Mykal woke with a start, the strange room pulling him from the depths of sleep faster than usual. Reflexively he checked the time on his internal clock. Wincing at the fact he was waking up at ten in the morning, he swung his legs around and set them on the floor; the soft feel of carpet startling him a bit.
"So this is how the other half lives." he mumbled as he made his way to the bathroom. His eyes widened again at how lush and well appointed his bathroom was. "Okay, this has to be better than even the other half." he muttered remembering his protests the night before that the quarters were far too extravagant. Feeling silly about how overly posh the rooms in his suite were, he went about his morning routine. Walking back to his bedroom and looked around, still floored by the extravagance.
Finding the door that led to the very oversized walk-in closet, Mykal began to dress in his normal duty uniform, only to find that his uniform tunics and pants were not anywhere in the closet. He did notice, however; that there were a number of outfits that he had never owned in his life, hanging next to his various uniforms.
Walking out of his closet, he looked around the room to see if there was another closet that may have held the rest of his uniform, but found nothing. "They didn't even give me a desk. Where am I supposed to do my work?" he said out loud as he walked to the door to his sitting room. The room was without a doubt the most extravagant that he had ever seen, let alone lived in. Various chairs, couches and recliners dotted the room forming small groups for conversing or relaxing separate from the rest of the room. In the center was situated a rough pentagon, formed from two large couches, half a dozen easy chairs, and a few love seats. A large triangle shaped coffee table sat in the middle, a hologram display cycling through various 'mech chassis in the center of the table.
The entire room was decorated in darker colors, highlighted by the forest green and gold of the 'Mech pilot corps. Yet even in a room as large as it was, there was nothing overstated or repetitive. Wandering around the room, Mykal saw the large double door that he assumed would lead to the outside corridor, and a smaller door to the right of the one for his bedroom. Walking up to the door, the security system chirped the sound of a restricted area; requesting access information. Out of habit, Mykal spouted his access code. "Hades alpha five five tango omega." As he trailed off, the door chimed and opened. Walking in, the computer put in its two cents. "Welcome back to your office, Captain McDaniel. Is there anything I can help you with?"
Looking around the well appointed office, Mykal was caught a bit off guard as he walked a few steps into the room. "This is my office?"
"That is correct, Captain; this office and in fact the entire suite, is assigned to you for the duration of the trip." came the digital reply from the computer.
"Trip? Where are we headed?" Mykal asked the computer, still perusing his office.
"That information is temporarily locked by request of the royal house. There is a note to inquire with the royal family were you to ask that question."
Gears turning in his head, he looked at the computer screen on his desk, currently displaying the seal of the Royal Lance. "Computer, who has unrestricted access to the knowledge of our destination?"
"King Hans Davidov, Queen Elaine Davidov, Crown Prince Jason Davidov, Fleet Captain Rimaldi and Chief Navigator Nomoro; though it should be noted that Chief Navigator Nomoro has since been locked out of the system and cannot make changes or access location logs or data."
"Do I have access to Nomoro's personnel file?" Mykal asked the computer as he opened and closed various drawers on his desk, seeing how it was laid out.
"Yes Commander, you do. You have access to all personnel files." Mykal nodded slightly, remembering his brief conversation with Tobias earlier that morning.
"I want copies of Nomoro and Fleet Captain Rimaldi's personnel files as well as a record of all transmissions made by both parties, as well as any made by Colonel Barovos." He said as he strode to the door of the study.
"Data compilation will take approximately one hour, Commander." Nodding to himself, Mykal was about to walk out the door when the computer chimed in again. "Would you like this information downloaded directly or placed on a tablet, Commander?"
Stopping in his tracks, Mykal looked up at the ceiling briefly. "What do you mean 'downloaded directly'?"
"You currently have data access for direct download into your cerebral implant." Shaking his head slightly with a soft chuckle, he responded.
"Do a direct download. Probably the most secure method." A chirp came from the computer, acknowledging his request. "Computer, do you know where my tunics are located?" he asked, just on the off chance.
"Your uniform tunics are located both in your bedroom closet and in the sitting room coat closet."
Walking out of the room, Mykal scanned the walls of the room, looking for a door that he must have missed in his first look around. To the left of the main entrance was a small section of wall that looked just slightly out of place for the rest of the room, even without the small piece of paper adhered to it.
Walking up to the unobtrusive closet, Mykal pulled the note off the wall and read it.
'Daddy said that your uniform needed to be corrected, especially after yesterday. There are some things that need to be filled in, but I'm sure that it will be taken care of later. Don't forget; you promised me a talk. B'
A blush rose up his neck as he remembered what she had done just before he had been lead to his room. Not to mention what he had done in response. Pulling out one of the tunics and putting it on, he thought about everything had happened yesterday. The promotion given to him from the king was probably the easiest to take; as it seemed somewhat normal in comparison to the rest of the day.
Mykal shook his head as he walked back to his room; remembering that the king had told everyone that his own son had betrayed the kingdom in a bid for power. As he straightened his tunic he took in the new insignias and markings showing his change in command. The corners of his mouth twitched up as he thought about how he had railroaded Barovos into admitting his guilt. The smile that was there vanished immediately as he thought about what he had done to the sniveling rich boy. He had been trained in the use of a saber since he was a small boy just arriving at the academy, even competing in a number of tournaments and even a few non-lethal duels. Having never considered himself great, he did tend to win more than he lost; though not by much. The speed at which he had moved was about as surprising to him as it was to everyone else in the room. He had seen the movement to pull the gun and he had reacted instinctively. He had never done something so destructive to a human in such close quarters.
Mykal shook himself and looked into his own eyes in the mirror. Could he have taken Trenton's life, if that was what it would have taken to stop him? Elaine had said that he couldn't help it. He believed that he would be able to do what it would take to keep the royal family alive. "Even if it means taking the life of another human being." Mykal sighed as he finished buttoning up his tunic. Picking up the saber from on top of his dresser, he noticed that the sheath that he had originally had on the sword had been replaced with an even dressier version that had the insignia of the Royal Lance engraved on the throat.
"And Elaine says that I can't help myself. They just can't stop giving me things." he said to himself with a smile as he belted on the sword. "Computer, what is the status of those files I requested?"
"Approximately twenty percent complete, Sir."
"Inform me when they are completed." The chirp from the computer confirmed his request.
Walking out of his quarters, Mykal looked up and down the hallway getting his bearings and trying his hardest not to look lost coming out of his own quarters. He had been so tired when he left the king's study that he barely remembered following Tobias to his room; let alone what route they had taken.
Don't lie to yourself; you were too busy thinking about her, his conscience told him. He felt a flush rise up his neck as if he had been caught outright as opposed to in his head. Digging in his head for the correct path, he felt the small tingle in the back of his head that indicated that his hardware was working, when suddenly he had a full schematic of the ship unloading itself from the micro computer in his brain. Reflexively, he began to manipulate the schematic to allow him to focus on the area of the ship he was in; conveniently highlighted by a small green dot. Another thing to ask Brigit and Jason about, Mykal mentally noted.
Following his mental map, Mykal made his way to the king's study, remembering that Hans had asked him to come by after waking. Pushing the chime button, he waited until the doors opened before entering.
Looking up, the king smiled slightly, "Good morning Mykal. It is still morning; isn't it?" Mykal chuckled at the stacks of tablets on the king's desk.
"Yes, Sir, it is if only just barely." Taking a seat where the king pointed vaguely. "Have you eaten yet, Sir?"
"Hmph. I have a wife Mykal; I don't need another one." the king retorted with a raised eyebrow. "However; no, I have not eaten yet today."
Mykal shrugged and replied with a straight face, "Just doing my job, Sir; keeping you safe includes making sure you don't pass out from hunger."
As he spoke, the door chime chirped and the king barked an order to enter. One of the royal servants entered carrying a large covered tray. "Her Majesty felt that it was time that you eat, your Majesty and instructed me to bring food for both you and the Captain."
Both men's eyes widened. "Sometimes that woman frightens me Mykal."
The young Captain nodded. "She scares me more than sometimes, Sir."
The servant set out plates holding hearty looking sandwiches and drinks. Bowing to the king first, and then slightly less to Mykal, she turned and left the room silently. Her action completely caught him off guard and he nearly choked on his drink. "Um, sir, why did she bow to me? Am I missing something?"
Hans chuckled, "For once I think you may have." He turned and sorted through the pads next to him; finally handing one to Mykal. Digging into the sandwich in front of him, Hans watched Mykal as the young man read over the information in front of him.
As he read over the information in front of him, Mykal's eyebrows seemed to try to climb into his hair line. "I can't be reading this right. The Commander of the House Lance isn't a military rank?"
"No; you're reading it correctly. You are no longer attached the military, directly. You are technically attached to the Royal household."
"Then why the military uniform?" Mykal asked, pausing from his meal.
"Well, you still have to command military units and keep military folks in line. While it is completely legal for you to do these things, most military people tend to hesitate when they are given an order from a non-military type."
"So by looking like I'm military, it cuts down on the response time. I can appreciate that I suppose."
"Considering you are the youngest to ever hold this post, you'll need all the help you can get."
Mykal nodded a little as he finished up his food. Setting his plate back on the tray he looked up at his king. "Sir, I appreciate all of this and I understand that I tend to be pretty protective of you and your family, but why me? I'm not that experienced and I'm sure that there are much more qualified people out there."
The king sighed and put down his plate. "To be perfectly honest, I don't need your experience, which by the way is better than you think. Right now, I have almost no idea who I can or cannot trust. I know I can trust my wife, and I am pretty sure I can trust Brigit, Tobias and my brother. Vivian is a wild card, despite what you saw yesterday evening. Twins are almost always closer to each other than their parents. What Marcus was trying to accomplish by allowing the attack while she was there, I have no idea. The only other person I trust completely is you. Your loyalty to my family, my wife and daughter in particular, is turning into a constant thorn in the side of those that are attacking us. This brings up another reason. Two of the most important women in my life have decided that you will be around for a great bit of time. I have learned a great deal in my eighty years of life. Avoiding upsetting the women in your life is one of the big ones." Smiling slyly he added, "Best you remember that one."
Hans reached over and grabbed a different pad and handed it to Mykal. "I am going to give you a commensurate rank of Major, as that is what you should be at least, if not for the actions of a certain someone. Also, we are looking into various methods of making you a member of the Peerage so that you can order around all those little irritants at court as well. Mind you, cutting off a hand may be a bit extreme in their case. Jason told me he took a look at our little traitor's medical record and that you were nearly surgical in the removal of his hand. The cut was a fraction of an inch from being fatal and a fraction of an inch from making it re-attachable. He can get a prosthetic hand, but that would require another huge chunk of his arm to be removed and would reduce his dexterity significantly."
"If he's going to go with the replacement, I would be happy to take off whatever they needed." Mykal said before he could censor himself.
"Yes, well, that's what I'm talking about. Hopefully Elaine and Brigit will be able to get you straightened out as to how you should react in the court and its environs. I tend to ignore it, but I have also grown up surrounded by it so I tend to handle it more on instinct than thinking about it. Plus I'm the King. I'm always right." he said with a wink.
"Unless of course your Queen says something to the contrary, dear husband." Elaine's voice came from the side door as she glided into the room. Smiling as both men stood, she kissed her husband on the cheek and gave a Mykal a warm smile.
"Well of course; that goes without saying." Hans immediately replied with a slight eye roll.
Elaine slapped his arm lightly with a chuckle. "Behave. Did you tell him?" she asked looking over to Mykal.
"Tell me what your....um, Elaine." Mykal asked, narrowly avoiding a slap.
Elaine raised an eyebrow and gave him a small smile. "That you will be raised to the peerage."
Mykal nodded, "He did. Though I still don't really understand the reasoning."
"Court is all about appearances. I know that you can handle yourself on the battlefield in an Armormech, but this is a warzone of a different kind. We are going to need you to be able to survive that minefield as well." The king sat and she opted to use his knee as a chair and sat herself down, adjusting her skirts. "Not all attacks to the family come from military aggressors. Now, once we arrive, I have to do some quick research, and then we can introduce you to court and give you the honors you deserve. Not only will it give you a bit more standing in court and a kind of armor," she gave him a knowing smile, "It shall also open doors for your future."
Mykal nodded his understanding, mulling over the possible ramifications this could have on his life. He looked up as the king cleared his throat a bit. "I understand you have an appointment with your doctor to go over your new enhancements. I wouldn't want you to be late."
Mykal's face took on a confused look for a moment before remembering that the king and queen had been in the room early that morning. Smiling somewhat sheepishly, he nodded and stood. "I will check in with you later in the evening, Sir." Hans nodded and waved towards the door.
Mykal bowed slightly and made for the door. Before he walked out, Elaine called to him. "Mykal, go easy on her; it wasn't entirely her fault."
"What about her uncle?" he asked looking over his shoulder at the two royals.
Hans gave him a mischievous smile. "Let him have it, within reason. It was his idea after all."
Mykal's eyes narrowed slightly and he smiled. "Good to know." he said softly as he walked out of the room, letting the doors slide shut.
Elaine looked at her husband with wide eyes, shocked at the look that had come from the young man. "Do you think we should warn him?"
"Jason? Not on your life. He needs to be taken down a peg or two every now and then. Besides, Brigit will keep him on a fairly even keel I'm sure."
Rolling her eyes, she made a tsking sound. "Unless she acts like her father and sets him off in the first place."
"Hmm. I hadn't thought about that." Hans mumbled. "Can't wait to hear about what happens."
Making his way to the medical section of the ship Mykal made some mental notes as to what had been happening with his implants so that he could ask the right questions and know if the two doctors were leaving him in the dark about things. His gut clenched unexpectedly at the thought of Brigit knowingly deceiving him. He didn't want to believe that someone like her would be like that and based on his personal opinion, he didn't think she was. Yeah, but is that because she is a good person or because you want her to be a good person, seeing as you are attracted to her. Mentally shaking himself, Mykal tried to ignore the voice in his head, knowing that it brought up a very valid point.
Letting out a sigh, his thoughts turned to how he was beginning to feel for the small princess. You are in charge of her safety you can't mix business with pleasure. Mykal grimaced to himself, realizing he was beginning to seriously dislike his inner voice. Remembering how the king and queen had been acting though did make his train of thought detour for a bit. Okay, I'll give you that; it does seem like they are okay with it I guess. Maybe the voice wasn't too bad after all.
Turning down the corridor to the Med labs, Mykal saw his old friend was walking towards him. Looking up and seeing who was in front of him, Freddy's face broke out in a huge smile. "Congrats on the promotion there, Major!"
Mykal chuckled and returned the salute that Freddy had thrown at him. "Enough of that. It's nothing to make such a big deal out of."
Freddy scoffed. "Not that big a deal? Do you know how much people are talking about this? Top that off with what happened at the meeting yesterday and you are one hot topic."
"How much do people know?" Mykal asked carefully.
"Well, that you confronted Barovos and that he confessed to helping a traitor with the attempt on the royal family back on Orphus III; that he made a move to take out the king himself and that you stopped him by taking off his gun hand." Freddy smiled. "Never thought saber classes at the academy would come in handy for anyone."
Freddy's smile faltered a bit after a moment. "You may want to be careful though; there are a lot of folks that are really upset you are getting off scot free for confronting and assaulting a superior officer. There's some unhappy mutterings going on in the dark."
Mykal shrugged slightly, knowing that he was being a bit cavalier about the warning. "Anyone that wants to try and make a legal issue out of it is more than welcome. Fact of the matter is he's a dead man walking, with a witnessed confession to wartime treason and attempted assassination of the king. His breaths are numbered at this point. On top of that, I had already been assigned as the Commander of the Royal Lance, with official orders from the King himself; taking me out of the military chain of command and putting me above him." Mykal smirked. "Hell, if it would matter in any way we could tack on assaulting a superior, for when he smacked me."