I have tried to make my alliances those of mutual self interest, motivated by achievement and the noble goal of profit.
That philosophy served me well over the years, growing the value of the company and earning the respect and fear of others.
Yet there is one alliance made years ago that is not balanced nor equitable. It is a bond that has driven me into a darkness I can never escape. It was made not in the light of logic, thought or rationality, but out of a love that has been turned to hate.
In that searing cauldron of betrayal, in that moment where I lusted for revenge, I was vulnerable and weak. It was then that my associates chose to act.
I was arrogant in my power and believed they were my equals. The demands they made seemed small, and rewards I accrued large and substantial. I would buy an asset or company, hire a particular person, or speak to a certain politician. Each thing in its own way was of no significance, yet in retrospect, part of a larger plan.
It was only after some twenty years that I learned my error, thinking that I could refuse them or walk away from our agreement.
They assigned me a guardian under the pretext of greater cooperation, a shadowy figure that kept to itself, preferring the dark places below my home at the Sansica Corporation. At first it was content to occupy a single room, but later it demanded more space, and the lower levels became a place of horror. Its demands became more bizarre and grotesque, first animals and then humans, both as food and as sacrifice.
I suspect it to be telepathic, for when news arrived that a Lazloi speedster had been disabled on the surface of Hycaron II, it insisted that we go there immediately. I also sensed its thrill when it became clear, the nature of the prize we had found. It no doubt sensed my shock when I saw a face I had not seen for fifty years, the young sister of a Lazloi I had once loved, and who I had grown to hate.
The years have made my mission of revenge, dull and blunted. Even so, my thoughts of harm were nothing compared to the gloating anticipation of my guardian. Kleneptra whirled around to confront us, a shadow of fear crossing her face. Her stance was of defiance, outlined by the snarling glow of her personal shield. She moved with inhuman grace as lines of force formed blades and knives from her arms and fingers.
My soldiers backed away in fear, their shots glancing harmlessly off her shields. The guardian had no such concern, stepping forward purposely to meet her. To outward appearances, it could only be a fight to the death, but I could sense that the guardian had other plans.
-- Karl Wolmark, CEO of the Sansica Corporation.
Source images created in Poser 6 using custom shaders. Other source images created in Vue 5 Pro Studio.
Final image created using Adobe Illustrator CS2 and Photoshop CS2.