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Title: Rising Sun, shooting star (Unwanted Sun Part 2)

Written By: Buckwheat

Rating: PG-13

Copyright Notice: The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network Australia and the Sci-Fi Channel own Farscape. They own all rights to characters mentioned within this story. I made some or most up, but if they want to have them too, who am I to complain.

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NEVER REPORT EARLY

I stood on the Deck of the Command Carrier, noticing I was the only one in the Black uniform of the Commandos. Everyone was looking at me, wondering who I was, and why I would stand there waiting like the rest of the replacements. It was something that I would learn soon enough, that if you are to report on a certain solar day, show-up on that day and not before. The problem was, I was given leave to spend at  home, but I did not have one to go to. I was now alone with a new name, a new career and a new life to lead.

"Captain on Deck!"

A simple phrase, which would follow me for the rest of my life. Captain Tovo Stalltan walked into the hangar bay wearing his Command-Red uniform, and being flanked by a hardfaced female officer. He was tall, lean and showing the telltale signs of a battle worn trooper. Wearing a prominent Battle-scar and that whole thousand-metra stare that only comes from heavy combat. I found out later that he used to be a full captain in the Planetary Defense Force, and took his Peacekeeper commission when the Corps was newly formed.

Tovo Stalltan... Who had personally negotiated the peace of Strandar II, who had led the charge in the final battle to separate the warring factions. He was a frelling hero, and a living legend. I could only hope that my service would find his favour. We were all in awe to be in his presence, and we were very quiet during the welcoming speech that every captain gives.

"Welcome aboard my carrier," his voice boomed. "I repeat: MY carrier. You have, for the most part, served with distinction. Some of you are new to the Peacekeepers, and some of you are on your last chance. I do not run a pleasure craft or a reform school for delinquents. This is the finest vessel in the Peacekeeper fleet and I maintain the highest standard. Those of you who do not meet that standard will be replaced. Good health to you." With that he turned on his heels and marched away.

Replaced, that was the standard euphemism to say you would face a proper court martial and executed for failure to comply with orders. That was our way; you live to serve.

I was assigned a bunkroom by the Quartermaster and told where to report to the Commando Bay. I felt like I walked on forever on this huge carrier just to get to my quarters to get squared away and to get my kit ready for duty. I was surprised to see that my quarters were quite large by any standard. I expected to see just another bunk in a room that was build in a crowded space more out of pure nescessity than out of comfort. It looked like I would have this room all for myself. I was just about to get settled in and unpack when the door burst open and in rushed four armed Peacekeepers in full body armor.

"On the ground now!" Shouted the lead Peacekeeper. His Pulse Pistol pointed right in my face. "I said on the ground NOW, Frell Jak"

Great. I had been aboard less than 2 arns and I already made an enemy. I guess I should have expected this. What happened next would be a source of amusement between the rest of my team and I for the next 40 cycles.

"And who the frell are you, giving ME orders?" I asked defiantly.

At the same time closing the gap between the lead soldier and me. No answer, but I thought I saw a sneer behind the black visored helmet. Time to go to work. I stunned the leader with a pantac jab while the other three just stood there. It took just a microt to circle-kick one in the head and the last one in the stomach. One remained, his pistol still trained directly at my head. He remained cool and had an air of confidence about him. Who is this? Why won't he frelling shoot?

"Officer Sun, I presume...I am Lieutenant Rotana. Your commanding officer." He said it so calm; you never would have thought there was a fight a microt before. He took off his helmet and stared me down; waiting. I did what every PK does when in doubt; I came to attention and replied, "yes, sir!"

"You are early, two solar days early. Two things...one, next time change the lock code on your quarters the moment you step in. Two, if you are going to arrive early to a posting, report in the moment you get there."  His face was still, his lip barely moved when he spoke. After surveying me he finally lowered the gun.

"Let me introduce you to part of your team. The first one you hit is your second, Sub-Officer Darvo Stranna; the second one is Sergeant Milos Argra, The last one is Sergeant Manas Gelivos, she will have a headache when she wakes up. I guess I'm fortunate not to bring the other two or there would not be any one left to clean this up." He smirked arrogantly, waving at the grumbling troopers as if they were discarded goods.

I hated that smirk from the beginning, but he was the Officer in Charge of the covert ops section and therefore he had my loyalty...for now. I was told that my new Ident-chip was on the table and that I would be pleased with the information on it. I was told to report to him in two solar days, having learned the policy and procedures for the Command Carrier Argus and to know the ship from top to bottom, blindfolded. Normally you are given the fist three solar days after reporting to do this.  Well, from this point on I arrived on time -not early- just on time. Oh, I forgot to mention that I was promoted to Lieutenant at that time. That was what I was supposed to be pleased with. Again I was advanced early, but why?

 

I spent the next few days leaning my way around the Argus; I bumped into the Captain one time during the sleep cycle. "Bumped" was an accurate description; I was reviewing the evacuation procedures for the ship when I went head first into Captain Stalltan. He was not impressed, as I could tell by the hard look in his eyes. He made a comment about "frelling commandos in their frelling black uniforms, like frelling ghosts in the night." He marched on; checking the ship and his crew, as I found out that that was his usual routine. Now I was beginning to understand why they called us "Black Ghosts"; the uniform was a dead give away, but the ghost part, I think that had to do with our uncanny ability to appear one moment and be gone the next.

The next quarter of a cycle was spent waiting for orders, training, going on practice exercises and security sweeps of the Command Carrier and of the other ships in the armada. The most exciting thing that happened was the capture of a Leviathan. Amazing creature, the pilot took some doing to control, but once the control collar was in place all problems were dealt with most efficiently. Other than that, nothing exciting happened.

They say that a commando's life is a solitary one. Not so, as I socialized with my team in the officer's lounge. Occasionally I was invited to the Sergeants lounge for a quick meal or a drink. My second, Sub-Officer Stranna was promoted to Officer. We became fast friends, said I hit him harder than a Luxan in a hyper rage, and I told him he was full of dren and he was just a weakling. The banter went on like that forever; at least it seemed like it at the time.

Finally, we received orders for a real mission. I cannot go into too many details, but I can relate the gist of it. We were to set down and subdue a group of Sebaceans who were trying to incite a rebellion on one of our outer colonies. Our job was to stop the rebellion by any means necessary while still maintaining a zero presence status. I had full confidence in my team and the two other teams joining the mission. Little did I know that it would all turn to dren, very fast.

Lieutenant Rotana led the main assault group into position, we all knew our tasks, and my team was to be the sniper section for the mission, a job that would prove to be our calling. We maneuvered into a covering position, providing rear security for the strike teams. In the end, it would not matter. They were waiting for us.

It was almost as if they knew we were coming. The mines that the enemy had hidden on the only approach route killed half of Rotana's team instantly. Some sort of flame weapon obliterated Lieutenant Ornat's team; they never had a chance to fire back. In a heartbeat, nine of the best-trained Peacekeepers that I had ever known were killed or wounded. From our position we had a clear shot at the enemy leaders, and I signaled Rotana that we were about to open fire and he should get clear. Like some sort of farbot, he stood up and made himself a target, drawing the enemy out into the open, charging him with weapons blazing. We then picked our targets, and fired; the leaders first, who dropped like Boolite goo, then the rest. It was not a pretty sight, but raw combat never is. We went down to retrieve the injured and dead, under intense hostile fire, but we wanted to leave no one behind. We collected the Ident chips from Ornat's team and the pitiful little that was left of them. We made it back to the RV point where the Marauders came in and pick us up. Safe. It was a frelling nightmare, someone betrayed us, and I vowed that there would be blood to pay.

We arrived back on the Argus; Captain Stalltan stood there to meet us. The first time I had seen him with a look other than disdain. He was genuinely concerned about his troops, even if they wore "frelling black uniforms". He gathered us around him and told us that there would be retribution, as too many Peacekeepers had died today, and too many good Sebaceans.

"Lieutenant Gratelk is under arrest, for treason. She relayed tactical information to the rebels just after the planning session. I have no doubt that it is her brother that is the leader of this rebellion against the council. They will pay dearly for this"

Gratelk was the Captain's first officer, how could she have betrayed the Peacekeepers like that. It is something to this day I cannot fathom, she was the most animate about council rule and the will of the council. She was tried and executed in less than 3 arns. Tragic loss for the Sebacean Race as she was a pure blood a descendant from a Named House. That Name ceased to exist that day, as her dishonor meant dishonor for the entire House who all underwent the same ­permanent- retribution.

PROMOTION AGAIN?

Ten solar days later Lieutenant Rotana was promoted to first officer; which left the position of Head of Covert Operations open. We thought that they would send someone from another squad to take over. I was called to the Captain's quarters, and was told that I would be named interim Head until I got killed or they found someone better. I was dismissed and as I left Rotana stopped me.

"You know that the Job is yours to loose don't you?" And he walked away.

I took that as a hint that I had the job, but I understood I needed more experience just to keep it.

He was right, as over the next three cycles our section became the most effective in the whole Covert Ops Division, and were thrice decorated by High Command. We were efficient, professional and deadly. Never again did we face the indignity of being ambushed. Almorst killed, often. Overrun, sometimes. Burned alive, nearly. Ambushed...never.

 

Retribution. That is what we called it, which is what fueled our rage. Our desire was retribution.

Too many of us had died to quell our thirst for revenge, something that was going to happen sooner then later. I personally lead the mission to capture Delat Gratelk, the rebel leader. They were supposedly fighting for Sebacean rights on this tiny rock. They were our own race, but they went against everything we stood for, lived for in this galaxy. Peace, order and co-existence with other life; the Thorn were a peaceful race, who allowed a Sebacean colony on their home world, but when the colonist defiled their sacred grounds they wanted vengeance. They hired the Peacekeepers to keep the peace between the new colonists and themselves. If they only would have listened and entered negotiations with us, then the colonists would have been saved from our retribution. They seceeded from council rule and started a war with the Thorn; a war that we were being paid to stop.

It took all of one arn to locate and extract Delat; we had him aboard the Command Carrier one arn after that. I was hoping to be the one to interrogate him, but that honor fell to the Captain. He made sure that blood paid for blood. Before his execution, Delat made an appeal to the council, he requested that the colonists and their families be able to leave the core systems and go to the Uncharted Territories to live on their own. The council surprisingly agreed, probably knowing that they would not survive out there. The rebels were gone within two solar days, gone never to heard of again, at least that is what we hoped.

LIFE IS GOES ON

After four cycles aboard the Argus, and three as Interim Head, I was finally confirmed as the Official Head of the Covert Operations section for the Regiment. That I thought was best celebrated in the Officer's Lounge. It was something I did not do on a regular bases, as I felt it best to keep a distance between me and the rest of the Officers, Friendships outside the commandos was a luxury I could not afford. Well, at least that is what I tried to convince myself. If truth were known, I just was not the social type; in my previous life, my life before the Peacekeepers, I was not privy to social events. I gathered those whom I considered my friends and commandeered a section of the lounge. It was a grand sight, the other officers not knowing what to make of us when we entered the lounge. Darvo thought it would be fun to enter as if we were going to arrest someone, which we had on several occasions. Arrested someone in the Mess that is.

"It would be amusing to see if anyone of those Drennits would dren their pants," he was like a child with some candy. "Then you could come in and just sit and we could get dren-faced, and ignore them all."

Somewhat reluctantly I agreed to the plan. Darvo burst though the door, followed by Milos Argra and Manas Gelivos, who were both officers now, and had their own teams too. Under my command the Covert Ops section doubled in size and activities as well. I thought I had seen everything, until I entered the lounge. Most of the other officers had frozen in their tracks all eye on each other, wondering who was the next one for early retirement? I walked over to an empty lounge area and sat down.

"Relax I'm hear to arrest some Phelip Nectar, nothing else" I mused. There was a collective sigh of relief, name-calling and a few bits of food thrown in our general direction. I had to admit I enjoyed that, though I think I would not try that too often, though.

"You guys scared the dren out of most of them, the others did not want to get killed in any crossfire," chirped a woman's voice from behind Dravo. Manas stood up to challenge the trelk that dared butt her nose into our private time. Then laughed when she saw that it was Darvo's sister, Arnan.

"Come, sit with us, I hope you have currency little girl" Milos replied, "otherwise sit down and shut the frell up."

"Well if currency is what is required to speak around here, then after our last game you should not be allowed to speak for a cycle frell jak." She smirked sliding down on the couch beside me, Congratulations Pleisar, it is about time it was official."

Arnan was the only non-commando that would be allowed to talk to us in that way, let alone be invited to sit with us. She had the training; she was just waiting for an opening in the teams. That was not the reason we let her sit with us. It was not because she was Darvo's sister; we did not care. Some of the others had family aboard; they were not invited into the group. Arnan had saved our eemas in a time of crisis.

 

We were on a joint operation with the Thorn when we were being overrun, it seamed like our happy band of warriors would be breathing our last breath, when suddenly a Marauder appeared out of nowhere, and did a strafing run right in front of our position, that saved our lives. The Marauder landed and we climbed aboard to find out it was Arnan who flew the ship. She had stolen the Marauder and came to get us. I realized that she risked a court martial for her actions, so when we arrived back on the carrier; I immediately went to the Captain and spoke on her behalf. I told him of the situation and how she had ensured success on a really frelled up situation. She was placed on restrictive duty for ten solar days and then returned to her Prowler squadron. That, in our opinion, made her worthy to join us for a drink any time.

Darvo raised his glass. "A toast...to the 'new' head of Covert Operations section, Lieutenant Pleisar Sun." There was a chorus of here here's and congratulations from the lounge, the loudest being from my friends. It was nice to hear the cheers from the other officers, even if they did not mean it. Most of them either envied us or hated us. We wore black, usually no rank insignia, while the regulars wore the red and black of the line units, the black with red trim of the pilots or the green and black of the techs. Who the frell cared, we sure didn't.

Just then, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen walked into the lounge. I could tell that she was a pilot. Because of the uniform and she went over to the other pilots, they were as finicky about their drinking friends as we were. She looked somewhat familiar; I could have sworn I had seen her before. Then it hit me; she was the one from command school.

I spent most of the night taking currency off my friends and drinking. I kept looking over at this woman, and she at me. There was a kind of connection, I could not explain it but it was there. Maybe it was because I had not recreated in a while, or it was because I felt some attraction to this woman. I stood up, determined that I was going to talk to her, and for the first time in my life I felt fear. I sat back down immediately, the others looking at me with a strange grin on their faces.

"Just stretching my legs, they were starting to cramp." I snapped

"Yeah and I am a Hynerian Royal. You have been looking at her all night. Go and talk to her." Darvo chuckled.

"Well your highness, I just might", I replied grinning.

Arnan let out a laugh. "You know Pleisar, I could introduce you, and she is in my squadron"

"Arnan, Pleisar does not need to be intodu-..." Manas started.

"Set it up" I said quickly, too quickly, now that I think about it.

Darvo sat there with his mouth open, trying to speak. It looked as though a fish was trying to breathe out of water. Milos, who was preoccupied in trying to win his currency back, finally realized what was going on, shrugged and looked at Arnan.

"You heard the man, set it up. By the way, you loose Prowler girl, I know Pleisar took your last bit of currency last round, so get us some Fellip Nectar while you are up, and keep it flowing for the rest of the night and you just might get even."

Arnan got up in a huff and went over to the Stewart to set up a credit to be deducted from her pay. Milos laughed, watching her all the way.

Darvo leaned over to me "You know there was a time that I though you would be with Arnan."

"Darvo, she is a good pilot and a valued friend, but I do not see her that way." I replied. "You know that Officer Cobram has put in for a transfer to Prowler Attack School, her appointed mate is there as an instructor. I think she would do a good job, I have endorsed it and forwarded it to the Captain for approval. Before you ask, I have already requested a replacement for her. I have requested that Officer Arnan Stranna be assigned to take over Marauder duty for her. She has the training and well...we all like her."

I have only seen Darvo smile like that once before, it was when he came back from leave on a Sebacean pleasure planet. He knew that she would make it to the teams and also thought] he could look out for her, as he was a very protective brother.

The Lounge Stewart shouted, "Captain on Deck".

The whole mess sprung to attention. The Captain, who rarely went to the lounge, entered, looked around and strode over to our table. He looked me in the eye and said that my transfers for my team have been approved, and tossed me their new ident chips. He turned to leave, paused, and looked at me "You have proven yourself worthy to hold the position you have now. Congratulations Lieutenant Sun, and good fortune to you." With that he left.

"What was that all about?" Arnan asked.

"Well little girl, you have gotten too big for your flightsuit." Milos ducked expecting to be hit, "you will have to go and get a proper one. One that fits, and one that is the right color; I always thought that red on black spoiled the black."

"Arnan, you have been transferred to Covert Operations effectively now." I tossed her identchip at her.  She had a smile bigger than a star. She turned to someone who I could not see.

"It looks like someone will be moving up to section leader now that I am elite" Arnan told the mysterious person. "Oh, where are my manners. Lieutenant Pleisar Sun, may I have pleasure in introducing Officer Xana Rotana."

Oh frell, I thought, that must be Rotana's sister. I must be frelling insane. He was a very private man, who valued his family very much. He had personally seen the squadron leader tried for incompetence when his brother's squadron was lead into an ambush that a baby could have seen. His brother died because of that, and the squadron leader paid for it. Dearly.

"An honor to meet you, sir" she stood at attention not wanting to make eye contact. I studied her, looking at her beauty. Her hair, her eyes, her body, it was really my pleasure.

"Yes, it is", I replied, regretting it the moment I said it. I got a dirty look from Arnan. "Would you care to join us?" Hoping that would make up for my first blunder.

"If it would be permitted, sir," She replied, still not looking at me.

"It is, and it is Pleisar, Xana," I could feel the surprised eyes of my friends burn in the back of my head for this unbecoming, un-officer-like behaviour.

 

She finally looked at me with those eyes, eyes that could see right through my rough façade that I put up for the rest of the galaxy. She knew who I was, who I really was; for a moment I was fearful that she would use my real name, the name that I had abandoned all those cycles before.

The others slowly disappeared, off to sleep, or to try and take some currency off the other pilots, who were still in the lounge. I had hoped she and I would have some common things to talk about; and I was glad that we had. During her course in Command school, I found out that she had interest in me, but it was not the time, nor the place to act upon it. She told me that she knew who I really was and that she would keep it a secret just for me. I told her there was a reason that I did not carry that name anymore. She said that the commando tradition of changing their names to protect their families was a noble gesture. I let her think that was the reason.

We spent many nights just talking in the Lounge; we would talk of battles, strategy, typical things that you would expect fellow officers to talk about. I could not talk about much because of the nature of my work. She understood, at least I hope she understood.

"I know why you are called 'Black Ghosts', Those black uniforms of course, and the fact that you are here one moment and gone the next. Also you might think we see you, but then we're not sure." She said one night.

"If you are sure you have seen us, they you will usually be dead within microts," I grinned.

With that we went to my quarters, which soon would become our quarters. We became mates a half cycle later. A source of joy and ultimately a source of pain for me; I would have to wait five cycles to find that out. When my past would finally catch up to me...

End of Part 2

Part 3 >>

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