by R. Frink
An epic tale of 5 soldiers involved in a war between humanity and a powerful alien race.
Chapter III: To Free a Phoenix
Hero’s Legend – Hangar
“So, what do you think?”
A young woman with messy red hair and a stocky body looked up at Alverdine with awe struck eyes. “This is amazing. I’ve never seen such a well crafted machine.”
“Do you think you’ll be able to handle them, Tech?”
Tech took a second look at the six new Dragoon units and smiled. “Absolutely, this is my domain, after all.”
Alverdine smiled. “That’s good to hear, but if you need any help with the maintenance and repair I’ll have Data send you any information you require.”
“Thanks, but what about the other two–”
“Those shall remain out of service for now. No need to pull out the big guns yet.”
“Understood, ma’am,” Tech replied. She raised her hand into a salute before turning away to tend to the mechs. General Alverdine heard footsteps from behind and turned around to see Kyros leading 5 people. She gave Kyros a quick nod of approval before focusing her gaze upon the men and women standing before her. Her eyes locked on each one of them before speaking.
“Congratulations, you elite have been selected to become the Dragoon Special Forces. Because you are the elite, I will expect nothing less than perfection. The UEF is expecting us to make some ripples in this war. We’re going to give them waves. Are we on the same page?”
“Yes, ma’am!” The pilots answered in unison.
Purgatory – Lieutenant Elteo’s Quarters
Elteo leaned back in his chair, scowl painted on his face. In front of him was a desk and video communicator similar to the one in Ice’s room. On display was a Taetren female possessing midnight blue hair tied back into a long braid and tanned skin. Within her dark eyes were several light blue rings that added to her great beauty.
“Ice is a ridiculous excuse for a commander,” Elteo vented in the Taetren language. “He’s too naive and young. He’s nothing more than a human child! He’s even taken some kind of fondness for that prisoner.”
“Don’t be so quick to judge, Dehall. It’s been many years since he’s been exposed to his own kind. Let him have his fun.” The woman narrowed her eyes, a sly, yet proud smile formed on her lips. “Don’t forget. Like you, he is one of my students and on the battlefield he is a warrior.”
“I know that, Chosa! But why was he chosen? What do the Elders see in him? Why did they choose a human to lead Purgatory?” Elteo asked, slamming his fist against the desk.
“Silence, Dehall! You know better to speak to your Chosa in such a manner. It is unwise to question the decisions of the Elders. It will only bring you misfortune. Find your place under Ice’s command and bite your tongue. Remember, although human, he is your brother warrior,” Chosa told him. Elteo lowered his head at her words.
“I’m sorry for showing such disrespect to you; I shall follow your advice,” Elteo apologized, his voice sincere.
“Good, let this be the end of it.”
Purgatory – Ice’s Quarters
“How can you pilot a mech without being able to see,” Phoenix questioned his captor, one blonde eyebrow raised.
Ice smiled. “Curious, are we? Well, if you moved away from your little corner and faced me, I’d be more inclined to answer your question.”
Phoenix rolled his eyes and stood up, standing nearly eye to eye with Ice. “So…”
“Taetren technology is far more advanced than humanity’s and they have made accommodations for me in my machine.” Phoenix waited for a moment to see if Ice would expand on his answer. Receiving only silence, Phoenix sighed. His green gaze spotted a large glass window near the bed and walked over to it. His fingers gently touched the smooth surface as he admired the beautiful view of Earth.
“Oh yeah,” Phoenix spoke. “What’s your name?”
“I go by Ice. And yours?” Ice replied as he joined Phoenix near the window.
“Earth is beautiful, isn’t it?” Ice commented, his voice soft. Phoenix turned to face him and gave him a strange look.
“I’ve been told this room has a nice view of it whenever we’re near,” Ice finished.
“Oh,” Phoenix muttered as his eyes returned to view of Earth. “Hey, Ice. Why are you on the Taetren's side?”
“I owe them a very large debt.”
Hero’s Legend – Bridge
A view of space stretched nearly around the room and coming from the ceiling were several holograms providing information about the ship and its surroundings. In the center, were two chairs reserved for Alverdine and Kyros and in front was a panel of personnel working at various screens. Situated on either side of the general’s chairs were shorter panels of personnel keeping track of the Dragoon units’ status and pilot vitals.
“We have a problem,” Fawn announced as she turned away from the screen she was sitting in front of.
“What is it?” Alverdine inquired, standing from her seat.
“We’ve reached the end of the particle trail and the sensors aren’t picking up anything in the area,” Fawn explained.
“He couldn’t have just disappeared! Check it again,” Data demanded from his place at right side panel.
Fawn narrowed her eyes. “I did. Three times. There’s nothing out there.”
“Damn it! I’m not going to give up. We just need another way of finding him,” Data cursed, slamming his fist into the nearest wall. A sympathetic look washed over General Kyros’ face as he went to place a comforting hand on Data’s shoulder.
“No one said anything about giving up. And if you’re going to be any use in helping us finding your brother, you are going to have to calm down,” Alverdine explained. She motioned for Kyros to return to her side which he did obediently. In his ear she whispered, “I sense something, someone strong, someone familiar.”
Kyros moved his lips to mouth, “Who?”
“I don’t know, but it gives me an idea,” Alverdine whispered. She turned to face Data and Fawn. “My gut tells me we’re closer to Phoenix than we thought.”
Purgatory – Ice’s Quarters
“How long will I have to stay here?” Phoenix inquired, leaning against the glass window.
“I don’t really know the answer to that question,” Ice answered. He tilted his head to the side and turned in Phoenix’s general direction. “Is there someone waiting for you?”
“Well, yeah,” Phoenix stated rather bluntly. “My brother is and I hate keeping him waiting.”
“Oh, and why –” A loud alarm interrupted Ice’s response blaring throughout the ship. Promptly, he returned to his desk to retrieve his cane. “It seems that I must attend to something. Want to accompany me?”
“Um, sure,” the blonde pilot replied as he followed Ice out of the room.
Purgatory – Bridge
“What’s the situation?” Ice asked as he made his way to the Commander’s chair with Phoenix right behind him. Much of the bridge crew was already in their assigned positions awaiting their leader’s command.
“We’ve received a voice message from an unknown craft,” one of the subordinates informed before giving Phoenix a strange glance. Elteo entered the bridge, letting out an audible scoff when he noticed Phoenix standing next to Ice.
“Play the message,” Ice commanded.
“Yes, sir,” the crew member replied.
“Attention unknown vessel, please release your prisoner, codename Phoenix, and we will enter a temporary ceasefire,” the message said in a woman’s voice. Phoenix’s green eyes widened at the voice.
“Fawn…” he whispered to himself. He turned to face Ice to see no discernable expression on the man’s face.
“Commander, we have video of enemy mech and a battleship. They’re about 10 miles in the northeast direction,” another crewmember spoke. “Both the mech and battleship are not in our database.”
Ice placed his chin between his fingers as he contemplated his next move. “Uezabi, prepare a reconnaissance program,” Ice instructed before turning his head slightly over his shoulder to face Elteo. “Lieutenant, engage the enemy in your Wraith.”
Elteo studied his commanding officer’s face for a moment. “Yes, sir,” he replied sending one last glare at Phoenix, as he left the bridge. A soft sigh escaped Phoenix’s lips, feeling his chances of freedom slipping away.
Hero’s Legend – Bridge
“General Alverdine, there’s an enemy assailant coming fast from the west!” a woman in front panel informed.
“Do we have video?” Alverdine responded.
“Yes, ma’am, uploading live video stream to center overhead.” The hologram in the center changed to show a grey and black mech speeding towards them, armed with a long silver sword and a rifle.
“It’s a Wraith model, but this one looks customized,” Faith commented.
“It doesn’t look like they’re fulfilling our request,” Data stated. “Are you sure my brother is even on that ship?”
Alverdine’s eyes narrowed, concentrating on the enemy battleship. She let out a short gasp before smiling. Kyros turned to face her curiously at the small noise. Her mahogany gaze found his and she placed a hand on his shoulder.
“I understand now. It’s a test…” Alverdine uttered more to herself than anyone else. She pressed a small blue button on the armrest of her seat. A hologram video became rendered in front of her face showing the pilot of the Dragoon unit on standby. “Fiammetta, keep the Wraith away from the ship and no more. Do not destroy it unless you have to.”
“Yes, ma’am. Dragoon Unit One engaging enemy pilot,” a young woman replied. Curly auburn hair peeked out her helmet as her slim form leaned forward. The controls in the Unit One were identical in Cronus, she slid her hands over the spherical blue orb controls forward and her machine began to accelerate forward.
Sector 2 – Zone 2
Upon seeing his enemy, Elteo readied his sword, a bright blue layer of energy engulfing the sharp steel. Never losing speed, he pulled the sword back and struck unidentified suit. The enemy displayed competent reflexes and blocked the attack with the shield equipped in the robot’s left hand. Elteo increased his speed in an attempt to overpower his enemy and break the defense. However, the white and blue machine kept its guard up, the shield only gaining minor damages. Elteo pulled his Wraith back and switched his weapon to his rifle, keeping his distance until the process completed.
Fiammetta dodged the onslaught of lasers, finding the Unit One much more nimble than the previous mechs she had piloted. Her heart fluttered, feeling the satisfaction of having a machine that could keep up with her reflexes. Finally, she found an opening in her enemy’s gunfire. With haste, she equipped her medium length sword and moved to strike. Her weapon met with metal of the Wraith’s as the enemy had quickly switched back seeing her attack. In one quick motion, the Wraith broke through her attack, leaving the Unit One wide open. The dark colored machine moved the blade for a horizontal strike. The sword only tasted empty space as Fiammetta powered up the thruster to thrust her machine downward and behind the Wraith. As the enemy Wraith turned around to face her, Fiammetta brought her blade downward slicing off the Wraith’s arm.
A voice interjected just before Elteo grabbed his rifle with his remaining left arm. “That’s enough,” Ice’s voice thundered over the communications.
“I will release the prisoner in exchange for a temporary cease fire.” After hearing the man’s voice, Fiammetta lowered her weapon and contacted General Alverdine.
“Your orders, General?”
“Comply with cease fire and await the retrieval of the prisoner,” Alverdine ordered.
“Are you sure this is legit?”
“Something tells me they’re not going to try anything. But if something goes sour I have Lucius and Meri on standby to back you up.”
Two fists slammed hard against the console of Wraith. “You coward! Why were you so quick to give in to their demands?” Elteo screamed, his voice burning with rage.
“I have what I needed from that battle and I see no reason in keeping the prisoner,” Ice replied calmly.
“I could have defeated and captured that machine if you had given me the chance! Then, we could have gained mountains of knowledge of their machine,” Elteo retorted.
“Fine, next time, I’ll just let you die,” Ice replied coldly. The lieutenant ground his teeth, glaring at the video image of his blind commander. “Return immediately.”
Purgatory – Hangar
Phoenix found himself being led through the ship until he and Ice made it to the hangar. Gently, Ice took hold of his wrist; helping him onto a lift that rose up to the cockpit of Phoenix’s damaged Komodo.
“This will make the journey,” Ice told him as he opened the cockpit. Phoenix moved to jump inside but hesitated.
“Um…thank you, for everything. I don’t think I ever said it,” Phoenix muttered causing Ice to chuckle.
“Continue getting strong and improving your skills and your debt to me will be repaid, Phoenix,” Ice stated. Phoenix got into the Komodo and took one final look of Ice.
“I…guess this is goodbye,” Phoenix spoke finding his voice again.
“Until we meet again.”