Chapter 18: The Fields are Burning

Gasco looks over at the ground and grimaces a little, " Oh ya, Meia has really grown attached to him. I haven't seen her this happy... well ever." B.C. nods his head and looks off to Parfait, " Parfait, will you please call Renz to the bridge..." Parfait nods and turns towards the speaker system but stops as she sees Jukkai walking in.

" Hey, I found a stretcher..." After a pause to scan everyone's lifeless expressions he sighs, " That freakish thing contacted us again, didn't it?" Parfait nods her head and B.C. walks up to the main console of the ship and looks through the glass at the enemy ship.

" Those freaks we killed before, well they had a brother... he wants someone's head on the end of his pike essentially. We offered up Renz..." Jukkai leans the stretcher up against the wall and comments, " So he's the sacrificial lamb? I'm not going to stand for that Captain."

Hearing the commotion brewing Bart and Jura pop their heads out of the central control area and Bart begins to comment, " Hey he's a Taraak general, he was number one in his graduating class... and when it comes to active duty generals he's number three in amount of field victories and he's undefeated in actual hand to hand combat." B.C. glances back at Bart and grins, " So since when are you a walking encyclopedia of our generals?" Bart just smiles and shrugs, " I know the numbers on those who impress me, I mean he was and probably still is one of the top candidates of all the men to go to the factory to make a child with." Hearing the key word 'child' something sparks in Jura to act out, " Renzy wenzy will be fine, I mean he is far too handsome and talented to be defeated by such ugliness. But I'll make sure to try and get him back into my room before he heads off to his battle." So with that Jura hops out of the central core and runs off to her room to try and seduce Renz before his fight.

As Jura bolts out of the bridge entrance she bumps into Hibiki, his face getting lodged between her breasts. Still in his dazed state Hibiki starts rambling, " Why hello there... I didn't know there were twins on the ship..." With that, Jura gives Hibiki a hard smack across his face that in turn helps him regain his senses, " These are only for Renz and possibly Jukkai to touch! So get away from me you perv!" Hibiki just rubs his cheek and barks back, " Fine, not like I'd wanna touch you anyway! Dita's are nicer and bouncier!" Jura's eyes turn red and she spins around with her leg extended and the heel of her foot catches Hibiki in the back of the head, which sends him sprawling onto the ground.

"That'll teach you to not appreciate my beautiful assets." So with that Jura huffs off back to her objective to look nice and have a baby with Renz while Hibiki is prostrate on the floor complaining about his head and face. But after a few moments of futile complaining Hibiki gets back up to his feet and walks onto the bridge just to be greeted by an argument.

" If he really is that impressive, we need him for the grand scheme of things! I'll go in his place, sure my record isn't as loaded as his... but the only people I only lost weapon combat against were Alexei and Renz. Renz wielding his long swords is basically a death sentence for anyone facing him, and Alexei and his bow staff keep an attacker at bay and his defensive skills are unmatched." B.C. nods and smiles, " Well you said it right there... Renz with his long swords is unbeatable, so why should we switch him out?" Jukkai grits his teeth and glares at B.C., " He's peerless against humans and things comparable to humans. Who knows what the hell some genetically mutated freakish Jackal humanoid would be able to do to him." B.C. looks off to the side and before he can retort Gasco chimes in, " Call Renz and Alexei up here. We will have the men make their choice. If they all agree that Renz stands the best chance... then we must make sure that the rest are willing to pick up the slack if Renz should happen to not return."

Bart jumps out of the central core and nods, " I like that idea... it's a fair way to do it. But I already know I'm voting for Renz to go. He may be a giant loss if he loses... but I have faith that he won't lose." Jukkai's gaze bolts over to Bart, as he just looks at his friend a little taken aback that he's on the other side of this decision. " But he could be such a bigger help to us here... and well..." Hibiki smirks and finally adds his two cents, " Jukkai, cram it. In a massive battle he may be a great leader but there is still an off chance that a glitch could happen and cause more bad than good. The fact that he would be endangering only his own life lowers our risk of catastrophic losses and allows him to focus on only himself and not worry about Meia, or any of us doing the right thing. So I'm gonna vote for Renz too... cause believe you and me, I'd love to beat the crap out of the monster myself... but even I need to realize my limitations." Jukkai sighs and looks at B.C., " It won't be necessary to call Renz and Alexei...cause Renz will vote for himself... and Alexei probably would add another vote into Renz's tally. So the choice is already made, now all we can really do is pray he wins."

Ezra smiles and finally adds to the conversation, " We'll be here, praying for him along with adding moral support and cover fire if he needs it. No one on this ship goes into anything alone." Jukkai smiles and looks around at the crew, " I see that now... I apologize for questioning you B.C., that's grounds for insubordination and-" B.C. just smiles and interrupts, " Shut up Jukkai, you're stuck here like it or not. Now help Hibiki get Magno on that stretcher. We'll send her off after Renz gets back, almost as if it were a victory sending." Jukkai can't help but grin a little out of embarrassment and pride in the whole stick together mentality as he walks over to the covered corpse of their fallen former Captain and calls to Hibiki, " Come on man, open up the stretcher and get yourself over here with it." Hibiki nods as he opens the stretcher and wheels it towards his friend and fallen leader. " Come on old lady... time to go for a ride..."

As Hibiki and Jukkai place Magno on the stretcher Alexei, Meia, Barnette and Renz are pondering why exactly B.C. was called back to the bridge until Parfait's voice coming in over the intercom suddenly disrupts their discussion, " Renz Tagino, report to the bridge please, I repeat, Renz please report to the bridge immediately. Thank You. Wow I really like doing this whole speaker thing; I will dub myself official speaker lady... DAMMIT! I forgot to shut it off again... umm... hehe... Renz... now... thanks."

The four people in the hangar can't help but laugh at Parfait's goofiness as Renz looks up at the rest of them, " Well it looks like I'm about to find out what all the fuss is about. If it's something that could very well include death I will make sure to tell you guys, but until then... I guess I really shouldn't keep them waiting". So with that the confused Taraak general makes his way up to the bridge to be greeted with Hibiki and Jukkai wheeling Magno out towards the escape pod area. " Hey Renz... you're definitely gonna wanna hear what's in store for you man." Hibiki mutters as he and Jukkai go past the now even more confused warrior.

Renz raises a brow and watches them continue down the hall just wondering what the hell he meant by that as he finally walks up to B.C. and salutes, " Captain, you requested to see me?" B.C. pauses for a moment and nods, " At ease soldier..." as Renz places his hands behind his back and relaxes his stance he inquires, " So, is it battle preparations that we need to go over? Are they planning on overwhelming us while we're in a beaten state?" B.C. rolls his eyes and shakes his head, " No, I wish that was the case... but it's a much different situation. You see Renz, the brother of the two creatures we defeated is out for revenge... and he wants to drink the blood of his brothers' murderer." Renz sighs and looks out the window, " Well now... how quaint. So am I being served in vinaigrette sauce with a nice Chianti?"

The entirety of the bridge can't help but laugh at Renz's candor, but B.C. answers in a nearly sorrowful way, " I'm sorry Renz, you are our most capable fighter... hell your record is even more impressive and decorated than my own. Jukkai tried to change our minds, but obviously it was to no avail. You could always refuse though I suppose... it's not like we're forcing you to go."

Renz smiles as he looks over at Bart, " Hey Bart, go get my swords. I'd like you to shine them up with a nice polish and sharpen the blade with the wet stone in my top drawer. Alright?" Bart smiles, " Of course Renz, anything else you want me to get while I'm there?" Renz smirks, " How about a prayer and a perfect strategy while you're at it." Bart smiles and puts his finger on his chin; " Maybe I can find that under your carpet or something... I look around." As Bart walks off to Renz's room Gasco just smiles, " You know you could've declined." Renz grins and stretches a little, " It's not in my nature to acquiesce to anything, especially a brawl."

After a few moments of silence Renz turns on his heel and heads back towards the hangar, " I shall go inform the others to assist me on my Vanguard in an attempt to expedite repairs and get it's mobility back to snuff. Also I will inform them to pack much long-range weaponry onto the rest of the Vanguards and the Dreads. Mine on the other hand will stay equipped with close range weaponry. Does that sound satisfactory Captain?" B.C. laughs a little and waves his hand dismissively, " You know that's the best plan... remind me again why you didn't throw yourself into the vote for new Captain when our Magno died?"

Renz smiles and looks back at B.C. from over his right shoulder, " It wasn't... and still isn't my place. I may be tactically sound, but you are closer with the crew Buzon. And a Captain must be loved and respected... not just a strategic mastermind." And with that Renz walks out of the bridge towards the hangar as Gasco hobbles towards B.C. and places her hand on his shoulder, " His right B.C., you were the best person for the job." Buzon just nods and grins, " That bastard is too good for us. It's a blessing he got roped into the cohabitation process... we're lucky to have him." Gasco nods and the rest of the bridge crew nod their heads in agreement as Parfait pinches Ezra, " OW! Parfait... what was that for?" Parfait adjust her glasses and smiles, " Finish working on getting more of the main power back to the ship... I'm gonna go see what I can do with Peksis. Renz will probably need as much help as possible... no matter how confident he is."

Renz continues down the hall until he is right outside of the hangar entrance hearing the voices of his friend Alexei and new acquaintances Barnette and Meia. Before walking in he catches the tail end of a conversation, "So you think it's bad?" Barnette asks almost as if she expects a no, " Come on Barnette... you know they wouldn't call B.C. and Renz to the bridge for a tea party." Alexei retorts slightly sarcastically but by his tone you can tell he's just as worried as Barnette. " Don't worry... B.C. and Renz will fix whatever it is, I know it." Meia says quietly almost as if she were trying to convince herself and not the others.

" Great... well, I told them I'd inform them... so time to make good on my promise..." Renz takes a deep breath and walks in bracing himself for some screaming, a decent bit of crying and very little full out support.

To Be Continued...