COUNTING THE CROSSES
The chamber was deathly silent as they waited impatiently for Head Councillor of the Setapi to enter. An uncommon nervousness had settled over the waiters. The Setapi, a race of power and control, had hardly ever felt doubt, until now.
Loud, clanking footsteps pounded along the corridor, coming closer and closer to the large metal doors. A soft, high-pitched beeping tone was heard, followed by a pattern they all knew well. There was a hiss as the suction receded and the two doors opened outwards from the oncoming alien. The heads of the council turned and collectively they felt the dominating and even menacing presence of their leader.
The eyes of the council followed the lone figure as the clanking footsteps depicted his path. He walked in the shadows, on the outside of the light that encircled the table. Very little of his features could be seen and only his tall, rigid posture could be determined. He stopped at the head of the table, just outside of the light.
Slowly he stepped forward. The council took in his calm appearance and felt a little reassured. Head Councillor Xerish placed his wide palms face down on the table and glared at his companions. Although sharing the distinguishing marks of the Setapi; thick, deep, dark purple swirls on the backs of his abnormally big hands and, unseen, along his spine; his overpowering confidence was etched strongly into all of his features, making him appear far more dangerous.
His dark brown skin added more years onto his age and his hooked nose was always complimented with a scowl. He was dressed in long, flowing maroon, closer to black, robes over his ordinary clothes. He clicked his steel capped boots on the floor twice and, if possible, the council's ears pricked up even more.
Head Councillor Xerish raised is elongated head higher and spoke in a scratchy, broken voice. "Trusted council, I've brought you all here tonight to discuss a new proposition on the ever increasing problem of crossbreeding, and the sub-species", his voice grew in distain, "that it creates."
There were murmurs of agreement.
"It has come time to illuminate the problem. I have been working tirelessly on the problem and I have come to a solution. Crossbreeding should be prohibited and those caught should suffer the severest penalty. death. The next step is to declare the capture of all crossbreeds and then, I believe, a public display of their sentence is needed, to show our seriousness and commitment to this plan."
An older alien stood up from the back, addressing Head Councillor Xerish. "And what do you think would be the best way to show our seriousness in a public display?" His voice was confronting and a sense of old rivalry flared between them.
Xerish chuckled. "We put them on trial briefly before we kill them all together!"
Cunning smiles broke out on the council's faces.