Hoping to see you once more.
3400 GE, the Third Star of the Ophiuchus Constellation.
War consumed all in sight, burning the land to ashes. Barren rocks, glowing red, released waves of black smoke into the wind. An enormous silver mecha was brought down by enemy fire over a desert. Its flank splintered into several pieces, reflecting the cold white gleam of an artificial satellite hanging in the night sky.
The cockpit ejected from the mecha. When it plunked onto the sand, the high heat radiating from it instantly vitrified the nearby sand into glass shards.
Gavin cracked open his eyes, everything in view blurring together. Blood, pouring out from his forehead, flowed down along his nose to his chin. He attempted to lift his left hand, but soon discovered it to be entirely unresponsive.
“Injury Scan: Fractures in the left half of the body. Abdominal trauma. Blood loss has reached 1000cc. Condition is critical. Please immediately accept advanced medical treatment……”
In the cockpit, the AI robot probe extended a claw. Before it drew near, it heard Gavin cough twice and hoarsely reply, “Don’t bother, Phoenix.”
The man’s side profile was extremely striking; from the shape of the nose to the chin, everything was flawless. When he spoke, blood trickled out from the corners of his mouth, glistening on his pallid complexion in a heartrending sight.
The AI hesitated, “Your condition is in extreme danger. Please immediately accept medical treatment. Vital signs at 50%…… 45%…… 42%……”
“Phoenix,” Gavin spoke while holding exhaustion at bay, “Could you help patch me through to the rebel headquarter.”
Static appeared on the broken display screen. After a few seconds, the image transmission signal became clear. For the first time since the Galactic War began, all the surviving high ranked Imperial officers gathered within a building in the Gemini Empire. They were all dressed in standard black military uniforms. Ten people lined in a row gazed respectfully with solemn eyes at the screen displaying the wreckage of the mecha, Phoenix.
Seth Heinrich stood above at the throne, and for the first time, carried himself as an equal when confronting the stony-faced Gavin.
“Surrender, Marshal.” His voice heavy, “The Alliance has lost.”
Gavin exposed a barely perceptible smile. “No.”
Seth lowered his head, and in those brief couple of seconds no one could clearly see the expression on this man’s face. However, by the time he straightened up, an ironclad resolve was once again seen in his eyes.
“On November 2nd of 3400 GE, before dawn at 0115 hours, that is twenty-three hours prior, the Alliance’s 53rd Chairman submitted a letter of surrender to the Empire. The terms initiated the disbandment of the entire armed forces under the Alliance, the dissolution of Parliament, and lastly, the acknowledgment of allegiance to the Imperial regime.” The man paused before gently continuing, “Marshal, the Alliance no longer exists.”
Gavin didn’t respond, merely watching him with indifference.
“Vital signs 38%…… vital signs 35%……”
An explosion from the distance could be heard. After a burst of violent tremors, the screen transmission signal restored clarity. Phoenix’s robotic countdown abruptly rang out, “Vital signs 21%…… vital signs 20%……”
Seth Heinrich gripped the edge of the monitor stand. His fingers dug in with such immense force, that blue veins bulged on the back of his hand.
Yet, the modulation of his voice was extremely poised.
“The Alliance that governed over humanity for a thousand years of the Galactic Age has already faded away into obscurity. The Committee in its death throes sold out the locations of the Shining Legion and the Marshal to the Empire…… Marshal, you should surrender. They have betrayed you.”
Gavin shut his eyes, as if he completed an endless and tiresome journey; the final destination was now in sight.
In that moment, Seth thought he even appeared as though a burden had been lifted.
“Seth Heinrich, the first Emperor of the Galactic Age, the rising new sovereign of Gemini.” Gavin revealed a faint smile. “Back when I first brought you out of that lower tier military academy, I never would have imagined that in the future, the one to knife me in the back would actually be you.
The Emperor visibly swallowed, as if wanting to retort but held back in the end.
“You used your personal glory to end a thousand years of Alliance governance. However, even if the organization is destroyed, the spirit of the Alliance won’t be smothered out.
As Gavin spoke, his voice carried an aloof coldness, but also had a strange kind of husky warmth in it.
“Heinrich, even if you bear the crown and ascend the throne as Emperor, embed the entire galaxy upon your scepter, I will never acknowledge you as Emperor.”
Seth Heinrich’s expression slipped. “Marshal……!”
Gavin cut him off. “Phoenix.”
The AI remained silent for a long period of time, but finally said, “Affirmative.”
The probe extended a robotic arm, and from the left side of the cockpit control console, it extracted a loaded syringe. After the metal needle drew back, it gradually descended until it pierced Gavin’s left arm, which was immobilized from serious injury.
The ramifications of the event soon dawned upon all those gathered before the screen. Heinrich parted his mouth, but nothing came forth.
His fingers dug forcefully into the control console until blood seeped from the nail seams. The muscles in his arm spasmed while his entire body quivered, yet not one sound was uttered.
As the fluid in the syringe was slowly injected, Gavin’s complexion appeared increasingly wan and his eyes glassier. A few seconds later the drug was completely administered. Gavin suddenly squeezed his eyes shut. Before he could speak again, a mouthful of dark purple blood gushed out!
“Heinrich……” he gasped for breath, “…… I……”
His final unspoken words vanished into the salt scented wind, and thereupon never again would there be more to follow.
In the darkness of the night, a sandstorm soon enveloped the mecha; completely shrouding the screen beneath the deathly pale moonlight.
“Gavin……” The soon-to-be Emperor of Gemini trembled as tears dripped off his face, soaking the lining of his crimson cape, leaving behind dark red stains.
Stardust hurtled past in the wind. The remains of Gavin Silla, the most renowned military god in all of Alliance history, gradually sank into the depths of the desert a thousand leagues1 away.
In November of 3400 GE, the century long conflict between the Alliance and Empire came to an end, and the Alliance was abolished. The founding Emperor of the Gemini Constellation, Seth Heinrich, ascended the throne in the same year.
This man born into poverty, who once attended a lower tier Alliance military academy, at last became the first interstellar Emperor of the Space Age. In all of history to come, he would hold command of the greatest centralized power over mankind.
After ascending the throne, he passed down a series of reformations. The decrees encompassed the repeal of all the privileges extended to influential aristocratic families in the Alliance government, a wide scale reduction of the bloated bureaucratic system, a crackdown on corruption, the establishment of a legislative assembly…… and among the most scrutinized, the dissolution of the military system as structured under the Alliance. The entire ten million strong armed forces underwent organizational restructuring.
In the new military organization, the rank of Marshal went unassigned. Instead, the Empire bestowed command solely to the Emperor himself.
Yet, one person’s status remained unaltered.
Serving as the last Marshal of the Alliance Military and the Galactic Age’s most distinguished military strategist, the supreme military rank of Gavin Silla was maintained according to the Emperor’s special decree.
Although he was considered the greatest threat to the Empire, when the Emperor took his coronation oath, he publicly conceded before the entire galaxy.
“We2 campaigned for a century, prevailing against all obstacles. The sole exception being the Marshal, who could not be defeated…… The military fame of the Marshal endures, yet the Alliance has been utterly crushed. From this day forth, all the glory belongs to the Marshal, himself.”
Gemini Empire, Egret Star.
Beneath the orbit of twin moons, the New Versailles palace was bathed in silvery light. Tranquility spread throughout the depths of the audience hall. Only when the lotuses bloomed luminously was the silence broken by an ethereal song. The faint sound coming from the center of a distant lake resembled a hymn sung from afar in the Heavens.
A female court official lifted the corners of her skirt as she walked across the stone steps. Suddenly, she heard a noise followed by the echoes of footsteps. A tall silhouette walked out from the darkness of the spacious audience hall.
“Your Majesty,” The female official came to a stop. “Did you have another dream?”
Seth Heinrich stood beside the ice-cold stone railing, gazing with eyes narrowed into the horizon at the pair of pink hued moons. After a while, “We dreamt of the Marshal again.”
Without considering this to be strange, the female official continued to question in a soft voice, “Was it again of when the Marshal was dying?”
The handsome emperor shook his head in denial. Suddenly, catching the scent of an wispy fragrance permeating the air, “What is this smell?”
“It’s mint, Your Majesty. All the mint in the Imperial palace are flowering.”
“……” Heinrich stared out for a long time as if not comprehending. Then he spoke in a hushed voice, “No wonder. I dreamt of the time when I was serving as Marshal Gavin’s personal guard. One day he mentioned mint blossoms and confided in me that years ago he was born in a mint field on Egret……”
The emperor’s tone gradually trailed off, as if sinking into a hazy dreamscape elsewhere.
“…… Your Majesty?”
Heinrich asked without really looking at her, “Do you know the meaning of the Marshal’s surname?”
The female official regarded him at a loss.
“He was of low birth. Before he entered the military academy he grew up in an orphanage, and had never met his own parents.” The Emperor paused, “Silla is the name of the mint field he was born in.”
The female official opened her mouth but didn’t know what to say in response.
From a distant part of the Imperial palace came the tolling of the midnight bell; the sound passing like a wave in the night, rising and falling in a cycle, then slowly dissipating.
“Your Majesty…… it’s late, you should rest early……”
Heinrich turned, intending to return to the magnificent audience hall. Suddenly the female official cried out, “Your Majesty!”
As the emperor stood still, the female official hurried to speak, “During the Age of Old Earth, mint blossoms were believed to be an omen for reunion. In the language of flower it means ‘hoping to see you once more’. Your Majesty—”
“See you once more?” Heinrich laughed softly, though that weary voice didn’t carry a hint of a smile.
“I hope so…… I’ll hold you to these dear words.”
TLC by Alex PT
Edited by Uni