Previously on U.G.M.P…
The U.G.M.P stands as both the primary government and military across several systems. Tsuyasu Seki has become the youngest Commander in U.G.M.P history. Although this is a great accomplishment, he still has much to learn and prove. Remaining under the watchful eye of his partner and fellow student under General Ozak, Commander William Char. Elsewhere, General Ozak deals with an outbreak of parasitic lifeforms known as the Nemesis…
-U.G.M.P General, Human Seat 3
For the past 10 days, Will accompanied Tsuyasu in capturing a series of bounties. If Tsuyasu were truly worthy of his rank, then completing them would be an easy feat.
“Another quick bounty completed. If we stay consistent or rather, you stay consistent… you’ll have my full trust to fly solo.” Char said as the pair returned to the Gladiolus. The sun setting upon Neo Terra after a full day of work for the pair.
“I’m gonna miss having you babysit all the time.” Tsuyasu replied sarcastically.
“Oh really? Then I’ll make sure you’re stuck with me forever.” Char smirked with an aside glance. Tsuyasu groaned and slumped over at the thought of being stuck with Will as a partner for the rest of his days.
“Well, until I become General.” he gives Tsuyasu a hard pat on the back. Enough that Tsuyasu loses his balance. “Then I’ll assign my son to be your commanding officer.”
“Yeah right, by that time you become General I’ll already be Supreme Commander!” Tsuyasu puffs out his chest with a cocky smirk. He prepares his next taunt but is cut short by the approach of General Ozak and Nevan.
“Welcome back Commanders.” Ozak greets his students warmly. “How was your mission?”
“Sir!” Tsuyasu stands up straight and salutes formally in unison with Will. “Everything went smoothly master. Nothing spectacular to report.”
“The young Commander said it all sir, just an average manhunt to stay sharp.” Will adds on.
“That’s good.” Ozak smiled.
“It must be boring only doing average manhunts.” Jason muses casually with eyes closed. “Want something a bit tougher and more challenging?” he opens his eyes slightly giving off an unsettling aura.
“Yes sir, I’ll take anything you send my way.” Tsuyasu remained almost too confident in his abilities.
“We would be honored to serve, General.” Will remained humble, a stark contrast to his youthful counterpart.
Jason motions for the group to follow him. Leading them to an empty meeting room before continuing. “The information you’re about to hear has been kept on a need-to-know basis.” his expression was disturbingly serious compared to his normal upbeat demeanor. “As we speak, the Holy Grandmaster of the Tinbrans is on his way to discuss his people finally joining the U.G.M.P.”
The Tinbrans were a humanoid species much like the Humans but native to the neighboring planet Verung. Possessing naturally blue tinted hair and pointed ears, they were otherwise nearly identical to Humans physically. But what separated them from Humans was their almost zealot like belief in the Trenol faith. One built on a great disdain for technology and the belief in divine wrath. Their faith drove their culture and has led them to somewhat isolationist tendencies. As a whole, seeing Tinbrans beyond the confines of Verung was a rarity. And when they were encountered they were likely one who was exiled from the planet in penance for some crime. Be it serious or trivial…
“General Nevan and I have been assigned to escort him from Space Port 1a to the Gladiolus. Given the importance of the mission, you can see why we’ve turned to you for support.” Ozak explains.
“The Holy Grandmaster has never left Verung until today. If we fail we might never get another opportunity like this.” Jason stresses to the pair.
“Man…I hate escort missions.” Tsuyasu complains. “Least this is interesting I guess…” Though he was aware of the significance of this event, he still cared little for it.
“Permission to discipline Commander Seki, Master Ozak.” Will asks, receiving a nod of approval from Ozak. He flicks Tsuyasu’s left ear with his full strength enough to cause him to yelp. A petty but effective reprimand that amused Jason. “Escort mission or not; you must retain your professionalism as an officer Seki. Especially a task of this magnitude.”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself.” Jason compliments Will. “In case I didn’t stress it enough for you, we’re already on shaky terms with the Tinbrans. If our talks fail or at worse something happens to the Holy Grandmaster, we’re almost guaranteed a war.” While Jason knew the U.G.M.P would easily win a war against the Tinbrans, doing so would tarnish their image. Who’d have faith in a peacekeeping organization that decimated a single planet consisting of almost exclusively one species? At worst it’d lead to other species revolting and the beginning of another Universal War.
“We will perform to the best of our ability to assure the safety of the Grandmaster, General Nevan.”
“Good, then I’ll leave the heavy lifting to the Ozak Trio.” Jason chuckles. His lighthearted demeanor returning. Ozak sighs and shakes his head.
“Is…is he serious?” Tsuyasu whispers to Will.
“I’m afraid he is.” Will whispers back.
“Don’t forget, The Holy Grandmaster will arrive at Space Port 1a in two days. Until then, you should rest and prepare.” Ozak orders.
“I’ll be doing my own investigations and preparations in the meantime. Find anything I can on potential threats to our divine guest.”
“Very well sir. We will be on standby should you require any assistance in your endeavors.”
“Rightio. On that note, I’ll see you all in two days.” Jason gives a brief wave before departing.
“Master, give it to us straight. Should we be worried?” Char asked with a slight head tilt towards Ozak. His expression was serious but still confident.
“Hmm…” Ozak thought for a moment. Choosing his words carefully. “Right now, I can’t be certain. The U.G.M.P has more allies than enemies…But I can’t imagine an outbreak of Nemesis happening so close to such an occasion is a coincidence. But this is just speculation on my part. For now, be prepared for anything. At least until Nevan finishes his investigation.”
“Usually when people say that it means that something really bad is going to happen.” Tsuyasu says pessimistically.
“That is true and why we have two Generals and two Commanders. Any less and we’d be inefficient. Any more and we’d be obvious to a potential enemy. Not to mention what the Holy Grandmaster may think of it.”
“So we’re just going to rely on three swordsmen and…whatever it is General Nevan does. I know he’s the Head of Investigations but I haven’t heard anything about his combat prowess.”
“You need to bulk up on your homework Seki. He doesn’t look it but Nevan’s a lethal knife fighter.”
“Really?” Tsuyasu was surprised by the information. The Combat Knife was standard issue for all members of the U.G.M.P. Meant as a last resort should they require it. Being a specialist in it was a laughable concept given all the alternatives present.
With the disbelief so clear on Tsuyasu’s face, Ozak explains. “Nevan often goes undercover or in places that don’t take kindly to the U.G.M.P. Combat Knives and his personal daggers are easy to hide within his coat. Not to mention he can draw and throw them faster and more accurately than some of our own snipers. Even I’ve had trouble dealing with them.” His final sentence shocks both his students who were unaware of his previous battle with Nevan.
“That’s… quite impressive.” Will replied when the shock has settled.
“Maybe I shouldn’t make fun of him anymore…” Tsuyasu mutters under his breath. “That’s cool I guess.” he pretends to not be impressed. Will easily sees through the act with an aside glance. Shaking his head slightly in annoyance. “Least that gives us consistent cover fire.”
“Any orders as we prepare for the objective sir?”
“Just remember what you’re fighting for. You might become a part of history for this.” Despite the risks at stake, Ozak remained optimistic in their success.
“Indeed, although just being around the military prodigy is a part of history enough.” Will half-sarcastically replies.
“I am great and all but being able to get an entire race into the U.G.M.P is a greater honor.” Tsuyasu completely misses the sarcasm.
“Good! That’s the spirit!” Ozak exclaims with surprising enthusiasm. “Both of you remain as you are. We’ll contact you in two days when the mission starts.” He salutes Tsuyasu and Will who salute back. “You’re dismissed, Commanders.”
With the meeting done and the night upon them, Tsuyasu and Will part ways for the day. Having a family of his own, Will lived off base. Tsuyasu, on the other hand, returned to his personal quarters within the Gladiolus. As a Commander, he was granted the privilege of a single-person room. Rather than getting a shared room like most operatives who lived on-site. However, the number who lived on-site was quite low. Most were those who came from off world and it was merely a temporary situation. But for the young Commander, the lonely room was part of his routine. As the next day came he found himself at a loss. He spent most of his time doing missions or training. Now that he was presented with an actual day off he was unsure what to do. His eyes focused on the blank white ceiling as he lay in thought.
“I know I’m supposed to be resting but maybe a simple mission couldn’t hurt…It’d be better than just laying here all day.” Tsuyasu’s mind drifted through his options sluggishly.
“Tsuyasu, its Will. Open up.” Will’s voice breaks through the silence across the front door intercom.
Tsuyasu jumps to his feet and opens the vertically sliding door. “What’s up, Will?”
“Jeez, the poor kid lives in a closet.” Will thought upon seeing Tsuyasu’s room. He knew he lived in the Gladiolus but never actually had an opportunity to see it firsthand. “C’ mon partner, we’re having lunch at my house.”
“Huh? Don’t you have other people you could do that with?” Tsuyasu asked bluntly. His eyes squinting suspiciously.
“Oh, excuse me. I didn’t realize you had plans with your four walls. Next time then.” Will answers with the same level of snark as he briskly turns to leave.
“Jeez, it’s just a question.” Tsuyasu grabs a distinct red leather jacket from his closest. One with a pronounced collar that extended up to his nose when zipped up. Normally, it was meant to be folded over but Tsuyasu enjoyed the mysterious appearance it gave him. It was one of the few things he bought for himself that wasn’t an immediate requirement for his job.
“You don’t have to keep everybody at arm’s length kid. Let’s go.”
It takes the pair 30 minutes to travel from Sector 1a to Char’s home in Sector 5v. A sector that was known for its suburban neighborhoods. A home away from home for many past and present U.G.M.P operatives. Each house was unique to whatever species called it home. Using the material Khonshium, a metal that could be made to look indistinguishable from other materials, to do so. Char’s house, in particular, used architecture from current and past Human designs. It was a two-floor structure the looked like it was made of a mix of white colored stone and wood. A terrace overlooking a lawn large enough for multiple outdoor pets. Several windows were made of opaque to translucent energy and matched the fence that encompassed the lawn. The final touch was a welcome mat that greeted the pair upon their approach in a woman’s voice. Serving as both a cute feature, a doorbell, and alarm all in one.
“Gabby I’m home! My partner’s with me.” Will called out as he opened the door.
“Daddy!” An excited child’s voice responds. Immediately running into Will’s arms before he can even fully open the door. He was a small child with a straight brown comb-over. His hair as pristinely maintained as the red shirt with a cartoon griffin on it and blue jeans he wore.
“Hey, there’s my little man!” Will picks up his son giving him a hearty hug and kiss.
“I missed you daddy.” the toddler says as if nothing else in the world mattered to him.
“I was here a half hour ago baby. How’d you miss me?” Will asked.
“I don’t know, I just did.”
“I almost forgot you had a kid.” Tsuyasu thought aloud. His voice lowering ever so slightly as he spoke.
Will chuckled briefly at the comment. “Yup, now Will this is daddy’s partner. Say ‘Hi, Tsuyasu’.”
“Hi, Soo-ya-soo.” Will Jr. tries his best to pronounce Tsuyasu’s name. The attempt softens Tsuyasu’s expression slightly.
“Hi, little Will.” Tsuyasu replies with an awkward smile.
“How come you’re a big kid?” Will Jr. asked innocently.
“Um…Well…” Tsuyasu struggles for a way to respond.
“Tsuyasu’s a special big kid, Will. He works with me and all the grown-ups to catch the bad guys!” Will saves Tsuyasu from the toddler’s question.
“Whoaaa…” Will Jr stared at Tsuyasu in awe.
“Yeah, pretty great aren’t I?” Tsuyasu boasted proudly.
“Can you show us where mommy is please?” Will asked.
“OKAY!” Will Jr. replied enthusiastically. After being put down; he runs inside, down the central hallway, and around a corner.
“Follow the 4-year-old hyperdrive.” Will takes the lead in following his son.
The floors were tiled and the walls a white stone that matched the outside. As they walked down the hallway, the walls could be seen adorned with various pictures. Numerous pictures of the immediate Char family of Will, Will Jr, and the wife Tsuyasu had yet to meet. A few of these pictures included an older man and women who bore a resemblance to Will. On the opposite wall were portraits of Will after each promotion sat next to pictures of him standing with an Exixian. A hulking reptilian creature with rocky black skin like stone. Eyes that seemed to glow a pale orange hue. And veins of magma flowing through its body that made it seem like a living volcano. Despite its terrifying visage, it bore a cheerful smile alongside Will. In the center of the wall was a single picture of when he first began training under General Ozak. On its right sat a picture of when Tsuyasu and Will had completed their first training session together with Ozak. Turning the hallway they found a dining room with simple clay furniture from Ganjo. The clay taking a warm dull red coloration to contrast the white stone dining room table. Following the final turn, they arrive at a fairly large kitchen. Despite the homey appearance before now the kitchen had the normal technological advances common throughout Neo Terra. There stood a woman with straight dark brunette hair. Dressed in a white apron, red blouse, and denim jeans. She appeared to have been in the middle of cooking before Will Jr. arrived. Providing a pleasant distraction from the work at hand.
“Hey babe, my peer’s with me.” Will greets his wife of four years going on five.
“Wait, I know you didn’t bring that trigger happy psycho into-” she stops herself when she turns and realizes Will came with Tsuyasu. “Oh! I am so sorry.” An embarrassed but relieved chuckle escapes her lips.
“Guess she already knows about Natasha…” Tsuyasu thought before he bowed at the hips. “Hello, I’m Tsuyasu Seki.” He greeted politely. Despite the somewhat aggressive first impression, he couldn’t help but notice her motherly appearance. “Will’s pretty lucky…” he thought with a tinge of jealousy.
“Babe, I said that I was bringing Seki along.” Will reminds her.
“I’m sorry William, it slipped my mind. It’s my pleasure Commander, I’m Gabriella Char.” She extends her hand to Tsuyasu.
“Babe you can relax, he’s only 13.”
“Alright, then please call me Gabby.” She retracts her hand and hugs Tsuyasu instead. Giving him a soft kiss on the cheek.
“Um…hi Gabby.” Tsuyasu awkwardly replies with arms practically glued to his sides.
“Please make yourself at home, don’t be shy.”
“Thank you, I will.” Tsuyasu replies upon being let go from the hug.
“So what are we having for lunch babe?” Will asks as he walks over and caresses Gabby from behind. He pecks her left cheek with a soft kiss and curiously leans over her shoulder.
“Hey! No peeking.”
“Okay! Okay, fine.”
“Are you making something special Gabriella?” Tsuyasu asked curiously. Unable to place the strong yet enticing aroma that filled the room.
“You could say that Tsuyasu.” She gives a playful wink. “Call me Gabby.” She reminds him politely. Returning her attention back to cooking shortly after. “There’s some Nanow chips with sauces on the table to start you guys off.”
Nanow Chips were a popular and common snack throughout Neo Terra. When Humans first arrived in the Arches Binary System, there was great difficulty in creating new foods utilizing the foreign flora & fauna. That was until they encountered one of the smaller and lesser-known species, the Trelza. Their fascination with mankind and affinity for cooking proved vital in the recreation of ancient Earth dishes. The potato chips of old being recreated in modern times using the Nanow Root. Boiling and seasoning it as desired. Sauces similarly have been recreated thanks to the Trelza’s assistance. All fairly easy things to make at home. Serving as a reminder of mankind’s oft-forgotten past and the progress they made since then.
“Thanks, but I’m not sure I want to ruin my appetite.” Tsuyasu remained excessively polite.
“Nonsense Seki.” Will takes a seat at the dining room table. “These are homemade dips.” He grabs the nearest chip, dips it in the red-hued sauce, and eats it. “Gabby does the grinding and pickling for some of these. You’re not gonna insult my wife by not eating her hard work.”
“Fine…” Tsuyasu sits down and begins eating. “I’m not doing this because I feel bad or anything.”
“Will don’t be so hard on him, let him have what he wants.” Gabby defends Tsuyasu.
“I have to be on top of him, Gabriella. It’s my job.”
Gabriella delivers a stern look that was enough to silence Will. “You’re at home, not work.”
Before the conversation could go any further, Will has a realization. “Wait, where’s Junior?”
Will’s question turned into a trigger for the small child who lay in wait beneath the table. Grabbing Tsuyasu by the ankles. “Raawor!” he attempts to scare his first victim. Seemingly, he’s successful as Tsuyasu jumps up from his seat. Almost knocking it to the floor from the sudden movement.
“Did I scare you?” Will Jr. giggled gleefully.
“Just a little.” Tsuyasu replies. Whether it was true or not was up for debate.
“William, atten-HUT!” Will shouts. His son immediately standing at attention in response.
“You do not scare somebody you just met, it’s very rude. Even worse, making a soldier jump can be dangerous. You understand son?” Will explained as both parent and soldier.
“Okay…sowwy Soo-ya-soo.” Will Jr. apologizes.
“It’s okay Little Char.” Tsuyasu softens his expression slightly.
“Good boy, at ease.” Char smiles as his little boy acknowledges and obeys his order. “Have a seat Will, we’re gonna eat soon.”
“You must have some real proud parents Tsuyasu. To have a son of your stature at a young age is something else.” Tsuyasu hardens his expression and turns cold at Gabby’s innocent words.
“Uh, they’re MIA babe.” Will says. Gabby gasps in shock at her faux pas.
“I’m so sorry! I-I didn’t know.” Gabby apologizes profusely.
“It’s fine, I haven’t seen them since I was sent to Kratos for training.” Tsuyasu explained in a monotone.
“That was around the same time Andromeda died, wasn’t it?” Will asked.
“Yeah, I was around your son’s age when I had to leave.” Tsuyasu answers quietly.
Andromeda was a small planet that lay on the furthest reaches of the nuCignus system. Far beyond Kratos and the prison satellite Juno. It was a cold planet with little natural life on it to speak of. However, it held one of the rarest and most valuable metals in the universe. This metal, Centradine, was an emerald-hued ore known for its ability to absorb and store large amounts of energy. Depending on the amount used, the amount that could be stored was virtually limitless. This made it an ideal defense against energy weaponry. As well as a valuable material to be used in the creation of thermal generators. Tragically, this was both a gift and a curse for the planet. As mining continued without slowing, the loss of the material began to destabilize the planet. The weather was thrown into chaos and it was eventually deemed uninhabitable. But for many unfortunate souls, evacuation did not come quick enough…
“Did you try to find your mommy and daddy?” Will Jr. looked up to Tsuyasu who tucks his head behind his collar.
“Too busy training to try.”
“Then when you arre not busy you should try to find them. I doubt they are out there.”
“Will, doubt means you don’t think it’s true.” Will explains to his toddler.
“Ohhh, then I KNOW they are out there.” Will Jr. smiles optimistically.
“Maybe…” Tsuyasu mutters lowly.
Will takes a bite of his Nanow Chips, using some of a pickled relish-like spread. “We’ll find them, Seki. Remember that you’re part of the U.G.M.P family…” Will extends his right hand and puts it on Tsuyasu’s shoulder gently. “and ours.”
“…Thanks…” Tsuyasu smiles slightly without realizing it.
“You can drop by or stay over anytime.”
“Even if you’re hungry Tsuyasu, my kitchen is always open. Speaking of, the food’s ready!” Gabby joins Will in welcoming Tsuyasu with open arms.
“YAY!” Will Jr. exclaims excitedly at the thought of food.
Tsuyasu was unsure how to properly respond. He had never experienced such familial warmth and support, at least not one he could remember. It was an unusual feeling but not one he hated. “Thanks, I love free food. It’s my favorite kind.”
Gabby arrives with plates for everyone. Each filled with a stew-like meal filled with a brown sauce, rice, some vegetables, and meat. “Ju’ Rolo’s Oerj, nothing special but a favorite.” She kisses Will after setting his plate down.
Being married to a native of Ganjo, Gabby went to great lengths to learn how to cook traditional dishes. Ju’ Rolo’s Oerj, or Ju’ Rolo’s Brew was created by the Trelza so that non-Exixians could enjoy this meal. Due to primarily being a magma planet, natural life evolved drastically to adapt. The Exixians themselves bore traits similar to a humanoid tortoise. Being reptilian yet covered in a rocky exoskeleton. The rice came from the Urobach Tree, a colossal tree that against all odds evolved to survive on Ganjo. Its roots gaining sustenance from the massive magma fields and producing beautiful yet scalding plant life. These plants and the animals who called it home were the key ingredients in the Brew. Unfortunately, they are all too hot for non-Exixians to consume in their natural form. Most use artificial variants that were created in their stead for the masses. But most skilled chefs were capable of diluting the level of spiciness and better preserving its natural flavor. Creating a uniquely spicy gumbo that to an Exixian, was simply a drink.
“Nothing special? I married a liar, Seki. Gabby makes the Brew like I’m back on Ganjo. It’s incredible, just try it.”
“Thank you for the meal.” Tsuyasu says with hands together. He then tries the hot & spicy gumbo. He expected it to burn but the heat was surprisingly bearable. In fact, it was the best meal he had in years. “It’s amazing.” he continues eating at an uncharacteristically fast pace.
“I appreciate it. I do my best.”