Book I: Brotherhood Rising
Jewel Darkstone’s heart pulsated like a vibrating drum. Muscles contorted, battling against the restricted force of the gravitational pull as she raced down the crowded streets of Nazzeral City. Her transparent silhouetted body halted in spot, jolted her head leftward and peered back to see that she was not being followed anymore. The clamor of Federal commandos vanquished without a trace, a direct order given by Federal Command to ensure the safety of Government Square.
“Thought I never lose them.” The assassin’s voice was robotic, muffled by the stealthy black helmet. She froze on spot, the sensation of eyes gazing upon her appearance from the crowded streets.
“Blasted…” She cursed, her red and black Armored Mobile Assault Suit called A.M.A.S flickered. It was no longer a transparent silhouette. The photoelectron was damaged. Her stealthy armored suit sparked and flared.
“Damage report.” She asked the Artificial Intelligence computer program embedded into her cybernetic implants.
“Photoelectron damaged. A.M.A.S energy levels down to sixty percent.” The female AI said, pulling up a schematic of her A.M.A.S on the crystal-clear data tablet. The Assassin lifted her left arm containing the clear data tablet close to her translucent cross shaped visor.
“Just what I need.” The Assassin shook her head.
The assassin swiped her fingers across the clear tablet, pushed a button and the photoelectron device fizzled off.
“The blast damaged the suit.” She said, sauntering down the crowded streets, playing with her clear data tablet.
“You did use an E.M.P device.” The AI said.
“Remind me not to use it next time.” She chuckled sheepishly. The AI laughed.
“I’ll make note of that. There is an alley directly ahead, 50 clicks to the north.” The AI pulled up a three-dimensional map on the tablet.
“If you are interested.” The AI continued.
“Yes.” The assassin chuckled.
“Might want to keep your helmet on.” The AI warned.
The assassin gazed at the enormous angulated building with bright neon lights in the middle of the street. The tower displayed the assassins wanted poster without her helmet on. The wanted sign was buoyant in the air. She has dark brunette hair contrasted with vibrant red highlights, crystal green eyes and her face was pale. The name Jane Doe appeared with serial numbers listed below.
“Jane Doe huh?” She laughed.
“Better than your real name.” The AI said. The assassin chuckled but froze, the sound of sirens muffled through her helmet.
“Blasted!” The assassin cursed. Sirens are a constant reminder that the city is on lockdown. A loyal citizen must have reported her sighting.
“30 clicks ahead.” The way out on the three-dimensional map was projected in red.
“I see it.” She said, observing the two tall angulated buildings ahead on her right. She paced down the crowded street, shoving civilians out of her way. Following the red line, she hasted towards the dark alley and sauntered deep into the abyss, far enough from the peering eyes of the Strategic Police Force. She took in the site of towering silhouetted buildings with subdued light coming from the windows.
“I think this is far enough.” Jewel rested against a large pipe sticking out of the wall.
She gazed at the miniscule light as it escaped through a small ten story crevice, crawling down the walls like a spider. It gently touched the interlocking brick floor, fanning outward into the subdued alley. The faint light from the city silhouetted thousands of mechanical parts sticking in and out of the angulated apartments.
“Agreed.” The AI replied.
“I would like to power down for a while.” She continued.
“Good idea. How about 15 minutes?” Jewel reminded her of the time they need to get off the grid.
“Got it, 15 minutes.” The AI powered down with a hum. The stealthy black helmet defragmented into smaller pieces, sliding across her face until it dissolved behind her neck, releasing her shoulder length brunet hair with red highlights. Her pale sweaty face glowed from the vibrant white L.E.D lights surrounding her neck.
“That’s better.” She smiled, resting her head against the cold pipe.
The Assassin slid down the thick pipe, crossing her legs into a lotus position. Jewel inhaled slowly and then exhaled to calm herself down until she was in a state of meditation. All of her fears and anxieties diminished, allowing her to focus on the present and the mission.
“I hope this was worth it.” Jewel whispered.
She was doubtful about her mission to sabotage the Federal Directive’s Strategic Defense Initiative Mainframe Network. But it was her last gateway to apostlehood. This mission was her baptism of fire, allowing her to be initiated into Apostlehood in the Brotherhood of the Suns clan, a first in the clan ruled by male Apostles where gender is segregated. It is a strict rule dating back to the first apostle named Lord Baalah, the founder of the ancient mercenary clan in 3000 AC. Because of this opportunity, it shall open doorways into a new world of gender equality among the clan.
“Was it worth risking my life?” She whispered again. This mission was dangerous. It was an enough to cross lines between the brotherhood of the suns clan and the Federal Directive on the brink of war. But the simple answer is…
“Yes.” She smiled. All her years and hard work of training have finally paid off.
“But how in Baalah’s name did I get into this mess?” She whispered.
Jewel chuckled as one name came to mind. Her best friend Captain Jolla Maxriyl, the curly ginger head with blue eyes, dressed in a dark brown flight suit, boots up to her knees and a black leather flight jacket projected in her mind.
“Curse you Jolla.” Jewel whispered again. She smiled, recalling a time they first met seven solar cycles ago. The memory of organic smells of leather penetrated her nose followed by stale, oily air, a recognizable trait of the Revolutionist Collation Forces flag ship, the Crimson Ghost.
Seven solar cycles ago…
All shades of greys and tans glimmered in the florescent light of the debriefing room. Eight worn leathered cushioned chairs bolted to the floor, about eight rows in total faced the black rectangular war table. Loud engines hummed throughout the ship.
“Can you be trusted?” The executive officer asked Jewel, her hands in cuffs. Two Military police officers stood on each side of her. The Lt. Commander had dark skin and black short hair. His name is Jangus Kalee.
“It’s not me you should be worried about.” She shot back. Jangus knew who she was talking about.
“The brotherhood.” He said, crossing his arms.
“Yes.” She nodded.
“I do not fear them. They are deadly mercenaries and you are one of them.” Jangus hooded eyes narrowed, locked on Jewel.
“An assassin to be more precise.” Her lips pulled into a proud wide grin.
“That’s what worries me.” He leaned against the black rectangular war table and lifted up a crystal-clear tablet and swiped his fingers across it.
“Stolen classified Federal Directive and Revolutionist documents. Stolen access codes. Leaked highly classified military intel. Espionage. And most recent, aggravated assault on one of the crew members. Need I say more?” He noted the long lists of crimes.
“I have to get around.” She smiled. Jangus placed his hands over his forehead.
“You are a dangerous adversary.” He said, placing his hands into the pockets of his dark green military jacket decorated with brass buttons and medals.
“No more than the Revolutionist is to the Federal Directive. Am I wrong?” She asked, eyes locked on the executive officer.
“That’s not the point.” He shot back.
“Really, I thought the enemy of my enemy is my friend?” She asked.
“Your presence here is a risk to security.” He said.
“Then why am I here?” she asked. Silence filled the room.
“Your father said you were the best.” He sighed, rubbing the back of his head. She couldn’t help it but grin.
“Ambassador Iindus Shanii” She mentioned her father’s name, he was an ambassador to the old Helion Core Empire before it fell and has ties with the brotherhood of the suns clan.
“Yes.” He nodded.
“You sound desperate.” She smirked.
“More than you can imagine. We’ve been at war with the Federal Directive for nearly a decade.” He replied.
“That’s why we need your help.”
“If you trust my father, then are these necessary?” Jewel raised her cuffed hands. The chrome surface glimmered.
“How can I know you won’t take out my guards?” He asked, eyeing her suspiciously. “As long as they back off.” She said, glancing at the two Military Police guards beside
He hesitated, but nodded. The two guards un-cuffed Jewel, she rubbed her hands, a sense
of relief as her hands tingled.
“Let’s get down to business, shall we?” Jewel plotted down, her arm spread across the empty seat and legs crossed. Jangus handed her a mission tablet. Jewel leaned forward and grabbed it, her eyes scanned through the classified documents.
“Were having trouble finding a Federal Drectives’s science division base. Intel tells us it’s located somewhere in the far north. Satellites have a hard time pinpointing its location.” He said. A phototron map of the snowy area projected on the war table.
“Kgell territory” She noted.
“Yes.” He nodded.
“The indigenous are very hostile. I hear you are familiar with them.” He continued.
“By account yes.” She nodded, leaning forward to observe the map.
“I have contacts, banished outsiders of the tribe.” She said.
“Good, then you should have no problem locating it?” He tilted his head forward, eyes narrowed.
“What is it worth?” Her eyes locked on him.
“15,000 Imperial denarii.” He tossed a round Imperial gold coin to Jewel. She caught it, her eyebrows raised as the gold coin glimmered. It had a seated woman holding a flag. She flipped it over, a shield of the old Helion Core Empire with two interlocking dragons surrounding it.
“It will be in gold of course.” He added.
“17000.” She said.
“16,00, take it or no deal.” He pointed his finger. Jewel hesitated, then nodded.
“Fair enough.” She grinned. Jewel gave the coin back but Jangus refused.
“That’s part of the sum. You will get more if the mission is successful.” He said and Jewel nodded, placing the coin in a container mounted on her metal utility belt.
“I need some of your best soldiers and transportation.” She said.
“And I’m sure none of them will be coming back.” Jewel added.
“Help is not a problem, but you have a ship.” He reminded her.
“The Jabril is not well equipped for the arctic cold.” She replied. Jangus hesitated but nodded.
“All right. I’ll have our best troops on standby, about 15. Is that enough?” Jangus asked.
“Will do, and transportation?” She stood up from her seat, crossing her arms. And for the first time Jangus grinned.
“Meet Captain Jolla Maxiryl in the hanger by 0900 hours.” He said.
“She is the best pilot in the Revolutionist Armada.” Jewel cringed and Jangus raised an eyebrow.
“I take it you two have met?” He asked.
“In the hanger.” She rubbed her bruised head that was struck by a metal socket wrench. The executive officer placed his hands on his hips covered by light tan khakis.
“Next time don’t insult the grand admiral’s daughter.” He chuckled. She cringed even more, her teeth biting her lower lip.
“We’ll need a navigator.” She changed the subject.
“Northern territory is rough this time of the year.”
“Lieutenant Jorsic Maxiryl. He can navigate through anything.” He said and Jewel raised an eyebrow.
“Brother, I assume.” She asked and Jangus nodded.
“Of course, he is her copilot.” He said.
There was loud beeping. The Commander faced the war table and pushed a button. The beeping got louder and louder…
Jewel’s wrist communicator buzzed her back into reality. She pressed the blinking button on her wrist. Jewel flipped open her clear data tablet and typed in a few commands to establish a secured connection. A common trait the Brotherhood of the suns clan had. It allowed them to have established communications between themselves or their assets when transmissions were being jammed.
“Cobra 2 to cobra 3. Open channel secured.” She spoke into her wrist communicator, lifting it closely to her lips.
“This is Cobra 3, respond.” A female voice muffled through the commlink. It was crackly but understandable.
“Mission complete, waiting for departure.” Jewel said.
“Affirmative, E.T.A in 60 minutes.” Jewel rolled her eyes. She was hoping it would be a lot sooner. The assassin observed the time on her tablet. It read 19:00 pm.
“Twenty hundred hours, are you serious?” She pressed her lips into a thin line, eyes narrowed at the commlink. According to her resources, the Revolutionist Armada is going to invade Nazzeral City in 20:00 pm with or without their asset.
“Yes, those are my orders.” The voice said.
“What happen to common courtesy?”Jewel shook her head.
“Let’s say I have my own problems Jewel.” The female voice echoed through the commlink.
“Damn Feds are swarming the city. You must have really pissed them off!”
“It was not easy.” Jewel laughed.
“I can imagine. But I’m not promising any safe return.” The female voice said.
“Understood. Just get here as fast as you can.” Jewel replied.
She decided to go along with the plan. After all, what can go wrong in 60 minutes?
“No promises. My orders are to lay low and pick up the asset. If you are alive by then.” The female voice said.
“Blasted Jolla, I think you know the answer!” Jewel shouted and could have sworn she heard her brother Jorsic snickering on the other side of the commlink. His laughter was hearty and stood out from anyone else.
“Do not tell me your brother put you up to that one!” She continued. Again, she heard more laughing.
“All right Jewel, you win.” Jolla snickered.
“We need to focus on the mission here. I rather not get left behind.” And she meant it with a passion.
“If you don’t mind!”
“Yes sir!” It was a common response to an order in the Revolutionist Armada to show gender equality, a bold approach the Revolutionists adopted and the Federal Directive demonizes the idea. She can imagine her pretending to salute on the other side of the commlink.
“And it was my response, not his!” Jolla protested.
Jewel laughed, knowing she is fully capable of inciting her own playful actions without the aid of her brother.
“Fine, you win.” Jewel smiled.
“Nice to see you agree with me!” Jolla said. Jewel imagined a bright smile across Jolla’s face.
“Don’t expect it too often.” Jewel smiled.
“Does it refer to comebacks too?” Jolla asked.
“I’m serious Jolla. I need to get the hell out of here!” She shot back.
“All right, all right. We’ll get there as fast as we can. Just get yourself off the grid.” Jolla said, trying to calm her friend down.
“That I can do!” Jewel’s lips pulled into a wide grin.
Jewel Darkstone is known to get herself off the grid, considering she is the most wanted criminal in the Federal Directive. She knows how to go into hiding and remain hidden for weeks, months and even years without any direct contact.
“That’s my girl.” Jolla responded.
“Make sure you get the DNA tracker up and running so you can find me.” Jewel said.
The DNA tracker is a device Jewel created for Jolla and Jorsic so they can find her when she goes into hiding.
“I hope it works.” Jolla said.
“It will, trust me!” Jewel smiled.
“Good thing I do. Cobra 3 out.” Jolla said and the conversation ended.
Jewel took a deep breath and exhaled to calm herself down. She closed her eyes, allowing her cybernetic implants to reassemble her helmet again.