Queen Helada gazed down into her newborn daughters face as she walked towards the child’s cradle. The small puffy red face was relaxed as she slept.
“What miracles will be held in your hands one day soon my daughter.” The Queen crooned. Her arms raised to bring the young babe to her lips, a small kiss on the child’s forehead was placed before she was lowered into her cradle. The Queen looked upon the sleeping child in awe of her existence, a motherly love that was unparalleled to anything she ever knew.
“Aseana Rose Lyse Knowleson.” she breathed, then turned her head to the second crib. “Anna Kara Knowleson.” The twins she had brought into the world with the King were her greatest achievement. No policy or war won could make her beam brighter than these two little slumbering bundles of joy.
To tell them apart Aseana was in a long silk and lace dress of pale yellow, the cap over her head matching her attire. Anna Kara wore a pale pink outfit that was identical in every way except the color. The two were so similar this was the only way other than a mothers intuition to know the difference until they could develop personality and greet the world independent of the other.
With one last sweep of her gaze, she placed her hand on her abdomen, still loose from birth and crossed the room to the lounger to nap herself. The queen had spent no time apart from her children, her sleep had been so little in the short time they had been on Luna. These few moments taken to rest her eyes were welcomed and felt selfish, but she took them anyways. She was still Queen, she still had a job to do. Being a mother would always come first but it couldn’t be her only focus.
These first days she took time for her babies and neglected her duties but as her eyes drifted closed she knew the time for that had come to an end and she would have to return to her role as a leader. She would have to learn how to juggle the two jobs now.
Darkness encircled her mind and within moments she was lost to sleep.
A baby wailed somewhere in the fog of Queen Helada’s dreams. Her chest clenched at the anxiety of the childs cries. Stumbling through her unconscious mind she searched for the source of cry, but nothing was familiar. She raced around a bend in the hallway she was in and spotted a door at the far end through an archway. In her rush to get to the door she tripped and was jolted awake instantly.
Looking around at the darkened room she could tell that the servants had drawn the darkened curtains and dimmed the lights to aid in her rest as well as the newborns. The light from the afternoon barely peeked through the cracks in the thick fabric.
A stirring over by the cradles brought her back into focus in time to see a servant cradling one of the sleeping children in her arms. Upon seeing the Queen wake and notice her she made a slight curtsy and said, “Just taking this one for her bath m’lady, I’m sorry to wake you such as I did.”
Something seemed off, the queen didn’t remember this girl on the estates and certainly not as any of the nurses that were charged with the round the clock care of the twins. She rose from her chair and began to cross the room, as she did the servant girl turned and hastened to the door.
“Don’t go, I’d like to kiss her before her bath.” She commanded at the odd girl, but her words fell on deaf ears as she rushed away. “Stop, I command you to stop!” she insisted. When once again her words were ignored she extended her hand and focused just in front of the servant girl. A warmth of blue-white light ran down from her arm and gathered in front of her palm. A brilliant beam of light was shot across the room and shattered the leg off a table to the left of the servant.
The Queen worried that her fears had come to fruition, that the rumors of Roku’s return heralded in the threat of her children being taken. Security measures were at their highest, but it was never enough. The Queen hadn’t left the children’s sides for more than a moment because of this threat. Now here was this girl being suspicious with the queen’s daughter in her arms.
The queen calculated her ever move around that baby, but feared she would be unable to cripple the girl without the child being dropped.
Stunned the girl turned and snarled at the queen. She herself waved a hand and books from the nursery shelf cascaded down on the queens head. As she raised an arm to shield herself from the books she saw the girl blast a hole through the window on the opposite wall and race to it.
Her heart pounded as the girl sprinted with her newborn daughter in her arms. Her baby was in danger and she had to stop her. Helada rushed after her, but the girl was already jumping from the window and beginning to levitate to a ship that hovered over head.
“No!!” the queen shouted. The ship had a familiar insignia of gears laced with electricity formed into the letters R.S. “Guards! Everyone! Do not let that ship leave Luna!” she cried desperately as she clutched her now empty womb in despair. Tears ran freely as the young girl disappeared into an air lock hatch on the under side of the craft.
Slipping her hand away from her womb, and dragging herself out of her emotions of terror, Helada extended her arm once more towards the craft and then make a motion to pull it downward. With every ounce of her mental strength the queen closed her hand into a fist and pulled it to her chest.
The craft wavered and groaned beneath her influence, the side tipped heavily towards the queen.
Roku enter the bridge’s main deck where his officers were navigating the ship at various command stations.
“Why is my ship moving as if we are sailing on an ocean!” He demanded of the officers before him. One wire thin fellow approached him and presented a tablet for Roku to view. On the screen the queen clutched her fist to her chest, her hair askew and her face distorted with pain, covered in tears. Her wavy blonde hair blew around her from the window she leaned out of. She was on her knees, sitting, struggling and spots of blood were forming on her dress towards the groin area from her efforts. Her eyes squeezed shut as she exhausted herself trying to bring the craft down.
“Sir, it’s the queen. She has a grip on the ship and is trying to crash us on Luna.” He reported. “It is unclear why she has not yet.” A dark smirk spread over Roku’s face as he handed the tablet back.
“Clearly it’s one or both of these reasons. The Queen is still very weak from childbirth, and she doesn’t want to risk the heir’s safety by crashing the very ship he is on.” Roku explained to the officer before redirecting his attention to another. “Throw on the backup thrusters and yank us from her grip, and if the queen tumbles from the window with us then I’ll buy drinks tonight on Io for everyone.”
The officers moved with renewed vigor as they shouted commands at each other.
“About that sir …” The wiry officer began. Roku returned his attention to the thin officer and beckoned him to follow as he walked. Roku passed through an automatic door into the ships corridor, He took the tablet back from the officer awaiting his reports. “The child in question would actually be children.” The tablet displayed a video thread two cradle like pods with each child laying in them, they looked around sleepily and moved their arms and legs without much coordination as newborns did. One was a strawberry blonde haired boy, only a couple of months old, maybe five months at the oldest. The second was a little girl, still red-faced from birth and wearing a dress with cap that covered her hair. She was only a few days old by his judgement, and dark-haired from what little hair peeked from under the cap.
“You mean to tell me the mission failed then?” Roku asked, his tone terse and icy. He handed the tablet over to his officer once more as they walked. The officer cleared his throat and caught up with Roku’s strides.
“Not at all. I merely wanted you to discern which child is the queens. She couldn’t have birthed two children in one year, it’s an impossibility, but our intel said that she birthed more recently than how old this boy is.” The officer replied.
“The intel provided was garbage then, this boy doesn’t resemble either the king or the queen. He must be the king’s advisor’s son. He was expecting sometime last year, this must be the product. The hair is the same either way. But this little girl, she can’t possibly be the heir. She wears the clothes a princess would wear but the queen was expecting a boy, everyone knows that?” Roku’s brow creased in thought as he compared the information he had heard with what he was seeing.
“The agent who went in for the child was debriefed. She spoke of two cribs side by side, but the other was empty. The Queen had twins, not just one child so it would seem.” The officer continued.
“Are you saying that the two children there on your screen are twins? Are you blind?” Roku shot back.
“Not at all, she said that she was unaware there would be a second child. She overheard the nurse maids bathing another infant while she went to her target. Only upon seeing the second cradle did she realize there were twins.” The officer finished. “I believe a second child was born to the Queen and King, and we managed only to take one and a child of no relation.”
Roku turned into his office, now angry with the news. His fist came down upon the desk and shook the contents from their places.
“So we have failed! It’s black and white Brodrick, Black and white. We have one of the two children then, and of both we got a girl. Who knows the other could be a boy! And we can’t go back for the other child, security will be impossible to penetrate. We have lost our one shot because someone can’t even count! This child is a waste of time, Even ransoming her is ridiculous to think of. She’ll just have to fall in line with the others as we wait to hear more about what took place today on the news.” Roku was infuriated by the results of their mission, If Brodrick wasn’t such a good First Officer he would have been struck across the face for bringing the news he did. “You’re dismissed. Fly us to Io.” He snarled bitterly at the man.
The office turned on his heels and made his way out of the office with haste, the doors closing automatically behind him.
Roku slammed his fist on the desk once more and a photo frame crashed to the ground. The glass, he noted, was cracked in several places. The Photo was of him and his late wife along with their two children. His son even as a toddler looked so much like Roku did. They had the dark hair and eyes on a square face of dark olive skin. His wife was paler but had raven hair as well and blue eyes that could pierce through the night, those eyes were barely passed on to their daughter, who in her preteen years had grey blue eyes peeking out from under her long bangs.
The Ship lurched as he reached to pick up the photo, drawing him out of his sentimental nostalgia. He cursed, depositing the photo frame in a drawer for safety.
“What’s going on out there!” He shouted into a microphone on his desk. Brodrick’s voice filtered back through frantically. “Sir, it appears a fleet was dispatched quicker than anticipated, they were prepared. We are trying to lose them but I’m not sure how effective we’ll be!”
“Just get us off Luna, Once we have left Luna we can have more space to divert to any location, lose them in the many moons of Jupiter and get to Io.” Roku snapped.
People shuffled about, frenzied like bees in a hive, All rushing to their posts. Nicladius enjoyed watching from his hiding spot behind the archway. With child like wonder he was the fly on the wall, seeing with blissful innocence the people around him lacked.
“Get all of the children into a pod for safety, the rides going to be rough.” Commanded a woman to another. They separated and began picking up the other children in the room and strapping them into their cradle like pods. The door opened and a man stepped halfway in the room distraughtly speaking to the other women.
“Get those children strapped in!” He commanded.
“What’s going on, are we going to crash?” The head nurse asked quickly as her hands fumbled with the belts on a little girl who began to cry with the tension of the room.
“Roku has commanded us to take evasive measures. If need be we’re going to eject them over Earth and retrieve them later.” His overwrought words matched her own.
Crossing herself quickly she shot back, “They’re infants, children! He wants to desert them on a forbidden planet? Is he insane?!”
“The idea is that no one will follow the pods to Earth, outlaws ignore the laws saying the place is forbidden. It’s one of the perks, now strap in those children! And don’t miss that kid over there!” He said with finality and pointed his finger at Nicladius who was peeking out of hiding with intrigue.
Suddenly a nurse blocked his view and scooped him up. Her hair was coming undone in parts with her nervous movements. Her face cringed but still smiling as she positioned him into his own Pod and strapped him in.
“Now you be a good boy and try to take a nap Kiddo.” She crooned. something seemed off with how sweet her voice sounded and how she began to sweat from her forehead.
The room darkened and a light above started to flash. Nicladius could barely crane his neck to see it spinning on the wall, pulsing with a hypnotizing red light. The woman hurried to exit the room and the door snapped shut behind her.
Glass lids slid down silently over each pod and suddenly the room was silent. The gentle rocking of the ship was hardly perceptible inside the pods, everything that muted except the spinning red light on the wall. It was constant and urgent.
Nicladius focused on it, a seed of terror formed in his gut as the glass lit up with a smily face.
“Greetings little one!” The voice of a chipper woman began. “Today we’re going on an adventure! Can you give me a big smile and Count with me? 3 … 2 … 1 Big Surprise!” At the end of the count down the floor dropped out from beneath them and the children filled pods were sucked out of the room and shot into space.
Each child screamed in shock of the violence of the ejection and only calmed as they were pulled into Earth’s gravity. The stars all around them were a distraction from the terror of their predicament. Their youth blinding them to their current drift in the cosmos.
The Earth grew closer and soon they each were free-falling towards the surface. The stars disappeared into a wide bluish color. Nicladius felt a vertigo so strong with the spiralling action of his present home, his vision began to blur. The blood pressure was shifting from his feet to his head and back again with such speed it rendered him unconscious. The centripetal force and straps were all that kept his limp body from damage on the decent.