U.G.M.P #5: Escort

Previously on U.G.M.P…

The U.G.M.P stands as both the primary government and military across several systems. The Tibran homeworld of Verung, however, stood as one of the most prominent anti-U.G.M.P planets…until now. The Tinbran leader, the Holy Grandmaster, now makes his way to Neo Terra to begin talks of collaboration. It falls to Commanders Will & Tsuyasu as well as Generals Ozak and Nevan to ensure all goes as planned…

In a time where intergalactic travel was a norm, Space Ports were an all too common location one would visit. As the name would suggest, they acted as the hub between planets. Neo Terra alone had over 5 dozen. One for each Sector and numerous smaller Space Ports at the more frequented locales. Space Port 1a was the most frequently used by both civilians and the U.G.M.P. But today, only Will & Tsuyasu traversed the uncomfortably quiet terminal. The bustling halls now empty due to a U.G.M.P routine inspection. Though this was a cover to keep the public from noticing the arrival of the Holy Grandmaster.

“At least we won’t have to worry about a surprise attack. This place is a ghost town.” Tsuyasu commented while surveying the area.

“Not necessarily Seki, concealed assailants are always a possibility.” Will cautioned his young partner.

“Right, not that they’ll catch me with my guard down if they tried.”

Will gives an aside glance and asks. “So then what’s your defense from long-range ballistics two klicks down out of our view?”

“Well…oh hey look, it’s the Generals.” Tsuyasu dodges the question entirely. “Better go meet them.” he then proceeds to power walk to his superiors.

“Just stay vigilant Seki.” Will sighed before following Tsuyasu.

“Hello, Commanders.” Nevan greets Will and Tsuyasu pleasantly. “Enjoy your days off?”

“Yes sir, we got some much needed R&R.” Will replied.

“Very good, that’s what I like to hear.” Nevan smiled slightly at the news.

“We’re 5 minutes out from the VIPs arrival.” Ozak informs the group.

“We’re ready and able, sir.” Will reaffirms.

“Did we learn anything from the investigation that might be helpful?” Tsuyasu asked in a surprising show of maturity.

“Not much which is telling in itself. For once people are being tight-lipped about who might be plotting something. Most I could gather was that we’ll likely be facing Setzen.” Nevan furrowed his brow in contemplation.

“Not surprising, unfortunately…” Will commented disheartened. The Setzen were a race of warriors and mercenaries. This often meant that if there was a dirty or combat-related job you needed to be done without U.G.M.P interference, they were your best option.

“Exactly, which is the problem. If they wanted to outright assassinate the Holy Grandmaster a Setzen would be fine. But if you wanted to do that and smear the U.G.M.Ps name you’d need more finesse. Like, say…having their operative disguised as a member of the U.G.M.P.”

“All we have to do is keep him hidden right? If it’s just the four of us then that shouldn’t be a problem.” Tsuyasu simplifies the dilemma casually.

“If only things were always that simple.” Ozak muttered to himself. His eyes drawn skyward as the sound of a Space Cruiser grows louder. Docking on the landing pad before them.

“Remember to show respect. Religious figures hate being treated like civilians by the military…especially ones they already don’t like.” Nevan puts his hands inside his pockets.

“Leave the talking to us. Just worry about defending should anything happen.” Ozak orders.

“Roger.” Tsuyasu and Will say in unison.

After a few moments, the engines of the Space Cruiser stops. Opening a door that unfolds like a staircase. Out exits a muscular human man with spiked orange hair. He stood at 6’4, making him taller than Will who towered at 6’1. The man wore an orange vest over black pants and orange boots. Over the right breast was a large letter G surrounded by laurel reef. His entire right arm was covered with a black armored bracer. Several steps behind him followed a pale man with noticeably pointed ears much like an Elves. He wore pearly white robes that flowed in the wind. Deep azure hair sticking out from beneath his white hat that could be mistaken for a crown. He walked and carried himself like royalty with dark blue eyes that seemed to be in a constant leer. Once they approach the group; Ozak kneels before him and greets the pair.

“It is truly an honor to meet you, your holiness.” he says as if he rehearsed it.

“We thank you for this audience, Holy Grandmaster Kurino.” Nevan says after kneeling alongside Will and Tsuyasu.

“You may rise.” The Holy Grandmaster says in a disinterested tone. His eyes focused on the desolate Space Port. “I am to meet the Supreme Commander yes? Yet he has not deigned to present himself upon my arrival. Am I to believe he’s lost interest?”

Seeing the clear discontent on the Holy Grandmasters face, Ozak quickly stands and speaks. “He means you no offense Holy Grandmaster. We are here to escort you to him. A precaution I assure you.”

“As you can see, I’ve already brought an escort. Your presence is unnecessary. But if your leader wishes for me to make yet another trip after journeying from my planet to his. Well, who am I to deny such a…generous…invitation?”

“With all due respect Holy Grandmaster.” Nevan tries his hand at easing the situation. “But it’s customary on Neo Terra for guests of the Supreme Commander to be greeted and escorted by the Generals and Commanders. General Ozak, myself, as well as Commanders Char and Seki, have been tasked with being those escorts. I hope you can share your culture with us as we are sharing ours with you now.”

“And you are?”

“General Nevan your Holiness.”

“Hmm…what say you Urata?” The Holy Grandmaster addresses his escort without ever turning to face him.

“I say we accept their hospitality.” He grins widely.

“Very well then. You may lead us.” Holy Grandmaster Kurino finally relents.

“As you wish your Holiness.” Nevan bows at the hips slightly and takes the lead. Returning to the entrance of the Space Port.

“Will, Tsuyasu, stay with our extra support.” Ozak orders.

“Yes, sir.” Tsuyasu replies.

“Of course Master Ozak.” Will replies shortly after. The pairs words finally gaining the Holy Grandmaster’s attention.

“You bring a child as my escort?” He scowls.

“Don’t let my age fool you, I’m still a Commander of the U.G.M.P.” Tsuyasu defends himself.

“The result of lax standards no doubt.” the Holy Grandmaster dismisses Tsuyasu and continues onward.

“This is going to be a long escort…” Ozak sighs.

“Sorry about him. Don’t think I need to tell ya how much he hates the U.G.M.P” Urata speaks once more.

“Well, my partner did speak out of turn.” Will gives Urata a stern glance and turns to face him directly. “Urata is it? The same Urata from the Guild?” While the U.G.M.P operated in most the known universe, there were smaller scale governments and groups that operated on planets that refused their presence. For the neighboring planets of Neo Terra, Gaia and Verung, they had a group known as the Guild. A volunteer group that acted more like mercenaries than soldiers. Each member was outfitted with a unique weapon. Out of their members, Saizo Urata was one of the best in their recorded history.

“Yer damn right Commander Phoenix.” Urata smiled. “Someone as great as you? You can call me Saizo.”

“Commander Char will do fine Saizo.” Will chuckled. “You can call me Will once we’re finished with the formalities here.”

“Right, gotta finish the job first.” Saizo looks towards Tsuyasu. “So is that your sidekick?”

“Sidekick?” Tsuyasu’s right eye twitches slightly.

Will laughs at the comment but composes himself quickly. “Not at all, Guildsman. Given the opportunity, an eye such as yours can catch the potential & skill Seki has with a sword.”

“Hmm…” Saizo closes his eyes and pokes the right side of his temple several times. “I did hear about a child prodigy a few times.” he opens his eyes and looks at Tsuyasu. “Guess I can see it being him. Has the muscles for at least.”

Will surveys the area as they continue. Checking in on the Holy Grandmaster briefly before shifting his focus to the bracer on Saizo’s arm. “I didn’t hear tale of you having cybernetics. It would be naive of me to assume, as well, that you came to a high profile escort without your blade.”

“Nah, I’m all-natural. Let’s just say I got a few tricks up my sleeve.”

“More like you’re full of it.” Tsuyasu snarks quietly.

“As I said, he can work on his bedside manner…but I agree. What I did hear is you got quite the rep Urata.”

“I get that a lot.” Saizo replies casually.

“At least they’re having a good time.” Nevan thought as he led the group. His only company being the stoic Holy Grandmaster Kurino. But he endures the silence until they are about to enter the U.G.M.P issue Hover Transport. Stopping before entering. His eyes subtly glancing to his left as he takes a step back. “How much do you weigh?” he asks seemingly randomly.

“What sort of-” the Holy Grandmaster is cut short as Nevan throws him over his left shoulder. Racing as fast as he can away from their transport. “Unhand me this inst-” his words are once more cut short as several bursts of energy strike the path Nevan ran along. Only stopping when they reach cover behind a column. “Sorry about that your Holiness.” Nevan drops the Holy Grandmaster. “You may want to start wearing fewer robes. You weigh more than you look.” Nevan stands and draws a dagger from inside his jacket.

“A sniper?” Ozak asks upon taking cover with the pair. Drawing his Bokken at the same time.

Nevan shakes his head no. “Auto-Turrets.”

“Damn, stay behind us, your Holiness. We’ll tend to the would-be assassins.” Ozak reassures his escort.

“We’re under fire! Step on it!” Will shouts. His legs carrying him as fast as they could. All the while drawing his sword and seeking cover behind a counter. Tsuyasu follows his lead alongside Saizo.

“This Auto-Turret can’t be all they have planned…” Nevan thought as he assessed the situation. A single sentry wouldn’t be enough to perform this assassination. No, there was something else. But before he can figure out the answer, a firey explosion comes from the ground beneath him. Flames and debris sent soaring through the air. Smoke billowing out from below as an Exixian climbs up to the surface. By his side were three grungy looking humans and two Setzen. Both in near-identical cobalt brown armor. All had the U.G.M.P logo visible on their person.

“Shit man, you weren’t supposed to take him out that fast!” One of the Humans reprimands the Exixian.

Bah, we were gonna do that any-” The Exixian turns so that he can look down upon the man. But instead only finds Tsuyasu mid-sprint with his sword ready to be drawn. Simultaneously drawing and swinging at an upward diagonal angle. Slashing him across the bottom right of his mouth up to his left eye. “AGH!” he roars in pain.

“Tsk, too shallow.” Tsuyasu thought as he landed in the center of the group. The smoke still providing valuable cover.

“Dumb move kid.” One of the twin Setzens taunts. Pointing his left fist at the young commander. His wrist plating lifting slightly to reveal a ring of lethal darts ready to be unleashed.

“Seemed pretty good to me.” Will comments from behind the engaging Setzen, taking full advantage of the poor visibility as well. Slipping in unnoticed and holding his sword over the Setzen’s neck. Extending past his left shoulder. “You are all in violation of U.G.M.P. code 23a-19d: assault & attempted murder of officers of rank. This is the only warning to lay your arms & asses on the ground or risk forfeiting your lives and be put in the ground.”

“I’d listen to the Commander if I were you.” Nevan’s voice says through the smoke. His knife held at the throat of the Human Assassin with his right hand. He took great care to hide the burns on his left side. The price of narrowly diving to the side and saving both his & the Holy Grandmaster’s life from a fiery demise.

With a moment to catch his breath, Ozak stands and readies his Bokken once more. “Surrendering would be wise.”

There was an uneasy silence as both parties waited for the other to make a move. The numbers advantage was on the Assassins side. But individually, they were no match one-on-one with any of the Commanders or Generals. But there was one advantage they still had, the element of surprise. The Setzen were warriors by nature and often came prepared. This meant keeping part of their forces in reserves. In this case, a sixth member of their party. A Setzen wearing a heavy and blocky suit of cyan-colored bio-armor that gave the impression of a humanoid tank. Laying in wait well outside of the Space Port and remotely controlling the Auto-Turret that kept them from proceeding towards their transport…As well as a cloaked sentry that loomed behind Will.

“Knew something like this would happen…” The Setzen thought briefly as he confirmed his target. The cloaked sentry aimed and fired a thin beam of energy. Piercing the Setzen held in Will’s arms through the skull. Killing him instantly, covering Tsuyasu with blood, and grazing the left side of his temple. Disorienting the boy and knocking him to the ground.

“Shit!” Will’s eyes widen at the new predicament they found themselves in. Hastily pulling up the corpse and turning it towards where the shot was fired from in a desperate attempt for cover. He then flips his sword around to sheath it quickly. Giving him the option to run to a pile of debris rather than be a sitting duck. “Stay behind me and move!” He barks at Tsuyasu. Seeing the boy in his stupor, Will had no choice but to take more aggressive actions. Grabbing him by the back of his collar so that they could both reach safety together.

Having little choice; Nevan strikes his captive across the back of the head with his dagger. Knocking him unconscious before he flees for debris with the Holy Grandmaster in tow. “How prepared are these guys?” Nevan thought to himself. With one assassin knocked out and one dead. This left 2 humans, the Exixian, the Setzen, and their mystery sniper. He’d need to think fast to ensure both they and their escort got out of this in one piece.

While the others fled for cover, only the Exixian and Saizo remained. Both standing fearlessly amidst the laser fire that seemed focused entirely on the members of the U.G.M.P. “Lucky me…I’m not even on their radar.” Saizo remained calm while his allies remained pinned down. “Don’t really got time for this. So I’ll make it quick.” he said. Saizo then holds his arm above his head and materializes a Zweihänder from nothingness. Grabbing its handle as it forms with one hand and letting it drop over his shoulder. The sword itself was as tall as he was and required two hands for use. But he easily raises the sword using only his right arm. Swinging it towards the Exixian, cutting through his arm, and sending him to the floor. Still using the momentum, Saizo spins and throws his Zweihänder through the air wildly into the void. Sailing through the air towards the still cloaked turret with only the laser fire as his guide. Destroying it before his sword crashes blade first into the ground.

While the U.G.M.P relied on genetic modifications, the Guild used nanomachines that were injected into their members. Nanomachines that, over time, became adjusted to their host and would learn. Unlocking new abilities and functions gradually. The most basic being the formation of pre-designated weapon models as well as physical augmentations. Saizo, who was already a strong and tall individual before this process, now became a juggernaut. His strength well outside the norms of even humans within the U.G.M.P.

Even from behind the pile of debris, Will was able to see the display put on by Saizo. “Nanomachines, of course.” Will thought to himself before he looked over at Tsuyasu. “Are you with me kid?”

“Yeah…Head hurts like hell…” Tsuyasu responds slowly. His vision slowly returning to normal.

“Listen good, this would be what they call a foxhole. I need you sharp Seki. The railgun’s down but the triggerman’s still hidden. What’s his next move?”

“Not sure, he wanted us dead he could’ve earlier.”

“Now their biggest piece just fell in a flash, we can’t bank on abandonment just yet. Now, what’s our hostile count?” Will says as he peers over the coverage to survey the battlefield.

“One Setzen and two Humans. Maybe the Exixian if Saizo doesn’t finish the job.” Tsuyasu replies having recovered further from the stunning blow to the head.

Will scans the wounded Exixian that’s more interested in wallowing in pain than seeking retribution against Saizo. “He’s not a threat at this time.” Will says with almost a hint of pity. He studies the field further. His eyes going back to the dead Setzen next to them, particularly the wound that ended his life. Something with that much force was in play from the beginning and could’ve wiped out the whole escort. Let alone two scurrying Commanders & a huge Guildsmen grabbing all the attention. With the precision of the shot, it was no accident that the Setzen was taken out, this was damage control. “We need one of them alive Seki. Saizo’s about to lay waste to the rest of them, you ready?”

“Yes, sir.” Tsuyasu nods, sheathing his sword and readying it while within its scabbard.

“Oh, quit yer whining. You’ll live.” Saizo sighed. Turning his attention from the Exixian to the Setzen and Human Assassin who remained nearby. Still stunned at his actions. “So…” he raises his right arm and summons a second Zweihänder. Resting it on his shoulder. “Who’s next?”

“Urata, we need to get answers!” Will shouts, stepping out from his cover and racing towards Saizo. There was no telling what the Guildsmen might do if he isn’t stopped in time.

“Fine.” Saizo scoffs, attention still focused on the remaining assassins. “Get them outta the cry baby then.” he uses his thumb to point over his shoulder at the still writhing Exixian.

Picking up on Saizo’s childlike desire for more carnage, Will decides a diplomatic countermeasure might be required…with a hint of mercy. “You two still have an opportunity to come out of this alive.”

“I’d rather die.” The Setzen remained proud and defiant.

“Doesn’t matter if we live or die. We’ll get replaced either way.” The Human Assassin said with sadness hidden behind his eyes.

“Sure looks like it.” Readies on the draw. For a normal person, a standoff against a hostile Setzen wasn’t the wisest course of action. “The choice is still yours.” But for Will, it was one he was confident he’d win.

“You already know the answer.” The Setzen swings his right arm upward. Ready to fire a wrist-mounted laser.

Instinctively, Will kicks off his back foot to close the gap between the two. Will preferred using sudden bursts of speed over sprinting. Allowing him to move quickly and make sudden changes of direction at a moment’s notice. Difficult to master, but the payoff was allowing him to easily advance while simultaneously dodging the Setzen’s laser by a hairsbreadth. Putting him within striking distance of the Setzen. With the same swiftness of his approach, Will draws his sword and swings it upward. His keen eye aiming for the wrist-mounted weapon as well as the Setzen’s breastplate. Carving upward through the breastplate to the soft flesh below and cutting the weapon off at the muzzle in a single swing. The successful strike spurring Will on to finish his still disoriented opponent. Vaulting over him while swinging his blade down to strike at his back. However, the Setzen’s back armor provided far more resistance than the front.

The Setzen may have been caught unawares by Will’s speed, but the few seconds of delay on the final slash gave way for a counterattack. Summoning a beam blade from his left forearm. Swinging wildly as he turned to create space between the pair. The wild swing misses Will. Hitting Wills sword as he used it to defend. Knocking him off balance long enough to notice his “unbreakable” sword now had a chip where the blades met.

But such moments of thought, no matter how small, can make all the difference in battle. While his eyes were diverted, the Setzen used his built-in boosters at the soles of his feet to leap away. Unfolding the armor plating on his back and unveiling a shoulder-mounted cannon. One quick enough to fire a blast of energy at Will. Once more, however, Will proves his superior speed even while unprepared. Rather than risk life and limb on a gamble he releases his sword, allowing the energy blast to hit and shatter it without slowing. Drawing his personal Commander issue sub-machine gun with the same swiftness as his earlier quick draw. Unloading into the still gaping hole in his armor. Each round piercing his unprotected flesh beneath before his body collapses on the floor. A closer inspection would be required to determine if he still drew breath or not.

At the same time as Will’s dispatching of the Setzen, Tsuyasu set his sights on the final assassin. Although he lacked the same powerful stride and leap as Will, his youth and stamina still provided him with a small advantage in speed. Speed, he used to race to his target in seconds. Performing a Quick Draw once he was a single step away. Swinging his sword upward while simultaneously spinning and swinging sideways. Unlike with the Exixian, this slash was intentionally shallow. Using just enough speed and force to incapacitate him…and leave an all too visible “T” shaped scar on his chest.

“Targets neutralized.” Tsuyasu sheaths his sword once more. Wobbling slightly before stabilizing himself.

“It seems my two students didn’t need my help after all.” Ozak says proudly. He felt a small bit of shame he was caught by surprise multiple times. But his students handling the situation and further proving themselves brought a smile to his face. Yet a thought lingered in the back of his mind. Perhaps he was getting slower in his old age…

“Are you all just about done with the rabble?” The Holy Grandmaster asked unamused.

“I’m sorry, did our fight for survival inconvenience you?” Nevan scoffed.

“As did being dragged around like a child. Execute them and let’s be done with this.”

“We don’t execute people, your Holiness.” Ozak gave a stern look without fear of the consequences.

“Assassins deserve no mercy.” He replies without flinching.

“Pardon me for speaking out of turn, Grandmaster.” Will interrupts while sheathing what remained of his damaged sword. “Although you’re absolutely right; death is too easy when there’s Juno waiting. We would also like some answers on the details of the attack on your person.”

“Dead men tell no tales.” Tsuyasu adds.

“There is truth to your words. Very well then, far be it from me to intrude on how you enforce your policies. Do what you will but pray, make it quick.” The Holy Grandmaster wiped the dust from his robes, looks for a seat, and waits.

“Well, that was easy…” Nevan muttered lowly to himself. “Don’t get comfortable your Holiness. We’ll be proceeding shortly. Commander Char!”

Will signals to Tsuyasu to join him with Nevan. “Way ahead of you sir, Seki is calling it in. We’ll standby for evac while you proceed with the escort. Am I missing anything else General?”

“Make sure the Medics take a look at Seki and don’t leave his side until then.” Nevan orders.

“But I’m fine sir.”

“You barely avoided getting a hole through your skull. If you don’t have a concussion already all your moving so soon after probably gave you one. Until the medics clear you, no fighting.”

“Understood…” Tsuyasu groans sadly.

“Be happy this is the worst that happened Commander.”

“Understood General, we will debrief you on the situation once we’re done here at your earliest availability.” Will replies without complaint. Fully aware of how close to disaster the mission could’ve gone.

“Good, until then Commanders.” Nevan salutes before returning to the Holy Grandmaster, Saizo, and Ozak’s side. Cautiously returning to their transport and departing for a meeting that could change the course of history.

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U.G.M.P Chapter 4: Family

 

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