by Brenna Singman
Lau's heart thundered in his chest, and his face burned as if shoved beneath the jets of his warships. He looked out from the boarding platform where hundreds of soldiers were fueling and boarding their vessels. Those of Troy-Primus had too significant a head start as it was. The Spartans of Sparta-Minor-minor only by name-would not have their honor sullied amidst the galaxy.
"Your majesty-" said a man in a black flight suit with a wing medallion, but Lau held his hand up, noted his crooked glove, adjusted it.
"Board. We lift off in T-minus five minutes. Our Queen returns before the sun wanes tomorrow."
"Yes, your majesty!" The pilot saluted and jogged to the lift.
Down the line of ships in the docking stations, the moon coated the silver and white metal hulls in a dull gray light until each one fizzled into pixelated spots that immediately vanished from sight. Lau nodded and stepped into his ship with the ringing of his black boots on metal to precede him.
The cloaked ships launched into the air, their king in the lead, and broke past Sparta Minor's atmosphere. Wrapped in the depths and darkness of space, Lau's eyes never left the map. Their machines sent out the matching frequencies to monitor their own ships, but Sparta was proud to hold the envy of the galaxy for their cloaking methods. As others attempted to rival their technology, Sparta's power only grew.
It was a wonder how the Trojans could have infiltrated their planet let alone the castle.
Before long, a pilot alerted King Lau of an enemy ship spotted only to immediately redact her statement. Lau punched his hand and spat. "A sentry. Mocking our abilities. Prepare for combat! Spread to Beta formation and watch for flanks!"
His military skills served him well. Soon a fleet of ships appeared, all bearing the sigil of Troy-Primus-a long extinct twig with hand-sized leaves and an olive resting beside it. Lau was unfazed. They could mimic all they wanted, but King Lau's skill left an ocean of now visible metal debris in his wake. Still, it wouldn't do to lose any more ships of their own lest something unknown await them at Troy-Primus.
"Your majesty," the pilot spoke again, "I have a communication. It's from Queen Helen."
Lau rose from his seat and stormed towards the comms screen. "Play it!"
"It's not a message, your majesty. Simply a beacon. She's given us her coordinates. Not at Troy, but an orbiting docking station under Trojan rule. How shall we proceed?"
Lau took a look at the station where the gem of Sparta awaited. The Trojan ships must have needed to stop before completing the journey home with their ill-gotten gains. All the better for Lau. He had more than enough ships to overcome a pathetic docking station's defenses. Thus Lau set his plan into motion.
The ships left their military formation and spread into a calculated, but seemingly sporadic force, clustered to look like small sentries. Then they activated their secondary cloaking devices. The sleek silver and white ships flickered back into view only to quickly pixelate. Each bright square turned into the cool blue-gray of the Trojan army. Lau twisted his black glove and straightened out the cape of a Trojan captain as the fleets approached the docking station. Swarms of enemy ships passed each fleet and a stream of reports reached Lau's ship.
"Requesting docking access code," spoke a computerized voice. Each officer reported the same requests. Lau withdrew a device that could run through a number of serial codes akin to what Trojan's had used in the past.
Lau saw it too. The comms screen began reading off multiple series of numbers. It was from Helen's comm device. He blessed his brilliant wife and gave these numbers to his fleet. An affirmative filtered through the speakers, and the ships landed. With a hacked map of the station, the soldiers infiltrated, created a diversion of mayhem, and King Lau slipped inside the main building in search of his queen.
The station wasn't meant to be large, simply enough for standard servicing, but Lau scoffed at the limited guard presence within. Following Helen's beacon was easy enough. It led to a large inner warehouse where rows of ships rested for more serious maintenance.
"Helen!" Lau called out as he snaked through the rows. Before his second echo, he felt a sharp, burning pain in his right side, the familiar strike of a bolt. He dropped to the ground, laying still, face pressed to the cold steel floor. Footsteps approached, and his fingers quietly dug for the blaster in his opposite holster, a small, almost undetectable pistol blaster, a gift from his queen.
"Minor King, you've lost," said the man in a white flight suit with golden scales. He wore a silver circlet of a king above his tanned brow. The Trojan king Paris jauntily flipped his blaster in the air and caught it again. Behind Paris, through a crack in a maintenance door behind a row of dented or cracked ships, sapphire eyes held Lau's. A twist of golden hair fell around the pale beauty's face. Her plump red lips were crimped into a frown unfitting of her features.
With a sharp twist, Lau swept his leg under King Paris' boots, knocking him to the floor. He leapt to his feet, kicked the pistol away and aimed his gun at Paris. "You stole my queen."
Paris spat at Lau's face. "She came to me willingly. To a true king."
In a moment of confusion, Lau felt two more pelting bolts strike his chest, tearing through the suit and his flesh. His last sight was a petite arm, fingers curled around the trigger of a pistol. Her eyes stared him down as he dropped into oblivion, still frowning, her comm still beeping that she was there, beside him, but so far away. An entire kingdom, an entire world away.