by R. Frink
An epic tale of 5 soldiers involved in a war between humanity and a powerful alien race.
Chapter IV: Brothers and Secrets
Hero’s Legend – Hangar
“Phoenix!” Data called as he saw his brother emerge from the battered Komodo cockpit. A bright smile came to the young pilot’s face when he noticed the familiar face.
“Data!” Phoenix yelled as he stepped onto the lift that lowered him onto the ground. Data wasted no time pulling his younger brother into a tight embrace. Phoenix sunk into his brother’s protective circle, closing his eyes for a moment, enjoying the comforting warmth. The moment passed and Data pulled away, yet kept him at arm’s length. Tenderly, he brushed back several blonde locks away from the younger man’s face as he stared into Phoenix’s green eyes.
“Are you okay?” Data asked, his eyes wavering with both relief and worry. Phoenix quickly nodded, wanting to dispel Data’s fears.
“I’m fine,” Phoenix answered. He turned from his brother to see Fawn standing behind him.
“You had us a bit worried,” Fawn stated. Phoenix stepped away from his brother to hug her. Her arms circled around his back to give him a quick squeeze. “It’s good to have you back.”
When the hug ended, she took hold of his hand. “Come on, General Alverdine wishes to see you.”
Phoenix kept his eyes on her as he was lead away, seeing the change in her instantly. “You cut your hair. It looks pretty,” he commented.
Fawn smiled back at him. “Thanks.”
Hero’s Legend – Alverdine’s Office
Fawn, Phoenix and Data entered the small room. It was practical with white walls and a desk in the back with a computer and a hologram screen. Alverdine sat behind her desk with Kyros standing next to her. As the trio approached her, she stood to greet them.
“So,” Alverdine began. “I finally get to meet the last member of my team.” Her mahogany gaze studied his features. She walked around the desk and held out her hand. “Congratulations for making the cut, but like I said to the others, I expect your best.”
Phoenix shook her hand before saluting. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Your possessions are already in your quarters, I’m sure your brother can take you there. Your room number is 205,” Alverdine explained.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Phoenix replied before turning to his brother.
“Amethyst, remain here, I need to talk to you,” Alverdine commanded as Fawn moved to follow Data and Phoenix. She waited until the two men left the room before approaching her friend.
“What is it?” she asked curiously. Alverdine smiled and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“It’s nothing. I just get the feeling that those two need some alone time,” Alverdine explained. The dark skinned woman closed one eye into a wink. “Woman’s intuition.”
Raising one eyebrow, Fawn let out a short laugh. “Is that what you’re calling it these days?”
“Kyros and I have been advised to keep certain…things about ourselves secret,” Alverdine explained.
“I see,” Fawn replied.
“Enough about that. Tell me about yours and Data’s plans for Joshua.”
Purgatory – Ice’s Office
“We need to talk,” Ice started, his chin resting against his hand.
“I figured as much since you called me up here,” Elteo replied his tone laced with exasperation.
“Let’s get this out in the open. Your attitude towards me is unacceptable. I am your commanding officer. I expect you to respect my authority and follow my orders,” Ice retorted.
“I understand, sir,” the Taetren lieutenant responded with a hint of bitterness.
“No, you don’t. If you did, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Be honest, what is your problem with me?”
Elteo stared into unseeing eyes, not sure exactly how to respond. The words of his Chosa rang softly in his mind. He watched his commanding officer sigh when given no answer.
“Listen, Elteo. We have been called back to Kozar to go over the new information acquired in the last battle and to receive our next mission. We’ll probably be there for a couple of days.” Ice paused to let the information soak in. “If you want to transfer onto another ship, now would be the time.”
Hero’s Legend – Phoenix’s Quarters
Phoenix found that his quarters were about the same size as a college dorm room when he stepped in. A small cot sat against the upper left corner with a small table and chair across from it. Located between the bed and table was a small, empty closet were his possessions were left next to.
“Not bad,” Phoenix murmured.
“You had me really worried,” Data told him, his voice low. Two sets of green eyes found each other. Phoenix’s lips formed into a small smile.
“I’m alright, really. I’m not a little kid anymore so you don’t have to worry so much,” Phoenix replied.
“That doesn’t stop me from worrying.” Once more, the young pilot became nestled comfortably within Data’s embrace. He felt his older brother rest his chin on top of his messy tresses, a soft sigh escaping his lips. “Tell me what happened out there.”
Phoenix’s slender hands gripped the material of Data’s lab coat. “My transport ship was attacked and I was the only pilot so I went out to help. I managed to get 2 Specter models, but this weird mech I’ve never seen before captured me. When I came to, I was on the enemy battleship and these Taetren soldiers took me out of my cell and into this room. They were going to torture me, but the commander of the ship rescued me. But, he was…human.”
“Human? A traitor?”
Phoenix pulled away just enough to look his brother in the eyes. “No, he was kind to me. He didn’t seem like the traitor type.”
“Still, a human fighting for the Taetrens, I didn’t even know that they accepted humans into their forces like that.”
“He was blind, too. He said he owed them a debt,” Phoenix continued. “Anyways, he let me go after the fight was over.”
“You’re all I have, Phoenix. For your old brother’s sake, try to stray away from the heroics next time.”
“That’s not true, you have Fawn too,” Phoenix pointed out.
“And if anything happened to either of you, I wouldn’t know what to do,” Data replied. He let his lips brush briefly against Phoenix’s forehead. “I love you both so much.”
“Stop being so mushy,” the younger man complained. Data chuckled and let go of his brother.
“Just don’t overdo it, okay?”
“Alright, big brother.”
“Good,” Data said with a smile as he patted Phoenix on the head, causing the younger brother to purse his lips into a pout. “I want to show you something.”
Hero’s Legend – Hangar
“It’s called Kedalion,” Data began, directing Phoenix’s attention towards the sixth Dragoon unit within the Hero’s Legend's hangar. With wide eyes, he gawked at the magnificent machine painted with the colors of fire. “Like Cronus, it’s been customized to the style of a specific pilot.”
“This is…for me?” Phoenix managed to ask, his voice breathy with shock.
“Yes. Kedalion has lighter armor so you won’t be able to take as much damage. However, knowing you, there’s not an enemy out there that’ll be able to touch you with this machine. The lighter armor and slender frame allows it to be the fastest of the Dragoon units. It’s equipped with four daggers, so you’ll be able to get in close fast and dispatch your enemy. In addition, the right arm has a gun hidden inside to satisfy any long range needs. You’ll be fighting in a team, so you’ll probably stick to what you’re best at.”
“I…thank you, Evelyn,” Phoenix uttered.
“Enjoying the view?” a new feminine voice said. A red-headed woman stepped from behind Kedalion’s leg, wrench in hand. “The name’s Tech. This is quite a beast of a mech, isn’t it?”
“Yes, because of my genius brother here,” Phoenix responded. Tech turned her attention towards the older blonde.
“Hey, you must be Data,” she beamed. She held out her gloved hand. “A pleasure.”
“Yes,” Data replied, smiling at the stocky woman as he shook her hand. “Tech, I hear you’re one of the best mechanics around.”
“Why thank you. I take pride in my work.”
“It’s good to know that the Dragoons are in capable hands. I’ll do my best to continue to improve them,” he told her.
“And I’ll do my best to keep them well maintained,” she responded, giving him the thumbs up.
“Ah, I see you’ve met Tech,” another feminine voice said from behind. The small group turned to see Alverdine, Kyros, and Fawn approaching them.
“Data, Joshua has completed its preparations. We should leave soon,” Fawn informed her fiancé.
“I understand,” Data replied. He briefly faced Tech one more. “It was nice meeting you.”
“Like wise. Have a safe trip,” Tech spoke as she waved goodbye, retreating back to inspecting the Dragoon units.
Data turned towards his brother, a solemn look on his face. “Remember, be good for your brother, okay?”
“I will,” Phoenix responded. Data placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently. As he moved towards Fawn, his eyes fell upon the two generals of the Hero’s Legend.
“He’s in your hands now, take care of him,” Data stated. He received a slow nod from Kyros and a reassuring smile from Alverdine.
With a bright smile on her face, Fawn waved goodbye to Phoenix. “Stay safe!”
“Don’t worry, Sis.” A tinge of forlornness fell over the young man’s features as he watched his family leave him. The gentle weight of a hand on his shoulder freed him of his thoughts. His head turned towards the touch to see Alverdine standing next to him.
“Report to the cafeteria at 0600 tomorrow for breakfast. Training begins at 0630,” she informed.
Phoenix raised a blonde eyebrow. “Training?”
“You’ll see,” Alverdine replied with a small smirk on her face as she and Kyros began to return to Alverdine’s office.
Hero’s Legend – Alverdine’s Office
As the door closed behind them, Alverdine let out a heavy sigh. She reached to the back of her neck and pulled on the bun until her raven locks fell over her strong shoulders. She settled heavily into her chair, and stretched her legs, letting her feet rest on the surface of the desk.
“I almost didn’t believe it,” she remarked, bringing her sharp gaze to Kyros’ beautiful face. “Just when we have a shot at a normal life, we get dragged into another war.”
Her companion said nothing, but she could tell from his violet eyes he had similar thoughts. She held out her arms and beckoned him to come closer. “Please, I haven’t touched you in so long.”
His formed a smile and obeyed her command. When only inches away from the desk, he leaned into her welcoming arms. She placed a hand on either side of his face and took his lips with hers. Her eyes closed, savoring his taste, savoring the feel of his skin on hers. A soft moan escaped her lips when the kiss ended. Her hands remained on his smooth cheeks, her passionate gaze searing into his.
“I don’t like pretending,” Alverdine declared. “That you’re only my comrade, that you’re only my brother in arms.”
Kyros watched her sympathetically, thin eyebrows drawing together, feeling her pain. He raised his hand to caress her jaw with a slow ease. With his other hand, he pried a hand away from his face and brought his lips to her fingers.
“Soon,” he mouthed. Alverdine smiled at the sweet gesture, but a beeping noise interrupted the moment.
“It’s a call from Lunar Orbit,” Alverdine stated as she adjusted herself so that she was sitting properly in her chair. Kyros walked around the desk to see the image of General Connal appear on the holographic screen of the computer.
“I have a new mission for the Hero’s Legend.”