He was here. Not meant to be, but still here. No lights flashing, no sirens, just quiet and his stepping feet. Almost black but for the cool yellow glow of the strip lights above him, cold breath becoming an icy jet just above his scarf. His eyes darted from light to fence and from the gate to the shelter of the trees, he was alone, there was nothing here alive but him. The air clawed at him, held him tightly as he ran across the open space between the alley and the trees. The shelter the trees provided would be short lived if he was seem, but this did not really concern him, they rarely watched this quarter anyway, it was beneath them. Their disdain for the apes was almost tangible, and this was ape-town, this was right in the heart of the Human Quarter.
He made it to the trees, breathing heavily, hearts pumping faster and faster to cope with the sudden change in activity. He dropped to his knees and, concealed by the thick foliage, looked back across the clearing. For a moment there was nothing, and then a sound, a can being kicked, rattling into the lighted area between fenced alley and tree line. A solitary figure shuffled into view, he watched this shape approach the light, a dark coat and hat obscuring his face. He looked up at the trees; he appeared to be staring straight towards the figure hunkered down behind the tress. It isn’t possible, he is in the light and I am in the dark, he cannot see.
The figure began to amble over towards him. Damn fool will get me caught. He stopped for a moment, looking up into the light. It was an ape. Human, he grunted, stupid, stupid, stupid. These hairys will never learn, will they? He smiled a hideous parody of the human smile, all teeth, sharp and clean. It made him laugh, another human gesture, the level too which the hairys culture had permeated their own. His own people did not associate facial expressions with emotion, they did not possess the same level of elasticity in their skin, they did not even have skin. He raised a hand, claw, to his face and ran a nail over the scaled surface. He smiled again. Her hand felt different on his face, her hand had not recoiled at his touch, and her hand had been inside his own when they had killed her. His bitterness resurfaced and the hand dropped back to the ground. The damned fool of an ape was still taking his time to meander across the clearing. If a patrol came by, they would kill him and might spot me, if he reaches this far, I’ll probably kill him myself. The blood from her wound still stained his overalls, he could still smell her, could still taste her, but she was gone. Now that she has left me, I must leave them, he thought, I must leave them to their own devices, I will slip away to some distant land and I will try to live out the rest of my life without her, with any luck, they may stop chasing me before I get to far from home.
He heard the high pitched whine of a patrol quad. The ape didn’t even appear to notice, he just kept on kicking that damned can. He pushed himself down into the soil, as far into the soft earth as he could get without having to dig himself a whole. If he was fortunate, they would kill the ape and pass right on by.
He could see the ape come to the sorry realization that he could not outrun the approaching quad. He just sat down and began to cry. He must be drunk, no sane or sober fool would wander around in the private sector. From his hiding place, he could not see the whole quad, just the grav-pads as they settled near the human. He knew that it would be quick, hopefully so quick that they wouldn’t even stop to dispose of the corpse, they would just let time and nature do that for them. He could see 5 sets of feet walking over to the human, 5 blasters being raised; he could hear the strange barking laugh of them as they ridiculed this poor druken ape. He was surprised to hear 5 pulse rifle rounds pounding into 5 Sector Sentinels. He was even more surprised to see their 5 bodies thud down onto the cold tar.
The ape who had been sitting on the ground stood up and ran over to the bushes where he was hiding. Claws tensed, the hidden figure prepared to launch himself at this strange human. “You there, in the bushes, come quickly before another patrol cycles through. Quickly you damned fool, we haven’t all night. We watched your mate die at the hands of your own people, if her life was worth anything to you, you must help us fight them, you must help us free ourselves from these monsters.” He was glancing round at the other humans who had emerged from the darkness near the mouth of the alley. They had the gait of soldiers, he thought, they are well-trained, perhaps my life may be of some use to them, it is of no real worth to me.
He rose up from the ground and walked out from under the trees. “Human, you would call my people monster, but ask for my help?”
“Your people kill and maim for pleasure, that makes them monsters, although I do not know how such a beautiful woman ended up with a lizard like you I will never know!” The human laughed and urged him to follow. He loped along behind this tiny creature over to his companions; they eyed him warily, tiny pink and brown fingers resting on rifle-triggers.
“She had a daughter, the one that they killed, she had a little girl. Is the child alive?” The pleading in his voice was enough to shame their suspicion and hatred. “Yes, she is alive. She called you father, is this true?” The human stared up at him.
“Yes, it is true. I am her father, although not by blood. Take me to her and I will help you.” It was an order. “Come on lads, lets take this here lizard to his little girl,” he turned up to the dark green face behind him, “What do we call you?”
“I am Commisar Ferran Demos of the Rygellian, I loved a human woman and they killed her, for that, I will make them pay.”
The pale man nodded, smiled and began to run towards the darkness of the city, “Yes,” thought Ferran, “this is better than running away. Soldiers do not run. Soldiers fight. This soldier will make them pay in blood.” He smiled and followed them into the night.