((19 years ago))
((Meltown, Rosedale District, Tripene Square, Melandra's))
Seven months had passed since his eye had been cut, and five and a half since his first opponent died during a fight. He had hoarded and expertly hidden every winning since then, for this chance. Melandra's was the gathering place of the upper class man looking for a "courtesan," as they euphemistically called them. The orphan, streetrat, gladiator, killer, was dressed in the finest tailored suit in the place, and while bulky, scarred men weren't the usual type, he was more than exceeding the dress code, and could afford the cover charge, so he was let in.
The interior was a delicate balance of old money classy and nuevo-rich tacky. Rich dark leather and wood furniture, and neo-neo-neo classical marble and granite architecture mingled freely with enough neon A.R. to make any establishment on Free Cloud blush. Then there were the slot machines, a city block's worth, each unique, most of them unoccupied. A tiny blond in a skimpy maid outfit, and obviously fake Vulcan ears, wandered around with a silver tray handing out complimentary cigars. As she passed by the entrance, he took one, then accepted her offer to light it off for him.
Cigar lit, he thanked her, and began to wander about, himself. He passed the main public seating areas, then the grand staircase, just taking in the sights, sounds and scents. As he neared the gambling devices, he heard a woman's voice. It was strong, but undeniably sexy.
Woman: Pardon me, sir?
He turned back to talk to the woman. An amazonian with a deep tan and flaming red curls, and enough of a forehead ridge to denote some Klingon ancestry. She was dressed in a white Sun Dress with a red rose print, and white heels.
Woman: You have been invited to visit the boss' booth.
Why? Was he in trouble? Clothing aside, a young man of herculean stature did stand out amongst the retired businessmen, and out of town traders. If anything, he was built like a bodyguard.
Cheldon: Did they say why?
Woman: Not my job to ask questions, kid.
Cheldon: I suppose I should go and see.
Woman: Very well, follow me.
She turned heel before he could reply, and led him to a broom closet behind the grand staircase. She shifted a bottle of bleach a certain way, and the back wall slid open to the right. Ten feet beyond the false wall was an elevator shaft. The woman pushed the button, and they waited about fifteen seconds in silence. Behind them, the false wall had closed back up.
The ding that signaled the arrival of the elevator was relatively soft. The doors opened to an opulent elevator, highly buffed onyx floors, and cherrywood walls. Such elegance to be stuck hidden behind a broom closet. There were only two floor buttons, 1 and 3. This was obviously a specialized transport. The part Klingon woman pushed the 3 button and the lift began it's ascent.
Another soft ding signalled their arrival. And the woman took a right turn. Five doors down, the woman led him right again to the doorless doorway with a sign that read "Private Booths."
The leftmost room had a key reader on it. The woman pulled a navy blue card from a hidden pocket on her right hip and placed it flat against the reader, the lock popping open.
Woman: Go on in. You're expected.
Of course he was. They'd literally invited him just now. But he'd figure out soon why being expected was so important.
Cheldon walked into the room. It was set up like any private booth, with one-way windows that opened on the establishment below, polished white marble floors, and the actual booth wedged in the corner so that the occupant, a portly, pale human man could see all the goings on of the first floor. As Cheldon passed the threshold, the man spoke.
Man: Welcome to Melandra's.
This man didn't look like a Melandra to him.
Cheldon: I wasn't expecting an invitation like this. . .
Man: Not every top rated knife fighter has the foresight to save their money up to visit an establishment of this quality. And I've never seen one so young figure it out.
This man had seen him fight? Or maybe one of the burly women and men milling about in suits was his talent scout.
Cheldon: I figured after all the hardships I deserved a nice night out.
The man grinned and nodded enthusiastically.
Man: Well, I'm sorry, I'm only familiar with your ring name, Victor Champ.
It was a cheesy name sure, but one he strived to live up to, and generally did.
Cheldon: My name is Cheldon.
Man: Well, Cheldon, what if I told you that you could have nice things from now on?
Cheldon: You'd have my attention.
Man: One of my bodyguards has recently had an unfortunate accident.
Cheldon wasn't so sure how unfortunate it was, or how accidental, but he wasn't going to let the man know that. Not when he sounded like he was going to offer him a job, not with a dozen other bodyguards around.
Cheldon: I see. And you are looking for a replacement?
Man: Indeed I am. You catch on quick. I like people who adapt quickly. I'd like to offer you a spot.
Cheldon: I'm interested, with such a strong lead up, and all.
Man: Ah yes, nice things. A week's pay is about one fight for someone your tier, but you get in-house lodging, use of the kitchen and the chef, the in-house tailor will fit you for a weeks worth of suits once per year, as well as help you pick an off duty wardrobe.
Cheldon: The girls?
The man snort chortled, he snortled.
Man: Should have guessed. What you and the other employees do with your own time is your business, but on the clock is a big no no. And don't let your performance suffer. The ones who aren't looking for a husband tend to prefer this bunch to the rich grandpas that usually hang around here.
Cheldon closed his eyes.
Cheldon: This sounds a little good to be true, so far.
Man: There are 10 hour work days, and 6 day work weeks, not to mention occasional off world trips.
Opening his eyes again, he replied.
Cheldon: That sounds a bit more realistic. When can I start?
Man: Tonight. Your first shift will start at 8 A.M. tomorrow. But we can have your room and other accommodations set up immediately.
Man: Go back out and tell the woman who escorted you in that have been hired. She will guide you from there.
Cheldon: Yes sir.
Cheldon left the room, met by the redhead in the hallway.
Of course, it was hardly that easy. He had unwittingly signed up to guard the local New Orion Syndicate boss. Potential gang wars were always possible, and law enforcement was always poking around. More than once they had to rush the boss, Antone LeFoi, out before the police could find him.
But he was given everything that he had been promised, plus more. Some of his co-workers were ex-military of various varieties, so he received quality training in weapons and tactics, as well as more comprehensive and systematic hand to hand training. It was the best his life had ever been, even if that bar was low.
Brotherhood of Thet
As simmed by:
Lieutenant Artinus Serinus
Chief Security Officer
USS Arrow, NCC-69829
Publicity Team/Social Media Team