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The Captive of Embrellon – 7

They had done all they could do to prepare, they had made their plans, Harlow had made his sacrifice, and now Jason was set to face the last swordsman in the contest. He still didn’t know who it was he would be facing, and he was concerned, he thought he had witnessed all the matches in the contest and he had seen the chart, and still had no idea who he faced. Shagon came and got him and was walking with him towards the arena, when he asked him if he knew who he would be facing today, he said he didn’t and Shagon seemed to get excited, “You faced his younger brother and defeated him, do you have an idea who you could be facing now?” he shrugged that he didn’t know, and then he told him, “you defeated Hook fairly easy, you will be facing his brother, who trained him to use the sword, his name is Tylos, and he is the current champion.”
So, he would be facing Hooks brother, Tylos, not a name he recognized, but then he had met few Marn who had lived to tell him their names. He said as much. Shagon laughed and his eyes seem to sparkle, he was hoping that he would lose to Tylos, or was he secretly hoping that Jason would defeat him? He asked Shagon why it mattered, he was going into the arena to win not to lose. Shagon stopped and looked at him in disbelief, “Do you honestly believe that your skill with a blade is so unstoppable that you will win this against all odds?” Jason smiled at him, and said “I am going to win this or die trying. I won’t lay down meekly and be squashed like a bug.” Shagon like his sand, and said so, still, chances were he wouldn’t leave the arena as the victor, he would probably die.
The day had many matches of beast and men, the Vatarian was brought out to fight another beast, and this one killed him, it took it half an hour but it finally won only to lay down and die afterwards. They had another melee, and then two beasts fought, then they had some kind of circus event, then a race, and finally, they brought out Shandarro. The Marn cheered, for a Skree no less. He was in his prime, his horns were shiny black, his mane was luxuriously full, his coat was shining, and he flashed his teeth and claws at the crowd for a show. Jason was shocked, had he given over to a complete blood lust, or was this all show? “Shandarro, are you okay, or have you been lost in blood lust?” he waited for him to respond, he was roaring like a wild beast and then on the link “I am fine Jason, I realized watching you and feeling what you were feeling that if I gave these animals a show, and let them think that I am a dumb beast, they would stop watching me so closely and give me an opportunity to help us escape. Look at my chain.” The chain had been unhooked from his leg, the manacle was in place, but not the chain. He saw what Shandarro was up to, act like he enjoyed killing, don’t give the Marn a reason to re-chain him, and they would be almost home free. “Do what you must and I will be ready to take flight as soon as you can get away.” He let him know by image that he was good to go.
They brought out the beast that Shandarro was going to face. It was an Auroch, larger than any Auroch he had ever seen, but an Auroch nonetheless. That made the tightness in Jason’s stomach go away. He had seen Shandarro take down more than one Auroch, and he was an expert at doing it. This beast was twice the size of an Auroch from Embrellon, he had to ask Shandarro if he was sure he could do this, he confirmed he could. “Jason, you must believe in me, I know this beast is huge, and it is going to be a tough battle, but this beast is only a beast.” That made Jason feel better but he was still watching the match they needed to escape, and he didn’t want Shandarro to risk himself needlessly.
They released the beast and he lowered his head and started snorting and pawing the ground, he was preparing to charge and Shandarro sat there watching him. He raised up on all fours, and folded his wings, his tail started twitching back and forth, and Jason knew he was in hunt mode. The beast came at a charge, and Shandarro, leaped over him and landed behind him. He kept his wings folded. At first, Jason had thought the Marn had tied his wings so he couldn’t fly, and when Shandarro read his mind, he flapped his wings open then closed them, that was for Jason. He and the beast circled each other warily, the bull snorting and pawing the ground, and Shandarro circling, looking for an opening. The beast charged, and he jumped out of the way once more, they went around several times, and then Shandarro lunged and slashed on of its hind legs. The beast bellowed, and the crowd roared, they loved a good bloodbath.
The beast charged again, and Shandarro slashed his side, the beast tried to butt him with his head and Shandarro leapt out of the way and slashed his other hind leg. The continued on with the match, Shandarro slashing him on the way by repeatedly. The beast was covered in blood, and every time Shandarro slashed him, the beast would bellow, he had worked the crown into a frenzy, when it seemed that they would jump into the arena, Shandarro pounced on the back of the beast and sand his teeth into its neck. The beast bellowed once more, and then Shandarro rolled the beast, tore out its throat and disemboweled it. He feasted on its carcass, and when he was done, went and kneeled down and started cleaning himself. He acted as if it had taken no effort to dispatch the beast. Jason was shocked, he had watched him every time he was in the arena and every time, he finished off the opponents he faced, and if he was hungry, feasted on them.
Jason asked him if he was hurt or injured in any way, and Shandarro assured him he wasn’t. then he began to infuse Jason with energy again, and he not only gave him energy, he gave him some of the fight that burned in his heart. Jason was more than prepared for his duel. This one wouldn’t be pretty, he was facing this Tylos, Hooks brother. As they were preparing to enter the arena, the trumpets blared, that was the signal to Linarro and the others to get to the ship, and he had to let them go from his mind, he needed his focus.
They announced the combatants, the Guardian from Embrellon versus the reigning sword champion Tylos, the crowd cheered. For them, this would be the ultimate duel. A Guardian and their champion to the death. They entered the arena and approached the center facing each other. They saluted, and the first thing he noticed was the scars on Tylos face. The scars, one on each side, looked like something his father would have done in a duel. That was when it dawned on him who this was. When he was a boy of twelve, the Marn had attacked, it was during this attack that he had actually witnessed his father in a sword fight. He had been remarkable, and the opponent was too. His father had slashed his face, once on each side, at the end of the fight, the Marn’s forces had dragged him into their ship and they had left. After the duel, his father had said he was one of the best he’d ever faced.
Tylos studying him, looked at him and with some malice said “You have the mark of your father. I have seen many Velan, never have I seen one with black hair and blue eyes. Your father must be Whitlaw.” He acknowledged his lineage, and Tylos continued, “I faced him on that disgusting pile of rock you call home, he was good with a sword, but I’ll wager I could have won that match, we were just getting started.” With that, he launched into a one handed flurry of action forcing Jason on the defense. He never let up. He thrust, slashed, extended, spun all the while his sword was a blur, and Jason seemed hard pressed to keep from getting cut or worse. It had made Tylos way to confident, he vastly underestimated Jason. Jason, like Shandarro was playing a game right now, once he was sure that the others had gotten safely on the ship and she was ready for lift, he would then finish Tylos. He was going to give them all the time he could. Shandarro had let him know that he could read the minds of all his compatriots, and that as soon as they were ready, he would tell him. He asked Shandarro how if he wasn’t bonded with them, and he said “the same way that any of us know, they broadcast, we just don’t respond is all.” He had more questions but Shandarro reminded him that he needed to fight not talk. That got him to focus, he started to display some skill with his blade, not enough to deflate Tylos ego, enough to make him get overconfident.
The duel had been going on for twenty minutes and then Shandarro said “Ready” Immediately Jason changed the pace of the duel, he spun around, and when he was facing Tylos once more he was facing him with his sword at the ready, then methodically, he and Tylos crossed swords, and the duel truly began. Jason, watching Tylos’ style of fencing, saw that he favored the one handed sword style, the same as Hook. What he then saw was that he was able to use a two-handed style almost as effectively, and had never faced someone other than his father who used and preferred the two handed style. Jason was comfortable with either, and also possessed a third style that he had been hard put to learn. It was the way of the Japanese Samurai of Earth. His father said that they had created the perfect two-handed swords, and the perfect two handed style, but it wasn’t as effective when facing someone of equal or better skill with a one or two handed fighting style.
They circled again, and traded blows, then Tylos switched back to fencing, and with that opening Jason took it to him with the samurai style of sword fighting, it wasn’t to do anything other than make him overconfident. Jason switched back to fencing, and then back to his style of fighting, which was a blend of all three. His father had a unique style of fighting and was like Harlow in his approach, except his father switched styles often depending on the opponent. This one was extremely vicious with a sword. They circled again, and again exchanged blows, then Shandarro showed him they were ready, and had lifted off and were headed to the rendezvous spot they were supposed to meet at. He then started his attack. His blade was a blur, thrust, slashes, overhand slashes, parries, all at blinding speed. Tylos was tiring, he was slowing down and Jason bled him over one eye. Then he backed off and started again, then bled him over the other eye. Scalp bleeds were annoying more than deadly, the blood got in your eyes and blurred your vision causing you to wipe your eyes to see, they were invaluable in this type of duel. He made sure Shandarro was unchained, and ready to go, he assured him he was, then Jason took it to Tylos and wove an impenetrable wall of faron, and then just when he got Tylos where he wanted him, he leapt into the air and somersaulted over Tylos’ head, landed in a crouch behind him and just as he turned, he took off his head.
As his head was spinning in the air, Shandarro leapt to Jason and he leapt on his back and they vaulted into the air at break-neck speed. They had left so fast that the guards didn’t have time to train their guns on them and with it being dark, they were on their way to the rendezvous. The Marn couldn’t see them, they had sped out of the arena and were over the city, heading toward the strobe. It flashed once, and then went out. Shandarro assured him he knew the exact location of the ship, and he trusted him. He was looking through his eyes and saw the ship, and they landed on the top right where they should be, and the hatch opened, and they entered the ship. They closed the hatch, and got into their seats, Shandarro laid down on the deck, O’connor told him that he was about to see why Whitlaw was in the history books on Earth. Linarro told them to hold on, and once he had the nose of the ship pointed in the right direction, he kicked the Star Drive in at full capacity, and as they departed the planet, they could see part of the atmosphere ignite, and it burned brighter than any light Jason had ever seen. They had entered hyperspace within the planet’s atmosphere and ignited the oxygen and set the very air on fire.
They were well on their way before Jason could even ask what had just happened. He was free and headed home. He asked Shandarro to broadcast to Lantana, regularly and to let him know when she responded, at that point they would exit hyperspace. When he finally was able to speak, he asked Linarro and O’connor what they did that had given his father a place in Earth’s history. O’connor explained. Most space faring civilizations know that if you engage a hyper-drive, what Linarro calls his star drive, it will do several things. First it will ignite the oxygen in the atmosphere. That will cause anyone outside of a building to either die from asphyxiation, or at the very least cause them to pass out. Second, it messes up the planets magnetic fields for several days and that will prevent them from launching any ships to pursue you for at least a month, and up to a year. Third it will cause tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and cataclysmic reactions on a planetary scale.
Jason sat there looking at them. They had just delivered a massive blow to the Marn homeworld, and they were on their way back home. He asked Linarro to explain as best he could, how fast they were travelling. Linarro asked him if he had noticed in Shagon’s palace, that when they flipped the switch on the wall of the room they shared, that the light went out immediately. He said he did, and that if you flipped the switch again, the light came back on. Linarro nodded his head and said “To understand the Star Drive, you have to visualize that if the distance from the switch to the light was equal to the distance from the sun to Marn, then the Star Drive would be the equivalent of moving the sun to Marn in the speed of that switch turning on the light. Do you understand what I mean?” Jason nodded his head. “Good, then I will endeavor to teach you what I can while we are on our way to Embrellon.” He did follow that with “By the way, we just left the Marn system and will be back to Embrellon in two weeks. Jason knew that was four times faster than it took for them to get to Marn, and he had a puzzled look on his face and O’connor kind of chuckled, and said “Jason my boy, you just don’t realize how fast this ship is. I’ve served on Earth ships all my adult life, and can tell you this ship is faster than any ship we have.” That was a surprising statement to Jason, from his father’s stories, he thought that there weren’t any ships faster than Earth ships.
They spent their days discussing all manner of things, from Earth politics, how their society was structured, the population, space exploration, etc…, Jason was a sponge, absorbing all he understood and asking questions about what he didn’t. The crew were afraid of Shandarro at first, and then between Jason telling them about the Skree and the Guardians, to Rena explaining the nature of the Skree, they had come to accept him as part of the crew. They would ask question and Shandarro, through Jason, would answer them, and they were learning as well. They had been in space for a week, when Jason realized that the rest of them were going to go to Earth after taking him home. He felt a great loss. They had been companions for the last six months, they had escaped the Marn, destroyed their ability to follow them for quite some time, and were now hurtling through space at a speed he barely understood. He asked about seeing a star chart. He had never seen one before. Whitlaw had drawn several drawings to help him understand space travel as a child, but he had never seen a star chart. Linarro obliged him. He pulled a roll of what looked like paper from a rack of tubes that held many charts, and showed him where they had been, Marn, and where they were going, Embrellon, he told him that it was far enough away that without a star drive of some kind, it would take three years to travel from Marn to Embrellon. That was trillions of miles, more than he could perceive.
He asked O’connor to tell him realistically how long it would take for the Marn to recover from the Whitlaw maneuver. O’connor said that it would depend on the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, the amount of surface water on the planet, the size of the planet, the iron content, the volcanic, seismic, and tectonic activity on the planet. Linarro told him he could help. On an odd looking screen, he brought up a view of Marn. He told them where they had been located at, showed them the oceans, polluted, but still oceans, and showed them the lava flows, volcanoes, and the tectonics of the planet. He also showed them the other things, after some studying, O’connor said “If I have computed all the data correctly, and if any ships on the planet survived, they won’t be able to leave Marn for at least a year. However, if any Marn ships are in space, and they land on the planet once the activity stops, then they will be able to launch a counter offensive within a few weeks of arriving on the planet. He asked why a ship not on the planet would be able to take off in a few weeks, and any that survived, would take a year. O’connor said that if a ship landed it would follow that it would have to wait for that year to end. But the real kicker was that the ships on the planet couldn’t take off because most of them should be destroyed. One of the things in their fuel tanks was oxygen, and it would have exploded. This was information that his father could use. He asked Shandarro if he would be able to help him remember all of it, and he said yes. The journey was uneventful until they were nearing the Embrellon system. On the outer edge of the system, the proximity warning claxon sounded and they all went to work immediately.
They had a meteor field in front of them and they dropped out of hyper-space. They just avoided a serious collision and they turned the ships shields on to protect the ship’s hull from meteors. Jason asked them how far out they were, and how much longer before they reached Embrellon. Singh told him that at their current speed, which was based on inertia, or the speed the ship was at when it went dropped out of hyper-space, they were one week out from the planet. Stretching their time to three weeks from two. He asked why they didn’t just re-engage the Star Drive once the cleared the meteor field, it was Shaniqua who answered. “If we reengage the Star Drive inside the solar system, we could create some anomalies that will make it a hazard for ships to enter the system.
On one hand, that wasn’t such a bad thing, it could prevent the Marn ships from entering the system, but on the hand it would make it hard for them to escape and make it to Earth, and they wanted to go home as much as he did. Another week wasn’t so bad after all. It would give him more time to learn. He asked Shandarro if he could feel any contact from Lantana, and surprised him with a yes. That made him excited. He was almost home and he would be able to talk to his family before they landed.
He told them that he had made contact with his sister, they were amazed. They were at the edge of the system, had just passed the outer most planet, and his sister was able to communicate with him telepathically. He had tried to explain what the Seers were, but they had never seen a telepath who could hear someone that far out. He decided to stop trying and just give them the run of the conversation. “Lantana, can you hear us? It’s Jason and Shandarro and we are with five Earthlings, and two Velans that we escaped with.” “Yes Jason, we can hear you, we have you in between the orbs.” He was surprised that he could talk to her directly, he didn’t have his diadem. She reminded him that his sword and dagger had a tanzite crystal in the pommel and that Shandarro was boosting him. Then he said “We should be to Embrellon just inside of a week. I have some people here who would be rather eager to speak to father, and I have a message for him from Harlow.” “What did you say?” that was his father on the link. He repeated what he had said, and then his father said, “Harlow said to tell you he had made it.” Whitlaw let out a whoop that shocked everyone in the Seers room and Jason as well. Then Whitlaw asked him,” Who was with him on the ship.” He gave them their names, and he was surprised, he knew all of them except for Shaniqua. He told him that they would all have time to chat once they arrived. The next few days were pure torture for him. He was almost home, had been able to talk with his family, they knew that he and Shandarro were healthy, and the anticipation was killing him.
They had travelled the whole way without an incident other than the meteor field. He had one more question to ask them, and to him it was important. “When we were on Marn, all of you were kept together in one room, the same room I was put in. they wanted me and Shandarro for the arena, they wanted Linarro and Rena for their knowledge and to build this ship. What was it they kept all of you for and how did this ship hover when we escaped, and why wasn’t the two outer engines spouting flames?” Linarro started laughing and when he did all the others joined in. then Linarro explained “The Star Drive I explained to you, but you never asked about this until now, so I’ll do my best to explain it where you can understand it. The ship was able to hover because of the plasma engines we built into this ship in place of the rocket engine, the create a field that will allow the ship to hover, they are also the source of propulsion when the Star Drive isn’t engaged. He really didn’t understand it, but he knew his father would.
They came into orbit and asked him to show them where to land the ship. He contacted the Seers, and Whitlaw told him to land on the flat ground just outside the Great Temple. He showed them the area on the screen, and Jason told him they would be there shortly. When they came to the plain, and landed the ship, Whitlaw was there with Regulus, and a full complement of Guardians. All of his family was there, as well as Yoran, Risa, and some other Vatarians he didn’t know. When they lowered the ramp, Whitlaw had tears in his eyes. He welcomed him home and hugged him like he had when he was a little boy. He had lost his family, and this to him was something he would never know. When the others descended the ramp, Risa shouted, Rena was her sister, and she knew Linarro as well. The reunion was a happy one. Then the five humans exited the ship and Whitlaw knew them all but Shaniqua. The greeted all of them with true warmth, then they went to Whitlaw’s apartments, and there at the doors that opened into the main assembly area was the hall of heroes, and the Statue. Jason collapsed and began to sob, the other had never seen him like this. They whispered to Whitlaw and he explained that the statue was of Jason’s dead wife and her Skree Bond-Mate. They all understood, and let him grieve. Lantana stayed with him, and the rest went to Whitlaw’s apartments.
When Jason and Lantana returned to the apartments to join the rest, they were laughing and talking having some food before the meal that was prepared for them, and they all looked at Jason when he entered, and he smiled at them, even though they could see the sadness in his eyes, they saw he wasn’t dead inside. That was a relief to all of them. They had been comrades and had escaped an ugly situation and made it part of the way home. Home for Jason, but not the rest. Linarro and Rena had told them that they were going to accompany O’connor and the rest to Earth. They wanted to share the technology of the new ship with people who wouldn’t use the technology to enslave others, but to explore and hopefully, create a better galaxy to live in.
They had been introduced to Yoran, Yondor, and Goran. The only Vatarians they had ever actually met. They were even more surprised to find out that Risa and Yoran were mates, and that she was with child. They had seen interspecies marriages all throughout the galaxy, but this was the first time they had seen a Vatarian that wasn’t intent on killing them. The others had many questions for Whitlaw and the others, and he was a gracious host. They were up late into the night, and finally, Lantana asked to take her leave, and she and Jamar left with their boys asleep in their arms. Jason thought she was so fortunate. It made him smile.
He also asked to be allowed to leave, he wanted to sleep in his own bed, and decided that he would sleep here. He didn’t want to go to his own quarters. Whitlaw understood fully. He made his goodnights and said he would see them tomorrow. When his head hit the pillow, he was out. Shandarro was on the floor beside him and he too, went to sleep. That night they both dreamt of their mates and then it turned into the night mare of the day of the capture. He woke up sobbing and Whitlaw entered the room and sat at the foot of the bed. He looked at his son, and the tears ran down his cheeks. He said nothing because words wouldn’t help. He was just heavy hearted for his son. Lara came quietly in and stood with her arm around Whitlaw’s shoulders and together along with Regulus and Jarma, they comforted the young duo. Whitlaw was very curious to know about Jason’s adventures on Marn, and decided that the best way to overcome the melancholy, was to get him to tell his tale to the new cadets. Especially the sword fights, so they would truly understand just how important it was for them to hone their skills. He remembered drilling his children from eight years old on, they fenced daily. With him, with each other, and even with Lara. She was good with a blade, but no match for either of them after ten. She was a great leader of the Matron’s.
The cadets were enthralled by Jason’s tale of swordfights, animal matches, and the Marn destruction at the end. Jason told all of them that he wouldn’t have survived the ordeal on Marn if he hadn’t honed his skills with a blade daily, when he finished, Whitlaw entered the room and announced that beginning that day, Jason would now be the Master of Swords and would be teaching them the sword techniques they needed. He was about to decline when he felt Shandarro shaking his massive head no, and impressing him to take the position. He accepted his new position and rank. After class was the practical application. Not all of the Guardians taught their children to use swords, his class was large enough to be good, and there was exactly enough to pair all of them. After class, Whitlaw told him that he wanted show him something. They left the cadets to their next class, and he followed his father to Yoran’s workshop,
When they entered, before them was Jason’s armor, his bow and arrows, his diadem, and his saddle with all its gear including his cross bow. He didn’t know what to say. He had been expecting to have to remake all his belongings. He touched his armor gently, and feeling it, he was overwhelmed with a feeling mixed between sadness, relief, and joy. He was gently touching his armor when Yoran asked him “Do you want to put it on, or play with it?” That snapped him out of his reverie and he found his faron shirt, put it on, it was a little tight, he adjusted the gathers, then he put his armor on. He looked at Yoran and had an odd expression on his face and then said “Are you sure this is my armor? It doesn’t seem to fit quite right.” That was when Whitlaw explained to him “All the sword fighting you did on Marn, and the constant infusions of energy from Shandarro has made your muscles thicker, fuller, and stronger.” Jason looking confused, realized what his father had just said, he was bigger because of Shandarro and the duels. He looked at Yoran pleading, Yoran laughed and produced a new set of armor. It was different from the old, it fit better, was more flexible and it moved as he moved. He was amazed. He asked “Who designed this armor?” from behind he heard a very distinct voice that he had never heard before, he turned and standing before him was the oldest Vatarian he had ever seen, he had said “The Companions designed this armor.” He looked at Goran and realized that he had been on Embrellon in the time of the Companions and this was the same armor as they wore.
He also noticed a difference in the crossbow, the arms were gone and it had a different shape, then he heard Yondor explaining the gun. “It is a rifled barrel gun. It shots a bolt that is different that your old crossbow, how would you like to try it out. He smiled, this was incredible, this was less cumbersome, lighter, and easier to carry. He went to the range they had set up, and he was hitting bullseyes at five-hundred, seven-hundred and fifty, and one-thousand meters. The crossbow wasn’t as effective as this gun. He asked how the bolt was made and Yondor obliged him “The bullet is ten centimeters in length and one-centimeter-thick, it has a core made of faron alloy and its coated with pure faron, it allows the rifling in the barrel to spin it at and produce a higher velocity than the crossbow, and it easier to use and more accurate. He was impressed.
Then Yoran told him that they had more to show him. He got the full tour, the hot water, ventilation systems, sewer, running water, the stoves and ovens, and then they showed him the rail gun. He was overwhelmed, this thing was a monstrous version of the one that was in a scabbard on his saddle, and it had a range of five-kilometers and could rotate three-hundred and sixty degrees and well as being able to rotate the barrel to ninety degrees. He was amazed at the rail gun, then they took him up to the niches and demonstrated the new ballistae that were now mounted on the outside of the Temple complex and could be moved in and out of the niches as needed. On pull of the lever and the ballistae returned to its position and the door swung down. To Jason, this was a marvel of engineering he thought would never be possible.
He was tired now and wanted to eat, have some kaba, something he had sorely missed. Water was good, but nothing restored you like kaba. Then he wanted to visit with his new friends, and afterwards, to sleep. His father told him to come to the apartments for dinner and conversation, all their new friends would be there. He agreed and then went to the kitchens, got some kaba from the pot they kept hot, and ate some meat and flatbread, both things he had sorely missed. As he sat there eating, he realized that he couldn’t do as his father had done, leave his homeworld, and then create a whole new world for himself out of nothing but his ingenuity.
As he was eating, Shaniqua came and sat with him. She let him finish, and then she wanted to know what his plans for the future were. He told her that he was staying on Embrellon, and that he and Shandarro would continue to train new Guardians and to continue to protect his home from Marn incursions and anyone else who came here with hostile intentions. It seemed to sadden her, and then she smiled, and said “we will be leaving for Earth in a few days, I had hoped that you would be coming with us.” He looked at her and then he told her “Shandarro wouldn’t be anything more than something to run tests on, examine, and eventually we would die. We are bonded, it’s a symbiosis, he and I are two parts of one whole and we really need to stay here,” with that she left him to himself, and she had tears on her face as she walked away.
Jason’s friends were preparing to leave, they wanted to get off the planet and in Earth Force Territory before they had an encounter with the Marn. The ship had weapons, they were powered by the plasma engines, and they were deadly even in hyperspace. But they wanted to lead any hostiles away from Embrellon and into Earth space. He was sad to see them go, and when Whitlaw came to say farewell, he asked them for a favor, they looked at him, and said “What is the favor?” he said “I have made a new life for myself here, my family is here, and I swore an oath to protect these people from the Marn. In thirty years, no Earth Force ship has come here, and I would prefer it to stay that way. I want you to keep the secret of my existence a mystery, and not put in any report or log, my location or the location of Embrellon.” They all looked shocked, some even expected him to return to Earth and ask for help defending the planet. This was not what they had expected.
Linarro and Rena asked if that extended to them as well. Whitlaw looked at them and said “If you were to return, the ship would have to be destroyed. I can’t allow your technological advances to fall into the hands of the Marn, nor can I allow an Earth Forces ship here for the same reason.” That said, they all understood his reasons for staying. Rena and Linarro said their farewells to Yoran and Risa, and they entered the ship. The ship rose and as it turned and its nose pointed towards space, they all felt some sense of loss. The ship shot out of the atmosphere and once it made space, they saw it streak away. Whitlaw said that those were impulse engines powered by a plasma reactor, and the ship was armed with plasma cannons, and phase torpedoes. They would make it to Earth Space, and would be okay.


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