The “Pin-ning Bliz-zard” and the adult-sized living vessel did not for a moment relent in their attacks upon one another. Each vessel’s starboard side was battered so hard that the outer hulls began to glow first bright red, then white with the inflicted heat. Arabella gaped at the fact that even the living vessel was having difficulty.
Both vessels looped and turned port to port and began to circle one another the opposite direction from before. As she considered from looking on, Arabella did not think that humans had come so far in their tactical combat capabilities as their relatively high technological advancement (high a subjective term relative only to how far human technology had come from its pre-history beginnings) had procured them.
If it had been her, surely she would have done things differently. She had seen some space battles before, and in those battles she could hardly keep up with the opposing vessels with how fast they were moving and how quickly the battle changed pace and how subtly they were over.
Often times these occurrences took less than ten minutes, but on occasion they took a little longer. They were quick and deadly, and most always there was one decided victor and one decided loser.
This was not like those battles at all. There was something present here, something that wasn’t present in all those other battles.
The words “fight or flight” came into her mind, and she realized that this battle didn’t have a single iota of that instinctual necessity in it. No, it was something else entirely. Something like…
It was as though there were a purpose to prolonging the fight’s conclusion, as if, somehow, both sides had implicitly assented to this idea for achieving some greater purpose.
They were not just fighting slowly; they were not just fighting intensely; they meant to take the damage from their opponent without fail. They meant to receive the full punches of power issued by one another. They were not fighting ship to ship; they were fighting pride to pride.
That was something spectacularly beautiful; that was something wholly comprehensible, if yet pleasantly beguiling. That glorious sensation tingling up from her stomach into her chest was the following: the idea that the brilliant explosions in the heavens were explosions of pride, and their exchange was an exchange of recognized power.
The thumping heart in her chest beat faster and faster. She pressed her face to the wall of the star chamber, as if it might help her get a better view through her wireless lens relaying information directly to her brain from the other side.
She wanted to be a captain, too, like those human captains, and sail through the galaxy and display all of her haughty potential for anyone who wished to see it. She would not be deterred by anyone, and she would be the best captain there ever was. All humans and all Perunites would respect her with this kind of power.
She felt the endorphins washing across her whole body. Was this really what human pride meant?
Yet, it was frightening. The display of power was awesome to behold, but what if one of those ships actually fell victim? It could not be that two people so desperately united in exacting the very same goal, which neither had even the tiniest hope of executing without the other, would want to see the other fall.
Was their goal really to kill each other? Or, did they not realize that they needed one another?
What could their final goals be? To observe who could provide the most beautiful and eloquent display of glorious might? To see whose death could be more glorious? Or, were they observing how much of a grandiose array could be amassed in one place at one time?
She wondered if it was the pride of Perun which had allowed this to occur, or whether it was not the pride of the humans which had allowed it. Or, was it because of pride that it had been stimulated to flourishing in the first place?
Were they not indeed attempting to work together to create the most beautiful rendition of power that all living matter had ever witnessed?
There was animosity between the two; why did it feel like it was not animosity at all?
She remembered a romantic verse of the Perunite poets of old.
There were two gods; they loved one another so much that they hated one another. It was through such intense hate that they expressed their great love. Love and hate were the same. But love was always the thing which surpassed all else. And then, great hate followed, for great love has no problem initiating in the most vociferous of all hatred.
Such a complicated world adults lived in. All Arabella really wanted to do was go to a human world with cultivated fields and valleys of wildflowers and walk through its contents unhindered, and meet the people who lived there, and learn their ways, and talk of her own.
They would all accept her as their lovely pet, and she would accept them as the same.
Yet, she knew in her heart of hearts that one of those beings was going to “turn into star food,” as the human idiom went, before it was all over with. This “scrap” would not be one in which no one was the victor or loser.