Leama stood in the conference room, a rack of weapons behind them. Trying to stay calm as the seconds ticked by, they were polishing their favorite harpoon gun. After a tense five minutes the screen on the other side of the room flickered to life.
De'antic had the same strategy, show off the stockpile of weapons for the negotiation. A lot of their items were the same, down to the piercing index printed as a blue number on the side of a weapon. Their weapons appeared to be older models, repaired and cleaned up before this talk. But it wasn’t about how shiny or new the weapons were, it was about what De’antic was doing with them.
"Hello General." De'antic grinned a mouth full of sharpened teeth. "I didn't keep you waiting long did I?"
"Not at all." Leama let their speech show off their teeth briefly while keeping their face neutral. Under orders they were not to try to intimidate the Qwortarian leading raids on incoming food shipments.
"Well then, has the esteemed government gotten a chance to review my offer?"
Leama controlled their deep breath so it wouldn't be visible on the camera. "You mean the offer to share the food supplies you have hoarded if you and your," they paused, heart hammering as they debated the best words to use, “fellow fighters, are forgiven for your crimes and given the job, officially, of escorting food shipments from other planets to their final destinations.”
“It’s a great offer you know.” De’antic’s tongue flickered out. “And you know it.”
Maybe it was. But Leama didn’t get to make the decision on their own. And while many of their bosses weren’t going mad with hunger, their minds had been made up. Leama was just the one to deliver the chosen news.
“We will not negotiate with a warmonger.” Their grip tightened on their gun as De’antic snarled.
“You will regret this!” A few of De’antic’s arms moved behind them, lifting weapons off their hooks. “Prepare to watch your salvation stolen from you again and again!” They roared. Their teeth rotated in a circle around their mouth, spit flying and landing on the camera lens.
“We will not bow to threats and fear.”
“Maybe not.” The warmonger smirked. “But you may collapse in hunger.” They made a slashing motion across their neck and the screen went blank.
Leama’s stomach growled.
It was too bad Leama’s bosses were unable to think straight anymore. If they didn’t have a plan to deal with Di’antic and the famine, then they would have to think of something themselves.
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