Star Brink: The Crash

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The Xulons

Chapter 7: The Xulons

Xulon Lead Battlecarrier

“YOU IDIOT!” General Brack Galun screamed at the top of his lung at Commander Vadam Gelard. “How can you let the daughter of a Zordon military fleet Admiral slip through your fingers?”

Vadam looked up at the five Generals positioned on the raised platform above him as calmly as he could. Other than the two armed guards at the door they were only ones occupying the large, round room. Vadam stood in the center, which was little more than a large circular platform where individuals being questioned stood with an open area behind him with chairs for an audience but at that moment was empty. In front of his was where the Generals were seated on a floor that was significantly raised so that they could look down on him. Standing there, with all those high ranking, red eyes glaring down at him did not put Vadam at ease. He was nothing more than an insect compared to them despite being in command of a large and talented squadron himself. Keeping his stoic composure had proven to be quite difficult from the first moment he walked into the room only a short time ago and got worse when he was immediately berated with questions, causing him to lower his head for a moment in shame.

The five Generals positioned in a curved table, with the highest rank in the middle, were among the tallest and muscular Xulon’s he had seen, given their species never stops growing. Even the smallest General, Galun, stood a good bit taller than Vadam and was quite a bit more muscular. Though their long necks had started bending that didn’t stop them from being taller, let alone more intimidating. Their four mandibles were each growing farther apart but their long teeth still appeared to be just as sharp as his, if not more so. None of them had reached the point where a Xulon’s red eyes start to glaze over but their thick scales had changed from the typical dark green to light blue which normally happened when one reached old-ish age. Vadam’s own scales were still green but he could swear there was a tint of blue here and there. Despite each of the Generals’ age their four arms were still quite muscular. He had heard how they were the physical epitome of what it meant to be an Xulon and being before them in that moment he could see why.

Standing below in the gazes of such powerful individuals in the Xulon society so soon after arriving back to the primary fleet certainly did not make it any easier for Vadam. Nearly as soon as that Fennix woman jumped to Earth he received a message to report back to the fleet for an incident report. At first he thought it was a joke up obeyed anyway, not willing to risk his career and/or life if it was real. It wasn’t till he was pulling into the hangar and his local General informed him of the situation that he realized how serious the situation was. Thankfully he was able to keep his composure in front of his subordinates and head to the meeting room where he currently was to find the highest ranked Generals waiting for him. They wasted no time getting the meeting started, giving Vadam no time to prepare. He hated himself for being recently promoted to Commander if having Generals criticize every move he made was what he had to deal with. Despite everything working against him Vadam remained as calm and honorable as possible to keep his rank, and mostly likely his life as well.

“I did not let her escape Generals.” Vadam finally answered sternly. “My squadron managed to damage her ship severely before she jumped and . . .”

“So you are admitting she escaped?” Galun smugly interrupted.

“No General, she retreated.”

“And you think that will help your case? There is VERY little difference between the two.

“Enough of a difference that it changes how we look at things.” General Gathu spoke up than turned to Vadam. “Though it does not matter if the circumstances do not work out in your favor.”

“I know General, but considering we know where she is I would not say we failed. Downing an enemy is a success and I did complete the mission I was given.”

“But you lost fighters and were spotted. I would not call that successful.” General Galun angrily replied than looked at the other Generals. “And I am sure my fellow Generals agree with me.”

Vadam growled silently to himself, not allowing the Generals to see his frustration. If it wasn’t for being raised to respect the Generals he would not hesitate to put them in their place, particularly Galun. All he could honorably do was stand there in the center of the room and take their berating statements and only speak to answer a question. Vadam did as he was raised to do, stand there with his top arms crossed in front of his body as his bottom arms were behind him; the only indication to his rage was his mandibles occasionally clicking.

“So Commander, what do you have to say for yourself?” General Galun shouted as he stood up, placed his top arms firmly on the table, and glared down at Vadam. “Is there anything you can say to retain your honor?”

Vadam cleared his throat before speaking. “Yes I do honorable Generals.” Vadam did his best to calm his mind and keep his honor-bound posture though he did not respect most of them. “The woman was clearly a worthy and very skilled opponent to take out as many of our fighters as she did. From what I observed engaging her Admiral Quatar’s daughter in combat that she is truly an enemy worth losing fighters to.”

The room fell silent as three of the five Generals smiled down at him while one had a questionable expression while Galun was certainly angry at his response. The three who seemed to be satisfied with his decision, Gathu, Getro, and Greton, were the oldest and easily most experienced in the room, all understanding the importance of a worthy opponent, especially when it came to the Zordons. Finding a worthy opponent was something all Xulon’s sought and was deemed an honorable pursuit. However, it was clear to Vadam that not all of the Generals saw it that way.

“That is your response . . . an honor opponent?” Galun angrily shouted. “You cannot even think of a true response that retains your honor. Do you not even care about the results of . . .”

“Oh quiet young General.” General Greton shouted at Galun. “You never found a worthy opponent so you would not understand such matters.” Greton raised his hand to silence Galun. “And no, the Metro squad from Metropolus do not count as they were easily beaten when General Gathu showed up with a much smaller force.”

“That is why I voted against you becoming a General.” Gathu added, crossed all four arms under his massive chest, causing Vadam to curiously raise an eye.

Suddenly, before another word could be said, the door at the end of the room slid opened up revealing one of the largest Xulon’s in recorded history Absolute General Dolun Gobashu. Having only seen him on screens laying eyes on him in person was an entirely different matter and kind of an awe-inspiring moment for Vadam. Even the other Generals, who had no doubt been in his presence, were a bit of taken back by him being there. Just his height made him quite imposing since he stood at least a head taller than everyone in the room, Vadam only came up to his chest and he was quite big for an Xulon. The fangs on Gobashu’s four mandibles were almost animal like as were his eyes that had taken a dark red tone that wasn’t seen among others of their race. Even Gobashu’s four arms were more muscular and quite a bit longer than other Xulons with the claws on his four digits appearing to be sharper, possibly able to rip through the tough, scale-like skin of another Xulon with ease.

Everyone in the room watched silently as Gobashu stepped into the room and walked confidently towards the center. No one said a word out of respect and awe as the large Xulon made his way to position beside Vadam who just stood there. Vadam had to step aside to allow room for Gobashu as the center spot was certainly not big enough for them both. He felt tiny compared to the massive Xulon and it took everything he had to remain where he was even after stepping back and could only wait for him to speak.

“So, tell me, my subordinate Generals. What is this about Zordon Admiral Quatar’s daughter that has caused such a commotion?” Gobashu spoke up, breaking the silence before turning to Gelard. “To make things easier for all of us how about you start from the beginning.”

“Of course Absolute General, but there is not much to tell.” Vadam began speaking only for General Grot to cut him off.

“Why are you asking for his opinion? The Absolute General is much too important to be asking such things from a . . .” General Grot began only for a quick glare from Gobashu to shut him up.

“As the Absolute General I have the authority to talk to whoever I please . . . WITHOUT lowly Generals being a bother.” Gobashu spoke up in such a casual but also fearsome manner that no one in the room dared to speak a word before turning back to Vadam. “Please continue young commander.”

“Yes Absolute General.” Vadam bowed his head while trying to keep his composure. “My squadron was sent to the Solar System on a scouting assignment with the objective to find a route into the System for the fleet and detect any weaknesses in the Zordon fleet guarding it.”

“Hm, were you successful on those objectives?”

“I would say so since we managed to get to the asteroid belt with no issues . . . till we ran into Admiral Quatar’s daughter all by herself.” Vadam confidently answered. “I do not know what she was doing all by herself but it clearly was on accident that we bumped into each other. That led to dogfight that cost us a few fighters before she was damaged and escaped.”

“And where did she escape to?” General Galun smugly asked.

“To earth where we believe she crashed.” Vadam answered back while glaring at the General. “After that we headed back here and that is about all there is to tell.”

“Except for the possibility that the Zordons now no doubt know of our presence in the system.” General Galun added.

Vadam glared angrily at the General who barely acknowledged his existence beyond glancing at him. If it wasn’t for the other Generals in the room he would’ve shouted at Galun, if not ripped his mandibles off. He had grown tired of the General putting him down every time he spoke and was nearly at the last straw. The other Generals remained quiet and reserved, instead focusing on Gobashu who had appeared to be paying attention to what Vadam said. From how the other Generals behaved they were awaiting his response as due to his presence only his opinion mattered. Unlike the others he appeared to be the only one thinking the incident through before making any kind of response but for some reason didn’t make him feel any less uncomfortable.

“Hm, this leaves us in quite a predicament. With our forces still assembling we are not in the best condition to make any move on Earth. Even more so with General Quatar no doubt being nearby. This means we must be cautious with every move we make.”

“That is why I suggest we ask the great and powerful Xulos for what we should do.” General Galun spoke up.

The room fell deathly silent as the other Generals, including Vadam, focused on Gobashu whose presence emitted an aura of pure, diabolical rage directed towards General Galun. To Vadam, who was standing just a short distance away from Gobashu, it felt like he was standing next to an object that was about to go off in a massive explosion. He didn’t dare move out fear of being the target of Gobashu’s impending rage and was just happy it was directed at Galun. That did not make it any easier for Vadam to remain in his spot when he wanted to run to the far side of the galaxy as even there he doubted he’d be safe.

“General Galun, what kind of fool are you?” A quiet roar escaped Gobashu’s mandibles as he angrily shouted in a manner that made the room feel like it was shaking. “The lowest ranking General here dares to suggest speaking to the all-powerful Xulos as if it was a casual matter? You, who are not even fit to speak his name in the presence of his representative?” Gobashu clenched his four fists to the point Vadam self-end could see blood coming from his palm. “Are you trying to commit suicide by invoking his wrath?”

Vadam remained as quiet as possible as did the other Generals who all took steps back to distance themselves from Galun. In just a matter of moments all the stories of how imposing Gobashu could be that Vadam had heard were more than proven true. He was already a scary individual just by his appearance; seeing him angry was a different matter entirely. What made the moment even worse was that Gobashu was completely right; bringing up the Xulon deity by name was an insanely moronic thing to do. Every Xulon knew better than to mention the god’s name in such a casual manner. Only his representative, in their current case Gobashu, could mention his name outside of the chapels.

Vadam watched in shocked as Galun jumped over the tables and prostrated himself before Gobashu so quickly it was a blur. “I am sorry Absolute General for speaking the all-powerful god’s name in vain. Please forgive my stupidity and let me live so I can regain my honor.”

Vadam and the other General could only blankly stare at the spectacle unfolding before them while Gobashu glared angrily down at Galun. It was clear to Vadam that he wasn’t the only one who had never witnessed such a scene before. Xulon Generals were known for demonstrating courage even in the most desperate situations; that’s how they received the rank. In Galun’s case, everyone had heard the stories how he singlehandedly charged a Zordon battleline in a nearly destroyed tank and secured victory that day, losing his lower left arm in the process. To see him prostrating before the Absolute General in that moment made it nearly impossible for Vadam to believe it was the same Xulon from that day. It demonstrated to him how serious the situation was and just how imposing a figure Gobashu was; and the importance of not taking their deity’s name in vain.

After what felt like an eternity Gobashu finally spoke. “Fine, leave immediately before I decide to send you on an honor mission.”

Vadam remained a stoic composure while on the inside he was laughing. The thought of Galun being sent on an honor mission, which are basically suicide, was quite amusing to him. He had never heard of anyone, other than one individual whose name escaped him, that actually returned alive after successfully completing an honor mission. Galun certainly appeared to know he would perish as well if Gobashu decided to send him on one and that promoted him to jump to his feet and run for the exit. Almost instantly Galun had exited the room and was long gone. Vadam could only stand there in amazement having never seen a General behave in such a manner; it would have been comical if Gobashu had not looked so serious and furious through the whole scenario. It allowed him to see not only the kind of fear and respect that Gobashu commanded but how seriously he should be when it came to bringing up their deity.

“Now that the embarrassment is gone we can get back to the matter at hand.” Gobashu spoke in a calm tone while everyone remained silent.

For several moments the Generals just looked back and forth between each other and Gobashu, occasionally glancing at Vadam. After seeing Gobashu’s outburst no one dared to say a word, as if they forgot the reason they were meeting in the first place. Even the most experienced General Gathu kept his mouth shut. The longer the silence continued the more uncomfortable Vadam got to the point he had to restrain himself from shivering. Gobashu see me to get more frustrated with each passing moment with no one speaking, Vadam could see his fingers fighting in annoyance, but that appeared to only make it harder for anyone to speak up.

“Hm, apparently I misread the room or misunderstood the importance of the matter we were discussing.” Gobashu spoke up after no one did for what felt like an eternity. “Maybe tensions are just too high to discuss the matter and we need a break.” Gobashu continued in a calm tone, looking around the room at each individual before speaking again. “For the time being I am calling a dismissal for the meeting and we will resume shortly.”

Much to Vadam’s surprise, every General except for Galun, who was still cowering after Gobashu’s lecturing, nodded in agreement. Though the Xulon Generals were known for agreeing quite easily with each other after the intense argument he witnessed seeing them in agreement was shocking. He knew that General Gobashu was right to suggest a break so everyone could cool their heads and was quite glad for that opportunity to get out of the spotlight and was not about to waste it himself.

As the Generals slowly piled up to their private quarters Vadam did the same but much quicker. He restrained himself from running and instead walked quickly towards the door at a moderate pace so the Generals would not notice. They didn’t seem to notice him anyway as they all appeared to be deep in thought trying to come up with solutions to their problem. That made it easy for Vadam to get past them unnoticed and quicken his pace as he got closer the exit.

Just as Vadam was nearly out the door Gobashu grabbed him firmly by the shoulder, stopping him in his tracks, and spoke softly and quietly to him. “Commander Vadam, I have a very special assignment for you. Follow me!”

Vadam slowly turned around, fighting back the urge to shiver, to see Gobashu starring down at him. It was the first time Vadam had looked into the eyes of such a powerful and high ranking member of Xulon society, let alone the one chosen to represent the all mighty Xulon deity, and it made him feel insignificant. As high ranking as Vadam was, being the commander of one of the best fighter squadrons in their military, looking up at the highest ranked member in their entire society he didn’t even feel like an insect compared to a giant. It took everything Vadam had to keep his composure and remain as calm, instead standing up to his full height, still barely coming up to Gobashu’s shoulders, and kept his military bearings.

“Yes Absolute General.” Vadam responded as confidently as he could.

Gobashu smiled and motioned with his top right hand towards the exit. Vadam nodded and hesitantly followed the much larger Xulon out of the room and down the long hallway leading to the main chambers of the floor. While the other Generals head to the main area Gobashu went down a private hallway that only be and a select few others were allowed to enter. Vadam reluctantly followed him as the door slid open leading to a near empty room except for a large desk and couple chairs. Gobashu entered and stood in the center of the room while Vadam slowly walked in and stopped in front of him as the door shut behind them. Vadam felt alone and tiny as the giant Xulon looked down at him, neither of them saying a word for a moment making him feel more uncomfortable with each passing second.

“So Commander Gerald, is your opinion of the situation?” Gobashu said, the question catching Vadam off guard.

Vadam nervously rubbed the back of his head. “You want my opinion? Me, a lowly commander?”

“Yes, you were there while the Generals were not. That gives you a perspective they simply do not have and I want to hear it.”

Vadam remained as stoic as he could while on the inside he was lighting up with joy AND confusion which made it difficult for him to reply for a few moments. “Well Absolute Admiral, my opinion is a bit mixed on the situation.”

“Hm, and why is that?”

“Because we have been looking for an opportunity to go Earth but the Zordon presence in that System has made it difficult in the past. To my knowledge we have tried at least three separate invasions and the Zordons repelled us each time. BUT, this incident showed me that they are slipping on their defense of the system.”

Gobashu gave Vadam a slightly confused expression. “Slipping, how so?”

“To put it simply, we were not detected upon entering the system and probably would have gone undetected if we had not accidently run into Quatar’s daughter.”

“Huh, so you were able to slip in completely undetected and you believe we could do the same?”

Vadam hesitantly nodded. “Maybe, if my squadron was able to do it than our fleet may be do the same but in groups and not all at once.” Vadam shook his head. “However, since we were detected that is questionable if our fleet will be able to do it. They will most likely be on the alert now so getting into the system will be quite difficult . . . though not impossible. We will just have of approach the System cautiously to avoid failure.”

Gobashu let out a chuckled click with his mandibles. “Very good analysis and straight to the point, I like it. I will certainly take it into consideration in our invasion plan.” Gobashu shrugged his four shoulders. “If you do your job right than I may have you leading a section.”

Vadam bowed his head. “It would be my honor Absolute General.”

“Of course, though first you have to regain the respect from the other Generals before such a thing would be permissible.” Gobashu responded with a commanding and sincere look. “That leads to my only other question; what is your opinion of Admiral Quatar’s daughter?”

Vadam stared blankly at Gobashu unsure how to respond. It was not the first time a higher ranking official had asked him such a question as it was a common subject Xulon soldiers would use to evaluate their skills. Often the commander would ask his subordinates what they thought of enemies they faced and each soldier was honor bound to answer honestly. Though to be asked by the highest ranking individual in Xulon society was unheard of and made Vadam a bit uneasy to answer it.

Vadam took a deep breath before answering. “Honestly sir, that woman was the most skilled pilot I have ever gone up against by far. She managed to take it three of my best fighters before we damaged her and she escaped.”

“Hm, you sound quite impressed.”

“That is because I am. Anyone who can fight against such odds has my respect. It is such a shame that she is a pilot for our enemy, otherwise I would recommend trying to recruit her.” Vadam confidently answered. “However, that would quite a disappointment as facing such a skilled opponent is always a great honor.”

“Ah, so those who died were slain by a worthy enemy?” Gobashu asked, getting a nod from Vadam as his response. “Good, than they died with honor.”

“Yes Absolute General, and I look forward to facing her again. A true Xulon warrior relishes in the opportunity to fight a worthy opponent, even if it means their death.”

“Good, it is quite reassuming to hear a commander speak in such a manner. It gives me great hope for the future of our task.” Gobashu let out what sounded like a chuckle. “But first, you got to find her and that will be no easy task ”

“Not quite as we did track her escape so we at least know she is on Earth. We do not know her exact location but I believe it would not be much of a challenge to find her.” Vadam let out a sigh. “But, given the matters at hand that is not an honorable task we can look forward to for the time being.”

“You are correct young commander, but I would not worry about if I were in your place. Let us Generals worry about that.” Gobashu replied with a slight compassionate smile.” That is why I have a special assignment for you.”

Vadam looked at Gobashu intrigued and honored of the possibility of the Absolute General having an assignment for him. “Whatever you want Absolute General, just ask and I will complete it.”

“I have no doubts on that, your record alone is proof of your talent and determination.” Gobashu replied in a confident and joyful tone. “After you failed to kill Quatar’s daughter the other General’s see you as a failure, despite your outstanding record. So, I believe you need the opportunity to regain it, and what is a better opportunity than going after your previous prey.”

Vadam’s eyes lit up. “You want me to go to Earth and finish that woman and her daughter.”

Gobashu nodded with a devious smile. “Not officially, your primary objective is to scout Earth. We need to know their technology level, their culture, politics, how united they are, pretty much everything you can. If you want to kill that girl while doing it than that is fine with me.” Gobashu placed a firm hand on Vadam’s shoulder. “You think you can accomplish this task and restore your honor?

Vadam could only nod at first as Gobashu looked down at him and awaited his response. If he was being honest with himself he had no idea how to properly respond. When the Absolute General offers a special assignment, or any assignment, it is practically required to accept it no matter how high ranked the individual was. The fact that he was offering to send him after the annoying Zordonian that shamed him only made it better. Add on being chosen to investigate a planet was also a huge honor. Combine it all together and there was no chance Vadam was going to refuse.

After what felt like forever Vadam was finally able to speak. “With pleasure your excellency.”

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