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Chapter 2

“My Lord, everything is in order. We await your command to commence the attack.”

“Very well General. I will signal my command when the time is right.”

The General bowed to his superior, Lord Veltron and took off to find and wait at his command location. Lord Veltron thoughtfully stared at the paining hanging above the gran Ruby doors that guarded the entrance of his throne room. This particular painting portrayed the regal figure High King Vex, Lord Veltron’s predecessor.

The painting itself was created a few years prior, just before the struggles of war plagued Galaxia against Scelsia; a war which Galaxia eventually lost and cost the High King Vex his life when he was publically executed in Scelsia. At the thought of this execution, Veltron’s blood started to boil. He could feel his hatred toward the Scelsians build and he turned this hatred into his motivation for launching an offensive against his neighboring country.

Veltron longed for revenge against Scelsia but most of all, he wanted the prized jewels, the Trinity. Although Veltron was considered the ruler and King of Galaxia, he could not officially be crowned High King because he did not possess the Trinity which was required in the ceremony of crowning a High King. This left him with the title ‘Lord’, which was still higher than most people, but Veltron was worried that this authority would be challenged if he did not regain possession of the Trinity soon.

With a slam of his fist on the arm rest to his throne, Veltron vowed to make Scelsia pay for the treachery they committed during the war. Veltron rang his bell summoning a servant. The Lord requested his royal battle armor to be brought to him. This armor was a sight to behold. Beside the amazing fact that it had been passed down from ruler to ruler for 13 generations, Veltron being the 13th, the metal was beautiful and fierce beyond all compare.

Arguably the most sensational piece was the helmet of the armor. The helmet from the front looked like a serpent’s head. On top of this serpent head was two other serpent bodies intertwining themselves to form one serpent head at the top. Wings spring out from each side of the helmet, giving the helmet the appearance of flying. As if the mere look of the helmet wasn’t enough, gold was inlaid to the outline of the helmet making the black and silver all shine and stand out upon each other.

Although the helmet is considered the most impressive section of the armor, the breastplate and shin-plates are no less impressive. The breastplate is decorated with the Galaxian flag which is made up of a flying serpent (explaining the serpent and wings on the helmet) and is colored with gold black and silver. The shin-plates are both black with silver and gold borders, making the steel itself a fierce sight meant to strike fear into any opponent that sees this legendary armor.

As Veltron donned on this piece of artwork, he ran through his invasion plan, making sure he knew every detail of what was going to transpire. Phase 1: Make sure that Scelsia was crippled by the speed of his invasion making no time for a counter push. Phase 2: Make your way towards the capital installing bases in major cities along the way. Phase 3: Enforce the position and force the Scelsian government to surrender, recognizing him, Veltron, as ruler of Scelsia.

Veltron smiled at the thought. He wanted to be ruler of Scelsia and Galaxia with all of his being. During this time of thought, his servant had finished securing his armor. He cleared his throat catching Veltron’s attention.

“Your helmet sir.” The servant said.

Veltron took the helmet and delicately set it upon his head, as if it would shatter if too much force was applied. He took a deep breath and dismissed his servant. A multitude of thoughts rushed into Veltron’s head. Victory and glory made his heart race and his blood pump. Before he knew it, Veltron was getting way ahead of himself. He forced himself to take a deep breath and calm down.

“One step at a time”. He thought to himself.

“President S., we’ve just received word from our spy network that Veltron is ready to move his troops. We don’t know the whole plan due to Veltron never speaking of important matters in front of servants, but we do know that the army will be moving in quickly and rapidly.”

“Thank you Paul. We should have seen this invasion coming sooner, but we’ll have to make do with the amount of warning we have.”

“Should I give the order to prepare the troops and arm the defence?” Mr. Williams inquired.

There was no hesitation from President S. and his response. “Yes. We need to be prepared as soon as Veltron crosses the border. Only then will we be able to stop his invasion before any problems can occur.”

Mr. Williams gave a slight bow the President before exiting the room. President S. was left thinking and hoping that the Scelsian army could quickly repel anything that Veltron sent their way.

President S. was fairly confident that he could repel any form of attack because of his knowledge of Veltron was vast. This was helped by the fact that President S. and Veltron went a long way back. In the Galaxian battle system, Veltron was a keen prospect. President S. was in charge of recruitment and he picked Veltron to be his pupil. As Veltron grew in strength and stature, President S. put more and more faith in his young pupil and they spent many hours together.

However, the bond was broken when the war started. Veltron whole-heartedly supported Vex’s plans of invading Scelsia as opposed to President S. who was not in favor of the takeover. President S. was instrumental in Vex’s demise, which led to Veltron’s hate of him. The president had sent information ahead of the immanent invasion and was instrumental in the sabotage of Vex’s army. After the war, President s. defected to Scelsia and has been leading them ever since.

President S. hoped that Veltron’s rash nature would help bring about his demise. The president hoped he knew enough about his old pupil to overcome him.

Mr. Williams re-entered the room and sat down next to the President.

“I didn’t want to discuss this with you before but we need to find the details out. What are we going to do about the kids? We can’t let them fight yet and we need them to finish their training.”

President S. ran his fingers through his hair while he thought of a response. After a minute or so he said, “You need to take them to Area X. This is the only safe place where they can finish their training from you and Zeke. In the meantime, I’ll stay here and fight Veltron. This move is temporary but necessary in case Veltron manages to overwhelm us here at the capital. In that case, Starlight will be our last hope. I’m trusting in you Paul.”

As much as Mr. Williams hated to leave his friend, he recognized the truth and wisdom behind the words being spoken. He took a deep breath and sighed.

“Well I’ll get them ready and leave within the hour. Hopefully we’ll be returning to the sound of victory.”

The two men shook hands and Mr. Williams departed to go find his new pupils and responsibility

Leith watched the city fade away from his view. As the city disappeared into the horizon, Leith leaned his head on the window of the hovercraft. Feeling the vibrations of the engine, he fell into a deep thought, thinking about the situation that was developing around him. He thought of his parents, Dean and Alexa. Leith thought how correct his dad had been in his assumptions and predictions for the future. A tear rolled down Leith’s face at the thought of his now deceased parents.

As a few more tears slid down Leith’s face, Crystal entered the small room that Leith was sitting in. She hesitated for a brief moment due to the sombre atmosphere in the room, but continued nonetheless. She silently found her way to Leith and sat down next to him. Crystal let her arms slip around Leith embracing him as she laid her head on his shoulder.

After a minute or two of silence, Leith returned Crystal’s embrace, wrapping his arms around her. The two sat in silence until Crystal whispered to Leith.

“The dinner party that I invited you to was supposed to mark the date of the relationship between us.”

“What do you mean?” Leith inquired.

“I was going to ask you to go out with me and be my boyfriend because I knew that you were shy and wouldn’t ask me. I decided to make it easier for you and ask you myself.” Crystal replied.

Leith seemed shocked at this news and took a moment to consider what he heard before he replied.

“So you like me as well? You love me the way that I love you?”

Crystal leaned over and whispered so quiet in Leith’s ear that he almost didn’t hear her.

“I don’t just like you Leith; I’m totally in love with you.”

Leith couldn’t stop the smile that spread over his face and said, “I love you too.”

Silence returned over the room as the new couple embraced each other and enjoyed the new connection and bond that was formed. Together they watched the landscape zip by below them as they waited for the arrival to Area X.

Crystal and Leith’s time together alone was broken by Zeke. He entered the room panting and exclaiming, “There you two are! We’re having a meeting and everybody needs to be there. This is just so everybody knows what’s going on and what will happen once we reach Area X.”

After a glance and a kiss between Crystal and Leith, they got up and followed Zeke back to the main room hand in hand. The trio quietly found their way back to the noiseless room that contained the rest of the people on board. Every face looked deep in thought except Jessica’s. A scowl appeared on her face instantly when she saw Leith and Crystal hand in hand. The new couple sat in the spot left for them by Jake and Ben.

“Well what do you want to tell us Mr. Williams?” Leith said.

The old man stroked his snow white beard saying, “There are several things that I want to talk to you guys about. The first thing has to do with where we’re going and why. As you’re aware, we are headed to Scelsia’s secret military base called Area X. We are leaving to go there because Veltron will be invading Scelsia and if he succeeds in taking control of the capital, we’ll be all that’s left for hope in Scelsia. Also, by going to Area X, you, Starlight, will be out of harm’s way until you are trained enough and able to take care of yourselves and fight as a cohesive unit.”

Jessica, in the foul mood she was in, decided to challenge her elder.

“Why keep us safe? Why don’t we just stay there and fight when the time comes? I mean, if the capital falls, it’s not like we can do very much about it anyway.”

If Mr. Williams was annoyed, he did not let it show on his face.

“Jessica I understand your point of view and opinion of the matter. However, the explanation is simple. Until you as Starlight are ready to fight, Veltron will be able to crush you guys without a second thought. Veltron has been fighting and training for far longer than any of you have. Scelsia needs heroes that are alive and effective, not dead. You’ll be trained up in a couple of weeks at Area X and then you will be a fighting machine that Veltron won’t be expecting which gives us the advantage.”

Resigned, Jessica stared at the floor pondering the rebuke to her argument. The other four twiddled their thumbs trying not to feel helpless in the upcoming invasion. Ben’s mind was whirling as he pieced together thoughts and formed a question.

“Does this mean that we are Scelsia’s only hope then? I mean, if the capital does fall, it’s not likely that there will be much to do except for hide out and try to strike hard enough to be able to reclaim the capital from Veltron, meaning we have to fight him directly and not go through a bunch of his men.”

Mr. Williams gave a sad smiled to Ben, and silently praised his intelligence. Mr. William’s next words were calm and soothing.

“Yes Ben. Starlight will be the hope of Scelsia if it comes to that. However, I do not think that will happen, nor do I want you to worry about such things until events play out. Veltron will be surprised and hard pressed to take us that easily because we have information of his invasion early and are able to prepare the defence.”

The mood in the room lightened considerably at these words. Looks were exchanged between the five members of Starlight as understanding and trust started to form between the teens. The realization that they were all each other had made them seem like their own family, working together through thick and thin.

Before Mr. Williams left the room he said, “Go and spend time together in the training room at the back of the hovercraft. You should practice your basic moves and your minds will be distracted from current situation. It will be good for you to start to bond as a cohesive unit.”

Everybody stood up and was ushered by Zeke in the direction of the training room. Light conversation had resumed between the teens, as a sense of normality took over and conversation started to flow more easily. Even Jake, normally a serious guy, was able to joke around with his friends.

“You guys know what I really want?” Jake asked with a grin.

“I don’t know Jake, what?” Leith responded stifling a laugh.

“I want a great big hot dog with ketchup and extra mustard!”

The group fell into laughter and even Jessica could not suppress a smile. It was a good time for Leith and his friends because for the first time since their recruitment, the teens were able to relax and have a normal life and conversation with the people they cared most for and trusted with their lives.

It only took a brief moment to reach the training room and Zeke asked for attention immediately once they were in the training room. He spoke with cheer and the happiness in his voice could clearly be heard.

“Now, I know that you guys have worked hard recently to reach the level of power that you are now. We’ll just do a quick recap with exercises and then we can practice our element beams in turn like we did at the academy.”

The teens nodded and formed a circle in the center of the room. They all took deep breaths and started to feel the power inside of them, like they were instructed. When they could feel it surging through them, hands went together to start forming the basic element sphere.

Leith was the first one to start forming his sphere, closely followed by Crystal. Ben, Jake and Jessica followed soon after with their spheres. The teens felt their power surge through them and they waited for Zeke’s instructions. After about 20 seconds, their mentor spoke.

“This exercise will help strengthen your ability to sustain energy spheres and help you create them faster. The faster and more powerful the spheres are due to sustain and speed they are created will greatly increase your battle potential by allowing you to fire off more attacks.”

Zeke paused as if considering what he wanted the teens to do.

“The first thing that we’ll do is create an energy sphere and let it go, then create another one and let that one go too. We’ll repeat this over and over. Right now, let go of the energy sphere that you have right now.”

The power was released from everybody’s sphere and breathing could be heard from the teens as they awaited Zeke’s command.

“When I say ‘go’, I want you to create an energy sphere as quickly as you can. Then when all of you have accomplished this, I’ll give the command, ‘release’, for you to let the energy go. We’ll do this time and time again until you can do this quickly and to the best of your ability.”

Leith closed his eyes and cleared his mind from all the distractions. Waiting for Zeke’s go ahead, Leith waited. He did not have to wait long as he heard Zeke say, “Go”.

Leith, along with the others, centered their minds allowing power to flow through them, trying to create the energy sphere quickly. They triumphed quicker than before but still not to the level Zeke was expecting.

Zeke stated, “All of you are trying too hard to force the sphere. It always happens the first time that I do this exercise, but it is not the best way to accomplish the task. Release.”

The energy sphere’s fizzled out as Zeke kept on explaining.

“The best and quickest way to create an energy sphere is to relax and let the power flow through you. Let the power do the work, just put your hands together and breathe. This will allow the sphere to be created and will not be stopped by you trying to brute force it to be.”

Zeke went quickly around the circle adjusting posture and positioning of his pupil’s bodies.

“Alright let’s try again.” Zeke ordered.

The next two hours were spent on this exercise as Starlight practiced over and over this advanced technique. Zeke was a patient mentor, helping out Jake and Jessica who were a little slower than the rest at accomplishing the task. He congratulated Leith and Crystal for their ability to quickly learn and Ben who was not far behind Leith.

At the end of the second hour, Mr. Williams entered the training room just in time to see Starlight bring their energy spheres up once again for the umpteenth time. As the power fizzled out for the last time, Mr. Williams spoke.

“Well done everybody. Your progress is remarkable! We shall be arriving at Area X shortly, so I’d recommend that you’re ready to depart the hovercraft. Meet in the main room in about 15 minutes.”

There was a murmur of “Thanks” and “Thank you” in the room as Mr. Williams left.

“Well.” Zeke said happily, “Go make sure you’re ready to depart the hovercraft. Chop chop!”

The exhausted but renewed esteem teens rushed off to their quarters to pack up their stuff. Zeke stood smiling for a minute thinking of the teens that were slowly becoming stronger. He imagined them fully trained in combat minds and thought, "They will be unstoppable."

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