Ghia’ta dropped out of the collective as she neared the Queen’s chambers, something wasn’t right. The Queen’s pheromones were still saturating the corridor but Ghiat’a’s heart started racing as soon as they hit her. She clenched her hands at her sides and centered herself with deep breathing. She chanced a glimpse at the Queen’s Guards and even they were shifting from foot to foot.
Ghia’ta fiddled with her ring before she sent a mental announcement. She received a welcoming pulse from her aunt. Ghia’ta brushed by the soldiers and padded into the throne room. “You summoned me, my Queen?”
Queen Aga’po was everything a Zamaron warrior strived to be. Beguiling curves that ended in sharp points. She arranged herself on her raised dais so the chamber’s window illuminated her figure and cast her throne’s spiked shadow across the floor. Anyone who saw her would know she was royalty.
The smell was thicker inside as Ghia’ta drew closer. Ghiat’as skin felt too small her. She felt like bouncing off the pillars or hiding in the cushioned lounges. At her aunt’s distracted becoming, she settled for throwing herself at her Queen’s feet. She curled her fingers in the Queen’s skirt. She sighed when the Queen settled her hand on Ghia’ta head. Waves of cherishment flowed out of Aga’po’s fingers and cocooned Ghia’ta mind, soothing every thought it touched. Ghia’ta nuzzled closer into her aunt’s touch.
Ago’po remained absorbed with a projection floating above her crystal alter.
“We’re expecting visitors soon,” Queen’s Aga’po’s voice rang out above her. Ghia’ta opened her eyes and gasped at the floating image of a starship. The sleek starship would make a fine addition to Zamaron’s fleet, with a few adjustments of course.
But it wasn’t the starship’s beauty that startled her. Ghia’ta looked at its crest again. Green and white, it could only be -- “—a Green Lantern’s ship? They’re coming here?” Ghia’ta turned to her aunt. Had the Green Lantern’s discovered them? The Queen’s eyes were untroubled when she met Ghia’ta gaze. No, their destination might not be Zamaron, but Aga’po did not doubt they would be arriving here. And soon.
Ghia’ta squirmed under the stare’s weight. You were to never question the Queen, but - “We— I’ve never faced a Green Lantern. They have some of the strongest soldiers in the galaxy who have harnessed their will power into weapons. What if I’m not capable of evoking their love?”
What if I fail?
Aga’po’s cupped her niece’s cheek, chastisement slide under her reassurance. Her fingers drummed a gentle beat at the back of Ghia’ta skull. “You worry too much, Ghia’ta. You forget, love is the supreme power in the universe. The Star Sapphires knew this when they separated themselves from the Green Lantern Corps eons ago. We will face these Green Lanterns and carry on our ancestors’ legacy when our love cleanses them of the Guardian’s deception.”
She smiled, her eyes focused on far away victories. “Tell me Ghia’ta, what future do you see for us?”
Ghia’ta straightened, this test she would not fail, “I see… liberating the Green Lanterns with our love. Once free, their power rings will bolster our power unlike any of our captured males. The ship might carry new sisters as well.”
Aga’po’s smile urged Ghia’ta on. Ghia’ta took a breath, “I’ve never seen a ship like that before. It must be powerful to continue flying so far from Oa. We could reach Frontier Space with it. We could use it to spread love to untouched sectors and help those we could never have reached on our own” Just thinking about all the new people their love could embrace made her giddy.
Aga’po jolted Ghia’ta out of her thoughts with a gentle tap to the nose. “Close, but not quite.” Queen Aga’po stood and glided across the room, her long hair fluttered behind her. Ghia’ta hurried to follow. They made a sight standing in front of the crystals’ glow. Smaller than any of the soldier class, Ghia’ta only came up to her aunt’s chest.
Aga’po’s banked thrill leaked out and Ghia’ta’s heart started to race again. “These Lanterns present a unique opportunity. They could empower our ranks or-“ she glanced at Ghia’ta with bright eyes.
“-Or. We could use the Lanterns to gain access to Oa with the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. With them, we’ll gain access to their sectors. Planets that have known only war under Guardian rule will learn peace through our love.” Aga’po turned to look down the corridor; all the stationed guards were leaning in and hanging on their Queen’s every word.
Aga’po raised her fist high; her Sapphire ring pulsing with triumph. “We will succeed where the Guardians have failed. We will preserve love throughout the universe by reuniting the Corps once again. We will see a new dawn for the Star Sapphires!”
Her words echoed through the Zamaron’s collective. Guards erupted in cheers across the palace and banged their spears against the floor.
Ghia’ta distantly noticed the clamor. She wrapped herself around her aunt’s arm before her knees gave out. She had thought her plans were ambitious, but the boundless possibilities her aunt planned for were overwhelming. Spreading love, not just to Frontier Space, but to the entire universe? Was it possible?
Queen Aga’po let her niece be. A new era for the Sapphire Corps was not something to be taken lightly. She led Ghai’ta out onto an open balcony and addressed a waiting guard, “Summon the ce’pha’lon.”
An answering roar in the distance brought a smile to Aga’po’s face . The beast was a trophy from a long ago battle and had proven useful through the years. Previous Star Sapphires were helpless as it attacked everything in its path and brought destruction to their sector. It was thought impossible to stop for how it would evade attacks by slipping through dimensions.
It would still be wandering their solar system were it not for her. Her love tamed the beast and brought it under her control. Its mind did not understand such things as gender but, Aga’po mused, such an unreasonable creature just had to be male.
The ce’pha’lon burst above the clouds, long tentacles trailing behind him, spinning to rest under the balcony. Ghia’ta perked up and skipped over the ledge. She settled herself on the giant’s head and giggled when his purr dislodged her from her seat. Aga’po followed at a steadier pace and settled in for a long flight. Her castle shrank below them until it was swallowed by heavy mist.
Stars systems and clusters of space dust glittered in the dense dark of space. Only the ce’pha’lon’s luminescence and their own aura shone a path through the darkness.
“Remember Ghia’ta, no telepathy beyond this point.” They didn’t know the Lantern’s capabilities and would not risk it. Aga’po squeezed her shoulder. “This will be no different than any other mission, keep calm and all will be well.”
Ghia’ta nodded, “Yes, my Queen.”
With a wave of her arm, Queen Aga’po commanded the ce’pha’lon on the faraway streak of green. He sulked away, silent in the dead of space while they trailed a fair distance behind.
Ghia’ta nibbled her lip. She was always nervous at the start of a mission, but these deceptions were for the best. It was better to delude opponents for a time than force them into compliance. A softer approach furthered their goals more than an army at their back.
The ce’pha’lon reached the ship with no interference. No energy blasts, no evasive maneuvers. Aga’po clucked at their carelessness. The ce’pha’lon unleashed a roar that tore across the bow of the ship. Tentacles effortlessly restrained the ship’s two wings. He flared his mandibles to gnash his teeth at the ship’s bridge.
One tentacle penetrated the bay doors and ripped a Green Lantern out, rattling him like toy. After seeing this so many times, it reminded Ghia’ta of a suckling’s temper tantrum.
The remaining Lanterns, one Green and one Red (a Red lantern?!), fought back but the beast brushed off their energy blasts. What was a Red Lantern doing on a Green Lantern ship? And defending it? Ghia’ta kept her eyes on the battle and didn’t dare sneak a peek at Aga’po. This wouldn’t change their plans, but best to tread carefully.
The fighting Green Lantern was quickly captured in one of the ce’pha’lon’s coils while the Red Lantern deftly evaded the tentacles that whipped around him. A whirling hum was the only warning before the trapped ship discharged a dazzling emerald flare at its captor. The ce’pha’lon threw back his head and howled his displeasure. His mission forgotten, he lashed out and all three Lanterns were captured in tentacles. Slowly crushing them to death as the men were dragged closer to its jaws.
The women had witnessed enough.
Aga’po and Ghia’ta primed their rings; their auras sparkled with their love. They fired energy bolts into the fray. Aga’po aimed a satisfying blast at the Green Lantern trapped closest to the ce’pha’lon’s mouth, launching him to freedom.
The newly freed Lantern, a large Bolovaxian yelled, “How many lantern color’s are there?!” He joined them firing at the ce’pha’lon as it thrashed under their attacks. The two remaining men were thrown free and quickly rejoined their firing efforts. The men formed a line of defense in front of the Star Sapphires.
Quaint, but unnecessary.
The smaller of the Green Lanterns looked over his shoulder at them and quipped, “So you’re, what, pink Lanterns?” His mental shields wavered and Ghia’ta caught his name, Hal Jordan of Earth, before they slipped back up.
“Not precisely Green Lantern.” Her Queen answered. She pushed the trio aside with the inborn indifference of royalty. Ghia’ta followed her Queen’s example and aimed her ring at their target. This was her favorite part.
Aga’po continued deliberate nonchalance, “Where you value willpower, the Star Sapphires channel the power, and serve the cause, of love.”
Together, the Star Sapphires power pulsed through their rings and blanketed the ce’pha’lon in sweeping rays. Tentacles that absorbed the violet light hung defenseless at the ce’pha’lon’s side. His anger hissed out as a sigh and with a parting grumble, he left the actors to their show.
They turned to face the men and the parties circled each other. Ghia’ta finally got to see the three men up close. They were a diverse group.
The Bolovaxian gazed curiously at them. He towered over his comrades and cast an imposing figure with his jaw jutting out stubbornly. He had a strong front, but she sensed a sadness in him.
Hal Jordan stood in the middle. Slimmer than the Bolovaxian, but more muscular than the Red Lantern, he was unremarkable compared to the other two. Ghia’ta would’ve skipped right over him if the trust of his chest hadn’t marked him as the crew’s leader.
The final member stood on the far right. A lean Volkriegian with jagged lines cutting across his face. The acrid taste of hate he spewed made Ghia’ta struggle to keep her face welcoming as she held back gags. His Red Lantern aura eddied and flickered like he was engulfed in flames. He tempered it down only so he could focus on glaring at them.
The men were silent until Hal Jordan pushed forward, “Thanks for the assist. How do you happen to be in this neck of the woods?”
Queen Aga’po took the opening. “This sector of space is ours. But, pardon my manners.” She curved her arm in front of her and bowed her head, “I am Aga’po. This is my niece, Ghia’ta.”
Ghia’ta coyly dropped her shoulders and looked up at the men from under her lashes.
Hal Jordan smiled, “You’re mighty powerful with those power rings. We sure could use your help fighting the Red Lantern Corp.” The women politely didn’t glance at his companion whose scowl hadn’t paused once.
Ghia’ta fluttered her eyelashes, “I would enjoy aligning myself with you Hal Jordan.” She hid her flinch. A rookie mistake but from his senseless smile, he hadn’t noticed.
Aga’po took command, “We are close to our home planet. Perhaps you’d accompany us for rest and repair, before you resume your mission?”
Hal Jordan laughed, “Don’t mind if I do.”
Everything was designed for efficiency inside the ship. The walls were almost sterile white if it weren't for the green lights illuminating panels down the hallways.
Hal Jordan, now properly introduced, proudly stroked a wall, “It’s called the Interceptor. Fastest ship in the galaxy.” He led the way with the Bolovaxian (“Name’s Kilowog”) and the Volkriegian (“This is Razer,” Hal Jordan patted his shoulder before Razer shrugged him off with a grimace) bringing up the rear.
They followed the men to the ship’s bridge where an AI greeted them. The robot’s shell was obviously designed to compliment the ship. It had a pleasant enough shape, physically similar to a Zamaron soldier. Glowing lines traced unadorned protective covering; Green Lantern energy projected an attractive face underneath the white helm.
“And this, is Aya. Just tell her your coordinates and we’ll be there in a jiffy.” Aga’po relayed the numbers to robot as the men took their seats. Hal Jordan sunk into the command seat and Ghia’ta propped herself on his shoulder, close enough that her breath kissed his ear.
“Course plotted for Zamaron.” The robot intoned.
Aga’po closed in on the male most in need of their help. Kilowog slumped in his console seat, not seeing the screen in front of his half-cast eyes. His head hung low and his tusks protruded even more with his frown.
“Kilowog, you seem so, bereft.”
He turned his face away and gruffed, “I’d rather not talk about it.”
She reached out physically, mentally, gently turning his face back to her, “You suffer from a great loss. A broken heart.” He gazed into her eyes and unconsciously leaned into her hand.
Ghia’ta watched her aunt’s love seek out the male’s desire, left far away on a yellow planet with warm soup and warmer hands. Only love could reconnect the two and only the Queen could guide its way. Aga’po stepped away from the dazed male to shield her Sapphire ring’s flare as it sent out a call for a new sister.
Ghiat’a focused back on Hal Jordan’s hands tapping away on the screens. Their scientists could decipher the ship’s controls, but it was easier for everyone if she just memorized it now