The vastness of space has always interested her. As she stares out, she wishes that she had reached the final frontier under better circumstances. She was driven out from her thoughts by the shaking of her craft, sending her off her seat and onto the hard floor.
“Princess, are you all right?!”, a voice rang out.
The girl looked up at the source of the voice, a young man clad in armor and cape. She stood and straightened herself.
“I’m fine, Vion. Just focus on getting away from-”
The girl’s order was interrupted by another blast, sending the ship into more turbulence. From the window, the girl caught a glimpse of her pursuer. A ship three times the size of hers, outfitted with an open hangar from which smaller gunships were deploying. Its silver coloring a massive contrast to the dark of space.
“We’ll be approaching a wormhole soon, your Grace. But it seems to be uncharted; I have no idea of where it will send us”, Vion said.
“It doesn’t matter, we must escape!”, the girl tried to keep her air of nobility intact. However, the gravity of the situation is beginning to crack the stoic mask she’s been putting on.
Father...Mother...They’re all gone..
Why? Why did this happen?
“Princess…”, Vion whispered to himself as he steeled his gaze towards the field in front of him.
The wormhole he mentioned is beginning to appear in sight. Once he reaches it and goes through, they can escape.
Wherever that portal sends us, at least the princess will be safe from him. I can contact the others and we can plan something out. But for now, I must fulfill my duty as a Knight of the Lockon Empire and protect the princess. After all…
Vion momentarily glimpsed at the device next to him. A rectangular handheld device placed on a stand next to him. The latest piece of Lockonian technology, capable of granting its user a powered version of their armor. If worst comes to worst, he imagined, it must be used.
Visual confirmed, Destination set to Unknown Wormhole 25-7L, the Navigator AI chimed, 10 minutes remaining until destination reached.
Vion and the princess breathed a sigh of relief as another round of fire hit their shit. This time, the shaking felt harder than earlier. The Navigator AI immediately dashed their hopes.
Warning! Warning! Multiple signals detected around vessel. Vessel speed going down! Transmission coming!
“Put it on screen, Nav!”, Vion yelled. As soon as he did, the screen filled up the driver view. The princess stood aghast at the man visualized on the screen. A lanky old man, his face covered in white facial hair. The skin around his right eye was frayed off, revealing the machinery underneath. He was dressed in noble attire. His mere appearance made everything fall in place in the princess’s mind.
“Yes, little Anya! It is indeed I! Now where might you be going, your Grace? The celebration has just started, after all. A new era for the Lockon Empire is almost upon us! All it requires is your soul to join your parents and siblings inside this!"
The old man steps aside to give the princess and her guard a view of what he is referring to. A circular structure with four protrusions forming a cross sticking out of it. In the center are five grooves, four of which are filled with lights. Only the fifth one in the center is empty. Anya's grief quickly turns into outrage. Vion is the first to gather his words.
"Is that the Singularity Shield?! What in the beyond are you thinking, you madman?!"
Count LaVert steps back into view, his face twisted into a smug and triumphant look.
"Yes! With the Singularity Shield, I can turn Lockon into the greatest Empire, spanning the entire universe! Once it's completely activated, I will create black holes wherever I want, whenever I please! Every sovereign entity will bend the knee at my power! All we need now..."
"...is me isn't it, Count?", Anya retorted.
8 minutes remaining until destination is reached
"Tell me Count, those souls there... Are they my family?"
The Count laughed as he clawed at his exposed eye, tearing more of his synthetic skin apart.
"Now, now, your Grace. I thought I taught you better than to ask obvious questions to your superiors. The Singularity Shield can only be powered by the souls of the royal family. You father, mother, sister, and brother...they made the sacrifice for the greater good."
"You killed them! You were my father's most trusted friend! You were our godfather! How? How could you so callously do this?!"
Anya's stoic demeanor is all but gone. Tears are streaking down her face as she starts to tremble. Her face starts to redden and she feels it. She digs her fingers into her lap, tearing at her own synthetic skin. Vion can only watch as his childhood friend becomes engulfed by her grief and anger as he continues to pilot the damaged vessel around the gunships surrounding them.
6 minutes until destination is reached
The ship begins to shake again as LaVert inches his face closer to the screen. The red exposed eye shining brighter than it has been.
"Why don't you ask me in person? I can give you that satisfaction, little Anya. Prepare to board the princess' ship!"
The shaking gets progressively worse as Nav announces Vion's worst fear.
Unit has been boarded! I repeat, Unit has been boarded!
4 minutes until destination is reached.
Vion puts the ship on autopilot as he stands up to barricade the bridge door. Before he could get to it, the door is blown open by LaVert's men, followed by the count himself carrying the Singularity Shield. Vion puts himself in front of Anya to shield her from them, drawing a laser sword.
"This is the reception I get, Sir Vion? After I bring the princess the rest of her family? I will do well to remember this on your performance evaluation."
"You are no superior of mine, Count. Not anymore.", Vion answered back, "I am loyal to her Grace and her Grace alone."
Vion glances back to the front view. The wormhole is in sight now, but won't do any good if the man they are tying to evade warps with them. In his other hand, he is holding the rectangular device Anya brought with them.
"Boy, I brought you out of the slums and into dignity!", LaVert growled, "You owe me your life, now stand down or strike the princess down yourself! Or else...."
LaVert raises his hand and his men ready their rifles. Each with a targeting sight aimed right at Vion's chest.
2 minutes until destination is reached. Prime Warp-Drive now.
"Your Grace...", Vion whispered, "Do you see that outstretched lever?"
Anya turns to look at said lever. It is the warp switch, which allows spacecrafts to enter wormholes safely. She slightly nods.
"When Nav gives the word, I want you to go and push it in as hard as you can."
"What?", Anya responds, "What about you?"
Vion takes the devices and places it at his waist. A strap materializes around him, keeping the device in place.
"I'm taking this thing for a test drive..."
Vion presses the top button on the device. The two lights up front begin to alternatively flash as it begins to emit a pulsating sound. Everyone flinches at the noise, as if hurting them.
"Count LaVert, you will not lay a hand on the princess. In the name of the Lockon Empire and its royal family, I will defeat you!"
Vion presses the side button and both lights glow green. A flashing light surrounds him as he quickly dispatches Count LaVert's men with a slash of his sword. LaVert steps back as the light subsides, revealing Vion in a metallic blue set of armor. His sword now solid, as if made of crystal, and a dark green cape flowing behind him.
Destination in Warp Range, activate Warp Switch!
"Now, Anya!", Vion bellowed out as he rushes towards LaVert.
Anya runs and jams the lever in. The Navigation computer begins to whir and a countdown appears on the front view.
Vion slashes at LaVert, who blocks it with his arm, cutting it off in the process.
"You dare strike the future leader of the universe?!", LaVert screamed, "I'll show you a fragment of the Singularity Shield's power!"
LaVert presses his hand into the center of the Singularity Shield. He begins to glow a sickly purple aura.
"Begone, lost cause!"
LaVert shoots an energy beam at Vion. It hits him square in the chest and goes through him. The blast breaks through the front view's glass and pushes Vion into the controls.
"Vion!", screamed Anya.
Vion de-transforms and hunches over. The attack seared his skin and is burning around him. LaVert gets closer.
"Now I do believe that will cause the Warp protocol to abort. Now then, your Grace, if you will..."
Anya tries to back away, but is already against the control panel. Before LaVert could reach her, Vion suddenly stands and, with the last of his strength, drives his sword into LaVert's eye. His shriek rings through the ship, almost metallic and distorted. Vion falls back, laying his hand on the override button and pressing it. The Warp countdown begins again.
Vion presses one last button.
Charges go off around the area between the two and LaVert. The two halves are separated as the bridge seals up and continues on its way.
"Princess Anya,...wherever we land...be safe...and...believe...in the stars", Vion breathes out as his eyes close for the last time.
The bridge reaches the wormhole and warps. Anya can only hang on to something as the ship shakes even worse than it has already. The instant warp feels like an eternity to her.
Mother...Father...my brother...sister...and now Vion...They're gone. They're all gone. Why? Where will I go? What will I do?
The warp finishes and Anya can now feel what's left of the ship stabilizing. She looks out the broken view. She sees a massive yellow star, its light and warmth reaching her. As she looks in the direction the ship is headed, she sees her destination. A blue planet. The third one from the star. Her eyes grow heavy as she starts seeing white due to her ship entering the planet's atmosphere.
She begins to close her eyes, the past few events finally taking their toll. She grows numb to the increasingly violent turbulence as the white turns to orange and flames appear around the ship. She doesn't even feel the impact as her ship finally hits solid ground, landing at the base of a mountain and causing a landslide that hides her from any locals who appeared to investigate the falling star.
Princess Anya of the fallen Lockon Empire has landed on Earth.