Author: Komi Y. Tsuku PM
All Lenna ever wanted to do was make it as a captain of her starfighter squadron. However, her dreams slip into danger when her path crosses the destructive path of Anton Rogers. Will his shady goals and dealings destroy her or will she find the truth?Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 8 - Words: 19,925 - Reviews: 6 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 12-16-08 - Published: 09-28-08 - id: 2577783
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Nightmare's Beginning
After they had finished their purchases, Yoi was full of life, and Takato seemed to be at peace with his new camera. After a suggestion from Yoi, everyone had agreed that it was time for lunch. Of course, getting everyone to decide on what kind of food was proving to be next to impossible...
"Ever try Minoan?"
"You have the mentality of a little kid, Zealeuos."
"How about we try some of that orange pudding, dear Tsuku?"
"I like food."
"We know Anton..." Sora said through clenched teeth. "What kind is the question."
"The eatable kind."
Lenna glanced over to Takato and Yoi, both were distracted with their own thoughts, who were being better behaved than the important officers.
"Kind of sad, isn't it?"
Takato put down his camera. "They're people, too. Just because they are important doesn't mean that they can't be a little loose sometimes. Doesn't mean that they should be this loose..."
"Why do you have to be so mean? Why can't people be who they are?" asked Yoi in a sad, little tone.
"Because they lead an entire nation of planets?"
"Both of you place too much importance on your ranks and titles," Yoi replied sadly. There seemed to be genuine sadness in Yoi's emerald eyes as she watched the four people argue. "We are all equal in the eyes of life and death."
"I hate that stupid elven mystic stuff, Yoi, and you know it," Takato barked back. Lenna wanted to smack the entire group of people alongside the head. Even back on Earth, surviving off of scraps and anything they could scavenge, Tari and Karen had never fought this badly.
"If it isn't Anton and the fool platoon!" a voice from a doorstep called out. The fighting stopped and everyone looked over to the Lupedian restaurant where a middle aged man wearing a black suit stood chuckling at them.
"Is that you, Naru?"
"Boy have you gotten fat!" Sora proclaimed.
The husky man let out another small chuckled before beckoning them to come inside. Lenna got swept up in the movement and found herself inside a small restaurant with pictures and items from all over the galaxy. Gold, silver, diamonds... it was a collector's paradise of beautiful gems and scenery.
"Well you know Anton, Sora, and Zealeuos. I'll introduce you to the additions to the platoon. Finches, meet former Raltin Breval, captain of intelligence in our force, Naru Iter."
"Raltin," Takato hissed. "How do you know such scum, sir?"
The husky man let out a small, exhausted sigh before Tsuku stepped in again. "We worked together a few years ago when our missions got tangled up. Been rather good friends ever since. Remember that a soldier's job is to end wars, and that doesn't have to be through bloodshed," he said to the hostile Takato.
"So, Naru, the rude one is Lieutenant Takato Hakawa, the half-elf is Flight Officer Yoi Mono and the tense one is-"
"Lenna Edeck, well I'll be. My God, it's been nearly fourteen years since I've seen you. Remember? We went skiing together in Colodra! You kept falling on your butt, but you never did quit did you? You made your mom proud that day."
Director Tsuku raised a curious look as Lenna stumbled for words. "I... I don't remember."
"Ahhh... That's okay," he said with a toothy grin. "Still, never expected the daughter of that woman to end up wearing a Katajion uniform." At that remark, Sora followed suit with Tsuku's curious look. Lenna's face turned bright red. She was on trial for things that she really had no memory about. "Sit down, sit down. You all make me nervous when you stand. Old habit. I'll go get the cook making some grub for you."
There was a small clatter as everyone pulled out a chair and took a seat. Everyone but Anton, who sat at a nearby table. He pulled out a small paper notepad and proceeded to start scratching away at it. Lenna was again confused why someone as rich as him would bother using such an ancient method as that when he could just use a datapad that had an infinitely bigger memory. Such an odd person.
As she turned back to the conversation at her table, she was rather glad to hear it was about the new holovideo "Spirit Wave" instead of what that man had said about her. Yet, Sora still kept sneaking glances at her, studying as if she might recognize something about her from her past. Lenna was fine with scrutiny, she had to deal with it all the time when she was living on the street. No one trusted a street bum but she had really hoped that in the Space Force she might be able to get away from it. Maybe it would pass with time...
"Lenna," Yoi whispered as she leaned over. Lenna could tell right away from the tone that it had to relate to someone she would rather forget about.
"Not now, Yoi. I don't want to hear how nice Anton was for buying that for you," she whispered back.
Yoi looked a bit confused at the response. "I didn't want to ask you about that. Why is Anton all the way over there? Does he not want to sit next to me?" she asked in a hushed whisper. Lenna had to hold back the question of just how naive Yoi was but she felt that she couldn't. She looked over at her elven friend and, there Yoi sat, but something seemed different. The perky, childish, overactive girl was gone and someone new was sitting there. An actual matured woman who seemed to be hurt and down about how life was treating her. Had she always been there, hidden behind a mask?
"No, he's just wanting a little time to do some writing," she said quietly, holding back her true feelings from her friend. She just couldn't do that to Yoi. Yoi didn't have any friends outside the destroyed squadron and never talked about her family. Lenna tried to hold back a sniffle as she thought of what it would do to her if Yoi called Karen a prostitute or something like she knew Anton was.
The light in Yoi's green eyes seemed to spark and she brushed her green hair out of her eyes. "So why are we sitting over here? He can't get any time to himself! No way!" she said in a suddenly perky and sarcastic tone. Komi laughed at the excitement and raised a small glass of water off of the table.
"Pester away. Anton the Misanthropist could always use some more reality checks."
"The what?" she replied with a cocked eyebrow.
"Person-hater. He's a regular basketcase!" Zealeuos said with a laugh. It struck a laugh out of the other Directors.
"Oh?" Yoi asked, even more confused. She stood up and started to move over.
"Wait," Lenna interjected. There was no way would she leave her friend in the clutches of Anton. "I'll go with you."
A small, irritated sigh rose up out the seat across from her."Can't let my squadmates do it by themselves. They'll bother him too much if I don't watch them."
"That's good," Sora said smugly. "We were going to kick you three out so we could talk with Naru privately anyway." Sora waved her hand in a relaxed manner. "No, Lenna, we weren't going to talk about you."
"Mind your rank, Captain Edeck. Some conversations, no matter how much we like you, need to be private and for your superiors only. Mind your rank."
Lenna felt herself being tugged and she followed Yoi, with Takato trailing behind. Yoi crept up as quietly as she could and stood behind him like a predator coiling for the strike. Her arm leaned down slowly...slowly...slowly...
"Nice try," Anton muttered as he flipped the notebook shut and stuffed back into his pocket. "My brothers were much better at it than you. You need some practice." Yoi stomped her foot and snagged the pen in Anton's hand.
"Fine then. I'll just keep this until you let us sit down."
"I was never stopping you," he said, motioning to a metal stool next to him. She handed him the pen back and took the seat while Takato and Lenna grabbed seats on the other side.
"So what can I do for you?" he asked curiously. Naru stopped by with a plate of wheat crackers and some sort of meat past in a fine china bowl before heading back over to the Directors.
"I feel like I'm at the table for little kids," Lenna giggled.
"Ewww... I hate this meat stuff," Yoi said as she snagged a cracker. "I don't mind meat but there are limits!"
"Do elves often eat meat?" Takato asked as he layered a cracker with meat.
"Sometimes. Wasting life for a pointless purpose is horrible though."
"Excuse me," Anton said a bit more forcefully. "Can I help you?"
"I think the last time I had any meat at home was two years ago. It was for the coming of age for one of the most talented fighters in the Trilani Training Corps."
"Did he use a bow and arrow or a long sword."
"Neither, which made him such a fighter. He used throwing knifes."
"Excuse me," Anton said rather angrily. "What do you want?"
"Wow. You really are a basketcase," Yoi joked, though Anton's face seemed to contort with more rage.
"If you three just came over to insult me, go."
"We didn't mean..." Yoi stumbled. "I just... Sorry."
Anton sighed and grabbed for a cracker. "If you didn't mean it, I suppose I don't care. Just watch what you say."
"What did she say that upset you?" Lenna tried to ask it as neutral as possible, trying not to upset Anton any further.
"I hate being called a basketcase, though it normally doesn't regard my social skills," he replied, not giving Lenna the answer she wanted. "Now, what do you three really want?"
"I wanted to thank you for your gift."
"You did already."
"You didn't tell me how I could repay you."
"I did, and you stopped crushing my ribcage."
Yoi looked stunned for a moment before slamming her fist down on the table. "Fine! We came over because you looked lonely," she snapped. Anton just gave her a smile before spreading a little bit of meat paste on his cracker.
"Then just go with the truth from the start. This isn't some board meeting," he mocked. "I'm fine by myself. Don't worry about me." Yoi shot him a look that clear said "Yeah, right." but Anton just kept smiling. "Though I don't mind the company."
"Anton, you never did tell me what rank you are and what your job in the KDF is."
"I know. Your point is?"
Lenna took a deep breath before trying to get some sort of better answer out of him. "My point is that I really want to know. Could you tell me?"
"My rank is-"
"Naru, we need to know more! Tell me now!" Director Tsuku roared from the other table. All of the people were standing up and there seemed to be a deadly, cold look on Sora's face.
"Lives hang on it. Tell us everything. Now," Sora said, completely emotionless. The husky man took a few steps back from the two officers' interrogation.
"I'm telling it sounds like an internal rebellion. That's all I know. I'm not in the service anymore!"
"Anton, get those three out of here. This is not something they need to hear." Zealeuos spoke dryly.
Without much complaint from the three lower officers, Anton quickly herded them out the door.
The three sat on the cold, hard cement of the stairs in front of the restaurant as Anton headed back inside.
"What was that about?" Takato groaned.
"Something about an internal rebellion," Lenna said. The mystery was getting deeper and deeper. Anton's dirty dealings, rumors she had heard at Downtime two nights ago that the KDF was picking up so many new recruits, and just little things that she had been picking up on. A feeling of immense pride flooded through her as she commended herself for being clever enough to pick up on the plot. Ideas quickly ran through her head before she realized she needed to get deeper if she was going to crack it. If she could, there was no way anyone would ever call her a street bum again. Fame, fortune, rank, and everything she had vowed to Tari was within her grasp, but she would have to be very careful. Something like this would be very dangerous... Maybe she would be better off staying out of it.
"Captain Ede...Lenna... I need to tell you something."
"Yes, Takato?" she asked, distracted with watching Yoi balance on the handrail.
"I never said... Sorry about Kirk. I still hate his guts and say he's a bad fit for you, but I'm sorry for your loss."
"Kirk was a stuck-up jerk who put too much value on himself, but the galaxy was a lot safer with him in the cockpit. He was a talented pilot, I'll give him that."
"Are you even listening to me?" he asked.
"No, I'm sorry. What did you say?" she said, snapping back to reality.
"Ugh. Never mind." he said. Picking himself up off of the ground, he stared down the emptying street. "Forget it, Edeck."
"No, tell me!"
The door behind them slammed open, causing Yoi to stumble and fall into a trashcan on the other side. Anton came storming out of the door at dead run.
"Anton! Where are you going?" Yoi called as she pulled herself out of the can.
"Back to the van!" he yelled without turning his head.
Lenna's head shifted to the side where the other four were storming out of the building. A look of fear mixed with irritation ran through Komi's face.
"Sir? What's going on?"
"Are you deaf?" Sora nearly yelled. "Look! Listen."
For the first moment in nearly a day, Yoi was silent and listening to the environment. Her face quickly shifted from curiosity to seriousness. "The land. I can hear something in the distance but nothing from nature. Danger."
Takato scanned the street and a frown overtook his face as something in his head clicked. "Everyone isn't in just a hurry. Looks like their fleeing from something. The way Anton ran off towards."
Lenna thought the details out carefully but quickly in her head. "Why would Anton be stupid enough to run into a disaster? Does he want to die?"
"Anton is heading back for that box you kept complaining on the way here was bumping up against your leg," Sora said with a sigh. "But you all were correct about the rest. We had a few hints of a gang war in the city that was on the brink of a full-scale conflict but they were labeled as rumors. I guess I messed up pretty bad."
"The Empire has been planning something with them for a while. I just wasn't sure what," Naru said. He was wearing body armor and holding a modified assault rifle, maybe a Valmet.
"It's getting closer," Yoi cried fearfully. Tsuku stuck his hand into his coat and pulled out a medium caliber laser pistol.
"Sir, I thought they stripped all officers of weapons when off-duty," Takato pointed out. Tsuku laughed at the response and tossed the gun to Director Zealeuos before pulling out another one. "And where do you keep pulling them out of?"
"My coat is one of a kind. Sensor proof, armored, and stocked full of weapons of every kind. I never leave home without a gun of some kind. I ain't some kind of block-headed Ry'ullian from up north!"
"What about Director Doichu?" he asked.
She looked at him with a sadistic smile before letting loose a lightning-fast kick right in front of his head.
"I don't need a weapon. I am one."
"Where is our damn security team?" Komi asked to no one in particular. He scanned the street with a slightly fearful look. "Three directors and not a single security agent? Maybe the crackpot is right about someone trying to off us... again."
Sora sighed. "Ya think? I normally can't go to the bathroom without three bodyguards hiding in the next stall," she growled. "We can't let her take a shit on her own! The former infiltration operative can't protect herself! The toilet might eat her!"
"It's getting louder!" Yoi stressed. She kept glancing the way that the ever growing noise and now billowing gray smoke was coming from, the way that Anton had ran. "He's going to get himself killed, I have to help him!" she yelled and when flying down the path into the city that Anton had taken.
"Officer Mono!" Tsuku blared out, but she payed him no heed. "Get back here! That is an order!" A grimace overtook his face as she disappeared out of sight.
"Forget her, Komi. Zealeuos, we need a clear path to the nearest police station. Let's move."
Lenna watched with a heightened sense of fear as the group prepared to go. "Yoi..." she said quietly. "Takato! Protect the Directors! I'm going after Yoi!" she cried. Takato gave her a sharp salute and she charged off the same way that the other two had.
"Captain Edeck!" she could hear Director Tsuku yell after her. Any other time she would have done everything to the letter but this time... She couldn't let Yoi get herself killed. Whatever happened afterwards would be moot if she couldn't do a simple thing like keep her friends alive.