Previously on U.G.M.P…
The U.G.M.P stands as both the primary government and military across several systems. Deep within the nuCygnus System sat Kratos, an artificial planet that served as the training ground for all prospective members of the U.G.M.P. General Green Pyramid, one of the three Setzen representatives for the organization, also serves as the primary trainer for Kratos. It was here that, as witnessed by Generals Jason Nevan & Kana Ozak that the latest set of trainees graduated to become cadets. Now; Tsuyasu Seki, Natasha Aile, and Riley Winchester begin their tenure as members of the organization…
-U.G.M.P General, Human Seat 3
“Bored…so bored…Why isn’t there anything to do?” Tsuyasu wondered as he lay resting on a flight of stairs. His arms resting under his head as time passed at a snail’s pace. A double-edged short sword laying next to him.
“SEKI!” Will calls out from the bottom of the staircase. His face was sour as he ran up the stairs using every other step. “Where the hell are…” he stops when he notices Tsuyasu resting at the top of the staircase. “There you are! I got a bone to pick with you kid!”
“Huh?” What is it now?” Tsuyasu asks Will without moving from his spot.
Will exhales deeply when he reaches Tsuyasu and leers down at him. “How is it that I’m pushing 30 and gave years of service to the U.G.M.P to get where I’m at…And I hear that a kid that’s not even a teenager became a Commander?!”
Four years have passed since the graduation day and each of the Cadets had made strides along their career. Some more than others…Despite his age, Tsuyasu rose through the ranks at an unsettling rate. After becoming a Cadet with enough time and recommendations one can become one of two things. A lieutenant, which is the natural next rank for most Cadets. Alternatively, if one excels in a particular area they can become a Specialist. A utility rank that has varying degrees of authorization. Within his first year, Tsuyasu rose from Cadet to Lieutenant. The following year he was changed to a Specialist Weapons Designer. Two years later, despite having the rank of Specialist, he elected to take a proper promotion to the next rank of Commander. A rank that gives its members a considerable amount of autonomy and privileges. Ranging from unique uniform choice, a title gained with enough renown, and even the right to form their own squadron. Only Specialists under special conditions, the Generals, High General, and Supreme Commander themselves surpass a Commander. On average, most individuals would take a decade to become a Commander. Assuming they were even offered a promotion in the first place.
“Is that all you’re upset about? Sure you aren’t just acting out from a midlife crisis or something?” Tsuyasu snickers.
“I’M NOT EVEN HALFWAY DOWN MY LIFE YOU LITTLE WISEASS!” Will shouts angrily.
“If you say so, jeez…” Tsuyasu rubs his ear from the stern yelling. “Old people can get so touchy about things.”
In frustration, Will picks up Tsuyasu by his collar and lifts him into the air off his feet. “I don’t abuse children but you’re pushing it Seki!”
“Sorry, it’s just so boring around here…and the first person I see is you!” Tsuyasu complains while simultaneously insulting Will. Despite all the pros that came with being a Commander, there are a number of cons that came with it. While you could easily pick any open missions to do yourself there were often long stretches where you remained on standby. A majority of the smaller scale issues being completed by lieutenants and the cadets they watch over. To alleviate this issue, many Commanders who aren’t mentored by a General try to find their own squadron and train them or cadets. Though as a Commander no more than a week in the position, Tsuyasu hadn’t had time to test any of these new perks.
Will calms himself down and releases Tsuyasu. “I think I can help you out with that. When I first saw you I knew you’d be a great soldier but not at this age. Therefore, I’m going to test you personally to see if you’re ready.” he draws the longsword strapped to the left side of his waist. “I challenge you to a duel Tsuyasu.”
The challenge sparks a fire within Tsuyasu and he grins gleefully. “Finally, I get some action! But maybe we should find a better spot. Stairs aren’t exactly the best place for a duel.”
“Heh, I know a place.” Will sheaths his sword. “Follow me.” he proceeds back down the stairs. Tsuyasu picks up his sword with his right hand and follows a few feet behind.
The Main U.G.M.P Headquarters on Neo Terra, affectionately called the Gladiolus, was named after the flower of the same name which was used to make the U.G.M.P logo. It was a 100-floor superstructure that was effectively a small town and was often difficult to navigate for the uninitiated. Each division separated into a different portion of the building. Tsuyasu and Will were most commonly present in the central structure which acted as a hub for the entire structure. A network of elevators that traveled through opaque tubes to get to each section as quickly as possible. The pair used one such transport to take them to one of the many empty training rooms. Each the size of a gym to accommodate any of the potential user’s needs. An observation deck with numerous monitors connected to the cameras for easy viewing and recording. The infirmary no more than a minute walk away in the case of emergencies.
“Since you’re at a physical disadvantage we’ll strictly let the blades do the action.”
“Alright then.” Tsuyasu agrees and draws his sword with his left hand. Entering a low stance while constantly shifting left and right. Never standing still for a moment. Like a wrestler mixed with a dancer. “I won’t hold back against you.”
“Good, because I want to see everything.” Will draws his sword at a lightning fast speed, steps forward, and performs a downward swing one might see in kendo. A clear sign of his training under General Ozak. But Tsuyasu was agile and jumps to the side to dodge the attack. Readying his sword for a counter in the process.
“Too slow!” Tsuyasu taunts. He attempts to swing his sword for an attack but Will’s speed was able to match his own. Will spins to the side while swinging his own sword to parry Tsuyasu.
“You haven’t seen anything yet. I’m still getting warmed up.” Will presses onward. Slashing to the right and forcing Tsuyasu to jump back and avoid it. Giving Will an opening to perform an upward swing of his sword. Just barely missing Tsuyasu as he jumps back once more. His speed allowing him to bridge their strength gap and stand a chance.
“You’re pretty good.” Tsuyasu compliments as he runs toward Will. Diving so he can slide under his legs. Quickly leaping to his feet and into the air in a bid to strike his back. But the attack fails. Will turns and deflects Tsuyasu’s swing. Sending him to the floor and onto his side.
“Nice trick Tsuyasu.” Will returns the compliment. But the duel was still a duel and he prepares to stab the downed Commander.
Knowing he wasn’t a match for Will’s strength, Tsuyasu holds up his sword just enough to deflect the attack into the floor and allow himself to roll away. “You’re stronger than last time…” Tsuyasu stands to his feet and tries to catch his breath. His focus entirely on Will and not the small crowd that began building in the observation stands above. While Will had hoped to keep the duel private, with the number of people present in the Gladiolus it was unlikely to remain private for long.
“That’s not the only thing different.” Will dashes at full speed towards Tsuyasu. Easily closing the gap between them in several steps and startlingly the boy. With both hands gripping his longswords handle, he swings downward onto Tsuyasu who has no choice but to block. Just barely managing to hold his ground.
“Ungh…So you’re faster and stronger…I can still beat you!” Tsuyasu remained unable to back down.
“Alright.” Will pulls back his sword and jumps back a few feet. Switching his stance to a relaxed and open one. “Come at me with everything you have Seki.”
“With pleasure!” Accepting the challenge, Tsuyasu runs towards Will while simultaneously flipping along the way.
“What a showoff…” Will thought as he watched the needlessly flashy and showy display. A stark contrast to his more grounded and stationary stance. As Tsuyasu continues his gymnastic assault, he throws his sword mid-flip. Forcing Will to deflect it into the air. Just in time for Tsuyasu to use his shoulder as a springboard, catch his sword mid-air, and re-enter his fighting stance upon landing several feet behind him. “You’re kidding me right?” he asked unamused by the technique.
“SHUT UP!” Tsuyasu retorts frustrated.
“Come on, show me something Seki.” His words hit Tsuyasu like a cattle prod as he resumes his attack. Each swing of Tsuyasu’s blade was swift and wild. Like a gymnast during a routine. Against a normal person, they’d be easily thrown off by all the flashy movements. But Char has known Tsuyasu for four years. Combined with his own speed, he could see through his flurry of attacks. Deflecting each slash off to the side. Even the counterattack Tsuyasu would seamlessly lead into using the momentum of getting parried were in turn parried. “I’m going to end this now kid.” Using the opening between the wild attacks, Will uses his full strength to knock Tsuyasu rolling to the floor with the hilt of his longsword. Using this time he leaps into the air with almost inhuman strength, spins like a ball with sword held overhead by both hands, and prepares to strike his target the moment he came to a stop.
“Damnit! Not enough time to dodge!” Tsuyasu thought as Will was moments away from striking him. Without any time to even raise his sword to defend himself, Tsuyasu closes his eyes. But the hit doesn’t come as Will lands, shaking the ground, and stopping his sword an inch away from Tsuyasu’s face. “Open your eyes kid.”
“Huh?” Tsuyasu does as he’s told. “Show off…” he says with a frown.
“I could say the same for you.” Will sheaths his sword once more having won the duel. The crowd in the observation deck cheering him all the while to Tsuyasu’s clear annoyance and embarrassment. “You really are something, Seki.”
“If I were stronger I would’ve been able to beat you.” Tsuyasu dismisses his loss.
“Maybe, you only lost because you were against me. Your skill can overcome any common crook.” Will smiles slightly. “You pass the test.”
“So, did you have any other tests for me?” Tsuyasu sighs. He had dueled and trained with Will more times than he could count. But both losing it and having it be a test disheartened the boy. The consolation of being able to overcome a common crook meaning little to him.
“No kid, Ozak can take it from here. I just needed to see for myself that you’re ready to be Commander. You’re ready, but I’m not letting you handle big cases by yourself…for now at least.”
“Trying to keep all the fun to yourself huh? That’s no fair.”
“Get used to it Seki.” Will said with a cheeky smile. “Don’t worry though, a couple more years you’ll be on your own.” he extends his hand to help Tsuyasu to his feet. “Let’s grab a bite to eat, all that made me hungry.”
“Yeah, food would be nice.” Tsuyasu accepts the offer and leaves with Will. Leering once at the observation deck before leaving.
After returning to the main lobby, it was a short walk to the cafeteria which was open all day long. With food from across the systems to accommodate any of the species that might be present. It didn’t matter your rank or job, if you came to the cafeteria you were served the same mostly passable food. It was a good option if you couldn’t leave the Gladiolus but it was hardly anyone’s first option. As Will and Tsuyasu enter they move past the crowd to the food court. Drawing the notice of the ever attentive Jason Nevan.
“I didn’t expect to see you two here.” Jason greets the pair as he approaches unnoticed like a specter.
“Why’s that General?” Will asks after the shock has settled.
“Well, when I heard that General Ozak went with a platoon to Fortuna to take care of some nasty Nemesis I assumed he brought his favorite students with him.” Jason notes.
“Really now? We weren’t informed about it.” As Commanders, Ozak had no obligations to tell Will or Tsuyasu of his missions. But it’s generally considered wiser to avoid sudden catastrophic failures.
“Nemesis? I’ve never heard of that before.” Tsuyasu notes. His youth clearly showing.
“They’re bio-weapons made by the Metorgs. It was the biggest mistake in the universe creating those things.” Will explains.
“Precisely why a General was sent to after them. But leaving his students behind? Either he’s really confident or doesn’t want to put either of you around such parasites. Probably for the best if the Setzen haven’t already gotten to it…” Jason adds on.
“Well, I’ll ask him when he gets back. I’m fully confident he’ll have no problem handling them.” Will remained confident in his master despite the direness of his mission.
Fortuna lay as one of the first planets in the nuCygnus System. An extremely hot planet only made livable by the Aurian and Metanoke Atmospheric Replicator. A massive generator that, as the name suggests, creates a livable atmosphere on normally inhospitable planets. Depending on how many are used and how large they are, it can create safe zones or encase the entire planet. Fortuna used the former and had six massive interconnected domes. Each large enough to cover a city on its own. Being a primarily merchant planet, each dome was dedicated to a single primary focus. The northeastern dome held Fortuna, the massive casino for which the planet gained its name. While normally bustling with all walks of life, today the Fortuna was empty due to a quarantine. Leaving only General Ozak and a group of U.G.M.P Soldiers by his side. All but Ozak armed with assault rifles.
“I’m getting several readings from deeper inside of the Casino.” The Technician says as he checks a handheld communicator like device. It acted like radar and was set to detect the faint energy signatures present in immature Nemesis parasites.
“How many.” General Ozak inquires. His eyes surveying the empty casino floor.
“5 signals sir.”
“Good, cover me while I take care of them.” Ozak takes the lead. As long as the signals remained weak, there was still time to prevent a catastrophe.
“Sir!” his platoon responds in unison.
“It’s a good thing we got here before the outbreak could get any worse.” Ozak thought to himself. He used the handle of his Bokken to push open the door slowly.
“The signals are retreating.” the Technician notes.
“Good, that gives us some time.” Ozak remained calm and continues the lead.
“Sir! I found something!” Another soldier aims his Assault Rifle at a figure he can just barely make out hidden behind a slot machine.
“Remember to cover each other.” Ozak orders. Drawing his Bokken and entering a standard Kendo stance. “Come on out. We can see you.” He awaits a response but only receives a groan.
“SCKRAH!” The figure shrieks as it leaps over the slot machine towards General Ozak. Collapsing onto the floor when it lands and slowly lumbering to its feet.
The figure was a man dressed in a magnificent magenta suit. One with numerous grotesque insect-like appendages protruding from his limbs. A hard carapace replacing portions of his skin. The Nemesis parasite was a microscopic organism capable of surviving in any area with moisture. Thriving inside virtually any living organism. Growing by using the hosts own mass. Consuming it from the inside and growing out of them. Molting what remained of the host like a cocoon. It was a slow, agonizing, and grotesque process that’s irreversible. The luckiest hosts lose their sense of self early in the process. The unlucky remain fully conscious as their mental state declines until they are simply a husk ready to be shed. Prolonging their suffering until their inevitable death. The only means of dealing with the Nemesis being to prevent them in the first place or catching the infection before any significant physical signs appear. As such, they’ll hide in dark areas until they can complete the process. But should they be found as they have now, they’ll fight without regard for their own lives. Thinking only of killing anything in their way that isn’t another Nemesis.
“Poor creature…” Ozak thought as the Nemesis lumbered towards him. He raises his Bokken above his head and with a single downward swing, strikes the Nemesis’ skull. Shattering it and sending the corpse neck first into the floor. A quick and decisive blow to end its pain quickly.
“Sir! Behind you!” One of the Soldiers calls out. Three of the remaining Nemesis revealing themselves from behind a row of Slot Machines. Unfortunately, they were too close to the General. Preventing the Soldiers from assisting without getting him in the crossfire. But Ozak was a General for a reason. He turns his Bokken to the right and swings it into the first Nemesis’ side. Sending it flying into the wall. Quickly turning his Bokken backward so it’s held only in his right hand, and thrusting it into the chest of the Nemesis behind him. Stunning it long enough for him to swing his arm upward and slash its head into the ground. He glances at it once to ensure the deed was done and returns to his normal stance. Giving him only seconds to react to the Nemesis as it’s claw nearly reaches his side. Once more, Ozak proves himself the better. Taking a single step backward while swinging his Bokken down onto the Nemesis’ skull. Ending its life with ease. “Where’s the last target?” he asks while remaining on his guard.
“It should be-” The Technician begins to speak but is cut short. The floor falling from under him as he’s pulled into the depths. There was no time to even scream as his life was cut short. The Nemesis that killed him emerges from the hole. Flexing its back before molting out what was left of the human husk that once held it. Sharp mandibles and powerful legs pushing through bone and muscle. Massive wings opening and flexing, now free to move about. An extra pair of arms burst out of the ribcage. Giving it the appearance of a massive bipedal locust ready to consume anything in its path. It’s normally dark brown body stained red from both its host and the flayed Technician.
“Open fire!” One of the Soldiers orders as he and they begin their attack. Even with Armor Piercing rounds, they made little difference against its thorax. Now that it’s brethren had sacrificed themselves and given it time to mature. Even as it still strained to adjust to its new form, it was more than capable of slaughtering entire squadrons alone. Especially ones equipped to deal with immature Nemesis rather than the mature ones. Despite the direness of the situation, they never once felt fear. Not as General Ozak remained unwavering. His stance remained unbroken.
General Kana Ozak was the latest in a long line of Ozaks. Each a kendoka who passed their knowledge down through the bloodline and to any who wanted to learn. Kana too kept the tradition alive in teaching all he learned to both Tsuyasu and William after honing and refining his own skills. With a quick step forward, he thrusts his Bokken towards the throat of the Nemesis. “TSUKI!” he calls at the top of his lungs. His voice shaking the building. The ground cracking under his step. Years of practice combined with top-secret U.G.M.P modifications and his Bokken pierces through the armored throat of the Nemesis. Ending its life as quickly as it began. Ozak quickly cleans his Bokken and returns it to his hip. “I want these bodies taken care of. I’ll also need a list of any infected, thought to be affected, and casualties.” Although the mission was successful, lives were still lost today. The loss weighed heavily on his mind as well as another mystery. How did the Nemesis get here in the first place? Who managed to acquire and distribute them? And most importantly, what did they hope to gain by doing this?