It took five men to restrain Brandon Delloa the first time he saw his homeworld from orbit. The Tormiran beast had dared a glance through the rear observation window, and after several seconds with his stricken face pressed against the glass, began to hammer away at it with his fists. Two of the flight crew rushed towards him; it was only natural for a savage such as himself to become scared and volatile when experiencing spaceflight for the first time, unfortunately for the crew this was not the case. The two attendants each had a hold of one of Brandon’s thick arms, and this just gave him reason to resort to kicking at the half-foot thick viewpoint.

Brandon's words were drowned in the phlegm and spittle that exuded from his mouth as he spoke.
"...lied... Fucking lied to me..." Spat the native as the two, now terrified, crew members struggled to pull the man back to his seat, their brave efforts futile.

With a mighty roar he dislodged his right arm free from the grip of the wide-eyed attendant, who stood scared stiff as Brandon’s elbow connected with his chin, knocking him back. Brandon kicked out at the now staggering man and his colossal boot connected squarely with the man’s chest, propelling him into the viewport, cracking its surface and knocking the man out cold. This catalyst set the other passengers into a panic, no longer contempt observing the struggle between the crew and the native menace but actively flooding towards the compartment exits, an act which, luckily for Brandon, stalled the advance from the adjoining cabin of more attendants, eager to support their floundering colleagues.

By now Brandon had wrestled free from the hands of the one conscious crewman, who lay curled on the floor, coughing and clutching at his chest. Brandon turned back to the now damaged window and resumed his assault, spitting murderous barbs as he did, oblivious to the sirens which now filled the compartment.
The exodus of passengers had ended and two fresh bodies ran in to quell him, one wielding a collapsible baton, which he quickly extended and slammed into the side of Brandon’s thigh, sending him crashing onto his knees but failing to contain his rage. Spinning round on his one good leg, snarling through his warrior teeth, Brandon picked up the baton wielder and ran him into his mate, sending the three men clattering down upon one another.

Brandon had never fought four men at once before, as Tormirans seldom had cause to fight one another, the climate being of much more concern. Yet Brandon was no virgin to being outnumbered, in his early teens he once stumbled upon the lair of a Frost lion, whose cubs soon approached and surrounded him. For nearly an hour the cubs played with him, biting his legs and leaping at his body. For nearly an hour, Brandon stuck and slashed with his bone knife until he embedded it into the stomach of one of the cubs, who fell to the ground and whose cries and death throws alerted its mother that the game had ended.
The two attendants, previously incapacitated, had risen to their feet, and too leapt onto the scrimmage caused by Brandon, adding their weight to the battle against his brute strength.

Surrounded by the remaining cubs, and dulled from the wound in his leg, Brandon hadn't noticed the huge adult lioness circling behind him.

Brandon continued to kick and lash at the mass of bodies attempting to subdue him, crying with rage and hurt. By now the compartment was locked tight, and depressurization precautions had been taken in the adjoining transport module. All that remained with him were the four men he fought, and two men by the door, one suited with a smile and the other preparing an injection.

The cubs stopped in their tracks, and a naive young Brandon Delloa attempted a war cry at them, trying to mimic his brothers when they would fend off herds of mammoth, but the cry Brandon heard was not of his making. Turning he saw the massive feline standing twice his height, staunching proud on her two rear pair of legs, one of her giant front paws thundering down at him.

Brandon felt the needle enter his neck but not much after that. He slumped onto the pile of bodies he had created, which shrank in size each time a wounded crew member was dragged, moaning in pain and relief, from underneath him. Two men who were not so damaged managed to pick up Brandon’s heavy frame and propped him into a seat. The attendants who could laughed at his predicament, as Brandon sat there unable to move and evacuated. He managed to loll his head round to face the viewpoint, which the crew were now preparing to weld over. Before it faded from view he saw the South, his home, clean white broken only by mountain ranges. He looked to the North’s industrialized silver and grey, broken by the neon yellow highways. He felt his head move without his design, and now facing forward, saw the hand that had moved his view from what was left of the homeworld he knew.

The Suited Man sat in front of him, staring greedily into his eyes; he smiled and cocked his head.
"You put on quite a show, but save it for the tourists."

The Suited Man released his head and faced forward, laughing as he reinserted his music plugs. Brandon, now staring blankly at his feet, pondered the futility of being the ambassador for a dying culture.

Brandon couldn’t tell which came first, the lion’s blow or the concussive bang, and after feeling the lion's paw land softer that he had feared, he looked up to see his father stood over her body, his rifle smoking in his hand. Training the weapon at the cubs, he approached his son, grabbed Brandon by the collar and dragged him off. His father’s gruff voice reached his ringing ears.

“Next time, turn and run, they’ll kill you quicker.”

Brandon couldn’t see from the blood that the lion's blow caused to gush into his eyes, but knew the cubs had fled with their mother's demise. His leg wounds stung against the cold snow, all he could hear was the shrill wind, and the cries of a dying cub.

Joe Curry


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