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Admiral Jaynous watched the two huge Deamond warriors circle each other warily. Their claws were fully extended—shiny black and over an inch long. Fangs were exposed with deadly intent and the curved horns that would normally have only just been visible through their thick, black hair had grown to wicked sharp weapons that could easily rip open a man’s belly.
But it was the intensity of their eyes that was the most truly terrifying thing about the whole display. It was quite clear nothing short of a thermonuclear explosion would stop them now. A violent confrontation was inevitable.
One of the Deamonds let out a feral hiss, his black eyes changing to the red glow of battle rage as he prepared to attack. The second Deamond, a more seasoned warrior, merely flicked his tail, testing the razor sharp edges that had formed as his body prepared for the fight. He stood—loose limbed and eyes fixed but unchanged on his opponent—not giving anything away as he waited patiently for the perfect moment to strike.
With a burst of speed and agility that belied their bulky frames, the two exploded into action without warning. They launched themselves, meeting in the middle of the training mat in a tangle of snarling, ripping and tearing aggression. Nothing was spared. No movements wasted or held back.
Kicking, biting, gouging and clawing—they attacked one another furiously until finally the younger, less experienced warrior lay bleeding, pinned to the ground. A loud buzzer sounded, indicating the end of the round, but still the older Deamond refused to relent and let the younger up. Feral snarls and growls filled the arena as the young Deamond thrashed and bared his fangs in frustration.
Gradually, the red glow in his eyes dimmed and his struggling eased.
“Yield!” the defeated Deamond said in a low rumble.
Instantly, the older male jumped clear—letting the younger up, but never once lowering his guard as he backed away.
Having seen enough, Admiral Jaynous turned and made his way back through the throng of Deamonds—some cheering, others jeering and jostling each other angrily—as the next opponents were led into the fight-cage.
As vile and barbaric as it was, Jaynous was glad the cages had finally been set up on the recreation deck. Now the Deamonds could periodically pound away at each other rather than release their frustrations and aggression randomly on the crew or the other refugees he was accountable for. They’d had quite enough of that sort of thing in the first week of their journey. He wasn’t having any of that shit on his permanent record. They could all just save it for when they weren’t his personal responsibility.
Leaving the arena pits behind, Admiral Jaynous followed the corridor to the hoverlator bay—heading back to his office now he’d finished his rounds. Glancing down at his data pad, he shuffled through the mounting entries and documents that still needed to be authorised and frowned.
Damn it! Every time he thought he’d finalised everything for their ‘guests’ to be transferred to the Nu Hayven habitat ark, the administration core found more datawork that needed to be done. Someone needed to tell them time had officially run out. They’d reached the Nu Hayven two standard days ago and the next phase of the operation needed to begin.
And about bloody time, Jaynous grumbled to himself, scanning through the latest supply requests. Tensions were running high to say the least. Today’s display in the fight-cages was nothing compared to what it had been like when the refugees from Orison had first arrived on board.
Bloody Aenjels and Deamonds! He was well and truly sick of them.
Refusing to give into the pounding headache dwelling on either race was likely to give him, Jaynous applied his thumb print and official Intergalactic Council seal to the file he’d just read and moved on to the next entry. He relied on years of familiarity with his flagship to make his way back to his office, using the time to wade through some of the endless datawork no one had ever warned him was on the other side of his promotion to Admiral. A quick scan of the latest document revealed the same dry, boring details of contracts and expenditure. Jaynous lost interest around the second sentence, but ploughed on regardless.