It's pretty easy to go back to parts you've missed in the story but all in all, I think the sense of continuity still suffers from having it in parts. So, I figured I'd collect all the story bits here in one place where anyone can read and enjoy them easily.
I will reserve a few posts for future updates since I'm not sure if there is a character limit to posts. I'm also thinking of adding the Mission images here in the future since those portray the story nicely as well.
Princess Illaria’s Escape
The Child of Heaven
You did what you had to.
You try to cling to that thought as you gaze around the bare walls of your cell, at the blue energy barrier stretching beyond its slender bars. It provides little comfort.
Again and again the scene plays across your mind. You feel your thumb pressing the red button at the end of the control stick, see the Centurian ship exploding – a flash of brilliant fire against the black of the void. The sound of its destruction, spawned within your aural implant, rages in your ears like an accusation.
And here you sit, imprisoned at the command of the Sian Emperor himself. When the cruiser reaches its destination, bringing you back to your homeworld, you will stand trial. Emissaries from the Centurian Collective will speak out against you, demanding your execution.
You lie back and close your eyes, knowing that sleep will never come but trying to delude yourself that it might. Then your eyes flick open, as the world shakes. You leap to your feet, and another tremor rumbles through the cell. Something’s wrong… A collision? You call out for the guard, but no one answers. Whatever’s happening, it’s called him away from his station at the end of the corridor.
Long minutes crawl by as you wait, gripping the bars with white knuckles. Then you hear screams of pain and terror in the distance, punctuated by the unmistakable hiss of laser fire. An attack!
Your mind whirls. No enemy could get aboard the Child of Heaven, past its countless lines of defense. And there was no warning alarm. It makes no sense… But the sounds of combat continue, louder now. The ship’s under attack, and only one thought fills your mind: Princess Illaria… she’s in danger!
You yank at the bars of the cell, screaming in frustration. Then you fall silent, as you hear footsteps sounding along the corridor. Someone’s coming…
The blue energy barrier in front of your cell flickers out of existence. Only someone with the authorization code could have deactivated it… Hope surges within you. Has the guard come back to let you out?
Then she appears beyond the bars, her beautiful face marred by anxiety.
“Princess!” you gasp.
Her eyes light up as they meet yours.
“Quickly, take it!” she says, pressing a laser rifle against the bars. “I couldn’t find the key. Shoot the bars.”
A million questions spring to your lips. But you take the weapon, turning it so you can pull it into the cell. Illaria flits aside, clearing your line of fire.
Engaging the Enemy
You step out of the cell, knocking the damaged bars aside.
“What happened? Who-”
“It’s the Centurians,” she replies. She’s already moving down the corridor, her laser pistol raised. She gestures for you to follow, and you move to match her pace.
“How did they get on the ship?” you ask.
“I don’t know. They… they just appeared. The sensors didn’t detect them.”
You fall silent as the two of you near the doors which lead out of the prison, into the atrium beyond. The sounds of combat are close now. Questions dance across your mind, attempting to penetrate the confusion. But now isn’t the time.
Centurian soldiers are outside, their backs to the prison as they fire at targets out of your line of vision. You signal for the Princess to stay back, but she’s already pressing herself against one of the prison doors, her weapon at the ready as she prepares to attack. You nod, and follow her lead.
Guarding the Guards
In the atrium a group of Sian Guardsmen are exchanging fire with more Centurian soldiers. They’re outnumbered, and several of them already lie dead. But the survivors are holding their ground, fighting on.
“We have to help them,” says the Princess, already moving and firing.
A cry goes up from the guards as they see the Princess in their midst. They throw themselves into the combat with renewed vigor, desperate to protect her. You do the same, firing at the advancing Centurians.
A ragged cheer goes up as the last Centurian falls. For a moment there’s calm, though the noise of distant weapons fire shows that you’re simply in the eye of the storm. All around your fragile bubble of safety, chaos still rages.
You turn to Sergeant Tarik, the highest ranking guardsman there.
“What’s our status?” you ask.
He shakes his head, his expression grim.
“The ship’s lost, captain. They’ve got the bridge.”
“We have to take it back,” says Princess Illaria.
“There’s too many of them, Highness,” replies the sergeant. “We need to get you to the nearest hangar. There’s still time to get you out.”
“I won’t surrender the Child of Heaven,” she says.
Sergeant Tarik turns to you, a look of appeal in his eyes. It’s mirrored on the faces of the other guards. None of them can bring himself to contradict the Princess of the Sian Empire, but you read the thought on all their minds.
“We’ll all die for you, Highness,” you say, gesturing at the bodies of the fallen. “But don’t let us die in vain. If you escape the Centurians, these men and women will have fallen doing their duty.”
She opens her mouth as if to make a retort, then closes it. You know her well enough to read the subtle emotions which play across her face, bespeaking the flow of her thoughts. Her sense of discipline, of duty to her empire, overrides her passion. She nods.
“Form up around Her Highness and the captain,” says the sergeant. Then he adds, before you can protest, “If we get to the hangar, you’ll need to fly her out.”
He’s right. You’re the only pilot there. In that moment you realize just how bitter it must be for Princess Illaria, knowing that others are dying so you may live.
Together you round the corner and charge along the atrium, towards the hangar at the far end. Centurian soldiers stand at the entrance, and their crimson lasers rip into your formation as you run. Sergeant Tarik collapses beside you, dead before he can even cry out. You fire towards the soldiers, hoping you can pick them off before they can cut you all down.
Somehow you survive the barrage of lasers, and pour into the hangar. The entrance platform is covered with corpses, both Centurian and Sian. They fought hard for control of the hangar, the Centurians to prevent their prey from escaping, the Sian Guardsmen so that their people might reach safety.
Standing amongst the dead is a man wearing a Centurian commander’s uniform. A malicious grin crosses his face as he sees Princess Illaria approach.
“Nice try, Princess. But you’re not getting off this ship. Not till General Rahn’s cruiser comes for you.”
Almost as soon as the words are out of his mouth, you, the Princess, and the remaining guardsmen open fire. Laser beams fly at him, but each one stops a few inches in front of his body – the air shimmering as it makes contact with an invisible field.
He’s not carrying a pack… there’s nothing on him big enough to be a shield generator…
The commander laughs at your confusion. Then he makes a sudden, predatory movement, grabbing hold of the nearest Sian Guardsman and yanking him over by his arm. You dart towards them, but before you can intervene there’s a sickening snap, and the guardsman is hurled aside – his neck broken.
“Who’s next?” asks the commander.
The commander staggers back against the railing, gasping for breath, and falls to one knee. The arrogant smile is gone, his face now twisted in hatred.
“I don’t have time for this,” he rasps. “If Rahn wants the *****, he can gather up the pieces!”
With a quick movement he snatches a grenade from a fallen Centurian soldier’s belt. As he stands back up, the lights on its surface flash, a blinking red to herald the destruction that will come. But before he can throw it, you’re on him. One of your hands clasps his, pressing his fingers down, preventing him from dropping the grenade. Your other arm comes round in an arc, your elbow smashing him in the mouth. He splutters as his teeth fly down his throat. Then he topples over the railing, disappearing from sight. A second later there’s an explosion from down below the platform.
“They’re coming!” yells one of the guardsmen from behind you.
As if to punctuate his words, you hear weapons fire from outside the hangar. A few of the guardsmen head out into the atrium, one of them yelling over his shoulder:
“Go! We’ll hold them!”
You descend to the floor of the hangar, and make for one of the long-range fighter ships. You bark out a command word, and the canopy opens as the ship’s computer recognizes your voice. You boost the Princess into the cockpit, and clamber up after her – the guardsmen aiding you from below. You reach back down to help them up in turn. Then the canopy descends, and the ship’s engine roars to life.
The fighter moves forward, turning towards the energy barrier separating you from the darkness of space. To your right Centurian soldiers rush onto the hangar’s entrance platform, having at last fought their way through the guards who remained to stall them. They open fire as the ship rises, their crimson lasers flashing out towards you. But their small arms fire has little effect, and a moment later you’re through the energy barrier.
You glance at the ship’s scanner, each blip of information contributing to the tapestry which forms your mind. Green blips show Sian vessels leaving from other hangars around the Child of Heaven, entrusting themselves to the cold void. But red blips are converging on them like pack animals after their prey, Centurian fighter ships moving to intercept. Whatever stealth systems they used to board the cruiser, they’re visible enough now to your ship’s electronic eyes.
You wince as you see the green dots flicker out of existence one by one. But the Centurian ships are on the other side of the cruiser. You have a chance to escape…
All that flows across your thoughts in a second, your trained pilot’s mind assimilating the data and analyzing the situation. Then you take another quick glance, this one at the display showing the readings of the hyperspace engine.
“Need to get some breathing room,” you say, one of your hands already moving to plot the course. “Then we can jump for Sian.”
“No!” says the Princess. “Sian’s under attack.”
“What? The Centurians couldn’t get past the Golden Armada. They don’t have a fleet powerful enough-”
But the Princess’ grim silence quietens you in turn.
“Plot a course for TALOS space,” she says after a moment. “They’ll give us sanctuary.”
You do as she instructs, then focus your attention on your surroundings once more. First you need to get away from your pursuers, so you have enough time to make your jump…
That Blast Came From The...
A huge blast of laser energy flashes by, piercing the blackness, illuminating the cockpit with its glow. No fighter has a weapon that large...
“The Child of Heaven!” yells one of the guardsmen. “It’s firing at us!”
You curse. How could the Centurians have broken through the security systems on the forward weapons that fast? But there’s no time to think about it.
Another blast lances towards you, and you dart the ship aside to avoid it. You have to get clear of those cannons…
You manage to avoid the forward guns. Those weapons are designed to be used against large cruiser targets, and are no match for your skill as a pilot. But avoiding them has cost valuable time.
Streams of smaller laser fire come from behind. Centurian fighter ships are on your tail, trying to thwart your escape. The ship hurtles through space at your expert touch, as you plunge, soar, spin, and swerve in an effort to avoid their fire.
Rocks Fly, Everybody Dies
“Too many of them,” you mutter.
On the scanner, more and more red blips are moving towards you. But something else catches your eye.
“An asteroid field,” you say.
“Do it,” Princess Illaria replies, understanding your intention. Her hand clasps your shoulder.
The Sian Guardsmen gasp as you fly towards the whirling asteroids. A thousand deaths await you on those rocks. But it’s death for the Centurians as well, if they follow you. If you can make it through the field, you might be able to lose them…
Several explosions sound out from your aural implant, each one representing a Centurian fighter exploding against an asteroid – silent deaths given voice by the device.
You emerge from the field, and see that only a handful of red dots are left. And there’s something else… A green dot, weaving between the asteroids at reckless speed. Someone else made it clear of the cruiser.
“That has to be you, captain.” The female voice comes over the Sian communication channel, full of an exhilaration that seems so out of place in the grim circumstances. “No one else could fly like that. And if you’re here, she’s with you.”
“Talia!” says the Princess.
“I knew it!” A joyful laugh comes through the communicator. “I knew the captain wouldn’t leave without you.”
A musical laugh from the Princess echoes that of the gunslinger, one born of both happiness and adrenaline-fueled mania. Life or death space combat is new to her.
You look at the scanner once more. The remaining red blips are still converging on you, relentless in their pursuit. But there are only five of them now. And you’ve faced worse odds than this.
“Take the two on my left,” you say. “The other three are mine.”
“Got it,” Talia replies.
Then you arc the ship through the air, looping round to engage the Centurian fighters. Now it’s your turn.
Centurian Void Killer
The last ship explodes, and the cheers of your companions fill the cockpit. But your voice doesn’t join them. You’ve seen the red blip on the scanner, this one bigger than the others, and know that the worst is yet to come.
“Oh…” comes Talia’s voice. She’s seen it too. “That’s not a fighter…”
A large grey craft looms up through space, blue energy crackling across panels on its surface. A stream of small silver objects pours from its side, and from this distance it looks as if its hull is flaking away. Then the ‘flakes’ start firing red lasers.
“What is that thing?” asks the Princess.
“It’s a Void Killer,” you reply. “The Centurians use them to take out fighter ships. Those things it’s launching are drones.”
“We don’t have enough torpedoes to take them all out,” says Talia.
“Have to destroy the Void Killer,” you say. “The drones can’t function without it.”
You fly towards the grey vessel, weaving through a rain of laser fire. Countless drones explode as you fire back, but more keep pouring from its hull. If you don’t take out that ship, you’ll be overwhelmed…
Weapons fire rakes your ship as the drones swarm around you like insects devouring a dying animal’s flesh. Warning lights flash around the cockpit, and alarm sounds blare.
“Talia! Engines!” you blurt out. Two words, but they’re enough. She understands.
Her ship moves into position, as does yours – ignoring the niggling fire from the drones as it picks away at your armor. The Void Killer’s engines are unprotected, its shields worn away by repeated fire, its plating damaged…
You swoop down towards it like two birds of prey descending for the same morsel. Your weapons rake across the engines, piercing its armor. Then both of you soar upwards, as if fleeing the scene of a crime. A moment later a huge explosion fills the void.
For a second there’s silence in the cockpit. The Princess and guardsmen aren’t pilots. They don’t have aural implants. It’s only when they look at the scanner that they see the conspicuous absence of the red blip. Then the cheer comes.
“It worked!” laughs Talia. “Those drones are just floating around like space trash. “We-”
An alarm blares out, a boisterous cacophony far removed from the polite warning sounds you heard before. The cheering stops. It looks as if your ship was damaged worse than you thought…
“That noise,” says Talia. “Is that…?”
“Yes. We took too much damage. Can’t go much further.”
The Princess leans towards you to get a better look at the map, her hair brushing your cheek. She points a slender finger towards a planet marked on its display.
“That’s Gallea,” she says. “Can we make it there?”
Words of assurance rise up your throat, but you swallow them. You can’t lie to her.
“Maybe,” you reply.
She nods, and buckles herself into her seat. Her hand clasps your arm. It’s trembling.
The ship’s systems scream in protest as you direct the dying machine towards the planet. Soon Gallea looms up ahead of you, and you hear a gasp of relief from the Princess. But she isn’t a pilot. She doesn’t realize that the hard bit is yet to come…
“I’ll follow you down,” says Talia, unaccustomed solemnity in her voice. “Good luck, captain.”
The ship slices through the atmosphere, shrouded in flame as the air burns around you. Again and again the warning lights flash and alarms blare, like obnoxious heralds of doom.
The controls struggle in your grasp, as if the ship itself is fighting you, betraying you. The Princess’ grip tightens on your arm. If you can just land…
From The Wreckage
Your mind whirls. Everything’s spinning. You say something, but the words seem slow, like they’re moving through water.
There are sparks around you… Little fairy lights twinkling in the haze…
Then your vision begins to clear, focusing on the white mass next to you until it becomes Princess Illaria. For a second she’s motionless, lifeless. Then she gives a faint groan, and the breath returns to your throat. The ship screeches around you as it dies, bleeding sparks and fire.
In the back, one of the guardsmen is still, a spur of metal through his neck. The other is spluttering, droplets of blood flying from his mouth to punctuate his coughs. He’s dragging at one of his legs, trying to free it from a twisted mass of metal.
He looks up, and his eyes meet yours.
“Take… Princess… go… Go!”
You grab hold of the Princess, pulling her limp form out of the seat. You have to get her to safety…
No Rest From The Wicked
You sprint across the hard ground, the Princess in your arms. Each step jolts your battered body, but you force yourself on. There are large rocks ahead of you. They should provide some cover…
You clamber over the rocks, laying Princess Illaria down behind them. You lie beside her as the explosion fills the air, and watch as a shard of metal flies overhead, landing with a clatter a few yards away.
There’s movement nearby, and you reach for your weapon. But it’s Talia, her bright eyes gleaming in the glow.
“You made it,” she laughs.
“We made it,” you agree, with a deep sigh.
“Made it…” mumbles the Princess, as she moves into a sitting position, one hand pressed against her head.
“My ship’s right over there,” says Talia. “We can-”
There’s roar from overhead. You get to your feet, and look over the rocks to see the big, bloated body of a Centurian troop carrier as it descends towards the ground, near Talia’s ship. Soldiers are already leaping from its deployment hatch. One of them spots you, and begins firing in your direction. A moment later the others follow suit.
You raise your weapon, and return fire.
Get Off My Planet!
The Princess gets to her feet, leans against the rock, and opens fire. Talia blasts away with a pistol in each hand, and every shot – wild as they seem – finds its mark. Centurian soldiers collapse on the rocky ground, but more keep pouring out of the transport ship.
A deep, slightly robotic voice rings out across the battlefield, loud enough to be heard over the shouts, screams, and laser fire.
“Hey! You think you can come to my planet and start shooting up the place?” it says.
A large robot appears from the left, emerging into the dawning light. Lightning flashes from a weapon mounted on its arm, and strikes a Centurian soldier – sending him flying through the air. Then it charges towards the other Centurians, slashing at them with what appears to be a big, laser-edged chainsaw. Several of the soldiers turn to fire at the robot, their lasers pattering against its armor.
“A battle bot?” asks Talia. “I thought only TALOS had those?”
“Worry about that later,” you reply. “Just pick off the Centurians, while they’re distracted.”
The robot raises its arms in the air as the last Centurian falls. Then its legs begin to hop up and down. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was engaged in some kind of victory dance… Again that deep, computerized voice sounds from speakers which must be mounted on it somewhere.
“See what you get? See what you get for invading my planet?”
Then the robot stops in mid dance, its arms and raised leg freezing in place as it catches sight of you.
The robot begins lumbering towards you.
“That’s not good…” you mutter.
“He called it ‘his planet’,” says the Princess. “He must be King Salastro’s robot. If we can just reason with him, ask him to take us to the king…”
“Sure… let’s reason with the killer robot,” says Talia. She twirls her pistols. “I’ll put forward my two best arguments.”
The ‘robot’ draws closer, and in the growing light you see that it’s not a robot at all. There’s a small cockpit on top, and inside it there’s… a small boy?
“It’s just a kid!” laughs Talia.
“Hey! Don’t call me-” This time the voice is the high-pitched whine of a child. The boy frowns, and presses a button. When he continues, his voice is deep and robotic once more. “-a kid! I’m ten!”
Under the circumstances, you just can’t help yourself. Despite the seriousness of the situation, in spite of all the dangers you’ve faced and have yet to face, you and Talia burst out laughing at the incredulity of it all. The boy scowls.
“That’s it!” he yells, again forgetting to use his voice modulator. “I’m gonna… gonna…” Words seem to fail him in his rage. Instead he charges, swinging his laser-edged chainsaw.
“Wait,” the Princess shouts. “I know who that is! It’s-”
But it’s too late. He’s already on you, and you have to fight.
The kid’s mech collapses, falling onto its butt. The movement is so like that of a child falling whilst taking his first steps that you can’t help but laugh once more. The boy hammers away at the controls, but the mech doesn’t respond. Its arms lie motionless. His look of frustration brings a fresh torrent of laughter from you and Talia. The Princess frowns, and punches you in the arm – a remarkable breach of imperial protocol. But you just can’t help it…
The mech’s cockpit flies open, and the kid leaps down to the ground. He runs over to you, and begins to kick your shin. You lift your leg to kick him back, but the Princess intervenes.
“Stop it! I know you – you’re Prince Telemachus.”
The boy stops kicking you, and looks over to her, curiosity now eclipsing his anger.
“Yeah, that’s right.” He stares at her intently. Then recognition dawns in his eyes. “Hey, you’re the Sian Princess! I’ve seen you on the news network.”
“He’s King Salastro’s boy,” she says, turning to you and Talia. “I haven’t seen him since he was a baby.”
“So that would be what, last week?” asks Talia.
Telemachus looks as if he’s about to leap at her, but Princess Illaria intervenes once more.
“We crashed here,” she tells him. “But we can leave now. We…”
She trails off as large shapes appear in the sky. More Centurian ships, coming down towards you.
“We have to get away from here,” you say.
“My father’s palace is just over there,” says Telemachus, pointing a stubby finger towards a nearby rise. “Follow me!”
He scrambles back into his mech, and the cockpit closes after him. Lurching from side to side, he manages to stand up.
“Good,” he says. “Backup system’s kicked in. Come on!”
He begins to run, and the three of you follow.
Through Smoke & Fire
Fire rakes the ground behind you as the Centurian ships descend. You need some kind of cover…
As if thinking the same thing, Prince Telemachus begins to throw cylindrical objects over his shoulder. Each one emits a billow of smoke as it hits the ground, and soon the air is filled with it.
“Keep running!” he yells. “They won’t be able to hit us through the smoke!”
You grab the Princess’ arm, making sure she doesn’t fall behind, and sprint for all you’re worth.
The palace appears ahead of you, like a beacon of salvation. Troopers wearing what must be the local uniform are already scrambling around it, some climbing into the tall turret towers that stand there. Those which have already been manned begin to fire at the Centurian ships.
There’s a scream of anger as a laser blast from overhead hits Telemachus’ mech, blowing its right leg off, sending the severed limb clattering across the ground. The mech falls with a crash.
You and Talia dash over to it, and yank the cockpit cover open. Princess Illaria grabs the prince by the hand, ignoring his screams of protest, and pulls him out. Then you’re running once more, the Princess dragging Telemachus along by his arm as he thrashes around and reaches back as if for his mech.
Just a little further left to run…
Bringing Down The Sky
The Princess runs into the palace, still dragging the whining child with her. But you come to a stop. Talia glances at you.
“Turret?” she asks.
“Turret,” you agree. “Stay with the Princess.”
You sprint to one of the unmanned turrets, and climb up its ladder. A palace guard yells something at you, but by that time you’re already in the seat, and it’s too late for anyone to stop you.
The controls seem simple enough. You aim up at the nearest Centurian ship, and open fire.
Holding The Palace
The ships didn’t stand a chance against the anti-air defenses. Each one litters the ground in flaming chunks of metal. But as you climb down from the turret, you see that Centurian ground forces are approaching, dozens and dozens of troopers.
The guards are pulling back into the palace, a more defensible position. You drop down from the ladder, and follow them.
Inside a vast hallway people are running to and fro, readying weapons and taking cover. A man wearing lavish robes and a crown stands in the middle of all this, yelling instructions. He must be the king.
You find the Princess and Talia, who are standing alongside the defenders. Telemachus towers over them, in what appears to be a new mech.
“Had a spare,” he says as he catches your gaze.
You begin to wonder what kind of father would let his son run around in such a contraption. Then the shooting starts, and you thrust the thought aside.
In the midst of the Centurian forces floats a hoverchair, containing what appears to be a legless man. His uniform marks him out as a colonel. Strange mechanical devices are attached to his back, containing some kind of green fluid.
The colonel gestures with his hand, and a chunk of fallen masonry flies through the air as if of its own accord, smashing one of the palace guards. He repeats the gesture with his other hand, as if conducting a symphony. A fallen flagpole rises up, trembles, then launches itself across the hall to impale another guard. The air around the colonel ripples where laser fire strikes it. It seems different from the field that protected the commander aboard the cruiser. A telekinetic barrier?
His red eyes gleam as he sees the Princess, and he begins to float towards you.
The colonel crawls along the ground, dragging himself out of his wrecked hoverchair. The devices on his back are smashed, the spilled green fluid staining his shirt. He looks around as if for assistance, but the remaining Centurian soldiers are being gunned down one by one.
He looks up at the Princess, his face drawn back in an almost lupine snarl.
“Bitch…” he hisses. “Won’t get… away…”
Then you fire, and he lies still.
After the battle, King Salastro approaches you, his guards alongside him, and demands an explanation. He seems displeased, and you can hardly blame him. Fortunately he knows the Princess, having met her countless times at diplomatic functions. Though an independent world, Gallea has cultural ties and trading relationships with the Sian Empire. So he hears her out. Much of what she tells him is news to you as well.
It seems that after your imprisonment the Centurian Collective demanded both you and the Princess be handed over to them, so that they could try you for your supposed crimes. For she was in command of the cruiser, and thus responsible for your actions. The Emperor refused, and the Centurians used that as a pretext for war – claiming that they had been subjected to unprovoked violence, and then denied justice. Their fleets attacked across Sian space, assaulting Sian itself at the same moment they stormed the Child of Heaven.
Prince Telemachus proves to be an unexpected ally. He explains to his father that he found the Centurians trespassing on their planet, and attacked them. He seems proud of his accomplishment, not noticing the horrified expression which crosses the king’s face as he hears the tale. When the prince finishes, King Salastro sends him away with one of the servants, to have his bumps and bruises tended to. Then he turns to the Princess.
“He attacked Centurian soldiers!” he moans, his voice sounding almost decrepit. “They won’t forgive him for that, no matter what I offer them. They’ve gone to war for less.”
“I’m sorry we brought them to your doorstop…” says the Princess. But the king doesn’t seem to hear her.
“They’ll come for him, and our defenses won’t hold out forever…” Then he appears to notice the Princess once more. “Princess Illaria… Where will you go?”
“To TALOS space,” she replies. “We’ll be safe enough there. And we can plan our next move.”
The king’s eyes light up. “TALOS… They could keep Telemachus safe. The Centurians wouldn’t think to look for him there…”
You and Talia share a meaningful look. You don’t like where this is going…
“Princess Illaria, I’ve known your father my entire life. The word of the imperial family of the Sian Empire is worth more than platinum… Promise me that you’ll take my son with you, and protect him until he reaches TALOS space. Give me your word, and I’ll give you and your companions an unmarked ship. And when the Centurians come, I’ll tell them that you’re all still here. They’ll attack, but my son will be safe.”
And so when Prince Telemachus returns, he’s told that he’ll be accompanying you to TALOS space. The boy’s face lights up. His mech was made by TALOS, and he’s excited to see the factory where it was built. He asks his father if he can have a new mech made while he’s there. The king smiles, hugs him close to conceal the tear which rolls down his cheek, and tells him that he can. The sight is enough to make you pity the young prince, and you vow that you’ll do your best to tolerate him.
King Salastro hands the Princess a sealed letter to be delivered to the TALOS officials, offering them a vast fortune in exchange for protecting his son. Then the four of you are taken to your new ship.