"You are not going in there." Mykal's voice was hard.
"What do you mean; I'm not going in there?" Brigit asked, her eyes flashing.
"I mean that there is no real reason for you to go into a holding cell with an 8 foot tall dragon-looking lizard man, so you won't be."
"And when exactly did you start to believe that you are my keeper?"
"Right around the time you told me that I was going to be yours or maybe around the time your father made me the Commander of the Royal Lance, thus putting me in charge of your safety and security as a member of the royal family." He smiled slightly. "You can take your pick between the two."
"We can learn so much from him; we've never been able to capture one of them alive," she said with a pout. "Please?"
"No matter how many times you bat your beautiful green eyes at me, I am not letting you go in there." Mykal said with a straight face. "When we land and get him in a proper containment room, then I may let you near him. As it is, this is too close for my liking. We are going to do everything we can to make sure he survives, especially since he is my only link to chasing down Marcus."
"Fine; I'll wait." Brigit said, her eyes narrowing. "You are so lucky I feel the way I do about you."
Mykal smirked as he walked towards the corridor entrance, gently dragging her with him. "And what is it you feel for me exactly?"
"Guess you'll just have to wait and find out, if you don't make me change my mind before then."
Tobias paced back and forth in front of his father's desk. "It's just not right. It doesn't make sense."
"Tobi, stop pacing and start talking sense." His mother said from one of the side couches.
"The Carthanian; he wasn't in a rescue pod. It just got lucky with how its ship was hit. From what we can tell so far, they don't have any kind of survival measures built into their fighters." Tobias shook his head. "It's just not right."
Mykal and Brigit walked in. Taking in the scene in front of him, Mykal asked, "What's wrong?"
"Tobi thinks that the way the Carthanians do battle is...less than humane." Tobias rolled his shoulders in irritation at the way it was described.
"You mean the lack of survival pod on that fighter piece we brought in with our hulking friend?" Mykal asked, as he took a seat across from the queen on the other couch. He raised an eyebrow at Brigit when she went and sat next to her mother. About a second later he received a message; [Mom is stressing about Vivian and what Jason did; just comforting her.] Mykal nodded once and gave Tobias his full attention.
"That's probably why we have not captured any Carthanians that weren't already on deaths door. If their 'Mechs are the same, their 'to the death' way of fighting would make for a tough time in capturing any of them."
"I wonder why they don't have some form of life saving equipment in their vehicles. It's almost like that old culture back on earth that would send in their warriors expecting to die." Mykal said as he stood and moved over to fix himself a drink. He glanced at Brigit; catching her eye, shifted them to her mother and back, raising his eyebrow.
She nodded once and Mykal poured a second glass for Elaine. Walking over and handing the glass to Brigit, he swirled his drink slightly as he made his way back to his seat. "For them to do something like that, they would have to have a massive population and a leadership caste that held itself aloof from the rest of their society."
"Well, we kind of do the same, but we don't send our people into battle to win or die," Tobias bit out.
Hans nodded. "Our society has evolved over tens of thousands of years. We have had some pretty horrific leaders of men in our time."
Mykal snorted. "Hades, look at that jackass emperor that the Tudoran's had about thirty years ago. I think if the other nations hadn't stepped in to stop him he would have ended up doing similar things. His genome programs were more than a little crazy."
Tobias stopped pacing. "Maybe they just never got that part of social evolution. If one nation had taken complete control of Old Earth, it's probable that all of the extra terran exploration would have been confined to one ideology; they would have been stuck, instead of evolving as separate groups like we have."
Mykal's eyebrows raised and he looked over at Hans, who smiled. "He received exemplary marks in social and political science, as well as social anthropology. I would agree with that idea based on what we've seen of them so far; leadership caste that has such an iron grip on the people that their troops will think nothing of fighting to the death."
"Couldn't it just be esprit de corps? Good old fashioned patriotism for their race?" Mykal asked.
Hans shook his head, but it was Tobi that answered. "That's very doubtful. There would have been at least one coward or fuckup that would have surrendered. Fear is far easier to instill in everyone than patriotism."
Mykal snorted. "I'll give you that."
"Do you think we'll be able to communicate with it?" Brigit asked softly, more to herself than anyone else.
"Oh, I'm sure we will. I'm not sure we'll like what it has to say though." Tobias answered with a grimace.
Mykal stood on the bridge, his hands clasped behind his back as he watched the main view screen; tracking their descent to the royal spaceport. His eyes picked out the ten lances worth of 'Mechs that were patrolling the grounds of the spaceport and the nearby palace.
"Still worried about whose team they are on?" Captain Rimaldi asked as he stepped up next to Mykal.
Mykal shrugged slightly. "Is it that obvious?"
Rimaldi shook his head slightly. "Only to someone who's been around as long as I have. I've been commanding ships since the King's father was a young man."
Mykal's eyes widened slightly as he took in the man standing next to him. Looking just a bit older than the Master Chief, he had put the Fleet Captain at not much over one hundred years. "You look good for your age."
The Captain chuckled. "I joined the Navy at seventeen and have been serving this nation for over one hundred and thirty years." Winking at Mykal, he whispered conspiratorially, "Not going to say how much over though."
"I thought there was an age cap on service?" Mykal questioned as his eyes watched the display screens.
"I started serving before they were enacted. You could say I was Grandfathered in." Rimaldi replied, barking a laugh at his own pun. "I only bring it up because to a man my age, you are awfully young to be taking orders from, and I'm not the only old timer in the military. Hades, there are a couple that have been around longer than me. I just adapt well."
Mykal nodded. "Glad you are on our team, as much as you have seen."
"I never thought I would see all this though. It doesn't make much sense to me. That boy was bright, politically savvy and trained by the best in the court." Rimaldi shook his head. "Why make a play like this, getting in bed with those things that have been trying to kill us, when you know you are getting the throne in just a decade or two?"
Mykal shrugged. "Not too sure, though I am almost certain that the king's brother had something to do with it. My job is to make sure he doesn't succeed."
"Well, just take it easy for a bit. We'll be on the ground in about thirty minutes."
Mykal nodded. "Thank you, Captain."
Brigit helped her mother clean up and change for debarkation, Elaine having spent the last two hours crying out the pain of her family's betrayal. She had always thought that her son was happy with being his father's heir and right hand. And Jason, whom she had loved as if her were her own blood, had held such contempt for them that he helped to try and kill them all.
"Mother, I don't know that I can wait anymore." Brigit said as she braided her mother's hair into one large plait.
"We are almost home sweety. You will only have to wait a little longer. We have to do this the right way, especially because of your brother's actions and your sister being functionally disabled right now. We have no idea if she will rebound from this. You realize that there is a good chance you would be the heir primus, don't you?"
Brigit's jaw dropped as she stuttered to find words. "B-but, Vivian, s-she's next in line."
"If she does not come back from this one hundred percent there is no way anyone will take her seriously as the queen. Not taking into account that her twin brother betrayed the crown and allied himself with our enemies." Her mother shook her head slightly. "You need to be ready for this possibility. If it does fall to you, we have to make sure that he will be suitable to be your husband," she held up a hand before Brigit could interrupt. "In bloodline only, darling. You and I know that as a man, he is more than up to the challenge."
Brigit sighed. "I had never thought there would ever be the possibility of me being anywhere close to taking the crown. That's why I focused on cyber medicine." She bit her lower lip, fidgeting with her fingers. "What if his bloodline isn't strong enough?"
"Oh, I have some ideas about that and if I'm right, we won't have to worry about it. If you do end up being Crown Princess though, there are traditions that we will have to follow, you know that right?"
"Mother, you can't be serious. I am marrying him, and that is that. If it's not him, it's no one."
"You know it's not that easy Brigit. You will have a responsibility."
"Then I guess you better make sure that he's the one that passes, shouldn't you?" Brigit said with a serious face as she set down her mother's brush. "I'm not budging on this one."
Elaine sighed as she watched through the mirror as her daughter left the room. "Elaine, I hope you are right about this." She whispered to herself.
Mykal and Tobias stood next to each other as they watched the prisoner's being transferred off the ship. They had landed over an hour ago, but clearing the family out of the ship and into the palace had taken some time, since Tobias refused to go until he saw that the Carthanian was treated fairly and with the respect due to a captured prisoner of war, not as an animal, regardless of what it looked like.
"Are you sure about this, Tobias?" Mykal asked, as they watched the alien being locked into its guiding tethers.
The younger man nodded. "Something in this doesn't add up to me. Maybe it's just me being young, but these...people being treated the way they are doesn't seem right." Tobias replied.
Mykal shrugged. "Well between your 'feeling' and your sister's scientific objections, I don't have a leg to stand on. I'm not saying I want to kill it outright, but if it makes a move for someone, I won't hesitate to have it dropped."
"Understandable." The two of them backed up a few paces as the security team began to move the prisoner towards the door. "Wonder what its name is?" Tobi asked no one in particular as he watched the security team shuffle the massive prisoner out of the ship.
"Well, maybe if you are lucky you can ask it out once we finish the questioning." Mykal said with a smirk as he followed the security team, one hand on his blaster.
Mykal shuffled through the papers on his new desk, not really seeing them. He had gotten back only a quarter of an hour earlier from seeing Freddie's family. He had sat down and calmly explained everything that had happened and shown them what he could of Freddie's confession.
Freddy's mother had cried through the entire thing, denying that he was guilty, that it was a scheme or lie. She had cried and railed at Mykal until she had heard and seen the confession. At that point, she had broken down and started to bawl. His father had watched silently, holding his wife, but never taking his eyes from the display as the confession played out.
Freddy's sister had gone ballistic. She yelled, ranted, raved and blamed Mykal for all of it. She cursed Mykal and the entire royal family. She said that if her brother was trying to kill the family then they deserved to die. Mykal knew academically that she was just hurt and lashing out. In his heart he felt as if he was being stabbed by his best friend yet again. This young girl was the closest thing that he had to a sister and she wanted him dead. When she saw the part where Freddy said he did all of it not for a greater good, but for easy power and to be able to force himself on a woman, she instantly shut up and went deathly quiet.
Tears poured down her face as she looked at the screen, then at Mykal. He felt his heart break as he watched the realization come over her that her big brother and idol was one of the bad guys. She ran to him and flung her arms around his neck, knocking both of them to the ground and began to sob into his chest, incoherently mumbling about why he had done it. He sat where he had landed and just held her, tears running down his own face as he rubbed the young girl's back soothingly.
When she had finally cried herself out, she looked up at him with tear streaked eyes. "I'm sorry Mykal. I didn't mean to yell at you like that. I-I just didn't know what to do."
Mykal smiled softly at the girl he had looked at as a younger sister for years. "I know Samantha. You should have seen what was going through my mind. I got lucky that I had good people supporting me through this, just like I will be here to help you and your parents through this."
He looked over at the older Davidsons. Fred's mother was still crying softly and his father had yet to say anything. "I truly am sorry I wasn't able to stop this before it got out of hand."
Fred's father nodded slightly. "I understand. I'm not blaming you. What is going to happen to him?" he asked, looking at Mykal for the first time. The pain in his eyes was evident.
"Well, it all depends on how co-operative he is. If he is as helpful as physically possible I may be able to influence it to a life sentence, no chance at release, at a maximum security complex." Mykal sighed, "But if he fights us in any way, there is a very real chance that he would be executed."
Samantha gasped and her mother cried just a bit harder as her father nodded his head in understanding. "I suppose seeing him isn't going to be an option anytime soon, will it?"
Mykal shook his head. "Not until the questioning is completed, so at least two weeks. You can reach me at the palace or on my personal communicator." He set a card with his contact information on the table and looked down at Samantha. "And you are welcome to come see me any time. All of you."
He stood, lifting Samantha with him and setting her on her feet. "If any of you need my help with anything, please let me know. I have always thought of you as my family because you have always been there for me. It's my turn to be there for you now."
He picked up the uniform jacket that he had laid on the back of one of the chairs when he had arrived at the Davidson home. Sliding his arms into the sleeves he turned at the gasp from Freddy's mother.
"Mykal! Why are you wearing that? You will get in trouble for impersonating someone of such high rank."
Mykal smiled softly. "I am so glad to hear you say that. It reminds me that there are people that still see me, not this Gods forsaken rank badge." He shook his head slightly. "Don't worry Mrs. Davidson; I won't get in trouble for it. It really is my rank now. Some things have changed."
Samantha's eyes got big and she started grinning. "It's you! All the gossip pages on the 'net are talking about the young new Major protecting the Royal Family. They said he was a young handsome guy, barely more than eye-candy." she giggled at the last part.
Mykal rolled his eyes. "I'm definitely not eye-candy. Baravos learned that first hand." He chuckled to himself softly. "That is never going to get old." he whispered.
It was her father's turn to gape at him. "It's true? You took the hand of a noble?"
Mykal smirked a bit. "That's classified." He walked forward and knelt next to Freddy's mom. "I'm here if you guys need me." he said softly as he wrapped her in a hug. He and Freddy's dad stood and shared a hand shake and half hug. As he walked back towards the front door, he hugged Samantha again. "You be good and strong. Your parents are going to need you right now. If you need someone to talk to, give me a call. I mean that."
He leaned forward and whispered in her ear. "Besides, I know this girl I think you would get along with. You have something in common that I think you could both help each other through."
She nodded into his chest as she hugged him. "I will."
Shaking his head to clear it, he looked back down at the pad in his hands. It had a listing of the current strength of the security forces of the palace. There was a commander of the home guard who ran pretty much everything in the palace, and himself who ran everything outside of the palace, in regards to keeping the royal family safe.
Mykal grimaced at the depleted numbers he was being forced to work with until new 'Mechs, pilots and infantry could be drummed up from the selection process. He knew that he was going to increase the size of the traveling component, seeing as what had happened on Orphus III. The family making it out alive was a fluke, and a testament to Mykal's quick thinking, self sacrificing personality and luck on the battlefield. He didn't want that happening again.
As he was inputting a note on how many more 'Mechs he needed, he got the tingle from his locator program that one of the royal family was within twenty yards. He did a quick mental check and smiled slightly, looking back down at his pad to input more notes.
"What brings you down to the military offices, Princess?" He asked with a smirk, looking up at the beautiful red head that had stolen his heart.
"Well, my darling Major, I came to see how your meeting with Fred's parents went and to give you some...information."
Mykal raised an eyebrow at her as she came around the desk and sat down on his lap, hugging him around the neck. "They were understandably upset. Really upset. I think they will be okay, though they may need me to contact them more often at this point. Samantha is going to come and visit at some point, I think."
Brigit's eyebrow rose, "Samantha?"
Mykal chuckled. "Fred's younger sister. She's a bit younger than Tobi."
"Do I get to meet this little girl?" Brigit asked.
Nodding, Mykal hugged Brigit close. "I think you two would get along great, and that you will have some things in common that will help you both." He looked up at her. "What information did you need to give me?"
"Well, we've been back for almost two weeks now, and it's time for you to meet some people. So mother set up a time to do so."
"And just who am I supposed to be meeting?" Mykal asked warily.
Brigit blushed, knowing that Mykal had her. "Um...The Court."
Tobias looked through the energy field and watched the Carthanian pace. They had been unable to communicate much with him since they had brought him in, but they had been able to figure out what it needed as far as nutrition was concerned. They had placed a number of platters with various types of food on them and it had picked through the selection, almost seeming to understand what they were wanting to know. After it had picked a small amount of everything it seemed it could eat, it had waved at the remains dismissively and set everything else aside as a display of what it could eat.
Brigit had been with Tobi that morning and was bubbling over about what they were learning about its physiology.
Tobi just wanted to talk to it. He couldn't shake the feeling that it was trying to say something to them that was very important to it.