Ghosts of the past. Part II- Code Name Cronus by Ebonyswanne
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Joe Asakura wondered why he still breathed. Drawing in a breath of stale air, he contemplated his
current situation.

He couldn’t wipe the image of his son playing and, out of nowhere he was blasted by and explosion
of sand, grit hitting his body, digging into his flesh, as he was thrown to the ground.

His bloodlust for revenge hadn’t sated inside of him for Jason and his crew. Tightening his biceps, he
wanted to escape his cell. Focusing on his targets Zoltar, Mala and a Devilstar named Sari.

The thought of killing them slowly, for what they did burned in the Condor’s veins. He could control
it until the time came, he had patience, he had learned it from years of seeking revenge during the
Galactor wars on Earth.

Losing track of time in his Spectran prison cell, he had daily exercise in a small walled yard since he
managed to calm down enough to realize being a roaring loin- uncooperative fool wasn’t helping his
situation or enabling him to find ways of escape- To have his revenge he would pretend to toe the
line for now.

Everyday his thoughts filled with images of his family. Ken, Jun, Jinpei, and Ryu. Jun had to be
pregnant again by now, the pair of them popped out babies like rabbits. A boy or girl he pondered,
and what they named the kid?

He had too much time to think.

How old would Jason be now if he lived? What day is it? With no sunlight to track it, it all blended.
Time meant nothing- it passed him by like running water down a drain after a storm.

Much the same as it did for almost two years of being transformed into a human cyborg.

“Uncle Joe.” The sounds of small children’s voices echoed in his memories- Ken and Jun’s young kids.

The only thing now that could bring tears to his eyes was thinking of his family and wondering if they
had become targets too.

Were they all safe? Or had they been forced out of their homes and running. Closing his eyes, sitting
with his legs crossed, he hoped not. It was hard enough when they had to escape narrow situations
in birdstyles and weapons drawn.

With small children, he couldn’t imagine. Ken would become one terrifying, protective Eagle of his
nest. Jun her talons, would dig deep, ripping into anyone hurting their fledglings.

He had seen neither Zoltar or Mala in months, barely since their first visit. The Berge Katse
impersonator haunted his dreams.

The sight of him in the flesh, sent shivers through to his core. Who would think to wear the same
clothing as that insane psychopathic creature. Was he a fan of the former Galactor leader?
Shuddering, he planned to kill him before he did any further harm.

His only visitor resided in his head, by the Luminous One.

Sosai Z’s relative. Each time he told the spindly being to take a hike. “Fuck off you spirit being
bastard, told your other relatives to fuck off- so you can too. Now take a hike out of my head.” Joe
mentally snarled like a wild cat mentally ready to go into battle.

Anything insulting he come up with when it entered his head to make it leave him alone. Some of
the conversations became mentally violent others he growled the whole time.

He was surprised he was still alive. During his time, he began to wonder how much truth was in
Zoltars words. Would he have taken Berg Katse’s word as truth? Maybe not- Joe figured.

He would have rammed the lying son-of-a-bitches, words down his scrawny throat with a feather
shuriken to make sure he understood it.

Adjusting his orange and green prison attire, isolation had been his only friend, he talked to Ken to
keep him company. His endless imaginary lectures had been enough to distracted him- for some
people it would drive them insane.

Accustomed to tough situations and isolation it was refreshing not to have to share a cell with some
lunatic that talked too much. He’d have to regularly deal with it, and he assaulting your cellmate
wasn’t an ideal way to create calm and plan escapes.

He could hear them down the corridor babbling brooks and cries of frustration. This hell hole was
just one more in his life. Being turned into a cyborg, was more painful and isolating than his rock
walled cell.

Thinking back to Ken and Jun he hoped if Ken had worked it out- that he’s not dead he would stay
with Jun and not run off into the galaxy searching for him.

She needed him home with their kids, it was hard enough for them when they gave up Dyami, all
those years ago, during the war with Galactor. If they were alright.

He could take care of himself. Tugging at his beard- his unshaven features and growing hair would
make him unrecognisable to anyone who didn’t know him well.

For now, he would wait for a time when could see an opening, he would try to think in the way Ken
would.
He was a commander, in the time he had his ship he learned to respect more of what Ken had on his
shoulders during their days as the Science Ninja Team. To think more wisely, even if he was still
trigger happy and gung-ho in battle, hold back a little, think.

He missed Asha, her touch and presence, touching the golden angel he prayed Zoltar lied about his
ship the Endeavour. He should have tried harder, instead he left her without a word of how he felt
about her.

Asha was smart, she might have escaped, if so he hoped she would find clues of any Spectran
activity, get in touch with Ken.

She promised to contact him once she reached Earth, he had given her Ken’s details should she had
trouble reaching him. Asha, please be alive… someone he loved had to live…

Damn it! Joe cursed his tumbling thoughts. He had way too much time to think in this place, he was
starting to sound like Ken in his head.

Ken talking in his brain, or that Luminous thing, what was worse? Both poised for a hostile takeover.
“Piss off.” Grunting, he unfolded his legs.

Taking his food from the slot he ate the basic prison meal, sloshed down the water and pushed it
back under the door to the guard.

He had to find a way out and warn the Federation of Spectra’s growing army.

The sounds of voices caught his attention drawing Joe out of thoughts and back into the prison cell.
The sound of his door sliding over and the two, people standing there with guns pointed at him
ready to shoot. Mid bite, he side glanced the familiar uniforms.

“What? You guys going to a costume party?” Finishing his meal, the two stood there waiting. “Time
for me exercise huh.”

Grimacing, as he started to rise to his feet, thoughts of fighting his way out and winging it flooded his
overcrowded brain

“No, No, No.” Zoltars familiar oily voice could be heard from the other side. “Get him into chains.
The animal is dangerous… We need to have a chat.”

Seizing his chance- and launching at the guards. He could take them down in a few swift moves. A
bee sting hit his throat as he collapsed onto the floor in a groggy heap, his mechanics throw into an
unco-ordinated mess before his world sank into the black void of space.


###################


Ken arrived at the clinic, he had the body transported to the location of the grieving mother to find
that it was the body of her son. The had samples, and took them to the lab near the resort to find
they matched. The plot thickened, he was caught in a Sherlock Holms plot, and he wasn’t sure which
role he played in it.

It stinks like a cover up, Ken thought after speaking to lab specialist who swore its Joes. Ken politely
pretended to accept the diagnosis and left the place. He went to four other locations following his
investigation into Joe being missing.

He had to careful in all of this, making sure the grave in Utoland was covered over. They even put
flowers on the grave to make anyone watching think they believed Joe to be dead.

Whoever did this was clever, and they didn’t want a trail. His thoughts trailed back to his last
conversation with Joe after dinner, transporting him back to the days of the war. Ghosts haunted
him, and he hoped one of them wasn’t Joe.

Joe mentioned seeing a ship that looked like Devilstar. No one had seen anything that resembled
one of those ships since the Galactor war ended. Could Joe have stumbled onto something someone
wanted quiet?

If that’s the case, why would they let him live. Ken pondered. Or would they want him for sadistic
purposes. The thought of his brother going through hell drove him to keep searching.

He had been away four months and their babies due date was yesterday. While Jun sounded okay on
the phone he could tell she was exhausted, over it, wanting the baby out. She was faking it, trying
not to put pressure on him and trying to keep things going with the kids crying in the background.
She was worried about going into labour without him there, even with Keyop arriving to look after
kids and help her out. He didn’t want to miss another birth of his child ever again.

He never had the right words to say to Jun to comfort her, but for some reason she saw his heart in
it and loved him for it.

He had learned to be thankful over the years for the simple things like that from her. He felt no
other woman would take half as much from him and love him the way she did.

So, he called a florist in Utoland and he sent Jun flowers with a note.

Coming home, will be there tomorrow. I love you- Ken.

It was the one romantic thing he figured she liked. He’d tried to put some effort into it.

Jumping into his twin-engine plane Ken started the motor, the humming noise gave him some peace.

Disappointed he had nothing to really tell Jun, Jinpei, and Ryu, at least he had confirmed one thing.

The ones who captured him missed one important detail when they sent that burnt unidentifiable
body to Utoland for burial. Joes cyborg body parts, the body they sent was entirely organic-- He
couldn’t be Joe.

Joe is alive somewhere, and Ken were going to find him.

#######################

Asha stood on the bridge of the Galaxy security-- Federation starship Endeavour. So far, the new
commander Bolivar drove her insane as much as he did the ships former Commander Joe Asakura.

Clenching her teeth at the way Bolivar swindled his way into the command chair of the Endeavour
within hours of her promotion, almost forced her to quit on the spot and find a posting back on
Earth. Pride halted her, the crew were going to need her there, Joe wouldn’t want to abandon them.
Bolivar and his high-ranking Uncle willing to do anything for prestige overturned the decision. She
fought it, but it within the higher ranks it held.

Bolivar tried to be like Commander Joe, but he lacked his experience and natural self-confidence.
When she presented problems to him, Bolivar found a way to have her make the decision.

Being his second in command he got away with it leaning on her, but not for much longer.

Second-in-command Asha kept a record of his actions for high command. Something she never had
to do with Joe.

He exhausted her patience, and today was no exception. He lacked the straight forward manner of
their former Commander, his faster actions saved the crew many times while in his command. Joe
earned their respect, Bolivar demanded it.

With Joe, there was no smoke and mirrors in how he commanded the ship, his crew respected him.
She could see a flinching in the ranks under Bolivar, he was too fast to demote a crew member over
Federation law at every turn. He didn’t procure the same respect and deep down he knew it, so he
worked harder to maintain control.

“Have you located a place to land.” Bolivar flatly commanded, adjusting his navy-blue collar. “Asha, I
want you to be sure, no surprises.”

Daring to glare at the back of his head, she wondered what ship he thought he was on. Joe took on
the challenge of surprises, expected to they would run into unexpected situation, not play it safe.

Damn it, she thought. I have to stop comparing. Asha chided herself. She missed how well she
clicked with Commander Asakura, they worked well together, she hoped things were going well with
his reunion with his son.

“We have had a location, but it also appears to have some activity,” Asha informed him, “Hopefully
not too much of a surprise for you Commander. Hopefully a few pirates that we can flush out just for
fun.” maintaining her professional attitude with a lacing of sarcasm.

What is he waiting for? She wondered. Commander Asakura would have been half way to the
surface by now.

Joe, he trusted his crew more than Bolivar did. The thought of Pirates she could picture a roguish
grin playing across Joe’s rugged features. Her heart fluttered at the thought of him.

Asha missed Joe in more than just his command. When they touched his final base before he
departed he promised he’d be waiting for her on Earth, she tried not to cling to those kind of
promises, made in a space port.

She served in exploration ships, how long would that be, another year even two. By then things
could be different by the time she arrived home on Earth. He could meet someone else, it had
happened to her before, arriving home to find her last boyfriend had moved in with a college girl
much younger than himself.

“Should we ready a landing party Commander, to investigate the site we found from the drone
viewing.” Asha suggested standing next to Bolivar, she had a way of making the suggestions so they
would look like his ideas.

She never had to work this hard with Commander Joe, he would already have a crew waiting to go
along with him usually no more than four, and usually she was part of the mission.
“Yes Asha, I was in the process of making sure everything was all clear.” Bolivar gave his permission
with a curt nod.

All Federation handbook checks ticked off no doubt. She frowned. ‘Yes Commander, the shuttle is
ready.” She had selected three, the Commander would join them, along with herself and, Clarie,
Hudson and Klipper.

Asha picked up a few extra weapons including the hand-held rocket launcher Joe used to bring with
him. Bolivar frowned when saw the extra weapons, she waited for the lecture on Federation
standards on how many weapons they were allowed to take on a mission.

She wondered if he made things up from time to time like the weapons. She didn’t recall a limit, only
what suited the mission, so close to the Spectran empire warranted more weapons.

Klipper nodded in approval at the sight of the rocket launcher with a smile, an older member of the
crew, he’d served on Earth in the Australian commando army forces, and later in the ISO, for twenty
years, dark skin, shaved head with a black goatee beard, rough manner, and an accent so thick she
barely understood him at times.

He joined the space exploration project as soon as it was launched, he proved to be valuable, he
figured if he was going to killed, it might as well be an adventure and in a gunfight.

Klipper, held his own in a fight knew how to follow orders and use his own instincts, he wasn’t afraid
to speak his mind if he felt a situation warranted it, Asha liked him.

Joe picked him as part of the ground crew every time. Someone needed to keep the two of them in
check and it usually was Asha.

Clarie and Hudson were younger, able in their positions enough to do a ground crew run, Clarie, she
was good with electronics, her third tour of duty, and Hudson a young trainee, so far, he had shown
promise and needed ground crew experience.

Asha, while radar, and sonar were her speciality trained areas within the ISO on board Starships
bringing her part of the bridge crew.

Her degrees in biology and biochemistry from Oxford university England made her a useful member
of ground crews when they came across strange vegetation.

She collected samples on missions for the labs back on the newly established space stations for
potential diseases that could affect new settlements.

The current planet the Federation had listed for them to check out was bordering on the Spectran
empire. Not yet settled, the Federation were wanting them to explore around the surface, they were
to claim it for the Federation before Spectra tried too.

The shuttle bounced as the pilot entered the planet’s atmosphere, burning through the initial ozone
the levels of oxygen to carbon proved to viable. They would all wear protective clothing due to alien
unknown bacteria on an unexplored planet.

The shuttle finally came to a landing site.

On the edge of a rocky mountainous terrain stood before them boarded by vast forests, Asha
sighted a wide river indicating potential for life and made note to gather water samples. If the
federation were looking at settlement locations, they’d need to know the quality of essentials such
as water sources and soil.

The unnamed planet appeared to have potential, they just needed to see what the activity they’d
picked up from the drones could be.

Stepping out of the shuttle with her mask on, Klipper had the rocket launcher over his shoulder
following close behind her, his eyes darting around the broader landscape looking for hostilities.

Commander Bolivar addressed the landing party. “The activity was spotted over the ridge, we have
to walk a fair way, but at least they wouldn’t have spotted the shuttle landing here.”
Asha waited for his orders, as usual he gave her side glance, as long as she made it look like his idea
he could be pleasant. A comment to her a few months ago, set her on edge. It related to Joe
Asakura, and her relationship with him, Bolivar hinted at unauthorised relations between them.

That her recommendation was because of other feelings their former commander had for her. Asha
didn’t take the insult, Joe hadn’t made a move on her the whole time, if he recommended a
promotion she was confident it was her ability to lead, not just his feelings for her. They had been
professional for two years, neither acting on what they felt-- only in those few hours before Joes last
landing had they broken any Federation rules. She had no regrets when it came to that time.

She wondered is he used it debunk her promotion, even the suggestion in fleet command would be
enough in its current environment of enforcing deep space boundaries on crews.

Drawing in a breath, she checked her oxygen tank, until they could sure of the atmosphere around
them. She viewed the equipment, thinner than Earths, same level ratio of carbon to oxygen as
recorded by the drone a few days before. Low sunlight from the star smaller than the one that
provided light to Earth.

They’d only be needing the tanks if they became dizzy while adjusting on the walk to site. Informing
the crew, she turned off the tank to preserve it and removed her breathing mask.

They headed on the rocky terrain for a few hours towards the site. Reaching the ridge line, they hide
from sight to observe the activity below in the valley.

Taking the sonic binoculars Bolivar observed the site.

“Looks quiet, nothing there. I’m not sure what the drone really picked up now.” Bolivar handed Asha
the binoculars.

Watching the ground, she wondered if something was behind a cluster of rocks down in the valley
near a rocky wall.

“I could go in closer, see if we can find a cave entrance. Pirates are known to hide their operations
well.” Asha turned to her commander and waited for confirmation. Bolivar considered her idea.
“We can wait it out a few hours, see if they show up if they are there.” He indicated they take it in
turns to watch the area.

“Yes commander.” She replied.

Sighing, Asha would rather be active in the investigations. Getting in closer would more ideal and
save them time. Klipper and Hudson could cover from the ridge, Asha and the commander would
move in to and look for an entrance, and Clarie not far behind them ready to remotely call in the
shuttle should they run into trouble.

Joe would have been onto it, no sitting around waiting with Commander Asakura on a mission.
Itching to keep moving Asha pulled in all her restraints to act. She moved along the ridgeline to get a
better view, Bolivar followed her.

Bolivar started to lecture. “I know you want to go now, but regulat—“

“I know what the damn regulations.” Asha retaliated a little to quickly.

“Then you know who’s in command.” Bolivar finally highlighted the undelaying hostile tension
between them for almost a year.

“You are of course Commander.” Asha Cautiously replied.

“Good, I know about you and Asakura, one false move and high command will know it too, then you
won’t get a chance at your own ship, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a few years in a federation prison.”
Bolivar hard-lined her.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Asha maintained an even tone.

Bolivar’s demeanour darkened. “Yes, you do. I wouldn’t put it past you to sleep with him just to get
the command position, he was like that, not one to follow rules, only when it suited him. Leaving me
out of decisions during his tour of duty. It’s, not happening now Second-in Command Asha. Note the
word second-- Asha.”

Then you don’t know me or Joe at all. Asha thought taking in his threats. The kind man who sparked
mutinies, and wondered why.

“If you intend to control your crew, maybe you could start with respecting them and their
intelligence, experience and stop quoting regulations to maintain control.” Asha rebuked,
adamantly, turning her attention to watching for activity.

Anger building for his insults towards Joe she turned on him. “If you had a shred of Commander Joe
Asakura’s ability to command the ship, take risks, make a decision of your own…you might have a
chance at respect, but you have none of it. You’re a jealous turd who cares only for his position, not
the crew. I know what you did to get the Endeavour.”

Still growling inside at her outburst, over Bolivar’s threats and his words about Joe, she jumped over
the ridgeline and began making her way down the valley before she was tempted to openly break
regulations and punch him in the face.

She figured she would have discipline over it. Bolivar would make sure of it, she hoped she didn’t
give him a lead to finish her. But at the things she was seeing when they report into base, the
corruption in the ranks. She hoped Chief Anderson had the sense to get it into line and soon.

One of her reasons joining Federation exploration sector was to escape the life of her traditional
Indian upbringing.

While she loved her family, her father held tightly to the traditions of a daughter marrying a man in
her caste and of his choosing-- Asha had no intentions to marry at all, especially if she had no choice
in it.
Her stronger nature was rarely appreciated within her family, often referring to her more obedient
younger sister with glowing praise. With no male sons in the family she was expected to marry well
within their caste, he father wanted a grandson, and her dowry generous enough to attract suitors.

Her father had chosen a groom just as she graduated and returned home, it was all in the planning
and she felt totally out of control of her life. She loved her family, and first thought she could learn
to love the man she had been matched with, it conflicted her inner feelings, her arguments with her
father over it a week before led her on a different path.

Instead she left two days before the planned wedding, for the fleet she announced her intentions--
disowned by her family she didn’t have much to go back to on Earth.

From the corner of her eye she sighted Klipper, he had her back if something hostile surfaced.
Keeping closer to the rocky wall she edged her way around looking for clues. That’s when she
spotted the green uniformed soldier.

Drawing her lazer gun Asha quietly followed him around the cluster, a door opened in the rocks
moving faster she ran in behind him, stunning him, she dragged him behind a covered object.

Removed his uniform, throwing it on, she covered the unconscious man after tying and gagging him.

Walking into an enormous hanger she gasped at what stood before her, hundreds of men dressed
like soldier scurried about doing work, the sounds of welders in white coats and orders being barked
as they worked on the construction site before her eyes.

She had heard of these enormous weapons used in the first war, people talked about the Science
Ninja Team being the only ones to successfully destroy them.

A huge metal creature was being constructed here. What was Spectra up too?

Drawing out a small camera device she found a position to take photos of it to send back to
Federation command. She had to move fast before the soldier woke up, she get his uniform back on,
they had to get out of there before anyone knew they had been there at all. No one was wanting to
spark a war with Spectra, they were simply to observe any activity they came across.

Moving towards the entrance she hurried to put him back in his clothes, he would wake up with a
headache.

Moving out of the base Asha made her way back to the ridge where her Commander and fellow
crew mates had been waiting. Arriving there she discovered only Klipper to waiting.

“What’s going on?” She asked him as he revealed his location.

“Commander was pissed after you left. Serves him right to be smacked in the gob by you if you
chose too, I would have said he fell over hit his friggin’ face on a rock.” Klipper spat in disgust, he had
been close by when Bolivar chose to bring up Joe. “He’s decided the drone filmed a strange rock and
is headed back to the shuttle. I told him I’d wait for you.”

Asha stifled a grin, silently she thanked Klipper for voicing her thoughts on it.

“We have to leave now, it’s a Spectran base and they’re building something big down there. Huge
mechanical beasts. Like nothing we have seen since the war with Galactor.” Asha urgently filled him
in.

“I got pictures of it, Federation command needs to know about it ASAP. I have a feeling Spectra are
planning an attack.” Asha and Klipper moved silently down the other side of the ridge.

Picking up her communicator she tried to contact the Commander.

“Suspected Spectran military activity—I have photo’s to send to command.” Asha spoke into the
small hand held device.
The sounds of gunfire reached her as Bolivar tried to respond. “To late, they know we’re here.”
Asha acted fast, she had to get the intel back to the federation, pulling out a signal transporter from
her backpack she inserted the chip with the photos on it-- Sending a signal towards the shuttle on a
Federation frequency.

“Shit.” Klipper cursed. Looking up and seeing the five-pointed star ship flying towards them he
pointed the rocket launcher in its direction. Firing his aim proved true and the ship went down in a
blazing fireball not far from them.

Asha pulled out the chip, hoping the signal made it, she cut a gash in her hairline and inserted it. The
pain shot through her as she put the medical sealant for cuts over it, letting her hair fall around her
shoulders as they stood up.

Running across the rocky terrain towards the forest Klipper loaded another shell. He only had two
she hoped he made it count as he took down a second Starfighter.

They made a run for it, Asha tried to contact the Commander again, only to be re-directed by gunfire
in their direction, dodging bullets Asha and Klipper jumped to find shelter only to find themselves
surrounded by dozens of green clad masked soldiers, guns pointed in their faces. In the distance, she
watched the shuttle with the rest of the crew taking to the sky.

Bolivar was leaving them behind.

Exchanging looks with Klipper, he cursed, she put her hands in the air to surrender. They had little
choice being surrounded with loaded guns aimed at them.

Watching her commanders shuttle ascending into the mauve tinted sky she watched in horror as it
was shot down. The Federation shuttle exploded mid-air. Praying for the crew of Endeavour she
hoped they would make a run for it and escape knowing they would attacked. Roughly a soldier
grabbed her arm and restrained her and Klipper.

“My commander wants a word with you.” The Soldier snarled. Dragging the two of them back to the
base.

Klipper snarled and fought, Asha shot him a glare, appear to co-operate for now, she projected. We
are outnumbered. Asha had basic fighting skills in Federation training, but nothing like she had seen
Joe demonstrate when they encountered a group of aggressive pirates. She knew when to
backdown.

The commanding officer of the arresting party spoke up. “You’re now prisoners of Spectra and likely
to become slaves, you can forget that Federation ship you came from in space. We have it now, kiss
Earth goodbye. You belong to Spectra-- No one will ever hear from you again.”
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