Obedient Servant

By Jaelle



An Irresponsible Captain Tylor Fanfic.

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 to?

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. Definitely.

“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 tight...

“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 stay.”

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 away?

“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 congratulations.

“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 change.

“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.

How peculiar.

“My desires are irrelevant. My father has made his desires clear, and I am required to obey.” I say calmly.

And I am ever the obedient servant.

“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 situation.

“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.

“No.”

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 their responses.

“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 up choosing.”

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 me acceptable.”

“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,” Katori agrees.

“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 love her!”

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 Empress Azalyn.

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 reasons alone.

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.

Meanwhile, 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 audience room.

“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 way home...

“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...”

No. No. 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 understand.

“Dom?”

“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 longer.

“No.”

“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 aside.

“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 longer.”

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 tasty.

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 ordered.

“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?”

Fun. 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.

End



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