Monday, 03 October 2011 04:29

"Sunrise" excerpt from "Imperial Odyssey - Three Brothers"

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            "You know what I hate most about her?" Diamond voiced as she walked down a hallway with Slither.

            "Oh would you give it a rest, you've been complaining for ten minutes straight!"

            "Exactly, want to know why? Because she's dangerous, she's reckless, and she's not a team player!" Diamond continued. The two marched down a hall lined with painted columns that stretched to the eight and a half foot ceiling. Staffers were going about their daily routine of cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming, seemingly oblivious to the Queensmen's presence. "You even said it yourself Slither. Remember? After the Shadow's Genesis mission you came back and said..."

            "I know what I said," he answered. "Yes she can be difficult to work with but Cassandra is a bit misunderstood. I think she might be warming up to me."

            "But are you to her?" Diamond's frustrated voice carried down the hall as they turned the corner into another passage. "You don't exactly treat her like you treat the rest of us."

            "That's because she still frustrates me too, ok?" Slither was already annoyed by the mission and they hadn't even left the palace. Cassandra had been the point of contention many times before. Maybe it was her personality, maybe her strange customs. Or maybe it wasn't her at all. Maybe it was everyone else and the way they treated her. Slither wasn't sure if he could trust her or not. She had been a Queensmen ever since Arrow, and ever since she had been a thorn in their collective side. However, during the Shadow's Genesis mission something had changed. He saw something in her that sparked curiosity.

            "Ya, but curiosity never worked well for cats, did it?" Slither whispered to himself.

            "What" Diamond asked, confused by his random blurting of words. Slither shook his head and slowed to a stop.

            The Queensmen stood before an inconspicuous door marked "private quarters". She was in there; Queensmen Cassandra, and her freaky ways of life. Slither had never been inside, neither had any of the other Queensmen. Rarely did Slither ever see Cassandra outside of her room. Usually she called for a butler to bring her food, and rarely ventured outside of its privacy. In fact, Slither had grown so curious that once he pulled up the blueprints of the palace just to get a feel for what was inside. Like most Queensmen quarters it was rather large, but what struck him most off was its simple shape. It was one solid rectangular room with no walls or separate rooms. Originally it had been intended for storage but Cassandra had specifically requested the room for her private quarters.

            "Whatever," Slither again spoke to himself. Diamond perked an eyebrow.

            "Twice. That's twice. You talk to yourself again I'm gonna look for a new team leader." She started speaking under her breath in a comical tone. "Crazy team leader, crazy team mate. All I wanted was the pension benefits."

            "Who's talking to themselves now?" Slither said with a smile. Diamond returned his jesting gleam and stretched out a hand. With her fingers curled into a ball she lightly tapped on the wooden door. A second or two passed before the handle on the door turned ever so gently. It creaked open about an inch before stopping. Inside there was nothing to see, only pitch black. Not even the light from the hallway spilling through the crack was enough to distinguish any forms inside.

            "Cassandra?" Diamond asked. Her voice was that of a cliché horror film victim searching for their friends in the woods.

            "Cassandra," Slither thundered. "It's Slither and Diamond. We have a mission. Shuttle lifts off in fifteen.

            The door creaked again as it slowly meet the frame. With a heavy thud a latch on the other side locked. Frustration took over Slither as he turned around, careful not to dig his black spiked boots into the carpet. Although overcome with anger her tried not to vent too loudly. "What is her problem!" he contained his shouts in a quiet whisper. Diamond shrugged her shoulders.

            The Queensmen turned from the door and began walking away. Slither was unhappy to say the least. There was a terrorist loose in the Zintoniean Empire and he was busy playing baby sitter. The maturity level was dropping, as was the military discipline. It was something that needed to be addressed and soon.

            "Oh no Diamond, she's so awesome!" Diamond began speaking with a taunting undertone, mimicking Slither. He ignored her. "No no no it's fine. She's pretty and awesome and maybe others don't play nice with her. That's why she's the way she is."

            "Your arrogance would put politicians to shame," an eerie voice wafted through the air. Diamond and Slither turned to see Cassandra standing behind them.

            Cassandra was small; five foot one and ninety pounds, hardly a threatening opponent. Her skin was white like a ghost and her frosted blue eyes dazzled others, even at a distance. She had long black hair that fell to the center of her back and carefully hid her pointed ears. She wore a black dress that modestly covered her body and flowed with her figure, sloping down to her ankles. There were no weapons hanging from her clothing, nor were there soft words falling from her lips. She was cold. Cold like the planet she hailed from. Cold like the culture that had abandoned her. Cold like the Queensmen's hearts.

            Cassandra was a Sarnisian. The enemy, an ally, a mystery.

            "Nice of you to join us," Slither said, surprised by her presence. He hadn't heard her open the door or walk up behind him. Cassandra was always stealthy and eerie to say the least. Her mannerisms were chilling as was her gaze. It was painfully obvious Cassandra was no more excited about her teammates than they were. But the mission had been ordered and their disagreements would have to wait. The mission was priority. With a quick step the three Queensmen marched through the halls of the palace. They would be marching to war.

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