Chapter 7:

Kitty And Kordo

The Kitty: From Wives To Wormholes!

Darkness; the coldness of the unknown can hold many things, hold many sides. Humanity mastered spaceflight so it can reach the stars, find untold worlds, meet new life, or at least that was the ambition. That’s one side of the unknown; the ambition within the unknown is a sign of life. But among it was its polar opposite; the type of unknown inevitable to anyone who draws breath. For a period, I figured the usual lack of dreams, my inability to move, meant I reached that side of the unknown, succumbed to the inevitability of death. It was coming for me eventually, sooner or later.

“So, this is the pest who blew up two of my men!”

Over 10-years of this cat-and-mouse chase with destiny, it seemed fitting that, as I laid on the freezing concrete of the chamber, such a destiny would seemingly arrive. I wanted to groan, but that’d assume the strength was there to make any sound at all.

“Afraid of so. More setbacks, as if I haven’t had enough of them.”

However, these voices —the distant voices— indicated something a part of me dreaded all along: I still live evermore and my head feels like my skull was filled with bricks. Gradually, the feeling, the thoughts, came dripping back to my awareness, returning, if fuzzy. It was like a bad hangover, which was a good thing; it meant I wasn’t shot in the head, but knocked out with full force by someone.

Who though? Well, I was still trying to figure that out in this messy state of being I was in as, the more my nerves returned to feeling anything, the more I felt like I was being lifted. Was I being lifted to heaven?


The sleep felt good, too good. But a good sleep never lasts, now does it? If only they woke me up more… gently.


Wham! In a sudden flash to my vision, the striking pain of my face being sideswiped rushed. One of the Hathgora troopers used one of their fingers to essentially slap me across my cheek, flushing some of the weakness from my body, flipping the non-existent switch in my nervous system, shocking the core of my being awake.

My ears screamed with tinnitus, the searing high-pitched whine ringing on, the slap being nearly as loud as it hurt. It rocked me to the right, yet as I moved, something— no, someone held me in place. Another trooper was grabbing both my arms behind my back, locking me to a fixed position I couldn’t get out of; I still had too little strength in me.

As I re-oriented, I groaned, vision still blurry, but I knew what was happening: I was trapped like an inmate between a vice.

Panting on and on, I looked ahead, sweating, my sight a blur, but just clear enough to recognize the weapons pointed at me. Rifles at the Hathgora’s command, they were ready to turn me into toast at the spring of one bad move, angry, wanting to tear me apart if they could. I was a disoriented meat puppet, to be their plaything or their next kill, however they wanted it to go.

One of them was the commander, his gold shoulders shining through the dimness of the chamber and my disobeying vision.

“We ought to kill her now, Kalsanian,” the commander suggested to somebody.

“No no, not yet, commander,” replied a voice. “Would your men excuse me?”

“Of course.”

As my vision gradually began to clear, the Hathgora troopers spread, making way for the man who led them, and who probably knocked my lights out in the first place; Kordo walked in, smugness on his glowing face, casual like nothing in the world can touch him.

It brought me back to a simpler time, when all I had on my mind was stopping evil, before I realized there was more to the universe than good and evil — a younger me who should’ve known better. In a way, seeing him, walking up with no care in the world? Nostalgia fully realized with a nice headache and a side dish of gun-wielding Hathgora. More to this waking nightmare was the fact he was holding both of my precious revolvers in his right hand, deactivated, if only because they were biometically-signatured to my hands alone.

“I want to have a nice talk with this old… acquaintance first,” said Kordo, “Your men have her surrounded and trapped anyhow, defenseless at that.”

He approached me, still held back, still screwed in place by my captors. He was clearly enjoying this, and upon reaching talking distance, we met face-to-face for the first time in not-long-enough.

“It’s been too long, Kitty. You’re as delightfully unsightly as ever.” Kordo presented my revolvers— “You’d probably want these, right?” —before throwing them over his left shoulder, strongly, not caring where they landed or if they’d hit anybody, flung somewhere I couldn’t reach them. My anger couldn’t be more palpable. “If I recall correctly, the last time I saw you, an antimatter charge nearly blew up my beautiful face when you hunted me with the Supremos.”

“It should’ve blown up your entire existence!” I exclaimed with a scowl.

“You don’t look to have aged a day, exception being— cigarette smell? Aquamint? My, that is such child’s play, but more than that, you smoke now? Awful! Knew you were a faker, but I suppose you’re being honest about it now. That’s admirable in a way. Ah, I guess it’s no matter when all is said and done.” Kordo looked at troopers. “Put your guns down, all of you.”

The captain gestured his goons to lower their weapons, to which they complied, if begrudgingly so.

“Quite low of you to do such a pathetic tactic from the shadows, Kitty. What would your predecessor think?”

“She isn’t here.”

“Thankfully. Now the captain here will need to find two new men for his rank and file.”


“Curious. You mean you didn’t intend on killing those two troopers earlier? The ones under the tarps over there.”

Kordo pointed to the right, suggesting I look there. I did so, and lo and behold, he wasn’t lying. Beige medical tarps covered what seemed like two entire Hathgora bodies, like lumps growing from the ground. It seems the blast from the drone was stronger than I anticipated and, instead of incapacitating, it outright killed the troopers where they stood instantly. I never expected such a tiny thing from The Professor to pack so much explosive power, and my ledger just added two more souls to the pile. It made my gut wrench a little, widened my eyes.

“I didn’t intend to kill them.”

“Well, what’s done is done. The Captain here wanted to rip you apart, the troopers too, but I stopped him thanks to our little pact. In a way, I saved your life… for now. Wanted to catch up maybe, a heart-to-heart before feeding you to the fishes. Call it a courtesy.”

“A psychotic arms dealer and smuggler gives me courtesy?”

“Ah, smuggler, arms dealer, mastermind, the man you shouldn’t approach, it’s all mixed up at this point! Numb within the politics and motives and backstabbing of this whole existence we live in.”

“Yeah, your definition for what’s deeemed a courtesy never changes, does it, murderer of millions?”

“And potentially billions more.”

“Billions? What do you mean?”

“Isn’t that why you’re here? To stop my plan?”

“The heist?”

“Heist? The heavens do you mean, Kitty?”

It was here that the gears in my head came to an abrupt shutdown, lifeless in a moment I should’ve seen coming, yet as he stared at me in genuine ignorance, I knew something was amiss in a way that left me to drown without a paddle. Even the Hathgora, who looked at me with pent-up rage, started to look at other with dumbfounded eyes. Somehow, despite everything, it was this moment that made me entirely lucid again, and not the fact that I was likely to die here.

“I was sent here as a freelance private investigator to find someone, a Beniard Movak, some union big-shot in charge of Cryptinium worker’s rights. Trail led me here, figure you’d be staging a heist to hit the Cryptium reserve above us with Mr. Movak as a captive and use all this gear to do it.”

They all stared like Earth deer into oncoming headlights for a brief moment, the air stilling to some kind of speedtrap that caught the moment in a sort of time-freeze. I knew it was coming; the match that lights the fuse, the computer error that causes the reactor to meltdown, the echo that stirs up an avalanche. In that silent moment, there was nothing, then the trigger pulled, and everybody, excluding myself, burst into uncontrollable laughter.

I smirked. “It was my best guess,” I said trying to mix in with the joke, though I suppose the joke was the fact I walked into it to begin with.

I felt like a clown as they laughed, busting their laughter into my skull like a hydro-hammer into molten steel, shaping it into something that would dig itself into my soul like a laser katana. Yeah, seems like I really screwed the pooch here, and a part of me wanted to laugh too; join the party why don’t ya? Laugh at myself to make the pain, the other pain besides what physical agony I may have felt, feel just a tad lesser with the worst kind of medicine.

Kordo looked at me once the others ceased their hollering. His expression was even more unbearable, more smug than it ever was before.

“What Beniard Movak, you stupid cat? Either your client has misled you or you’re such a horrible detective that you managed to stumble into the wrong place at the wrong time! This cargo here isn’t for some petty heist, what sense is it to use a wormhole cannon to steal fuel anyway?! Better yet, why would I want to kidnap anyone and draw attention to myself?!”

“Yeah, I see that now. How did you procure all this?” Might as well converse like a chum to another chum, water down the embarrassment if I can. I knew Kordo would indulge me; he always was that type who loved hearing himself.

“Hm. Well, you’re going to die soon anyway, so I might as well tell you. All we did was smuggle these wares one piece at a time over the course of a year. Transporting these wholesale would’ve been a death sentence, but if you simply go at it bit-by-bit and hide it well enough, the officials of this star-system are so complacent that they’ll think you’re transporting groceries, electronics, or whatever those corrupt morons want to think.” Kordo turned to the wormhole cannon. “The cannon had to be scrapped off-world and rebuilt from each individual component. Compliments to your troopers, captain.”

“And the transport ship?”

“A medium cruiser awaits us. My target isn’t the city’s Cryptinium, but—“

“Let me guess—“ His old target; his old enemies. Should’ve been obvious. “The Orbinus Alliance. You still want to destroy the Orbinus Alliance.” It was like reading the same book a thousand times in a row against your will; first time is an event, the second is insightful, the hundredth makes you want to bang your head to the wall to end it. Kordo always had a grudge against the— you know what? I’ll let him explain it.

“Their alliance cost me my homeworld! In famine, death, never taking a second glance! I figure this mean toy to be their nice little wake up call.”

“Kalsan sealed its fate when it blew up Poltar military base and its royals. They were keeping everyone in check! The Orbinus System was shaken from Hell to Andromeda!

“That was a splinter group! The muck under Kalsan’s heels, those who were never in line with Kalsan’s ideals! Their foolishness got us robbed of our resources, our dignity! They took from us so they can appease the others? Look pretty in the eyes of the galaxy by stomping on their so called aggressors? We wanted our world back.”

“And they provided the building blocks!”

“All 15% of it. That’s like giving your pet a treat when it hasn’t eaten in days.”

“It was still better than nothing at all after what happened. But instead of using it to rebuild, to make something of yourselves once more, your government took it all for themselves and people started eating each other. Kalsan tore itself apart, Kordo!”

“We tore ourselves apart because what could we do? The downfall was a powder keg blown by those who called us lowly; a star-system bound together by thieves and heartless fiends, wanting a justification to solidify their false alliance by beating down the little guy!”

“It was a penalty.”

“It was an excuse.” Kordo walked to the wormhole cannon and touched it fondly, like a good dog. “It won’t matter in time. They’ll be atomized yet, no thanks to you. Besides, who are you to talk anyhow? After what you’ve done, Kitty? It’s hypocritical of you to lecture me about circumstances after you allowed the destruction of two entire planets. What did they call you? Ah yes, the ‘failure of Torihan Alpha.’”

My heart sunk lower, to the pit of my soul, darkened and sickly. He went there and it made me ill. “Damn you” was all I can utter at him.

“What was it? 20 or 23-billion?”

“I tried to save them!”

“You didn’t save so much as dust, even during the times you thought you were. How naïve of you to think you could’ve made any difference out there.”

And you know what? He was right. It was naïve for all that time and effort trying to confront a broader world that ended up beating me down like a trash compactor and flung me out like yesterday’s pulp magazine. I didn’t bother to say anything as Kordo chuckled and walked to me, sly like the richest and most cocky man in town. He entered my vicinity, so close I could give him a haymaker if I wasn’t restrained. He knelt down and met me face level, and smiled.

“Are you ready to die, Kitty?”

Simple question. It was either that or a long soliloquy, so I might as well make use of the better option.

“I’ve been ready to die for years,” I answered.

“Any last request by chance?”

“Just one. My left side pocket, there’s a carton of cigarettes. I’d like one last smoke before I go out.”

“Very well. Anything for an old friend.”

Kordo reached into my side pocket and pulled out the cigarette carton I stashed earlier. He never bothered to so much as inspect the thing before opening it and getting a stick out, holding it in his fingers like something precious, though in a way, they were to me. A cigarette in hand, he stuck it out toward me and, anticipating its being, my lips gave it a sort of embrace, as if for the last time.

The sensors kicked in, the tip lighting itself, the heat being tangible, a warmth like an old, dear friend telling you it’s gonna be alright, even when it wasn’t. The hope was enough — the fiery hope of the lit cigarette told me I wasn’t gonna die, even though it was likely I would should nothing be done about. I huffed it in, the flavor going down my throat for what could be the last time I would be with my old, dear friend, and let out a stream of smoothly flowing smoke.

Kordo stepped out of the line-of-sight of his Hathgora as they aimed their rifles at me. The sight was nostalgic; me against many, facing the barrel of guns and eyes wanting to shred me to bits. Only difference was I didn’t smoke before, and as the alien nicotine infiltrated my system and gave me a sort of calm, I wanted to laugh, but not because of some sick joke or a form of regret for a life that never amounted to what it should. Kordo made a mistake, something he’d soon realize: He gave me what I wanted.

I aimed my mouth at the ground and spat out the cigarette, then closed my eyes. There was a flash, not for me, but everyone else around. The Hathgora, Kordo, they swiftly proceeded to cover their eyes as the vicinity was shrouded in intense white, like a lighting strike from Heaven, a glorious attack on the vision that sent those who never saw it coming reeling back, hook, line, and sinker.

Flashbang cigarettes. To think one would some day find the time to create such a thing, but that was a gift of The Professor. He could probably make a laser cannon out of a toothbrush if he put his mind to it.

As the flash died down, the parties affected moved around in pain, trying to shake off the concussive effect of all that bright light.

“DAMN IT ALL!” Kordo yelled.

He looked in the direction of where I was supposed to be (emphasis on supposed to be), and through the afterimages, the stars, the varying levels of pain in his eyes, he saw the worst case scenario, but one played out plenty of times before: The Hathgora trooper in charge of locking me in place, intent to have me shot to bits through firing squad, was knocked down, unconscious, the stone-like face cracked.

Kordo stomped his feet so hard it echoed through the chamber, and this caught the attention of the others, who were now seeing exactly what he was. Despite the disorientation, they had the clarity to roar out like in any other moment. I knocked out, heck, I ended up killing some of their brethren; they’re not gonna let this stand, not until I’m dead and fed to the animals.



Knocking the block off the Hathgora was a roll of the dice all right, but I knew how pompous Kordo was. Always one to put on a show, now such a trait is bitting him yet again.

In the flash, I used my memory to navigate past them all to the nearest pillar, one of many, to which with a sudden spring of luck, I located both of my precious firearms laid out on the floor, tossed out like sewage. Disrespectful, but Kordo would get his for treating them this way.

Now here I was, playing cat-and-mouse with destiny yet again. So there was no Beniard? No one to save? The questions were a plenty. As I tried my best to avoid the rage-filled gazes of the roaming Hathgora troopers, thinking of Celine put a bitter taste in my mouth. Was she working with them? Then again, I would think Kordo would’ve said something specific about her, some hidden reveal to spring forth like a punchline of a lifetime, something to really push me down the flight of stairs that was this whole job.

As far as I was concerned, it was all over. She was an enigma now, and if I were to encounter her again, I’d have a piece of paper with a questionnaire, all for her.

I had no obligation to stay; I could sneak out of here and leave if circumstances were different, but with Kordo involved, his hatred, his motives against the broader galaxy in play, what he did to get to this point, the massacre of The Quantifusers and everything else before or in-between, part of me —that old part— couldn’t stand to just let him continue. Besides, I did sort of promise Corr I’d avenge her dead people as a way to return a favor, so it’d be like killing two stars with a single blackhole; avenge The Quantifusers for a vengeful old woman, save billions of lives somewhere else.

From these shadows, I decided to stay; to fight, and it hit me all at once. Adrenaline. Heartbeat ramping like a first date. Limbs felt like air. I could feel sweat on my head, arms, hands, between my legs. My mind began to race like it hadn’t before, looking around this chamber, figuring what to do next now that I decided to play hero once more.

I used to love being hunted because I was never prey, but a predator verses other predators. The rush was becoming strong, but I hated it too. What it does to me, what it led to. When I was younger, I was an addict to this rush, now I wonder how it’d come back to hurt me.

It was time to embrace it once more, but will I lead it… or will it lead me?

There was a fight in my future, a future coming at me in seconds as it turned out. Where there were 16 on this chess board, there was now 14, including the once downed trooper reawakened from his flashbang wallop, somewhat stumbling, but ready to gun me down all the same. He would be my first, most logical target.

I was dashing through the pillars, getting closer to where he was. I could almost… smell him. To say my ability to think began to blur was putting it too simply; it filled me with a sort of glee from the prospect of killing him, of killing them all. Yes, I wanted to hunt them, my first real prey in such a long time.

It was dawning; the me I hated on the verge of being set free once more as I aimed my gun at one of them. I had power! I felt powerful as my sights loomed inwards to the trooper, my finger moving closer and closer to the trigger.

I could barely remember what it looked like when I finally pulled it.