We had walked out of the room and into a wide white hallway. It was a vast ship filled with a very soothing ambiance. Strange as it might sound, it was like a relaxing mood was surging all throughout the carrier. Purple and red lighting covered the bridge just ahead, as white and green lighting surged through the hallways. The ship was very sleek and almost alien looking; it was quite a change from Rayden’s very industrial atmosphere.
Even Arcoh’s crusader armada had a very dark and industrial feeling to their quarters and ships. This ship was truly a work of art, truly beautiful, and absolutely deadly at the same time.
“I see the Remoran insignia all over the place.”
“Collin, you’re so attentive to detail. This fleet belongs to those who protect and guard Remora from outsiders.”
“A fleet from the moons?”
“Just like your Raydenites. I imagine you’ll get along with them just fine, kid.”
Virgil rushed down the vibrant hallway helping me along the way before we reached a door and walked straight through it—that led us to the bridge. It was almost like the door was an optical illusion.
We phased through the transparent door and entered a large room that contained many soldiers dressed in white and blue jumpsuits. Many of them were sitting idly at their stations quickly relaying orders and typing in commands on their holoscreen displays. In the front of the room below the main section of the bridge stood a large holographic spherical projection. This “Command Sphere” contained the placement of all the Remoran fleet ships on both Rayden and Minerva.
I saw a man with dark green combat armor, wearing four gold stars on his shoulder plates, standing at the helm of this sphere. He was very calmly giving commands to the officers around him while constantly referring to the sphere. Before I could ask Virgil who the man was, a woman dressed in a blue officer uniform quickly inquired the nature of my presence. “Captain Virgil! Why is Collin King on my bridge? He needs to be brought to the sick bay immediately.”
“Admiral, my orders were to bring him to the Good Commander immediately after we successfully completed the exfil op.”
“Look! He has vomit all over this weird jumpsuit he’s got on. Do you need a better reason? You want to carry this kid around, letting him weigh you down?”
I have to admit I definitely did not think much of Fleet Admiral Victoria Andrews the first time I laid my eyes on her. I looked to her as I used to look at all women, but that was probably because she was very beautiful. With her long red hair, her gleaming blue eyes, she definitely was not hard to look at. I had a hard time believing that this precious flower could control anything; but I would soon learn that she was no precious flower.
Victoria Andrews had a fiery personality and an explosive temper. I still say she always plays hard to get. By that, I meant that she was the kind of woman that would beat the hell out of a man four times her size for thinking he could get a piece of that “sweet ass.” Yeah, she was certainly scary. She was a natural born leader, and after I tried to hit on her, I began to think twice about my respect towards women, especially Remoran women.
I had pushed Virgil away from me, and my legs shook with instability. I tried to prove to the lady admiral that I was most certainly capable of standing on my own two feet. It was my pride that drove me, because it was all I had left, at least that I knew of.
“Who says he has to carry me anywhere, sweetheart?”
“Don’t fool yourself, you idiot. You’ll collapse at any minute. Now why don’t you take yourself to the infirmary before you fall on my clean floor? This is a place for commanders and soldiers, not gravball punks.”
I stepped forward and shouted at her angrily.
“Listen here, sweetheart, I don’t know who the hell you think you are! But—”
She had no tolerance for being talked back at and immediately punched me in the face sending me flying back onto the floor, and I laughed as I wiped the blood from my mouth.
“Damn, beautiful and packs a punch. I bet you’re quite a handful in the bedroom.”
She lunged towards me and knocked me to the ground; she then mounted me and pressed her forearm up against my throat. “You listen here, dipshit! If we are going to have the displeasure of your company throughout our expedition, you need to know one thing about me. I have zero tolerance for men too immature to take orders from a woman.”
I smiled at her with blood-covered teeth. She didn’t understand that I hated authority, I always have and I always will, so I decided I would treat her as an equal rather than a superior.
“Hit me again. I get off on that sort of thing.” She punched me and Virgil restrained her as the crew around me giggled. Then the man in the green combat armor stepped forward and outstretched his hand to me. I accepted his gesture and he helped me to my feet as Virgil caught me, shouting out to the crew of the bridge. “All right, y’all, show’s over. Back to your stations.”
“Mr. King, you would do well not to upset Fleet Admiral Andrews here. She has slight temperament problems.” I blew a kiss to her as she shook her head. She forcibly made her way down the stairs of the bridge, pushing others out of her way simply with her brooding presence, and made her way back to the command sphere.
Normally with my smartass attitude I would have said something clever to this man; but a strange feeling of propriety and respect came over me. I think that I was more curious than anything.
“I should thank you for saving my life, mister?” He smiled at me with a look of appreciation. “Commander Mark Wyman, supreme commanding officer of the Remoran expeditionary unit. And the lovely lady you just met is my second in command, fleet admiral Victoria Andrews.”
Victoria looked to me over from the command sphere and shouted to me.
“That’s ma’am, or Admiral Andrews to you, Collin!”
I sarcastically saluted the lady admiral as she glared at me from below and continued to observe the command sphere. “Collin, my admiral raises a good point—you should go to the sick bay immediately. God only knows what they have put you through.”
My smiled ceased and I turned serious. That moment may have been the one chance I could have gotten closure for the atrocities Arcoh committed against my people. I wanted to see them destroy Arcoh and his crusade with my own eyes so I responded respectively to Commander Wyman in the hopes that he would understand my pain.
“Commander Wyman, please understand, I have to see this.”
Mark turned to Virgil and after a short silence between them Virgil spoke out in defense for me. “The kid has been witness to the unimaginable horrors that the crusaders force upon their captives. That being said, he could provide some valuable insight on the enemy’s position, and the tactics they plan on using against us.”
Mark was a very noble man, in fact he was known as the Good Commander; he earned this name by the fierce loyalty the entire Remoran Protectorate holds for him, the greatest leader of our time. He had dark skin, looked forty years of age, but he took the genome over five hundred years ago, from this came his wisdom. He stood tall with clean posture. It was a stance that really spoke for his character.
I rarely took a liking to people I had met in a few moments but something about him really stood out to me, and I felt obliged. “Very well, Mr. King, join us at the Command sphere.” Admiral Victoria spoke out as we walked around the circular platform of the bridge down the spiral steps. “Sir, this is ludicrous.”
“Admiral, ordinary people avoid risks, and extraordinary people use them to their advantage.”
Mark placed his hand on the giant spherical projection and rotated the display using his hand. He selected Minerva and zoomed in on the extraction point using his fingers. “Where is the research and development facility you were being held at?”
Virgil stepped up and pointed towards the large octagonal building; it, along with its yard, covered more area than almost every other structure other than the planet’s main star port. “Right here, sir.”
“Okay, we’ll send three companies of men, two to clear the perimeter and one to breach. All while we provide sufficient cover fire from here.”
I gave my input to them as the plan was about to be set in motion.
“We don’t have time for that. Arcoh will plan his escape at any second.”
Mark’s eyes opened wide and slowly turned towards Virgil, and Victoria placed her hand on my shoulder. She seemed shocked at what I had just revealed to them. Apparently they had no idea. “Arcoh is here?” I looked towards Victoria and nodded.
“Yes, and if we don’t do something he will escape.”
“Captain Virgil? Why wasn’t I aware of this vital intel?”
“My apologies, Commander. Arcoh is very hard to get close to; I was unaware until he took the bag off Collin’s head.”
I referred back to the command sphere and I pointed towards the giant open bay doors in the research facility’s concrete yard.
“See those? That’s where all of the remaining ships are about fifty kilometers underground. I would fire everything you have down that rabbit hole.”
Mark nodded to me and began to head back up the stairs to the command center. “All right, battle stations, everyone! We might be able to end this war today. Captain Horace, send relay coordinates of this facility to the fleet and rain down hell on it. Tell our forces on the ground to divide and conquer the remaining crusader territories and to stay far away from the research facility.”