I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew Caid was prodding me with the chair leg again, in exactly the same spot. He was smiling though, I guess this was a sign of some kind of humour. Encouraging.
“Up,” he barked, and I was up.
“More food!”. I hurried into the cupboards and tried to find the carbs I hadn’t fed him last time. He perched on the 'A' made by the remains of the table and watched me.
“Thank you for your succour, I am Caid,” he muttered, looking hungrily at the pot I was heating.
“I know,” I said, with my back to him for courage, “now could you tell me what you’re doing here?”
There was some delay, and I regretted having my back to him.
“Well, can you tell me how you got into a burning building, and for that matter how…”
“No,” he interrupted and I could hear him snapping bits of the table, so I shut up.
“I’m looking for someone who has wronged me and mine,” he said eventually, and I could hear him shifting his weight around, “someone who’s time has come.” I swallowed a dry throat.
“And before you ask, mensch,” he said, “You’ll find out who this person is when I say so. Maybe never.”
“So what now then?” I asked, feeling a bit better now at least we were having a dialogue without overt violence.
“I’m going to need some things. And some information. And it’s in your best interest to help me.”
“Righto,” I said, handing him a pan of pasta and feeling more lost by the minute “Where do we start?”
“I must contact the Second-Born General Trias,” said Caid, managing to eat and look intently at me.
“I... I know him,” I said realising who he meant and perking up a bit with the idea I might have something to offer “you mean John Farsan, this isn’t the guy who’s time has…" I swallowed drily.
“Trias,” said Caid, “You’ll call him by his honoured name, or not name him at all. And no he is not”
“Alright," I said, holding my hands up in conciliation "Yes I know him and we can contact him now,” I walked over to my deck, brushed some splinters of wood off it, and waited for the boot-up cycle, I entered the details and willed for the call to connect and speed up this colossal madman’s exit from my life.

I was just starting to get seriously invested in a fantasy involving John sending heavily armed Imperial Stormtroopers to deal with Caid when a face appeared on the screen: John’s assistant Linda.
“Hiys,” she said, smirking at my surroundings, “looks like you’ve had a good weekend, what’s up? John’s busy.”
I’d always hated Linda, as she made me unaccountably nervous. “Hi Linda, yeah I, uh.” I shrugged at my devastated kitchen. “Could you get John? I’ve got something that’ll need an encrypted line.”
Linda looked at me sceptically for a moment and said “hold”. She disappeared and the encryption key started loading.

“Look Caid, you’re hiding right," I said turning to him in the interim "and now you’re contacting the Justice of the Peace. I don’t think..” Caid cut me off by smashing the remains of the table brutally with a pasta-covered hand. I flinched and then sighed at the repeat abuse of my beloved furniture and gestured where I was standing. “You want to talk to this guy, you’ve got to stand here,”
Caid hastily threw the pan on the ground, straightened his robe and pushed me to the side from my spot. His hand felt like wood.

John’s weary features appeared on the screen and as he looked up I registered real shock, something I’d never seen on his face before. Perhaps he’d expected to bat me around for a usual Monday morning half-hour-fun-time.
“Trias Second-Born!” Caid bellowed, spit flying at the screen, “How have you let this happen? You will answer now!”
John seemed to take conscious effort to recover and assumed a more upright posture I’d also never seen before.
“Salutations first-born brother!” John shouted deferentially, “I will not say your name, although I wish it! We have a situation planet-wide that makes this conversation unwise. And what of your companion," he said darting a furious look my way "he is a civilian and deals in information!”

To see John, a man with the power to ruin your life effectively with a word, or even -as some whispered- end it in a more physical sense, talking to Caid this way gave me a really bad feeling in my stomach, accompanied by smugness at my weekly torturer getting a dose.

“Trias, I’m aware of your terrorism and shit on it, and this man is nothing, NOTHING!" He pushed me to the ground as he said this, and it dawned on me with a sudden wave of gut wrenching fear that there was no telling what he'd do with me.

"He's even less than you!" Caid continued, "You’re not worthy of calling me brother." He put his hands in front of him making twisting motions and hissed "Show me your insurgency and I will break it. I require weapons and armour. I require your full resources and allegiance of the pig-mensch you call troops. I require you to contact the officianarum with the news, why have you not already!?.” This was the most I’d heard Caid say in one go, and it was clear he was good at orders. He was backing up his demands by jabbing the screen furiously with his filthy hand, and every time he did John seemed to recoil. By the time his was done the monitor was hanging slightly lopsided from its broken bracket, giving John an even further hunched aspect.
“Brother, come to my compound, you will have your wishes” John blurted, and bowed, another first.
“So be it!” Shouted Caid, and punched his open hand. He turned to face me with a horrible smile “We will have action!”.