He was never seen without them. Since shortly after Spectra had defeated the Federation, Zoltar was always accompanied by these particular bodyguards.
The stories about them were legion. Some were rumors. Some were out and out lies. All was speculation. The questions came from all sides, but nobody could identify them for certain, although some had their suspicions.
They had appeared suddenly, clad in the black and lavender of the Elite Blackbird squadrons; clothing similar yet different. Their wings were fuller, falling in graceful folds around lithe bodies; their faces unmasked.
No Blackbird could place an identity to these three. One was female. Females were never Blackbirds, yet none of the Galaxy Girls knew her either.
One was clearly Spectran, the other two, well; they could have been from anywhere.
All three were beautiful, in face as well as form. Tall, lithe and graceful in the way that a predator moves. Those who had seen them in action said that none could stand against them. Their movements were silent, and they left foes dead before most even realised they had moved.
Two men and a woman. She seemed fragile standing between the men, yet those who had fought against her could attest to her skill. She was taller than most females, her seeming fragility the result of the superior height and broader builds of her companions.
They were the elite of the elite. Accorded all the privileges of Spectran Elite, yet seeming also to be prisoners of Zoltar.
They guarded their Master, yet there were those who whispered… who would guard Zoltar against his guards? What would happen if they turned on him?
Oh yes, there were stories.
It was said that they were genetic constructs, experiments.
It was said that they were cyborgs.
It was said that they shared their Master's bed. Singly and as a group. Certainly this last could be stated with some certainty, as many had seen him passionately kiss all three. Many had seen the joy with which they greeted him. Many had seen them retire to the same bedchamber, and emerge the following morning.
Those who had seen them close; who had more or less daily contact, had said that at times, they seemed to hate their Master. At times, they all wore a look of indescribable longing.
One, who seemed to be the leader of the three, often looked to the sky, his blue eyes yearning.
Other than their great ruler, Zoltar and his sister Mala, only one man would be able to confirm the truth if he was to see them, and he was kept locked away, too dangerous to be free.
He spent his days locked in a prison of guilt, wondering where he made the mistake that sent his children to oblivion.
Thus it continued until five years after Spectra's victory.