Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1 - Cover

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 35: The Dark Dragon Lord’s Heir

As I studied the strange behaviors of these amazing artificial lifeforms I had created, some of my researchers began acting erratically. They said they were, ‘spooked’ I think is the term they used. They made references to myths from Ancient Earth. Something called Zombies. Ridiculous nonsense. Still, it led me to consider something. I had heard that at the height of their power millions of years ago, the Vampires had once created legions of the undead to serve them. These legions had never been confirmed according to historical records, and the Vampires that lived in our current era at the fringes of space certainly never displayed this ability, but the stories persisted. Vampires were part of the DNA sequence after all. Had I endowed my creations with the ability to transcend death itself?

Tork was bushed. After fighting for so long, he figured he had earned a little rest. As soon as he saw his friends, he intended to do just that. He missed Torsha so much. He just couldn’t wait to see her again.

“Tork, did you hear me?” said Commander Zax.

Tork, who had been dozing off as he leaned against the wall of the dropship, jumped to his feet, coming to attention as he gave Commander Zax a respectful salute. “Apologies, sir. Please continue.”

Commander Zax, sitting on the opposite end of the compartment of red metal plating with his helmet off, said, “I was just saying that after you meet up with your team at the Tipsy Gnome, we’ll need a day or so to make sure you all are fit before we can get you a ship to join in the search for your teammates.”

Tork nodded, feeling every muscle cry out for mercy as he forced himself to remain standing.

“I would, of course, prefer it if Squad 99 stayed until we’ve completely secured Nirvana, but given the circumstances, I can understand your team’s eagerness to find your friends. And you’re about to pass out, aren’t you?”

Tork nodded stiffly.

Zax grinned. “At ease, Second. Sit down before you fall down.”

Tork fell back in his seat with a sigh, his tail hanging out at his side to lounge near his feet. Sitting was always difficult with his wings, but so long as he kept them in mind, they didn’t pose much of a problem. He could even use them like a cushion when he bunched them all up behind his back.

Zax folded his hands in front of himself as his arms rested on his elbows. “Listen, Tork. You did good today. Every member of Squad 99 performed their duties admirably. Even though everything didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped, I admit that the enemy was better prepared than we gave them credit for. If not for your team’s plan, a lot more Elementals would’ve died taking this station. You have my gratitude.”

Tork drew in a deep breath of awe as Zax stood up and proffered his hand.

“It would be my honor to fight alongside you any day.”

Under normal circumstances, Tork might start rambling in embarrassment. But instead, he simply said, “I assure you, the honor is mine, sir.”

And they shook as brothers in arms. It reminded Tork of the old stories of heroism and glory. Perhaps the universe might see days such as those again thanks to people like Commander Zax and his friends on Squad 99.

Tork felt a slight jostling sensation as the vessel came in for a landing. The door at the end of the cabin flung open, letting light in the dimly lit ship. Tork heard the familiar noises and smells of Karma-1 as people buzzed outside. He heard familiar voices intermingling there as well. The voices of his friends. The voice of Torsha.

Zax took a step back to look out the opening. “If you need any help getting up to go see them, feel free to let me-”

Tork didn’t hear the rest as he dashed from his seat, using his wings to propel him forward at the speed of thought. In an instant, he glided out the door and landed outside to the bustling streets of Karma-1.

“Torsha! Everybody!” he shouted.

There she was looking as beautiful as ever in her golden fur. She was there with a group of pirates conversing with Rachel, James, Kormal, and Nazz. Mozar lay in a medical tube looking grumpy and worn with multiple wounds that had yet to heal, but Tork was relieved to see even him as well. He wished to know where Leon was, and he supposed Leon’s new friend Lucille, but he heard that Leon was okay, so he wasn’t too worried.

Torsha, along with Rachel, laughed in relief when they saw him. Kormal gave a respectful nod. Mozar just gave a grumpy huff.

Then Torsha ran for him, her arms outstretched. “Tork, my honey bunny!”

“Torsha, my ginger snap!”

As they ran for each other, someone else beat Torsha to Tork and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. “Tork, you magnificent Drake, you!” said Shaya jubilantly as she began kissing Tork on his cheek and neck.

Tork, flabbergasted and more than a little embarrassed as his face turned purple, could do nothing but stand there stiffly and stammer, “Sh-Shaya, wh-what in the verse!”

Torsha watched Tork and Shaya with an unreadable expression as she stopped in her tracks. Then, frowning, she said loudly, “What are you doing?”

“I’m not doing anything!” exclaimed Tork while pointing at Torsha and then Shaya who was still kissing and hugging him. “She’s the one kissing me!”

“You’re turning purple! I’ve been around Ryan long enough to know that means a Dragon’s blushing!” Torsha said even louder, almost yelling.

“Of course I’m blushing! This is embarrassing!” replied Tork, also nearly to the point of yelling.

“Well then, do something!”

“What should I do?!”

“Push her off!”

“That would be ungentlemanly!”

“Do it anyway!”

Tork tried to comply, but Shaya clung to him tightly, wrapping her strong goat legs around his waist as she shook her head with her face nuzzled in his shoulder. “I’m not letting go! You’re just my type and you’re a bloomin’ hero, you are! I saw how ya saved us from those fighters! I’m not letting go until I’ve thanked ya proper!”

Tork glanced between Shaya and the glowering Torsha, raising his hands in defeat.

Torsha sniffed the air, then gave a loud growl. “You think she’s pretty, don’t you?!”

Tork could only shake his head and stammer, “I...”

Torsha pointed a finger at Tork’s face. “Don’t deny it! I can smell your pheromones! You’re attracted to her!”

“Torsha, sweet buttercup! I ... I...”

Torsha suddenly raised her hand, facing away from him. “Honey bear, I think we need a break.”

Then Torsha stalked away, her tail twitching in annoyance. Rachel and James just stood there watching the whole thing with blank expressions. Then, as if by some inaudible signal, both of them burst into uproarious laughter as they held each other by the shoulders. Strangely, after they finished laughing, they looked at each other and then started snogging most inappropriately. Rachel and James, who only seemed to tease and mock each other when Tork saw them together, were kissing shamelessly, running their hands through each other’s hair. Tork had no idea what was going on anymore. It was like the world had gone topsy-turvy.

Tork went to his knees with Shaya still hugging him, drained both physically and emotionally. He heard someone chuckling behind him. He turned to the source of the noise and found Commander Zax still standing by his dropship, crossing his arms and shaking his head with the biggest grin on his face.

“In the terms of the human race, welcome to manhood,” he said, still chuckling as he went back inside the red dropship as it revved up for takeoff.

Shaya turned Tork’s face towards her, and gave him a big, long kiss on his lips. Then, running her fingers down his horns and through his mane, she whispered, “Don’t worry, luv. You won’t miss her too much. I’ll make sure of that.”

Looking at Shaya’s pretty face and beautiful horns, Tork gave a weak shrug.

Torsha growled to herself as she stalked up to Mozar’s floating medical tube and started pushing it. She headed towards the treatment camps set up with red forcefields in the shapes of tents near the center of the square of Karma-1. Torsha did her best to ignore all the smells and noises that her enhanced senses afforded her. After learning to control her senses for so long, such things came second nature to her. She must’ve looked fearsome, because Elementals or pirates in her path soon parted and gave her a wide berth.

Mozar sat up in the floating gurney to glance around back at everyone uncertainly. “You ... uh ... aren’t going to stay? I ... this one thought you wanted to speak to everyone.”

“They seem to be doing fine without me,” said Torsha with an annoyed huff.

Torsha could still hear James and Rachel making out despite how far away they were. She had predicted that ship and was happy for them. Still, couldn’t they have waited for a time when her heart hadn’t just been thrown into a blender?

Mozar, looking uncomfortable, nestled back into the cushions, and said nothing more.

As they drew closer to the tents, Torsha said suddenly, “So, now that your job is finished here, I guess you’ll be moving on to your next gig, right? That’s the life of a lone bounty hunter, after all.”

Torsha’s tone sounded a little angry, and she wasn’t quite sure why herself. Sure, there was the whole thing with Tork and that crazy goat girl, but that was no reason to be so rude to Mozar. She was a Monk. She should be more mature than this. She should apologize and then...

“Uh ... well, I...” Mozar said, clearing his throat. He was probably the most fearless being she had ever known besides Ryan, yet he seemed completely tongue-tied for some reason. “This ... this one was thinking maybe he should stick around with Squad 99 for the time being, at-at least until you find your missing friends. Besides, you all make good packmates. All the youthful activity is annoying ... but acceptable.”

Torsha leaned in closer, her ears perked in interest.

Mozar gave a small cough. “That ... that is ... if ... if you and the others find it acceptable. But, under the circumstances, this one can understand if you-”

Torsha silenced him by kissing the top of his head. Mozar said nothing else, but Torsha thought she could detect the slightest grin on his canine lips. Despite just losing her boyfriend to some goat hussy, Torsha found herself grinning as well.

Leon sat at the edge of Lucille’s bed while holding her hand. The medical droids buzzing above her had removed her armor to treat her, leaving her without clothing beneath the white blankets. Leon’s own armor lay in a heap in the corner beside Lucille’s. He wore only a white long-sleeve shirt, black pants, and black shoes. His glasses lay on a counter by the table next to Lucille’s black rose. She had actually taken the flower out of her room on Brocktree’s ship and brought it to James’ hideout on Platform 913 before the battle started. According to the medical droids’ scan, she was suffering from severe psionic depletion. After treating her wounds, they said all she needed was some rest, and she’d likely be fine. Still, Leon did not feel at ease. He could still remember the look on her face as she saved his life. The look of desperation as she used all her strength to keep the wall of energy at bay. He refused to leave her side until she woke up, until he was sure she really would be fine.

Leon felt a presence. He turned as the images of Kormal, and his daughter, Kevla, appeared before him. He knew they were only mental projections, but it looked like they were really there standing in the room as they watched him with those huge, black eyes of theirs, their gray faces looking at Lucille with a surprising amount of sympathy.

“Everyone is here with us at the Tipsy Gnome,” Kormal started. “The Elementals are asking about you. I have told them that you are simply wrapping a few things up in the Inner City.”

Leon turned back to Lucille, and said, “I see. Thank you, Kormal. I appreciate your discretion in this matter.”

“Leon,” Kevla said quietly. “Don’t you think ... maybe the medics should-”

“I took some of Brocktree’s medical droids before the battle began in case something like this happened,” Leon said quickly. “I already told you, I don’t want the Elementals to know about her.”

Leon paused and took in a deep breath. “According to the scans, she should be fine. She ... she just needs some rest.”

And if your overcaution costs her life? Leon thought as he considered the risks of using medical droids by himself without the help of an expert.

There were so many things that could go wrong. Medical Elemency was the only surefire way to heal her. Maybe he should ... No. They’d arrest her. It wouldn’t matter to them how much she had helped in the mission. They’d arrest her as a Mystic agent. When the Fire Ministry took Leon in, there were many circumstances at play for him. First of all, he was young and wasn’t really old enough to have worked as a proper Mystic agent, even while training at his family’s estate. Second of all, it was a request from the Prime Minister himself that Leon be allowed to serve at the Fire Ministry. Lucille had none of those factors in her favor. They wouldn’t show her clemency, not even by Leon’s request. Keeping her away from the Elementals was the only way to ensure her freedom. He just hoped she lived to enjoy that freedom.

Kevla stayed quiet after Leon interrupted her. The room was silent until Kormal said, “She was very brave during the battle. We owe her much. In consideration of that, I will do what I can to ensure that her name remains stripped from the record. No one will know of her involvement in this mission. I will even go so far as to erase the memories of any pirates that knew of her. You have my word.”

“Again, thank you,” said Leon.

Leon thought they would leave after that, but then Kevla took a step forward, raising her hand slightly. “Maybe ... maybe you could ask her if she’d like to join the Fire Ministry. Maybe you could vouch for her. It might take time, but when they take into consideration how much she helped here, they might give her a chance like they gave you one.”

Leon’s breath caught in his throat and his eyes widened briefly. He didn’t know how to respond to something like that. He never once considered asking Lucille to become an Elemental with him. But now that someone had come and outright said it, Leon felt...

Leon cleared his throat, doing his best not to show much reaction. His father always told him never to overreact, especially during times when he felt like doing just that. “I ... I doubt Lucille would consent as such. She’s never had ties to the Ministries, and that likely will not change.”

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