Vadam angrily gripped his throttle as he drifted through space with what remained of his squadron following behind him in a relaxed formation. His grip was so strong that he almost snapped the control sticks. Though he was glad to be alive his anger at failing to kill the two Zordons, and losing several of his pilots, overwhelmed it significantly. Ever since Vadam gave the order to retreat when the Zordon fighters arrived he was mentally beating himself with all four of his arms. The very thought of retreat was infuriating to a true Xulon, even if it was the only real option to succeed. Even though they retreated a while ago Vadam still had to remind himself constantly that he retreat was a strategical move if they wanted to accomplish their assigned task.
Vadam sighed loudly, letting out whatever rage he had built up. “So, this is what failure feels like, I hate it.”
Glancing over his shoulder his two hearts both sank at the sight of what remained of his squadron still following him, despite their failure. Of the twenty Starfighters and starships that had left with him twelve remained; the rest, perished at the hands of the Zordon rescue team. The ships that remained were damaged in some way except for a couple. Seeing what remained of his once proud squadron made the memories of the Zordon fleet bringing down his pilots quite vividly. He had a front role seat to the whole thing and watched each one of them either crash or get blown up. Being an experienced combat pilot he was used to losing pilots but never failing, he didn’t know what was worse.
Dest it, what kind of a Commander fails twice. Vadam growled as he raised his arms and slammed them hard onto the dashboard, leaving huge imprints.
Vadam was somewhat happy to be situated cockpit of his fighter, and being positioned at the front of their formation, so none of his pilots could see him in his sorry state. He had been trained by his father that a Commander never shows fear, anger, or concern where their subordinates could see it as any sign of weakness would certainly result in a unit falling apart, hence causing defeat. He had witnessed it himself more than once among the standard Xulon fleet and had made a habit of it only showing sorrow in private. His cockpit provided the almost perfect opportunity for it except it was so fragile that one good swing, even from his shorter upper arms, would cause significant that he simply didn’t need.
Due to their current situation, drifting through space with a severely reduced squadron and no accurate destination, Vadam certainly didn’t feeling like a leader. Returning to the Xulon fleet, without having completed their tasks, was certainly not an option; even though they needed repairs and resupplies. To make things worse he was certain there was no non-hostile planet in the System, or anywhere nearby, they could go either. That left the squadron with little options than drift they find a place to stop, or till Vadam came up with a plan.
“Am I really a true Commander if I cannot complete a simple execution mission?” Vadam leaned back in his seat and mumbled softly to himself. “No, as long as I live the task has not failed and if I do die than in death I receive the honor of destruction.” Vadam looks dove his should at the pilots following him. “I am it sure they see it the same way though.”
Though Vadam had the volume on the communications panel turned down low he could make out what the other pilots were saying and it didn’t feel him with hope. Though they were not saying much, only occasionally speaking to complain of speak casually to each other, it was always the same thing; either wanting to go home or some sorrow about their loses and defeat. Not one of the pilots seemed too confident in their current situation and Vadam couldn’t blame them one bit after their defeat and losing comrades. All Vadam could really do was listen to their complaints for the time being as he tried to plan a course of action.
“Commander, do we head back to the fleet?” Vadam heard a fellow pilot call out that snapped him out of his trance.
Vadam shook his head, even though none of his pilots would see it, and sighed loudly. “That is not possible young soldier. We have not killed our target and Xulons do not return till we fulfill or tasks, even if it ends in us never returning at all.”
The chatter that echoed over communications from his response nearly made Vadam mute the volume as it hurt his ears, or it would have if their race has ears. It almost instantly became a shouting match with every pilot casting in their opinion. There was so much chatter that Vadam, who remained silent, couldn’t make out a single word or who was winning. He almost face palmed himself, with both of his short, upper arms at the frustration of overhearing their bickering, which continued for what several moments with no clear aim.
“ENOUGH ALREADY DEGENERATES!” Vadam’s second in command Officer Ulong Grate shouted, causing an end to the constant arguing on the spot. “Why in the Dest are we arguing over such a matter? If you are a true Xulon than you know what we need to do and that is not up to debate.”
“But Officer Grate . . .” A pilot started speaking only for Officer Grate to interrupt.
“There are no buts about it. Either you are a true Xulon and will follow our Commander to success or leave us.” Officer Grate angrily stated.
The communication panel remained silent for what seemed like forever with Vadam barely hearing anyone mutter a word. He had to cover his mandibles to keep from chuckling over how effective Officer Grate was at not just shutting everyone up but also at reminding them of their true purpose as Xulons. Just by glancing out of his cockpit he could see how effective his speech was, and he didn’t say much. One by one the Xulon pilots resumed formation behind Vadam, not one choosing to leave. Even though he would not blame any for leaving it made him quite proud to see that all of his remaining subordinates were true Xulons and ready to fulfill their duty.
“Thanks Officer Grate.” Vadam stated, getting a muffled welcome, than switched the communications back to “for all” and spoke confidently. “I swear to you that we WILL succeed and return to the fleet, no matter what it takes. Our certainty is assured for we follow the will of Xulos.”
The volume of cheering that come over the communication channel made Vadam shutter as it was so loud it would have nearly busted his eardrums. The sheer intensity of what he heard, and the joy and spirit in each voice, was both joyful for him and painful as he had rub his head from the suddenness of it. From the communication control panel he could confirm that every pilot was joining in the cheering. Every chant seems to be genuine telling him that all of his subordinates were truly on board, ready to carry out their task even if it meant their death. If Xulons had tear ducts all four of his eyes would’ve had tears in them from the joy in hearing his subordinates cheer with pride. Being the leader of such a devoted croup filled Vadam with pride, building his desire to push forward with them.
Despite the renewed spirit amongst his pilots Vadam was faced with a major problem that no one seemed to be bringing up; the lack of direction they faced. Though they had a real goal and the desire/determination to set it through, how they were going to accomplish it was unknown. He was certain that the Phoenix women and the human who assisted them were back at the Zordon fleet already, making it near impossible to get to them. Even if he had his full squadron such a move against the fleet would be certain suicide and he would prefer to avoid that unless it was a last ditch effort to regain their honor. The thought made it difficult for Vadam to join in the shouts of his subordinates as his mind raced to come up with a solution.
Vadam tapped on the dashboard of his fighter as he tried to think. “All we need is a single opportunity and we can send them to Destruction. But the chance of the opportunity is a . . .”
The answer to Vadam’s problem came suddenly, before he could finish muttering, in the form of a shout from his communications officer. “Commander, we have an incoming message . . . from the Zordons.”
Vadam looked up from his control panel, fighting back a gasp while hearing several from his subordinates. Having heard quite a lot in his time, receiving a direct message from a Zordon was something he never thought he’d ever hear. Or it would have been if it wasn’t something that was commonly known among Xulon commanders that the Zordons had a traitor in their ranks; a pretty high ranking one if the rumors were to be believed. The secret was kept from the standard Xulon soldiers and Vadam had trouble believing it himself but in that moment he was willing to believe anything and accept any help.
“Patch it through; we will see who it is.” Vadam casually replied as he switched the communication terminal to hologram
Vadam leaned back in his seat, setting his starship to cruise, as the communications pilot worked quickly to set up the connections between them and their caller. Given the difference in the two species communication technologies getting a clear communication was no easy task and there was no clear cut way to do it. They never communicated with each other before beyond sending threats to each other so open communication was not practiced. Thankfully, Vadam didn’t have to wait long before the miniature hologram display on his control panel was lit, showing he was connected to the caller. His four eyes lit up in shock to see that the holographic display of a tall Zordon staring back at him. Though the hologram was only the size of a large action figure, Vadam could clearly make out that the individual was wearing a Zordon Admiral uniform and appeared to be quite young, especially for the average Zordon Admiral and General, and fluffy compared to most other Zordons.
Vadam sadistically smiled as he looked down at the hologram. “Zordon Admiral Quin Fulcrom, I must say, I’m surprised to hear from our dear friend.”
The hologram smirked back and crossed his arms. “Commander Vadam Gerald I take it. I have been look for you.”
“Hm, should I be honored to hear that such a high ranking Zordon is looking for me?”
“Indeed, since I know where your target is and am willing to help.” Admiral Quin replied. “If my resources are to be believed you are after Admiral Quatar’s daughter right?”
Vadam’s mandibles formed a smile, acting like it was nothing for an enemy Admiral to have such detailed information on his task. “Hm, you are quite well informed, friend of the people of Destruction. Though why would you be willing to help me kill one of our own?”
The hologram of Admiral Quin shook his head and paced back and forth across the top of his control panel. “Let’s just say Admiral Quatar needs to be brought down, losing his daughter will make it clear to the other Admirals and Generals of his lack of leadership.”
Vadam chuckled internally as he leaned forward in his seat, closely examining the hologram. Due to the high graphics of the hologram he could see the expressions of the Zordon Admiral clearly as if he was looking at a miniaturized version of him. He could see by the Admiral’s expression that he was as serious as he could be. Vadam didn’t know much about Admiral Fulcrom, only what others had told him, which wasn’t much. After everything Vadam had experienced recently he could honestly care less what the Admiral’s reasons were for betraying his face and given his situation there really wasn’t much of a choice. If his squadron wanted to return to the Xulon fleet ever again they had to find the Zordon that got away, and the human who assisted her. Until then they would have to remain away from the fleet or risk being executed on the spot for failure. That knowledge made Vadam’s choice quite easy due to a lesson he learned early on in his life; never waste an opportunity.
Vadam chuckled as he casually replied. “Alright, tell me what information you have.”
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