Reaching the Stars
Chapter XXIII: There where no one…
Few days later…
"Would have not thought to see you here, Tai." I say.
We are at the peak of the Tower. The walls here were destroyed during the battle, but emergency shields are used as a provisional replacement till the repairs reach this point.
"The Garden of Prime Oogway was destroyed, so I had to come up here." he turns around to me partially and smiles.
I don't smile back.
"Still angry, Lil Sis?"
"About one thing I can't stop thinking: Would you have done it, Tai?"
"What do you mean?"
"Killing me, when the mission had required it."
"Courage, Altruism, Truth, Loyalty, Faith and Peace. The six principles of the Star Fleet. The Principles on which I have built upon my life."
I don't know what he wants to get to, but…
"Built? Aren't they your principles anymore?"
"Yes, but….I have broken one of them. I lied. For the sake of the mission. I knew that I would have to do this after the mission was explained. So I went to Prime Oogway to consult with him."
"What did he say?"
He turns around completely and his face is serious. "These principles are only guidelines. It depends, what you do with them, if they are worth following or not."
I get angry. "So it is good to break them? As long you can look at yourself in the mirror every coward, selfish, lying, traitorous, doubtful and warmonging act is allowed to do? That is shameful!"
He lowers his head. "No it isn't. Prime Oogway declared that as long you don't break your own principles, it is allowed." he lifts his head once again, "My most important principle was always to protect the ones close to me. Dad, my Crew, you…. You are more important for me than everything else."
"I would have never killed you, Lil Sis. Not for the mission. Not for the Jade Republic."
I lower my head ashamed.
"I….I am sorry, Tai….I…"
"…was angry? I understand. In your situation I would have reacted equally."
I lift my head again. "Can you forgive me?"
He smiles. "As long as you can forgive me for shooting at you."
I smile as well and nod. After this we hug. I have my brother back.
One month after the Battle at Jade Station…
"And now we welcome our heroes." Prime Oogway tells into the floating cameras.
We all are standing in the middle of the "Great Hall", the part of the Tower, where ceremonies are held. It is one of the less destructed parts of the Tower.
Prime Oogway had ended right now a speech about several topics: the threat was neutralized, the people could live further and grieve for their dead loving ones. Rather boring, but still motivating for the helpers of the repair teams.
Beside me is standing Po. And beside him Captain Tigress and Commodore Tai Lung. Only looking at Po shows, what he is thinking right now: "I am standing right besides Captain Tigress!"
In front of the tribune are not only the Higher-Ups of Jade Station, but as well many members of the Crews of the Furious and Roaring Dragon.
I look back at Po. He seems to faint almost standing beside the heroes of his dreams. Seems that he has forgotten that he had done this one month ago as well.
"Relax.", I say to him. Hopefully he listens to me. I don't want to carry him.
I am wearing my old clothes, although they were washed. Po had bought an expensive looking suit, in which he fits only through mental strength I bet. Tigress and Tai Lung are wearing dress uniform as well like Admiral Shifu, who is standing right beside Prime Oogway, who is wearing his usual dress.
Prime Oogway turns around and takes one medal from an opened box, which is hold by Admiral Shifu.
"Captain Tigress, step forward." she is doing it.
"This medal I will honor you for fulfilling your duty even in the danger of the battle trying to save as much people as possible and risking your life thereby. As well every member of your Crew will be honored with this."
He pins it on her chest.
"Thank you, Sir." she says disciplined as always. No smile…still the hardcore one. The clapping of the spectators is there for very loud.
"Commodore Tai Lung, step forward." Prime Oogway says, while taking another medal. Both look alike.
After he stepped forward, "Commodore Tai Lung for fulfilling your duty even at risk of your and your Crews life and your principles and by losing your ship, I honor you with this medal like everyone of your Crew."
After the pinning up, Tai Lung thanks as correctly as Tigress. The clapping is as strong as before.
Now Prime Oogway steps away and takes the empty box. Admiral Shifu steps forward with golden pads in his hands.
"Step forward you two." he says and doesn't sound so nice like Prime Oogway.
We do as told.
"For risking your life, even although it was not your duty and saving us all in this process, I delete your crime file and nominate you to Acting Ensigns of the Star Fleet. You will have the right to start a career on every ship of the Star Fleet."
The clapping begins and I guess it is stronger than by the two before us. I think I am even proud that's why…..new thoughts, new thoughts! I am still a Professional! I should not forget what I wanted to say.
"Thank you, Sir, but no. I love my freedom and stay rather the Freelancer I am already my whole life." I reply. That is what I should be proud of. Freedom. The base of my life style.
Admiral Shifu nods. "I see…and you, Po?"
"I will stay…free as well, Sir." That surprises me. I thought it would be his dream to become a Star Fleet Officer….
He nods. "Very well, if this is your wish, so be it."
He seems disappointed. Haven't expected this. In the last month he didn't start to love us, rather completely the opposite.
Prime Oogway told still some things, but then ended this ceremony.
We got still a goblet of champagne and could talk a bit. It tastes better than imagined thinking about the half destroyed Jade Station. I disappear to a balcony not far away from here. Shields are protecting me against the empty Void in front me.
I take another sip, when I begin to hear Captain Tigress:
"I wanted to thank you in personal, Po. Thanks to you I didn't need to sacrifice my ship."
"Eh….you are welcome…" I hear his stammered answer. I chuckle. You have stopped Shen and still can't talk with her properly? I have stepped closer and see her. She smiles at him. I bet he is like in heaven now. He talked about that for the last month already. The only thing he regretted, when he was close to death at Shen's ship.
"Would like to work with you sometimes again. Although I hope it will be not so risky like this time." she says saying goodbye.
He waves to her in goodbye as well and I can't prevent another chuckle, but this time louder.
I turn around and go back to the balustrade taking another sip of the Champagne. I sit down on a bench, which is found here. Shortly after Po enters the balcony. He seems to have heard my chuckle.
"There you had your chance and you bungled It.", I say to him with shaking my head. He steps forward to me.
"What should I have said?"
"Maybe asking her for a date?"
"….Noooooo. This would be too….too…."
"Then you could have asked her for a date at the restaurant at the other end of the Galaxy."
"Wooh….is this really existing?"
"Don't have a clue." I reply chuckling. From where I have this?
"Ah here you are." Admiral Shifu says, while entering the balcony as well. He is accompanied by this wolf called Agent Mask – who is a wolf wearing a creepy mask.
"What is it?" I ask immediately. I don't like this Agent.
"As always polite." Po protests.
"I am only honest." I counter.
"Too honest for my taste." Admiral Shifu explains, "You two have made almost a fool out of me during the ceremony."
"What can I say: I don't want to be a Star Fleet Officer."
"But you are one."
"You two are Acting Ensigns, if you want to or not." I want to protest already, but Shifu raises his hand, "But you don't need to fear that you could lose your precious freedom. As Acting Ensigns outside a Star Fleet Star Ship, you have only privileges and no duties. One of these privileges is that you can dock at every Station of the Jade Republic and land in every colony and outpost not important which function these locations have. At least till Rank Two."
"Awesome. Rank Two!" Po exclaims.
"Is this high?" I ask.
"Yeah, the highest besides Rank One."
"Aha….how many Ranks are there?"
I sigh and Shifu shakes his head.
"And…you get this." he gives us a pad. There are only numbers written on it.
"What is this?" I inquire.
"My Frequency. Only Admirals and the Prime have this. You can call to me every time you want. Completely secured and tap-proof and without bugs.", but after he saw Po's shining face, he adds threatening, "Don't dare to call for me except it is an emergency. Got it?!"
We nod both.
The Admiral sighs.
"Ah, yes there is another thing." he gives us another pad.
"Again numbers." Po mutters, but I recognize this kind of numbers.
"No, coordinates." I correct him.
"Yes. This is from Prime Oogway. He said it could be helpful during the mission you will start now."
"What will I find in these coordinates?" Po asks him.
"The Nebula, where Prime Oogway found the Jade Orbs."
I think Po is surprised.
"Wasn't this my Homeworld?"
"No. Only Prime Oogway knew these coordinates. No one knows what you will find there as well."
"Can you say thank you to Prime Oogway for me?"
"I will.", and with this he leaves this place with Agent Mask, who is as talkative as always since I saw him the first time around one month ago.
We keep silent for a while drinking our Champagne.
At the end Po turns his head to me.
"What will you do now, Cien?"
I take another sip of the Champagne.
"What will you do, Po?"
"I asked first."
"Yeah, but I don't answer, before you say it loud."
"I want to find my parents. And fulfilling my promise. These coordinates are the first clue, where I can start searching, so I will travel there. Maybe I will find hints about my parents or the Spectres there. But first I will need a ship."
He looks at me sternly.
"Well, I have thought about restarting my career as a Professional again." I reply finally
"This? You never said, of what you are a professional."
"Of everything, of course. I get every job done, which I accept." I scratch my head, "But I don't think it will be easy to find an employer now, when everyone knows me as an Acting Ensign of the Star Fleet."
Another reason, why I prefer to be free. Maybe I can find a way to hide this…
"I can be your employer." Po says suddenly.
I look at him. You?
"Yes me.", he interprets my face correctly.
"With what you want to pay me? Have you forgotten that I am greedy?"
"Maybe with knowledge. We will go, where no one has gone before."
"Yeah, but this is long ago and he had never told the exact coordinates to anyone beside us. And don't forget: Where ruins are, can be as well riches."
I look at him with an amused glare.
"Like the last one what?" I sigh and scratch my head once again….What I have to lose anyway? …My life. I look at him. But maybe this time it will be worth it. Never lose hope or doesn't the saying sound so?
"I assume that I will regret it someday, but I accept."
He seems to be happy.
"So which argument had convinced you?" he asks.
"No one. I hope that in this way the whole story of being an Acting Ensign can live down. And I am curious, if you are a better employer than accomplice-in-crime. There you were very bad."
"What? That's not fair."
"Nothing is fair in this world. Remember this."
We leave the Tower chuckling.
I stay in the Starport. In front of me is the entrance to Aijna, which Cien enters right now.
I stop and look behind. Jade Station….my home. I have said goodbye to every old friend as well like Mr. Ping. He knew from the start, that I was not the bad guy, who has done so many criminal acts while leaving Jade Station the last time. The last time…I left it, because I was forced to it, but this time I am leaving it voluntarily. I look up, where still a damaged part of the Jade Station is. The shields are still powered there and I can see the stars once again.
I have reached the stars, like I have dreamed for so long. I am a hero and my new home is the space beside the stars. I have an idea.
"Space. The Final Frontier.
These are the voyages of the one single Panda Po.
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out his parents and possible threats for the Galaxy
To boldly go where no one..."
"Po shut the hell up and come finally. I want to leave already." Cien says from the entrance and turns around again.
I add whispering.
"…has gone before."
This story ends here. But I bet some have guessed already that there will be a sequel. And yes I confirm it offiically here: There will be a sequel. But still don't know when. But the journey through the stars of the one single Panda Po will continue that is for sure. So stay tuned till then and don't forget to post your opinion about this story in the review section. Till then: Live long and successful my dear readers. :)
Kung Fu Panda and its Characters belong to DreamWorks.
This World and Idea is mine.
The quotation is a changed one from Star trek :)