All is Fair in Love and War - Temporarily on Hiatus
Chapter 6 - May Death Never Stop You
Gerard's POV 2089
“Child, you're going to (gasp) wear out the floor if you keep (gasp) pacing like that.”
Every labored breath ze (A/N gender neutral for he/she *More gender neutral info in the notes) took was like a knife to my heart. The creator of my life and the beloved ruler of our realm was choking on zir last breaths and I wasn't ready. To let go of the parent I loved so much. To step into a job I was clearly unready for. Most of all, I was somehow supposed to stop a war before it began, all the while saving a completely foreign race from extinction with a gendered alien mate by my side. At the tender 19 years old.
"Sorry Sai Dertan. I'm uneasy because I know I'm not ready. You had so much time to train in the ways of our people. The laws, the psychology, the art of war strategies and the best way to avoid fighting altogether. Everything needed to be a good ruler. But most importantly, time to observe the skilled rulers once your training was complete. You were 35 years old when you took the throne but I'm just a child. My mate won't even know our ways."
“Come sit beside my bed please, Gee. Right now, I'm not your Sai Dertan (gasp) but your Pa (A/N Pa is short for Parent, not the gender specific Pa.) Kneeling beside the bed ze lay on, I grabbed zis hand in both of mine. It was skeletal, like holding twigs with a thin papery cover stretched over them. “Child, these are things that you have been instructed in since birth. You have always known that you and your mate would take over for us. All those things are in your very bones.” The ailing ruler speech was still labored and sometimes barely a whisper but it was coming out more even now. “Granted, this situation is not the best and it is certainly not what we expected. But you are the perfect person for this situation though. You are the kindest, most intelligent, soul I know. Just because you haven't watched me make a thousand mistakes for years doesn't mean you aren't ready. This is completely new territory. One which will bring you wonderful happiness, I think.” The smile that lit zis face was beautiful, almost bringing back the color to the sallow face. The unnatural hue had been getting worse as the week wore on, but something suddenly brought redness to the sunken cheeks. Increased fever perhaps. “Hope you are as happy as Genias and I were. You will make a great ruler. We were both always proud to call you ours.”
I just nodded because what else was there to say? I was at my beloved Pa's death bed. Zis face was an odd color yellow and betrayed the pain ze tried so hard to hide. A fast-moving virus was causing the once strong and healthy ruler to quickly waste away to a frail shadow of what he used to be. His mate, Genias, had died of the same virus just weeks ago. After I leave this room, I'll go over the video interviews of the human mate candidates. They were all “paired” up with my sib, cousin and myself, but as first in line for the throne, I do have the power to choose first. This is especially critical now since my mate will be ruling with me. Hopefully the human will see what I cannot.
“Don't be afraid, Gee. I'm hopeful about the human alliance. We can't let the Killamians prevail. Earth doesn't have the same technology we do. Don't let them die out as a race. As a gendered race, obviously a single person can't reproduce. 3 males are making the trip here because no females volunteered. Several females volunteered to marry Corlians on earth but they are as good as dead if we can't get them off the planet in time. With the entire planet in harms way, there will probably be a few female volunteers now. Too little, too late, I would imagine.” Gasp, difficulty breathing. " I have every faith you will select the perfect leader to rule by your side. Go over the interviews, now is not too soon. I love you, Gee. So did your Ent (A/N short for Parent). I hope you find happiness as I did with Genias. The young man paired with you was personally selected by both of us. (Gasp) Be patient with him. You feel unsure of yourself? Think how him must feel. If you do pick Frank (gasp and a long pause)" my Pa closed his eyes and for one panicky moment I thought he was gone.
“Yes? Pa? About Frank...” I asked softly, trying not to sound as desperate as I felt.
“Yes, Yes,” ze mumbled. “Frank is rough around the edges. (sigh) He's experienced much loss in his young life. Read the file before you watch the video. The others are coming because they have nowhere else to go. He is coming for the purest of reasons. Take care of him. Frank will complement your rule. Don't be afraid when he suggested things that are new and different. Its an advantage that you're both young and not set in your ways. The Killians won't be expecting the things you try. But enough about that. Come to me.” Ze opened zis arms, while lifting them up. I fell onto the chest of my Pa, knowing it would be that last time. “I love you so much. Please tell Mikey and Andy again how much I love him. We said our good-byes earlier.”
“I love you too." I could no longer hold back my tears. Resting my head next to his chest, all the while trying to keep most of my weight off of zir, I gave him the most gentle hug possible and cried the hardest I've ever cried. Soon my chest was heaving, my breath was coming out in ragged sobs. They were so loud that it took me a moment to realize that zis breath has stopped completely. Strangely, that was when a calm feeling washed over me. It was over and done. It was time to pull it together.
After sitting up and closing his eyes, I dried my own my sleeves. I allowed myself one last look before pulling the sheet over zim covering the corpse completely. I notified the guard right outside the door so that the body could be sent to the lab right away. Something about this virus seemed strange and Andy would get to the bottom of it.
The quickest way to notify my family would be by private network. Every Corlian's brain is implanted with an internal chip shortly after birth. Then we are loaded with software and plugged into the main network. That way, we can speak to each other with or without video if the person answers our call. Or we can send electronic message. The Royal Family's network was secure at all times due to the sensitive nature of many of the conversations being transmissions. As soon as I reach my personal quarters and flop on the bed, I close my eyes and hail Mikey and Andy on video. They both answer right away, probably knowing what has happened already.
A split screen appears in front of me. Andy in the lab on my left. Mikey in his quarters on my right. Both are silent, waiting for me to begin.
The faces of my sib and cousin were already serious, but the news I gave hit them as hard as I knew it would. Genias was the one who gave life to Mikey, but our parents raised us the same. Andy's parent, Jamen, was Dertan's twin. Jamen passed away when Andy was young, so ze grew up with Mikey and I. We were all raised as sibs. In fact, there was much debate as to whether Mikey or Andy would be second in line for the throne but Andy was always more interested in medicine than politics. Not that Mikey was much interested in ruling either. At 25, Andy was head of the entire Medical Lab located in the Royal House. There were plenty of other labs but this was by far the biggest and most advanced. Mikey wasn't sure what ze was interested in yet but at 17, ze still had plenty of time.
Me: Pa is gone. I apologize for notifying you in this manner. Its all I can handle at the moment, since I believe I'm expected to jump right into my responsibilities. Andy, his body is on his way to you. If we find out that it was indeed something other than natural causes, I would like to have the pathogen saved securely. Then we need to start working on a cure, in case they target more than just Sai Dertan and Sai Genias.
Andy: Yes, Sai Gerard. Of course.
Me: Since I have no mate to help me rule at this time, I would really appreciate any input from either of you. There has been an all out attack made by the Killians. This has not been made public so I trust your discretion in this manner. So far, ships are on there way to attack the Questra, which has been re-routed to a space station about a light yr ahead of their stopping point. We need to stop the Killian attack and if thats not possible, getting as many humans out as possible. I was given some information before Sai Dertan died which I'll pass to you in text format. I'll be selecting a mate and contacting the human ship shortly.
Mikey: Now? But they have a year left?
Me: I'm aware. One year by their tech. Our ships could retrieve them in a couple weeks. I believe its necessary if we're to avoid this war and save the human planet. Any ideas on how to get to the humans on Earth faster? That is what I'm worried about. Our fastest ships would still take over a year.
Mikey: Maybe you could find a wormhole? I know they're risky but...
Me: Well, I guess we could have that as a far back plan. Let me know. I'll be watching the interviews.
So... I have been working on this story. I didn't stop to think the pronoun issue through when I decided on genderless beings. After tearing my hair out, googling stuff, below is what I came up with. Also, about a week ago, I wrote a chpt, then decided I needed to write a couple chpts in between. So even tho you weren't getting updates, I was working like crazy. This means you'll (probably) get a ton of story all at once. Isn't that better anyway? I apologize for the times i'm going to slip and put him instead of zir. Let me know what you think. They'll meet soon!
Gender Neutral Fun
Ze – He/She
Zir – Him/Her or His/Hers
Zirs - Theirs
Sai – Sir/Ma'am (Gee would only call his parent this bc this parent was ruler)