An Irresponsible Captain Tylor
Disclaimer: The characters in
this fic are the property of The Right Stuf International, and no
infringement of this copyright is intended. In other words: please
don’t hurt me!
I stare out the window at the
display before me and stifle a sigh. No matter how I may wish that the
image before me would change, it remains the same. There seems to be no
help for it.
“Attention the UPSF vessel
Soyokaze,” I say clearly. “This is Ru Baraba Dom, Captain of the
Doroume, of the Holy Ralgon Empire. You are helpless before us,
surrender at once!”
“Dom!” A cheerful voice greets
me. “This is great! I can’t believe our luck to bump into you out here!
Our engines have gone kablooey and our life support is running out –
can you give us a lift?”
I sigh mentally as yelling
erupts on the other side of the radio transmitter. “Shia Has, go pick
up the prisoners,” I say tiredly. She salutes and rushes off to do my
bidding like a good subordinate, not even verbalising the thought that
I know has gone through her mind, just as it went through mine.
Do we HAVE
Yes, unfortunately, we do.
As the crew of the Soyokaze
are brought aboard the Doroume, I prepare myself to escort my
“prisoners” before the Empress. I prepare reports and send
announcements, informing our next three stops that we will NOT be
arriving and that they’ll have to find someone else to deliver their
munitions. I inform the nearest space station of our estimated time of
arrival and request additional food and supplies, and give orders to
clear out the lower decks to make them into a make-shift prison AGAIN.
Noone complains, even though this is a massive disruption to our plans,
and is undoubtedly going to increase work tenfold and force everyone to
lose sleep until it’s all settled again.
But we’re all good soldiers,
and we do what we’re told.
“Sir!” Shia Has is back. “I
have brought the command staff to see you.”
I stand up and wish that I had
a few moments to rub my forehead before turning to see HIM again. My
most hated enemy, most treasured opponent, and the person most likely
to bring peace to our warring nations.
“Yo!” Justy Ueki Tylor grins
at me, waving in greeting. “How’s it going Dom?”
I could cry.
“Captain Tylor,” I nod
briefly. “Lieutenant-Commander Star, Lieutenant-Commander Yamamoto...”
I trail off. I see that not only are the bridge crew here, but so are
the Doctor, the pilots and the leaders of the marines. The Soyokaze’s
definition of ‘command staff’ is as vague as everything else they do.
“And all the rest of you, welcome aboard the Doroume.”
“Our home away from home!”
Their navigator, 1st Lieutenant Katori, quips. I resist the instant
desire to have him shot. After all, I didn’t bother to name him, maybe
he’s just getting back at me. I smile thinly instead.
“Quite. Your... normal
quarters are being prepared...”
“Oh not the lower deck AGAIN!”
Their communications officer, 1st Lieutenant Commander Kim, complains.
“Why don’t you get some decent accommodation installed in here?”
It occurs to me that after
three years of constantly being captured and then released by our
Empress as part of our “peace negotations”, it is just possible that
the Soyokaze crew are beginning to take my ship for granted.
“Have you fixed the
air-conditioning down there yet?” She demands.
Taking it for granted.
“Not yet,” I say
apologetically. Why am I apologising? “We’ve been busy lately.”
She sniffs and I resist the
urge to yell that it’s all THEIR fault that we haven’t gotten that
repaired yet. Calm, calm... Think of the good part.
Oh yes, the good part.
“If you will all return to
your quarters, I will undertake to deliver you into the Empress’s hands
as soon as possible,” I say smoothly. “I’m sure you will have much to
talk to her about.”
Tylor blinks at me. “Aren’t
you going to ask what we’re doing out here?”
I keep my calm. “I’m sure
that’s best discussed with the Empress, and Premier Wang. Or whoever
will be assigned to you once we reach the main fleet.”
I turn and signal for them to
be taken away. It’s going to take two weeks at least to get to the main
fleet and there’s a lot to do. It’s going to make the timing very
“Aren’t you going to be
there?” A plaintive voice calls out behind me.
I turn back to Tylor,
repressing a sudden surge of joy. “Unfortunately, I have other matters
to see to, and will not be able to be present for the remainder of your
I want to laugh. It’s not me! It’s not me! This time it is SOMEONE ELSE
who has to deal with Tylor and his insane crew and whatever it is he’s
cooked up. Someone else will get the headaches, will suffer the
self-doubt and confusion. This time, this one beautiful time, it won’t
be me. And while I find myself ever so slightly sad at the concept of
missing out on the chaos, I can’t help but be relieved that it will not
be me who is forced to step up to the tests of faith this time.
“Why not?” Yuriko asks, her
voice soft, “Is there a problem?”
“No,” I reassure her. “Merely
a family matter.”
“I hope noone is ill,” she
says, brow furrowed with concern.
“Not at all,” I say, feeling
myself beginning to lose the joy I felt earlier. “In fact, I am
required to return home to attend a wedding.”
“Oh? Who’s getting married?”
Tylor asks curiously.
I turn back to my work
indifferently. “I am.”
Behind me I can hear the
guards leading them away.
“Wait... WAIT!” Tylor yells
suddenly. “Hey WAIT!”
I sigh. Why can’t he just go
“Yes, Captain Tylor?” Once
again I’ve turned back to face him.
He’s actually spluttering. I
commit the look to memory. Finally he recovers, “Dom, you sly dog, I
didn’t even know you HAD a girlfriend!”
I can see Shia Has stiffen
behind him as the rest of the Soyokaze’s command staff add their
“So who is she?” Tylor asks.
I shrug. “I don’t know, I
haven’t decided yet.”
They all stare at me. This
must be some strange Earth custom.
“What do you mean you haven’t decided yet?” Lieutenant Kim demands. “How
many girlfriends do you HAVE?”
I blink at them in some
surprise. “None of them are my ‘girlfriend’,” I explain, somewhat
reluctantly. “My father has announced that it is time I married. He has
provided me with a number of options,” I gesture at a pile of data
chips, which I’ve been ignoring for the last few weeks. “And announced
the date. I merely have to choose one of the options and show up.”
They’re really gaping at me
now, and it gives me a small thrill of pleasure to befuddle THEM for a
“But, but, but... what about
love? What about romance?” Kim wails. “You can’t just pick a girl out
of a catalogue like that!”
“Do you even WANT to get
married?” The marine... Cryburn, that’s it, demands.
“My desires are irrelevant. My
father has made his desires clear, and I am required to obey.” I say
And I am ever the obedient
“So, you’re just gonna PICK
one of the girls on those chips, tell your Dad which one it is and turn
up to the wedding?” Cryburn seems to be having trouble grasping the
“Of course,” I’m vaguely
curious now. “Isn’t the way you do it on Earth?”
Judging from the expressions
I’m getting, which seem to be ranging from horror through to outrage,
it is not.
“Have you even MET any of
them?” Kim demands.
Why am I letting them
interrogate me like this? I think it’s because I’m enjoying their
surprise. It’s very bad of me, but I feel entitled after all the trials
and tribulations they’ve put ME through over the years. Shia Has seems
to be divided between discomfort and amusement at the situation and
“Now, now, I’m sure the
Captain knows what he’s doing,” Tylor interrupts suddenly.
“Congratulations Dom! I’m sure you’ll be happy with... whoever you wind
The crew falls silent at last,
staring at his mild smile. I bow my head slightly in acknowledgment.
“Thank you Captain Tylor.”
“I mean, as long as you don’t
have anyone ELSE that you might be in love with, it’s all alright,
right?” He carries on lazily.
I find myself stiffening
imperceptibly. I should never have let my guard down around this man.
Fortunately I don’t think they’ve noticed. “Precisely,” I manage at
last. “That is exactly right.”
“So, who’ve you got your eye
on?” He demands, looking over at the pile of chips.
“I... haven’t really had a
chance to look at them yet...” I manage. Then an idea occurs to me.
Tylor’s always had good luck with women, and I need SOMETHING to keep
him out of my hair for the rest of the journey. Perhaps...
“Would YOU like to choose?”
“Me?” Tylor blinks, as does
the rest of his crew and Shia Has. “REALLY?!!”
I smile, relieved. “Of course.
It doesn’t really matter to me who you pick, they’re all eligible, so
why don’t YOU choose my wife-to-be?”
“Hey,” Kim protests, “Don’t
THEY get a say in this?”
It’s my turn to blink. “They
all submitted their resumes,” I say finally. “That means they all find
“You mean... THEY proposed to
YOU?!” Cryburn seems to be having trouble with the concept.
“Of course! We’re not barbarians.” I say stiffly. “My father
announced my eligibility, and all those families who were interested
showed my file to their eligible females, who then decided whether or
not they would be willing to marry me. They then submitted their
resumes for me to decide upon. But if you’re not interested...”
“We’re interested! We’re
interested!” Cryburn and Andressen launch themselves at the chips.
“This we’ve GOT to see,”
“I can’t believe these
women...” Kim mutters, grabbing some more chips.
“We’ll pick you a good one!”
Tylor promises as his crew head off, clutching the data chips. “You’ll
A sigh of relief sweeps
through me as soon as they’re gone. Two arduous problems dismissed at
last. Shia Has approaches me quietly.
“Are you sure that was... the
best idea?” She questions cautiously. She knows I’m not interested in
marrying any of those women, but she’s been polite about the whole
thing. She knows it’s my duty.
“If it will keep them busy and
quiet and NOT destroying my ship, it’s a good idea,” I say firmly.
“Make sure they’ve got plenty of data readers.”
She salutes and turns to leave.
“And see if you can do
something about the air-conditioning down there, would you?”
Two weeks later...
There it is, the flagship of
our fleet, the Melva. Aboard it is the Raalgon Empire’s most exalted
personage. Goza the 16th, Emperor of the Holy Raalgon Empire, the
I’m so relieved I think I may
collapse at any moment.
I thought it would keep them
quiet. I thought it would keep them BUSY.
If I had had ANY idea of the
chaos those MANIACS would unleash, I would have left them adrift in
their broken ship!
Two weeks... TWO WEEKS of life
amidst some sort of insane popularity contest. I thought they would
just read through the files and vote on the one they liked. But no,
that was too simple.
Out of 22 eligible women, four
were removed from the running almost immediately, on the grounds that
their physical features resembled those of an Earth dog. Having seen
some pictures of Earth dogs since, I have to admit that there WAS some
superficial similarity, but it seems unkind to rule them out on those
I was overruled.
Overruled... ON MY OWN SHIP!
The marines and the pilots
then selected their top three choices. Unsurprisingly, their choices
did not match, and this led to a massive brawl through the lower decks,
which was only resolved when I threatened to open the airlocks and
space them all.
Lieutenant-Commander Yamamoto, and my traitorous second-in-command Shia
Has, were constantly ensconced in “meetings” discussing, of all things,
ME. I later found that Shia Has had been filling the Soyokaze’s crew in
on all of my personal likes and dislikes, which they were using to try
and match partners to my personality. Elsewhere, Kim and Katori
pestered my bridge crew, trying to get stories about my personal
history for use in finding a candidate with a similar background.
Somehow all of this activity
caused the Soyokaze crew to move from being ‘prisoners’ to being
‘guests’, with apparent free reign of the ship.
One morning, I awoke to find
that the ENTIRE SHIP had been wallpapered with images of the various
women. It eventuated that Tylor had decreed that the candidates be
subjected to an ‘elimination round’ poll, with the 10 least popular
candidates being dropped from consideration.
The poll finally tallied at
seven hundred and thirty-five votes cast.
The Soyokaze crew doesn’t HAVE
that many people. This meant that either some of them had cheated and
voted more than once (a strong possibility, but it didn’t account for
the LARGE number of votes received), or SOME OF MY OWN CREW HAD VOTED!
With eight candidates
remaining, I thought the end was in sight. Not so.
Somehow, Kim and Katori
managed to convince my bridge crew to allow them to CONTACT some of the
remaining eligibles. I have NO idea what their conversations consisted
of, but since then three of them have withdrawn their submissions.
In the midst of all this, I
have been harassed, teased, questioned and measured within an inch of
my life. The marines have been regaling me with bawdy stories of past
adventures with women, and suggestions for what I might do on my
wedding night, many of which I’m sure will leave lasting mental scars
for many years to come. The Doctor and Harumi... HARUMI... have also
been most ‘helpful’ with suggestions regarding physical options. The
one person who I thought I could turn to in order to remain sane,
Yuriko Star, instead spent HOURS giving me lectures on the sanctity of
marriage and the importance of appreciating a woman’s true nature.
I have been patient. I have
been polite. I have been courteous.
I have HAD ENOUGH!
Yesterday there was another
round of voting (nine hundred and three votes cast and this time I KNOW
my crew took part. I saw Shia Has voting, the miserable backstabber).
The contest is now down to a choice of two possibilities. Tylor has
been chosen to make the final decision. Right now, I would willingly
marry HIM if it would end this disaster.
But the end is in sight. We
have arrived, and the Empress herself is coming down to greet us. I
will be granted a few moments in her presence, and perhaps a few words
before I leave for home and my wedding and away from this MADHOUSE.
I summon all my remaining
strength and resolution as Tylor and his crew join me in the main
“Captain Tylor,” I begin,
“About that matter...”
But it is too late, the
Empress has entered. I sink to my knees in an appropriate bow and wait
for permission to rise or speak. Perhaps Tylor did not have time to
make a choice, and I can weigh the merits of the two finalists on my
“Azalyn! Just the person I
wanted to see!”
I grit my teeth at Tylor’s
impertinence in addressing the Empress so. Would it hurt him to treat
her with the proper respect that she is due?
“Paco-Paco! I mean, Tylor,
what do you need to see me about?” The Empress’s voice is full of
happiness and I relax a bit inside. For all of Tylor’s irritations, he
does at least make her happy.
“Well we have some stuff to
talk about to help with the peace things, but first I’ve got something
important to ask you...”
Nonononononononononononono Tylor don’t you DARE!!!!
“Which of these two candidates
do you think Dom should marry?”
I’m going to KILL him!
I glance up surrepticiously as
Tylor hands Azalyn the two chips with the details of the candidates on
them, cheerfully pointing out their good and bad points as they do so.
The Empress seems somewhat confused at first, but slowly begins to
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“Your father has declared it
is time you married?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“And you haven’t made a
choice? You let Paco... Tylor decide?”
I falter slightly, glancing up
at her. “It is of no concern to me, Your Highness. I will fulfil my
duty, as is right.”
The Empress taps the chips
gently, a frown growing on her face. “And this is why you’re going away
for the next two months?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
She considers for a moment
“I... beg your pardon Your
Highness?” I’m confused.
“I, Goza the 16th, have
spoken. It is inconvenient for me to be robbed of my trusted advisor in
these dangerous times. You will NOT be returning home, and your
marriage plans are to be delayed indefinitely. I order it so.”
With rather more energy than
is really needed, she snaps the two chips in half and tosses them
“You may rise,” she informs me
loftily, and I stand up somewhat shakily. I don’t have to go back? I
don’t have to get married? I don’t have to LEAVE?
“Return to your duties,” she
says coldly, and I stare after her as she sweeps away.
“Is... is something wrong with
the Empress?” I find myself appealing to Tylor, who of all of us, knows
her best. And damn him for it.
Tylor just smiles at me. “I
think she was just a bit surprised,” he says cheerfully. “Sorry about
your wedding plans. Guess you’ll have to stay single for a little while
There’s a full-throated roar
of approval from the male part of the crew, while the women mostly look
disapproving, and shoot me sly smiles when they think noone is looking.
Shia Has in particular looks as though she’s killed something large and
I’m very confused. All my life
I have done my best to carry out my duties to family and Empire as best
I can. And now... now the Empress forbids me to do so?
And I have to do as I am
“So it seems as though we’re
going to be seeing each other for a bit longer!” Tylor’s voice shatters
my introspection. “Won’t that be fun?”
I can’t help it, I shudder and
my face blanches white.
I may have been rescued from
marriage. But it looks as though NOTHING is going to rescue me from
Tylor and his unique brand of chaos.
And for the briefest of
moments, that doesn’t seem so bad.
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