Exiting the room, he saw that the king was waiting for him in the hallway with the marine captain. The King's bodyguards and his own were covering the two ends of the corridor, doing their best to look like pieces of the wall.
"Captain, he's all yours. Get everything you can from him; treat him like any other prisoner. If he resists, treat him accordingly." Mykal said in a calm voice.
The Captain nodded and entered the room, a small black case in his hands.
Hans walked up to him, put his hands on Mykal's shoulders and looked him in the eyes. "Are you okay son?"
Mykal took a deep breath and nodded. "My friend Freddy died years ago. I just didn't know it until today. The man in there is just another traitor."
Nodding, the king turned them towards the exit of the security center. "We only have a few hours until we drop out of hypertravel; then about 9 hours of in system travel. You and I need to talk about some things, hopefully without the interference of those wonderful women in our lives."
Mykal gave a mirthless chuckle. "Good luck with that one, Sir. I've gotten half a dozen messages from Brigit already this morning, asking how things are going, and she is going to know as soon as I leave the security center."
Hans lifted an eyebrow. "The leash is that tight already?"
"Apparently it was that tight before I even woke up from the battle. She snuck a tracking program in on me. At least it goes two ways." Mykal said with a grin.
"You can track her? What kind of range?" The king asked, as they walked down the corridor towards the royal section of the ship.
"According to her, anywhere there is a wireless connection to any of our communications." He shrugged, "There hasn't been much opportunity to test it since I found out about it yesterday. She's with Elaine by the way. They are waiting in the Queen's sitting room."
"We'll go to my study then." the King said. "I sent a message to Elaine and she said she'll give us a half an hour." Mykal nodded.
Taking a seat in the office, each with a glass of whiskey, the king looked carefully at Mykal, who seemed to be somewhat lost in his thoughts as he looked into the golden liquid in his glass.
"Since we have a time limit, I'm not going to beat around the bush. What are your intentions with Brigit?" Hans' eyes narrowed when Mykal started to chuckle. "That wasn't a joke."
"Oh, I know, Sir. I'm laughing because I have no idea." Mykal took a sip of his drink. "No, that's not right. I do have an idea. A plan even, though it is admittedly not very fleshed out and probably hopelessly outclassed by whatever Brigit and Elaine have cooked up." Looking his king in the eyes he continued in a clear and steady voice. "I am about as sure as I can be that I am in love with your daughter and I would like more than anything to ask her to be my wife. However, seeing as she is a Princess of the Kingdom and under certain obligations, and that she is her mother's daughter, it is infinitely more complicated than that." Mykal sighed slightly. "At this point, I am going to have to wait on the two of them."
The king took this in silently and nodded when Mykal had stopped speaking. "I have a very small inkling what Elaine is thinking, but I am sworn to secrecy." He smirked at Mykal. "Sorry."
The younger man shrugged. "I figured as much. I just need to be patient and see what they have planned. I'm sure it is going to have to wait until we reach Phoronas II."
Hans shook his head. "I am constantly surprised by you Mykal. I can only imagine how much more formidable you would be had you been raised with access to court."
"I'd probably be one of those guys that I don't really like, and I'm pretty sure that Brigit would have no interest in me."
Hans chuckled and raised his glass slightly before taking a sip. "I'm pretty sure you are right."
Mykal stood on the bridge of the massive ship, a pace behind the king and queen, as they watched over the bridge crew preparing to drop out of hyper travel and begin the final portion of their journey. Brigit stood next to him, occasionally brushing her hand against his and smiling to herself. He only spared a few moments every now and then to look down at the red haired beauty standing next to him. Every member of the royal family was present on the visitors deck of the bridge, and the number of regular crew that were around made him nervous as he constantly watched over the proceedings.
Looking down at Brigit, he saw that she was in a fairly bright and happy mood, though the tightness around her bright green eyes was evidence that she was a touch distracted. Tobias stood next to his sister Vivian, his bright young eyes taking in every detail of military action happening on the bridge while he chatted quietly with Vivian.
Looking withdrawn and somewhat lost, she maintained only enough conversation to keep Tobi from prying too much, though it was obvious that her mind was nowhere near where she was standing.
Scratching at the back of his head, Mykal continued to look over the command center of the ship, his eyes following the ship captain for a short while, watching for anything out of the ordinary. Not seeing anything strange, his eyes twitched to the far side of the observation deck where Jason sat huddled over a computer tablet, looking incredibly stressed out, as if his research was not telling him what he wanted to know. He's probably just stressing out about his assistant being a traitor. Mykal thought to himself, shaking his head slightly. Mentally checking his implant for new messages again and finding none, he turned his attention to the growing amount of activity that was beginning to happen.
Seeing him shake his head, Brigit leaned in and whispered, "Something wrong Mykal?"
Mykal shook his head, scratching at an itch on the side of his head. "No, just think I need a bit more practice with the message program; I'm thinking every little thing is an incoming message. I'll get the hang of it."
Brigit's eyebrows furrowed slightly as she studied him, watching him look over the increasing activity in the navigation pit of the command center.
"We'll be dropping out of Hyper in fifteen seconds, Captain." one of the helmsman reported. "Ten, nine, eight, cutting primary drive coils, five, four, redirecting secondary drive to break; Now!" came the call from the lieutenant in command of the helmsmen.
There was a drastic shift in the engine sound and vibration of the ship, as they decelerated from over three thousand to seventy times the speed of light. Whining with the increased load, the gravitational damper worked as intended; making sure the down shift in inertia didn't cause the entire compliment of life forms and every piece of equipment inside from becoming a very creamy paste.
A wave of nausea washed over Mykal as the ship continued to decelerate, though at a much slower rate. His knees felt a bit weak and he stumbled slightly, catching hold of a console to steady his self as he shook off a sudden and persistent headache that had bloomed in the base of his skull. "Mykal, what's wrong?" Brigit asked worriedly, rushing closer to help him.
"Not sure; I'm used to getting a little queasy at Hypershifts, but it's never been that bad." Brigit and Mykal both looked over at her Uncle as they heard the sharp intake of breath.
"You mean to tell me you have always felt when a ship goes into and comes out of Hypertravel?" the doctor asked, his eyes wide and his voice sounding strained.
Mykal nodded and winced at a particularly sharp pain in his head. Jason's eyes narrowed slightly as he looked down to his pad and looked back to Mykal. "What's wrong Mykal? Are you okay?" Brigit asked, her voice quiet with concern.
"I don't know; I've got a raging head ache. It feels different than when I'm on a ship that does a Hypershift though; like a message is getting stuck and not being delivered. I can feel the little tingle of a new message right before...." His eyes immediately snapped to Jason, who took an involuntary step back. "I told you I would find out if you lied to me you son of a bitch. Guards! Take Prince Jason Davidov into custody and place him in the brig."
The entire observation deck turned and looked at the two of them, the order coming from what they thought was out of the blue. The guards looked surprised at the order, but started to move towards Jason, slowly.
His face turning to a mask of anger, Jason snarled at Mykal as he began punching in commands on his computer pad. "You stubborn bastard! How in the fuck are you resisting?"
Another spike of pain hit Mykal so hard that he dropped to his knees clutching his head. Elaine and Hans rushed to his side as Brigit turned towards her uncle, her eyes flashing in anger and hatred. "Guards, arrest him this instant and bring me that pad!"
As Mykal lay on the ground clutching his head in pain, a small inkling of a thought slipped through to his conscious mind. "An attack...t-there's going to be an attack." he whispered, before blacking out from the searing hot knives of pain slashing into his head.
Hans immediately stood and looked over to the captain of the ship, who had begun to pay attention to what was happening on his observation deck. "Captain, prepare for an incoming attack. I think we've been set up for ambush. Can you get us out of here before we are hit?"
From his right, Tobias spoke up. "No, we are still at too high of a velocity; by the time we are able to slow enough to make an effective exit trajectory, we will be far too deep into the system. They could be sitting out there anywhere and we won't have any idea until it's too late; and if we try to focus on escaping, they will catch us completely off guard and smoke us before we get a single defensive shot off."
Hans looked at his son, a mixture of surprise and pride on his face. Glancing over at the captain, who nodded his agreement of the situation, he turned back to his youngest child. "Tell me Colonel, what would you suggest we do?"
Tobias flushed and swallowed hard. "Well, your majesty," he started, slipping into his 'military hat', "I would continue on towards the capital, without giving away that we suspect anything. I'm sure they are waiting for a message from one of the traitors on the ship, but they may already know that we've caught some of them and will just wait for us to get too close to be able to evade and attack from there. Either way, we need to prepare everything we have that won't tip our hand that we know they are out there. If we prep all the fighters and load the missile bays, we can hold off launch until they power up."
Tobias marched over to the plotting station that showed a three dimensional hologram of the star system. "They may have a drop on us, but they can't be too close to the capital, because sneaky or not, this is our home system. All it takes is one wrong reading, just a hair too close to the inner ring, and they will be doing nothing but dodging FTL rounds from the orbital defensive arrays." Looking over to the captain, "We need those fighters ready yesterday, and those tubes loaded and ready to fire an hour ago."
The captain smiled, nodded his agreement and started barking orders to the various departments that needed to be brought to battle stations. "I am going to hold off on calling general quarters as long as I can so if there are any other spies, they can't get out a message to their friends to warn them."
"Why are we getting ready to fight? Couldn't we just cut a random trajectory and make for the system limit, so we can come back in on our own terms?"
Tobias looked up from the plot and smiled at his father. "Military 101 dad; best way to break an ambush is to know it's there and take it." He pointed at a couple of moons and planets that where near their course. "They are probably hiding on our side of one of these, with minimum power. They know that as soon as they light up, we'll see them, but they want to keep the inner system blind as long as they can. As soon as they power up, they will have a few moments of uselessness before they can attack." Grinning, Tobias looked at his father. "We will already be ready to start attacking, as soon as we have a target. They will be caught flat footed; the way they meant to catch us."
Whistling his appreciation at his youngest, he looked at the ship's captain. "Captain, what are your thoughts on this strategy?"
The captain nodded with a grim face. "I'm sure we won't get out untouched, unless we can figure out which planetary body they are hiding at, but he's pretty much right." Looking at the plot, he let out a harrumph. "If we can find them, we'll be even better off."
Tobias looked over his shoulder, where his sisters and mother were trying to help Mykal. "They knew what they were doing. Taking him out is definitely a negative for us. I've been looking over his close combat tactics and if it comes down to a fighter battle, he's the one I would have wanted in charge."
The young prince's eyes snapped to the captains. "Fighter force." They both said at the same time.
The captain immediately turned and started barking orders to an already busy bridge. "They are going to try and jump us with a fighter force; probably a suicide squad. They aren't expecting to make it out."
As Hans stood and turned to the captain, Brigit took his place next to her mother, trying to figure out what was happening to Mykal. His body had started to shake, as if he was fighting off spikes in the pain, and his body was losing the fight. Looking up, she saw that her sister was standing near them, staring at Mykal in horror as if she knew what was happening to him. "Vivian, I need you to bring me that control pad that Uncle Jason was using, quickly!" Brigit barked at her older sister.
Startled into action, the blonde ran forward, scooped up the pad and ran back to Brigit, dropping to her knees and sliding the last couple of inches. "What's happening to him?" she asked in a whisper.
Having checked him over physically, she had noticed that Mykal's connectors for his synaptic controls were beginning to heat up, and was probably what had been causing the itching Mykal had seemed to be suffering from right before being overcome by the pain. "I think Jason had a program hidden in Mykal's implants that is supposed to do something. He had mentioned Mykal resisting something, so it may have been some kind of mind control programming." Cursing at herself under her breath, she whispered, "I wasn't at every surgery he did; he must have slipped it in without me knowing. I'm such an idiot."
"Brigit," Her mother admonished, "This isn't your fault. There is no way we could have known your Uncle would have done something so vile." Brigit nodded slightly, her eyes never leaving the control pad, and her fingers flying through the programming. Vivian was watching her work, her eyes darting between the pad in her sister's hands and the man on the ground in front of her.
"You can fix this right? You can get it out of him?" Vivian asked in a whisper.
"If I can find it; I can get it out, but I need to shut it down first. Something inside of him is fighting the programming so hard it is causing a cascading effect in the programming, making it take up so much power it's threatening to burn him out again. That won't be able to be fixed." Brigit responded in clipped tones. "Aha! There it is." she shouted out triumphantly. Mykal immediately stopped shaking and collapsed completely on the ground like a wet noodle.
"Mom, I think I need to be locked up until Brigit finishes with Mykal." Vivian whispered.
Her mother's head snapped up at the scared tremble in Vivian's voice. "Why would we need to do that?"
"I think that Jason put one in me too. Back when I had my piece repaired a few months ago. We don't know if anyone else has a control or not, and I'm not as strong as Mykal to fight it." She sighed lightly and folded her hands in her lap. "I vaguely remember doing things over the last couple weeks that I had no control over; things that I would never agree to do."
Elaine nodded sadly, realizing her brother in law had helped, maybe even led this rot inside the family and ruling class. She waved one of the remaining guards over and gave him instructions on how her eldest daughter was to be handled until she herself, or Brigit came to get her.
Brigit was carefully checking Mykal over when he took a slightly deeper breath and opened his eyes. Tears sprang into her eyes seeing him awake already, despite the shock his system had just received. "Don't be crying now; I'm going to be okay. You'll make sure of that." He whispered shakily. Brigit nodded emphatically and hugged him tightly.
"I'll need to put you out so that I can go in and completely remove the program." Mykal nodded slightly.
"Attack?" He asked, sounding slightly out of breath. Brigit shook her head as she replied.
"Nothing yet." He nodded and whispered, "Soon." and lost consciousness again. Brigit immediately took his vitals and released a breath she didn't know she had been holding, when she saw that he was just unconscious. Pulling out her com unit, she called for a medic team to come and transport him to the infirmary.
As she watched them carry him away on the hover stretcher, she turned to her mother and was finally able to let go. Both women clung to each other and wept at what had happened and become of their family, oblivious to the marshal activity around them.
Hans turned to his youngest son. "Tobias, do you have this under control for the time being?" At a nod from the young man, Hans turned back to his wife and daughter. Kneeling in front of his wife and taking her hands in his, he looked her in the eyes. "Elaine, we need to get this under control. I don't know how much time we have, and we need as much information as we can get. Once we make it to the planet, I promise that we will have all the time we need to mourn, but I need you to be strong, my love."
Elaine sniffed once and took a calming breath, pulling back her shoulders and sitting up straight. "You are absolutely right. I am going to go through any records I can find that Jason has been contacting our enemies, so we can see who else we need to worry about." Hans nodded and looked down at his youngest daughter.
"Brigit, I need you to see how much that bastard brother of mine hurt Mykal and what can be done for him." Letting out a heavy sigh, he continued, "We may need his help to make it out of this."
Wiping away tears from her cheeks, Brigit's met her father's unwaveringly. "Hasn't he done enough for this family? Or do we need to make sure that he dies while he saves us this time?"
Hans winced slightly at the razor sharpness of her tone. "I know that it seems that way, and if we can make it out of this without him I would prefer it. He is far too good for this family and for the kingdom to just throw away his life. Believe me Brigit; I have no intention of letting him do anything that will get him killed, if there is any way to avoid it."
Brigit nodded once. "See that you do that, father. I would be very upset if he died." Though she never raised her voice above a near whisper, there was no mistaking the iron in her resolve. There would be no forgiveness if Mykal didn't make it.
"Go now; go save our young hero's life." Brigit stood gracefully and strode from the room without another word, forcing her guards to jog to get into position.
"What are you going to do Hans? You have never led a military battle." His wife asked him as he helped her to her feet.
Hans shook his head. "I am going to leave that to the ones who know what they are doing. I am going to find out why exactly my brother decided to betray me."
Hans stood in the security office for the second time that day, looking at the displays for his brother and daughter's cells. Vivian was alternating between raging around the room, yelling to be released and sitting in one of the corners, crying and looking around the room confused about where she was.