The thin and frail man felt long hard thumbs dig into the center of his throat and cut off the air supply to his lungs. He gagged and flailed as he tried anything to get his next breath of air but it wasn’t coming. His mind went from simple terror to outright full-scale panic. All he knew was that he was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it. His last hope was to look into the eyes of the one holding his neck in a vice grip. It was an image of contrasts held in time by two strong and opposing desires. Hyson du-lo-Jogu, the emaciated Zawhan, wanted himself to live; the big muscular man in front of him did not.
“I asked you a question,” said the voice of the man holding Hyson in his deadly grip.
Hyson couldn’t have answered even if he wanted. His throat was being closed off. Speech was impossible but he made a coughing gurgling noise to make it seem as if he was trying to give a worthwhile response. Maybe then the monstrous creature before him would let him go. The problem was that he had no idea what was being asked of him. He just knew he needed to appear as if he was trying to cooperate.
“Where...is...your...command..center?” the big man said. He punctuated each word by shaking Hyson’s head. Hyson gurgled some more as the motion allowed small bits of air to get into his lungs but now his eyes felt like they might be squeezed right out of his head.
The big man brought his face in closer to his victim. “Why don’t you answer me?”
The thin and disheveled Zawhan hanging from the tightening fists of the big Crolat was turning colors. The veins in his face were visibly pulsing as if they were trying to come and see for themselves who was bringing his life to a sudden end.
“Because he doesn’t know what you’re saying,” came a heavy voice from behind the big man.
The big man tilted his head just a little in the direction of the voice coming from behind him but kept his focus on the man in his solid grasp.
“Huh?” grunted the big man.
The voice behind him continued: “You could squeeze him like a gorfruit and he still wouldn’t answer you. He doesn’t speak Kevutian.”
The big man released his grip and let the scraggly Zarwhan fall to the floor like a folded paper doll.
“What do you mean he doesn’t speak Kevutian?” said the big man as he turned to face the person behind him. The beaded belt and neckband and the strands of beads attached to each ?? clicked together as he turned. “Everyone speaks Kevutian.”
“Everyone in the Conglomerate speaks Kevutian, Vorky” came the response. “We’re not in the Conglomerate. We’re on Pa’Zawhu.” The man continued by bringing up his left hand in front of him as if he was about to present a gift. “Pa’Zawhu!” he said, then brought up his other hand barely avoiding the coilgun clipped at his side. “Conglomerate!” He set his hands down. “That’s why we’re here, you fool. We’re being paid to help the Kevutians invade this planet so that it can be brought into the Conglomerate.