(Disclaimer: A warning to those who continue. This is a sequel to a previous story. Both of these were written in the mid-1990’s. While the first one was slightly edited and vanity press published, this one has not been touched in over 20 years. I figure I should do something with it and people may get a laugh or fright from how I used to be. Every author comes from somewhere, so this is part of my origin. To that end, I am deeply sorry for whatever nightmares I will inflict on the literary world and the American English language. Enjoy?)
“It’s about time you showed up!” shouts Hydrana from the arena. As Fate walks into the game room, he places his medallion on the bar.
“How about a practice bout? You and me against the new drone warriors. No powers and you can only use weapons if the robots drop them,” suggests Fate as he programs the arena’s computer system. The door locks as soon as they take six steps into the training area.
“Okay. After that, I talk and you listen.”
A loud buzzer goes off and several robots jump through holes in the ceiling, in the floor, and in the walls. They all have heavy gattling guns on their shoulders and swords instead of hands. Occasionally, one of them spits out deadly razor blades with incredible accuracy. As soon as the machines hit the ground, the guardians attack the training drones at full force.
“You have to give Infinity credit. The new models look a lot more dangerous than the originals. But they still break very easily. They also seem to be a lot slower than the old ones,” announces Fate as he cleanly chops off a robot’s head with a karate chop. Before that one hits the ground, the blond-haired boy flipkicks another of his attackers. It clumsily topples backwards and gets itself impaled on a nearby robot’s sword. When the guardian throws a third robot into the two of them, all three blow up in a small, yet very loud, explosion.
“Not bad, Eddie. But this move is a whole lot better,” Hydrana laughs before spinning on one foot and destroying five robots with her other outstretched leg. Once she stops spinning, a steel longsword goes smoothly through the redhead’s left shoulder from behind. Instead of screaming in pain, like she would have done a year ago, she pushes off the floor with her powerful legs. Both of the fighters slam into the wall, but only the robot falls apart.
“I don’t mean to ruin your fun, but you just lost your arm.” The Mars guardian blocks two bullets with his right leg before giving a double-fist punching to one of the metal warriors. When one of the larger ones grabs him by the arms and turns him upside-down, Fate kicks it with his heels repeatedly before he is dropped on his head. This bigger robot has two rocket launchers on its shoulders instead of guns. It fires both of its rockets at the guardian, but Fate jumps over one of the missiles and catches the other like it was a baseball. He throws it back at the towering drone and the shot takes the robot’s head off.
“Here it is,” announces the redhead when she picks up her severed arm, which isn’t bleeding. Two robots charge at her and she just smiles at them like a very hungry cat. Once they get close enough to her, the Neptune guardian starts smashing them into circuits with her unattached arm.
“I said no weapons unless a robot drops one. That includes any of your severed limbs. Besides, it’s gross.” The last of the drones jumps between them and attempts to put a large razor deep into the Mars guardian’s back. But its head is crushed into powder when both guardians’ spin kicks it’s steel skull as hard as they can.
“Do you know that you have a razor blade stuck in your foot?” whispers Hydrana as she watches her arm start to grow back
“It hurts a lot more coming out of my heel than it did going in. How long until your arm grows back?”
“Not long. My best time is four minutes for a severed limb, but that’s if I force the healing. Of course, this is a flesh wound compared to what that Palidor did to me last week. Now, that was painful to the extreme.”
“I actually enjoyed twenty-four hours of you being entirely silent. It was peaceful around here.”
“Of course, I was silent! My head was missing!”
“At least it didn’t cut off anything that you used on a daily basis. But it seems that a lot of problems have turned up over the past month. Your head getting cut off and me getting killed are two good examples. I think we’re getting sloppy, but I’ll talk to everyone about that later. We can still work very efficiently if we have to. Now, what did you want to tell me?”
“All of us have noticed that you’ve been putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself. Everyone, including me, is worried that sooner or later you’ll burn yourself out or become suicidal,” mentions Hydrana.
Fate picks up a color changing drink and some big, green slices of fruit before saying, “Have you been talking to SEAS about me?”
“He told me to spend some quiet, relaxing time with Kelly. So after this little meeting, I’ll be very busy doing absolutely nothing. It might even help me regain some of my humanity, which I’ve been told I’m starting to lose.”
“That’s good for now. But I have a long term answer to your problems.”
“I’m afraid to ask, but I guess I have no choice. What’s your big idea?”
“A second-in-command. Someone who is able to do some of your work and take a majority of the pressure off of your shoulders. It will give you a lot more time to spend with the lonely Miracle. When she said that she had missed you, it wasn’t only when you were dead in the comet. You’ve ignored her for a long time and that is not helping you further your relationship.”
“Usually, I would ignore that statement, but you’re right this time. Like I said before, a lot of great events seem to be happening lately. But Kelly is the reason I’m going to take the next week off. SEAS will be left in charge.”
“Hold it. You’re dumb enough to put a machine in charge of us. Listen to me, Eddie. Everyone is with me on the idea of you having a second-in-command. Even SEAS agrees with me. Why not trust me for just this week?”
“You? I knew there had to be some kind of selfish reason behind this idea. And I thought you had changed over the past couple of months.”
“Why does everybody think that I’m nothing more than a spoiled brat? In fact, I made up that whole bratty illusion because that was how my entire family wanted me to act! So don’t blame me! Blame them!” shouts the hazel-eyed immortal in a half-angry voice.
“Calm down. Why do you think you should become my co-leader?”
“I’m a great fighter and I’m brave. I also tend to keep a level head in battle. No one on this base can fix or refit the space skimmers better than me. Are those reasons good enough for you?”
“Bravery and incredible skill in combat are important to a planet guardian. But they do not make a leader. Draveon has those qualities and he’s nothing more than an oversized lackey for Adriana. As for your cool under pressure behavior and your mechanical expertise, those can be useful no matter what rank you hold. Of course, the way you handle responsibility goes against your case.”
“What are you talking about? I am very responsible. Ask anybody. Except my ninth grade theater teacher. I kept forgetting to memorize my lines and was always hitting on all of the cute guys.”
“This is not a joking matter. The others on this base would probably agree that you show yourself to be very responsible. But what if I ask your parents about your behavior?” whispers Fate. The only reaction is total silence and an emotionless face replaces Hydrana’s once confident smile.
She finally gets herself under control before growling, “You have no right to go anywhere near that area, Fate.”
“Maybe not, but it has to be said. When the rest of us went to tell our families about us being guardians, you went to a shopping mall. Your parents don’t even know what has happened to you. That was really immature behavior on your part.”
Suddenly, a geyser of boiling water smashes Fate into the ceiling and lets him drop onto a metal table. Hydrana tries to punch him, but gets hurled over the distant bar by the blond guardian. When Fate jumps onto the glass-covered bar, he sees the other guardian cowering in a corner and crying her heart out.
“You wouldn’t understand. My parents never allowed me to do anything besides shop, party, and lounge around the mansion. The only time I could play games was when they went away on their yearly three-month vacation and left me alone with the maids and butlers. Unlike the rest of you, I was given everything. But I hated it. My parents gave me whatever I wanted, except their love. My relationship with my parents is nothing more than a dog and its owners. Even worse than that. Unlike me, the dog gets love from its owner. That was why I couldn’t, and still can’t, face them. Well, that and the other thing that happened with my father. But a sweet guy like you doesn’t need to know about those kinds of things. Don’t you see that being a planet guardian was my only way to escape them? Now that I’m up here, my parents are unable to hurt and control me anymore,” Hydrana cries between hefty sobs. She lets Fate help her up and he brings her quietly to her room.
Before Hydrana goes into her aquarium filled room, Fate says, “Look. I’ll let you be second-in-command on one condition. You have to find some way to prove to me that you can act responsible. I’d really like to see you confront your parents or do some kind of selfless act.”
“But . . .” she starts to say.
“No excuses. I’m sorry for you, Hydrana. I truly am. But you have to be able to deal with your current problems before I can give you anymore. It’s the best for the entire group and us. Understand?”
“Yeah. Can I tell you something, Eddie? You’re a good friend that I never wanted.”
“I know. Goodnight, Delila.”
If Fate listened through Hydrana’s door for a few more seconds, he would have heard her mumble, “Delila Mandervale III. She’s dead, Mars guardian. But it wasn’t as if she was ever alive to begin with.”