|Unwanted Sun (Parts 1 - 4)|
by Buckwheat, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Unwanted Sun (Parts 1 - 4)
Spoilers: Takes place half cycle after Dog with Two Bones
Summary: John had found something for Aeryn while she was on Talyn. He did not want her to have it after the unpleasantness. He asked Dargo to get rid of it. Dargo hid it in Aeryn’s prowler.
A special thanks goes to Janet for reading and fixing the technical aspects of writing (spelling and other dren).
A great heap of thanks goes to “Marcase” for his input and help in streamlining the story and setting it on the right flow.
Copyright Notice: Farscape is owned by The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network Australia and the Sci-Fi Channel. They own all rights to the characters mentioned within this story.
Unwanted Sun (Part 1)
The holo image of the Luxan filled the air.
“Aeryn…if you are watching this, then you have found the box I left in your prowler. John…”
She stopped the holo-vid. It was the fifth or sixth time she had watched it, but every time Dargo mentioned John she had to stop. Not wanting to hear John’s name, not wanting to see his face, to hear his voice. It has been half a cycle now since that fatefull day on Moya, half a cycle since that frelling coin toss. Maybe this was fate telling her that she should start to think of her and John again, and this was the first step. Trembling she started the holo-vid again.
“…John…He found something on a commerce planet that made him smile. I had not seen him smile a lot while you were gone. He saw this thing and said, “Aeryn would like this.” I was not sure what it was but he bought it. That was maybe the second or third time he had said your name since you left on Talyn. He claimed it would take a lot of work to get it ready. I only saw him work on it once or twice, but each time we would not see him for several solar days. I still do not know what it is that he got for you….”
Now I’m curious about what it is, what could occupy John for that much time, She thought.
“…He finished just before Talyn returned. I have never seen him so pleased with himself. When you got back and things were…difficult. He thought it would never be an appropriate time to give it to you. He said you needed space and you needed time…”
He was right, I did need space. John gave me the space I thought I needed. By the time I opened up to him it was too late. He kept his distance not wanting to press.
“…John wanted me to get rid of it for him. He asked me to destroy it. Out of our friendship I thought it should be where it was meant to be…with you. Whatever it is, remember he did it for you. Goodbye my friend, I hope your path is clear and I will see you some day…”
With those words the Luxan faded away. Aeryn was alone in her quarters. Alone that was how she felt. Surrounded by all these ex-peacekeepers, even though she had made some friends here she still felt alone. She lost John once, watched him die, only to be confronted with John still alive on Moya. She could not bear seeing him, for that would bring back the incredible pain she felt when her John died. The sense of being truly alone, the incredible sense of loss, of something so precious she knew she would never find again.
It was time to leave; she could not handle it. She had to find herself, had to find her center as Zhaan had once told her. She sat and stared at the box, staring at it like she had done every night since she found it. What could it be? What would she find? She pulled the box towards her; there was writing on it. Not in the English that John had tried to teach her. It was in Sebacean:
She opened the box not expecting to see the scrap of paper and two things that looked like tech manuals. The note was also written in Sebecean, and it was from John.
Since you’ve been gone I have tried to find things to help keep my mind off of you. I now know that that was an impossible task. Finding this was proof of that. You once said that you would have to find out who you are when you are not a Peacekeeper. Well sometimes you need to know where you came from first, to know who you are or where you are going.
What could he mean by that? He knows where I came from. She took a look at the first book, it was old, damaged, it was written on fiber paper and bound with some sort of animal skin. The lettering was old and faded, hard to read, familiar yet not. It looked like it was Sebacean, but not a form of Sebacean she knew. There was one word she could make out, one word that was familiar... Sun.
“Trust John to find some old piece of dren like this, and just because he thought it was interesting, he would think so would I” she murmured. It was the first time in a half cycle she had spoken his name. Something that was once so natural, now so…unnatural, she would not speak of him to herself, to her team, to anyone. She pulled the second book towards her. It looked like a tech manual. Maybe it was the “Leviathan for Dummies” book he was always talking about writing, whatever he meant by that. Aeryn looked at the title
(Memoirs of a Peacekeeper)
Translated in to Common “New” Sebacean
John Robert Crichton JR
A smile came across Aeryn’s face, she did not smile often, but she could picture John sitting in his quarters working day and night to get this done. Learning Sebacean, new and old so he could translate it for her. The title bothered her though, “Unwanted” was that how he felt? No, John would not have added “Love” in his note if that was the case. He must have been very proud of his work, he said he only “dusted off” his full name, as he would say, when he had something important to do or something that he was proud of.
She leaned back on her bunk taking the book with her. Who wrote this, why had John not included this in the title? She would have to read it to find out. It still looked like a tech manual; he knew how much she hated reading those things. Well, it was time to see why all the effort was put into it...
MY SO-CALLED LIFE.
I was born the second son to a prominent family in the core system. The second of two boys, that was my problem from the start. I was not supposed to be I was supposed to be a girl. At least that is what my father wanted; I was the unwanted son. If I had been a girl I could have been wed to one of the sons of the other council members and strengthen the bloodlines. I was relegated to my father’s server’s care, whereas my brother was being groomed to take my father’s place on the council. Unwanted and unloved.
You are probably wondering why I am now exalting my victories, my kill numbers or my life as a Peacekeeper right away? I could have started at my recruitment or during my training. But to know whom I am, you must know who I was and where I came from, and for the most part of my life it guided some of my decisions and actions.
Where I came from…was this what John meant?
When I was fifteen cycles, my father came to me. He had spoken to me few times in my life, I though he had finally decided to open up and let me in. I was wrong about that and later on I would find out I as wrong about many things concerning my father. He spoke of duty and obligation, and how it was one’s duty to serve the council. I though that he was telling me that my brother had failed and I would be groomed to take his place. Again I was wrong. My fate was to be that of most unwanted children, military service. He said that it would not be right for my to avoid my duty and obligations that were required of me. He said I had an obligation to my family and to the council, my family, that was laughable. They had barely noticed my existence and had an obligation to them; he must thought me to be stupid. He suggested the Planetary Defence Force, a lifetime of guarding the council and automated defence platforms. No, I did not want to be around him or have to be at his beck and call -or my brother’s- should either one become head of the council. Peacekeepers were the only other option. They had only been around for five cycles, created to settle a civil war on one of our outer colonies. Now they were offering their services to other races to maintain the peace. A Galactic Defence Force, stopping piracy and protecting shipping lanes. I wanted excitement and a way out; they were my only option. He said he would use his influence to get me into the Peacekeeper Corps, after that I was on my own.
He was one of the original Peacekeepers, one of the ones back when they had a proper purpose, maintaining the peace, protecting the innocent…frell; I have to be up in four arns. I have to get some sleep. I will read more another time. With that Aeryn put the book down and fell asleep still wondering who this mysterious Peacekeeper was.
The next solar day Aeryn made it back to the bunker, drenched in sweat after a long patrol. She chose to cover their route back to the base, making sure that pirates or insurgents or hungry wildlife did not follow her squad. She stopped by her quarters to pick up the book and then on to the Officer’s lounge for some food and perhaps she could read there. No one would bother her; she had made it clear that she would socialize when she wanted to.
I AM BORN ANEW.
My father kept his word, two solar days later a Peacekeeper rep showed up to take me for training. There was no fanfare or good wishes from my family, even the servers were glad to see me go. I was truly alone. On the way to the training centre I was told that given my family background I had been selected for Officer training. That meant I would command troops, life and death decisions and responsibility. I was also given several verbal quizzes and tests; this was to see if I had the intelligence to go through the training. If not I, would become a “grunt” and in with the cannon fodder. I was told what type of training to expect and that death in training “accidents” was to be expected. Dead before I was sixteen cycles! This was not what I expected, but I was committed, I would prove myself to them, and to myself: frell my family.
If I had expected to be treated any different than with my own family I was soon to find out I would be sorely mistaken. I was big for my age; I was as tall as one of twenty cycles, almost as tall as a Luxan if you can believe it. I therefor was a target, a challenge for the other cadets to attack and take down. Even those whom I thought of as friends were constantly attacking me. It was not long until I became guarded and suspicious of those around me. Always on my guard; but that became an advantage in everything I did. I was still the unwanted son, one of the other council member’s son was in training with me and knew my story; he always referred to me as the Unwanted Son until all the other cadets did so too. Still the outcast, still unwanted, still unloved. I decided then that I would live to serve. Be the perfect Peacekeeper, something that served me well in my training. I was constantly being advanced beyond my fellow cadets. I was sent to Prowler Attack School less than a cycle after starting training. I excelled in combat maneuvers and was able to react faster than any other student in my flight group. I was told that I was the best pilot they had ever trained, I took that as a compliment, even though the organization had only been around for five cycles and I was in the fourth flight school since they started the trainingprogram. I have to say that there are far better pilots in the Peacekeepers now, than I ever could be. Including my daughter.
His daughter! That is right; in the early days Peacekeepers used to have life-mates, and any children were not automatically assigned to fill the ranks, who is He? Frelling Crichton from keeping his name from me. I like him already, a pilot…I like him even more.
After PAS I was sent to command school. This was unusual for a cadet to go to command school so early after flight school. I was going there for a reason. I was told that there were several members of High Command that were following my career with interest. This is why I was being accelerated through the training. I could handle it, but could my other classmates? Frell them, I must do what is set forward for me. I was the youngest at the school, I was only seventeen cycles and everyone else had at least two cycles of active duty behind them. Again I was the upstart, the unwanted son. I thought this would be different, if I was to excel in the course, but that was just another thing for them to despise me for. Nothing exciting happened during the course; I finished with the highest rating, which still stands now. It was an easy course then, with my fellow classmates –or should I say competitors- an unassuming bunch, who got their commissions because of their bloodlines instead of their skills. I paid them little to no attention; I found none worthy of it. Wait, I lied. I saw the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. It would be several cycles later when we would meet again, assigned to a unit neither of us expected.
A man in a full black uniform entered and surveyed the room, his eyes resting on me.
Oh, frell, I thought. Now what? I had only seen the Red and Black of the line troops and the Black and Red of the pilot’s corps. This was no line trooper. He was someone on a mission, someone with special dispensation. He stomped towards me.
“Cadet!” His commanding voice boomed straight at me, making me automatically spring to attention. I saw no rank, but his whole demeanor told everyone that this was one who commanded immediate and unconditional obediance. Or else...
“Yes, Sir!” I stared straight ahead, not looking the officer in the eye. Who was this nerfer, and what did he want from me?
“You have concluded the first part of your training, you are to proceed to the next level. Get your gear, we leave now!” And turned and headed out the lounge.
“Yes sir!” I said to his back. His boots thundered through the silenced room, where all eyes were following me following him. I started to turn the corner to the dormitory, when the officer turned and boomed at me.
“Where the frell do you think you’re going, cadet?!”
“Sir, getting my gear, sir! And reporting my reassignment, sir!” I said springing to attention once more.
“No time for that! Whatever you will need, the Peacekeeper Corps will provide you. You will not tell anyone where you are going or what you are doing. IS THAT CLEAR!”
“YES SIR!” For the love of Chilnack, will he ever stop shouting? And I won’t tell anyone, since I have no frellin idea where I’m going anyway. Who is this yotz?
I followed him to the landing pads, where an ugly little ship was starting up its engines. I was directed towards the small hold where two mean looking blackclad troopers were loading boxes and pushed me into a highly uncomfortable seat and strapped me in tight, together with the rest of the cargo. The whole atmosphere breathed purpose and mission. The officer returned to check the loading and his new passenger.
“Cadet! You have been chosen to follow some special training, and that is all that you need to know. Follow instructions precisely, and you may yet live long enough to bring honor to the Corps!” With that he and his troopers left to the flight deck, leaving me –litterally- in the dark once more.
Little did I know I was off to commando training.
Pilot, command and commando training, I like him, but who is he? Frell, I have to be up in 2 arns…wait it is Re’lek’s team that is out tomorrow, it is my rest cycle. I still have to sleep. This is too good to put down. Damn you John. Aeryn yawned and with that all hope of reading more was extinguished. Sleep came quickly.
Commando Training was hard, as anyone who has gone though it will know. They put you through dren; I will not go into details because I don’t want to discourage anyone from applying for training. But yes, you DO get to blow dren up. It was then that I was given a choice; stay on as school staff or finally go to my first active duty assignment. I chose to go, finally, on active duty, but first there was a personal matter to deal with. I wanted a new name*, I made my request to High Command. I did not want anything to do with the family that ignored me. I have not mentioned what my old name is because I am more the name I chose than the one originally given me.
*(Editor’s/Translator’s Note: I was not sure if it meant name or person. Also, is there ever a Low Command?)
Aeryn laughed out loud, shattering the somber silence of the Officer’s Lounge. I miss that, his little human quips, something I use to hate, now something I wonder how I can live without.
High Command approved. They liked the idea of commando’s change their names to protect their families. It was not my intention to start that tradition, because it was my personal protection I was ensuring. This is a tradition I am glad that the Peacekeepers no longer practice. I chose a strong name, one I could bare proudly. I chose the name of an ancient Sebacean warrior who’s family abandoned him. It is a bit ironic that my daughter now serves in the regiment that now bears my name, my regiment, my first assignment as a commando attached to the covert operations section. The regiment I would eventually command. High Command approved my name change, they did not have a problem with the first name, the last name was questioned but they approved and I was no longer the unwanted son. At 20 cycles I was born anew as Pleisar…
My old Regiment…
…For my first name. The last name was a variation on what I had been called since birth. I took the name of a little known, but well respected House. I would be forever known as Pleisar Sun.
Aeryn dropped the book. The tears in her eyes started to flow; John had done this for her. He had always been there for her, to offer a helping hand when need or not, just as she had for him. He would not know the pain she had been in, the knowledge of the baby, knowledge that she had destroyed one of his dreams. She thought that loosing the baby was hard enough to deal with, now that she knows that he knows her, knows where she came from. There was so much to learn before the healing could start. Before she could let him in all the way. Again Aeryn felt alone, but not alone, knowing that John was out there waiting for her.
Rising Sun, Shooting Star (Unwanted Sun Part 2)
NEVER REPORT EARLY
I stood on the Deck of the Command Carrier, noticing I was the only one in the Black uniform of the Commandos. Everyone was looking at me, wondering who I was, and why I would stand there waiting like the rest of the replacements. It was something that I would learn soon enough, that if you are to report on a certain solar day, show-up on that day and not before. The problem was, I was given leave to spend at home, but I did not have one to go to. I was now alone with a new name, a new career and a new life to lead.
"Captain on Deck!"
A simple phrase, which would follow me for the rest of my life. Captain Tovo Stalltan walked into the hangar bay wearing his Command-Red uniform, and being flanked by a hardfaced female officer. He was tall, lean and showing the telltale signs of a battle worn trooper. Wearing a prominent Battle-scar and that whole thousand-metra stare that only comes from heavy combat. I found out later that he used to be a full captain in the Planetary Defense Force, and took his Peacekeeper commission when the Corps was newly formed.
Tovo Stalltan... Who had personally negotiated the peace of Strandar II, who had led the charge in the final battle to separate the warring factions. He was a frelling hero, and a living legend. I could only hope that my service would find his favour. We were all in awe to be in his presence, and we were very quiet during the welcoming speech that every captain gives.
"Welcome aboard my carrier," his voice boomed. "I repeat: MY carrier. You have, for the most part, served with distinction. Some of you are new to the Peacekeepers, and some of you are on your last chance. I do not run a pleasure craft or a reform school for delinquents. This is the finest vessel in the Peacekeeper fleet and I maintain the highest standard. Those of you who do not meet that standard will be replaced. Good health to you." With that he turned on his heels and marched away.
Replaced, that was the standard euphemism to say you would face a proper court martial and executed for failure to comply with orders. That was our way; you live to serve.
I was assigned a bunkroom by the Quartermaster and told where to report to the Commando Bay. I felt like I walked on forever on this huge carrier just to get to my quarters to get squared away and to get my kit ready for duty. I was surprised to see that my quarters were quite large by any standard. I expected to see just another bunk in a room that was build in a crowded space more out of pure nescessity than out of comfort. It looked like I would have this room all for myself. I was just about to get settled in and unpack when the door burst open and in rushed four armed Peacekeepers in full body armor.
"On the ground now!" Shouted the lead Peacekeeper. His Pulse Pistol pointed right in my face. "I said on the ground NOW, Frell Jak"
Great. I had been aboard less than 2 arns and I already made an enemy. I guess I should have expected this. What happened next would be a source of amusement between the rest of my team and I for the next 40 cycles.
"And who the frell are you, giving ME orders?" I asked defiantly.
At the same time closing the gap between the lead soldier and me. No answer, but I thought I saw a sneer behind the black visored helmet. Time to go to work. I stunned the leader with a pantac jab while the other three just stood there. It took just a microt to circle-kick one in the head and the last one in the stomach. One remained, his pistol still trained directly at my head. He remained cool and had an air of confidence about him. Who is this? Why won’t he frelling shoot?
"Officer Sun, I presume…I am Lieutenant Rotana. Your commanding officer." He said it so calm; you never would have thought there was a fight a microt before. He took off his helmet and stared me down; waiting. I did what every PK does when in doubt; I came to attention and replied, "yes, sir!"
"You are early, two solar days early. Two things…one, next time change the lock code on your quarters the moment you step in. Two, if you are going to arrive early to a posting, report in the moment you get there." His face was still, his lip barely moved when he spoke. After surveying me he finally lowered the gun.
"Let me introduce you to part of your team. The first one you hit is your second, Sub-Officer Darvo Stranna; the second one is Sergeant Milos Argra, The last one is Sergeant Manas Gelivos, she will have a headache when she wakes up. I guess I’m fortunate not to bring the other two or there would not be any one left to clean this up." He smirked arrogantly, waving at the grumbling troopers as if they were discarded goods.
I hated that smirk from the beginning, but he was the Officer in Charge of the covert ops section and therefore he had my loyalty…for now. I was told that my new Ident-chip was on the table and that I would be pleased with the information on it. I was told to report to him in two solar days, having learned the policy and procedures for the Command Carrier Argus and to know the ship from top to bottom, blindfolded. Normally you are given the fist three solar days after reporting to do this. Well, from this point on I arrived on time -not early- just on time. Oh, I forgot to mention that I was promoted to Lieutenant at that time. That was what I was supposed to be pleased with. Again I was advanced early, but why?
I spent the next few days leaning my way around the Argus; I bumped into the Captain one time during the sleep cycle. "Bumped" was an accurate description; I was reviewing the evacuation procedures for the ship when I went head first into Captain Stalltan. He was not impressed, as I could tell by the hard look in his eyes. He made a comment about "frelling commandos in their frelling black uniforms, like frelling ghosts in the night." He marched on; checking the ship and his crew, as I found out that that was his usual routine. Now I was beginning to understand why they called us "Black Ghosts"; the uniform was a dead give away, but the ghost part, I think that had to do with our uncanny ability to appear one moment and be gone the next.
The next quarter of a cycle was spent waiting for orders, training, going on practice exercises and security sweeps of the Command Carrier and of the other ships in the armada. The most exciting thing that happened was the capture of a Leviathan. Amazing creature, the pilot took some doing to control, but once the control collar was in place all problems were dealt with most efficiently. Other than that, nothing exciting happened.
They say that a commando’s life is a solitary one. Not so, as I socialized with my team in the officer’s lounge. Occasionally I was invited to the Sergeants lounge for a quick meal or a drink. My second, Sub-Officer Stranna was promoted to Officer. We became fast friends, said I hit him harder than a Luxan in a hyper rage, and I told him he was full of dren and he was just a weakling. The banter went on like that forever; at least it seemed like it at the time.
Finally, we received orders for a real mission. I cannot go into too many details, but I can relate the gist of it. We were to set down and subdue a group of Sebaceans who were trying to incite a rebellion on one of our outer colonies. Our job was to stop the rebellion by any means necessary while still maintaining a zero presence status. I had full confidence in my team and the two other teams joining the mission. Little did I know that it would all turn to dren, very fast.
Lieutenant Rotana led the main assault group into position, we all knew our tasks, and my team was to be the sniper section for the mission, a job that would prove to be our calling. We maneuvered into a covering position, providing rear security for the strike teams. In the end, it would not matter. They were waiting for us.
It was almost as if they knew we were coming. The mines that the enemy had hidden on the only approach route killed half of Rotana’s team instantly. Some sort of flame weapon obliterated Lieutenant Ornat’s team; they never had a chance to fire back. In a heartbeat, nine of the best-trained Peacekeepers that I had ever known were killed or wounded. From our position we had a clear shot at the enemy leaders, and I signaled Rotana that we were about to open fire and he should get clear. Like some sort of farbot, he stood up and made himself a target, drawing the enemy out into the open, charging him with weapons blazing. We then picked our targets, and fired; the leaders first, who dropped like Boolite goo, then the rest. It was not a pretty sight, but raw combat never is. We went down to retrieve the injured and dead, under intense hostile fire, but we wanted to leave no one behind. We collected the Ident chips from Ornat’s team and the pitiful little that was left of them. We made it back to the RV point where the Marauders came in and pick us up. Safe. It was a frelling nightmare, someone betrayed us, and I vowed that there would be blood to pay.
We arrived back on the Argus; Captain Stalltan stood there to meet us. The first time I had seen him with a look other than disdain. He was genuinely concerned about his troops, even if they wore "frelling black uniforms". He gathered us around him and told us that there would be retribution, as too many Peacekeepers had died today, and too many good Sebaceans.
"Lieutenant Gratelk is under arrest, for treason. She relayed tactical information to the rebels just after the planning session. I have no doubt that it is her brother that is the leader of this rebellion against the council. They will pay dearly for this"
Gratelk was the Captain’s first officer, how could she have betrayed the Peacekeepers like that. It is something to this day I cannot fathom, she was the most animate about council rule and the will of the council. She was tried and executed in less than 3 arns. Tragic loss for the Sebacean Race as she was a pure blood a descendant from a Named House. That Name ceased to exist that day, as her dishonor meant dishonor for the entire House who all underwent the same –permanent- retribution.
Ten solar days later Lieutenant Rotana was promoted to first officer; which left the position of Head of Covert Operations open. We thought that they would send someone from another squad to take over. I was called to the Captain’s quarters, and was told that I would be named interim Head until I got killed or they found someone better. I was dismissed and as I left Rotana stopped me
"You know that the Job is yours to loose don’t you?" And he walked away.
I took that as a hint that I had the job, but I understood I needed more experience just to keep it.
He was right, as over the next three cycles our section became the most effective in the whole Covert Ops Division, and were thrice decorated by High Command. We were efficient, professional and deadly. Never again did we face the indignity of being ambushed. Almorst killed, often. Overrun, sometimes. Burned alive, nearly. Ambushed…never.
Retribution. That is what we called it, which is what fueled our rage. Our desire was retribution.
Too many of us had died to quell our thirst for revenge, something that was going to happen sooner then later. I personally lead the mission to capture Delat Gratelk, the rebel leader. They were supposedly fighting for Sebacean rights on this tiny rock. They were our own race, but they went against everything we stood for, lived for in this galaxy. Peace, order and co-existence with other life; the Thorn were a peaceful race, who allowed a Sebacean colony on their home world, but when the colonist defiled their sacred grounds they wanted vengeance. They hired the Peacekeepers to keep the peace between the new colonists and themselves. If they only would have listened and entered negotiations with us, then the colonists would have been saved from our retribution. They seceeded from council rule and started a war with the Thorn; a war that we were being paid to stop.
It took all of one arn to locate and extract Delat; we had him aboard the Command Carrier one arn after that. I was hoping to be the one to interrogate him, but that honor fell to the Captain. He made sure that blood paid for blood. Before his execution, Delat made an appeal to the council, he requested that the colonists and their families be able to leave the core systems and go to the Uncharted Territories to live on their own. The council surprisingly agreed, probably knowing that they would not survive out there. The rebels were gone within two solar days, gone never to heard of again, at least that is what we hoped.
LIFE IS GOES ON
After four cycles aboard the Argus, and three as Interim Head, I was finally confirmed as the Official Head of the Covert Operations section for the Regiment. That I thought was best celebrated in the Officer’s Lounge. It was something I did not do on a regular bases, as I felt it best to keep a distance between me and the rest of the Officers, Friendships outside the commandos was a luxury I could not afford. Well, at least that is what I tried to convince myself. If truth were known, I just was not the social type; in my previous life, my life before the Peacekeepers, I was not privy to social events. I gathered those whom I considered my friends and commandeered a section of the lounge. It was a grand sight, the other officers not knowing what to make of us when we entered the lounge. Darvo thought it would be fun to enter as if we were going to arrest someone, which we had on several occasions. Arrested someone in the Mess that is.
"It would be amusing to see if anyone of those Drennits would dren their pants," he was like a child with some candy. "Then you could come in and just sit and we could get dren-faced, and ignore them all."
Somewhat reluctantly I agreed to the plan. Darvo burst though the door, followed by Milos Argra and Manas Gelivos, who were both officers now, and had their own teams too. Under my command the Covert Ops section doubled in size and activities as well. I thought I had seen everything, until I entered the lounge. Most of the other officers had frozen in their tracks all eye on each other, wondering who was the next one for early retirement? I walked over to an empty lounge area and sat down.
"Relax I’m hear to arrest some Phelip Nectar, nothing else" I mused. There was a collective sigh of relief, name-calling and a few bits of food thrown in our general direction. I had to admit I enjoyed that, though I think I would not try that too often, though.
"You guys scared the dren out of most of them, the others did not want to get killed in any crossfire," chirped a woman’s voice from behind Dravo. Manas stood up to challenge the trelk that dared butt her nose into our private time. Then laughed when she saw that it was Darvo’s sister, Arnan.
"Come, sit with us, I hope you have currency little girl" Milos replied, "otherwise sit down and shut the frell up"
"Well if currency is what is required to speak around here, then after our last game you should not be allowed to speak for a cycle frell jak." She smirked sliding down on the couch beside me, Congratulations Pleisar, it is about time it was official."
Arnan was the only non-commando that would be allowed to talk to us in that way, let alone be invited to sit with us. She had the training; she was just waiting for an opening in the teams. That was not the reason we let her sit with us. It was not because she was Darvo’s sister; we did not care. Some of the others had family aboard; they were not invited into the group. Arnan had saved our eemas in a time of crisis.
We were on a joint operation with the Thorn when we were being overrun, it seamed like our happy band of warriors would be breathing our last breath, when suddenly a Marauder appeared out of nowhere, and did a strafing run right in front of our position, that saved our lives. The Marauder landed and we climbed aboard to find out it was Arnan who flew the ship. She had stolen the Marauder and came to get us. I realized that she risked a court martial for her actions, so when we arrived back on the carrier; I immediately went to the Captain and spoke on her behalf. I told him of the situation and how she had ensured success on a really frelled up situation. She was placed on restrictive duty for ten solar days and then returned to her Prowler squadron. That, in our opinion, made her worthy to join us for a drink any time.
Darvo raised his glass. "A toast…to the ‘new’ head of Covert Operations section, Lieutenant Pleisar Sun." There was a chorus of here here’s and congratulations from the lounge, the loudest being from my friends. It was nice to hear the cheers from the other officers, even if they did not mean it. Most of them either envied us or hated us. We wore black, usually no rank insignia, while the regulars wore the red and black of the line units, the black with red trim of the pilots or the green and black of the techs. Who the frell cared, we sure didn’t.
Just then, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen walked into the lounge. I could tell that she was a pilot. Because of the uniform and she went over to the other pilots, they were as finicky about their drinking friends as we were. She looked somewhat familiar; I could have sworn I had seen her before. Then it hit me; she was the one from command school.
I spent most of the night taking currency off my friends and drinking. I kept looking over at this woman, and she at me. There was a kind of connection, I could not explain it but it was there. Maybe it was because I had not recreated in a while, or it was because I felt some attraction to this woman. I stood up, determined that I was going to talk to her, and for the first time in my life I felt fear. I sat back down immediately, the others looking at me with a strange grin on their faces.
"Just stretching my legs, they were starting to cramp." I snapped
"Yeah and I am a Hynerian Royal. You have been looking at her all night. Go and talk to her." Darvo chuckled
"Well your highness, I just might", I replied grinning.
Arnan let out a laugh. "You know Pleisar, I could introduce you, and she is in my squadron"
"Arnan, Pleisar does not need to be intodu-…" Manas started.
"Set it up" I said quickly, too quickly, now that I think about it.
Darvo sat there with his mouth open, trying to speak. It looked as though a fish was trying to breathe out of water. Milos, who was preoccupied in trying to win his currency back, finally realized what was going on, shrugged and looked at Arnan.
"You heard the man, set it up. By the way, you loose Prowler girl, I know Pleisar took your last bit of currency last round, so get us some Fellip Nectar while you are up, and keep it flowing for the rest of the night and you just might get even."
Arnan got up in a huff and went over to the Stewart to set up a credit to be deducted from her pay. Milos laughed, watching her all the way.
Darvo leaned over to me "You know there was a time that I though you would be with Arnan."
"Darvo, she is a good pilot and a valued friend, but I do not see her that way." I replied. "You know that Officer Cobram has put in for a transfer to Prowler Attack School, her appointed mate is there as an instructor. I think she would do a good job, I have endorsed it and forwarded it to the Captain for approval. Before you ask, I have already requested a replacement for her. I have requested that Officer Arnan Stranna be assigned to take over Marauder duty for her. She has the training and well…we all like her."
I have only seen Darvo smile like that once before, it was when he came back from leave on a Sebacean pleasure planet. He knew that she would make it to the teams and also thought] he could look out for her, as he was a very protective brother.
The Lounge Stewart shouted, "Captain on Deck".
The whole mess sprung to attention. The Captain, who rarely went to the lounge, entered, looked around and strode over to our table. He looked me in the eye and said that my transfers for my team have been approved, and tossed me their new ident chips. He turned to leave, paused, and looked at me "You have proven yourself worthy to hold the position you have now. Congratulations Lieutenant Sun, and good fortune to you." With that he left.
"What was that all about?" Arnan asked.
"Well little girl, you have gotten too big for your flightsuit." Milos ducked expecting to be hit, "you will have to go and get a proper one. One that fits, and one that is the right color; I always thought that red on black spoiled the black."
"Arnan, you have been transferred to Covert Operations effectively now." I tossed her identchip at her. She had a smile bigger than a star. She turned to someone who I could not see.
"It looks like someone will be moving up to section leader now that I am elite" Arnan told the mysterious person. "Oh, where are my manners. Lieutenant Pleisar Sun, may I have pleasure in introducing Officer Xana Rotana."
Oh frell, I thought, that must be Rotana’s sister. I must be frelling insane. He was a very private man, who valued his family very much. He had personally seen the squadron leader tried for incompetence when his brother’s squadron was lead into an ambush that a baby could have seen. His brother died because of that, and the squadron leader paid for it. Dearly.
"An honor to meet you, sir" she stood at attention not wanting to make eye contact. I studied her, looking at her beauty. Her hair, her eyes, her body, it was really my pleasure.
"Yes, it is", I replied, regretting it the moment I said it. I got a dirty look from Arnan. "Would you care to join us?" Hoping that would make up for my first blunder.
"If it would be permitted, sir," She replied, still not looking at me.
"It is, and it is Pleisar, Xana," I could feel the surprised eyes of my friends burn in the back of my head for this unbecoming, un-officer-like behaviour.
She finally looked at me with those eyes, eyes that could see right through my rough façade that I put up for the rest of the galaxy. She knew who I was, who I really was; for a moment I was fearful that she would use my real name, the name that I had abandoned all those cycles before.
The others slowly disappeared, off to sleep, or to try and take some currency off the other pilots, who were still in the lounge. I had hoped she and I would have some common things to talk about; and I was glad that we had. During her course in Command school, I found out that she had interest in me, but it was not the time, nor the place to act upon it. She told me that she knew who I really was and that she would keep it a secret just for me. I told her there was a reason that I did not carry that name anymore. She said that the commando tradition of changing their names to protect their families was a noble gesture. I let her think that was the reason.
We spent many nights just talking in the Lounge; we would talk of battles, strategy, typical things that you would expect fellow officers to talk about. I could not talk about much because of the nature of my work. She understood, at least I hope she understood.
"I know why you are called ‘Black Ghosts’, Those black uniforms of course, and the fact that you are here one moment and gone the next. Also you might think we see you, but then we’re not sure." She said one night.
"If you are sure you have seen us, they you will usually be dead within microts," I grinned.
With that we went to my quarters, which soon would become our quarters. We became mates a half cycle later. A source of joy and ultimately a source of pain for me; I would have to wait five cycles to find that out. When my past would finally catch up to me…
On the Edge of the Abyss (Unwanted Sun Part 3)
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
ON THE EDGE
"Can’t this frelling ship go any faster?" I shouted through the comms.
"It is going as fast as it can, we took heavy damage during the escape sir" replied our pilot.
Frell, I wished Arnan was flying this mission, not this one, I didn’t even know his name, I didn’t even care. All I wanted was to get this mission over, and I hoped that the past half cycle spent tracking this piece of dren. I had hoped that it would end the past four cycles of infighting and uncertainty about the future of the Peacekeepers. There was a motion before the Council to make us the sole protectors of the Sebacean way of life. Some doubted our ability handle the entire defense issues; our record spoke for it’s self. There were those that thought we were too powerful, to ruthless in our deployment of violence. Some of them dared to wear a Peacekeeper uniform; they all deserve the fate that awaited our "cargo," a fate that I had hoped to assist in bringing about.
"Fine just get us to the Argus as fast as this tub can go!" snapped Darvo.
I hated having to have my command team out on this mission; Darvo and I would make a perfect target for the opposition. I did not want him to see my form of retribution; he had to stop me from ripping this frell jak apart. I had not been myself since she died, thinking back on it, it made me a better soldier and a better commander. My friends just did not understand what I was going through. I did not go to the Officer’s Lounge anymore, I kept to myself, I rarely talked to Darvo and the rest. I was becoming the model Peacekeeper. It was killing me inside, but I had to heal, I had to get my head on straight.
"I don’t think yelling at the pilot will make this ship go any faster," quipped our cargo.
In a sudden fit of rage I slammed my fist on the wall and lunged at him. I don’t remember much, other than Darvo pulling me off of him. My hands red with his blood, the rage was building me and I would see him pay. The cargo never spoke for the rest of the trip back to the Argus. Darvo just sat there and stared at me, I did not pay too much attention to him…well I did notice the pulse pistol aimed at my knee. We stayed that way for the next five arns.
"Sir, the Argus is hailing us…they want to know if we have secured the cargo?" the pilot broke the tense silence.
"Tell them the cargo is secure and we will be there as soon as possible…what is our ETA?" Asked Darvo.
"I have the carrier in sight now sir, we will aboard in a quarter of an arn"
Our marauder limped aboard the Argus; we were directed to go to gamma bay. The Captain was there to meet us; he had two of my commando teams there as well. It seemed that we were becoming the Captain’s personal security forces, after that incident, we proved our loyalty and I proved mine. We docked and brought out the traitor and threw him to the ground. We then brought out our wounded, I had lost two of my men on this mission, it had better be worth it.
"Is he alive? I wanted him alive!" Snapped the Captain.
"I’m alive…barely," croaked the traitor. He slowly raised his head, his face bruised and swollen.
"Welcome back Lieutenant Rotana." Captain Stalltan’s voice dripped with rage. "I am beginning to think my choices for First Officers are suspect. You are the second I have had the pleasure to execute."
"Maybe it is just you." Rotana murmured.
"Your attempt at wit is not amusing; what is amusing is that the instrument of your death will be the same as that traitor sister of yours. Yes we know about her and you, feeding information to our opponents in the council. You both took an oath to be loyal to the Peacekeepers you will die like she did. It is time to meet your reaper. Lieutenant Sun! It is time to do your duty again. Kill him the way you killed Xana, show him how we treat traitors."
I did not hesitate, I stepped forward pistol drawn, I wanted to get this over with I had other issues to deal with.
"How could you Pleisar?" He cried as he got to his feet, "you killed your mate and the mother of your child. Are you that much of a bastard that you would do that. Does family not mean anything to you?"
"Do not talk to me of family, you now have none, your family is being sought out by our operatives in the core systems. Your fate is theirs! Do not talk to me of a child that I know that it is not mine. I had the DNA checked, it is not mine, and you expected me to understand, to pity her, to show mercy for her betrayal to the Peacekeepers and to me. You are as stupid as you look," I shouted at him. My hand never wavering, my pistol trained at his head.
"So you do have a set, I always wondered if you did" Rotana smirked.
"I am going to love not seeing that smirk any more!" I sneered.
"I’ll be in your dreams big man." He retorted.
"And now you die"
With that I pulled the trigger. It seemed like there was no one else in the hangar, it was just him and I. No one noticed that I had slowly set my pistol to maximum charge; I did not expect the back of his head to explode when the pulse exited his head. He jerked backwards and made a very satisfying thud as he hit the deck. I came back to reality and looked around, the wall and the nearby marauder was coated with a red stick film. Everyone was in shock, they had not expected my outburst, they certainly did not expect to see his head explode.
"Sorry about the mess" I said nonchalantly. I tossed my pistol to Darvo, looked at the Captain, saluted and walked out of the hangar.
"Flush this mess out of an air lock." Captain Torvo Stallton said with glee as he left the hangar.
I told the Captain that I would be taking some of my accumulated leave. I had to deal with the question of the child. It deserved a life, a life that would be better than the one I could provide. It’s traitor of a mother dead and its father had an "accident" sending him into the Living Death. I though of a solution that would be best to all concerned. I contacted the head of the Sun house, I asked that since they were gracious enough to let me use their name, could they look after the child; raise it as one of their own. They agreed, and two solar days later it was off to a new life. To this day I do not know what became of it, nor do I really care.
I gathered my friends together, all of my dearest and closest friends. Darvo, Manas, Milos and Arnan stood in my quarters and wondered why I had called them here.
"As you know, you are my closest friends, we have been there for each other when we needed it, even we didn’t know we need it. When I return from leave I will be taking the First Officer’s position on the new carrier being commissioned. The Zelbinian." I was not even looking at them.
"Congratulations Pleisar, we will miss you." Was all they could muster to say.
"You will receive orders in the next few days, obey them. I will try to get you assigned to the Zelbinian, but I cannot promise anything. I have to report to High Command after my leave, then to the Captain of the Zelbinian. I have recorded these messages for you. If you have not heard from me in a quarter of a cycle, then watch them. Not before, promise me that." They nodded. "Remember follow orders and be loyal to the Peacekeepers first, then to each other."
With that I picked up my gear and headed out the door. Within an arn I was aboard a transport back to the core system. Back to my past, though I did not know it yet. I had only thought about getting through leave. I needed the time alone, time to collect my thoughts, time to come to terms with what I had done. I gave a child a chance not to have the life that was given to me, that gave me hope, but did it? In the end I decided that the best thing to do was become detached, become more of the soldier I knew I had to be. So after only using 3 days of my leave I boarded a transport and headed to High Command. I was not reporting early, they said to arrive when my leave was done. If I did that I would not have to report for a full cycle.
I hate Leviathans; they have an air of doom about them. Maybe it is because they are mainly used for prisoner transports, or maybe it is because they have a strange odor. At least I think they do. I guess I should have felt luck that there were no prisoners aboard, at times I wished that there was, I could vent some frustrations on some lesser life forms. I actually enjoyed getting information that was not relevant to our line of questioning. It prolonged the experience. I never use think that way, but now it was a problem, not to me, but to my friends it was. The trip seamed to take forever; I ate with the other officers in the centre chamber, but mainly stayed in my quarters for the duration of the trip.
When I arrived at High Command I was awe struck by the shear size of the command facility. It looked like it was only on level, but it had twenty sub levels including quarters for all the staff. To say it was impressive would have been an understatement. I went to the duty desk and reported in, I was immediately directed to Fleet Admiral Colnek’s office. Oh Frell, what have I done now? I had proven my loyalty by serving as executioner to the traitors; well at least I thought I had. I was told that I would have to wait the Admiral was a meeting and it would not be long.
Fleet Admiral Roxa Colnek, was a full captain in the Planetary Defense Forces, she was their senior most Captain too. It took everyone by surprise that she left for the Peacekeepers. I had heard that she was not the first choice to be Fleet Admiral, but she was the right choice. Her opponents had a habit of disappearing or having accidents. She was not one to double cross; she had three of her aids executed for passing on information without her consent. I wondered if I was to suffer the same fate of those poor bastards. I guess I would have to wait to find out. It would not be long turned into 3 arns, I just sat there and stared at the wall, it was the only thing I could do.
"Lieutenant…The Admiral will see you now. You can go right in." Her aide said
Finally I thought. I walked into the office stood to attention saluted and gave the appropriate greeting. "Lieutenant Pleisar Sun reporting as ordered"
"Welcome Lieutenant, please have a seat." She smiled and pointed to a group of chars off to the side of her office. We walked over and sat down. "Can I offer you some refreshment?" she asked, still smiling.
"No Sir, I’m fine thank you," I answered.
"I did not ask about your frelling health, would you like a drink Lieutenant?" the smile left her face.
"Sorry sir, I miss heard the question, I would love to have something if it not an inconvenience." I quickly replied.
"It is not, I hope you like citrus water, we are after all still on duty" she smiled again pouring the drinks. "Pleisar, may I call you Pleisar?"
"I would be honored." I replied, in fact she could call me a dentic if she wanted too. Why was she smiling so much? I was starting to feel uncomfortable.
"I have called you here for a reason Pleisar. You have proven to be loyal to the Peacekeepers time and time again. I have been following your career with some interest. I have been impressed and so has the rest of High Command. Captain Stallton speaks very highly of you, and he is not one to give praise. Your recent actions in the Rotana incidents indicate to us that your true loyalties lie with us and to no others save your friends."
I was wondering what all this was about. I knew that there were some following my career and some guiding it, was the Admiral the one?
"What do you know of the current political situation?" She asked.
"I know that there is a motion before the Council, that would make the Peacekeepers the sole military force for the Sebacean people. There are those that feel we would just take over the government if this was allowed to happen." I answered in a knowing tone.
"Some of what you have said is true, some a little misguided. The truth is that some in the Council do not like that we sell our services to lesser races that cannot manage their own affairs. They feel that we should just defend Sebaceans and no others. They are also not willing to pay for our services so that we can encourage new recruits and offer better training. They feel that the existing Planetary Defense Forces would do a better job." Her smile faded with the last statement. "That mission you were on when half your team was killed in an ambush, would it surprise you to know that the Scarans had a hand with that? Would it surprise you to know that they have some influence on members of the Council? They do not want to see us expand our powers and expand our forces either."
It was all starting to make sense now. I some how knew that there had to be outside influences on the Council. I thought it stupid that they would not want the best military in the galaxy to defend them. The Planetary Defense Forces were a joke. They let anyone in, they did not have the training we had or the ability to adapt as we did. Peacekeepers are a shining example of what it is to be Sebacean; they only have to look at our record to see that. This still did not explain why I was brought back to High Command.
"You are probably wondering how you fit into this…Well you have been brought here to head up a security detail. You will be protecting a councilor who is our biggest supporter. You will have a five-man team. Officer Strana has been assigned to handle all flights and to act as pilot. Your other three will come from my personal guard. They are above treason, I have seen to that."
Well Arnan is moving up in the world if she is on this detail. At lease I would have one competent person on the team. The question remained, who was I to protect and from whom was I protecting them. The answer to that question would shake the very foundations of my life.
"The councilor is on his way here now, he is with Officer Strana."
With that the door opened, in walked Arnan, she saluted and then smiled at me. The person that walked in next was the last person I expected to see. I was almost in shock, but my training took over and I stood at attention and waited.
"Councilor Grezya, I would like to introduce you to your knew head of security Lieutenant Pleisar Sun" The Admiral smiled as she handled the introduction.
He looked at me like he knew me, yet he was uncertain, there was something he was not sure of. I ended the awkward silence.
Sun Rise, Sun Set (Part 4)
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world
START OF SOMETHING
There was a long awkward silence, which seemed to go on for arns. I looked at the man that stood before me. He seemed to be taken back by my revelation. The councilor looked me over, as if he was inspecting a piece of furniture at auction. It almost seemed like he was looking into my very core. He still had the same neutral expression on his face I remembered from my youth. Finally the silence was broken, but not by whom you would have thought.
"Well isn’t this charming. I hate to brake up this family reunion, but it this the best you Peacekeepers could provide? I would not let him guard the man who shovels the dren after the Maxillian Blater day parade. I’ve seen better at a PDF recruitment centre."
Enter the brother or the Whelp as my father’s servants often referred to him as.
"How dare you-" started Arnan, only to be cut off by Admiral Colnek.
"I assure you that the Lieutenant is the best, his record speaks for it’s self. If he wasn’t, I would not have assigned him." She paused, "Perhaps a demonstration is in order?"
The whole room tensed. I quickly made eye contact with Arnan and the two Peacekeepers that had come in with the Whelp. With a few minute head gestures and on small hand flick disguised as fixing my uniform, all of them understood what was about to happen. The Admiral stepped back two paces sensing what was about to happen.
"Fine, when will this be sched-" the whelp squealed as Arnan swept his legs, sending him to the floor.
At the same time the two guards moved the Councilor to a safe area shielding him. I pounced onto the Whelp, my knife drawn and at his throat, my pulse pistol against his head. I could feel him start to shake in fear. Fear that years of torment were coming back at him tenfold. I leaned forward and whispered to him.
"I noticed that you walk with a slight pull to your left side. Is the pistol you have there that heavy for your weak body to carry?"
I holstered my pistol; he flinched as I applied pressure to the knife. I slowly reached into his jacket and pulled out the Pulse Pistol and threw it across the floor. I resumed my talk to him.
"It is becoming a habit of mine to kill those I consider family, and I am getting very good at it. I could say that you brought the weapon to kill the councilor out of jealousy or you were power hungry or you are just a traitor. Before you say how could I get away with it, I know how to plant evidence, I have in the past and I won’t hesitate to do it with you. If you cross me I will have retribution. Do you understand me?"
He nodded ever so slightly, he eyes wide with fear. I stood up and sheathed my knife, kicking him once for good measure, "remember our conversation, brother "
"You have done well for your self. You have the look of your mother"
I turned around to see the councilor standing behind me with a smile on his face.
"I would not know, having never known her." I replied coldly
I heard a thud, I quickly turned to see Arnan standing by the Whelp, he was on his back again, and she had a grin on her face.
"I just tried to help him up and he slip on his own waste" she snickered
I looked down and saw that the drennit has wet his trousers. His face was turning red with embarrassment, I thought about killing him then and there to put him out of his and my misery, but that would have been the easy way out. I would see him suffer, the way I suffered.
The Admiral directed us towards the briefing room, where we would discuss the plans for the next few solar days. We found out that the Vote was to be in four solar days, and the Councilor and his entourage were staying at High Command in the diplomat’s quarters. There security would be the responsibility of the Admiral’s guards while they were inside; my team would be responsible for all matters outside the command building. We would accompany him to a pro-Peacekeeper rally the night before the Vote and to the council chambers for the vote. It was agreed that we would be in uniform for all events. That way all would-be assassins would know whom they are dealing with, or more importantly they would know who would be killing them.
The Admiral approached me after the meeting, she mentioned that there was a loose end to deal with. She mentioned that the chief opponent in the council was Councilor Ginka Rotana, Xana’s uncle. If he were to attend the vote, it would be too close to call. I knew what I had to do. I had to tie up the loose ends, in order to ensure victory for the Peacekeepers. I asked Arnan to arrange for quarters for me and I left the command centre. I made an appointment to see the councilor, I think he though I was going to change sides, he obviously had not heard of my role in the deaths of his niece and nephew.
I entered his lavish office decorated with ornate light-globes and art pieces and impressive looking chalices; I was checked for weapons, they found none or so they thought. I have yet to meet anyone who checks between the shoulder blades. Their first mistake; that is where I hid a small knife. The guards left us alone, mistake number two. The Councilor spoke to me like a kindred spirit in that polished, decadent tone he must have used to woo and charm the locals. I thought I would puke. He spoke of the evils of the Peacekeepers and how they would bring down the Sebacean race. I wanted to kill him right then and there, but I needed to dispose of the guards first. That was easy, I feigned a salute and drew my hidden knife, stabbing the councilor in his hand, he reeled back in fright, screaming for the guards while clutching his bleeding hand. I stood and took position by the door and killed the rushing guards with a quick jab to the base of the skull and a circle-kick to the neck of another. They were dead before they hit the ground.
I could smell the fear in the air. Councilor Rotana knew he was going to die. Even so he started to beg for his life, it was pathetic.
"Please! I’m not... I didn’t... I’m a loyal servant! I have... I have many items of value I can give you! Spare my life! I have friends... I have powerfull friends that will reward you with riches!" He nursed his bleeding hand while he started to back away from me, until he hit the far wall. His eyes were shooting left and right, desperately looking for a way out. The only way out was the door behind my back, which was now "guarded" by two corpses.
I told him that it was not wise to cross the Peacekeepers and that, rest assured, that his family would soon be joining him. I slowly moved towards him, intent on finishing this quickly. The Councilor started screaming and running along the walls, frantically throwing his trinkets and valuables at me. A single jab ended his misery. I was unwilling to spent any more effort on this piece of dren. I left his body on his ornate desk and as I left tossed a fire grenade, that would keep anyone from entering the room for a while. I left as quickly as I could, and returned to the Command Centre.
SHOW OF FORCE
I checked in with the duty officer and was given my quarters assignment, I had hoped Arnan had done her duty and got me good quarters. Passed Admiral Colnek on the way, we made eye contact, I nodded and walked on. With that she smiled, she knew that the loose ends were secured. Once again I had done my duty. I entered my quarters, and I was surprised to see that it was a double room. I hadn’t had to share quarters since my cadet days. What was I to expect, there were higher ranking officers around that had to double up. I noticed my bags were already unpacked and my dress uniform was prepared.
"I hope you don’t mind, I had us quartered together?"
I spun around to find Arnan standing there in her full dress uniform. Something was different about her that I could not place.
"You missed Admiral Chod ‘s reception, he was a little disappointed that you were not there. I told him that you were out walking the route to the Council Chambers and planing contingency routes." She looked concerned.
"Thank you, I had a... personal matter to deal with." You could have cut steel with the tone of my voice.
"So it’s done? We can finally forget about that traitorous family?" She asked sheepishly.
"Justice has been served," I replied. But I will never forget. I thought.
I looked up to see her smile, as I said before she did seemed different, more confident, more mature, more like a grown woman. She was no longer the young pilot that saved our eemas so many cycles before. She looked like a true Sebacean warrior, and then it dawned on me, she wore Lieutenant’s insignia.
"Congratulations Arnan, it is about time you got promoted" I beamed at her, I was positively overjoyed with her good fortune. "It’s about time they promoted the best pilot I ever flew with."
"Thanks Pleisar, that means a lot coming from you. I guess we can celebrate tonight at the dinner Admiral Cholak is holding for your father…I mean the Councilor." It was the first time I had seen her flinch. I could tell she regretted making that comment.
"He ceased to be my father cycles ago, he supports the Peacekeepers so he has, at least for now, my respect," I said somberly. "Frell! What time is that dinner?"
I looked down at my stained uniform and the blood on my hands, I realized that I was exhausted from my excursion that day.
"Relax Pleisar, you have a little over four arns. You have time to clean up and have a rest. I’ll finish prepping your uniform. Did you bring your medals? The higher ups always like to see the accomplishments of their soldiers. Especially those who have the received both Star of Courage and the Order of Sellar."
I was so tired that I was not going to argue. She knew how I hated wearing medals. To this day I believe that they are just a symbol that you survived and that your friends didn’t.
"Yes they are in my document case. What would I do without you Arnan?" I said as I wearily trudged to the shower.
"I often wonder the same thing Pleisar." She replied with a smile.
I had to stop for a moment; I looked back to see her smiling at me. I was too tired to say anything I just went to have my shower and to clean up. When I finished, Arnan was gone; I lied down and slept until the alarm went off for me to wake up. I dressed and went to the reception or dinner what ever the frell it was. It was your typical political dinner, lots of speeches and toasts and idle conversation. I was completely frelling bored. Arnan kept me company though out the dinner. It was nice to have her there it was almost comforting in a way. She even stayed when the Councilor came to tell me that he was impressed by my career and that he was proud of me. Too little, too late. For the most part we kept to our selves, and to the rest of the Peacekeepers.
About two arns into the dinner, I thought I saw a flash, a small glint of light. I looked again, this time Arnan saw it.
"Did you…" I started
"See that?" She finished.
"Weapon?" I asked, paused "It is, lets go"
I tapped my coms twice, that was the code; the guards knew what to do. Arnan quickly moved to the councilor, and I went towards the source of my concern. I lost sight of it for a microt, then I reacquired my target, and the fool brought a knife to a gunfight. I raised my pistol and fired just as the assassin raised the knife to strike. He screamed as the pulse charge hit him. There was silence, then I saw who it was. It was the Whelp, my brother. He was struggling to stand, he go to his knees.
"You Peacekeeper bastards…you will ruin our way of life, and end our existence. I spit on all your houses." He sputtered as he stood defiantly. He turned to face the councilor, "How could you side with these butchers father."
"You are no longer my son, traitor." He answered sharply.
He screamed something intelligible, and lunged at me. I did not even remember seeing who shot him, I just remember the thud as he hit the ground. I looked around to see several soldiers enter and point their rifles at the councilor. Admiral Colnek approached him.
"Do we still have your vote councilor?"
"You do and you will have enough votes to win as well." He answered all the time staring at the body of his son.
With that the Admiral waved her hand, the soldiers lowered their weapons and pulled the body away.
"I think that this function is over." Arnan smirked.
The next few solar days were uneventful. The Rally went as planed. I thought it would get out of hand when the PDF showed up, but nothing happened. The vote was not even close. Without Rotana, the opposition crumbled, our opponents could not afford to vote against us. It was agreed that in two solar days from the vote the Peacekeepers would assume all defense responsibilities from the PDF. It was an impressive show of force when it happened. One hundred thousand Peacekeeper soldiers from five command carriers landed and took over from forty thousand PDF. Only the invasion of the Turok sector cycles later could rival the shear scale of troop movement and logistical planning that this took. I was proud to be a Peacekeeper that day.
A NEW ENEMY
With my assignment done, was looking forward to going to the Zelbinion. I was ready for the next phase in my career. I was looking forward to serving as a first officer. The Zelbinion was just commissioned, and it was bigger than the rest of the carriers in the fleet. I went to the Command building to see if I could have my report date pushed forward. I arrived to see command in an organized panic. I was immediately met by one of Fleet Admiral Colnek’s aids, and I was escorted to her office. I was confused as to what was going on, no body would tell me. Something was wrong, very wrong.
I was ushered into her office, I saw the Admiral surrounded by aids and the other Admirals, and they looked concerned and worried.
"Ah, you are here good." She paused to read a report. "The Argus was attacked by an alien attack force. Captain Stallton is dead, along about a quarter of the crew. Lieutenant Darvo Strana is acting commanding officer. I believe he replaced you in covert ops section."
I was taken back by this information. Captain Stallton was my hero, the one Peacekeeper that I strove to be like.
"You are to go the fleet yards at Cholar IV, where you will await the Argus," She tossed me a new ident chip. " You will assume command and you will have as much time as you need to get the Argus re-crewed and operational. Do you understand me Captain Sun?"
"Yes Admiral" I stammered. I paused as to ask a question. I knew better. I saluted and left her office. There was an aid ready to take me by stores for my new uniforms and kit. I was pleased that the new Fleet Captain’s uniforms were black with red trim, similar to the pilot and commando’s uniforms. I was pleased to see that only those captains who commanded ships that did not hold post would still wear the red and black uniforms. I never liked those uniforms.
After being outfitted I headed to the spaceport. Much to my displeasure, I found out that I would have to take a Leviathan again. Due to the new situation, all other troop vessels were being sent to the outer colonies to re-enforce our troops there. I went to the Officer’s Lounge where I found Arnan waiting.
"It is good to see you again sir!" She said as she snapped to attention. I noticed the whole Officer’s lounge was at attention.
"At Ease everyone…Thank you Arnan, but cut out the ‘Sir’ dren" I said with a grin.
"I can very well call you Pleisar, it would not be appropriate, Sir"
"Well you can call me Pleisar when we are talking in private, how does that sound?" I responded. I enjoyed this verbal sparing with her.
"As you wish, Sir" she giggled.
"I suppose you will be travelling with me on the Leviathan back to the Fleet yards?" I inquired.
"Yes I am, and I have already arranged your quarters with the First Officer. I think you will be pleased."
"I don’t suppose we will be quartered together again?" I think I sounded too hopeful at the time.
She shook her head and looked at the ground. "You will be in the Senior Officer’s quarters. You and the ship’s Captain have the only two rooms. I will be in one of the other rooms on the Officer’s tier."
"That’s a pity, for I am growing accustom to having you around all the time," I looked straight at her.
She seemed to blush; I remember it because it was the first time I had ever seen her blush. "I have too Pleisar, I have too."
We looked at each other for a microt, then the First Officer announced that the Leviathan was boarding. It would be a short journey to the fleet yards. It would take only five solar days to get there. Then I would wait until the Argus limped into the yards. I would start my new command, one that would elevate me to the status I hold today. I would rebuild a ship, a crew, and little did I know at the time…My life.