Living the Dream ☆ Galaxy Lyra

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!

Moral of the Story ☆ Hyacinth

Working as a chef for an organic food catering company hadn’t exactly been what Flynn pictured his 20s would be like but he honestly had no complaints. It was a good, steady job and he had always enjoyed cooking. He hadn’t expected what had originally just been a means of feeding himself to turn into a job but he liked the environment. The kitchen he worked in was nice, he got to try out new recipes and be creative about his cooking and he had always liked the image of people enjoying his work.

Plus, he had great coworkers here and that alone was a good enough reason to stay. It was pretty rare when you got along with the majority of your peers.

Currently, he is working on the last of a big order. The function today was for a wedding and the bride had been very particular about how she wanted the food prepared. The restriction was something that Flynn could have lived without but he’d always been weak to stuff like this. The idea of cooking for a wedding was romantic and the thrill of that was enough.

As he works, he is busy chatting away with one of the servers who worked on the weekends. She was younger than him but she had a level of honesty that Flynn couldn’t help but come to for advice from time to time.

“So? What do you think?”

“You’re an idiot.”

Jaw dropping, Flynn puts down his wooden spoon and waves a hand. “What? Are you kidding me? You clearly weren’t listening right.”

“I was,” Mina replies, stacking a full container of prepared food onto another and rolling her eyes. “And you’re still an idiot. You should have ran the moment she joked about meeting her parents,” She pauses for dramatic effect. “Who live all the way in Mexico.”

“She was joking about buying that plane ticket! It shows she’s spontaneous! You can’t base someone off a first date alone.” Flynn frowns, defensive. “She could have tons of good qualities.”

Mina stares at him for a long moment, long enough for Flynn to feel the awkward silence of his reply. However, when he opens his mouth to try and rephrase his words, Mina quickly cuts in. “Look, Flynn, I don’t buy into your whole weird grand romance thing. I don’t think love is something that just happens and – boom – perfection. Everybody has something that initially attracts them to another. That whole love at first sight nonsense is essentially accurate.”

“But you just said-”

“In the sense that the moment you look at someone, you see something that you like. It could be something physical, like their hair or legs, or maybe it’s an activity, like you see them reading your favourite magazine or buying a cup of coffee.”

“Really? Coffee does it for you?” Flynn smirks, picking up his spoon again and carefully stiring the vegetables he’s currently cooking. Adding a couple spices, he continues to work as he listens.

“Shut up.” Mina scowls. “The point is that what you see might be what you fall in love with but it’s not what keeps you together. This girl is clearly a bad fit for you. Don’t call her and try again.”

“How do you know she’s a bad fit for me? That girl could be my future wife!”

“Because you just used the term future wife for a girl who burst into tears when you told her you were 22.”

“She said 22 was a bad year for her! Her family cat died.”

“… Do you listen to yourself? No, you cannot be with somebody who is that emotional. I’m sure she would be a good fit for somebody else but you need somebody stable.” Mina points at him. “Repeat after me – stable.”

“… But she was really cute.” Flynn protests.

“Do not call her.” She replies, making sure to enunciate each word.

Flynn sighs loudly, letting his head fall back before he moves to turn off the stove and set his frying pan onto the opposing burner. “I’m never gonna find a girlfriend at this rate. Every girl that’s perfect is either in a relationship or gay.”

“Preaching to the choir.” Mina shrugs a shoulder. “Well, except swap gay for straight. It sucks but you can’t give up. You’ll find her.”

“Maybe.” Flynn grumbles, scooping the vegetables into the large awaiting container. “Alright, this one’s done. You can take it.”

“Perfect.” Mina smiled, sealing the lid over it firmly and scooping it into her arms. She adds it to her stack then and lifts them all up at once.

Flynn watches her a moment before he reaches back to start untying his apron. “Here, let me help-”

“Flynn Yi, if you take off that apron, I will be forced to do something drastic. I’m not dainty. Get back to work.” Mina snaps, scowling him like she is daring him to try it.

Flynn’s hands falter and he chuckles. “Sorry, habit.”

“You should break that habit or I’m gonna start punching you in the gut every time I see you mistaking pity for chivalry.”

“Alright, alright, I’ll work on it. But, seriously, do they have enough helpers over there? I’m just heading home after this anyway.”

“We’ve enough people and Judy is loaning us her van if we need to grab anything for emergencies. You know, in case the bride decides to have a melt down about the cutlery or something.” She nods toward the door.

Flynn chuckles again. “Can’t have that happen again.”

“Exactly. Now I have to head over there but, to recap, what are we not going to do?” Mina questions.

“Call her.” Flynn sighs. “I won’t call her.”

“I’m serious. Don’t do it. You make terrible relationship decisions.”

Ouch.” Flynn clutches his chest with a smile. “Well, thanks for hearing me out.”

“Always happy to slap some sense into you.” She grins. “You still coming out for drinks tomorrow night?”

“You bet. Probably drag my brother along; kid never goes out alone.”

“Isn’t he older than you?”

“By a few months. Shut up.” Flynn rolls his eyes.

Mina grins, amused. “Alright, see you then.”

“Later.” He simply raises his hand, flicking his fingers slightly before she finally leaves the kitchen.

FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!