The Lord Admiral Edit
The planet known as Fuchsia is one of few planets in the known universe that is neutral to both humans and orcs. It is governed by a race often referred to as the space elves by the ignorant folk back at Azures. It is by the will of these 'elves' that the planet is open all manner of intergalactic species, whether they are tourists taking some time off, merchants selling their wares, or travelers just simply passing by.
It is on one spaceport on this planet where a young man waits on a private landing pad with a pocket watch in hand.
His hair is short, black, and combed back. He is clean-shaven, with black eyes. He wears a dark jacket with a heightened collar. Fur runs down in a line at the front of the jacket, on both sides of a zipper. He wears gray gloves, long pants, and a pair of well shined black boots.
On his back is a small metal container, a helmet hanging on it. The helmet sports a pair of rectangular googles with a visor above it. The mouthpiece of the helmet bears a rectangular vent, with two small circles on both sides. On the lower part of the mouthpiece, a pair of tubes run down the helmet and connect to the backpack.
"Only two more minutes left." The man states.
No sooner than he said that, his phone rings. Putting his watch away in his jacket's pocket, he answers his phone.
"This is Kraile Endieryk, state your business." He bluntly says.
On the other line on the phone, he hears the caller's voice. "Yeah, hello? Good morning!! You're the uh, bird guy, right? The uuuuuhhhh-", Kraile hears the sound of fingers snapping three times sounds over the phone, "the Vulture guy? The one I'm supposed to meet?"
"Yes, that is my nickname. Am I to assume that you are the Admiral?"
"That's me alright. Listen, I'm about to land, so if you're not there already, you might want to hurry up."
Kraile looks around until he sees a red jet above, and behind him descending quickly. Erring on the side of caution, he takes a few steps to the side, clearing the way for the jet.
Much to Endieryk's horror, the jet is descending too quickly and it actually flies below the platform.
"Admiral, pull up! PULL UP!!"
"SHUT UP!! I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING!!"
The jet suddenly, and inexplicably rises above the platform, causing Kraile to take a step back.
As the Admiral lands his jet, he ends up stopping at the far end of the platform, almost falling off of it. The jet produces a beeping sound as it backs up using its landing gear. Only after the jet is at the center of the platform does it shut down.
The cockpit opens to reveal it's pilot. He appears to be a man in his mid-thirties, with medium brown hair and a short beard. He appears to be a little taller than Kraile, about 6"2' if he had to guess.
He sports an olive green jacket. Sewn-on the jacket's left sleeve is a patch that shows a red warplane with bird wings and an angry face; the words 'Red Wings' written below it. He also wears light brown gloves, long tan pants with a gun holstered on his right leg, and dark brown boots.
The man climbs down the jet's ladder, jumping down once he steps on the fourth rung. "Told you I knew what I was doing."
Kraile Endieryk walks up to meet the Admiral. "That was the worst landing I have ever witnessed. Are you really Admiral Zachary?"
The man spits "Of course I am!! Haven't you looked at the picture that Ramierez sent ya?"
Kraile stops in front of Zachary. "Yes, and you do look exactly like the picture they sent, but I've also read about Admiral Zachary. Not only is he supposed to be over 60, but he also possesses inhuman aerial combat capabilities that are, as Ramierez put it 'the stuff of legends'."
Zachary stops Kraile short. "Yeah, that stuff is true. The reason I look so young, and handsome, is because I can afford to have genetic regeneration surgery to wind the years back. As far as the landing goes, I just have a nasty habit of not slowing down once I'm on a roll, so landing is not my strong suit. Satisfied? Now, what about you? How can I know that you really are 'the Vulture'." As Zachary mentions the last two words, he throws his hands in the air and motions air quotes with his fingers.
Kraile reaches for his helmet, "Shall I recount the process which led to my involvement in this business transaction?" As Kraile puts his helmet on, it activates and lets loose a small gust of smoke from the mouthpiece's vent.
Zachary puts his arm on Vulture's shoulder and pushes him off to the side. "Okay, I believe ya, that won't be necessary.
Now can we get going? I'd like to get this done and be on my way back to what's left of my vacation."
. . .
A few minutes later, Zachary and Vulture are driving down a highway in a rental car, with Zachary at the wheel.
"Can you slow down!? The speed limit is one hundred!" Vulture beckons the Admiral.
Zachary scoffs. "No way, no one ever goes the limit on a highway. Besides . . . I need to let off some steam."
Vulture holds on tightly to his seat as Zachary weaves through traffic. Zachary continues to talk.
"I mean, it's bad enough that Tarron has me picking up this thing while I'm on vacation, but to do so when I'm trying my best to spend as much of that time with my family is absolutely insane!!
Come to think of it, you do know what we're picking up right?"
Vulture looks at Zachary. "No, I don't! I've read the details of the purchase several times over, but the object in question has only ever been referred to as the 'Golden Sarcophagus'. Now I could be wrong, but I highly doubt that Mr. Damos would approve of a coffin that would cost him over 10 Million Gold!"
Zachary laughs. "That depends on your definition of a coffin, Vulture!
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the lengths Tarron has gone through to secure this purchase for me, I'm just infuriated that he wants me to do it now!
I mean, I seriously don't get to spend enough time with my kid as it is! Want me to tell you why?"
"No sir, I would rather-"
"Okay, you've talked me into it.
Because I'm an Admiral, I'm responsible for Tarron's Armada. I tell the captains where to go, what to do, and when to do it. That means I have to plan at least weeks ahead for those deployments and calculate the costs of the endeavors!
And God forbid, that some fighter jets try to slip into our airspace, or someone's emergency beacon goes off: Because then I have to scramble the nearby forces to deal with them, forcing me to delay my plans!
All of this takes me away from raising my daughter, Nicole.
She is a wonderful girl. Honor student almost all of her school life. Didn't take shit from any one of her pompous peers or her upper class-men. She even put a couple of teachers in their place! And at the end of it all, she graduated with honors.
Now just a few weeks ago, she completed her training and is now a full-fledged pilot of Tarron's armada. She is going to be a wing commander on my ship in about a week.
I want to be there with her before she joins me on board the 'Homestead'. But NOOOO, Tarron wants me to run this errand myself because apparently this too important to trust to anyone else!!"
"You'll need to take this next exit." Vulture commented.
"Really? Huh... I thought it would be a little further down the road."
The car slows down as it goes down the exit ramp, causing Vulture to relax his grip. He sighs in relief causing steam to vent out of his helmet.
"Fortunately for us, the factory we're heading towards was built within proximity to the spaceport specifically to make delivery trips shorter. We should be arriving momentarily."
"That's great," Zachary replies. "Sooo, you gonna tell me why you bother to put that ugly thing on your head? And what is up with all the steam anyway?"
Vulture raises his hand dismissively. "That isn't your concern."
He looks out of his side window. "The factory is over there."
Zachary looks in the direction Vulture is pointing to. "Ah, that's what it looks like. I have to admit, I kind of imagined it being bigger. . .
Why are there so many cop cars around?"
Fayte Lockheart Edit
The factory is only two stories tall and made of what appears to be a golden alloy. A large garage door is situated at the center of the building, with a road leading straight out to the street.
Off to the building's right, several cars can be seen. Green lights flash from the cars roofs', signifying them as enforcement vehicles of the Elven race.
Zachary parks the car and walks towards the source of the commotion. Vulture catches up to him. "You're taking up two rows of space back there."
"Who cares!? Aren't you the least bit interested in what's going on here? This little trip is actually getting quite exciting!"
An Elven enforcer walked up to stop the two from proceeding any further. He is tall, with dark brown skin and medium blond hair.
"Stand back you two. There is an ongoing investigation going on."
Vulture stops, but Zachary keeps going not even glancing at the enforcer. "If you wanted to keep me out, you should've laid some police tape before I arrived here."
The enforcer turns around to stop Zachary, but the Admiral's statement and casual disregard catch him off guard. He stands in place, unsure of what to do.
Vulture speaks to the enforcer. "Do you mind telling me what's going on here?"
Snapping to attention, the Elf looks at Vulture. "Um . . . well. There was an attempted robbery here a few hours ago. Seven human men, carrying illegal firearms broke into the factory's main entrance over there and tried to make off with a large container of some kind."
Vulture gently put his right hand in a fist and rested the side of his chin on it, just under the mask's right tube.
"You say it was an attempted robbery, am I to assume that they were unsuccessful?"
The enforcer tipped his hat up, revealing his violet eyes. "That is correct sir. They were stopped by the factory's defense system, and one very angry, human woman."
"ROOKIE!" A voice yelled from somewhere in the crowd of cops. "QUIT CHATTING WITH THE PRIMITIVE AND GET YOUR SORRY ASS OVER HERE!"
The Elf flinches and utters an apology before taking off.
Vulture once again heads into the crowd of cops and looks for Zachary. He finds him at the factory's entrance talking to an android, wearing a hoodie.
It is shorter than Zachary and is mostly humanoid. A robotic limb hangs from the middle of the android's back. Including its hoodie, it wears a medium skirt with long pants underneath it and worn out boots.
When Zachary spies Vulture, he shouts "Hey Vulture, did you hear? Apparently, some idiots tried to make off with our merchandise."
"So it would seem" Vulture commented dryly. "The local authorities say that a human woman drove them off."
The machine next to Zachary rose her hand, and in a feminine voice it spoke, "That would be me".
What Vulture mistook for a robot, took off a metallic mask, revealing a normal, albeit beautiful, woman's face.
"The name's Fayte Lockheart, love: and who the hell are you?"
Taking off his helmet, Kraile answered: "I am Vulture, Admiral Zachary's business partner for this exchange."
"Oh yeah, you're the other one. Take your gloves off, and hold out your finger for me." Fayte raises her hand and waits patiently.
Kraile complies and puts his closed hand on her hand, with his index finger extended. Fayte cleans his finger with a wipe before taking out a small device which pricks Vulture's finger.
Fate puts Kraile's blood sample into another device held in her robotic arm. "Okay, the blood checks out. You're you."
"Glad to know"
Fayte motions for the two to follow her and heads inside the factory. She leads them into a hallway and moves forward without looking behind her.
"Tell me, is our purchase still intact?" Kraile inquires.
Fayte groans in annoyance. "Questions, questions, questions. I'm getting sick and tired of having to answer questions!
Your 'purchase' is completely fine. Those creeps didn't even get the thing off of the floor before I reactivated the security drones to intercept them."
Kraile sighs in relief as he puts his helmet back on. It puffs some steam as he shakes it into place. "Good to know. I'm grateful that you defended our Sarcophagus from-"
Fayte snorts in laughter. "Defend your Sarcophagus? AS IF! I was protecting myself! One of those creeps tried to rape me!"
There's an awkward pause. "What a filthy barbarian" Zachary states casually.
"No kidding" Fayte replies. "He just went right up to me and tried to back me into a corner with his gun. Too bad for him, my third arm managed to grab his pistol right out of his fingers. Next thing I know, he's sobbing like a bitch with a bullet lodged somewhere in his guts, and his buddies try to get payback! I barely managed to lock myself inside the security room and undo all the damage they did to our computers!
As the three arrive at an elevator, Fayte presses the button for it. Zachary lets off a chuckle.
"Not bad. I would never have imagined a simple engineer to be able to pull that off."
Fayte smiles. "I did some military training back on my home planet Sapphiria. There I learned how to handle weapons, such as guns and axes. I know how to handle a few idiots with guns.
I just came here after my training was over, to focus on improving my skills as an engineer. With the good payoff this company gave me, I was able to afford this new body of mine.
Then my boss, Jirantel, had me aid him on this project up until he unexpectedly died of a brain hemorrhage. I had to work overtime to make sure your product was ready for today. That's when those idiots showed up."
The elevator doors open and the three walk inside.
The Sarcophagus Edit
As Fayte leads the other two through the garage they pass by many beautiful, half-finished projects. Vulture wonders what each contraption does, and what it cost to make them.
"We should see your Sarcophagus coming up in the next right turn. It should be in the middle of being prepared to be transported to the elevator lift."
"Good to know, I want to get out of here as soon as possible. No offense." Zachary replied.
As they round the corner the group sees a golden, rectangular box at the end of an enormous ramp. The box was heavily embellished with a darker golden flourish which wraps around the box. Upon closer inspection, one could make out certain lines in the box's structure suggesting that the box could open in the front. There is a door on the box's left side allowing an adult-sized person to enter. At the box's center is a touch screen with an indentation below it, covered by a clear glass door.
Zachary can hardly contain his excitement. "Oh my lord! Oh my lord, am I dreaming!? It's beautiful! Are you seeing this Vulture?"
Fayte smiles. "Glad to know that you like the design. Want to see it work?"
Zachary turns to Fayte, "Can you turn it on right now?"
"Of course, this thing can run on its own power for a couple of hours, and we got some time to kill before everybody gets it ready for transport, so why not?"
Zachary laughs giddily as he power walks up to the box and touches the screen to turn it on.
"Should we stand back?" Vulture inquires Fayte.
Fayte takes a long, puzzled look at Vulture. "No, there's no need for that. Why would you ask?"
"No reason." Vulture states dryly.
Fayte scoffs, "Wait, do you not know what this thing is?" There's an awkward pause. Filled only by the humming coming from the Sarcophagus. "Oh my gosh you don't."
"Not through any fault of my own mind you. My employer was pretty tight-lipped concerning the object in question."
Fayte smiles. "Jeez, your boss has trust issues. No matter. It seems like it's done its job."
Vulture turns his attention to Zachary as he reaches inside the indentation in the box. He grabs something inside the indentation and turns around, revealing his prize.
The sight of the object in Zachary's hands befuddles Vulture so much, that he has to shake his head and do a double take. He had made several theories on the sarcophagus could be, but none of them explain why Zachary is now holding his new delight in his hands. There is only one explanation for the object's existence, but Vulture feels that to accept this truth would plunge him into a realm of madness which he could never truly escape from.
"No." Vulture mutters. "No, not possible! There's no way that this can be it!!"
Zachary chuckles at Vulture. "What, surely you've seen this before?"
"That's not the problem, Zachary!"
"Then you mind telling me what is?"
"Sir Damos spent a moderate fortune on this 'sarcophagus' of yours, and has spent a considerable amount of effort making sure that no details of this object's purpose or even existence were ever made known! There's no possible way that he would invest so much into something as simple as . . . as . . ."
"An ice cream machine?" Zachary holds up his bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream topped with whip cream and various toppings.
If anyone could see through Vulture's mask, they would see a face of utter disbelief and shock. It is as if he had glimpsed into the secret workings of the universe and had been thoroughly disappointed in it.
"I . . . I need a moment" he says, turning around and marching off while burying his head in his hands.
Zachary gives a light chuckle. "Can you believe this guy?"
Fayte shrugs. "You can't really blame him. I think I would be disappointed too if I were in his place."
"Well this ice cream is truly scrumptious, and now I'm curious about the rest of our investment. Mind if I take a look inside?"
Fayte hands him a key. "Knock yourself out."
With a spring in his step, Zachary unlocks the side door and enters inside the machine. "Woooow. You guys really went all out with this thing."
Standing outside, Fayte continues the conversation. "Of course, we don't cut corners around here. Everything is about the quality of the work and the effectiveness of the product, thus leaving the customer happy, and all of us here very rich."
"I see. I guess I should ask you to make more stuff for me more often."
"Well, you can place another order for anything you want, but I'm not going to be here to make it. I'll be gone."
"What? Why would that be?"
Fayte sighs. "Remember when I said that my boss died? Well, he was the only one willing to hire human help for his projects. All the other guys here want to stick with their own kind to make 'superior products' that 'only they' can make. Take into account that I fought off a bunch of burglars instead of 'running to safety as per company guidelines' and now the company big-wigs want me to sign out for good once this transaction is over."
Zachary pokes his head out of the machine. "That's a shame. Do you think you'll be able to get another job soon?"
Fayte groans in frustration. "I don't know. I just, auuugh. CAN WE NOT talk about this right now!!? I'm wound up as it is, and I don't know how much more of this crap I can take!! I just want to get this done, go home, and cry myself to sleep for a bit, before thinking anything else!!"
"Woah, girl easy! There's no reason to get upset right now."
Now it was Fayte's turn to become exasperated. "WHAT!!?? What did you just say!!? What possible reason should I have to NOT be upset!!?"
Zachary smiles. "Well for starters this has just become an interview, and I very much like this resume of yours." He knocks on the top of the door frame.
Fayte could only usher a very confused "huh?".
"It's very simple Miss Lockhart. I could use mechanics like yourself on my ship. You can make stuff, repair it, and even keep your wits about you when facing aggressive forces. That's everything I look for when it comes to my personal working on my ship: And if you want even more pay, you could even volunteer as a mercenary when we have land missions. After all, front-line mechanics can be very useful in the right situation."
Fayte blanks for a good five seconds. "What?... I-"
"You don't have to decide right now. I'll give you some time to figure everything out. In fact . . ." Zachary heads back inside the machine and comes back out carrying a two-handed, double-edged ax. "Take this as my tip to you. I certainly don't need something this clumsy, and you said that you know how to use it, so here. Wield it however you want, and if you decide you'll want to swing it while under my employment, then you can be sure that I'll pay you fairly for your efforts."
Fayte takes the ax into her hands. She can feel the magical energies flowing throughout the weapon, giving her the feeling that it could cleave anything in two with it. As she turns the enchanted ax in her hands she reflects on her predicament and smiles.
"Hell yeah, I'll join your crew! Fuck the job market, I'm going with you guys! Think you can wait for me to get my stuff from my apartment?"
Zachary closes the sarcophagus's door. "Sure, as long as you get back to the spaceport by midnight tomorrow, I'll take you on-board. If you can't make it, then I can pay for a flight over to the intergalactic space station in this sector, where I'm planning on picking up some new recruits."
Vulture walks up to the pair, seemingly eyeing Fayte's new weapon. "Where did you get that?"
Zachary pats Vulture on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it, young man. Let's focus on getting this golden delightful addition to my ship where it belongs, so I can once again enjoy ice cream on my ship."
Vulture, getting back his composure, arches his back straight. "Right... and once more you say? Is this not the first ice cream machine you had on your ship?"
Zachary laughter echoes throughout the workshop. "Oh yeah. I have to tell you the story about that machine, you're going to love it!"