Commander Tax leaned back into the cushioning gel of his escape pod as it punched its way clear of the debris that remained of his ship. The sensors in the pod were limited to visual and auditory but that was enough for him to see the pantera ship wiping out the rest of the scav force, suffering quite a few severe hits itself during the battle.
He cackled bitterly to himself. Supreme Commander Faulk had led the scav fleet here based on information Tax had provided, that a large haul just happened to be moving through this sector. Faulk had jumped on the chance to prove himself to the other leaders and taken his entire flock with him. The information had been correct: the unidentified white ship did seem to be worth taking down, yet the true purpose was to place the flock in the direct path of a pantera ship that would be coming through.
Tax idly scratched his bald pate with one wing and picked a mite from his oily neck feathers. He couldn’t figure out how his contact had known a pantera ship would be here. The next step was in the lozenge that tax held in his other wing. When the pantera ship picked up his pod, he was to swallow the lozenge which would ensure his being able to mimic the reconditioning treatments that the pantera gave war criminals and prisoners. After that, work his way through the ranks of the recruits and get close to a particular lion, a high ranking member of the feyeed government. Once he found his target, he would receive further instructions. No word on what those instructions were, but Tax wasn’t stupid enough to think he’d be expected to live past that point.
He grunted and turned the lozenge over. It would go down. Not easily, but it would go down. He wasn’t concerned about that. He wondered if he would still control his actions or if taking this pill would lobotomize him just as much as the pantera conditioning would.
Whatever. At least he knew the funds transferred to his account on the moon of Tradosh would work their way back to his family if he didn’t survive this. But he planned to anyway just to anger his mysterious benefactor.
The pod rocked violently when the pantera ship snagged and pulled it into its hangar bay, and Tax muttered, “Come on, Pol, get this over with.” The he popped the lozenge in his beak and swallowed.
When the door of the pod opened to a unit of pantera troops leveling their weapons at him, he smiled, held out a pack of rations, and asked, “Want a cracker?”