“Stand down you maniac!” Shouts Brennus, standing on the deck of Harlock's sinking vessel flanked by his boarding party. “I need to take you in, you need to stand trial for this!”
The deck of the ship lists as the aft side slowly begins to submerge. Brennus lowers the tone of his voice and holsters his sidearm. “We don’t have much time Harlock…” He says extending a hand to Harlock. “Come on, we can make this right.”
Harlock lies on the deck, the servos in his limb augments struggling against the terminal damage inflicted in the assault. “There’s no ‘making this right’ you see.” Harlocks lifts his head to meet Brennus’ gaze, a deep wound in his face revealing more complex circuitry below the skin. “This is all part of the plan.” Harlock presses a series of buttons on a controller embedded in his forearm and a large explosion wracks the ships.
Brennus and his men are thrown from their feet by the blast. “Blast damn it!” Cries Brennus rising to his feet as the ship lists harder. The deck of the ship is now pitching severely. Brennus steadies himself so as to not slide off the side. “We’re leaving Harlock… I’m sorry.” Helping one of his men to their feet he hustles the party across the deck to their boarding vessel. Brennus stops short of the gang plank to glance backwards for one last look at the slumped figure of a man he once called his commander and friend. Harlocks head raises again, his fingers once more pursed against the buttons of his wrist controller.
“Don’t fret old friend.” Harlock yells across the deck “I’ll be baaaaack!!” As his finger clicks the last button in the series one final explosion erupts across the entire ship. Brennus watches as his old ally is consumed by explosive fire before himself being thrown from the deck by the blast.
Brennus' body hits the cold water with a jolt. Still in shock he tries to swim to the surface but his pain is too great and he begins to sink slowly below the waves. His vision tightens to a tunnel as he struggles against the currents, sinking deeper with every motion. In this moment of helplessness his mind wanders to the last time he was celebrating a victory with his commander. As he sinks into the abyss he clutches this memory tightly.
A medical monitor beeps passively in the background as a groggy Brennus begins to awaken. His eyes slowly open to reveal the medical bay around him. “Wha- What happened?” he grumbles slowly adjusting himself to a more upright position.
“Easy now, you’d better rest.” A familiar voice from beside Brennus speaks. “We don’t want you popping those stitches.”
Brennus blinks in disbelief, his head is pounding and his eyes attempt to struggle against their weariness. Soon the source of the voice comes into clear focus. He swallows nervously. “Harlock… you’re… you died. I watched you… ”
Harlock chuckles softly as he turns away from where Brennus bed and strides to the other side of the med bay. He picks up a dossier from one of the other examination tables and flips through it. “You really believed that… thing… was me?” Harlock muses, leafing through the intel. His hand reaches for a cigar nestled in his breast pocket before noticing the sign posted on the med bay wall; ‘no smoking’. With a smirk he leaves it where it rests. “I hate to be the one to tell you Brennus, but you’ve been taken for a ride.” Says Harlock as he returns to Brennus’ bedside, tossing one of the photos onto his lap. “These were taken 2 days ago, shortly after your battle with that circuit brained contraption.”
Brennus rubs his eyes as he strains to focus on the image he holds in front of him. It's a photo of Vassago. He stands at a podium addressing one of his fleets. Behind him standing firmly at attention are dozens, maybe hundreds of the same thing he witnessed on the deck of that ship he boarded. An army of robotically augmented Harlocks. “This is impossible. What are they? Clones? Androids? How did Vassago create these things?”
“We don’t know yet.” Replies Harlock. “But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit flattered.” He turns to Brennus with a grin.
Brennus exhales sharply through his nostrils. “If I did need more convincing that you’re not a cyborg there it is. Who else would crack wise at a time like this.” His gaze returns to the photograph. “But that still leaves one question unanswered.” Brennus says looking back up at Harlock, standing over him arms crossed. “Where have you been all these weeks? We’ve been trying to contact you.”
Harlock lets out a hearty belly laugh. “You really must be losing it, Brennus! Don’t remember me mentioning that I’d be going on holiday?” He tosses Brennus another photo, this one from his back pocket. It's a picture of Harlock with his toes in the sand sipping a tiki drink in his floral shorts. Brennus stares at the photo for a second before looking back up to his Commander and both erupt into raucous laughter.
Harlock places a hand on Brennus shoulder “Everyone needs a rest from time to time, I think it's your turn now, old timer.” Still chuckling, Harlock turns away and begins collecting the dossier.
Wiping tears from his eyes, Brennus looks back up at Harlock. “I’m glad you’re back, Commander. Because we’ve got a lot of work to do.” He says waving the two photographs that Harlock has left with him in the air.
“You betcha.” Says Harlock, turning back one last time. “Vassagos, not getting away with stealing this ugly mug.” Harlock flashes Brennus a toothy grin before disappearing out the door, his footsteps quickly fading away as Brennus places the two photographs on the table beside his bed, his mind racing with a thousand thoughts at once. He closes his eyes and drifts away to sleep, pondering what their next move will be.
Happy April Fools week Captains!