Rising Stars #1: Family Legacy

All my life I’ve been told that family is important. That you should honor where you came from. To make your parents proud. But then people would just say I was born into privilege. That I was lucky by birth…Nobody ever considered how much of a burden it was.

Throughout all currently recorded Star Systems of the Cosmic World, the U.G.M.P has maintained an era of peace. Thanks in large part due to former Supreme Commander William Char ending the previous Universal War. A peace that was largely maintained by the current Supreme Commander, his son, William Char II. Even so, many of the U.G.M.Ps forces remained spread across the stars. One such detachment remained stationed on the planet Marinor. It had 99.9% of its surface area covered in water. Only a single island remained above the surface with a majority of it dedicated to the spaceport floating above the waves. Beneath the surface, lay a number of domed cities to house those who lived here. The glass an azure hue while the frame that supported it a gold. The lights within the dome shining like stars to any who’d seek shelter without its protective walls. A man sat alone in a high-end bar. He had short black hair with a part on the right of his neatly kept hair. Facial stubble covering his face despite the pristine aura he gave off. He wore a full body white suit reminiscent of ancient Naval-men. A black belt securing his pants and black shoes that shined brightly. Five gold buttons ran down the middle of his shirt and the U.G.M.P’s logo was sewn over his heart. His shoulders were colored a deep red that extending down to his wrists. A black long coat sat on the back of his chair next to a sheathed longsword with a star-shaped hilt.

My name is Alexander Aile, Commander in the U.G.M.P and half-brother to Will II. My mother, Alexa Aile, was a General for years before my half-sister Tamara replaced her. I’m the lowest ranked member of all my family and it’s always the same thing. People claiming I only got this far on their name…our history…I’ve gotten this far on my own but I’m still stuck dealing with their shadows.

“I didn’t know you soldiers were able to drink.” A woman in a nice off-white dress with straight black hair down to her upper back says before sitting down with Alex.

“If you’re off duty it’s fine.” Alex replied.

She glances at his longsword briefly. “I’m guessing you’re on duty.”

“Non-alcoholic.” Alex assures her while holding up his glass. His eyes never turning to meet hers.

“This will sound odd, but you look familiar.” she tilts her head to the side and leans in so she can get a better look at his face.

“No, you’re probably just-”

“Wait, you’re one of the Char’s aren’t you? Alexander Char, Son of two Generals.” she says gleefully though Alex just sighs.

“That’s not my name…”

“It’s really an honor to meet you. It must be great to be so famous and be related to such important people.”

“I guess.”

I can already tell what she wants. To bask in the glow of a star soldier. To be a trophy and tell a story by making me a trophy. If I was anyone else I’d consider it. But I have no interest in anything she has to offer.

“What’s it like knowing the Supreme Commander?” she asks, causing Alex to stand up, put on his long coat, and grab his longsword. “Did I say something wrong?”

“Yes.” Alex puts money on the table and leaves without turning back. The bar sat on the top floor of a high rise overlooking the city below. The brightly lit buildings, the shimmer of the dome around them, and the rivers that flowed throughout the city gave it a mystical feel. Normally the view was relaxing but his encounter at the bar put him in a particularly bad mood. Alex lets out a sigh and retrieves a communicator from his back pocket. “Find anything on patrol Erin?”

“Got shot down that quickly Commander?”

“No, I just had to get out of there.”

“Ah, I get it. Well, it’s been pretty quiet tonight. I’ll swing by and we can head out again.”

“Thanks.”

It takes two minutes for the elevator to reach the bottom floor where another Erin awaited him. She was a Trelzan from the planet Talim. They were a race of humanoids with catlike features. Namely possessing fangs, eyes, claws, ears, a tail, and pads much like a cat. Erin had fair skin and golden hair that lay flat on her head. The fur on her ears and tails smooth and silky. Being a Trelza, she had a somewhat more unique choice of wardrobe. She wore a tan waistcoat with the U.G.M.P logo covering the entirety of her back and matching suit shorts that stopped above the knees. Hidden beneath her waistcoat was a metallic belt with two straps hanging out from the buckle and extending to the opposite end of the belt beneath her tail. The inside of these straps a faintly glowing blue. Giving her a mix of formal and informal that allowed her to keep the normal freedom of movement she was accustomed to.

“No wonder you struck out, you just look cranky.” Erin says with a cheeky grin upon seeing Alex approach. Her ears pointing upward as a sign of her good mood. Erin Liadel was a childhood friend to Alex since he was 5. They both joined the U.G.M.P together and have made the rank of Commander together. There were very few things that could separate the duo.

“I wasn’t there for a one-night stand Erin.”

“Uh huh…You just happened to go to a fancy bar alone instead of a regular one.” Erin’s brow lowers unconvinced.

“I’m in my uniform and carrying my sword.”

“You always do that though.” Erin’s ears lower as she tilts her head to the side slightly.

“Keep it up and I’m going to get a new partner.” Alex walks past Erin who follows behind.

Marinor was what was often considered a Class 2 planet. A planet that didn’t have a particularly high crime rate but was by no means a utopia. Drugs were a reoccurring issue that plagued Marinor. Due in no small part to the corals, plants, and exotic marine life that acted as key components to them. What made it more difficult was the fact the native populace, the Colsanans, lived both in and outside of the domed cities. Making it especially difficult for most U.G.M.P operatives to properly deal with. Forcing them to simply react as it comes within the cities they were stationed in rather than being proactive.

For hours; Alex and Erin walk the streets with no crime in sight. A slow night meant the drug dealers were hiding their activities more than normal or it actually was a crime-free night. They hoped for the latter but have grown accustomed to the former. But tonight was different…the pair were unaware of it but they were being tracked from a distance. A hunter who only pursued the best…None know his species or his true name. Even then he’s only spoken of in hushed tones like a phantom who knows no friends. Only targets and those who point it to them. Targets who would soon be victims of the Reaver. A jet black creature that stood at 6 feet tall with a bladed tail almost as long as its body. Clawed hands and feet for scaling any surface or gutting an unlucky victim. An eyeless and mouthless reptilian visage that gave no indication of where it was looking. It’s body seemingly rippling between flesh and metal without warning. As it gazes upon the pair, a mouth begins to form. Opening like flesh being torn; revealing its void like throat and the faint purple glow from within. Energy beginning to gather before releasing it like a sniper. Piercing through Erin’s chest from behind and sending her falling forward to the ground motionless.

Alex didn’t have time to express concern with a sniper present and dove for the nearest cover behind a parked car. He knew they were under attack and had to act before all else. “This is Commander Aile! I’m under fire from a sniper at 26th Street and Volga. Commander Bentley is down. I’m pursuing the target.”

All his life Alex Aile has been defined by his family. His swordsmanship told it was a pale imitation of his father. His accuracy nothing like his mother. Less recognizable than his half-brother and sister. Though he used a Longsword like his father he had something that made him his own man. The Longsword he carried wasn’t the same superheated blade that became synonymous with the Chars. It was a blade he called Star Brand and it granted him a power he only saw wielded by Specialist X’altea. * When he drew the blade from its sheath, it’s power ignited. Turning the silver blade a jet black hue that shimmered like stars. The hilt becoming gold before the power continues to course through him. His white suit turning black and gaining a golden trim. His long coat gaining a similar trim before its insides fill with stars and gaining a large star emblem on the back. The gold trim throughout the suit shimmering with the faint image of galaxies and his body now protected with a golden aura. He kicks off the ground and flies in the direction the beam came from without hesitation. Hoping to deal with the enemy and return to his friend as soon as possible.

*Annual 2018- Living Nova

“What type of weapon was that?” Alex wondered as he arrived at a dark terrace. “I don’t know who you are but by order of the U.G.M.P, you’re under arrest for attempted murder.”

Alex lands with his longsword at the ready and cautiously surveys the terrace. His aura providing much-needed light to navigate yet he sees nothing. Something Reaver had planned for. For it knew his prey all too well and he’d do what he could to avenge his friend. Even entering the dark bedroom from which it launched the attack. A place where it could blend into the shadows before lunging claw first at his enemy. A disturbing screech accompanying the attack. Alerting Alex and allowing him to swing his longsword to the side and hit Reaver with the blunt side of it. Sending the hunter rolling towards the balcony ledge.

“The hell are you?” Alex thought as he hovered towards Reaver and examines its strange body that seemed to shift its appearance between organic and inorganic. “Setzen Bio-Armor maybe?” Alex reaches for his communicator with his free hand and speaks. “I found and apprehended a possible suspect. I’ll be bringing them in.”

With the cosmic aura protecting him, Alex fearlessly kneels to pick up Reaver. Yet this too was part of the hunter’s plan. Humans, no matter the World, were predictable. Especially ones who wield the power of a Radiant. Being so close to Reaver’s body meant Alex couldn’t see his tail lashing out like a whip and stabbing him in the shoulder. Piercing his cosmic barrier and causing him to drop the Star Brand. Negating his power and giving Reaver the moment it waited for. The moment it could grab both his arms and force him onto the floor. Leaving him pinned and helpless.

“Get…” Alex prepares his last resort. “Off!” with a single utterance he uses the power he was born with thanks to his mother’s unwarranted genetic modifications. The ability to control the pitch and strength of his voice to the point he could turn it into a deadly weapon. One strong enough to pierce the hull of a frigate. At such a close range, it utterly destroys the Reaver’s head. But it’s body remains firm as its head begins to regenerate before Alex’s eyes. It’s mouth forming as it did before but instead of a void waiting to unleash a beam of energy, it’s a set of razor-sharp teeth ready to close down on him. “Shit…”

The hunter had waited for this moment and wanted to savor it. To savor his fear and anguish before it consumed him limb by limb as slowly and agonizing as possible. But the hunter had not planned on was suddenly being delivered a flying kick from a Star Forger. One who appeared to be a long-haired man in a jet black sleeveless martial arts gi. A golden obi, forearm bands, and trim along the ankles and armholes shimmered like galaxies. His Star Core just barely visible beneath the collar of his gi that stopped at the bottom of his pectoral muscles.

“Don’t worry, I got this.” the Radiant assures Alex with a cocky smile. His hands glowing golden brightly as he enters his fighting stance, flies forward, and punches Reaver at lightning fast speed. Each blow shaking the building before he delivers a mighty double punch that sends it flying through to the opposite side of the building and out to an unknown fate. “Oh man, I really overdid it this time.” the Radiant says to himself before turning back to Alex. “You okay?” he helps Alex up who retrieves the Star Brand and summons his costume once more. His injury slowly beginning to heal in the process.

“I am, thanks for that.”

“No problem, Radiant’s gotta stick together.” he smiles widely and puts both fists on his hips proudly. “The names Lao.” he extends his hand to Alex.

“Alex.” he shakes Lao’s hand briefly. “Did you come here just to save me from whatever that was?”

“Sort of. Sorceress Udonna needs you for something big. Just so happens that thing I punched to hell is part of it.” Lao lowers his arms and takes a noticeably more serious stance and tone.

“I’ll head over after I make sure my friend is fine.” Alex begins to float back down to check on Erin.

“Okay man, just make it quick. Every universe depends on it.” Lao shouts. Causing Alex to pause and face him.

“What?”

“Trust me, you’re gonna want to hear what the boss lady has to say.”

Alex was deeply concerned for his friend but there was one thing he learned fairly soon after discovering the Star Brand. When another Radiant appears it means one of two things. It’s a coincidence that you’re both in the same place at the same time…or something terrible was on the verge of happening…There was little Alex could do for Erin but at the very least he could make sure the universe was still around after she recovered.

Next Issue

Rising Stars Chapter 2: Young Vigilante

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