Hrothgar in the Winter

My entry for the science fiction readers, writers, collectors and artists group’s
April short story contest. The story has to feature revenge, fire and cannot begin with the word “the”.

“Vengeance is therapy,” said the cyborg.

He sat several empty stools down the bar from me, with an evil-looking drink in hand, and an even half-dozen upturned glasses before him.

The bar sat on the outside skin of the station. A transparent strip zig-zagged its way across the floor, revealing the revolving star-scape. A nice touch in a place with few such.

I gave him a sickly grin. Not that I’m fearful, but he was large, dressed in fur and leather, with spiky metal bits in various places – and then there was the part-machine thing.

“Where was I?” he said.
Great. Hopefully not a mean drunk.

“You said something about vengeance,” I said, helpfully.
“Yes,” he said. And then, “A toast to the fallen!”

He raised his drink. I raised mine. Safer that way.

“He was pained by the noise of our drinking, you know.”
“I’m sorry?” I asked, not understanding.
“The monster. A creature of mud and water.”
“You were out of system?” I asked, curious now.

He didn’t seem to hear me.
“Aiie, but the mother now. She gave me this before we fled,” he said, raising his robotic arm.

“Bar-keep!” he shouted suddenly. “Drink-maker! A round for my friend and I!”
Drinks were brought forth and quaffed.

After, I asked him, “What did you do then?”
“Ah,” he said. “We dropped an asteroid right down their gullets. Took them right back to the stone age.”

I hadn’t expected that part at all.

Before I could ask him to explain, he continued.
“We destroyed their temples, their gardens, their halls with the fire of heaven.”

With that he rose, raised his organic arm in a partial salute, and then stumbled away.