Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Becoming a Bodyguard|
I stepped out of the shuttle’s door and nodded to the two officers that saluted me before returning it and shouldering my bag. The junior sergeant that met me only glanced up and down at me, pausing at the black leather hilt of the mono knife on my left thigh and the new Mark VI rail gun on my right thigh. He looked into my face, “That leather isn’t going to hide what’s under it.”
I shrugged, “I didn’t put the leather on it to hide it.”
He nodded and turned to lead the way through the busy terminal, “Dragons… even Silver Dragons don’t normally accept anyone as fresh as you.”
He glanced at me when I didn’t say anything. He went back to walking, “Albert... the heir requested you when your name appeared as requesting to join us.”
He glanced at me again and finally stopped and turned to face me, “Listen up corporal, the only reason you got in was because Albert said to give you a chance. We did and we didn’t give you any slack so you made it through the grinder on your own. Now that you are here we don’t care about what you did in some jungle on a planet far away. We only care about what you do here and now. Since Albert said to give you a chance you are going to be his body man so don’t fuck up.”
I smiled, “I have no intention of fucking up sergeant.”
He turned and led the way to an unmarked hover car. I looked at the other junior sergeant behind the wheel as he opened the door for us. I moved into the back seat and he sat beside the driver. I watched as we moved through the city, “Why is the heir going to Wayne?”
They looked at each other and the driver turned back to watch where he was driving. The other sergeant turned in his seat, “The emperor received a request from Admiral Harris to attend and address the advanced Command officers school as well as christen a new Phoenix Starship. Since it came at such a late date, he couldn’t accommodate the Admiral. Albert decided he would accept in his father’s place.”
I was thoughtful and sat back, “What’s our strength?”
He just looked at me and I looked back, “I’m his body man remember?”
He sighed, “The entire Crimson Dragon company is going.”
I nodded and relaxed for the rest of the trip. Somehow I felt uneasy about going to Wayne. The hover car slowed and pulled into a large gateway. It stopped and several marines looked at us and then gestured through the gate. When I walked through the large doors with the sergeants leading the way, two senior sergeants were standing in front of the inner door. They looked at me and I recognized both as the ones in the sickbay. I stopped as the two junior sergeants continued through the door. I looked at each man, “No hard feelings?”
They looked at each other and grinned, “Not yet.”
I shook my head and continued into the room. Two senior sergeants stood beside the emperor at a large armored window and the Lieutenant turned to look at me. Around the edge of the room were officers and top sergeants. The Lieutenant grinned, “You have no idea how many cases of ale you won for me.”
I came to attention and grinned, “Glad to help sir.”
He grinned again and the emperor snorted, “You cost me a bottle of Rainbow Brandy corporal.”
I shrugged, “You have to know how to bet sir. Sometimes the odds are on the underdog.”
He laughed and looked at his two Dragons as they snorted. He looked back to me and gestured for me to approach. I knelt in front of him and raised my hand and he accepted my oath of fealty. When I stood, he clasped my shoulder and then looked at the Lieutenant and a full Colonel that approached. He looked back at me, “I’m glad I was wrong corporal. I think you are going to wake the dragon and give it a good shake.”
He nodded to Albert and walked out with the two senior sergeants at his shoulders. The Colonel held out his hand, “Welcome to the Gold Dragons corporal.”
I took his hand and we shook. He nodded to a Captain and Top Sergeant that approached, “You will be assigned to Crimson Company. This is Captain Anderson and your Top Sergeant, Sergeant Choi.”
I shook their hands and Top Sergeant Choi nodded to Albert, “It’s Crimson Company’s job to protect the heir.”
I looked at the Lieutenant, “He slipped out to join the marines?”
They snorted, “You have no idea of the trouble that caused.”
I smiled as the Lieutenant grinned, “I have an idea.”
The Captain gestured to my bag, “Leave that, I had your new uniforms and equipment sent to the shuttle.”
I glanced at the Lieutenant, “Moving quickly sir?”
He shrugged, “I had them wait on your arrival otherwise I would already be boarding the transport in orbit.”
He gestured and I fell in at his shoulder, “I have kept a check on Senior Sergeant Harris and he has fully recovered. In fact he was just sent to the Top Sergeant Academy. Corporal Smith was promoted to junior sergeant and has his own squad in a recon company.”
He glanced at me, “I was surprised when you applied to join the Dragons.”
My eyes had kept scanning around as we walked and I glanced at him, “I thought about it sir. It seemed that if you could manage to sneak away once you might need a better keeper.”
He grinned and then laughed with the other Dragons walking with us as they laughed out loud, “Good luck with that.”
I looked at him, “I don’t need luck sir.”
After a fast hover car ride and a short shuttle flight we boarded an insystem destroyer. While the Lieutenant slept and another Dragon stood guard at his door, I went to find my new gear. I checked everything and laid it out before laying back to sleep in the room across from the Albert’s. I was up four hours later, I showered and started dressing.
The light mesh like body screen felt different and it was because this one had been made to fit my body. I rubbed the golden dragon on my flash with blood red rubies for eyes indicating I was in Crimson Company.
I checked my rail gun and the spare magazines at the back. I undid the stitching and removed the leather around the handle of the mono knife. I settled everything and glanced at a display that showed movement in Albert’s room. I opened my door and nodded to the sergeant guarding the door and then knocked before entering. Albert glanced at the door as I came through it and nodded.
I stood behind his shoulder while he started reviewing something. Captain Anderson knocked and opened the door. A senior sergeant came in with him and the Captain gestured to me, “I need to steal him for an ops briefing sir.”
Albert waved and I nodded to the sergeant and headed around the desk to follow the captain out. The next eight hours was spent in a white noise room with a blue crystal box that was home to Crimson company’s AI. Her name was Peaches, she drilled me on the company procedures and policies as well as quite a bit more.
I spent everyday with Peaches after Albert went to sleep. The Dragon transport passed us a day out and docked with the waiting starship twelve hours before we did. The next week was spent in intensive physical training when I wasn’t with Albert. One thing I made clear as I spared and threw the other Dragons around was that I was more than capable of handling myself.
When the starship wormholed out on the edge of Wayne, two insystem ships were waiting. One was a marine fast assault transport and the other was a light cruiser. Only my squad went on the cruiser, everyone else left in the fast assault transport. From the start the fleet officers onboard the cruiser were rude and insolent. Albert mostly ignored them as he worked on reports his father sent him.
We were a day out from orbit when things came to a head. A lieutenant commander from the comm. section came into Albert’s room. He tossed the data disks onto the desk and looked straight at me, “Leave us corporal.”
I ignored him and continued to stand beside Albert. The lieutenant commander’s face went livid and he took a step as if to come around the desk. That broke protocol, my Mark VI was pointed into his face before he had taken a second step, “If you move I will kill you.”
I grabbed Albert and pulled him out of the chair and back behind me. As the lieutenant commander’s face went white I opened my comm. “Crimson Dragon primary has a breach.”
I gestured with the pistol, “Step back and put your hands on your head.”
The door was opening as the door guards started to come in. The lieutenant commander drew himself up, “I will have you court marshaled for this!”
I smiled, “You have an illusion that you have rank in the presence of the royal family, you don’t. Now leave.”
The door guard and two other Dragon sergeants took his arms and pulled him out of the room. When the door closed, I nodded to Albert as he moved back to the desk to sit and opened a comm. to the bridge. My conversation was brief and not satisfactory.
The captain was almost as belligerent as the lieutenant commander had been. The next day before we left the ship I entered a Dragon protocol into the ships computers that locked the weapons down.
From the moment we exited the shuttle I knew something was wrong. The marine honor party was missing and the fleet welcoming committee wasn’t who it was supposed to be. The welcoming party was a Rear Admiral Hepcock and a Captain JG Dongel. They were both arrogant and insolent. I was tempted to take Albert straight back to the shuttle and lift.
When we reached fleet headquarters it was strangely quiet with almost no one around. Captain Anderson called as we were headed into the emperor’s wing. The Marine commandant was less than helpful and they had a lot civilian contractors wearing weapons. I glanced at my squad leader and the senior sergeant made a gesture to guard Albert closely.
When we cleared the last door into the emperor’s suite I was grateful. I knew no one could have entered without setting off alarms. The squad broke up further as they headed out to take up positions, leaving Sergeant Henry and myself. Albert looked at me, “Whatever is going on, I don’t like it.”
I nodded and after thinking about it accessed Peaches on the transport, “Crimson Dragon situation warning to Gold Dragon command. Fleet officers and the Marine Commandant are behaving in a suspicious manner. Elevating security levels at this time.”
I looked at the door as it opened and Admiral Hepcock walked in with two armed civilians. Sergeant Henry shifted and the two armed civilians focused on him as the Admiral stopped, “I am placing you under arrest…”
I drew and fired in one motion. The civilian’s head on the left exploded and then I was pulling the trigger again. Sergeant Henry’s pistol was out and tracking when I fired. Two shots sounded almost together and the second civilian lurched backwards. His head had jerked back as it exploded but what I noticed was Sergeant Henry’s shot in his chest. It hadn’t penetrated which told me he had been wearing a body screen.
Everything I noticed was secondary as I shot a wide eyed Admiral Hepcock through the head. I keyed the comm. “Dragon Scales to all Dragons! Crimson Dragon’s treasure is under attack! Peaches, Gold Dragon has a Crimson heart!”
I looked at Albert and gestured to the big desk, “Get behind that sir!”
I walked to the door and cracked it as the company comm. came alive. Four men in combat armor were moving down the hall and I ducked back, keying a dragon lock code into the door. I pulled a small pendulum mine from my belt pack and pulled the arming wire out. I attached it to the top of the door frame and tossed it up to stick on the ceiling.
I moved back to one of the dead civilian’s and knelt to remove his gun belt. It held an older Mark V which was heavier than my pistol. There were four extra magazines on the back of the belt.
I slung it over my shoulder and moved to the other man as the company comm. was filled with sounds of combat. I stripped the other man of his weapon and moved to Albert. When I checked the magazines I wasn’t surprised to see static penetrators. I handed the last belted weapon to Albert, “Strip to your body screen sir.”
Sergeant Henry looked at me from the position he had taken up. I began to quickly strip out of my shirt, “I’m giving my body screen to the heir. They’re using static penetrators.”
He nodded and went back to watching the door. I was stripping out of my body screen when the amplified voice came through the door. “Send out the emperor’s bastard and we won’t kill you!”
It didn’t take long after we didn’t answer for them to test the door. The Captain had gone off the comm. after they had been hit with heavy weapons on the landing pad. Our sting ships were all down as well and the reaction platoon was cornered on the other side of the huge building under heavy fire with major causalities. I finished dressing by throwing the belt with the Mark V over my shoulder and under my arm. I heard the tell tale scratching at the door, “Their placing a charge.”
Sergeant Henry nodded as he fished in his belt pack, “Ice and Fire kid.”
I grinned as I fished out a small round grenade and primed it. I held my pistol in my left hand and the grenade in my right, “Stay down sir.”
I threw the grenade as the large armored door blew in. Henry’s grenade followed mine a fraction of a second later. The armored suits were just raising weapons as my grenade exploded sending out waves of cold that froze the suits and killed the men not in armor. Sergeant Henry’s grenade exploded and the armored suits shattered as the frozen corpses burst into flame.
Then the pendulum mine reached its arc and detonated. The men that were still alive didn’t even have time to scream as the compression wave hit. I glanced at Henry, “We can’t stay here.”
He shook his head as he headed for the door. I gestured to Albert who came to his feet with the extra pistol in his hand. Henry stepped into the hall opening our comm. link to tracker mode, “Dragon’s Treasure on the move.”
I followed with Albert beside me. We were halfway down the hall when a large group of armed men came through the far door. I shoved Albert in a side door with the sergeant following and moved to the center of the hall drawing the other pistol. I ignored everything and began firing. A few bullets sang as they passed me but a minute later I was moving through the door changing magazines. Henry had Albert by another door and nodded before standing and stepping through.
I caught up as he crossed to a half door on the other side of the room. He nodded to me and gestured before pulling the lower door open. The first thing I saw was the body of a dead marine. I realized we were behind the marine info desk in the center foyer. I keyed my secondary comm. on the emergency all hands freq, “To all military personal, this is Corporal Jason Drake, Crimson Dragon Primary. The Fleet command and Marine commandant are attempting a coup. Any assistance will be appreciated.”
I ducked under the top half of the door and moved closer to the counter as Albert slipped through behind me. Henry came through and closed the door as I scanned the monitors on the counter. They showed the foyer full of civilians that were armed. I glanced at Henry, “We need to get across the foyer and try to get to the admiral’s shuttle.”
He grinned and nodded and we stood up. I took the left and started firing with both pistols while he started on the right. A minute later I heard him grunt in a way that brought back memories of wounded comrades on Protus.
I shifted as bullets started tearing up the front of the info desk and a burning stabbing pain lashed my side. I fired into a small group rushing from a hallway and a moment later it was silent. I quickly changed magazines and glanced at a white faced Henry. He gestured, “Get him out of here kid!”
I nodded as Albert looked up from putting pressure on his bleeding chest. I touched his shoulder, “Time to go sir.”
He hesitated and then nodded and came to his feet as I started around the desk. We were halfway across the foyer when three armed civilians stepped out. The big Mark V fired and then the other two men jerked and were thrown forward as they were shot from behind. A female voice that was vaguely familiar called out, “This is Sergeant Drake I’m on your side.”
I grinned, “Is that you Molly?”
A blonde head poked around the corner, “Jason?”
I started walking as she came out and began walking to meet us. She was carrying a marine assault riffle and I knew she knew how to use it, “Sir, meet my cousin Molly.”
Albert chuckled, “I just had to be saved by two Drakes.”
Molly grinned as she scanned the foyer one last time, “Since we are a marine family you might meet one or two more.”
I started down the new hallway with Molly following behind, “How did you manage to be here Molly?”
She snorted, “A stupid training accident. I was in the sickbay with a new private when all hell broke loose. One of those civilian assholes tried to keep us there.”
My comm. came alive, “Crimson Dragon Primary this is Second Dragon, say location.”
I knew better than answer, the first thing wrong was the voice didn’t sound right. Second thing was Second Dragon died in one of the sting ships. Third thing was every Dragon had an implant that homed on the primary. Molly looked at me and I smiled, “Not one of ours.”
She nodded and I turned in a doorway. The complete plans for this building were in my mind and I was thinking of using another way out of the building. The marine dragon comm. came to life, “Crimson Dragon Primary this is fire Drake coming in hot on the admiral’s pad.”
I almost laughed as I grinned back at Molly, “Uncle Blaze is coming for a visit.”
She grinned back and Albert chuckled. I slipped through a side door and across the elegant office. I was at the door leading to a side exit when the Crimson Dragon comm. came alive, “Crimson Dragon Primary we have an insystem Carrier closing with the planet.”
The voice had been Peaches. I stopped moving, “Status of the transport?”
“We have deployed decoys and electronic scramblers and engaged assault shuttles.”
I thought quickly, “Known threat of the Carrier?”
“It has demanded our surrender and is identified as a positive threat.”
I looked at Albert. What I was about to do would kill a lot of people, some innocent. “Open a direct comm. link and issue Heart’s Death.”
Molly was looking curious but Albert nodded. Heart’s Death was a deep code each ship had that did several things that would result in the death of the ship and everyone aboard her. I waited a moment and opened the door. I moved out and along the side of the building with Albert following me.
We had only moved a couple of dozen feet along the wall when Molly cussed and I spun. She was kneeling and the assault rifle started firing at a dozen armed men rushing us from a hover van. I pushed Albert down and picked three off that had dropped to the ground and what they thought was safety.
I turned back to the front pulling the Mark V just as three men in light body armor came around the corner. The big bullets from the Mark V exploded through the first two and the third tried to dive to safety. He died with a smaller bullet through the head from Albert’s pistol. I glanced around, “Time to go.”
I was moving quickly as we left the side of the building heading for the shuttle on the edge of the pad. A large marine assault shuttle flashed overhead in a hot landing on the pad and Molly yelled. I spun yanking Albert behind me.
I was only half aware as the pistols in each hand fired and then I was hit several times in the chest. It felt like a sledge hammer was burning through my chest but I stood and took out the two remaining gunmen. I went to my knee trying to breathe as Molly grabbed me. I pushed her, “Get him to the transport! Use the code phrase Dragon’s blood!”
She hesitated and then grabbed Albert who was trying to open my shirt. She yanked him away, “Damn you come on!”
I sat back on my heels slowly and then a marine was there pushing me onto my back and ripping my shirt open. I could hear the shuttle as it did a hot lift from the pad and then I looked into my uncle’s eyes.
Both of Albert’s brothers and his sister were killed in the attempted coup…
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