The knock on the door was bordering musical and was familiar to the ears of the man who sat upon the couch. Satoshi sighed through his nose, a look of annoyance crossing his face as he looked up past his book to the wall across the room. “Don’t let him in.” He spoke up, glancing over his shoulder.
Tugging at his uniform collar, Flynn Yi stared eagerly up at the military crest set up against the wall before him. It was overwhelming, big enough to easily fit fifty men across it. A golden lyre rested neatly in the arm of a vine, the strings that would normally resonate such a lovely tune were instead replaced by four lines of stars – one for each planet in the galaxy they governed over. It was a symbol of unity; it was a symbol of peace.
To Flynn, it was a symbol of his accomplishment.
The uniform he wore was a crisp black with silver buttons, tailored to fit his larger build. His effort and patience had paid off over the years; he’d grown into a sturdy 6’2, built up plenty of muscle to support the rigorous training regiment he would undergo and his confidence has grown along with him. As a trainee, there were no badges or decals upon his shoulders to commemorate his achievements but the black military hat – stiff and with a solid visor – was embroidered with small white stars all along the brim. His black hair that he normally kept a little longer was tied back in a ponytail, wanting to ensure that he looked as professional as possible. His boots were heavy and solid, made to withstand the amount of abuse they would undergo over the years and they were secured mid calve with a silver buckle in the shape of a lyre.
For as long as he could remember, he had dreamed of the day that he could become a soldier. The Galaxy Lyra was the top form of government in the Eurith galaxy. A thriving military power, the Lyra dealt in the every day life of the citizens throughout the entire galaxy. They were law and order; they gave off a sense of security and were a true representation of protection and peace.
To an orphan whose first memories were of when he was already in the system, the Lyra had always been a source of inspiration. He saw success in them, people knew who they were and their large scale operations made sure that even small towns – like the one Flynn grew up in – were protected from outside forces and criminals.
He wanted nothing more than to be able to walk in their shoes. From the moment he turned 16, the legal age to enlist in the Lyra, Flynn had done everything in his power in order to pass the grueling examination criteria. There was the physical examination that involved everything from stamina, strength and speed to the ability to survive in unknown territory. There was the psychological examination which ensured that every soldier was mentally stable, able to endure under pressure and tested their loyalty in case of war. Finally, there was the written exam. It was a monstrous 500 question exam with a strict time limit that you needed at least an 80% in order to pass. It covered everything from basic laws, to history, to situational questions.
Unfortunately, for a kid with minimum education, it was that damn written exam that held him back every single year. He could master the physical examination, one year even being apart of the top 100 candidates, and fly through the psychological exam with his deep rooted sense of justice but as soon as that exam would come across the screen of his test tablet, he was always staring down failing grades. Recruitment only occurred once a year on the Lyra’s governing planet, which unfortunately for Flynn meant he had to wait nearly two years on his own planet before he could attempt the exam again.
Age 16 ended in a brutal failure in almost all categories. He was too thin, in his awkward teenage phase and didn’t have the know how to be able to survive in the cold tundra their exam took place in. Had it not been for a fellow candidate that year, he would have froze to death. His psychological exam nearly crushed him when he snapped at a superior officer for calling him mentally inadequate and his written exam was…. well, he always preferred not to think about that. Age 18 was a little better. He managed to hold his tongue during the psychological exam, had grown into his body well enough to just scrape past the physical one and although he flunked the written portion, he had gained enough confidence to try for it again. So his progress grew with each biennial leap, putting all his effort into studying, working out and expanding his knowledge of every planet in their galaxy for better survival tactics and it was finally in his 24th year, that Flynn Yi was amongst the 10,000 candidates who stood proud at their graduation ceremony.
The pin he received that day, that adorned the same crest he now gazed upon before him, rested neatly into the breast pocket above his heart. He stood tall amongst the rows of candidates that were lined up around him. Their forms were relaxed, talking amongst themselves in excitement. There were creatures here of all races and ages, some he had never seen before and even those that he was quite familiar with. The sight alone was thrilling.
It was the first official day of training.
The graduating candidates were broken up into 100 squadrons, placed in different military bases around the planet in order to undergo their training. The law of the land was simple at that point – if in one years time, you could gain the approval of your superior officer, you would officially be promoted to Private and become a soldier of Lyra.
It was all Flynn had every wanted and now it was finally within his grasp.
“Hey.” A voice spoke beside him, startling him slightly. He had been so focused on the moment that he hadn’t really taken into account the people who were standing right beside him.
Judging by the slight depth of the voice, Flynn glanced to the side, looking at his eye level and expecting to see someone around his height… but his gaze fell to a woman who stood beside him, one who didn’t even make it up to his shoulders. Despite her size, from first glance, there was an air of severity about her. Her white and brown hair was tied up in a tight bun, tanned skin smoothing out her appearance as she looked up at him with caramel golden eyes. He wasn’t ashamed to silently admit the beauty of her features but there was something about the way she held herself that told Flynn he stood no chance. The attraction was dismissed. Her black Lyra uniform was much like his, except tailored to fit the swell of her breasts and the girth of her hips. Her posture was perfect, the tilt of her head relaxed and there was a smirk upon her lips. An expression that looked well suited to her sharp facial features.
“You’ve been staring at that crest for ten minutes. You that excited to be here?”
Flynn looks from her to the crest against the wall and chuckles. He scratches at his chin absently. “That long, huh? Guess I am. I’ve been waiting four years to get into this damn room, you know?”
“Four years? What are you, a masochist?” She raises an eyebrow, looking amused.
A bit annoyed, Flynn gives her a slight scowl. “What’s it to you?”
She shrugs a shoulder, shifting her weight and resting a hand on her hip. “I’ve heard of plenty of people who take the exam once and give up when they don’t make the cut. People don’t usually come back for a second year, let alone four. You’re either a complete idiot or you’re going to be somebody to keep an eye on.”
“What about you?” Flynn asks, deciding to not comment.
“Got in on the first try. This was my first year.” She replies, looking back over at him with a smug smile. “It’s going to be my only year.”
Sensing the competitive nature of her tone, he found himself mirroring her smirk. “We’ll see about that. Big talk for a rookie.”
“The Lyra is all about big talk. How do you think the government works? Big wigs blowing a lot of hot air in hope of earning power. It’s a game. All you need to be able to do is back it up.” She replies before extending a hand to him. “Mina Masterson, by the way.”
“Flynn Yi.” He responds, grasping her hand in his before letting it fall to his side once more. “So you’re all about politics, huh?”
“I don’t believe in doing something unless you plan to go all out. I don’t have time for bottom feeding.” She looks him over absently. “You don’t look like you’re aiming to be a bottom feeder either.”
“I don’t care much for politics.” Flynn shrugs his own shoulder, wrinkling his uniform a bit as he slides his hands into his pockets. “I just want to protect people. A lot of people. You can’t do that if you’re stuck as a Private your whole life.”
Mina raises a hand and waves a finger at him. “I am gonna like you, Flynn Yi.”
He smirks, a laugh bubbling from his throat. “Wow, you’re easy.”
“I’m good at reading people.” She replies. “Sort of like a family gift. You seem like a pretty honest guy and if you made four attempts to get into Lyra, that shows you aren’t going to back down. That shows promise. Besides, if you’re going to survive in this game, you need connections.”
“You’re thinking about that already?” Flynn asks, the laugh lingering in his voice. “Wow, you really aren’t kidding. You aiming to be the next General?”
There is a cutting edge to her smile then, her gaze falling forward to stare over at the crest upon the wall. There is something Flynn can’t read in her eyes, a determination that could make a weaker beings spine crumble. Her words when she speaks them are heavy, filled to the brim with a meaning that Flynn doesn’t know well enough to understand.
“Something like that.”
FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!
“We could, you know.”
Glancing at his reflection in the mirror, Satoshi continued to adjust his collar as he gave a side glance to the servant busy lounging on his bed rather than offer assistance in dressing him as his job entailed. “We could do what?”
“Leave. Hitch a ride on the next ship leavin’ port and never look back.” He flashed a toothy grin, the sort that Satoshi had seen maids swoon at and charm nobleman with heavy pockets for tips. The type of smile that held abandon and adventure.
The sort that Satoshi recognized as the one that normally lead to trouble-bound conversations.
“You must be joking.”
“Come on, Satoshi! Where’s your sense of adventure? Think about it-” The servant sat up properly, arms spreading slowly as if to map out the scenery in each intricate detail. “That first peak of morning light; no buildings or trees or even the chattering of squirrels to distract from that wide open view. How the light, all warm and crisp, would filter in through the railings. Imagine the smell. That rich musk of wood and salt, filling your nostrils as you look out over an endless sea, never knowing where one wave ends and another begins. The breeze on your face; in your hair! How it would whistle in your ears, like it was calling your very name!” He exclaims, hands motioning each detail and voice carrying the sights before Satoshi’s very eyes. “How could you say no to the wind?”
“I believe the afternoon sun may have stolen your sanity, Mikayl. I have a responsibility here; an image to uphold and duties to fulfil.”
“As a living tapestry?” Mikayl offers, a quirk in his smile that tests the edge of truth and disrespect.
Satoshi had always hated that look. He tugs at his vest in annoyance. “Yeah.” He answers shortly. “If that’s what it-” He stops abruptly, scowling Mikayl’s reflection in the mirror as the man snickers away. Turning to face him, his scowl deepens. “Yes.” He corrects himself stubbornly. “If that is what it takes to ensure my family prospers.”
Mikayl waves a finger at him. “See? Your soul’s more honest than your lips. It longs for freedom, not stuffed into tailor made tunics of the finest silks.” He gestures to his ensemble with a raised eyebrow.
“You would prefer I dress in rags?”
Mikayl shrugs. “I’d prefer if you dressed in something ya picked out yourself. I wouldn’t give a damn if you dressed in rags, riches or don a corset.”
“Don?” Satoshi repeats.
Mikayl grins. “Learned it a couple days ago; I’ve been dying to use it. Know how to spell it proper and everything.” He tilts his head. “Don’t change the subject.”
“I am unsure what answer you’re expecting to hear from me, Mikayl. No, this life is not always pleasant, nor does it bring forth much excitement but the fact remains that I am the sole heir to this estate and without me, my lineage would fade to the history books.” Satoshi answers with a sigh. “I do not expect you to understand the gravity of such pedigree.”
“Pedigree?” Mikayl questions, perking curiously. It was always the most attentive Satoshi saw him – the prospect of learning something new. Expanding his vocabulary had always been a high priority for the servant – even if he never took the liberty to use it.
“Pedigree. P-E-D-I-G-R-E-E.” Satoshi recites for him. “Used most often to refer to the genealogy of the upper class.”
“Oh!” He grins… and then it slips once he puts it into context. He looks displeased. “Oh.” He repeats, lacking enthusiasm.
Sighing loudly, Mikayl tips his head back. “You’re so boring, Satoshi. Don’t you have like ten cousins? Let them worry about your pedigree. Wouldn’t you rather be the first of a whole new history? Satoshi, Captain of the…” He rolls his wrist, trailing off. “Whatever we name our ship. People around the world would know your name; they’d hail and respect you.”
“I have six cousins and I do not recall the last time I met a pirate that was greeted at the ports with welcoming arms.” Satoshi retorts.. but his gaze falls to the side as Mikayl’s words sink into his bones. The first of a new history, huh..? He kind of liked the sound of that…
A knowing smirk crept onto Mikayl’s lips. He sat forward, leaning his forearms to his knees. “You’ve just been going to the wrong ports, my friend,” he speaks, his voice low and tantalizing. “Everything you would accomplish would be your own doing, not somebody else’s passed down glory. Don’t you want to know, Satoshi? What you have to offer the world?”
There is a silence then; a hush that settles uncomfortably well around them. Dozens of thoughts, of giving into temptation and denying it, lingered in the air. Satoshi chewed the inside of his lip in thought. Mikayl waited eagerly for a response.
Finally, Satoshi’s gaze returns to Mikayl and he breaths a laugh. “You failed to assist me at all; you have to be the laziest servant I have ever met. How did you even get this job?”
“Pedigree.” He replies and a mischievous grin tugs at the corner of his lips…
… and for once, Satoshi can’t help but mirror it.
FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!