Part 19: OUTATIMESince Kayto has foisted the actual work of planning this suicide mission onto Ava, hes got time to wander around and check in on the crew. Lets start with our newest pilot.
You must be confused.
It is dark. I cannot tell if I have truly awakened, or if I still sleep on board the Sharr'Lac, and this is merely a strange dream.
Trust me, you're among the living again.
So what do you plan on doing now?
I do not know. The world I know is no more. The war against the Fallen is long concluded, and history no longer even remembers who the victors were. All that I swore to protect are now long dead or destroyed. I now live a hollow existence. I wish to close my eyes once more, and disappear into nothingness. As it was meant to be.
Your story isn't over yet. New enemies now challenge Ryuvia.
You speak of your enemy, PACT? I know not of what quarrels you have with them. War is an ugly affair. The truth is lost amidst the sea of blood. No side can claim the moral high ground.
I understand that you must be confused. But PACT has murdered millions of my people. They'll pay for what they did to us.
Even after countless millennia, leaders still speak the same words before leading people into battle.
I dont think they call it that anymore, actually.
The defense of Ryuvia is the only reason for my existence. That is all, captain.
Tell me more of your time.
It was a violent time for the Holy Ryuvian Empire. The Emperor and the Crown Prince were assassinated, leaving the throne to my father, the second prince. Yet Crow Harbour, the jealous bastard son of the Emperor, laid a competing claim to the throne. He gathered forces across the galaxy to seize the throne for himself. For fourteen years, Ryuvia was caught in a bloody civil war. It seemed as if the Empire itself would crumble if drastic measures were not taken.
Drastic measures? Like what?
The awakening of the Sharr'Lac.
You mean the superdreadnought we found in that starship graveyard?
It is a weapon of unimaginable power. Yet, it can only be helmed by one of the King's daughters.
That just sounds like a fantasy legend, not the stuff of real life.
Our ships are operated by the power of science, just like yours. Not magic. Long before my time, countless warships bearing the same power as the Sharr'Lac were built. War became horrible. Humanity possessed the power to not only destroy itself, but to collapse the entire universe into a singularity. It was fear of our own power which led to the creation of the Sharr'Lac. The wise Emperors of the past decreed such almighty power could only be used with the sacrifice of the Emperor's most precious daughter. With the price of infinite power so high, even the most arrogant of Emperors had second thoughts before awakening the Sharr'Lac. And so, with our most devastating weapon so limited, the Holy Ryuvian Empire could continue to exist in peace.
But despite that, your father still chose to sacrifice you to awaken the Sharr'Lac.
It was a desperate time.
You unleashed the Sharr'Lac's final weapon in that battle and destroyed all those ships. But I thought you were supposed to die after you did that.
I believed the same.
So why is it that you're still alive?
Alright, well how about this then: your eye was glowing during the battle. What was that?
You find me unnatural?
I've never seen anything like that before.
Perhaps I am not of your species, captain. Or do you fancy that I am some kind of android? Fear not. I am as human as you. My eye is merely the result of millennia of scientific research. Thanks to genetic modification, I can momentarily increase the vision in my right eye one hundred fold. The effect is not only limited to my eye, but also provides a brief but tremendous boast to both my muscle control and brain function. Perhaps such technology appears radical to you, but it was a trite affair during my time.
So everyone during your time possessed super human abilities?
No. The Holy Ryuvian Emperors feared the power the masses would wield if they had access to such technology. Thus, the law across the galaxy was that only royalty could augment their own DNA.
That makes sense. The Ryuvian rulers would want to use such powers to secure their position. But we need help. The technology of your time far surpasses our own. Help us rescue our friend.
The current princess?
Ryuvia needs your help.
Yet, even if I so wished, I would be of no use in improving your technology. Such matters are beyond my skills. I am merely a marksman, nothing more. I am no technologist.
Okay. But still help us rescue Asaga. We could really use your skills out there.
Very well. I am still sworn to protect Ryuvia, even millennia in the future. I will defend Ryuvia with my life. I have already cast down my body for Ryuvia once, and I do not flinch at the thought of doing so again.
We're all going to come out of this alive. Watch yourself out there.
And I suppose as long as were in the mess hall we might as well talk to Claude.
All right, I have some time to chat.
Chocolate or vanilla? Or would you just like to eat out of my bowl--
Uh ... no thanks. Do you flirt with every single space captain you happen to meet, Claude?
Eh-heh ... Only the cute ones---
Uh, alright. Sorry I asked. Look, I'm the captain of a military vessel. We have to be serious around here or else people will get hurt.
I never was the dashing space captain type, I'm afraid.
Mmm ... I wouldn't be so sure about that.
Eh-heh ... I actually caught the girl in engineering looking over some photos she took of you the other day. Are you sure you don't have an admirer?
You're making that up.
Why would I? Besides, I'd like to keep you all for myself, capt'n --
Ugh, please, no more ...
Ahahaha. So what's your relationship with your first officer anyways? Ex-wife?
We went to high school together, that's all. We used to be pretty close back in the day, but it's not like we were dating or anything. I guess she's always been more like an older sister.
Haha. And now she's your first officer? That's awkward!
So, what are you going to do now?
Eh-heh, not that I have any problems with that.
I wouldn't count on becoming a doctor here, but you still helped us out with those Ryuvian cruisers. We could use a pilot like you.
Eh-heh ... In that case, you can command me any time, captain!
All right. Just ... ugh. I'm going to go back to work now. Enjoy your ice cream.
Bye bye, captain -- Feel free to join me again.
Anyway, I think Chigara wanted to talk.
You wanted to see me?
Yes. Um ... I don't think I've apologized to you yet for lying all this time about Asaga.
You were just trying to protect Asaga. Apology accepted.
Keeping secrets like that could place the crew in danger. Don't lie to me again.