Forgotton? or Illusion?

Which is worse? To be far away and remembered? Or close by and forgotten?
This is the question upon my heart this chilly eve,
the howling wind seems to reflect my soul’s unease.

I have felt the pain of a dear one leaving for the own journey,
yet when I receive a call or word from them, I feel much glee.

The bond between us remains strong as time may so pass.
No matter how rare or little, I’d rather hear him than the brasses.
So I ask you again…

Which is worse? To be far away and remembered? Or close by and forgotten?
Alas oh my soul! Cease thy dark whispers!
Upon hearing it, my heart hides among the embers!

Another loved one I hold close is still here,
yet how come I see him acting so queer?

Aye, he works and is soon to be off
but is an excuse for him to act shutoff?

Always hidden away from us in his room,
the time spent with us, he no longer consumes
I ask you once more…

Which is worse? To be far away and remembered? Or close by and forgotten?
He has another family of a higher standard I say,
Taken under their wing, he wishes to follow and stay.

I cannot see him, the one I once knew!
My brother he is, true, but never this skew!

He hides! He lies! He’d rather see her face than mine!
Not our father or mother, he’s never with us to dine!
I implore you…

Which is worse? To be far away and remembered? Or close by and forgotten?
I feel like he’s forgotten us, the ones who truly love him.
I will not hide my emotions, my heart is quite grim.

Oh what can I do? His simple little sister.
He’s turned a deaf ear to us, no more banter.

Abba Father please, guide the both of us now,
Show us your truth and keep us close to thou.
Which is worse? To be far away and remembered? Or close by and forgotten?

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Fierce Honor

Oathday, Rova 23nd:

I

I stood alone on the Herminia’s desk as we sailed across the star systems. Maroon stars and blazing blue nebulas crossed my field of vision but I hardly noticed them. I was preoccupied with other thoughts.

I really know nothing about myself, do I? I almost ruined the mission for the rest of the team due to my lack of knowledge. I need to find out more! So that next time, I won’t fail them. But, I say that, yet logically where could I even begin to search for answers? Surely the book does not hold clues, does it? Perhaps it is, given that strange poem or prophecy I’ve been writing down from it. Sea, your resolve is wonderful and good but your brother is calling you now. I believe you should speak with him about all this.

COMET’s voice brought my train of thought to an abrupt halt. She broke up my holographic screen before my face to take the call. I bit my lip, hesitating for a fleeting moment before steeling myself and answering it. Maybe Horace will have some answers. The call connected and a screen popped up. Horace showed up on his bed with a textbook in hand before he noticed me.

“Hey Dianne, I heard some rumors about the Star Squad going on a mission recently and I thought I’d give my little sister a call to see if it was true. So…how did you do?” Horace’s steel-grey eyes were piercing he as questioned me. He says he called to see if he was correct in believing the rumors even though he already knew. Sometimes he can be quite the strange one. “I did well for my part, the others were outstanding in their own way. We resolved the problem in less than three days despite a setback on my part.”

Horace looked perplexed at my remark, “Explain.” I did my best to keep my expression neutral as I explained, “During the mission, Ambrose and I had to guard a mine shaft from an opposing alien tribe at night. We were successful but we also discovered that should I be awake at the turning of the day, I will experience the effects of my new powers and fall unconscious afterward.”

Horace knit his brows together, creasing his eyes slightly as he listened. He appeared to be giving my story much thought before he looked at me. “What did your team say? Did they view it as a setback?” I blinked, “No.” “Then don’t view as so, but rather as a learning curve. Dianne, we just found out about your powers and we all have no knowledge on how to adapt to them. While I’m glad no one was harmed, especially you, this is good for the future.”

I placed a finger to my chin, contemplating his words, “You mean to say now that we know this data, we can avoid such mishaps in the future missions?” Horace nodded firmly. “I see. When you present it as such, I suppose it was beneficial.” I looked past the screen, another thought that was pushed back into the depths of my conscious mind resurface. “Horace?” “Yes, Dianne?” “Have you ever heard of the book Planners of Time?”

Horace blinked in surprise before shaking his head, “No. Is it important or is it another one of your mystery novels?” He grinned knowingly while I brushed aside his comment in a fluster. “No, it’s not. Actually, it’s…rather strange. I’m not actually sure what kind of book it is.” I softened my expression to which Horace seemed to straighten his spine. “Ok,…what do you mean?”

I inhaled, trying to calm myself as the memories threatened to have me lose my cool. “It’s a book I received from a staff droid on the third on board the Academy. I didn’t think much of it, however, Chad seemed to warn about the book. It struck me as odd since no-one else seemed too wary of it. Also, when I received the book and when I first opened it, I heard a female voice. I had COMET run a voice check, but she found no match in our current position. I also discovered I could see symbols or unusual lettering between the words of the book.

I realized I could read them as if they were in our language. It seems to form some kind of epic poem or prophecy. After that, I’ve been getting strange dreams where I’m on an unknown moon and a great creature attacks it. The first time, I could see many people on the moon but the second time, it was only me and two other people. They were unclear because a fog concealed their features, but it was the same female I heard before and a man I have not encountered before. I’m not done with the message in the book yet.”

I paused, realizing I was pelting Horace with all that happened without stopping. I tried to calm down, yet I want to continue, the pent-up emotions threatening to overthrow my reason. No! Just continue, but what can he do? He’s my brother but he can’t empathize with the turmoil I feel. In fact, no one truly can. Am I…truly alone in this?

“Dianne…” My eyes shot back to Horace. Horace’s grey orbs held conflicting emotions as he strung together his words. “Thank you for telling me what you’re feeling.” I blinked, blindsided by his gratitude. “I know you, you honestly never tell anyone what you were emotionally feeling unless you feel the need. Even then, you tell few people outside of the family.” He chuckled, “That’s a lot to go through all at once. Even I don’t understand it, it sounds all so strange. I believe it’s connected though.”

Horace stroked the spine of his book as he thought. “I think your best course of action would be to talk to your team about this. Then, you can research a wider area for clues and they can support you.” I grimaced a bit, “What about Chad?” Horace shook his head, “I think he should explain himself when he wants to. He sounds like a guy who withholds information with a good reason.”

Horace sighed. “I’m sorry I can’t be of more help to you, Dianne. Same goes for the rest of our family and Poppy. We’re praying for you.” He smiled wryly to which I shook my head softly. “No, you’ve helped tremendously already, brother. Thank you.” We gazed into each other’s eyes before sharing a brief laugh. “Oh!” Horace abruptly stopped, “Poppy sent you a care package two days ago so it should arrive tomorrow.” I snickered, “Well that should be a loaded shipment for sure.”

“Haha, for sure. Well, it’s 23:46 so I believe you should go to bed little sister.” I playfully grinned at him, “You too, big brother. Goodnight, may the Creator watch over us.” Horace smiled before closing his eyes and folding his hands. Huh?

“Creator, I come to you now to pray for my sister, Dianne. Lord of the Stars, you have woven my sister in such a beautiful way that no one but you can know fully. S of now, please shine your wisdom and understanding upon her and guide her through the trails and challenges she has before her. Give her confidence and surround her with strong friends who show her your love and support. May you bless her and protect her. May you smile on her and be gracious to her. May you show her favor and give her your peace in this time. Amen.”

Horace opened his eyes and smiled at me, “Goodnight.” I blinked, frozen in place as the screen dropped and I was left gazing out the window. My vision blurred as the emotions collided and the tears fell from my eyes. I sobbed quietly on the ship’s deck as I remained leaning on the rails. “Thank you…Creator…for giving me Horace as a brother.”

Fierce Honor

Wealday, Rova 22nd:

I

Ambrose twirled in success as the leader vanished into the shadowy woods and could only guess the rest fled back to their homes or wherever they came from. “Woohoo! We won Dianne! Lo-“ she stopped when she noticed Dianne wasn’t beside her. Puzzled, she looked back and her friend, just standing there, a peaceful expression on her brow. She dropped her staff and her lips pulled out into a small smile.

Ambrose blinked, a bit freaked out. “Uhhh, Dianne? What are you-“ Dianne jerked back, pulling her arms into her like she was trying to stifle a cry or pain. What’s going on?!?!? “Dianne….what’s wrong?!?!” Ambrose collapsed her scythe and placed it on her back as she ran towards her friend. “DOTTY, contact COMET.” I’m trying! But she’s not responding and I’m not picking up any major injuries from Dianne that might interfere with her connection other than the ones from the blow earlier. 

Ambrose stopped and knelt down to Dianne. She was convulsing violently, her breaths were quick and sharp like she was suffocating from an unknown force. “Uhhh, Dianne….can you hear me?” Ambrose lifted Dianne’s head so she could breathe better, but she acted like she couldn’t hear Ambrose at all. “DOTTY, contact IX and get them over here quick!!!” Yes, ma’am! IX, we have an urgent situation. Get over here quickly!!

“Come on Sea, what’s going on?” Ambrose pleaded, putting Dianne’s head before she glanced around for some kind of shelter in case the Ent-Orcs came back. “Come on Ambrose……” she fidgeted, getting up and peering through bushes and around trees. “Ughhh!” She was getting mad, she didn’t know what to do with Dianne, no idea what was going on and wanted this weird night to end.

They are coming, Ambrose and may I suggest the shaft as a hiding place? Ambrose swallowed, looking down the rickety platforms and sharp crystals at the bottom. “I don’t know DOTTY, I’m not very balanced.” I know, but we have to try. Also, I was wondering if this sedative might help her. Ambrose looked at her bracelet to see a little needle with a pale red liquid inside.

Ambrose squirmed, “You want me to hide in that unsafe mine AND stick a needle in someone?!?!??!” She plopped down next to Dianne with her arms crossed and shaking her curls violently. “Nope! I hate needles and I’m not doing it.” Oh please Ambrose, it’s worth a shot. Please get in the shaft or do the needle, one must come before the other. Ambrose bit her lip, unsure about anything before inhaling sharply. “Fine!” She snatched the needle with a shaking hand and stuck it in Dianne’s upper arm. “Please work…..” Ambrose pocketed the needle and slid Dianne’s arm over her and started walking to the shaft.

“Ambrose! What happened?” Ambrose lifted her brown orbs to see Cynthia, Chad, Jay, and Marshal coming towards them. Thank the Creator I didn’t have to get in the shaft. Cynthia took Dianne’s other arm and held her up. “She’s not hot, but she looks terrible. Did you inject her with the sedative?” Ambrose winced and nodded, “Yeah, what’s going on?” “That’s what we want to know!” Chad exclaimed with an annoyed look. “I was sleeping fine for once and then Marshal wakes me up by saying something is wrong with Dianne.”

Marshal rolled his eyes, clearly miffed about Chad’s attitude. He looked at Dianne closely as they walked. She was a bit calmer now and he could see some scars from a fight with Ent-Orcs. COMET is oddly quiet, maybe she shut herself off or Dianne might have deactivated her on accident. IX, what’s Dianne’s condition like? That’s the weird thing, sir. Other then some minor cuts and wounds from fights from Ent-Orcs, there’s no sign of anything that would cause to react as strongly as DOTTY described.

“We should go put her in their room and get the story from her in the morning.” Ambrose shot out her idea as they neared the gate. “It is morning, early morning Ambrose, but I suppose that’s a good idea. What do you say, Marshal?” Jay looked at Marshal who nodded a bit absentmindedly. “That works, you and I will watch the mine until sunrise then. Everyone else, go back to bed, we’ve had enough excitement for a night and a day.” Amen to that.

The A.I.s quip made everyone grin as they parted ways. Putting Dianne’s sleeping body on Chad’s shoulders, the trio snuck back into their home without waking anyone and got to their doorways. “Here Chad slid her onto me. Ambrose, open the door.” Cynthia grunted slightly as chad put Dianne on her back and she and Ambrose stepped quickly into their room. Cynthia gently placed Dianne on her bed and walked back to the door. “Thank you, good-“ “Wait, do you think Dianne is really ok?”

Cynthia blinked, a bit surprised at Chad’s question. His deep blue eyes had a worrying shine to them, like a bad memory of a tragic event in his past was beginning to surface and he was trying to distract himself. Glancing back at her friends, she hung her head. “For once Chad, I’m really unsure of what happened. All I guess is that it has something to do with her being a Bearer and if so……they we’re all in the dark.” With that, she closed the door softly, her sad thoughts washing on her visage.

Ambrose watched Cynthia slowly slid onto her bed without a single word after that. “Um.., Cynthia I-“ “Go to sleep Ambrose, we’ll approach this again in the morning. You’re tired after all that. We all are.” Ambrose winced, unsure if she was more hurt by Cynthia’s bluntness or her stinging cuts. I guess I should then…. Quietly, with a hidden good nigh wish to the girls, Ambrose fell asleep.

As they slept, Chad paced his room restlessly. Chad, would you just calm yourself? You can’t be uneasy over something you don’t know. It’s unhealthy for you. “EARL, for once now is not the time to be concerned about that. Dianne is unconscious and we have no idea as to why and the Ent-Orcs are still a problem we have to deal with.” Chad ruffled his hair in annoyance as he racked his mind for a possible answer. It’s no use, I can’t think like Marshal or Jay, they would have a hypothesis or whatever they call it. A theory or whatnot. The proper term for what you think of is ‘hypothesis’. That aside, do you believe this has something to do with….dare I say, the book?

Chad stared at EARL’s ring base. His eyes were wide with long-forgotten pain as his heart raced as memories flashed before him like a beam of light. There and then gone, lost again in the recesses of his mind. “No…that was different and I would know. This…this was something else. I can’t have that book affect anyone..not again.”

EARL noted his companion’s hard look but could hear the memories rushing through his mind. The pain, confusion, and fear that Chad masked now were all too easy for his A.I to hear. Chad, I know. Forgive me for bringing up that thought, I was merely spewing out ideas for the possible cause of tonight’s events. Chad nodded before falling back on his bed. “Let’s just sleep, for now, I don’t wanna think about it.”

As they all tried to sleep, Jay and Marshal walked about the battlefield searching for clues on what happened and making sure the Ent-Orcs didn’t attack again.

“Here are their tracks, still fresh and they lead into the forest just northwest of here. According to Wazane’s research, that’s where their hideout or village is.” Jay remarked as he stood up from examining the ground before them. His icy blue orbs showed a mix of peace and concern, “They should have retreated for tonight so we should focus on the other matter Marshal.”

Marshal shook his head, “I think we should leave that to Cynthia and Ambrose for now. They’ll ask Dianne when she wakes up and tell us then. You and I need to try and discover what the Ent-Orcs want from this crystals.” Marshal tossed a small ore of blue Aurum in the air and caught it, gazing intently at it.

Jay sighed but nodded. “Ok, we can rule out weapon enhancement because they only use mediocre weapons and don’t have advanced intelligence for such technology as we’ve seen. So what could…..JIN, can you scan the possible area of the EOs?” Of course Master Jay, it shall be done.

Marshal raised an eyebrow, obviously confused on what Jay meant. “EOs, Ent-Orcs. I thought it might be useful as an acronym.” “Oh I see now, so you think the area around them has something to do with their attacks?” Marshal probed as he drew out his swords and sharpen with them as Jay pulled up JIN’s screen to look at the data. “It would be a plausible hypothesis, because if there some environmental problem in their area and Aurum is needed, then that would explain why they raid the open mines since they haven’t mined for it themselves.”

“That is a reasonable motive, but what would Aurum do to help them?” Marshal countered Jay as he walked next to him and looked over his shoulder. Jay pulled up a 3D model of the area and poked around until IX beeped. JIN, do you see those bushes surrounding the fungi in the area? Why yes IX, what do you make of it? Jay frowned, zooming in the models until Marshal cried out with sudden revelation, “That’s it!

 

II

The fields…..I could see them again. Just outside Madena where Father and Mother would take Horace and me when we were younger. I saw them again, standing and watching myself play ‘Hush Hush’ with Horace. Father had joined in the rivalry as well while Mother was setting up a blanket for the picnic later.

“Horace, Horace, I hear you now. Hush, hush, the beast is coming!” I almost chuckled to myself as I saw little me cry out the warning in the game. My brother, who was hiding in a tree sang out, “Dianne, I hear your call. Flee, Flee for he hears you!” Sure enough, my Father came roaring after me and I squealed with delight and playful terror and ran towards my Mother as fast as I could.

“Mother protect me from Father bear!!!” My little child self cried out as I hid in my mother’s skirt. From my outside perspective, I saw Horace leaping down from the tree and trying to take down our Father. I remember this, just a normal day. Normal…..hmmm, I suppose normal is such a fluid state of mind.

“My my Leo, I do believe your son might overtake you if you’re not careful,” my mother laughed as little me and her watched Horace scrambled up our father’s back and cover his eyes. “Get him, Horace!” I cried out as they came tumbling down and ran our way. “Ahh, my son has defeated me. Your old man didn’t stand a chance.” “That’s because you didn’t calculate your attacks well father.” I snorted at myself. Even then I was mostly numbers…I suppose I learned a bit too quickly.

“Dianne, hear me.” I blinked, realizing something was amiss and looked behind me. Nothing was there. “Oh come on Dianne, wake up!’ “What….who said that? That voice…sounded like…Ambrose!” Glancing back at the vision of that blissful day, I watched it slowly fade away as I felt my eyes opening.

“Ughhhh,” I groaned as I slowly moved my arms free from under something soft that covered my body. My chest and head throbbed with pain that I recalled came from that strange event I experienced the night before. My legs and arms were stiff and aching like they would be after a full day of extreme training. I altogether felt like a stiff, rusty doll that was being used for the first time in years.

As my sight and hearing came back to me, I registered Cynthia and Ambrose’s voices and saw them next to me. “Girls,” I croaked out, touching my throat make sure it was my voice. “Oh, Dianne you sure had us worried. How do you feel?” Cynthia asked me with concerned eyes as her hands withheld Ambrose from practically jumping on me.

“I feel….terrible really,” I replied shortly as I sat up, inhaling due to the pain. Thank the Creator! Call you all hear me now? COMET!!! The A.I.s cried out as my earpiece flew off and danced around the other A.I.s bases. “Wait, could you all not talk to COMET while I…was.whatever happened?” I questioned to which Ambrose shook her head as she plopped down beside me. “DOTTY said COMET wasn’t responding so I had to stick a needle in you by myself and I had no clue what was happening?”

Her brown eyes were flashing like they did when she was annoyed or frustrated. I feel her pain, I didn’t know what happened either. “So Dianne,” I glanced at Cynthia, who was standing at the end of the bed, “what happened anyway? Can you remember?”

I nodded, “Yes.” I patted the floor next to me for her to sit. Cynthia snorted and sat down so both girls were beside me, waiting for my story. Please don’t keep us waiting, we are eager enough already.

I gave a half-hearted smirk at DEVI before recalling what happened. “It was right before Ambrose and I were going to attack. COMET’s last command just cut off and I was just left with something similar to white noise in my ears. I saw Ambrose leave my side, but I didn’t want to follow, I knew I had to attack, but I didn’t want to move from my position. I could see what was before, but at the same time, I felt like I was far away…somewhere peaceful. I was calm, content to stay that way despite not knowing where the feeling came from.”

“Then it changed, I felt pressure everywhere. It was like I being crushed between two boulders and couldn’t move like I was waiting to be destroyed. I was unable to resist it in any way and I lost my balance. When I fell, I felt like a thousand blades hit my back and the pressure grew stronger so much that I couldn’t hear anything and when I screamed, the noise just resounded off the invisible walls of my mind. After that, I just blacked out.”

I looked at the girls, Ambrose was shivering. I supposed that my story was a bit too vivid for her liking and then I remembered was the one who had to stick a sedative in me. I can’t say I remember that pain, but I know she hates doing actions as such. Come on, ease her just don’t use numbers! “Ambrose, I’ve fine now other than being stiff. Thanks to you, I escaped the sensations early probably.” Ambrose managed a small smile but didn’t look too convinced.

Grimacing myself, I looked at Cynthia. She appeared shocked and uneasy but cleared her throat. “What do you..suppose happened to cause that?” I could tell Cynthia was trying to put aside her fear to try to get to the root of the problem. Such the actress, I suppose that’s what I do too….But she’s right, rationally what could have happened? Dianne? My A.I.’s light hovered near me as DOTTY and DEVI sat on their companion’s shoulders. Hang on COMET, I have to calculate. “I don’t know. I can’t find the solution, there are too many variables Cynthia.”

“It’s can’t be the Ent-Orcs or the Aurum crystals. Aurum doesn’t have that kind of effect on anyone.” “Those monsters also didn’t hit Sea anywhere other than her face so..what could it have been?” Ambrose interjected, trying to focus on us instead of freaking out. Girls “Wait a moment COMET,” Cynthia brushed her off as she rose and paced the room. Her hazel eyes were deep in thought as Ambrose and I watched her.

“Maybe-“ PARDON ME, BUT LOOK AT DIANNE’S EYES. Cynthia, Ambrose and I jumped at COMET’s sudden outburst. It was unlike her to such an outcry so Cynthia and Ambrose looked closely at my face. Cynthia then looked at COMEt with an unsure gaze. “They’re a grey color why?” What is Dianne again that causes her eyes to change? “A Bearer, so why-“ I stopped, realizing what my ingenious A.I. was going for. Of course?! How was I so blind? It so simple that we overlooked because it’s become a normal data script for us!


“Dianne, why are you grinning?” Ambrose asked with a concerned undertone. Both of my friends were still puzzled as I tried to stand up. “Cynthia, Ambrose, I’m a Bearer right?” Both nodded slowly, still not catching on. I frowned, deciding it was better to show them instead of explaining. Ok, maybe I what I felt was the effect of my power. Ok, let’s try calming Ambrose down. With a still expression, I extended my hand towards Ambrose, imagining a quiet wave washing over her.

She gasped, her anxious gaze fading away until a soft smile had replaced it. “Dianne…..I get it now.” I gasped softly, inwardly elated at my success. Cynthia unfolded her arms as a smile crossed her face. “Ohhh, I understand now. You changed powers and it makes sense! It was just past Montinluncis’ midnight when Ambrose said you both were going to attack.”

Ambrose jumped up, hugging me and Cynthia joined in. I froze, still aching a bit from my wounds but I relaxed into an awkward hug. “See? Just some rational thinking and it was solved.” “Oh please Dianne, COMET was the one gave us in the kick in the legs.” They laughed and I chuckled, I was glad. Really glad.

KNOCK KNOCK! “Girls?! Is Dianne awake? Marshal wants us outside.” I glanced at the girls before walking over and opening the door to see Chad and EARL’s glowing orb standing outside. I sighed before giving him a kind smile. “Yeah I’m ok, we figured out what happened last night.” Cynthia and Ambrose poked their heads over my shoulders as they waved at Chad.

Chad sighed, looking relieved. “Well come on, you should tell all of us outside and then we’ll see what Marshal and Jay found out.” “Ok!” Cynthia tossed me my mask and utility belt as we walked down the hall to go outside. Thank you COMET. Anytime Sea, anytime. I guess I should watch myself more. Why? Oh, it’s nothing.

 

III

Marshal and Jay were more than relieved to see me awake and once they heard the reason for my strange seizure last night, they too were slightly annoyed at themselves for not even considering that variable in the answer for the cause. “Well, now we know to be more careful with night missions for you,” Marshal remarked with an uneasy smile to which we all chuckled. “It depends on the powers of the next day Marshal which only the Creator knows, but thank you anyway.”

Ambrose waved her hands to catch Marshal’s eye, “So what did you find out?” Marshal clapped his hands together, making all of us jump. “They need the Aurum for an antidote.” Chad furrowed his brows together, “How does that make sense? Aurum is their biggest weakness. We’ve proven that biologically, so why would they-Ouch!” Cynthia had jabbed him in the side before motioning with her hand for Marshal and Jay to continue. “You’re right, but also we know Aurum has low-level medicinal traits as well that highly negate the effects of a poison called Zisinth.” Marshal pulled up the compound of the poison and showed the compound of Aurum.

Jay then showed us the details of the poison, “It sprouts from the leaves of the bush and travels through the air and affects any other organisms within a certain radius. JIN discovered the very same bushes surrounding a tree in the EO’s possible location so we suspect that they are trying to get Aurum for-“ “making the medicine needed to cure the poison spreading.” I finished his sentence as I pieced together their logic.

That makes perfect sense! But with how barbaric they are, could they know how to make the cure? It’s likely that while they are weak in certain utilities, they could excel at healing and making medicines. “So what do we do then? Go into the area and pull out the giant weeds that are causing the Zisinith?” Ambrose asked fingering a strand of hair. Jay nodded, “Marshal and I decided that we should be split evenly. Four of us will go into the area to safely extract the bushes while the other two remain here until we get back. Then we can all go together and fully explain the situation to the Vlosse.”

“Dianne is staying here,” Cynthia wrapped an arm around my shoulders as she spoke. “She may have recovered from last night but I’d say she doesn’t need any more excitement.” I sighed but nodded in agreement. “I’m sorry again, I fear I might have hindered the mission with my lack of knowledge on my own self.” Don’t go beating yourself Dianne, you can’t control that aspect of yourself. Master Marshal and I will be keeping you company while the others go relive the problem at hand.

I met eyes with Marshal, who nodded at me and said, “I believe it would be prudent if I remained behind. Ambrose knows how they fight and attack so she can be useful should they confront us while we are there. Jay, continue scanning the area and try to find the main roots of the bushes.” Jay nodded quietly, showing his screen with the root system displayed, “Already on it.” “Chad, I want you to go over with Ambrose the pattern in which the Eos attack and create any kind of traps or small-scale weapon you can. “ Chad grinned, cracking his knuckles with gleaming eyes, “You got it, Marshal!” “Cynthia, do you think you can try to find a way to communicate with them?” Cynthia merely smiled, “Sure, give me twenty minutes.”

So with that settled, the foursome gathered up their gear and left the village to head into the EOs territory. Wazane had given them some more Aurum crystals to use however they deemed fit to aid them in their mission. Kekushi offered to have some of their healers inspect me, but I kindly refused. I wasn’t comfortable with them possibly finding out of my Bearer identity so I decided to have COMET inspect me instead.

It was late afternoon now as COMET was finishing up my examination. I sat on the floor of our room as her orb hovered over my head closely, the chirps and low humming of her drive almost calming me. Marshal was in the boys’ room with IX, most likely reading or studying some strategies. It was normal for him as a leader to go over those subjects. Must feel like a burden sometimes.

It appears your injuries are mostly healed, even your head is losing its bruising. I nodded as I got up from my bed. I glanced out of the window next to our beds and noticed the sunlight was dying. “I don’t think I’d ever get used to the short days here.” Then again, how could you when you’re used to long days and nights? Maybe Marshal would know? I should ask how he coped with it.

COMET flew back into my earpiece as I opened the door to our room and knocked on the boys’ door. “Be right there,” Marshal replied hastily as I waited. A few moments later, THUD, I flinched at the sudden noise. “Marshal? You ok in there?” I asked quickly, unsure what he could have possibly tripped on. “I’m good, just-“ the door opened with Marshal rubbing his elbow. “Tripped over one of Jay’s drawing pads that’s all.”

I stood there and blinked. Behind Marshal’s weak grin, their room looked like a war zone of clothes, some small equipment, and pencils. “Who died?” I asked with a small exhale. I had never seen Marshal get so red before as he hastily ushered me inside. “Uhh, Chad and Jay sometimes don’t organize when we go on missions. Trust me, our dorm back at Skylar is a lot cleaner than here.”

I nodded slowly as I gingerly stepped over some clothes to sit down in an open space in the middle of the room. “I pray for your sake it is.” I brushed aside my growing bangs to get a better look at their room.

It was similar to ours but the only difference was the paintings and color of the room. Dark orange, silver and pale red that was almost pink were splashed across the room. The paintings depicted battles field with the spoils of war and others were a calamity of nature such as volcanos erupting. Goodness, I feel uncomfortable in here, like the aftermath of a bloody battle hangs over me.

Marshal rubbed his blond locks as he sat down across from me, “Yeah…it’s bad I know. On longer missions, the rooms somehow get clean but..” He looked around in slight despair before looking at me again, “I doubt that’s going to happen this time.” I snorted at his admission, “Agreed. On the subject of missions, I was actually wondering….how do you get adjusted…so quickly? I mean, to the planet’s rotation, gravity, and day and night cycles? Just how?” I winced at myself for sounding so desperate, but it was his look that caught me off guard.

At first, he looked like he was merely thinking about his answer but after some time, his eyes were dull almost, as if he wasn’t even staring at the wall behind me. He remained that way for a short while before speaking, “It takes a while and depends on the planets you visit but if you train your body and mind enough, they’ll adjust accordingly. It’s hard at first but if it’s the path the Creator put before you, you just have to walk in faith trust no matter the trials. You have to.”

I was silent as he looked at me, a very serious look in his eyes. I could feel my face tighten as my concern rose slowly. Sure Marshal was serious most of the time, but this was different. It almost a pained serious, something I understood but where did he experience it? Should I try to calm him? No, I’d get only more upset if someone did that to me? I’ll ask.

“Marshal, did you…have an experience like that? In the past?” I asked carefully, moving my hand awkwardly to his shoulder in hopes to show I understood on some level what he was remembering. He blinked, staring at me with a blank face before getting up in a rush. “What? No…well…did I answer your question? Not sure if it was helpful.” He looked around as he stumbled his way to the window.

I frowned but rose with him. “Yes, it helps. Thank you,” You’re not going to ask? I don’t know. Marshal doesn’t usually hold back stories like this. You do. I’m getting better! True, true. Yet, Marshal seems…a bit afraid. Maybe I’ll ask later. I looked hard at Marshal and I’m sure he felt my hard stare because he kept his gaze out the window. We remained like this for a moment until Marshal jumped up. “They’re back! Let’s go what they found out,” He grabbed my wrist and we ran down the hallway and out the door.

 

IV

The others were at the gate waiting for us as Marshal and I came running out. “So what did you all discover?” Marshal asked with eager eyes as we came to a stop at the gate. Everyone else appeared relaxed with their weapons visible. They all had grins on their faces and they seemed restless. Odd….but ok, I crossed my arms as Jay pulled up his hologram map again.

“The mission was a success. We were able to track the roots of the bushes deep underground and extract it safely. The EO’s appeared about 25 minutes after we arrived and Chad and I were busy putting the poisonous plant in a vacuumed container, so Cynthia translated to them what we were doing.” Cynthia nodded before speaking up, “DEVI helped by communicating what I was saying to them. I was able to make them understand we were here to help Vlosse by discovering why they attacked the Vlosse’s mines and how we discovered their problem as well.”

Once they understood our purpose, they immediately dropped their defenses and began to inquire how they could prevent such a disaster in the future. They can be so surprisingly simple-minded. They also were very surprised by the warriors they meet yesterday. Not that they are good fighters anyway, DEVI’s last remark seemed a little harsh but that was brushed aside as the conversation continued on. “So once we finished extracting the weeds, we told them to wait in their village until the Vlosse approach them so they can both work out solutions to their issues at hand.” Cynthia grinned in triumph.

I glanced at Marshal, who was smiling at the mission’s success before I spoke up, “So how are the Vlosse and EOs going to negotiate or talk with one another without a translator? You needed DEVI after all.” They all seemed to ponder my question for a moment before Jay seemed to come up with something. He quickly tapped on the bracelet, causing it to light up as if it was powering up. “Chad, connect to my program.” Chad frowned for a moment, but tapped his ring anyway, causing it to light up before a beam of light shot out from both and connected.

“Oh! I see what you’re doing now. It’s a language net system so they can communicate frequently without even needing a second translator. You’re a genius, Jay!” Chad grinned in excitement as Jay nodded back before they each started working on their own ASPPN (A.I.-Supported-Portable-Personal-Network.)

Ambrose skipped over to me, “Are you still feeling alright? How’s your head?” She stretched herself up to feel my head as I quietly nodded, “I’m fine. COMET looked over my injuries earlier, I’m healing.” Ambrose sighed in relief as Cynthia came over to us four. “The Elders are coming Marshal.” At her beckoning, we turned around to see Wazane, Kekushi, and a few others approaching where we stood.

“Good evening Marshal, Ambrose, Cynthia, and Dianne. I wish a good evening to Chad and Jay but they appear to be preoccupied at the moment. Tell me, how is the process of the mission?” Kekushi inquired in a kind voice to which Marshal answered, “Elder Kekushi, we have successfully discovered why the Ent-Orcs were invading your Aurum mines and have laid the grounds of which both species can solve their problems.”

Marshal paused a moment to type on his glove and pull up a screen so they could see the report he had written up in his own time along with the maps of where the Zisinth had been located, information on the Aurum remedy, and the schematics of the surrounding area for possible mines and boundaries. “Please look through this and you will gain a full understanding of the situation.”

I watched with a silent gaze as Kekushi and the other Elders carefully read through the report. They are very attentive to detail. Maybe that might balance out with the Ent-Orcs apparent tendency to be fairly simplistic. This could be a good driving point for an alliance between the two.

“I see. It appears they have a greater need at hand for identifying natural threats and help in discovering the resources they need. We will be glad to help them. Thank you all again for your aid.” Kekushi bowed to us along with the other Elders. We repeated the gesture with smiles. “Yes, but, how are we going to communicate with them since we need to help them now. We don’t have enough time to learn their language.” Wazane looked concerned but I eased her mind, “Jay and Chad are spreading a bilingual language net system over the extent of both your territories.”

“Once it’s in the ground, whenever one of either of your species speaks, the system will catch the sound waves from your voice and translate it when it enters your ear. It’s the same as a translator earpiece, only it’s in the ground and not as cumbersome.” I explained as we felt a small surge in the ground below us and Jay came with Chad to the group. “It’s exactly as Dianne said. Everything is ready for you, Elders.” I noticed now how we were placed in a line with Marshal on one end and me on the other.

Wazane’s eyes sparkled and Kekushi smiled. He stepped towards Marshal, who bowed his head slightly. I watched with curiosity as Kekushi placed his hand on Marshal’s forehead and then traced his index finger down. There was a line of red and green oil on Marshal’s forehead now. He and Kekushi exchanged a smile before moving to Cynthia to repeat the gesture. That appears to be plant oils from Kekushi’s hand. In the Fortaare village, that’s seen a blessing from the Elders. Oh, I see now. This is an honor then.

Kekushi continued this ceremony until he reached me. I bowed my head like the others, trying to hide my slightly trembling hands. I honestly felt like I had been more a bother than a help to this mission. I passed out because of my own lack of knowledge of myself. How foolish of me. I felt Kekushi place his hand on my forehead and then felt the warmth of the oils. I gave him a small nod to show appreciation as he stepped back. He gazed deeply into my eyes before speaking, “I sense you have many questions, Miss Dianne. Remember this, focusing on irrelevant facts is like looking through clouded eyes. Knowledge is power only if a person knows what facts are not to be bothered with.”

“The mistakes of your past form the roots of the wisdom of your future.” In my shock, I glanced up to see Wazane smiling. Are they…giving me advice? But… The Creator works in mysterious ways indeed. I quickly bowed my head in respect to hide my unusual fluttered expression.

“Once again, we thank you Star Squad for your assistance. Know that you always have a warm welcome here and may the stars watch over you as you journey back.” “And may the Creator watch over your village and bring you peace.” We all bowed to each other before our team turned to leave. Ambrose smiled and waved back to the everyone as we pulled down our masks and activated our boards. Soon, we were flying swiftly over the forest back to our ship.

Updates

I am so sorry. I realize I forgot this place existed and honestly I’ve lost a lot of motivation to write. Not sure if it’s because I’m not in a dry valley in my relationship with the Lord but I think that’s the main source.

So please forgive me for the slow updates and my lack of progress. It frustrates me too, so please pray for me. I won’t make empty promises but I will strive to get out of this dry well and back doing what I enjoy.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Fierce Honor

Toilday, Rova 21st;

I

I never knew how short nights could feel until I was on Montinluncis. My body had not gotten used to its shorter rotation around the sun and so my mental calendar was still on Tamar or at least Skylar’s Academy’s timetable. So to say the least, I woke up the next morning with a less than pleasant attitude and that would help much for anyone.

Dianne, we need to get up so we can get started. We have less daylight to work with here on Qadroa than before. I groaned, slowly inching myself out of the bed and onto my knees. When I finally opened my eyes, I saw I wasn’t the only one who was adjusting to the drastic time shift. Cynthia and Ambrose seemed a bit sluggish in getting ready as I arose.

“I would never have calculated my first mission would start out so difficult,” I remarked as I changed into a different suit from the day before. Ambrose nodded as she finished her hygienics. “Yeah, at least our suits are the same material.” Cynthia shook her head, “That was random Ambrose and we should get to breakfast so we can see the problem quickly.”

We nodded and continued until we all were ready. Cynthia was about to open the door, Wait, would it be wise to tell the Elders of Dianne’s secret? DOTTY’s probe woke our brains up so that Cynthia froze in her tracks. She bit her lip, Ambrose looking nervously at me. “Let’s consult the boys first,” Ambrose’s rushed remark came as Cynthia opened the door.

We arrived in the dining room just before the boys did and we sat all at the roundtable. The meal was simple, but our minds did not concern with the food before. It was a mission status after all. “Dianne, you look like you hardly slept,” Chad remarked at me with his utensil. I sipped my drink before meeting his quip with unamused eyes. “Does that grant me permission to kick you after this for that?”

Marshal almost choked on his drink as the others snickered. Chad was not so amused, “Well I doubt you’d be able to even land a hit. Last time we sparred you had speed which you probably don’t have today.” My numbers were flying inside my fogged mind as I held his gaze coolly. “Correct, but I did have to upper hand for I plan my attacks unlike you.”

I kept my focus on Chad, not bothering to see my friend’s expressions or attempts to catch my attention if they were trying. Enough, both of you. IX’s communicator on Marshal’s glove rang out causing Chad and I’s intense staring to break. It matters not who has the upper hand, you mustn’t provoke each other now. We must head to mines to talk with the Elders.

Marshal nodded, “Please I know it’s a little rough since our bodies have to get used to a new planet, but we must keep the end goal in mind. Both of you.” I swallowed my pride down as much as I could, still angered by Chad. What’s up with me? Don’t be control by emotions. You control them. Now let’s go.

So after that little interaction, we cleared up and walked outside, fully suited for anything we might need to do. As we walked, Cynthia began to speak. “So I was speaking with the Elders last night about the patterns of attacks from the Ent-Orcs and the results showed they mainly move in during the night, when many of the Vlosse are at rest. So once we have gone over the lay of the mines, we will have two of us remain awake at night at the most frequent attacked shaft.”

Jay nodded, “So how will we be divided up?” DEVI then popped up her screen in front of us as we neared the gate. First, masks on. We all chuckled a little at DEVI before pulling them up and proceeding outside the gates. So the first factor is the terrain and lay of the land. Depending on where the main target is, what the surrounding area is like and how well you can adapt to it is one factor. The next how well you could hold out if you do get attacked until we arrive with aid. We will ask the Elders for their suggestions, but it will be decided accordingly.

Ambrose nodded, “I hope I don’t get picked.” I rolled my eyes and tugged on one of her curls. “If you do, the Ent-Orcs would be obliterated anyway cause you wouldn’t let them near your outfit.” Everyone else nodded in agreement, much to Ambrose’s obvious dismay. “But they are disgusting creatures!!” She pouted as we entered the clearing at the mine shaft we entered from the day before.

Kekushi was there with one other Elder. She was much shorter than him with butterfly wings folded neatly behind her and delicate flower buds growing in her long blonde hair. “Ah, a fair morning to you all,” Kekushi exclaimed as we came forward. “Please meet Elder Wazane, she will be helping whomever you choose to guard at night be prepared and ready for any attack.”

Wazane bowed again, a bright, small smile building on her lips. Cynthia came forward and looked down into the mine. “So this shaft is not the one we are stationing at correct?” “Correct, I will show you where it is.” Wazane motioned for us to follow her down a path just to the northwest of the opening and we walked about 17 mets through the forest again before reaching the shaft.

It was on the edge of a small clearing and relatively smaller than the one outside the town. The red sunlight streamed fiercely through the trees and showed what lay below the surface. The opening of the mine itself looked heavily damaged, claws marks and hammer indentations were scattered all on the walls leading down. The Aurum crystals that once grew were shattered and smashed at the bottom.

Ambrose shivered, “They sure don’t leave much to salvage do they?” Wazane shook her head sadly, “Once they raid a mine shaft, it takes a long time for us to rebuild it and longer for the crystals to grow naturally. It hasn’t impacted our industry terribly much, but if it continues it well dropped significantly.” Chad and Marshal walked around the edge of the shaft while the rest of us waited for their decision.

Who are they going to pick? At least, of the experienced ones here. Jay? No, he’s not good with mountainous terrain from what I know. Cynthia? No, she’s staying in the village to help with securing their income system should any more Aurm crystals get damaged. Or-

“Ambrose and Dianne, you’re on watch tonight.”

 

II

I sat quietly against a giant Boxelder, twirling a baton piece of my staff as I watched Ambrose stomped about in a circle around the mine shaft we had been guarding for the past hour and a half. “You know, with your expression alone I don’t think they would dare to come.” My attempt at a joke only rewarded me with an annoyed look from my friend. “Still! Why me? Everyone knew I don’t want to see those horrendous creatures!”

I shook my head. Ambrose, it’s your experience in the mountains. We’re very close to the base of them and your home is in one. I conclude that’s why you were chosen. As for me, it’s my first mission. Practical challenge for me from the get-go. “Ambrose, would you stop fretting over it? You have DOTTY, COMET, and I to assist you and you have all the experience from the other missions that I lack. If anything, I should be the one who’s worried.

She’s right Ambrose! You got me! DOTTY chirped from Ambrose’s bracelet, Ambrose herself giggled and rubbed it gently. “Thanks girls, you sure know how to make someone feel better! Even though you’re kinda cold half the time,” Ambrose muttered the last sentence under her breath, but I caught it. “Oh do I?” My eyebrow shot up as I stood. Ambrose chuckled as she leaped over to the safe side of the shaft opposite me.

“Yeah, but even though you keep your expression still, we’ve learned to read you pretty well Sea. Honestly, I’m glad you’re part of our team.” A vibrant smile danced on Ambrose’s lips, giving me two energetic thumbs-up. I rolled my eyes good-naturedly at her before looking down into the mine opening. Sea thanks you Ambrose. Even though she doesn’t say it.

I agreed in my head, but I was preoccupied with the formation of the crystals. I had heard from Jay that the crystals were very high in weaponry purposes, but if crushed they had some poison inside them as well. “Ambrose, do you think the Ent-Orcs want the Aurum for their low poison attributes?” I probed as she knelt down on the other side. Reaching down, she pried loose a small chunk of the glowing crystal and held it between us. “I dunno, the Vlosse did say the Ent-Orcs don’t know much about poisons or medicines.”

The sun was sinking low, casting a deep red light over the two of us as we sat alone, wondering the motive of the creatures. “What if they need it for their weapons? I mean Chad modified us with them.” Ambrose remarked as she patted her closed weapon on her slim back. I shook her head, adjusting my oxygen mask a little for better air intake since the set was setting. “I doubt it, Jay’s studies show them own very rural weapons and their mental capacity shows they would not have the knowledge for it.”

Ambrose nodded, taking really deep breaths for some odd reason as she tossed the pale crystal in her hand. “I suppose you’re right, but couldn’t they just make their own mines near the base of the mountains away from the village?” Ambrose is right, the Aurum crystals are everywhere underground! There’s plenty in the caverns below the mountains.

I furrowed my brow, my brain propelling theories and unearthing questions as to the motive until it stopped. I froze in place, slowing turning my gaze to our left and away from the village. A tingling sensation rose up my neck as I looked out into the woods. I breathed slowly, like I was afraid I would be heard by a creature just beyond my vision. “Dianne….do you see something?” Ambrose whispered in my ear as we reached for our weapons. “No….I feel something. It’s as if…I can feel their hot breath on my face, hear their heavy footfalls beside me, getting closer and louder.” I can sense them. That’s my power…….

Clank! The sound of a blade unfolding and locking into place surprised me and I saw it for the first time. It was giant, almost twice Ambrose’s stature but she wielded it with ease. It was a base black color with pink and lime green lines along it and the blade had a sugar pink inscription on it. taking it in, I swashed my baton pieces together to form my staff again and held it at ready.

“I’ll go into the trees Dianne, let me know when they are near through DOTTY.” “You got it.” Her blonde and pink curls ran past me and vanished into the foliage above. I could barely see her, but with the pale green light from Vult, Montinluncis’s moon, I managed to see her wink and ready her scythe.

I listened, all was quiet from a normal person’s view and all that was heard was the quiet melodies of the night. Floating lights, Light Mites, danced in the moonlight while the soft breeze blew through the plants. The rustling was calming while the hum of hidden insects could lull an unknowing passerby to sleep.

However, the sensation seethed in my veins. My hands were gripping my staff so tightly my knuckles were white. I could feel my nervous emotions paint themselves on my face, my eyes removing their barriers to see into my beating heart that pounded with anxious ambition. They’re coming. They are so close. Oh Creator, help us now.

THUMP! THUMP! Their footfalls were audible now, drawing closer. I inhaled, gathering myself and planting my feet. Ambrose also prepared herself for my signal and then they entered into view.

They were more hideous then I expected, Now I can see why Ambrose didn’t want them near her. They were exactly like Jay’s picture, but they were truly different up close. About 5 of them came into our area, each carried a decrepit or crude weapon. They stopped when they saw me in front of the mine shaft, their leader growling and swinging his axe in the air as some kind of signal.

Swallowing, I glared and cried out, “I am Dianne of the Star Squad. We are here to put an end to your raids on the Vlosse’s Aurum mines and discover why you repeatedly attack them. We can be sensible about this or we can use force.” COMET whirled in my ear and spoke aloud in another tongue which I concluded as theirs. Thank you COMET, that helps even though I did not calculate they would not speak our language. Not a problem, I’ll translate. The Ent-Orcs’ leader snarled back and COMET said, They said that your little stick won’t do much against their skin and that you Jatirians don’t know the importance of these aids.

Aids? What are they talking about? Not us obviously. Ok, the way to win to make them fall back into the woods, out of sight. Apparently, that’s how they fight so…this should be..interesting. I tightened my grip on my weapon and swung it in front of me. “Then it’s the forceful way then, AMBROSE!” I took off, running to the Ent-Orc on the leader’s right as shots of small, Aurum, projectiles flew above me onto the other supporter. They were shocked and quickly tried to retaliate, but we were hidden and fast.

I coated both ends of my staff with Aurum and swung under their knees. “Ambrose! Aim at the grey skin and avoid the bark, it’s basically armor!” “Got it! Here I come!!!!” She dropped from the tree and came running, a wild grin on her face as she slashed at her target with the giant blade. She didn’t quite hit her intended area, but the force alone made the 8-ft giant stumble back into the woods.

RAAHHH! Pay attention!!!! Flipping backward, I felt the stone hammer hit my ankle before I skidded back. “Forgive me, your turn is next!” Dashing forward, I ran up a nearby tree and jumped off with such force that went I landed on his side, the end of my staff dug deep into his skin. A deep, bellowing groan erupted from him as I retracted it and swung at his face in an attempt to knock him back. It worked, leaving only the leader to deal with.

“Dianne drop!!!” I was caught off guard, but my attempt to curl myself up was a second too late. I was knocked back and flew into the ground hard, rolling back a couple mets until I was close to falling into the shaft. Dianne! How bad? Considering you survived a hit from a mace? You’re fine, but you are injured badly I would say. “Back off you hideous things!” I could hear Ambrose’s angry voice cut through as I struggled to rise.

Out of everything that was damaged by the blow, thankfully my mask remained on me. My suit was battered and scratched badly, cuts along them showing blood seeping through. “Well, this is a good start,” I remarked as I stood up. Ambrose had been hit as well so she came back to me. “You ok Sea?” I nodded, “Ambrose, you wanna try a combo hit?” “Is that even a question?”

Scoffing, we held our weapons at our sides, ready. DOTTY and COMET started repeating the preps. Set your target. Our eyes locked onto the exposed skin just below his chest plate, the blade and wood end with Aurum skins gleaming in the light of Vult. Get in position. The leader roared, waving his mace in the air as we knelt low to gather energy. I could barely hear Ambrose breathe, we were so laser-focused on our foe that we almost forgot the most normal event.

Atta-I couldn’t hear, in a moment everything stopped. Silence….but it was peaceful somehow. I could still Ambrose charging the beast and land her scythe on him, but yet my mind did not see what was before me. All my mind could see was something peaceful, like the sea at night, it was calm. My heart was still and I felt my fingers drop my staff, I didn’t need it right? Not when everything is peaceful like this.

Then it changed, pain and pressure attacked my body. It surrounded me as I collapsed onto the ground. I tried to move, but it was like a Gunga Rat was sitting on me, I was frozen in the pain as I tried to stifle my own cries. I couldn’t hear myself think or even hear for that matter. A sharp ringing in my ears was all I could manage to process. Hot tears streamed down my cheeks as I struggled against it, “He-help me…..Help!”

Fierce Honor

Moonday, Rova 20th:

I

Soon, I opened my eyes just before the yellow sun peered at us through the glass. I got up and walked over to my friends. “Girls, I believe we should get ready.” Cynthia and Ambrose groaned, but quickly got up. We fixed our appearance a bit before going into the command deck to wait for the boys.

“EARL, IX, JIN, would you please get the boys up? We don’t have much time here.” Cynthia asked with a half-drowsy smile. Ambrose and I looked at each other with small grins. “The hardest one to wake up with probably be Chad. Him and his looks,” I retorted but to my surprise, the girls shook their heads.

“Marshal is always the hardest to wake up, he takes for-ev-er!!!” Ambrose emphasized on the last word with a look of slight annoyance. I frowned and we all turned as the doors opened. “Morning sleepyheads, we only have a few hours before the sun sets again.” Cynthia chirped at them as Chad, Jay, and Marshal groaned at us, slowly walking towards our group.

“Couldn’t you have just knock instead of our A.I.s getting us?” Marshal asked with a yawn. Jay chuckled, “Yeah that would have been a bit better.” Ambrose shook her head as I pulled up the planet’s calendar from my wrist guard. “One day is much shorter than ours, only 20 hours!” Ambrose explained with a defiant finger, “so we’ve got no time to dawdle!”

“Says the girl who takes all day to do her hair.” Chad retorted as he brought out a chest and dropped it in the middle of our circle. I gestured towards, my brows up in a questioning gaze. “What’s in that?” Chad grinned and opened it. Our weapons were there, but something was different.

“I modified them with the Aurum crystals from the planet, Jay and I did some more research on these Ent-Orcs,” he explained as he tossed us our weapons, “and discovered while they apparently need them for something, it’s one of their weakness.” I caught my Kun staff in mid-air and raised an eyebrow. “A natural source they want is one of their weakness?”

Jay nodded, “Again, we need to find out why those monsters are attacking the mines and a way to keep them out.”He swung his bow and arrows onto his back with a confident gleam in his icy blue eyes. I noticed the others had their weapons as well. So I’m guessing the Aurum crystals will give our weapons low-level powers? Ok then, whatever gives us an advantage.

Marshal tapped on the command post, “Connect our A.I.s back into our devices, we are ready to go.” Yes, Marshal. IX, EARL, JIN, COMET, DOTTY, and DEVI have been reconnected. May the Creator go with you on your mission. I grinned, walking towards the door to the ramp leading outside. “What are we waiting for?” The others smiled and walked towards me.

“Let’s go, but first” Cynthia stuck her hand out. We followed suit, an energy building in our hearts as we cried out, “Stars forged!” Chad typed in the code and the ramp fell down. We ran out onto the planet and towards the village on the path before us.

II

Right away, we were in a forested area. The tall trees were a copper green color and had a heavy scent to them. Ambrose nearly gagged at the trees’ scent alone so we tried to avoid the fungi as much as possible. “Could Montinluncis have some air fresheners for visitors please?” Ambrose complained as we made our way through the path.

Cynthia chuckled and pulled down Ambrose’s headband. It expanded, covering the lower half of her face. “You made these gizmos remember? It filters out the scent in the air.” Cynthia, the boys and I pulled down her own as Ambrose looked down, a bit embarrassed. “S-so I forgot. Not my fault.”

We all laughed as we walked, besides the stench we all agreed the planet was very beautiful. Although it’s very metal-based, even some of the flowers have heavy metallic properties. I’d rather be on Tamar but hey, this is a good experience. “Marshal, how far do we have to go?” Marshal pulled up a screen from his glove and looked closely.

“Not far, but we are gonna have to-” “OH YEAH!” We jumped, stumbling back from the sudden drop in the land. Right in the middle of our path was a gorge, spiraling down about 58 mets. Beyond the edge, on the other side, the path continued straight. So we jump across? On the contrary Dianne.

I frowned, confused by COMET’s remark. “Uhh Marshal, do we jump across?” Marshal shook his head, clicking his glove. “We go down on our HL hover-boards. That’s what the elder said to me when giving directions.” Jay grinned a bit as he typing in a command to JIN on his bracelet, “You ever ridden an HLHB before?” COMET, send me mine. On it! My earpiece glowed and I nodded. “Once or twice, I prefer a bike though.”

Cynthia nodded, “I know Miss Racer, but let’s race on our HLHBs today.” Our A.I. devices perked up and projected a beam in front of each of us. Soon, hard light hover-boards of differing sizes and designs befitting the owner appeared. Chad jumped on and dropped down into the gorge yelling, “Let’s do this!” I grinned slightly as Ambrose, Jay, Marshal, Cynthia and I followed after him.

Down we went and soon the bright light from the sun vanished as we flew deeper into the chasm. The earth brown rocks seemed to close in on us as we zoomed down and along it’s winding path. I could almost smell the crystals and metals buried deep beneath the floor as my team and I race don our HLHB’s, with only Marshal’s light guiding us.

“Oh, Dianne look along the walls! I’m starting to see the Aurum crystals!!!!” Ambrose squealed out as I moved next to her. As I followed her hand, sure enough, I could see the sharp, mired edges of the crystal resource. Must be getting close to the mines now, goodness that was fast. Well, we are going about 89 km per hour. So are covering a great distance in a short amount of time.

“Hey, we’re coming up the mines’ exit. Take a sharp right and up!” Chad shouted from ahead. Jay and Cynthia only needed to give Marshal, Ambrose and I one look and we were in agreement. Stepping on ignition pads, we sped past Chad and went up. “Hey! No fair, you all correlated that! Leaving me behind…” Chad grumbled as he caught up with us as we laughed at his reaction.

I smiled before Marshal cried, “Dianne turn!” Instinct kicked in, I pressed on the brake pad, shifted my weight and spun away to my left. As I reoriented myself on a slower speed level, I saw Marshal and the others fly around a support beam. Looking down I saw tracks running further into the gorge, which made it obvious we had entered the mines.

“I guess I didn’t notice it there before,” I remarked as I aligned next to Jay. “So are we in the mine’s entrance? Are we close to the village?” Ambrose asked as we followed the tracks heading towards an opening. She got her answer once we flew out of the track alley. “Woah, this is a mine,” Chad remarked.

Looking down the main shaft, we could see hundreds upon thousands of Aurum crystals, glistening in their own pale blue lights. Buckets on vine-like conveyer-belts pulled up to the surface filled with them where workers either dropped them off at other levels of the mine or took them to top. Wooden platforms were placed closely together, winding downwards into the mine and metals supports held them together.

“Oh! Oh! The Jatirian team is here! Go alert the elders! Come, come this way!” Some of the alien workers on the planet’s surface beckoned for us to approach as others sped off in a different direction. We all looked at Marshal while taking off our masks, who nodded in reply. “Let’s follow them.”

III

We followed the workers quickly along the dirt road that shifted into a well-paved road with diamond-shaped titles leading our way into the small village, more of a town now that I saw it.
Forged beside a great mountain, the town of Fortaare is home to the Vlosse, an alien race that has animal and plant-like features, lead by the Elders. This town wasn’t built by the mountains by accident, as it has ancient, unexplained statues, which is of great importance to the people of Fortaare and its success.

The town itself looks more on the wild side then I had ever seen. With its dark metal rooftops, stone veneer walls, a large gateway, and the heavy woods surrounding it, Fortaare has a mysterious atmosphere.The main attraction is the underground rivers in the mountains, which was built 98 years ago and designed by ancient Vlosse.

Fortaare has a steady economy, which is mainly supported by jewelcrafting, tailoring, and baking. But their biggest strengths are rare herbalism and heavy mining. However, Fortaare lacks people skilled in educational paths. Despite its strengths and weaknesses, Fortaare is most likely headed towards a comfortable future under the leadership of the Elders. But this remains to be seen.

Once we reached the gate, Marshal signed us to get off our boards and walk. The Vlosse were starting to come out and stop their work to watch us anxiously as we headed to their town hall where the Elders resided. “Goodness, they must be getting desperate if they are this relived we are here,” Chad whispered to us as he rubbed his dark hair with a bit worried visage.

Ambrose fidgeted with her curls, not liking the scared atmosphere that hung over us. I nudged her, “I’m the one who should be nervous. it’s my first mission and I’m sure we can handle it.” Jay nodded in agreement, which caused Chad and Ambrose to relax a little. “You’re right, we can do this, but it’s nearly nighttime,” Ambrose remarked gazing up. Sure enough, the day was coming to a close.

“Let’s hurry then,” Marshal said as we turned a corner to come to a halt. A line of Vlosse stood in front of us, each dressed in a formal attire and different colors. Maybe these are the Elders? I would deduct so being it’s nearly nighttime so they must have come out to meet us halfway and then send us to our quarters? I mean, we know what we’re doing so we just need to see the situation.

“Welcome Star Squad, I am Elder Kekushi and we are deeply humbled and honored that you have come all this way to help us.” He bowed at us, his colleges bowed as well and we returned the gesture. Kekushi continued, “As much as I and my fellow Elders would like to speak with you further and show you the problem, it is late and you must be tired from your journey. Please rest and we shall speak in the morning.”

“Please follow us inside,” Kekushi beckoned us to the doorway of a tall building that looked like a lodge to me. We were instructed to leave our shoes in the entry and keep our masks off. Ambrose and Chad were admiring the interior while Cynthia and Marshal were talking with the Elders on schedules and possible night watches.

I looked at Jay, who was just staring at the Elders. Is he looking at them for artistic reasons? I mean, they are a curious race. Their animal and plant attributes are quite stunning like Kekushi’s. Fox ears, green-toned skin that complements his yellow and blue clothing. Not to mention his bright fox eyes, silver in color. Hey COMET, pull up some more information on their species. Compiling data now.

“What are you staring at them for Jay?” I probed him as entered the Eastern wing of the building. Jay blinked and looked at me, slightly started. I held back a snicker as he answered, “Well, their species is really unique and I would like to draw one of them I suppose. So I was taking in all the details I could.”

I nodded, “I see.” We stopped as Kekushi and one other Elder opened two opposite doors in the hallway. “Here are your rooms for your stay, have a good night’s rest.” He bowed in parting, Cynthia doing the same. I was about to bow as well, but Ambrose stopped me. “At night, Cynthia said only one person needs to bow. Some kind of custom they have here.”

“Oh, I see,” I remarked as the girls and I went into the room and the right. “We’ll take this room. See you boys in the morning.” Marshal, Jay, and Chad grinned and waved goodnight. I raised an eyebrow at the inside of the room. Three very different beds were before us. One similar to a bird’s nest hanging from chains was on the far left, a simple mattress with thin bedding was in the middle of the floor and a bed enshrouded by a kind of cave/canopy was tucked in right corner.

Hues of brown, gold and light blue were all across the room. Two wardrobes stood beside the walls and a door led to the washroom on our left. A giant window was behind the bed and looked out into the woods and we could barely make out a valley beyond it. Vibrant tribal masks adorned the wall along with a few, small, honest paintings.

“Ok girls, being that Montinluncis has such short days and nights, we need to go to bed. no talking or dawdling.” Cynthia ordered as she quickly shoved her pack into one of the wardrobes, urging us to do the same. her hazel eyes showed no nonsense so Ambrose yelped and scrambled to obey. I shook my head and threw my pack on the top of the other wardrobe.

“Night.” I simply said, sliding into the cave bed and shutting my eyes. I heard Cynthia shoving Ambrose into the hanging bed and flopping her own self onto the floor bed. Soon, steady breathing was the only sound heard in our room as we waited for dawn to bring us our first battle.

Fierce Honor

Airday, Rova 19th:

We came to Montinluncis this morning. We all watched it come into view as we prepared to land. I could feel myself get nervous, but the grins and silent encouragement from my friends kept it at bay. I nodded and looked back at the planet. Allow me to give you a better visual picture of the planet so you may see what it was like more clearly

The planet is quite large and is a metallic planet in a vast solar system with twenty-four other planets. Montinluncis is about 3.2 times smaller than Tamar and its gravity is about 1.21 times that of Tamar.

A single day lasts 20.59 hours and a year lasts 202 days. The planet is made up of 13 continents, which make up 79% of the planet’s landmass.
1 moon orbits the planet and Montinluncis itself orbits a red sun in a fairly circular orbit.

The plant-like organisms on this planet are mostly tall shrubs and trees, many of which have a surprising amount of different colors. Some even have strong scents. The small amount of flowers that do exist share these characteristics, but almost all of them are tiny. While there are a good amount of fungi on this planet, most of them have little to no color, but they have the strongest scent of all organisms, most of which are horrible.

In terms of development and specialization, the species on this planet aren’t very impressive, but their shapes and colors make for astonishing natural works of art and many already show great promise of a highly specialized natural balance for the distant future.

Corals, although very basic, can be found all over the planet’s oceans, seas, and lakes. While they lack the bright colors and odd shapes you’d find on Earth’s corals, they do have the makings of a varied aquatic wildlife, with an abundance of gorgeous species.

While not as exciting as the animals we know on earth, this planet is home to a wide variety of insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mixed breeds that most would see as monsters such as the Ent-Orcs. While none of them have higher brain functions besides the basic needs to survive, they do show a wonderful insight into how the Creator, in general, gives life to the cosmos

Many of people who live on Montinluncis live up in the mountainous plates of the planet or closer to the oceans. We are heading to the upper northern plate to the continent of Qadroa so we headed there. It was opposite the sun so it was going to be late night from the villagers.

“So, are we going to land and wait till morning comes to go to the village and begin, Marshal?” Ambrose asked Marshal, who was standing at the command post. He looked up and nodded. “That is the appropriate course of action at this time, it would be kinda rude to wake them up. However, I will send some drones ahead just in case the Ent-Orcs attack any of the nearby mines.”

We all nodded, holding onto something solid as we entered the atmosphere and made our way to our designated landing spot about 25 m away from the village. “We should rest, the ship’s security system will wake us up if something is off,” Chad suggested to the rest of us. Everyone nodded in agreement, going to their rooms to get some shuteye.

I waited a bit, hoping no one would care I not follow, but that wasn’t going to happen with IX. Please Dianne, I believe some rest before your first mission would do you good. I felt a grin tug on my lips and I nodded. “Yes, you have a point. It would help me think clearly and be energized for any attacks. Goodnight IX.”

I left, half afraid of shutting my eyes. Since almost every night I had a strange dream, it was messing with my sleep schedule. The dreams, the message I was writing, they were seemingly connected but how? The girl! I heard her voice both times so maybe she put the message there? No, she did, the numbers equate that. yes, but now why would she leave me a message like that and how am I getting these dreams then?

Silently, I slipped into my bed and stared at the ceiling. I could hear the quiet humming of the ship’s mainframe and I could almost smell the planet’s earthy aroma from the slightly ajar window. Yet I could not close my eyes, my mind was racing too fast with logic and my body would not slow it down. I need music.

So I put on my headset, the screen appearing before my eyes and the music slowly cascading into my restless mind. I heard the pull of sleep and dove into the world of dreams.

Fierce Honor

Starday, Rova 17th:

 

Again I had a dream that seemed to pertain to the message being conveyed to me through the book, but it was different. I was on the moon that the strange beast was attacking in my last dream, but it was nowhere to be seen. I glanced about fervently, a bit scared of what was happening again. No one seemed to notice me, if there was anyone, so I was reassured of that. Everything was so vague and hazy though, I could not tell where exactly I was

I tried to walking forward to look closer at my surroundings, but I could not move. I slowly started to feel panic override my logic until I saw something approach. The figure morphed into two and got clearer as they slowly approached me. I could only make out one was a girl and the other a man.

Try harder, you can see it if you open yourself. I know you can… My eyes widened, I could see the girl’s shadowy figure move as I heard the same voice from the book. Is that her?!?! But I can’t see jigs here, everything is so hazy here despite the sunlight. And who is that man beside her, I haven’t heard him before….

Oh please, hear me closely. You have received my first message and now you are seeing dreams, I was breathing heavily now, she was somehow able to know exactly what was happening to me. My expression was hard, I could feel my jaw tightening as I tried to move towards them. I opened my mouth to demand an explanation from them both, but I found I could not find my voice.

What? This is a dream, but I can’t control it?!??! Calm down Dianne, use your head, listen and wait. Silence was suffocating me and I could do nothing but watch and listen to the girl. I could see the man figure bend down and speak to her quietly before she spoke again. Please, I know not what powers you hold now, but please release yourself to see what you wish to see.

This may be strange now, but I cannot explain it in detail at this time. You have more to see and hear from these dreams and what you receive from the book. However, to fully understand these signs, you must be willing to let go and open your eyes. Pray for it to the Creator and He will guide you to releasing you from the blindness you have now.

I was shaking, not sure if it from the words or the cold chills I was feeling. I did not understand anything, that scared me more than anything. Not the fact, I was frozen, I could not speak, or the fact I could not see anything clearly. I felt like she was explaining everything I wanted to know to me now, yet I could not place it anywhere. I dropped my head, trying to wrap everything into a calculated answer.

Creator, what does she mean? Release myself? Open myself and my eyes? Please, I don’t get anything! The numbers are not congruent and nothing is adding up!!! Who is she and where am I now??!?!?! HOW DOES SHE KNOW WHAT I AM SEEING OR HEARING?!?!?! I am sorry, I stopped when I heard her again, lifting my blazing eyes to her fuzzy figure.

I can only imagine how you feel, I cannot see your thoughts right now. All I know is this, you be strong. The Creator is with even during this time and the time when you come here. I must warn you also, there will be a hard period of time for you where many will question your honor. Don’t give up, keep reading and,

She stopped when a horrid cry sound above us. I whipped my colorful hair out of my eyes to see it, the creature from my previous dream. Wait, so it’s the same place? Then why didn’t I get this dream first and why did I even see the other one? Fellow Bearer! Don’t lose hope! Come to us!

Without even noticing I was doing so, I had turned towards her with my arm extended to her. I can’t explain it, it was like I was reaching to save someone precious to me. Like in that instant I heard her cry ‘Fellow Bearer’, she was like family and I would do anything to save them from that dreaded creature.

I tried to move, but then the light grew brighter. I winced, feeling the heat on my face as I shielded my eyes and heard my voice return. “Wait!!!!”

“Dianne?” I gasped. I jerked up, grabbing a knife I felt near me and pull my arms up in defense. Once my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw Cynthia and Ambrose before me, anxious looks in their eyes and COMET, DOTTY, and DEVI’S lights hovering around us.

I dropped my arms in relief as Ambrose felt my forehead. “You were stiff while sleeping and we could feel your aura fluctuating rapidly.” Cynthia sat down beside me, “You have a nightmare or something?” I nodded since it was kinda of the truth anyway. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

The girls decided to have me rest the entire day so nothing exciting happened after that. COMET and the other AIs came to talk occasionally and IX apologized for the day before. I said it was fine, but to process their words twice just in case. I said nothing about the dreams, I was too shaken by the events and words to say anything. What is going to happen? What did she mean?