The Irresponsible Captain Tylor: Obituary GLCorps2814

(Alright. 'The Irresponsible Captain Tylor' belongs to The Right Stuf International, not me. Also, this is my first serious fic, insomuch that it is written in a way that it could theoretically actually happen in the Tylor universe. Though, as a side note, I've only seen the TV series, not the OVA. So discount any information from that. Anyway, read and review)

I couldn't believe it. But then, no one in the United Planets could. Admiral Justy Ueki Tylor, age 73, was dead. Perhaps the greatest (and downright most peculiar) commander the UPSF had ever seen was gone. Forever.

"Son of a bastard." I breathed, watching the newsbyte along with everyone else in the offices of the United Planets Galaxy-Wide News.

It had just come in over the wire, and our anchorwoman was learning of it just as we were. She was, understandably, visibly shaken. Up until she had spoken, a few people knew. Now she had let trillions know one of the most beloved men in the known galaxy was no more. Poor girl.

"Tsujitani!" The familiar voice of the Director hollered.

"Ah, shit." I grumbled, slowly getting up. "What could that blowhard Weiß [author's note: pronounced vice] want now?"

His door had already slid open by the time I got there, and I found myself staring at short, chubby News Director Weiß. He gestured for me to sit and, wondering just how long I had left to work at UPGN.

"I take it you heard about Tylor." He said.

"Just now, yes, sir." I replied.

"I only found out a few minutes before you, when the wire came through. Right when I got it, I realized we'll have to do a piece on him."

"Indeed."

"The problem is...well, we don't know much about Tylor outside of what the UPSF PR department has."

Suddenly, I was worried. I wasn't about to be fired, but I realized exactly what Weiß had in mind. This was going to be a huge assignment that, if I bungled it, I WOULD be fired. And there was good chance I would bungle it, since I was never good at dealing with a story that I had a personal connection to.

"I need you to go talk to anyone who has ever worked with or had a long friendship with Tylor." Weiß said, fulfilling my prediction. "Get into his head through the people who knew him."

"I'll have research..."

"They're already working on a list." He stood, and looked out his window at the space beyond.

"Alright."

"Probably two of the most important to talk to will be retired Captain Yamamoto and retired Rear-Admiral Star. As far as I know, they're alive."

"Yeah, they are."

"Well, glad you already have SOMETHING of a bead on this." He turned to face me.

"Research will get the rest for you. You may have to go all over the galaxy for this one, search in odd places for people...you've got three weeks."

"Yes, sir."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I wanted to refuse this, but I couldn't. You don't refuse a job from Director Weiß. To him, a refusal to do a story was the same as turning in a resignation. The only exception was when a reporter was personally connected to the story, somehow. Of course, I couldn't tell him that.

"Damn." I said, not really conscious of the fact that this was not the internal monologue I had intended. "Damn, damn, damn, hell, damn."

"Something wrong, Hikaru?" A young woman to my left said.

"You bet there is." I said, pressing the call button. "I got stuck arranging the Tylor remembrance story."

"How's that bad?"

"If I bungle it, I'm screwed."

"Did Weiß say that?"

"No, but it's obvious."

"So what's the big deal? Talk to some old friends of his and they can tell you all about him."

"Therein lies the problem." I sighed. "From what I hear, even his closest friends couldn't figure him out."

"Now where'd you hear that one?"

"Here and there."

"Oh." She shrugged. "Well, you're a natural choice for this, anyway."

"Why?" Just then, the doors opened and I backed into the lift.

"Because you sort of look like him."

"Yeah, people've always said that one." The doors snapped shut, and I was on my way to research.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Okay, here's what we got." The head of research said, handing me a data tape. "Yamamoto and Star are indeed alive. Married, in fact. Both living on Earth."

"Mm-hmm."

"Don't think lots of folks know that one. I sure didn't. You?"

"Mm."

"Next...Harold Katori. Last known whereabouts: a Buddhist temple in Northern Japan. As for Kyung-Hwa Kim, she just died ten years ago of a stroke."

"So there's the whole 'Soyokaze' bridge crew."

"Yeah."

"How about the Marines?"

"Sergeant Cryburn's dead. Well...MIA. But MIA for thirty years is close enough to dead for our purposes."

"Right."

"Andressen, the old drop ship pilot...well, look at that. How...unexpected."

"What?

"He works at the UPSF Academy as a tour guide. He's a Trainer Emeritus there."

"I'll be."

"Kojiro Sakai, the old fighter pilot, is spending his remaining time in the UPSF rest home. Probably spinning old tales of glory. Exaggerating some, underplaying others, and mixing a few up."

"How poetic. Next?"

Emi Hanner, KIA thirty-four years ago. Yumi Hanner is retired and living off her pension. Same planet as Kojiro. I wonder if they ever see each other..."

"I'll find out for you. Next?"

"You okay, Hikaru? You're usually a bit more chipper than this, even when you get some huge assignment dumped in your lap."

"I'm fine. Just didn't get enough sleep last night."

"Ah, I know how that is. So, next..." He scanned the list. "Doctor Kitaguchi. Whereabouts unknown."

"Unknown?"

"Last anyone heard of him, he was going off to live in the woods of Montana."

"Beautiful." I sighed.

"After him is Doctor Harumi. She's still in the corps. Must be a pretty old MD."

"She is, but she hasn't aged a day."

"Huh?"

"She's that android spy-turned-UPSF solider."

"Oh, SHE'S the android."

"Yeah."

"And last is a retired Commander Matsudera"

"Who?"

"The fellow Tylor's memoirs are dedicated to. Currently living on Lunar Dome IX with his kids."

"Odd. I think I'll start with him."

"What about Star and Yamamoto?"

"They can wait."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I hated the moon. I didn't like the gravity, but I despised the way the special gravity boots felt. So, ultimately, I ended up bouncing along like a twit. My shoulder bag bounced around, and even smacked me square in the face once, much to the delight of a bunch of kids. Grumbling, I came to the condo complex I was looking for.

"Okay..." I looked at the sheet research had given me. "Thirtieth floor."

I cocked an eyebrow and glanced up. I could have gone in and used the lift, but all the floors were also numbered on the outside and had an entrance for those who wanted to jump for it. A rather silly practice for foolish Lunar tourists. But I had been a bit aggravated and down as of late...

"Oh, why not?"

I bent my legs and leapt with all my might. I watched the numbers blur past, and realized I'd jumped a bit too hard. Cursing, I reached out and grabbed the first handhold that whipped past. I continued to move up from the momentum, and my arm nearly pulled out of its socket when I stopped. I swung onto the entry platform hard, jarring my legs a bit.

"Damn." I grumbled, standing. I pressed the bell call. "Stupid, stupid, stupid..."

I stopped when I heard the door hiss open.

"Hello?" The small boy there said.

"Hi." I replied, trying to look happier than I felt. "I'm Hikaru Tsujitani, UPGN. Is Mister Matsudera here?"

"You mean my daddy or grandpa?"

"Your grandpa." I replied.

"Hold on." The door slid shut, and I was left to watch some people fly past on strap-on wings.

"Yes?" I turned to face the person who had spoken. He was an older fellow, probably pushing eighty. He wore a simple, blue smoking jacket and slippers.

"Are you former Commander Matsudera?"

"Yes."

"I'm Hikaru Tsujitani, UPGN."

"I take it you're here to talk about Tylor."

"Yes."

"Don't know what I can offer, but come in."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"I only met him once." Matsudera said, as we both sipped tea in his lounge. "I was about to reject his application."

"Why?"

"He said he wanted to joint he military for an easy life."

"An easy...?"

"Free room and board, free clothes."

"Hmm."

"What?"

"That...makes a bizarre sort of sense."

"As a lot of him turned out to. I accepted him mostly because the war basically started just as he got there. Pulled some strings to make sure he got a desk job, though. Didn't want him in ANY field position to cause havoc. You can understand my surprise when I saw he made Captain in less than two weeks. I followed his career rather closely after that. I was amazed."

"So how'd you end up in the memoirs?"

"Well, that Tylor was a real smooth talker. When I was trying to talk him out of the UPSF, he gave me this big story about how I had the kind of eyes that could recognize potential and all this stuff. Told me how he'd rise through the ranks, and how he'd dedicate his memoirs to me since it would all be thanks to the 'good eye of the Chief Petty Officer' or something like that. You can imagine my surprise when I saw the dedication page."

"Indeed." I'd seen it myself.

'To the late Admiral Hanner, the 'Soyokaze' crew, and Commander L. Matsudera, who helped me into the UPSF when he was a mere CPO.'

"So I barely knew Tylor. I wish I could offer more, but..."

"No, no. That'll do." I stood, put my recorder away, and extended a hand. "Thanks for your time."

"Anytime." He shook my hand, then squinted. "You know, you sort of look like..."

"I know."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Yeah, Matsudera was a bust." I said to Weiß over the comm device on the UPGN private shuttle.

"Why'd you start with him?"

"Why not?"

"Some answer. I take it next is Yama..."

"Harumi. Her ship is actually docked right nearby, luckily enough."

"But what about..."

"I'll contact you soon." I switched the comm off, then programmed it to ignore calls from UPGN.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

They had me wait in the station's observation deck, which gave me a fantastic view of the Earth, the moon rising from behind it. I turned when I heard a 'swish,' and saw Doctor Harumi walking in.

'Hell...now I see why so many folks were fooled.' I thought.

"Hi, I'm..."

"Hikaru Tsujitani, UPGN. They told me. You're here about Tylor?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Well..." She sat, and I followed suit. I quietly took out my recorder and switched it on. "I loved him."

"I know."

"Huh?" She frowned. "How could you? He left it out of his memoirs, like I asked him to."

"I...well..." I had to cover my ass, and I thought of something quick. Trying to act casual, I grinned. "I...saw it in your eyes. When I mentioned his name. This look that came over you. Very human."

"Oh, thank you."

"So, you loved him?"

"Very much. He...was so strange. I was actually sent in by the Raalgon to try and figure him out, then kidnap him."

"Figure him out? Did you?"

"No. He...he somehow figured out I was a spy, yet let me go right on doing it. He befriended me, never got mad at me for my deceit. He taught me emotions. I had been programmed with them so I could fake them...but thanks to him I feel them normally."

"How'd he manage that one?"

"His kindness. His willingness to put his life on the line for his crew. They always came first."

"I see. So a debate has always raged as to whether he was a tactical genius, or simply the luckiest con man alive. Your opinion?"

"Captain Tylor...I think he was a genius, yes."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Tylor was a lucky bastard." Andressen said as I followed him through the halls of the Academy. He was still a very large man, and rather fit. He did use a cane, but did not rely on it as much as some folks. It seemed he had just started. He wasn't overly wrinkled, but he was completely bald. "Which is why I loved to work with him. Took me a while to realize it, but it eventually occurred to me that nothing bad could ever happen as long as I was on the same ship as him. It's like his luck rubbed off on anyone who was working with him."

"So there was no tactical skill there? No planning? Just...luck?"

"Well..." He stopped and sighed. "I dunno. It was so hard to tell."

He faced the case he had stopped in front of, and only then did I realize it was a 'Soyokaze' model with a painting of the crew and the Raalgon Empress. The photo the painting was based on was off in the corner. He finally turned to me.

"Want to go get a drink? I'll be off duty soon."

"Sure, why not?"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A few hours later, Andressen could barely hold his head up. Not bad, considering his age and how much he had drank. Figuring how well he could hold his liquor while pushing eighty, I wondered if it was even possible to get him drunk as a younger man. He glanced up at me through an alcoholic haze, and his jaw dropped.

"Whu...I..."

"What?" I asked.

"You look like the Cap..." Then he passed out.

"I know." I said to the air with a sigh. "Everyone says that."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Tell me again why I can't just drive up this mountain?" I hollered to the shuttle pilot.

"They don't like mechanized technology in their temple."

"Perfect." I grumbled, going to the drop door. "This guy better be worth all of this."

"Twenty seconds." The red light over the drop door began to blink, and the door slowly slid open. I slipped on my helmet and tightened the parachute harness. "Ten!"

I braced myself. When the countdown got to two, I started to move. I was out the door at zero, and found myself dropping like a stone. My gut instinct was to pull the rip cord right then and there, but my hand was stilled by the knowledge that this would slam me square into the shuttle.

"Hold on..." I mumbled. "Just a few more seconds...wait for it...NOW!"

I grabbed the rip cord and pulled. I felt the sharp, almost painful jerk on my harness as it unfurled and pulled me back up a few meters. Then the feeling ebbed, and I began gentle descent towards a plateau a few thousand feet below me. I steered with the chute's tethers, and just waited to land.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Dammit!" I hollered, trying to get out from under my parachute a few moments later. "This REALLY isn't worth all the aggravation!"

"Everything okay?" A voice said.

"No, it's not okay!" I hollered back, then I sighed. "Crap, I've probably just screamed at a monk, haven't I?"

"Yep."

"Great." I finally tore a hole in the silk and clambered out. "Now I'll probably get kicked out before I can talk to this Katori guy."

"I think I can forgive you."

"Thanks."

"And I can talk to you."

"Huh?" I looked at the tall, heavily wrinkled fellow in front of me.

"I'm Harold Katori."

"Oh." I switched on my recorder and stepped forward to shake his hand. "I'm Hikaru Tsujitani."

"I assumed as much." Katori replied, shaking my hand. "We don't tend to have many people schedule a chute drop, so I figured it had to be you."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"What was Captain Tylor?" Katori said, repeating the question I had just asked him as the two of us sitting in his small room and sipping tea.

"Yes."

"I suppose you mean was he a buffoon or a genius, right?"

"Exactly."

"Good question." He sat, and looked straight at me. I had always been uncomfortable around religious figures. Monks, priests, rabbis, what have you. No matter what religion, they all seem to have some...second sight, or something. At least, the really devout and truly holy ones. And it looked like Katori was one such monk.

"I see...pain in your eyes."

"Pollen." I said quickly. "Lots of pollen in these parts."

"No...no, pain in your eyes that is pain of the spirit. What is it that pains you?"

"Nothing." I replied, casually as I could.

"Hmm." He grinned. "You're a fantastic liar, Mister Tsujitani. Almost good enough to fool me."

"Heh." I genuinely smiled at his remark. "Thanks."

"You're welcome." He sighed. "I take it your pain does not matter to you, though?"

"Not right now. I don't have long to get this story done."

"Understood." He sat back. "Perhaps, though, you should come back afterwards and we CAN talk about it. Now...Tylor. Justy Ueki Tylor...age twenty."

"Huh?"

"That's how he introduced himself. His age came after his name. When I met him, he was twenty...so that always stuck with me."

"Was he always honest about his age?"

"Yes."

"So...genius or lucky bastard?"

"Ah, that question." He looked at me. "It's come up every day since I started with him."

"And?"

"I don't know."

"Oh." I sighed. "No one seems to."

"At least one person may."

"Who?"

"Commander Starr."

"Oh."

"She was the first to leave us."

"Huh?"

"The 'Soyokaze'. We all slowly parted ways, and she went first. Followed by Yamamoto. Neither of them seemed to part with the Captain on good terms, which is a real shame."

I looked at him, then, and saw it. He wanted to mention that he saw something in my face when he talked about all this. But he ended up smiling, nodding slightly, and looking back out at the sky.

"Anyway, the question at hand." He sighed. "During my time with him...well, my opinion varied form mission to mission."

"How so?"

"Sometimes, it seemed like he HAD to have planned it. It all just worked out too perfectly to even be luck, even though he never claimed to have planned anything ahead of time."

"But?"

"But then there were times even HE seemed surprised that we came out alive. When I felt like he REALLY meant he didn't plan it."

"Well, you seem to have a good bead on someone's honesty."

"Not then, I didn't."

"Oh."

"I'm sorry I couldn't be any more help." He stood, and offered his hand.

"It's alright." I replied. "You've given me a LITTLE more than everyone else."

"And someday...maybe you ought to come back to talk about yourself."

"Yeah, maybe."

I shook his hand, then walked out of the room.

"At least he didn't say I look like Tylor." I grumped.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The hospital was, to say the last, damn depressing. A bunch of old navy folks, forgotten and uncared for, were carted around in wheelchairs and a daze, while others just wandered with distant looks on their faces. Hands jammed in my pockets, I wandered past them all wondering just who'd care for me when I was that old.

"Yes?" The receptionist ask.

"I'm looking for Kojiro Sakai."

"Why?" She looked at me like I had just said "Good morning, I'm a con artist." Of course, she'd probably figure I was if I said media, so I whipped out the false ID a fellow at HQ had whipped up for me.

"I'm Jin Yokoshida." I replied. "I've been working on a family tree and recently discovered that he and I are cousins."

"I see."

"So can I see him?"

"Sure. He's on the roof. Don't know if he'll see you, though

"His vision's going?"

"No, he'll see you. You just may not register."

"Oh."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I saw him sitting at the edge of the roof in a lawn chair, a blanket over his legs. His head was bare, save a few bent, brittle wisps of white. I walked up slowly to his side, hoping not to surprise him or anything.

"Kojiro Sakai?" I said.

"Mm?"

"I'm Hikaru Tsujitani, from..." It was then he looked up at me.

And then he screamed.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"What happened?!" The receptionist hollered as Sakai was wheeled down a hallway in the nursing home.

"I don't know!" I snapped. "He took one look at me, hollered, and fell over!"

"I should've known this would happen."

"Why?"

"A lot of things remind him of his old commander, Captain Tylor, and that can get him pretty excited. I was thinking how much you looked like him, and I guess Kojiro saw it, too."

"Damn." I stopped, and watched the woman run off with some more doctors and a few nurses joining her. "Damn, damn, damn, DAMN!"

"Is he going to be alright?" A voice suddenly said from behind me.

"No idea." I replied, turning to see an old woman in a blue dress and darker blue sash.

"You seem awful upset."

"It's my fault that happened." I explained the whole Tylor bit.

"I noticed it, myself. But then, poor Mister Kojiro's mind is so far gone...his heart is so weak. All those years flying faster than recommended speeds just took their toll."

"And you are...?" I suddenly thought to ask, though I was pretty sure I knew.

"Yumi Hanner."

"Figured as much. I'm Hikaru Tsujitani, UPGN. Can we talk?"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Her apartment was small but nice, sparsely furnished but nicely decorated. The walls were loaded with photographs, most of them somehow related to the 'Soyokaze' and her crew. I was standing staring at a copy of the one from the museum when Yumi walked in with a tea caddy.

"Let me help you with that." I said, grabbing the tray and putting it down. Then we sat, and I poured us each a cup.

"What do you want to know?"

"Mainly...what he was like. We got plenty of background info on him from the official files and whatnot. I'm just trying to figure out one, vital thing. Was he an idiot or a genius?"

"Ah." She sighed. "Good question."

'Crap.' I thought. 'She doesn't know, either.'

"When I was young, I felt very indebted to him for saving my father's life. So did my sister. So for years, I just assumed he was this great commander."

"But...?"

"Then I got older, recalled some of the events...and honestly wondered."

"Well, any commander has dumb luck, right?"

"Sure, every so often. Which is were the confusion came in. It seems NO-ONE could be as lucky as him. Yet...he never claimed anything of his was planned. When it obviously HAD to have been planned, he never confirmed nor denied it."

"Great." I slipped my recorder in my pocket. "Only one course left, then..."

"Oh?"

"The Yamamotos."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The door slid open, revealing a face I knew well. I had seen plenty of pictures of her younger, and could safely say she hadn't aged too badly; you could tell she's been a lovely young woman. She looked up at me, and instantly her jaw dropped. I just nodded, and she smiled.

"Makoto!" She called. "Makoto, get out of the damn bathroom!"

"What is it, Yuriko?" A familiar, gravelly voice called back.

"Our son's here!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"I STILL don't understand why you had to chance your name." Yamamoto said to me from across the table. "I KNOW you wanted to get by without my name's influence, but..."

"I'm not here to have THAT argument again." I said. "I'm here about Tylor. I was assigned to handle his obituary."

"I see." My mother said, suddenly looking awkward. "What is it you want to know?"

"Well I was only assigned to find out if he was a genius or a lucky fool."

"That's an EASY one..." Yamamoto said.

"But now I'm here for a personal reason." I stood, fists clenched. "Mother...is Makoto Yamamoto really my father?"

"What kind of question is THAT?" My mother demanded. "Of COURSE he's..."

"We don't know." Yamamoto said.

"What?!" I hollered.

"We don't know."

"Someone want to explain this one to me?"

"Captain Tylor and I had been...having a relationship for some time." My mother finally said. "Strictly against regulations, but we didn't care. Well...the Captain wouldn't care any which way. I specifically didn't care."

"Then...one day...your mother and I were sent on a quick cargo run." Yamamoto suddenly said, continuing the tale. "We were attacked by pirates and crash-landed on a little iceball of a planet. We held out as long as we could...but...well..."

"We didn't have the proper survival gear loaded." My mother said. "Eventually, we had to resort to the most basic method of keeping warm."

"Oh."

"I found out I was pregnant shortly thereafter. Justy...Captain Tylor...he was overjoyed. Until I explained to him that I wasn't sure if it was his or Yamamoto's. Then things got sour. He refused to let me get a DNA test...insisted you were his. We got into fights on the bridge...and then I finally left. I was somewhat surprised to find your father at my door five months later."

"Wait...he IS my father?"

"Of course he is! No matter who conceived you, he raised you. He loved you like a father...and he decided with me that we'd never ask any questions. As far as we're all concerned, you're his."

"But LOOK at me!" I leapt to my feet. "I'm almost a dead ringer for the guy!"

"Of course." Yamamoto stood, and grabbed a few pictures from a drawer. "Look at them."

They were snapshots of my mother and Tylor, both much younger. I had seen both of them in pictures before, even together...but I'd never really studied them. It was only now, when I really looked, that I realized how much they looked like one another. They could have passed for siblings. I glanced at my own reflection, and noticed that I looked like Tylor OR my mother. And I also saw traces of features that COULD Have come from Yamamoto, as well. A bony face.........a long chin.........

And then, suddenly, I felt rage. I'd been raised to like Tylor, overall. I'd only heard how great he was, how kind. But now I saw he was just like any other person. Well I would be damned if he was going to have some perfect memory left behind.

"I've got to know." I said.

"Why?" My mother demanded.

"I'm a reporter." I said. "It's in my nature."

"You'll destroy his memory." Yamamoto said. "No matter what, when you get right down to it, Captain Tylor was.........a good man. He had less faults than most, certainly."

"It doesn't matter if he was a genius or a lucky fool." My mother added, as I walked towards the door. "The people loved him."

"And did you?" I frowned. "Did you love him, mother? Father? Do you really want him to be remembered well? He could well have abandoned........."

"No." Yamamoto shook his head. "I forced her to abandon him. I'm the one who suggested how we keep warm. Your mother took a long time to agree, and I think I coerced her some. And...it turned out we didn't have to. The 'Soyokaze' rescue showed up ten minutes after were done."

"Oh."

"So...now what do you do?" My mother asked.

"No clue," I replied. "Since I still need a story."

"Maybe we can help you on that one." My...well, my father said.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

It was a ratings coup, and made me look very good. My mother and father had convinced all the 'Soyokaze' survivors to come on a live UPGN telecast to simply recount, in total honesty, what they thought and remembered about Tylor. No feelings were hidden, nothing was scripted.

And people loved it. After the crew signed off, calls came in like wildfire. But while everyone went o have a celebratory glass of champagne, I watched the last bit of the newscast.

"Perhaps the only downside to the end of the Admiral's life," The anchorwoman said, "Is that he left no known heirs."

I pulled the envelope from my pocket, then, and studied it. I hadn't opened the lab results yet, and the robotic doctor who had done them had immediately had his memory of that one experiment wiped.

"Why not?" I asked the air, and I opened the envelope. I studied it for a moment, nodded, then tossed it in a disintegration tube.

Captain Justy Ueki Tylor had left without leaving the universe an heir.

At least, that's what everyone would believe.

The End