DCH was back, without any food. "Sir, we have a problem. Alicia is at the entrance to the tunnel with guards, they don't look happy."
Vee didn't respond. His eyes were fixed on a child. El could tell it was dead from the lack of movement in the water remaining inside the body.
"Fuck this." The bull turned. "Sydney, you and DCH do what you can for them. I'm going to have a talk with her. When I'm done you'll be able to come and go as you need. Get them food."
Vee headed out and El followed him. The badger was waiting for them inside the remains of the tower. She and six other Anthro guards stood between them and the entrance to the tunnel.
It felt to El a lot like their first encounter, but this time she didn't look happy.
"Only guards are allowed outside," she stated.
"Did you know?" Vee asked in a harsh tone.
She didn't answer.
"I asked you a question, soldier. Did you know there were survivors outside the mall?"
She didn't say anything, but her jaw tightened.
"How could you?" The disbelief in Vee's voice hurt El.
She still didn't say anything.
"Get out of my way." Vee ordered.
"No," she finally said. "With all due respect, sir, we have rules for a reason. If I allow you to break them, no one will-"
"I said, Move Soldier!"
The six other Anthro stepped out of the way as one. Alicia fought the reflex. Giving a small shake of the head.
Vee leaned in. "Do you remember what the penalty is for dereliction of duty during wartime?"
"This isn't war-"
"Don't push me, soldier, or I'm going to carry it out right here, right now. You willfully allowed civilians to die. You really think there's anything you can say that would keep me from ending your life?"
She stepped aside.
Once inside Vee set a fast pace. El and the seven Anthros hurried after him. He didn't stop to remove his winter gear, so they didn't either, which cause them to attract attention and a retinue as they strode through the mall. Most of those following them were Anthros, with a few humans mixed in.
When Vee shoved the doors to the governor's chambers open the lineup behind them stretched further than El could sense.
"You lied to us." Vee's voice was grave, full of threat.
The man looked at the bull, then his retinue and shrugged. "Lied is such a loaded word.
Vee stepped toward the table and the others around it moved away until it was only the bull at one end and William at the other. "You said all the survivors were in this mall."
"And they are."
"Lies!" Vee punctuated the work by slamming his hand on the table. "I just came from a building where people are huddled around fires, dying! I can sense dozens of other groups like them!"
The human looked concerned. "Really? They survived this long?" He drummed fingers on the table. "I really thought they'd all have died by now." He smiled. "Don't worry, they won't last very long, then my words will have been true."
"How could you do that to them!"
William was on his feet, going form amused to enraged. "How? I have limited resources. You think I can just spread them around and feed the whole damned city? I made the hard decisions! They weren't worth the effort, the resources."
"There were children with them!" Except for El, people moved away from the bull to the edge of the room. None of them had seen the bull angry before, and while El hadn't seen him this angry in a long while, he wasn't leaving his side without a direct order.
"You think those kids were going to be any better than their parents?" William scoffed. "They're better off dead instead of being a drain on us."
"The weak!" Vee slammed a hand on the table. "The downtrodden." Slam! "Anyone unable to protect themselves." Slam! One of the legs broke tipping the table over, sending maps, pencils and glasses to the floor. "Those are who we are charged with protecting!"
William snorted. "Good thing I'm not a soldier then, isn't it?"
Vee closed the distance and punched the man, sending him flying. He spun and looked at the others in the room.
"How could any of you go along with this?"
Of all the Anthros only Alicia tried to hold his gaze, but even she ended up looking away.
"They went along," the human was back on his feet, wiping the blood off his lips, "because they are good little soldiers. And good soldiers do what they are told." Vee glared at William, who just grinned. "Oh, scream all you want, bull, but I'm the one in charge here. These soldiers do what I tell them to. If you're not happy with how I run things, you're welcome to leave my city. Now, Alicia, remove this bull and lynx from my chamber."
"Don't any of you dare move," Vee growled.
El looked the audience over and Alicia wasn't one of the few who had begun taking a step in their direction and stopped at Vee's warning. The badger looked at her feet.
"I said," the human raised his voice, but before another word could come out Vee's hand was around his throat.
"You are not fit to lead," The bull stated.
El watched some of the Anthros take out swords, as William gurgled and tried to free himself. Alicia took a breath, raised her head to meet El's gaze. He saw the guilt in them. When she took out her sword, El prepared himself, but she threw it to the floor.
There was hesitation in the others, but then their swords joined hers. Those who didn't drop them willingly had them taken out of their hands and added to the pile.
Then the governor's lifeless body joined the pile.
Vee looked them over. "If anyone had a problem with this, they can get out of my city."
17 February 2019 at 19:27:38 MST
Tiranis is a world of humans and furries, of super science and super powers, of ordinary people and extraordinary ones.
Stories of the Past is a series of stories exploring the history of the city of Tiranis, as well as the world it exists in or sometimes people of importance in it.
This is excerpt is about 1000 word of a 7,700 word chapter.
You can read the full story, as well as other stories set in the world of Tiranis by joining my Patreon at the 1$ level: https://www.patreon.com/posts/22816578
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