Chapter 1: Escape to Planet Earth
It all happened so quickly. One moment, Princess Regina was in the middle of her coronation, as she was to be crowned Queen of Venus. The next, her palace was under attack by a legion of Martian terrorists, hideous beasts with red flesh and serpentine eyes. Fire was everywhere. People were running and screaming, not really knowing where it was they were going.
One by one, the Martians began picking them off with lasers. They dropped like insects before Regina’s tearful eyes. She sobbed openly as she watched some of her closest friends and kinsmen hit the ground, bloody. Suddenly, someone was grabbing her by the shoulders and she instinctively reached for her pistol, only to find that it was her bodyguard, Captain Jones.
She let out a sigh of relief. “Captain,” she rasped.
“Your Highness, we need to leave immediately,” said the Captain, “Come, quickly!”
“But, my coronation—”
“Will be carried out aboard the ship! Your mother and father await us there!”
The Captain all but dragged the Princess out of the blazing chamber, but they found themselves being fired at. Regina screamed, but the hot lasers ricocheted off of the Captain, for he had activated his Suit.
“Worry not, Your Highness! I will not let them harm you!”
“W-What do they want?!” cried the Princess.
“Your crown, most likely! We cannot let them get their hands on it!”
They were able to make their way outside, but when they did, they were horrified to find that the ship had been completely destroyed by the Martian invaders.
“Mother!” Regina screamed, “Father!”
The distraught Princess looked to find her father rushing towards her alongside a number of Guardsmen, all clad in their silver Suits. Her father was carrying a small black disk in his armored hands. He handed it to her in a haste.
“Regina, darling, you must take this disk and leave the planet,” he told her, “Guard it with your life. The Martians can never get their hands on it!”
“W-What? Father, I— I don’t understand! Are you not coming with us?! What about the coronation?!”
Her father sighed. “Forgive me, dear child,” he said remorsefully, his face hidden beneath his helm, “but the ship has been destroyed, and I believe it is imperative that your mother and I remain here to fight the invaders. Your coronation will have to wait, I am afraid. Go, quickly, to the stealth pod! You must not let the Martians get that disk! If they do, they will replicate it, and the entire galaxy will be in danger!”
“What is it, Father?”
“A weapon, dear child,” said the King, “It has been passed down through our family for eons. You must take it and run. Go now!”
The Captain ushered the struggling Princess away from her father. “Father! Where is Mother?!”
“She is safe, Regina! Fear not! We will meet again someday! Never forget how much I love you!”
“And I love you, Father!” the brunette sobbed.
She was taken aboard the stealth pod, in which she found her lifelong friend Abigail awaiting her. The Captain climbed in after her, sealing the hatch and rushing to launch the small vessel.
“Abigail!” she cried, “I feared you hadn’t made it!”
The blonde pulled her into a tight embrace. “I am right here, my friend, and I shall be with you all the way.”
Regina wiped her tears and looked to the Captain expectantly. He was no longer in his suit. “Where are we going, Captain?”
Regina frowned. “Earth? You mean the savage planet?”
“None are more savage than the Martians, Your Highness. Besides, we should be able to blend in there. Earthers look much like we do, and the atmosphere is identical to our own.”
“Have you ever been to Earth, Captain?”
“No, Princess, but my mother was an Earther.”
“What was she like?”
“Alas, I do not know. She died during childbirth.”
“Oh. Apologies, Captain.”
“Please, call me Killian.”
Regina was quiet for a moment. “Very well, Killian.”
She stared out the window with sorrow in her eyes as she watched her planet get smaller and smaller, until it was nothing but a speck in the vast universe. She pressed her hand against the glass, crying silently as she yearned to return to her family. She didn’t even know if they were still alive or not, and even if they were, how long would they survive the Invasion?
“I will return,” she murmured, “I promise.”
“Princess,” said Killian, “I think you should activate the disk.”
Regina stared at the black disk in her hand. “Oh, this? What sort of weapon is it?”
“It looks a bit like a Suit applicator,” Abigail noted.
“Aye,” said Killian.
Regina slowly brought the disk up to her chest and placed it over her heart. The small light in the center of it began to radiate a purple glow, making her eyes flicker, but otherwise, nothing happened.
“Is that it?” she asked.
Killian nodded. “That’s it.”
“How do I make it work?”
“It only activates when it senses a threat, be it another weapon or just a person.”
“How does it know when a person is a threat?”
“When they’re coming towards you with a weapon,” said the Captain.
Regina just nodded, though she didn’t entirely understand. She said nothing more as they passed the planet of the Invaders and turned away, not wishing to look at it a moment more. She didn’t turn back until the Red Planet was completely out of sight. Now, she couldn’t help but marvel over the beauty of the Blue Planet. If the Captain’s mother was an Earther, that made him one as well, at least in part, and Regina really liked Killian, so perhaps Earthers weren’t so savage after all.
“Look, Regina,” said Abigail, “Isn’t it beautiful?”
A faint smile tugged at the Princess’ lips. “Yes,” she murmured, “it most certainly is.”
Chapter 2: The Archsuit
In hindsight, the crash was inevitable. Though the stealth pod was convenient for going undetected, entering Earth’s orbit offset its flight path. Captain Jones was forced to crash-land in a forest near a sparkling sea. The smoke and fire forced the trio to flee into the woods. They’d have suffocated otherwise, and it was only drawing unwanted attention to their location.
Regina scoffed. “Some stealth pod!” she fumed.
“I fear we may be stranded, Princess,” said the Captain, “The communicator was damaged.”
“Gods!” cried Regina, “Can this day get any worse?!”
“You must not say that, Regina,” Abigail warned, “or it may very well come true.”
The Princess sighed. “Yes, I suppose you are right,” she said, “Let us see what all this strange land has to offer.”
The three of them darted off through the trees until they came upon the edge of a cliff, which overlooked some sort of village. “It is primitive,” said the Princess, “yet somehow charming.”
Killian stared out in wonder. So this was where his mother was from? Perhaps not this village in particular, but this planet. “I agree,” he said, “There is something rather quaint about it.”
Abigail started to say something, but was cut off by the deafening sound of a siren. The trio covered their ears, looking around in a panic for the source of the horrible noise, but were unable to locate it. Suddenly, a large red vessel of some sort came racing into the forest towards the pod.
Regina gasped. “It must be this planet’s militia, coming to apprehend us!” she cried.
“Whatever it is, it will not find us. We will be long gone. We have got to find some new clothing so that we may blend in,” said the Captain, “Worry not, Your Highness. As your bodyguard, I will do whatever it takes to keep you safe, even if it costs me my life.”
“As will I,” said Abigail, “not because I am your bodyguard, but because I am your friend.”
“Thank you,” Regina rasped, “Both of you. I shall be forever grateful.”
They watched as the red vessel disappeared into the woods, no doubt following the smoke. There were men hanging onto the sides of the vessel. It was unlike any vessel the trio had seen before. It was rectangular and it had what appeared to be wheels. The men wore strange uniforms and began unraveling a long hose, spraying water onto the flames.
“They do not appear to be a militia,” said Killian, “They have no weapons, other than those primitive axes. Perhaps they are for chopping wood.”
“Or people,” Abigail said fearfully.
Killian shook his head. “Doubtful. Pistols are far more effective in terms of taking lives.” He eyed the men warily. “Regardless, I suggest we move forward, Your Highness. We need to find shelter.”
“Right,” said the Princess.
Killian and Abigail walked on either side of Regina as she made her way down the side of the hill and into the little village below. She paused, looking around to take in the scenery. She couldn’t help but smile as she took a breath of fresh air.
“I suppose there are worse places to be stranded. It is quiet. Peaceful. Perhaps we could learn to like it here.”
“I agree,” said Killian.
“Come,” said Regina, “I wish to explore this village.”
“Are you sure that is wise, Princess?” asked the Captain.
“If we are to reside here, then I say we should acquaint ourselves with the villagers.”
“Regina is right,” said Abigail, “How will we ever blend in if we are unaccustomed to their ways?”
“You are right,” Killian relented, “Very well. We shall venture further into this village, but I insist that you stay close to me. Do not approach the villagers. Do not tell them who you are. They may be working with the Martians.”
“I have yet to see a Martian,” said Regina, “and you know how much they enjoy making their presence known.”
Killian nodded. “Aye. That they do, Princess. That they do.”
The first villager they came upon was a bespectacled man with a spotted beast on some sort of rope. He eyed them out of obvious curiosity, but smiled politely at the trio.
“Hello,” he greeted, “Lovely weather we’re having.”
“H-Hello,” said Regina.
The man just looked at her curiously. “Oh, I’m sorry, I assumed you spoke English. Pardon me.” The bespectacled man and his beast made their way past the three strangers, who exchanged a puzzled glance.
“What do you think that was about?” asked Abigail.
Killian shook his head. “I haven’t the faintest idea.”
As the eccentric trio made their way down the sidewalk, they received a number of stares from the villagers passing by on the opposite side of the street.
“Such strange clothing,” said Abigail, “I have never seen anything like it.”
“Earth certainly is an interesting place, don’t you think?” asked Regina.
“Yes, I suppose so,” said the blonde, “but I hope we can find someone to repair the communicator.”
“I could if only I had the right tools,” Killian grumbled, “Shame I didn’t get the chance to bring them with me.”
They eventually came across a strange little structure with an array of colorful objects on the stands outside. Abigail picked up one of the colorful items and sniffed it. She noticed someone giving her a strange look and smiled.
“Excuse me, what is the purpose of this device?”
The villager just blinked at her, bewildered, and walked away quickly. Abigail put her hands on her hips and huffed in mild exasperation.
“Well that was rude.”
Suddenly, another villager came around the corner, looking far from happy. This one appeared to be a woman, but it was hard to tell, judging by their unusual attire.
“Alright, you three, you wanna tell me what’s going on here?”
Regina offered a friendly smile. “Hello, yes, we were wondering if this village had a market.”
The golden-haired villager blinked at her, stunned. “What kind of language is that? Klingon?”
“We are from Venus,” said Regina, “What is your name?”
“Alright lady, I don’t know what sort of convention you came from, but I’m gonna need you to cut the shit. We’re back in the real world now, alright?”
Regina’s smile fell, and she frowned a bit. “Do you not understand me?”
“Your Highness, I suspect she lacks an implant.”
“What? I thought everyone received an implant at birth?”
“Apparently not Earthers.”
“Okay, I’m done playing pretend,” said the Earther, “I need to see some ID.”
“Give her an implant,” said Abigail.
“I am afraid I haven’t got another one on me,” said Killian.
“I will give her mine,” Regina offered.
She carefully removed the implant from the back of her neck and approached the Earther with it. The woman’s eyes widened in confusion and what looked like fear as Regina stepped closer.
“Here. If you apply this to the back of your neck, we may communicate.”
“Step back,” ordered the villager. Now the Earther’s words were just as unclear to the Princess. “I said step back! Don’t come any closer!”
Killian looked frantically at Regina as he stepped towards her. “Hra’héna! Xa zespre velk pina!”
Regina froze. The villager, on the other hand, became fearful as the tall, black-clad man approached with what appeared to be a look of rage masking his bearded face. He saw her reaching for her gun and threw his hand out, shouting at her to stop.
But it was too late.
The Earther had drawn her gun, but before she could even think to squeeze the trigger, the glowing apparatus on the strange brunette’s chest had extended over the woman’s entire body in a split second, like a suit of armor. It was completely black, save for the glowing purple light on the chest and the thin visor that split across the helm.
Seeing this came as enough of a shock to the Earther that she wound up pulling the trigger. The bullet struck the armor, only to ricochet and struck her in the left thigh, causing her to cry out in pain as she collapsed onto the sidewalk.
This, in turn, shocked Regina, and she accidentally let go of the implant without realizing it. She stared at her armored hands in disbelief. This Suit was black, whereas every other Suit she’d seen was either white or silver.
“It is real,” rasped Killian.
“What is?!” cried the Princess.
Regina, still clad in her Suit, grabbed both Killian and Abigail and twin rockets protruded from her back, sending them soaring through the sky and off into the distance. The wounded Earther watched this all unfold with a look of utter shock, which distracted her momentarily from the searing pain that ripped through her leg. She clutched it in agony, and as she looked at it, something shiny caught her eye. It was the small metallic device that the brunette had been holding. She slowly reached out for it as people came rushing out of the market to her aid.
“Are you okay, Sheriff?!”
“What the hell happened?!”
The blonde struggled to find words. “I honestly couldn’t even tell you,” she said at last, “You’d never believe me anyway.”
Chapter 3: See You Next Tuesday
“What in the world is the Archsuit?!” Regina demanded, “And why haven’t I been told about this before?!”
“It’s the most advanced Suit in history,” the Captain explained, “Some call it the Godsuit, for it was said to be crafted by the Gods themselves. Its armor is impenetrable. Its defenses flawless. It is the only one of its kind. It is, for the lack of a better term, perfect.”
“Why would Mother and Father keep this from me?”
“Because they wanted to wait until you were crowned Queen,” said Killian, “but clearly, things did not go as planned. It has been passed down through the royal family for thousands of years. I thought it to be a myth, but now that I know it’s real, I cannot allow it to fall into the wrong hands. If the Martians got their filthy hands on it, we would all be at their mercy.”
Abigail frowned. “But the Martians never show mercy.”
“Exactly,” replied the Captain.
The trio had landed near some stables, where several tall, four-legged creatures with long bodies and faces resided. Regina took an instant liking to them, as she was now stroking one of them and cooing softly to it.
“Such a beautiful creature,” she murmured, “I would love to bring you back home with me. I just know my people would adore you as much as I do.”
“Princess,” said Killian, “We need to get back to the ship and assess the damage.”
Regina nodded. “Right.” She looked into the innocent eyes of the long-faced creature. “Will you take us there, oh beautiful one?” she asked softly.
The creature nuzzled her with its snout, snorting in affirmation. Regina smiled gleefully and used the step to climb up onto the horse. Abigail unlocked the gate and the Princess rode out of the stall and into the forest. The Captain and Abigail followed close behind. Killian activated his Suit, which was entirely silver, save for the blue visor running across the polished helm. There was a tall fin atop the helm, signifying his rank as a Guardsman.
“Your Highness, I suggest you activate the Archsuit.”
“Just in case there are any Martians around.”
“Very well,” said Regina. She pressed the applicator on her chest and activated the Archsuit. The purple visor allowed her to see clearly within the darkness. “I don’t see any Martians,” she said.
“Well, you can never be too cautious, Princess,” said Killian.
“Right you are, Captain.”
Meanwhile, the Sheriff had just gotten the bullet removed from her thigh and was beginning to awaken from her anesthesia-fueled dream about what she knew were three aliens with some sort of weird gizmo they tried sticking her with. She groaned as she opened her eyes. Doctor Whale was standing over her, watching her curiously.
“Welcome back, Chief.”
“W-What the hell happened?”
“You tell me.”
“I was talking to these three oddballs in funky outfits. I thought they were on drugs. One of them had some kind of round tool with a needle on one side of it. She tried to get me with it. I warned her to step back, but she and her buddies were speaking some language I’ve never heard before. She wouldn’t listen to me, so I shot her, but— I don’t even know how to explain it— she was suddenly wearing armor, and the bullet ricocheted. And now, Doctor, here I am.”
The doctor was quiet for a moment. “That’s quite the tale, Sheriff.”
“It’s true! I swear! Someone else had to have seen it! Check the security cameras from the market! They’ll prove that I’m telling the truth!”
“You sure that woman didn’t stick you with a needle?”
“No, Doc, she fucking shot me! I mean, technically I shot her, but it ricocheted!"
“Hey, hey, take it easy,” said the doctor, “You’ll be out of here soon. Then you can file a report down at the station.”
“Great,” muttered the Sheriff.
A few hours later, she was rolled out of the hospital in a wheelchair, as was policy, and picked up by her Deputy, August Booth. He helped her into his truck and drove down to the station with her.
“How’re ya feeling, Emma?”
The Sheriff gave a tight smile. “Just peachy.”
Soon, August was helping her into the station and into the interrogation room. She sat down across from Detective Nick Branson.
“Evening, Sheriff. How are you faring up?”
“About as well as I can be,” said Emma.
“You wanna tell me what happened today?”
She told him exactly what she’d told Doctor Whale, and just like the doctor, the detective clearly didn’t believe her.
“How much have you had to drink, Sheriff?”
Emma frowned. “Nothing! Check my blood tests! I haven’t had a drink in weeks!”
“Just my antidepressants,” said Emma, “and some Tylenol, but nothing that could’ve made me hallucinate! Besides, how the hell do you hallucinate getting shot?”
“Don’t you think it’s possible that you were, in fact, hallucinating and wound up shooting yourself?”
“In the thigh?” Emma deadpanned, “At that angle? Really, Nick? That’s where you’re going with this?”
“Seems a hell of a lot more believable than aliens, Sheriff.”
“Check the security cameras from the store,” said Emma, “and talk to the people who were there. They had to have seen it! They were right there when it happened! I’m not making this up, Nick, I swear to God!”
“How can I know that, Emma?” asked Nick, “Huh? How can I possibly know that?”
“I don’t know, but I thought we were friends here!”
“Oh, we are, but I’m trying to be as unbiased as I can. I’m not saying you’re a liar, Emma. I’m just trying to figure out what really happened to you.”
“I just told you what happened!” Emma snapped.
“Hey, Emma, take it easy,” said the detective, “There’s no need to get hostile.”
Emma sighed. “I’m just trying to get someone to believe me. I’m not crazy. I know what I saw, Nick. I don’t know if they were aliens or not, okay? All I know is that I’ve never seen anything like that in my entire life. I don’t know who they are, or where they’re from, but that armor, it was on her in the blink of an eye. We don’t have that kind of technology, Nick, but if we did, I bet we could win every single war that way. We just couldn’t let it fall into the wrong hands.”
“Do you realize how you sound right now, Sheriff?”
Emma slammed her fist down on the table. “Damn it, Nick! I’m not crazy!”
“I never said you were.”
“I can read between the lines,” Emma said bitterly, “If you’re not gonna take me seriously, then I’m outta here. See you next Tuesday.”
“Hey, come on now, there’s no need for that,” said Nick.
Emma limped her way out of the room with August at her side to help her along. He wound up driving her home, and she asked him to stay with her for the night to make sure the three strangers didn’t show up and attempt to silence her. Little did either of them know, back at the station, Nick was making a very strange phone call.
“Ro dente xa et ab’da ui. Xa g’nuut xio ora’bin Um’mani. Fe’at ga ro ga?”
A much more sinister voice came through the line, crackling a bit. “Xestre vir ei ora. Ro un zemmik o amoni da man’tigu danda.”
Nick gasped, and the line went dead. The others looked to him in concern.
“What’d the Boss say?”
“He said he’s sending a man to kill the Sheriff.”
Nick swallowed fearfully. “Ih’vunamoni.”
“Y-You mean the— the—”
The detective nodded slowly. “The Huntsman.”
Chapter 4: The Farmhouse
I'll be going to Branson for a short weekend trip, so I won't have much time to write, but I hope you all enjoy this chapter!
Emma frowned. “The horse was stolen? When?”
“Just last night, Sheriff,” said the stableman.
“Are there any security cameras?”
“No ma’am. There’s never been any need for ‘em.”
“Well, I suggest you install some,” said the Sheriff.
“Will do, Chief.”
“In the meantime, I’m gonna go and look for your horse. He can’t have gone far. What’s his name?”
“Rocinante,” replied the stableman, “He’s brown with a white streak down the middle of his face.” He gave her a bucket of feed. “If you sprinkle some of this on the ground, he should come to you in no time.”
“Thanks, Mr. Colter.”
The stableman laughed. “My father was Mr. Colter. Please, call me Danny.”
“Sure thing,” said Emma, “Well Danny, the Deputy and I are gonna go look for your horse. We’ll get him back to you as soon as we can.”
Emma climbed into the cruiser with August and they took off into the woods with the windows down. The Sheriff reached into the bucket and flung some feed out onto the ground, listening closely for the sound of a horse. There was only the rustling of the trees and the chirping of birds.
“What are you hoping to find, Emma?” asked August, “Other than the horse, I mean?”
“I don’t really know,” Emma told him, “Just something that’ll prove I’m not crazy.”
“Well, for what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re crazy.”
“You mean that?”
August smiled. “Yeah. I know you, Emma. I know when you’re lying, and none of what you’ve been saying has been a lie. Maybe some confusion on your part, but you fully-believe it to be true, and I always try to make decisions based on facts. I don’t know if I believe in the whole ‘alien’ thing, but if I see it for myself, then I’ll know for sure that you’re telling the truth.”
“Thanks, August. It’s good to have at least one person believe me.”
The Deputy was driving the cruiser slowly through the woods so that he and Emma could scan the trees for anything suspicious or out of the ordinary. Suddenly, Emma gasped.
“Look!” she whispered frantically, pointing out into the distance.
There, behind some brush and fallen limbs, was a sleek, silver craft of some sort. It was severely damaged, no doubt scorched by the heat of the atmosphere. August pulled the cruiser to a stop, and he helped Emma out so that they could investigate the scene.
“Is this what the firemen put out?” asked the Deputy.
“Must have been,” said Emma.
She reached into her pocket for her phone, only to realize it wasn’t there. Frowning, she checked her jacket pocket and found not her phone, but a disk-shaped object with a needle on one side. She pulled it out slowly, realizing that she did, in fact, have proof.
“Holy shit,” she rasped.
“What? What is it?”
“It’s the thing that woman tried to get me with,” said the Sheriff, “I completely forgot it was in my pocket.”
“What does it do?”
Emma shook her head. “No idea.”
Suddenly, there was a blast of— something— zipping over their heads and the two threw themselves down onto the ground to avoid the attack.
“August! Do you have your gun?!”
“It’s in the cruiser!”
“Go get it!”
“What about you?!”
“I’ll be fine! Just hurry!”
August army-crawled over to the cruiser, throwing the door open and grabbing his gun from under the seat. He then rushed back over to where Emma was.
The Sheriff was gone.
Fearful and confused, August held tight to his gun, searching all around, but there was no trace of her, nor anyone else. “Emma! Emma, where are you?!”
Sometime later, Emma awoke to find herself in a dark room bound to a chair at the wrists. She looked around frantically, but found no one. There was a light overhead that shone down on her like a halo.
“H-Hello? August? What the hell’s going on here?!”
“Xa et vakni,” came a man’s voice. It sounded familiar, but Emma couldn’t quite place it.
Emma’s heart was racing. “Wh-Who are you?”
A dark-haired man stepped into the light. “Ha’sal. Ami adito et Ak’hilon.” It was the man from earlier who had approached her in a threatening manner.
“I— I don’t understand. Where are you from?”
Sweat rolled down Emma’s forehead. “What? Do you know what I’m saying?”
The man nodded. “Iv. Veda ora’bin aga’me da pav ei.”
Suddenly, the blonde woman from before stepped forward as well. She seemed wary. “Gavión, kev danda de em’bali.”
Emma’s eyes widened when she saw the man holding the strange object with the needle attached, and she began crying out for mercy as he approached her with it.
“Please! Don’t come any closer! I’ll give you whatever you want! Just don’t hurt me, damn it!”
It was no use. The dark-haired man stepped behind her, lifted her hair, and stuck the needle into the base of her neck. Emma cried out in pain, but suddenly, the man’s bizarre words began to make sense.
“Ro ba Gavión Hj’ona, Le’ric va de Hir’amonio.”
The man moved so that he was standing before her. A faint smile graced his lips. “Ak’hilon Hj’ona,” he told her, “Na ei ora?”
“Emma Swan,” the blonde said apprehensively.
“Am’mjir Z’vani,” the Captain repeated slowly. His smile grew wider, though only a little.
“Um, where did you say you were from?” Emma asked him.
Emma was in shock. “Venus,” she rasped, “Wow. Uh, how is this possible? How am I suddenly understanding you?”
Now the man’s words began to sound more and more like English.
“I have placed an implant at the base of your neck. It has connected to your nerves and is sending signals to your brain. This is what the rest of the galaxy uses to effectively communicate.”
“Why not us?” asked Emma.
“Because your people are still primitive,” said Killian, “I would even go so far as to call you the infants of the universe, technology-wise.”
Before Emma had a chance to retort, a third voice came from within the shadows. “Captain, has she awoken yet?”
“Yes, Your Highness,” said the Captain, “I’ve inserted the implant.”
The brunette from earlier stepped into the light, no longer clad in armor. “What has she told you?”
“Her name is Emma Swan.”
Emma frowned. “Doesn’t she have one of these implant things?”
“The one in your neck was hers,” said Killian, “but she instructed me to give it to you.”
“So that we could communicate. You had a weapon, so we assumed you were some sort of city guard.”
“I’m the Sheriff,” said Emma, “I lead the police force.”
“Is that some sort of militia?” asked the Captain.
“I guess you could put it that way. We only look out for the locals, though. Our duty is to serve and protect.”
“Have you healed her wound, Captain?” asked the brunette.
Emma looked at her more closely this time and realized just how beautiful this woman was. She couldn’t have been a day over twenty. She was stunning. Her accent really heightened her beauty. She almost looked like a goddess.
Emma was in awe. “Princess?” she asked, “She’s a Princess?”
“Aye,” Killian said reluctantly.
The brunette locked eyes with Emma and offered a soft smile. “M-My name is Regina,” she said timidly, “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Wish I could say the same, but, uh, you sort of kidnapped me and strapped me to a chair.”
Killian looked to Regina with uncertainty. “She wishes to be released, Your Highness.”
Regina just nodded. “Then release her. We have no right to keep her here.”
“But she knows who we are,” said the blonde alien, “What happens if she gives away our location?”
“I won’t do that,” Emma said firmly, “No one would believe me anyway. Just let me go and we can, uh, work something out.”
“Like what?” asked Killian.
Emma shrugged. “Haven’t thought that far ahead.”
“Let her go, Captain,” said Regina.
“Yes, Princess.” Killian did so reluctantly.
Emma rubbed her wrists as she stood from the chair. “So,” she said, “are you the ones who stole the horse?”
Killian and the blonde looked at one another in confusion. “The what?”
“You know, the horse? The big brown animal with the white face?”
“Oh, you mean the long-faced creature?” asked Killian.
“That’s the one.”
“It’s out back in the shelter.”
“You mean the barn?” asked Emma.
“I suppose so,” said the Captain.
“I’m gonna need to return him to Danny,” Emma told him.
Killian relayed this news to Regina, who seemed genuinely distraught. “W-What? But I— I love that beautiful beast!”
“I know, Princess, but you cannot keep him forever. He needs to return to his rightful owners.”
The brunette sighed. “Very well,” she said quietly, “Just let me say goodbye first.”
She opened the door, and sunlight came flooding into the room. She headed out the back of the old farmhouse and towards the little barn, where the horse was feasting idly on some hay. She went up to the creature and stroked it gently.
“I will miss you, beautiful one,” she murmured, “How I long to see you again someday.”
Emma watched this interaction with a smile. “She really does like him, doesn’t she?”
Killian chuckled. “Aye, that she does.”
“Well, I’m sure if you want to see him again, Danny will let you. Just don’t tell him you stole his horse.”
“We won’t,” the Captain assured her, “but I must ask that you keep our location a secret as well, Emma Swan. All we want is to repair our ship so that we may return home.”
“Okay,” said Emma, “I won’t say anything. I guess you don’t want me telling anyone about this ‘implant,’ either, right?”
“That would be best.”
“So, is it water-proof?”
Regina walked over to them with the horse at her side. She seemed sullen. “Here is your ‘horse,’” she said quietly.
Emma used a step to climb up onto the horse’s back and rode off through the woods and back to the stables, where Danny was mucking Rocinante’s stall. He looked up at her in pleasant surprise when he saw them.
“Welcome back, Sheriff. Need some help?”
Emma smiled as he extended a hand to her, helping her down off the horse. “Thanks, Danny.”
“No problem,” said the stableman. He led Rocinante out into the pasture to graze. “So, where’d you find him?”
“Just out wandering in the middle of the forest,” Emma told him.
“What’d you do with the feed?”
“I left it with August. Thought it would be easier to just bring the horse straight here. I’ll get you your bucket back as soon as I can.”
Danny smiled. “Thank you.”
Emma headed home to the trailer park for the day, and as she arrived, she noticed the cruiser was parked outside. The moment she arrived there, August came storming out of her trailer.
“August? What the hell are you doing here?”
“I’ve been waiting for you, genius! Where have you been?!”
“Obviously looking for the horse!” Emma snapped, “Why didn’t you come with me?!”
“What did those freaks do to you?”
Emma frowned. “Freaks?”
“You know, the aliens?” August asked incredulously, “The ones who abducted you?”
“I wasn’t abducted, August,” Emma insisted, “How much have you had to drink?”
“Oh, so now you’re pulling a ‘Nick’ on me? I thought it pissed you off when he doubted you?! What the hell, Emma?!”
“I was wrong,” Emma told him, “There are no aliens.”
“Well what about that spaceship, or whatever the hell it was?!”
“It’s probably just some prop for a movie or something, I don’t know.”
“You’re lying, Emma,” said August, “You’re looking me dead in the face and lying to me. Why?”
Emma shook her head. “No idea what you’re talking about. Go home, August.”
The Deputy folded his arms. “Fine,” he said, “Just tell me one thing.”
Emma sighed. “What?”
August looked at her thigh. “How’d your wound heal so quickly?”
Frowning, Emma looked down to find that the hole in her pants was indeed revealing the spot where her bullet-wound had been, but it had completely healed. It was almost as if she’d never even been hit.
Chapter 5: The Huntsman
“Emma, please! Just talk to me!” August shouted. He was banging on Emma’s door, but she wouldn’t open it no matter how much he knocked. “Don’t be like this! I just want the truth! Isn’t that what we both want?! Sheriff, I thought you and I were friends!”
“Go away, August!” Emma snapped, “You just wouldn’t understand!”
“Then help me understand!”
“Why the hell not?!”
“It’s complicated, okay!”
“Well make it uncomplicated!” cried the Deputy, “Emma, you were missing for three hours! Where the hell did you go?!”
“I told you, I was looking for the damn horse!”
“And I told you that was a boldfaced lie!” August retorted.
“August, I need you to take Danny his horse-feed!” Emma ordered, “Right now!”
“Fine!” shouted August, “But this isn’t over, Emma!”
“Like Hell it isn’t!”
August huffed, exasperated, as he sped off towards the stables. Emma watched from the window of her trailer as he left, sighing in relief once he was gone. She then reached under her hair to touch the device on the back of her neck. It no longer hurt, and had she not been touching it, she wouldn’t have known it was even there.
Emma hurried outside, locking the door behind her, and quickly climbed into her Bug. She sped off towards the farmhouse, not realizing that she was being watched from a distance by a man with a glowing eye.
When she reached the old farmhouse, she pulled around back, where she was met by Captain Jones. He was now wearing a tattered pair of jeans, a black t-shirt, and some kind of silver gauntlet on his left hand. He seemed to notice her staring and lifted his hand up for her to see.
“What do you think, Swan?”
“It isn’t a glove. This is my hand.”
Emma’s eyebrows shot up. “Really? How’d that happen?”
“I lost it in the Battle of the Rings,” said the Captain.
Killian smiled sadly. “Ten years ago, there was a terrible skirmish on the rings of Saturn. We know it as the Battle of the Rings. The rings are made of ice and stone. I was one of many men to get frostbitten, and alas, I was one of the few to survive.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
A deep frown made its way onto the Captain’s face. “No,” he said bitterly, “I lost many friends in that place. I lost lovers. I even lost my brother. To this day, I wish I had joined them, but it is my duty as a Captain that prevents me from turning my pistol on myself. If I were to do such a thing, I would tarnish my family name as well as my own reputation forever.”
“I take it suicide is frowned upon where you come from?”
“It is,” the Captain said somberly, “at least, when it is done out of cowardice. It is only considered honorable if one’s sacrifice is to save the lives of his fellow comrades.”
Before Emma could say anything else, Regina came out of the barn with her hair tied back in a braid. She, too, was wearing tattered jeans, along with a black tank-top. Like Killian, she had a pair of black boots on.
“Captain, I do not think I like these garments very much.” She paused when she noticed Emma. “Oh. Hello. It is good to see you again, Emma Swan.”
A soft smile graced Emma’s lips. “You too, Princess.” Seeing the puzzled look on Regina’s face, Emma looked to the Captain. “I keep forgetting about this whole language-barrier thing. Will you—”
“Of course,” said Killian. He turned to Regina with a smile. “Xa ze’hi de zendida et rezeva, A’rema.”
The brunette’s eyes lit up, and she smiled, approaching Emma quickly. She took hold of both the blonde’s hands. “Wonderful,” she said in that beautiful accent of hers, “Absolutely wonderful. Apologies for wounding you, Emma Swan. The Archsuit responds to threats, and it deemed you dangerous when you drew your weapon. It was not my intention to do you harm.”
“But it is most certainly mine,” came a voice.
They looked to find a bearded man with a glowing red eye staring hatefully at them. Both his arms were entirely mechanical. At his side was a metallic wolf with the same red glow in its malicious eyes. Killian jumped in front of Regina and Emma, donning his Suit.
“Captain?” Regina asked fearfully, “What is going on? Who is this man?”
“That, Princess,” said the Captain, “is Ih’vunamoni.”
Regina gasped. “The Huntsman!”
The Huntsman drew his pistol, and in an instant, the Archsuit activated, detecting a threat. The cyborg let out a dark chuckle, shaking his head as if in amusement.
“I have not come to harm you, Your Highness.”
“Then why are you here?” Killian demanded.
The Huntsman’s eerie red eye locked onto Emma. “I have come to eliminate the Earther.”
He aimed his pistol directly at Emma’s head. The blonde was too terrified to move as a red-hot blast of energy came barreling towards her.
“NO!” screamed Regina.
Suddenly, Emma found herself being knocked onto the ground, unable to do anything but look on in awe as the laser ricocheted off of Regina’s dark armor and back at the Huntsman, striking him in his mechanical shoulder. This infuriated the cyborg.
“I said I would not harm you,” said the Huntsman, “but it seems I may have to go back on my word. I promised my master I would bring you back alive. He never said anything about tearing off a few of your limbs. Perhaps I will feed them to my hound.”
The metallic wolf snarled viciously, its silver fangs dripping with black oil. The Huntsman pointed towards the terrified blonde on the ground behind Regina.
“Eliminate the Earther,” he commanded, “I will deal with the Princess and her lackeys.”
Chapter 6: The Pen is Mightier
The Huntsman fired his pistol at Killian, whose silver armor deflected each shot. Unfortunately, there was a limit to how long the Captain could keep his Suit activated. He was going to have to deactivate it momentarily, but he couldn’t do that while the Huntsman was in hot pursuit. The Princess’ voice came to him through the comm inside his metallic helm.
“Captain! Your Suit is going to time out soon! You need to take cover!”
“I know, Princess! But the Huntsman is right on my tail! If my Suit deactivates, he will burn me to a crisp!”
“Then come to me! I will handle him! You take care of the hound!”
“Are you sure, Princess?”
“That is an order, Captain!”
“Of course. Right away, Your Highness.”
Killian sped towards the Princess, who was still facing off against the metallic hound in her black armor. Behind her was Emma, clinging tightly to her as if she were a shield. The Captain held out his chrome hand, exposing his palm, and blasted the hound in the side of its head. The bionic beast snarled furiously at him, and he fired a second round into its dome.
“That’s right, you fiend! Come here!”
The hound stalked towards him, its fangs bared and dripping, and just as it lunged at him, he struck it in its underbelly, causing black oil, colorful wires, and sparks to spill out of its metallic shell. The hound’s eyes faded from bright red to solid black as its artificial life faded. The Huntsman let out a cry of fury upon seeing this. His glowing eye became even brighter than before.
“NO!” he roared, “My hound! You will pay for what you have done!”
Suddenly, there was a red beam blasting out of his left eye and straight at Killian, who stopped it by firing a blue laser at the Huntsman. This resulted in a powerful explosion that sent them both flying backwards. Killian landed roughly on the ground, and as he did, his Suit deactivated, leaving him momentarily vulnerable.
Unfortunately, before he could even think to reactivate it, he found himself being lifted up by the throat and held aloft. He tried desperately to pry the Huntsman’s metallic fingers from his neck, but his struggle was in vain.
“Your resistance is futile, worm,” the Huntsman spat.
The Captain glared hatefully at the cyborg. The Huntsman smirked wickedly as he pressed the end of his pistol to Killian’s temple. The Suit wasn’t reactivating. It must have been out of power and recharging.
If only I had the Archsuit, thought Killian, then it wouldn’t need to recharge.
Suddenly, the Huntsman was sent flying with a powerful blast of purple energy, searing his flesh and melting his cybernetic arm at the joint. He tried to get up, but he was hit a second time in the center of his back, knocking him onto the ground once more. He turned and glared at the Princess as she stood there in her dark armor, hand outstretched as she prepared to fire a third round.
“Why did you really come here, Huntsman?” asked Regina.
“I told you,” said the cyborg, “I was sent to kill the Earth woman.”
“But why? Why her? She has done nothing to deserve this!”
“I do not ask questions, Princess. I only follow orders,” the Huntsman said coldly, “I must eliminate her and bring you and the Archsuit back to my master.”
“Who is he?”
“You will know soon enough.”
The Huntsman swiftly drew his pistol with his good hand, only to have it explode before his very eyes as the Princess blew it to pieces with the cannon in her palm. His bearded face was left a burning mess as his flesh was singed and melted in certain places. He was breathing heavily, gritting his teeth as he lied there, virtually defenseless.
He couldn’t believe it. He, the infamous Ih’vunamoni— the Huntsman— was being defeated by a mere laser. Then again, this was the Archsuit, the most powerful weapon in the galaxy. What truly enraged him was the fact that a pathetic Princess had bested him.
“You will not win,” he declared, “My master will send more assassins.”
“And I will not be afraid,” Regina said confidently, “I defeated the Huntsman with only four blows.”
The Huntsman frowned. “Four? Foolish child! You have only fired three times!”
“Guess again, monster.”
Regina fired a fourth and final beam from her armored hand, directly into the heart of the Huntsman. Or at least, the place where his heart should have been. It was said that he had no such organ. Only a cold, calculating brain and a stomach fueled by mead and revenge. His left eye faded from red to black, and his body fell limp.
Abigail came up from the cellar beneath the farmhouse. “Is it over?” she asked worriedly.
Killian frowned at her. “Have you been down there the whole bloody time?”
“Apologies, Captain, but I am not a warrior. I have no experience upon the battlefield. I am but a scholar. I know the ways of the pen, not of the sword.”
“Some say the pen is mightier, you know,” Emma told her.
“Are you a scholar as well, Emma Swan?” asked Abigail.
“Afraid not,” said the Sheriff, “and you can just call me Emma.”
“Of course,” said Abigail.
Killian approached the Huntsman’s body cautiously, turning the dead man over with his foot. “Princess,” he said, “He has an implant. You can take it as your own, that way you and Swan can communicate easily.”
“Excellent,” said Regina.
The Captain pulled the implant from the back of the Huntsman’s neck and cleaned it off on his shirt before handing it to the brunette. “Here you are, Your Highness.”
Deactivating the Archsuit, Regina took the implant and stuck it into the base of her neck. She winced as the needle connected with her nerves, but the pain was quick to fade, and she turned to Emma with a smile.
“It is nice to speak with you properly, Emma Swan.”
“Please,” said the blonde, “call me Emma.”
Regina’s smile grew ten times wider. “Very well,” she said, “Em-ma.”
Heat rose to Emma’s cheeks and rushed down to her core. She’d have given anything to hear the Princess say her name that way a second time. Killian gasped as he tapped into the Huntsman’s artificial memory bank, causing the cyborg’s eye to flicker and display a red hologram. It was depicting the events recorded by his bionic half. There, in the hologram, was a grotesque man with a disturbingly childlike voice.
“Kill the Earther, but bring me the Princess alive. You must also bring back the Archsuit. That way, I can marry her and become King, and once I replicate the Archsuit, my army will be unstoppable. Can you do that, Huntsman?”
“Of course,” replied the cyborg, “I will not fail you.”
“You had better not. If you do, then do not bother ever coming back, because if I see that you have returned emptyhanded, I will destroy you.”
“I understand,” said the Huntsman, “Worry not, Master. I will rip the Archsuit from her body and make her watch as I skin the Earther alive. Then, I shall feed the filthy human to my hound.”
The childlike man let out a demented laugh. “I like the way you think, Huntsman! Go now, and do not disappoint me.”
The hologram switched off, but before anyone could react, another memory flickered to life in its place. This time, it depicted a man with a stubbled face and dark hair. Both Emma and Killian stared at the face of the man in utter horror.
“I’ve got her place bugged, sir. Whatever she does, we’ll be three steps ahead.”
“Holy shit,” said Emma, “It’s Nick! Tell me he’s not working for the Huntsman!”
“No. Not the Huntsman,” said the Captain, “but for Rumplestiltskin.”
“The man who sent the Huntsman,” Killian explained, “He is a Venusian-Martian halfling. It must have been him who sent the Invaders to our planet, as well.” His fists tightened in rage. “As for the man in this hologram, he is a Venusian.”
Emma frowned. “What? Nick?”
“No,” said the Captain. He turned to her with a look of disdain. “His name is Hj’oka An’ziel. He was a Guardsmen in my regiment during the Battle of the Rings, but he and several others deserted us in the middle of the skirmish. They were all exiled from Venus. It seems An’ziel made his way here, and I suspect his fellow traitors came with him. He must be a spy for Rumplestiltskin.”
“And he said he bugged my trailer,” said Emma, “Which must mean— oh shit.”
“What?” asked Killian.
“My Deputy and I were arguing about where I went in the woods. I told him to go to Danny’s to return the horse-feed. Damn it! I need to know he’s okay!”
Suddenly, there was the sound of a gunshot, and everyone froze when they saw the detective standing there with several police officers and a shotgun in his hands. His eyes were locked with Killian’s. They were burning with sheer hatred.
“Long time no see, Captain,” he said bitterly.
Killian glared at the traitor. “An’ziel,” he hissed.
The detective shook his head. “No.” He aimed his shotgun at Killian’s head. “It’s Nick now. Nick Branson.”
Chapter 7: Distress Call
Nick’s attempt to take Emma hostage was a failure, to say the least. His shotgun, as he quickly discovered, was no match for Venusian tech. Killian’s Suit was recharged, and so he lunged at the traitor, knocking the man to the ground and punching him in the face with plated knuckles.
“You traitor!” shouted the Captain, “How could you ally yourself with the bloody Martians?!”
Nick bared his blood-stained teeth at Killian in rage. “Because I wanted vengeance! If you would not allow me to return home peacefully, then I would take it by force!”
“You were banished because of your betrayal on the Rings! You brought this on yourself, An’ziel!”
“I told you, my name is Nick!” shouted the traitor. He attempted to shove the Captain off of him, only to freeze when the cannon in Killian’s hand was aimed at his head. “I was never given a chance to explain myself,” he hissed, “None of us were! You just assumed we bore ill-intent!”
The Captain scoffed. “Never given a chance to explain? You were all put on trial!”
“Yes, in the court of public opinion!”
“You’re a madman!” shouted Killian. He pressed his armored palm against the traitor’s head. “Your desertion was worthy of exile,” he said, “but your alliance with the Martians— who ruthlessly slaughtered our people— is worthy only of death. This is the end of you, Hj’oka An’ziel.”
But it was too late. One moment the traitor’s head was there, eyes bulging. The next, it was just gone. Vaporized by the blue beam from the Captain’s palm. There was no blood. No brains or skull. Nothing.
“You’re gonna pay for that, worm!” shouted one of the other betrayers. He aimed his gun at the Captain, but his bullets were no match for Killian’s Suit.
Killian stood up slowly as hot lead sparked and ricocheted against his silver armor. He approached the gunman wordlessly, moving at an eerily-slow pace, and fired yet another beam from his hand, blasting a gaping, searing hole in the man’s chest. The gunman was dead before he even hit the ground.
“Captain, behind you!” cried Regina.
Killian turned quickly and found another man standing there with a rifle aimed at him. “Put down your weapon,” he said, “You will only be hurting yourself.”
Still, the man fired his gun, only to have the bullet ricochet and strike him between the eyes. He dropped like a fly, and the Captain grabbed the rifle and snapped it in two across his plated knee. He spun around when he heard the distinct click of a gun. Unfortunately, he was too late to stop the third gunman from firing at Emma.
“NO!” screamed Regina.
She tried to jump in front of the blonde, but the bullet struck Emma in the shoulder. A scream of agony erupted from the Sheriff’s lips as hot lead tore through her pale flesh and bone, and she hit the ground without grace. Regina was at her side in an instant, holding her close.
“Emma!” cried the Princess.
Blood was everywhere. Emma’s eyes were red and pouring with tears. She was biting her lip so as to stifle her screams, whimpering and gasping. She bit her lip hard enough that it drew even more blood.
“Princess!” shouted the Captain, “Give her the Archsuit!”
“It will heal her! Do it quickly, before she loses too much blood!”
Regina pressed the purple button on the applicator and deactivated it. She swiftly attached it to Emma’s chest and pushed the button once more. The Archsuit activated, and in the blink of an eye, Emma’s entire body was shielded by the black armor.
“W-What’s going on?” Emma asked fearfully.
“It seems that the Archsuit possesses some sort of healing factor,” said the Princess, “Worry not, dear Emma. You will not die this day.”
“Your Highness!” shouted Killian, “Take my Suit!” He deactivated it and tossed her the applicator, and in seconds, the Princess was donning silver armor.
“What about you, Captain?!”
“Your safety is more important, Princess! You take her somewhere safe! I will deal with these traitors!”
Killian used his metallic hand to blast the oncoming enemies while Regina took Emma up into the loft of the barn.
“Try not to move,” said the brunette, “I will come back for you, but I must go and help the Captain.”
“Do what you need to do,” Emma groaned.
Regina gave a curt nod before rushing back to Killian, shielding him from the gunfire. He’d already been grazed a few times, but it seemed that the gunmen were not nearly as skilled when it came to using Earth weapons. Regina and Killian mowed down the traitorous Venusians with their lasers, and soon, all of the gunmen were dead.
“Come, Captain,” said Regina, “We need to check on Emma.”
Killian nodded. “Of course.”
They rushed to the barn and up into the loft, where the Sheriff was lying in some hay, still donning the Archsuit.
“How do you feel, Swan?” asked the Captain.
“Hell of a lot better than before,” said Emma, “How is this even possible?”
“The Archsuit’s inner-workings are made up of nerve scanners that detect pain and injury,” Killian explained, “I must confess, I do not know all of the details, but I find it quite fascinating.”
Regina removed the applicator from her chest and returned it to Killian. “I will stay here with Emma,” said the Princess, “You go look for the Huntsman’s ship. It cannot be far.”
Killian nodded. “Yes, Princess.”
Once the Captain was gone, Regina turned back to Emma and offered a look of remorse. “Forgive me,” she murmured, “I was not fast enough to prevent your injury. I blame myself.”
“Don’t,” Emma told her, “This isn’t your fault. Rivers was the one who shot me. Besides, nobody’s fast enough to stop a bullet.”
Regina took hold of Emma’s armored hand. “May the Gods smile upon you always, Emma Swan,” she murmured.
Suddenly, the Captain’s voice came through the headset within the black helm. “Swan, are you there?”
“Yeah,” said Emma, “It’s me. What’s up?”
“The sky, obviously,” said the Captain, “I need you to tell the Princess that I found the Huntsman’s ship.”
“Along the shoreline. The place reeks of fish.”
“I know where you are,” said Emma, “Don’t go anywhere. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”
“Emma?” asked Regina, “What is going on?”
“The Captain found the Huntsman’s ship,” Emma told her, “We’ve got to get there, and fast. Where’s Abigail?”
“Still beneath the house,” said the Princess. She lifted Emma up bridal style and carried the blonde out towards the Volkswagen. “We will take your ship.”
“You mean my car?”
“Is that what you call this yellow contraption?”
Regina brought Emma to the car and set her down gently. “You activate your ‘car,’ and I will fetch Abigail.”
Emma did so, waiting in the driver’s seat for Regina and Abigail to return. Once they did, she sped off towards the beach. The Princess was in the passenger seat and Abigail was in the backseat, panicking.
“Are you certain you know how to pilot this contraption? How much training have you had?”
“About seventy hours,” Emma told her.
“Seventy?!” cried Abigail, “Where I come from, it takes years to master one’s piloting skills!”
“Yeah, well, this is Earth, baby,” said Emma, “and this isn’t a spaceship.”
When they arrived at the beach, they found a black ship that somewhat resembled a bird, with its wide wingspan and distinct droop-nose. Killian stepped out of the craft when he heard them pull up.
“Princess, I have located the control panel,” he said, “The ship is a bit damaged, but the inside is fully-functional. I can send a distress call to the palace.”
“Do it quickly, Captain,” said Regina, “We must let the others know we are alive.”
Killian nodded. “Of course, Princess.” He disappeared into the ship once more, leaving the three women outside.
Emma no longer felt any pain in her shoulder, so she opted to remove the Archsuit. She deactivated it by pressing the purple button, as she’d seen the Princess do, and handed the applicator over to the brunette.
“Here you go, Princess.”
The young woman smiled as she attached the applicator to her chest once more. “Thank you, Emma,” she said, “but you may call me Regina.”
Chapter 8: The Queen
Killian was able to activate the chameleon mechanism so that no one would detect the Huntsman’s ship, but he remained inside to see if anyone had responded to his distress call. So far, there had been no answer, but he remained hopeful anyhow.
It had been two full days since the deaths of the Huntsman and the deserters, and so far, the Venusians had been in no danger. They feared they were facing an attack, however, when a colossal, white battleship descended almost gracefully from the sky.
The ship just hovered over the ocean, turning invisible as its hatch slid open, and out flew a mysterious figure with pristine, white armor. The visor on their helm was bright red. Killian and Regina donned their Suits in preparation for an attack, but the figure landed and just stood there for a moment, not saying a word.
But then the stranger spoke. “Regina, my darling, is that you?”
Regina gasped. “M-Mother?”
The figure in white deactivated their Suit, revealing the smiling face of the Queen. Killian gasped as well, dropping to one knee before her.
“Greetings, Your Majesty,” he said with his head bowed.
The Queen’s smile widened. “Rise, Captain,” she said softly, “I received your distress call.”
Killian stood back up, blinking at her in surprise. “Already? But I sent it only two days ago.”
“I had already left Venus when the call came through,” said the Queen.
Regina rushed over to her, taking her by the hands. There were tears in the Princess’ eyes. “Is Father with you?”
“Alas, no,” said the Queen, “but fear not, my child. He is well-protected. Our forces outnumber the Invaders. We are winning.” She cupped Regina’s face gently and planted a soft kiss upon the brunette’s forehead. “I have missed you terribly. I trust you have remained safe on this strange little planet?”
“The Huntsman was sent here by Rumplestiltskin,” said Regina.
The Queen’s eyes widened in alarm. “The Huntsman? Did he hurt you?”
“No, Mother. I was the one who defeated him.”
“You defeated the Huntsman? Oh, Regina, I am so proud of you.” The Queen pulled her daughter into a tight embrace. “You eliminated one of the galaxy’s biggest threats. Do you have any idea how special that makes you? I know your father would be just as proud.”
Movement caught her eye and she looked up to find a pair of blondes stepping out from within the invisible ship. She frowned a bit when she saw the strange garments Abigail was sporting.
“Abigail? Whatever are you wearing?”
Abigail curtsied. “Greetings, Your Majesty,” she said, “These are Earth garments.”
The Queen’s eyes narrowed as she peered down her nose at the second blonde. “And who is this?”
“Mother,” Regina said softly, “This is Emma Swan. She is the protector of this village.”
“A warrior, then?” asked the Queen. She stepped closer to the stunned blonde, studying the woman suspiciously. “What business do you have with my daughter, Earther?”
“I’m just making sure she’s safe, ma’am.”
The Queen arched an eyebrow. “That is the Captain’s job.”
Emma folded her arms. “Yeah, well, he looked like he could use some help.”
The Queen frowned. “Are you questioning his ability to protect my daughter? I chose him for a reason. I will not have some brash Earth woman defying my authority.”
Now Emma was frowning as well. “Look, lady, I don’t know who the hell you think you are—”
“Emma!” cried Regina, “This is my mother! The Queen!”
The Sheriff’s eyes widened in surprise. “Oh. Well then,” she said, “It’s nice to meet you— Your Majesty.”
The Queen pursed her lips. She addressed her daughter, yet kept her eyes on the blonde. “Regina, I do not trust this Earth woman. What has she done to earn yours? Better yet, what has she done to earn your respect? Her arrogance is potent. It makes me ill.”
“Mother! She is my friend! Please, do not insult her!”
“Friend?” the Queen asked incredulously.
“She is being targeted by Rumplestiltskin, just as I am,” said Regina, “She needs our help.”
Hearing this, the Queen turned and faced her with a look of horror. “What did you say?”
“I said she needs—”
“No, before that,” said the Queen, “You said Rumplestiltskin was targeting you?”
Regina nodded. “Yes, Mother. We learned it from the hologram in the Huntsman’s eye. Rumplestiltskin sent the Huntsman to kill Emma and to bring me and the Archsuit back to Mars. He wishes to marry me and replicate the Archsuit.”
“I will not allow such a thing!” the Queen declared, “Not ever! It is not safe here, Regina! He knows where you are, and he will send more assassins! We must leave this planet at once!”
“Mother, no! I wish to stay!”
The Queen looked at her daughter as if she’d grown a second head. “W-What?! Regina, we cannot stay here! We must get you to safety so that we may one day return home!”
“I will not leave without my friend!”
Both the Queen’s and Emma’s eyes nearly burst from their skulls. “What?!” they cried in unison.
Regina retained an awkward yet hopeful smile as she glanced between the two. “Mother, I— I think I am in love with Emma Swan.”
Chapter 9: No Horses on Venus
Everyone stared at Regina in shock.
“Princess?” asked Killian.
Emma was easily the most taken aback. “Holy shit,” she said in wonder, “You really mean that?”
Regina’s smile became one of nervousness. She shifted awkwardly from one foot to the other and offered a small nod. Emma just stared at her in awe, while the Queen bore a look of hurt. “How can you love an Earther?” asked the Queen, “And one you only just met?”
“She is beautiful, Mother. Just look at her! And more importantly, she is kind! She has been protecting us from discovery!”
“I forbid it! I will not have my daughter courting an— an Earther!”
“No! My word is final! I am still Queen!”
“That is not fair!” cried Regina.
“Life never is, dear child,” the Queen said somberly, “I cannot allow you to fraternize with this Earth woman.”
Emma scoffed. “Well, clearly I’m not welcome,” she said bitterly, “I needed to talk to August anyway.”
“Emma, wait,” Regina said quickly, “You do not have to go! Please!” She grabbed Emma’s arm, stopping the blonde dead in her tracks. “I wish to accompany you!”
Emma stared at her in surprise and wonder. “Are you sure about that, Princess?”
“Of course. I wish to know this ‘August.’”
“I don’t know, Regina,” said Emma, “He’s probably not gonna be too happy to see me.”
“And why not?”
“Because I lied to him.”
“Oh. I see,” said the brunette, “About us, I assume?”
Emma nodded. “That’s right.”
“Well, perhaps it would be alright if we simply refrained from telling him we are from Venus.”
“Okay,” said Emma, “but you’re gonna have to try and act like humans.”
“Surely it is not that difficult,” said Regina.
The Princess offered a friendly wave. “Ha’sal! Ami adito et Hra’héna.”
Danny just blinked at her. “Sorry Miss, but I don’t speak that language,” he said, “Whatever it is.”
“She said her name’s Regina,” Emma explained, “She and her friends are from, uh, Greece.”
“Oh, I see,” said Danny, “Well, it’s nice to meet you, Miss Regina.”
The brunette smiled and took hold of the man’s hands as a show of goodwill. “De zendida et rezeva, Dah’ni.”
“She says the feeling is mutual,” said Emma, “Regina here has an affinity for horses. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take her out for a quick stroll around the pasture.”
Danny smiled. “Of course I don’t mind,” he said, “You can take Rocinante. Just don’t be long.”
“It shouldn’t take more than forty-five minutes,” said the Sheriff.
Danny nodded. “Alright, then. I’ll get the saddle on him.”
“No problem, Chief.”
Danny worked to get Rocinante prepared for the quick ride, and Regina’s eyes were alight with pure joy as she watched him. Emma saw the happiness masking the brunette’s face and felt heat rise to her cheeks.
“Danny’s going to let us ride Rocinante.”
Regina’s eyes grew wide with awe. “Oh, how wonderful!”
“Princess,” said Killian, “I will walk alongside you in case anything should happen.”
“Of course, Captain,” said Regina.
Danny opened up the stall to let Emma and Regina inside. Emma climbed up first, using the step, and mounted the saddle. She helped Regina up, and the Princess sat close behind her, hooking those slender arms around her waist. A rush of heat pooled between the Sheriff’s thighs, and the position she was in certainly didn’t help.
“You all have fun,” said Danny.
“Oh, we will,” Emma said with a smile.
The stableman smiled back at her, but said nothing about the deep blush that had spread across her pale cheeks. Killian walked alongside Emma and Regina as they took off into the pasture on the back of the horse.
“Emma?” Regina asked softly.
“What is the name of this ‘horse?’”
“His name is Rocinante,” Emma told her.
“He is truly an amazing creature,” said the Princess.
“I take it there are no horses on Venus?”
Regina shook her head. “If only,” she murmured.
Emma pulled her phone from her pocket and typed out a quick text to August. I’m sorry. If you want to talk, meet me at the stables in an hour.
Back on the beach, the Queen had her arms folded, waiting impatiently in the Huntsman’s invisible ship with Abigail. “What does Regina possibly see in that Earth woman?”
“I am afraid I do not know, Your Majesty,” said Abigail, “but love does not always make sense.”
The Queen sighed. “You are right, dear girl,” she said softly. She brought a hand to Abigail’s shoulder. “All I want is to see Regina become Queen.”
“I am sure there is still time,” said Abigail.
Tears welled in the Queen’s eyes. “I am afraid not, Abigail.”
The blonde frowned. “What do you mean?”
Again, the Queen let out a heavy sigh. “I am dying,” she said.
Abigail gasped. “Your Majesty! How long have you known?”
“Just a little over a month,” said the Queen, “I have not yet told Regina, but that is why I want her to return home so desperately. I did not wish to upset her, but I know I will have to tell her soon. When I left, the Martians were almost entirely eradicated. If there are any left alive, that will soon change.”
“Do you know what it is that ails you, my Queen?”
“There is a growth within my breast that does not belong there. A cancer, if you will. The healers told me I had less than a year to live. Before I go, I want to see my daughter become Queen— the Queen she is destined to be.”
Meanwhile, Regina was holding tight to the Sheriff’s waist, resting her head on the blonde’s back and closing her eyes with a contented smile.
“How grateful I am to have found you, Emma Swan,” she murmured, “There is no greater blessing.”
Chapter 10: Baelfire
“These Earth creatures are so very beautiful,” murmured Regina, “If only I could bring some back to my planet. I know my people would love them. Especially my father.”
“What would you do with them?” asked Emma, “Ride into battle? I guess that means you’d have to make armor for them, too.”
Regina’s eyes lit up. “You are as brilliant as you are beautiful, Emma Swan.”
A blush crept onto Emma’s cheeks. “Yeah? Am I as beautiful as the horse?”
“A thousand times more— no, infinite times more.”
Emma chuckled. “Well, that’s good to know,” she said, “You’re pretty good-looking yourself, Princess.”
Heat rose to Regina’s cheeks, and she hugged the Sheriff’s waist a bit tighter, but she said nothing. She just continued to rest her head on the blonde’s back and smile softly.
Halfway through the ride, Killian spotted something in his peripheral and looked up to see the tell-tale shimmer of an invisible spacecraft falling through the sky, blazing due to the hot atmosphere. His eyes widened in horror and he pointed to it in alarm with his metallic finger.
“Princess!” he cried, “Look!”
Startled, Regina followed his gaze and gasped when she saw the ship. “Another assassin!”
“We must return to the shoreline and protect the others,” said the Captain. He activated his Suit. “Come, Your Highness.”
Regina nodded and pressed the applicator on her chest, donning her black armor and flying back to the beach with the Captain. Emma raced back to the stables on Rocinante. When she arrived, she found Danny talking to August.
“Shit,” she muttered.
“What happened to your friends?” asked Danny.
“They had a, uh, family emergency and had to take off,” Emma explained, “I’m gonna go make sure everything’s alright.”
“Why don’t I go with you?” August asked pointedly, “That way you can tell me whatever it is you needed to talk about.”
“That’ll have to wait, August,” Emma told him, “This is serious.”
“Why are you getting involved in a ‘family emergency?’”
“Because it’s probably gonna get hostile.” Emma climbed down off of the horse and raced out to her car. “Thanks for letting us ride your horse, Danny!”
“Uh, yeah, no problem, Chief,” Danny said, a bit dumbfounded.
August raced after Emma. “Emma, what the hell is going on?! You said you wanted to talk, so talk!”
“I know what I said, but now it’s gonna have to wait! I promise, we’ll talk later! I’ve got an altercation to take care of!”
“Well, as your Deputy, it’s my obligation to come with you!”
“God damnit, Emma, listen to me!” August snapped, “I’m coming with you, and you’re gonna tell me exactly what’s going on here! I’m fed up with all the lies! I’m sick of the secrecy! I just want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!”
“FINE!” shouted Emma, “Get in the fucking car and I’ll tell you!”
She did, and August couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“So they’re aliens? Seriously?”
Emma frowned. “You said you wanted the truth, August. That’s it.” She was speeding through the forest and towards the beach in her little yellow Bug. “I really need you to stay in the car, no matter what.”
“If something happens to you, I’m not about to sit by and do nothing,” the Deputy said firmly, “You’re not just my partner, Emma, you’re my friend, and friends stick together, no matter what.”
Emma let out a sigh. “I just don’t want you getting caught up in all of this. It’s dangerous. These are vicious assassins being sent our way, and I couldn’t live with myself if you got caught in the crossfire.”
“You think I wanna see you stuck in some alien battle? Emma, if you get hurt, I’m going out there, guns blazing. If I have to go down to keep you safe, then so be it.”
Emma stopped the car at the edge of the trees, where Regina, Killian, and the Queen were waiting, all donning their Suits. Abigail was rushing towards the Bug, frantic. Emma rolled down the window quickly.
“What’s going on?” she asked, “Where’s the ship?”
“It is just hovering in the sky. You can see its outline if you look closely enough,” said Abigail, “May I take cover in your ship, Emma?”
“Sure, just hop in the back.”
Abigail did so, and August offered an awkward wave. He looked to Emma in confusion. “What did she just say?”
“She said there’s an invisible ship in the sky, just hovering there.”
“How come you can understand her, but I can’t?”
“Because I’ve got an implant.”
August frowned. “What?”
“Never mind that. I’ll explain later. Just keep each other company, alright? Oh, and August, if lasers start coming your way, I want you to take the car and get the hell outta dodge.”
“Where do you want me to take her?”
“As far away as possible.”
And with that, Emma jumped out of the car, leaving her puzzled Deputy alone with the blonde alien in the backseat. He turned and blinked at the woman, bewildered.
“Uh, hi,” he said, “My name’s August. What’s yours?”
The blonde smiled. “Ab’higa.”
“Hm. That’s an interesting name,” said August, “Can you understand me?”
Abigail nodded. “Iv.”
“I’m guessing that means ‘yes?’”
Again, the blonde nodded. “Iv,” she repeated, “Issa et nux da malo ei, Iao’gozda.”
August just stared at her for a bit. “Uh, yeah,” he said awkwardly.
Meanwhile, Emma was joining Regina and the others. The Queen noticed her and became exasperated. “Leave us be, Earth woman! We do not need your help!”
“Mother!” cried Regina, “Give her a chance! We do need her! She is truly brave, and her strength is admirable!”
The Queen sighed heavily within her white armor. “Very well,” she relented, “but if she slips up for so much as a second, I may as well just destroy her myself.”
Regina gasped. “Mother, no!”
Emma scoffed as she cocked her gun. “Sorry, Your Majesty, but I’m not going anywhere. I came to give you my help, and you’re gonna get it whether you want it or not.”
“I cannot tell whether you are being stubborn or just a bumbling fool,” muttered the Queen.
Before Emma could retort, a huge red beam came blasting out of the front of the hovering ship, only it didn’t strike anyone. Instead, when it cleared, there was a vengeful-looking man standing there in tight leather armor and a huge gun in his hand. His muscular arms were exposed and were covered in intricate, red markings that appeared to be some sort of language. He bore a black patch over his right eye, though there were no strings holding it in place.
“Who the hell is this guy?!” shouted Emma.
“I am unsure,” said Killian, “but my Suit indicates that he is of both Venusian and Martian origin.”
“So in other words, he’s bad news,” said the Sheriff.
The Captain nodded. “Precisely.”
The intruder turned his attention to the bewildered blonde, as she was the only one without armor, and her garments were awfully strange. “Surrender, Princess,” he ordered, “or your pet Earther dies.”
Emma frowned. “Pet? Look here, asshole, I’m no one’s fucking pet!”
“Silence!” the Queen snapped, “Do you want to die? Foolish girl!”
“What I want is to know who the hell this guy thinks he is!” Emma snapped.
The man aimed his gun at Emma and frowned. “Speak again and you die, Human,” he said with disgust, “and if you really must know, my name is Baelfire.”
Emma tightened her fists and glared hatefully at him. She wanted to shoot, but she doubted her gun would do much good against that huge hunk of steel he was packing.
“I demand that you identify yourself,” said the Queen.
A sly smirk started to creep onto the man’s lips, but before he could respond, he was struck in the shoulder with a sudden burst of hot lead, which sent him crashing to the ground. Everyone looked in shock to find August standing there, both hands on his gun, aiming it at the tattooed invader.
“August, you idiot! I told you to wait in the car!” cried Emma.
“And I told you I would act if anything happened to you!” the Deputy snapped.
“And nothing has!”
“He had his gun pointed at you! That isn’t ‘nothing!’”
The tattooed man glared daggers at August. “Ei ora du’atha, Au’dero,” he hissed. He aimed his gun, and before anyone could even think to stop him, he pulled the trigger.
Chapter 11: Maxuri Ga'bin Zoric
Kind of a short chapter but fun to write :) hope you all like it
August’s eyes were alight with the red glow of the beam as it came straight for him. He was paralyzed with fear, feeling as though he couldn’t breathe. Just when he thought he was going to meet his end, there was a flash of white, causing the Deputy to stumble and fall, and the hot laser ricocheted off of the Queen’s pristine armor as she stood before him.
“Gorag Um’mani,” she muttered.
August blinked at her in awe and bewilderment, unsure of what to make of the woman. The Queen blasted a beam from her hand and towards Baelfire’s head, but unfortunately, she missed. The man was much too quick for her.
Baelfire glared at the woman. “Uma ora ei?”
Behind her helm, a smirk tugged at the Queen’s lips. “Kuna Kiorra,” she said proudly, “va Hva’nui.”
The assassin’s eyes grew wide. “Ih’loa!”
The Queen shook her head. “Ina. Ami imoric et Akonda Hjen’rio.”
She fired a second beam at the mercenary. He attempted to dodge, but was struck in the shoulder and landed roughly on his back. He lifted his pistol to fire at the Queen, but she blasted the weapon into smithereens. Baelfire went to stand up, only for Regina to lunge at him, grabbing him by his leather armor and soaring into the sky with her Archsuit.
“Stay away from my family, you monster! I will not let you take me to that— that tyrant!”
Baelfire bared his teeth in rage. “You have no choice, Princess!” He attempted to punch her in the face, but he only hurt himself in the process. “Ih’duga!” he cried, knowing he’d broken some— perhaps even all— of his knuckles. “Release me, you wench!” he demanded.
Regina laughed. “As you wish.”
Baelfire’s eyes widened when he realized what was bound to happen. “Wait, no—”
But it was too late. The Princess had already let go, and he was plummeting towards the ocean at the speed of light. Suddenly, he was enveloped in the salty sea. The salt got in his good eye, burning immensely. He struggled to swim back to the top, but the moment he resurfaced, he had three Venusians hovering around him in their Suits, aiming their hands at him so as to fire if necessary.
“Come peacefully, Baelfire,” said the Queen, “and you will be spared.”
Baelfire scoffed, but put his hands up reluctantly. “You might as well just kill me now. If you do not, then my father certainly will.”
The Queen frowned. “Your father?”
“Yes,” said Baelfire, “Rumplestiltskin.”
Back at the farmhouse, the group had Baelfire strapped to a chair in the dark basement, lit only by a flickering overhead light. It was ominous, to say the least. He was glaring daggers at his captors.
“You destroyed my favorite rifle,” he said bitterly.
Killian folded his arms. “That should be the least of your worries,” he said, “Now, it would be good for everyone if you told us where to find your father. Is he on Mars?”
Baelfire’s frown deepened. “I will never betray him.”
“Not even if we reward you?” asked the Queen.
The mercenary was quiet for a moment. “How much?”
“As much as you see fit.”
A sly grin spread across the man’s stubbled face. “Well then,” he said, “That changes things. I would like ten times my weight in gold, and three-hundred shards of Venusian crystal.”
August was visibly puzzled. “What’s he saying? How is everyone else understanding him, but not me?”
Baelfire snickered. “Ro lux ei, Um’mani. Ei mévith imm.”
August blinked dumbly at him. “…What?”
“He says he likes you,” said Emma, “Apparently you’re amusing.”
“Ei ora’bin ina’hu pau mala, ba oma Au’dero.”
“Alright, somebody’s gonna have to teach me this language.”
Baelfire laughed aloud. “Ro akarr e’tuma ei. Le’i osa: Ih’duga. Ei.”
Emma frowned. “Hey! Don’t you talk to him that way! Say you’re sorry.”
The mercenary spat at her in contempt. “Maxuri ga’bin zoric,” he hissed.
“What did he say?” asked August.
“He said ‘Martians don’t apologize.’”
Chapter 12: Ro Imoré Ei
*A n g s t*
“My mother was one of Rumplestiltskin’s many whores,” said Baelfire, “He has never acknowledged me as his son, but I know he is aware. Still, I am just another mercenary for him. A mere pawn. A bastard child, expendable by all accounts. The Huntsman was my half-brother. In truth, I never cared for him, though I confess, he was quite powerful.”
“Did he have a name?” asked Regina, “Other than ‘Huntsman?’”
Baelfire shook his head. “No. My father said names were earned, like trophies. Badges of honor. Those who failed him either had their names stripped away, or never received one to begin with. I was one of the lucky ones.”
“What does he intend to do once he overtakes Venus?”
Baelfire’s expression was smug. “I told you, I will not betray him.”
“Why?” asked Killian, “You just made it clear that he sees you as an expendable pawn. Why would you want to remain loyal to such a twisted man?”
“I will not betray him,” Baelfire said once more, “yet.”
The group exchanged puzzled glances. “Yet?”
The mercenary’s smirk grew wider. “You heard me. Rumplestiltskin is not the only one with ambitions. I will not go down in history as the bastard son of a monster! I will surpass him. People will sing my praises for centuries to come! They will know the name of the mighty warrior, Baelfire!”
“What the hell’s he yelling about?!” August demanded.
Baelfire sneered at him. “Ro akarr rava ei’ric duma kan ei’ric bido na i’xi ente ei’ric dura’kio, Au’dea amoni!”
Everyone stiffened, and the color drained from their faces. Baelfire just laughed darkly, and August was visibly taken aback, scratching his head awkwardly as he wasn’t sure what to make of this.
“Is somebody gonna tell me what he said?”
“Uh, I don’t think you wanna know,” said Emma.
August frowned. “And just why the hell not?”
“Let’s just say I think he meant it.”
“Oi, ro ga’nei.”
Emma swallowed. “Yep. He definitely meant it.”
August glared at the mercenary. “You’re a real piece of shit, you know that?”
Baelfire bared his teeth in primal rage. “Vino ro hena ato va de’nu vunda— na ro akarr, ro z’vira ei— ro akarr vi’latix ei ente du’rai va ei’ric ka’miosa!”
“Someone shut him up, for fuck’s sake!” cried Emma, “August, let’s go!”
“I will deal with him,” said Killian.
The Queen looked to her daughter with unease. “Regina, my darling,” she said quietly, “there is something I need to speak to you about. Come. Let us go somewhere more private.”
Regina was in tears. “Mother,” she rasped, “Why would you keep this from me?”
“Because I saw how happy you were, and I did not wish to hurt you,” said the Queen, “but I can no longer keep this a secret. I felt you had to know.” She placed her hands upon Regina’s shoulders. “We need to leave this place, Regina. It is not safe. Rumplestiltskin will not rest until you are in his clutches— he will keep sending his minions after you— and I simply cannot allow him to succeed.”
Regina sobbed openly. “I cannot leave her, Mother. I cannot abandon Emma. I love her.”
The Queen sighed, lifting her daughter’s chin gently. “I know, darling, I know,” she murmured, “but if you love her, you must leave the planet. If you stay, you will only be putting her in further danger. Is that what you want?”
The Princess shook her head vehemently. “No!”
“I thought as much,” said the Queen. She cupped Regina’s face in her hands. “Come, Regina. We must leave, before it is too late.”
“Yes, Mother,” Regina rasped.
Emma couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “You’re leaving?”
Regina was weeping uncontrollably. “I must,” she said, visibly distraught, “I hope you can forgive me, sweet Emma. You are the kindest, most generous, and most beautiful woman I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I will never forget you. I hope that one day, I will be able to return to this strange yet quaint planet.”
Emma’s eyes welled with tears as Regina took hold of her hands. “I’ll be right here, Princess,” she said softly.
“Promise me something,” rasped the brunette.
“Anything,” Emma breathed.
Regina smiled sadly at the blonde. “Promise me you will look after Rocinante.”
A sob escaped the Sheriff, and she nodded. “I will,” she murmured.
August watched this whole interaction with a mix of confusion and sympathy. It was clear to him that Emma and the Princess shared a connection, but he hadn’t realized just how close they really were. If only he could have understood what the Princess was saying.
Regina squeezed Emma’s hands firmly as tears slipped down her cheeks. “Ro imoré ei, Am’mjir Z’vani,” she husked.
Emma sobbed once more, pulling the Princess into a tight embrace, and she whispered something into the brunette’s ear. August wasn’t close enough to hear it, but he knew he wasn’t meant to.
The Queen looked to Emma and bowed her head in a show of respect. “Lona, Au’dea mona.”
Emma smiled faintly at her, chuckling a bit. “Goodbye, Your Majesty.”
The Queen returned the soft smile. “Kama imm Kiorra.”
Emma nodded. “Okay,” she said, “Cora.”
And Cora activated her Suit, flying back towards her ship to wait for Regina. Baelfire was already imprisoned in the ship’s brig, and would not be escaping anytime soon. Abigail was aboard the ship as well, awaiting the others.
Regina glanced between the pristine spacecraft and Emma, visibly reluctant. The Princess did something that left the Sheriff speechless. She pressed her lips to Emma’s in a searing kiss, and in that moment, both women knew they were meant to be together, but the dire circumstances forced them to go their separate ways.
Emma was left standing on the beach, stunned into silence as tears finally slipped down her pale face. The Captain regarded her with a small nod, which she hesitated to return, and stepped into the Huntsman’s ship, having rounded up the remains of the cyborg, the metallic wolf, and the bodies of the traitors.
“So long, Swan,” he said.
Emma struggled to find words. “Yeah,” she said softly, “I’ll see ya.”
Killian disappeared into the Huntsman’s ship and flew off towards the Queen’s ship, which pulled the two other crafts aboard using a red beam. Then, in the blink of an eye, they were gone.
Emma stared up into the sky with an unreadable expression. August approached her slowly, placing a hand on her shoulder in an effort to comfort her.
“You okay, Chief?”
Emma laughed, but it was more bitter than jovial. “About as ‘okay’ as a person can be after all this shit,” she told him.
“So, uh, what’d she say to you?”
“What did she tell you that made you hug her?”
A faint smile tugged at Emma’s lips. “She told me she loved me.”
“And what’d you tell her?”
Emma looked to the Deputy with a hopeful gleam in her eyes. “What do you think?” she asked softly.
August just smiled back at her. “You’ll see her again someday.”
“I hope you’re right.”
They were both quiet for a moment, but then August asked her, “What are we gonna do now, Sheriff?”
“We’re gonna try and dismantle that stealth pod before the Feds get their hands on it,” said Emma, “but first thing’s first.” She pulled the badge from her belt and placed it into August’s hand with care. “I want you to be Sheriff.”
August’s eyes widened. “What? I thought you liked being Sheriff?”
“I’ve decided to follow a different path,” Emma told him.
“Well, if you’re sure,” August said skeptically.
Emma nodded. “I am.”
The blonde stared back up into the sky with a sullen smile. She hoped the Princess would stay true to her word.
Chapter 13: Long Live the Queen
Warning: character death :(
While describing the battle, I was listening to 'Iron' by Woodkid. I think it's very fitting. I recommend you all look up the music video (both the song and video are incredibly awesome and spine-chilling).
Six years. Six. Long. Years. That was how long it had been since Emma had seen her friends from beyond the stars. She’d clung to her hope for as long as she could, but it just didn’t seem possible anymore. She had lost her hope that they would return in exchange for cheap beer and whiskey, just as she’d traded in her badge for a bridle.
She finished mucking the horse stalls and headed home for the night, planning on ordering pizza and drinking beer while she stared mindlessly at her TV for a few hours before she passed out. When she stepped into her trailer, however, she felt that she wasn’t as alone as she initially thought.
She found herself in the dark living room, but the blue light of the moon that flooded in through the window revealed a figure sitting in her recliner. She gasped and flipped on the light, fearing it might have been a burglar.
“I may not be Sheriff, but I still have my— Killian?”
There, in the chair, was the Captain, clad in a dark tunic and leather pants. His hair was long and greasy, hanging down in strings, and his beard had grown considerably into an unkempt mess. His left eye was bruised and swollen shut, and there were large bloodstains on his clothing. He appeared to be unconscious. At least, Emma hoped that was all he was.
“Jesus! Killian, what the hell happened to you?!” She rushed over to him, and the Captain’s good eye slowly fluttered open.
“Swan,” he groaned, “I need your help.”
“Yeah, clearly! Where’s your Suit? Can’t you heal yourself that way?”
Killian slowly shook his head. “No,” he rasped, “My Suit was destroyed in the Ambush.”
“What ambush?!” Emma demanded.
“After we left,” Killian groaned, “we went to Mercury to form an alliance with its Emperor. Rumplestiltskin knew.”
“How? Did Baelfire tell him?”
“No. The Huntsman’s left eye was a camera, with a direct link to Mars. Even after he died, the camera kept rolling. That bastard saw and heard everything. He knew where we were headed, and he got there first.”
“And Regina? Oh fuck, tell me he didn’t—”
Killian hung his head in shame, but said nothing. Even then, Emma had her answer. Tears welled in her eyes, and she felt like screaming out in fury, but no sound ever came. Just silent sobs and the crack of her heart that fell on her ears and hers alone. She sank to her knees, defeated.
“Fuck!” she cried, “She never should have left!”
“I understand your feelings, Sheriff—”
“No,” said Emma.
“I’m not the Sheriff anymore. August is.”
“August? You mean your Deputy?”
“Former Deputy,” Emma corrected.
“Well, what have you been doing all this time?”
“Working down at the stables,” said the blonde, “I promised her I’d look after Rocinante. I always keep my promises.”
“You are truly noble, Emma Swan. I would have loved to have you by my side in the Battle of the Rings.”
Emma let out a bitter laugh. “Don’t know if I’d be cut out for that kind of thing,” she said, “but I appreciate your belief in me. You think Regina believes in me?”
A faint smile tugged at the Captain’s lips. “I know she does.”
Emma was quiet for a moment. “So, uh, how’d you get here? And where were you all this time?”
“I was imprisoned in the dungeon beneath Rumplestiltskin’s dark fortress,” Killian told her, “but the Queen came to visit me one night and I found a key at the bottom of the bowl. That was when I made my escape. I stole a ship and came here as quickly as I could. I had nowhere else to go.”
“Why not Venus?”
Tears slipped down the bearded man’s cheeks. “Our planet is no more. Everyone who was not massacred managed to evacuate to the surrounding systems. The atmosphere is now toxic, no doubt the work of that tyrant. I would not dare set foot there, even if I had my Suit.”
“I’m sorry,” Emma said genuinely, “but I can’t help wondering why Cora didn’t come with you.”
Killian froze. “Cora,” he rasped. It wasn’t a question, but Emma responded anyhow.
“Yeah. Cora. You said she gave you a key.”
The Captain shook his head. “No,” he murmured, “Not Cora. Regina. She was forced to become Queen when she married Rumplestiltskin, and he declared himself King of the Cosmos.”
“Shit,” Emma muttered, “So, where’s Cora?”
Killian’s fists tightened and trembled. “She was killed,” he whispered, “in the ambush.”
Emma’s eyes grew wide. “Wh-Who did it?”
“Rumplestiltskin, of course,” Killian said, struggling to suppress his anger.
There were lasers of every color blasting in all directions, creating a morbid rainbow, of sorts, over the bloody corpses of Venusians, Martians, and Mercurians. Cora was fighting alongside Killian and Regina. The moment they’d landed on Mercury, their ship was attacked by the barbaric Martians and Baelfire was able to escape. No one was quite sure where he had gone, but he was the least of their worries.
Cora, having supplied Abigail with a spare Suit, felt reassured that the young woman would be safe. She, on the other hand, feared that she did not have much time left. The disease creeping through her body was killing her slowly and painfully, and her Suit had a limited amount of time before it deactivated. She would be vulnerable. Though it brought her great shame and a sense of selfishness, she found herself praying for a swift and merciful death, so that she wouldn’t have to suffer any longer.
It seemed the Gods had heard her silent prayer, for out of the blue, she found herself struck in the back by a hot beam of energy. The force of it knocked the wind out of her, and her Suit timed out, leaving her virtually defenseless. She still had her pistol, of course, but before she could even think to reach for it, she was pulled into a headlock and felt a pistol meet her temple. Angry tears welled in her eyes.
“Release me! I have nothing you want!”
“Oh, but you’re wrong, Dearie,” came the haunting voice of Rumplestiltskin.
“Mother!” screamed Regina, “Let her go, you— you monster!”
The childlike tyrant snickered. “I will release her, but only when you surrender yourself and the Archsuit to me,” he told the furious Princess.
“Do not listen to him, Regina! You must not do as he says!”
“No! I forbid it!” Cora snapped.
Even with her face hidden away behind her dark helm, it was clear that Regina was in tears. “Forgive me, Mother.” She slammed her hand onto the applicator, deactivating the Archsuit.
“Regina, NO!” cried the Queen.
Rumplestiltskin laughed maniacally, throwing Cora roughly onto the ground and extending his hand. “Give me the applicator,” he demanded.
Regina hesitated. “If I do, you must promise not to harm my mother.”
“Of course,” said the wicked man, “I give you my word.” He grinned deviously at her. “And you must accept my hand in marriage.”
The Princess swallowed. “What will happen to the Captain and Abigail? I beg you, spare them. They do not deserve any of this.”
“I assure you, Princess, I will do them no harm.”
“V-Very well,” rasped Regina. She reluctantly took his hand. “If you stay true to your word, then I will do whatever you wish.”
Rumplestiltskin just nodded before suddenly grabbing hold of the brunette’s wrist and jerking her close to him, donning the applicator and aiming his pistol at her mother.
“ NO!” she screamed, “You promised you would do her no harm!”
“And I fully-intend to keep my word!” shouted the wicked warlord, “She will not be harmed! She will die quickly, and without pain! Farewell, Cora!” He fired his pistol, and Cora was no more. He then looked to the traumatized brunette with a demented grin. “The Queen is dead!” he declared. His voice became a sinister whisper. “Long. Live. The Queen.”
Chapter 14: Heartless
Warning: implied rape
I want to apologize for my rant in the previous chapter's notes, which I have deleted. I was under a huge amount of stress when I wrote that. Seeing a comment that I felt was insulting made me lose my cool. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that.
There the brunette stood, stark naked and covered in the blood of her tormentor as she bathed in the pale light of the moon. She bore a blank, unreadable expression. Her breath was soft and slow, yet her heard pounded like thunder in the dark sky. She felt empty inside. Almost lifeless. She felt she had nothing left to live for. Her mother was dead. Murdered before her very eyes by the man she’d foolishly put her faith in. Never again.
For all she knew, her father had been killed back on Venus. The fact that she didn’t know made it all the more terrifying. She couldn’t set foot there again. Her tormentor— she couldn’t bring herself to even think his name— had made her home planet’s atmosphere toxic and riddled with disease, killing anything and everything that may have survived the initial attack by the Martians.
If her father hadn’t gotten away in time, he was surely dead by now. She had witnessed the senseless death of her mother firsthand, so there was not a doubt in her mind that her tormentor had dealt with Killian and Abigail in the same merciless manner.
She needed to get to Earth. She needed to know that Emma, at least, was still alive. Emma. The one person left that she could put her trust in. She no longer believed in her Gods, for they had turned their backs on her when she needed them most.
She had taken the dagger from her tormentor’s armory and tucked it beneath the mattress, and when he attempted to have his way with her as he often did, she let out a cry of fury and anguish as she drove the jagged blade straight into his heart, splitting it wide open the way hers had been. She twisted the blade, for good measure, and then repeated the process. She wasn’t sure just how many times she stabbed him that night. She was amazed to know this ruthless tyrant had a heart at all, but by the time she was finished with him, he was truly and utterly heartless.
And now, as she stood in the moonlight, drenched in his sickly blood, she knew she was free. Yes. She was free, not just of him, but of her burden. She no longer had to bear the weight of her own conscience. She felt not a shred of guilt for what she had done. He deserved it. He would no longer be able to hurt people the way he’d hurt her and those she loved most. She had no one left. No one but her beloved Emma.
Soon, it began to rain, and she stepped out onto the terrace, still holding the bloody dagger in her crimson fist. She stared up at the full moon in awe as the icy rain washed the testament of her sins away. She felt pure, not physically— oh no, never again would she be physically pure— but rather, spiritually.
She felt free from the burdens of morality and fear. Something in her snapped. Not just that night, she realized, but some time ago. She just wasn’t sure if it was when her mother was killed, or when her planet was invaded by the bloodthirsty Martians.
She also realized that it no longer mattered. Nothing did. Not anymore. Nothing, save for Emma Swan, of course. Yes. Emma mattered. Emma was the only one who truly mattered.
She soon returned to the bed where her tormentor’s blood-riddled corpse lay in a sea of red, and she took the applicator from the center of his chest. She got dressed as quickly as she could, donning a dark, shimmering dress with a plunging neckline and a high collar.
It was not at all what she would have worn if given the choice, but he had chosen her wardrobe for her since their pitiful excuse for a wedding (which it was in name only), and so she didn’t have much of an option.
She cleaned the blood from the applicator and hid it away in her sleeve, along with the dagger, before swiping the keyring from the hook near the door. She made her way to the kitchen, feeling famished after the night she’d had, and saw that one of the servants was carrying a tray towards the dungeon. Something told her to confront him about this, and so she did.
“You there,” she said, “Where are you taking that slop?”
“To— To the dungeon, Y-Your Majesty,” the young man stuttered.
“And who, might I ask, is down there?”
“A man called Jones, my Queen.”
The brunette’s heart almost stopped as she heard this. “Give me the tray.”
“O-Of course,” said the servant.
He handed it to her with trembling hands, and she quickly disappeared down into the dark dungeon for the first time. Her tormentor had never allowed her to go down here before, and now she knew why.
There, in a cold, cramped cell in the far corner of the dark chamber, was Captain Jones. His hair was long and stringy from a lack of grooming, and his beard had grown into a sort of unkempt bush. He looked to have been beaten up, and recently, considering just how prominent the bruises on his face were. His left eye was swollen shut. He was shirtless. His chest and shoulders had been lashed violently, no doubt with a whip. His metallic hand was nowhere to be found.
“Y-Your Majesty,” he rasped, “How pleased I am to see you again.”
The Queen sobbed openly. “Captain,” she breathed, “How long have you been down here?”
“Since you gave him the applicator. He spared my life, but he’s done all that he can to make me wish I was dead. He has yet to succeed, though I am in immense pain.”
“I am so sorry, Killian,” murmured the Queen. She slid the tray of mush into the slot beneath the cell door. “Here,” she said softly, “You’ll want to eat this. Make sure you reach the bottom of the bowl.”
The Captain just blinked at her for a moment, but nodded. “Of course, Your Majesty.”
“Where is Abigail?”
Killian shook his head. “Alas, I do not know.”
“I do,” came a familiar voice.
The Queen turned to find none other than Baelfire in the cell at the other end of the corridor. He was in an even worse state than the Captain. “Baelfire? Have you been here all this time?” asked the Queen.
“Just for a month or so. Rumplestiltskin captured me not long after the battle on Mercury and tortured me. He wanted me to beg for forgiveness, and to tell him where Abigail was, but I never did. I am incapable of begging. I am not a hound, and I have no interest in telling that tyrant anything he wants to know.”
“But you would tell me?”
“Of course,” said Baelfire.
“Because,” said the mercenary, “we are all on the same side now.” He was quiet for a moment. “And besides, if you are down here, then he must be dead, because he swore it would be a cold day in Hell before he let you anywhere near this place.”
“So will you tell me where I can find my friend?”
Again, Baelfire fell silent, just for a moment. “She told me she was going back to Earth.”
“And so shall I,” the Captain declared.
“As will I,” said the Queen, “Right after I deal with the mess I have made upstairs.”
Baelfire laughed. “Now that’s what I like to hear,” he said gleefully, “The King is dead. Long live the Queen.”
Soon, the Queen was gone, and Killian went straight to dumping out the gray mush in his bowl. Lo and behold, resting at the bottom, was a glowing green key. He couldn’t help but smile, which Baelfire took notice of almost immediately.
“What’s got you so happy, Jones?”
“I am going to be free,” said Killian, “No. We will be free.”
Chapter 15: Revelations
Killian knew he couldn’t go to the hospital, given the obvious language barrier, so he instead opted to hide out in the old farmhouse. Emma patched him up as best as she could, given what little supplies were in the medicine cabinet, and so she chose to call August.
“August,” she said quietly, “It’s me.”
“Emma? What’s going on? You never call me. Did something happen?”
“It’s Killian. He’s hurt.”
“Killian? You mean the Captain?”
“Yeah. He’s back, and he needs a doctor, but we can’t go to the hospital, for obvious reasons.”
“I’ll get in touch with Whale. Pay him enough, and he’ll keep his mouth shut.”
“He better,” Emma said bitterly.
“Are you at the farmhouse?”
“Okay. I’ll get the Doc and be out there as soon as I can. Is the Captain stable?”
“For now,” Emma told him.
“Okay. Just try to keep him talking.”
August hung up before Emma could respond, so she tucked her phone back in her pocket and quietly approached Killian, who was sitting on the bed, clutching his left wrist. His metallic hand had been crushed, and most of its pieces were missing. The internal wires were now exposed.
“Is there any way you can fix it?” Emma asked tentatively.
Killian sighed and shook his head. “Not without my tools,” he said.
Suddenly, the front door burst open, and in walked Baelfire. “Jones, I’ve been looking everywhere for—”
He froze when he saw Emma, as well as the gun she had aimed at him. He put his hands up as if in surrender.
“Relax, Earth woman. I come in peace.”
Emma’s eyes narrowed. “Give me one good reason why I should listen to you, you bastard!” she snapped.
Baelfire frowned, clearly irked by that particular insult, but before he could say a word, Killian beat him to it.
“Because he is with me.”
Emma’s brows furrowed in confusion. “What? Since when?”
“We escaped together,” said Killian, “He is on our side now, Swan.”
“Why didn’t you tell me he was here?”
“Because I knew you would react like this,” the Captain explained.
“I don’t trust him.”
“Well maybe I do not trust you, either, Earther,” Baelfire said bitterly.
Emma raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you?”
Baelfire was quiet for a moment. “I have yet to figure that out.”
“Swan, please,” Killian begged, “put down your weapon.”
The blonde sighed, but did as the Captain said. “Fine,” she muttered, “but one wrong move, and it’s all over for you, Buckaroo.”
Baelfire’s eyes narrowed. “My name is—”
“I know,” Emma snapped, “It’s just a— never mind.” She sighed once more as she went to the window to look for August. “Have you found Abigail?”
“Not yet,” said Baelfire, “I was looking everywhere, but found no sign of her. No ship. No pod. Nothing.”
“I guess she’s just not here yet,” said Emma, “Where do you think she could be?”
“Perhaps she went to a different planet,” said the Captain, “She could have gone to seek council with the Sultan of Jupiter.”
“The Sultan would never speak to her. She is not royalty, and she is a woman. She would be punished for being in public without a man.”
Killian sighed. “Right. Of course.” He stroked his beard awkwardly. “Is there a razor around here, Swan? I must rid myself of his unkempt mess.”
“Probably in the bathroom. I’ll get it for you.”
The Captain nodded. “Thank you,” he said softly.
Emma went to the bathroom and opened up the medicine cabinet to look for a razor. Nothing. She looked through the drawers below the sink and found an electric razor in the top drawer. When she returned to the living room, August and Whale were standing in the doorway. The Sheriff was shocked, while the Doctor was visibly intrigued.
“What’s going on, Emma?” asked August.
“Killian’s been cut up pretty bad,” said Emma.
August’s eyes widened. “That’s Killian? He looks so— so— different.”
“Six years will do that to a person,” Emma said as she turned towards Whale, “Can you fix him, Doc?”
“Yeah,” said Whale, “but don’t call me ‘Doc.’”
Whale approached the Captain with his medical kit. “You’re gonna need stitches,” he said, “I’ll have to give you some anesthesia to numb the pain.”
“Ro un ente ei’ric tev, Inico.”
Whale frowned and looked to Emma in confusion. “I didn’t quite catch that,” he said.
“He says he’s in your debt,” Emma explained.
“I see. No worries, Mister,” said Whale, “I only take cash.” Much to his surprise, the Captain began to laugh heartily, clearly amused. “I need you to try not to laugh, okay? If you keep laughing, I won’t be able to numb you properly.”
“He said he’s sorry.” “Oh. Well, don’t worry about it.”
Whale got to work on injecting the Captain with anesthesia in order to stitch up the wounds. As this was going on, Baelfire was watching closely to see the Doctor’s methods, but he kept noticing that August was glaring daggers at him from the other side of the room. He just turned and headed for the door.
“Ro un aga’me da ogulu ba Ab’higa.”
August’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What’d he just say?”
“He’s gonna look for Abigail,” Emma told him, “Relax, August. He’s on our side now.”
“And are you sure about that?”
“Killian says it’s all good, so I’ll take his word for it.”
August nodded slowly, but was still visibly skeptical. “If you say so.”
Baelfire left the farmhouse and disappeared into the woods to search for the missing blonde. While he was gone, the Doctor continued stitching up Killian’s wounds. This ended up taking roughly an hour and a half, given the precision required and the number of gashes in the Captain’s chest and back. Of course, Whale also gave Killian a small ice pack for his black eye.
“Just hold that over your eye for a while and it’ll feel a lot better.”
Killian just nodded, but said nothing.
Once August handed him a wad of money, Whale packed up his things and headed for the door. “If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get home. I have a date.”
Emma raised an eyebrow at him. “You have a date?”
“Yeah,” said Whale, “Her name is Rosy. Rosy Palms.”
Emma just scoffed and August shook his head. Whale snickered as he shut the door behind him, leaving them alone in the old farmhouse. Emma looked to the Sheriff with a faint smile.
“So,” she said, holding up the razor, “you wanna help the Captain shave?”
August frowned. “What?”
“He asked for a razor. He wants to shave.”
“Oh. Okay.” August took the electric razor and approached the Captain slowly. “So, uh, did you wanna do this or should I?”
Killian eyed the razor warily. “Fe’at et oda?”
“Relax, Killian. It’s just a razor. It’s electric,” Emma told him, “It won’t hurt you, I promise. Can you stand?”
The Captain was visibly uncomfortable, but he nodded.
“Okay,” said Emma, “Why don’t you follow August into the bathroom and he’ll help you out?”
“Ro avan ei da ga issa.”
Emma was surprised by this. “Me? Are you sure?”
Killian nodded yet again. “Iv.”
“What’s he saying?” asked August.
“He wants me to do it.”
“Oh. Okay.” August handed the razor back to Emma. “Here.”
Emma took the razor and carefully led Killian to the bathroom. “Lean over the sink,” she said softly.
He did so without question. The look of defeat and utter despair masking his bruised, bearded face shook Emma to the core. She swallowed, struggling to find her voice.
“D-Do you want me to shave your head completely? Or just trim it?”
The Captain sighed. “Just shave it,” he murmured, “It matters not. Nothing matters anymore.”
“What are you saying?”
Again, Killian let out a sigh of defeat. “I failed in my one task: protect the Princess and help restore our kingdom,” he said, “Now look at me. I am pathetic. Weak. The scum of the universe. I failed to protect her, and because I could not do that, her mother was killed in front of us all. I do not deserve to call myself Captain. Were it not for my own moral compass, and my selfish need to maintain my good name, I would have ended it all. I wish he had killed me in that godforsaken dungeon. The only thing I am worthy of, Emma Swan, is death.”
“No,” Emma rasped. Then again, much more firmly, “No.” Tears welled in her eyes. “God damn it, Killian Jones, look at me! You’re better than this! You’re strong and brave, and your care about protecting Regina, not because it’s your ‘duty,’ but because it’s right! And it’s because you love her, isn’t it?”
Killian looked at her in shock. “I— I care about her well-being. She is the one, true Queen.”
“Don’t give me that. It’s not her title or stature you care about. It’s just her. It always has been. Isn’t that right?”
Killian hesitated, averting his gaze and staring at his own battered reflection in the cracked mirror above the sink.
“You are right,” he said, “I do love her. I always have. She was one of the few who respected me, even though I am a half-breed. Growing up, I was loathed by all. But not her. Not Regina. She cared not that my mother was Human. She wanted to be my friend. It was she who pleaded with her father to let me join the Guardsmen, knowing that was my dream in life. I only earned the respect of the people as I rose through the ranks to become a Captain. That was when they stopped caring about what I was, but I know they were only interested in my medals and badges, not the man behind them. Regina still cared about me, though. She has always been a bit naïve, if I am being perfectly honest, but with that comes her kindness, her love, and her generosity. Alas, I fear the suffering she endured at the hands of that fiend may have scarred her for life. I looked into her eyes when she came to me in that dungeon. There was no light in them. Only pain, anguish, and something else. Something I did not quite recognize.”
He stood up straight, as a soldier would, and met Emma’s gaze within the reflection of the mirror.
“Show me how to operate this razor, Swan,” he said, “I no longer wish to be the Captain, just as you are no longer the Sheriff.” He turned to her with a look of determination. “I want only to be Killian Jones.”
“Tell me something,” Emma said quietly as she switched on the razor, “Does it bother you?”
“Does what bother me?”
“That she has feelings for me?”
“No,” said Killian, “As much as I would like her to reciprocate my feelings, I know her love for me is strictly platonic. I have found that the best way to show her that I love her is by letting her be happy. Her happiness is my happiness, and if it is you who makes her happy, Emma Swan, then so be it.” He turned back towards the mirror with a broad smile. “Now then,” he said, “let us get rid of this filthy hair of mine once and for all.”
Emma brought the humming razor to Killian’s scalp, and one by one, his dark, matted locks began to fill up the sink until he was left with only a buzzcut and an unkempt beard. He studied himself for a moment, contemplating his appearance.
“You know,” he said, “I think I shall keep the beard. I just want it trimmed along the edges.”
Emma did the best she could with his facial hair. By the time she was finished, he was left with a relatively-decent chinstrap beard that melded smoothly with his goatee. He seemed to appreciate it for what it was.
“Thank you, Swan. I feel like a whole new man.”
Little did either of them know, there was an unseen spacecraft soaring through the starry sky overhead.
Chapter 16: Metamorphosis
After Baelfire returned to the farmhouse, Killian insisted everything would be alright, and so Emma and August both headed home. Emma pulled up to her trailer in her Volkswagen and made her way towards the door. Just as she put her hand on the knob, she froze. She couldn’t understand why, but she felt like something was very wrong. She just shrugged it off and stepped inside anyway. The second she did, she found herself being grabbed from behind and pinned roughly against the wall.
“What the— get the fuck off me! I have a gun!” she cried, shuddering as she felt a pair of lips against the shell of her ear.
“I know you would never shoot me, Em-ma,” came a husky voice.
Emma’s eyes grew wide, and she slowly turned her head. She could only see the figure in her peripheral, but it was definitely Regina. “P-Princess?” she rasped.
“No,” Regina snapped, “It is Your Majesty.” She nipped lightly at Emma’s ear, making the blonde wince. “I am the Queen now, but you, sweet Emma, may address me by name.”
Emma reluctantly turned to face the Queen with a look of horror. Regina was no longer the cheerful young woman the hopeful light in her eyes. Instead, she was a black-clad monarch whose eyes held only darkness, hatred, and pain.
“It is so good to see you again, my love,” she murmured, cupping Emma’s face in her gloved hands.
Emma stared at her with uncertainty, asking softly, “W-What the hell happened to you?”
Regina moved closer to the blonde, lightly brushing her lips against Emma’s.
“I have suffered terribly,” she husked, “I have had my dignity and innocence ripped from my very soul. I have had things taken from me that I know I can never get back— but now, my dear, sweet Emma, I have you.” She took hold of Emma’s hand and guided it down to her stomach. Her expression was unreadable, and her voice fell to a whisper. “And of course, I have this child.”
“You’re— You’re pregnant?” Emma rasped. Her eyes grew even wider when Regina’s lips slammed into hers. She put her hands on the Queen’s shoulders, pushing the baffled woman away.
“Emma? Do you no longer hold feelings for me?” The hurt in the Queen’s voice was evident.
“Of course I do,” Emma said quickly, “It’s just— this— this isn’t right.”
The Queen cocked her head in confusion. “What do you mean, my love?”
Emma sighed, hanging her head in shame. “I mean, you weren’t like this before. This wouldn’t have happened if you’d stayed here with me.”
“Oh yes, I am well-aware,” rasped the Queen, “but the past is the past, my dear, and we can do nothing but look forward to the future.” She pressed her lips to Emma’s once more, this time much more gently. “Not just mine, of course,” she whispered, “but ours. Yours, mine, and my child’s.”
Emma swallowed. “Regina?”
“Do, um,” the blonde hesitated, “Do you want to, uh, keep the baby?”
Regina frowned in confusion. “Keep— Emma, what are you saying?” she asked, suddenly growing defensive and angry.
“I mean, I don’t know about on Venus, but here on Earth, women can get abortions—”
“No!” Regina hissed, “I know of this practice, Emma, and it is one of the many reasons Earth is seen as a savage planet! Not even Martians would slaughter their own children! My child is alive! It breathes! Its heart beats! I can feel it!”
“What? You mean it’s kicking?”
“No, not yet,” said the Queen, “I mean I can sense its presence. It is there.”
“But you weren’t asked if you wanted to have a kid. You deserve to be happy.”
“My happiness will not stem from murdering my unborn child,” Regina said firmly.
Emma sighed. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
The Queen turned away with a sneer. “How could you even think to suggest such a thing, Emma? Do you not wish for me to be a mother?”
“Not if it hurts you,” Emma said quietly.
“I have been hurt enough times that I no longer feel the pain.” Regina went to the window to stare out at the moon and placed her gloved hand upon the glass. “I have grown numb, Emma. I was hoping you would be able to change that.”
“What can I do?” asked Emma.
“Stay with me,” Regina murmured, “That is all I ask.”
Emma gave a slow nod. “Okay. You can stay here, if you want.”
The faintest hint of a smile tugged at Regina’s lips. “I would like that,” she said softly.
“Okay, well, I’m gonna go to bed now.”
“And where am I to sleep?”
“Oh. Right.” Emma pulled out the sofa bed and got some blankets from the closet, setting them out properly. “There. That should be good. If you get cold, there are more blankets in the closet.”
“Thank you,” rasped the Queen, “Goodnight, Emma.”
Emma offered a tight smile. “Night.”
She disappeared into her room for the night, feeling Regina’s eyes on her as she walked. She did something in that moment that she never imagined she’d do. She locked the door. Then, she pulled her phone out of her pocket and typed out a message to August.
Regina. Don’t call me. I don’t want her to hear us.
She’s different, August. Like, not at all the person she used to be. Honestly, she’s terrifying, and I don’t know what to do about it.
Where is she?
In my living room.
Does she know Killian and Baelfire are here?
I don’t think so. I was gonna tell her, but I was too distracted by just how scary she’s become. I’ll tell her in the morning.
Do you have your gun?
Just making sure you’ll be able to defend yourself if you have to.
I’m sure I’ll be fine.
I hope you’re right.
Yeah. Me too. Night, August.
Chapter 17: Mirror
When Emma awoke the next morning, she was mortified to find Regina missing. “Regina?” she called.
Panicking, Emma rushed out of her trailer and looked everywhere. Still no sign of the Queen. She grabbed her keys and jumped into her car, speeding off to search for the brunette. How hard could it be to find a woman who looked like she was headed to some sort of evil Met Gala? As it turned out, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as Emma imagined. Still, the fear of not finding Regina was intense. Emma found the Queen at the stables, speaking softly to Rocinante.
“Such a beautiful beast,” the brunette cooed as she stroked the horse’s mane, “I would love to ride you again soon, if the stableman should allow it.”
Emma rushed over to the Queen in a panic. “Regina! Why did you just run off like that?”
Regina scoffed. “I did not run. I walked. I am a Queen, and a bit more refined.”
Emma looked at her incredulously. “You know what I meant. You can’t just leave without saying anything! What if someone had seen you! Do you know how dangerous that is?!”
The Queen laughed. “Who is going to stop me, Emma? You? Apologies, but your Earth weapons are no match for my Archsuit, and regardless, I doubt you would harm a pregnant woman.”
Emma frowned. “What? Regina, what gave you the impression that I would ever hurt you?”
Regina stared her dead in the face with cold, dark eyes. “Everyone else already has, Emma. Why not make it one more?”
Emma found herself struggling to find words. “Regina— I— no. No,” she said with an even deeper frown, “You’re clearly hurting. You need time to heal.”
“I am not wounded.”
“Not physically,” said Emma, “but you’ve experienced some serious trauma. I think you should see Dr. Hopper.”
Regina’s eyes narrowed. “Why?”
“Because you’re not well, Regina.”
Suddenly, Regina’s hand was around Emma’s throat. “What is that supposed to mean?” she hissed.
When Emma didn’t respond, Regina looked into those wide, sea-green eyes and faltered when she saw the sheer terror within them. She quickly pulled away and activated her Suit, flying off into the distance.
Emma blinked quickly, rushing after the brunette. “R-Regina, wait!”
But once again, the Queen was gone. Emma swallowed, reaching up to touch her neck. It was ice-cold.
Creeping through the dark hallway, the Queen had made her way to Emma’s room and quietly opened the door. She stood there for a while, though she wasn’t sure how long exactly, and she watched the beautiful woman sleep.
Oh, how she wished she could sleep so peacefully again. She had, once upon a time, but now she wouldn’t allow herself to dream, knowing that slumber would only bring nightmares of the one whose child she now carried. She loathed him for what he had done to her, and though she had every reason to, she couldn’t bring herself to hate the life growing within her womb.
The child was innocent. It had done nothing wrong. She would not punish it for the sins of its father. She would spare her child a life of misery by never telling them how they had been conceived, and who it was that had impregnated her.
She closed the door gently and left Emma’s quaint dwelling, strolling through the darkness and basking in the pale glow of the moon. She brought a hand to her stomach. It was not so swollen yet, but she could tell there was a difference. She could feel the beautiful life growing within her. She had always dreamed of being a mother. She supposed she got her wish, just not in the way she had hoped.
“What shall I call you, little one?” she murmured, “If you are a Prince, then I will give you my father’s name. If you are a Princess, I shall name you in honor of my mother.” She looked to the sky with tears slipping down her cheeks. “I hope you are happy, Mother, wherever you are. I am sorry I could not protect you. What a fool I have been.”
She sighed heavily, hanging her head in shame.
“I should never have trusted that monster,” she said bitterly, “but he is dead now. I have avenged you, Mother. I have avenged our people. I have avenged myself, and yet, I do not feel any better than I did before. There is a darkness plaguing my mind and my soul. I pray it does not affect my child.”
Currently, Regina found herself nearing the old farmhouse, not knowing where else to go. She stared down at her gloved hands in horror. She had attacked Emma. She had harmed the woman she loved. Her eyes welled with tears as she approached the front door.
“She must hate me,” she muttered, “She must want absolutely nothing to do with me. I hurt her. I saw the look in her eyes. She was terrified of me. I do not deserve her. I am unworthy of such a pure, sweet soul.”
She pushed the door open and stepped into the old house. As she did, she found the familiar faces of Killian and Baelfire staring back at her, just as shocked to see her as she was to see them.
“Can it be?” she rasped, “Or is this but an illusion? Have I truly gone mad?”
“Your Majesty,” Killian said as he stood up, “I had no idea you were here. Is Swan with you?”
Regina froze, and began shaking her head vigorously. “No,” she breathed, “No, I did something terrible, and I fear she may never forgive me.”
“Have you harmed her?” asked Killian.
The Queen turned away in great shame. “I had my hand upon her neck. It all happened so quickly. I could not control the darkness lurking within me. I fled the stables right after it happened. I cannot bear to face her again.”
Killian approached her slowly. “I am sure she knows you never meant to hurt her.”
“Perhaps,” said Regina, “but it happened, nonetheless.” She looked around, but found only Baelfire. “Captain, where is Abigail?”
“We still have yet to hear from her, Your Majesty,” said Killian, “and I have renounced my status as Captain. I do not deserve such a title after my failure to protect you and your mother. I am just Killian now.”
“Is that why you have cut away your hair?” Killian nodded. “Yes. I am a new man.”
“As I am a new woman,” Regina said quietly, “Are there any garments in this place? I must rid myself of this horrid attire.”
“There is some in the chest in the corner,” said Killian.
Regina gathered some clothing from the wooden chest and retreated to the washroom, where she found a sink full of long, dark hair. She changed out of the midnight-black dress as quickly as she could and slipped into an old pair of jeans and a black shirt. She stared at herself in the mirror, and as she did, she saw a figure standing behind her, glaring hatefully at her. The face she saw was identical to her own, though the eyes that locked with hers were entirely void of light.
“You,” she whispered, “What do you want?”
“You should have killed her when you had the chance,” the figure hissed.
Regina squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. “No. I could never do that. I love her.” She shuddered when she felt the woman’s breath against the shell of her ear.
“Well she clearly doesn’t feel the same way. Besides, love is weakness. You should know that by now.”
Regina hugged herself tightly. “Get the hell out of my head,” she rasped, “Please, just leave me alone.”
“Oh, Regina, you foolish girl. You and I will be together for always and eternity. You need me. We both know it’s true. Don’t lie to yourself. It won’t do you any good.”
“What do you want from me?” murmured Regina.
“I want to see you rise above it all. I want to see you bathe in the blood of those who wronged you,” said the figure, “Starting with Emma Swan.”
Chapter 18: The Chip
Emma's dream is in reference to my other sci-fi story, "The Hyperion."
Also, this plot-point was inspired by the show 'Farscape' where John Crichton gets a chip in his head and starts seeing 'Harvey', a neural clone of the villain Scorpius.
It was impossible not to notice the change in Regina. She was darker. Colder. She was bitter. She never smiled anymore. She spent most of her time at the stables, but she didn’t ride Rocinante. She just stood there in uneasy silence, slowly stroking the horse’s nose with her gloved hand while staring vacantly into the distance. It was like she was taking in everything, yet she saw none of it. It was as if she was looking inwards, stuck in some sort of Limbo in the dark depths of her own mind.
“Regina?” Emma asked, visibly concerned. The brunette did not respond, and so Emma called her name once more. “Regina? Are— Are you okay?”
Suddenly, the veil of fog over Regina was lifted, and she seemed fully-aware of her surroundings. The sun was setting, which seemed to shock her.
“Emma?” she asked, “How long have we been out here?”
The blonde frowned, just a little. “About four hours. Why?”
Regina turned away with a sullen sigh. “It only felt like a moment or two,” she said.
“What happened just now, Regina? You really spaced out there for a while.”
The brunette shook her head. “It is nothing,” she said quickly, walking back to Emma’s car, “I wish to sleep.”
“Okay,” said Emma, following after her.
Emma drove home, feeling mildly uncomfortable as she snuck the occasional glance at the silent monarch in her passenger seat. It was only after they entered the trailer that she quizzed Regina a bit more.
“So, uh, how are you feeling?”
“Just like a mango,” Regina said softly, not meeting Emma’s gaze.
“I think you mean ‘just peachy,’” Emma said. Regina gave no response. Emma scratched the back of her head awkwardly. “Alright, well, you wanna sleep in my bed tonight? I can take the couch. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.”
“That is very kind of you, Emma, but I have seen your bed, and it seems there is more than enough room for the three of us.”
“Three— oh. Right. Um, sure thing.”
“Do you not wish to share a bed?”
“I don’t mind,” said Emma, “I just wasn’t expecting that, is all.”
Regina nodded and made her way towards the bedroom as though she owned the place. Emma just gaped at her, feeling more than a little dumbfounded.
It took a while, but Emma was finally asleep, lying next to the slumbering Queen. They were both breathing softly, peacefully. Emma’s dream was confusing, but interesting, to say the least.
She envisioned herself flying a huge alien ship through the void of space with the crazy hermit, Mr. Jefferson, and August, who was a robot for whatever reason. Ruby, the waitress from the diner, was there as well, and for reasons Emma couldn’t understand, the woman had red skin and was a giant wolf from the waist down.
Regina, on the other hand, was having a particularly unpleasant dream, or rather, a bad memory.
There she was, kicking and screaming as the beastly Martians pinned her to a cold, metallic table and strapped her down at the wrists and ankles. She continued to cry out in fear and in pain as they drove a long needle into the side of her neck. Suddenly, she felt numb, and before she knew it, everything was fading to black.
She had no idea how long it was before she regained consciousness. It only felt like a moment or two, but she was sure it was much longer than that. Either way, the thought terrified her beyond description. She awoke to a sharp pain in her head. It felt as though someone had split her skull in two with an axe. Given that these were Martians she was dealing with, she certainly wouldn’t put it past them.
She wasn’t sure what was going on. They never did tell her. They just grabbed her out of her bed and brought her to this cold, dark room. The only light was the one directly overhead. It was so bright that she had to turn her head away. As she did, she caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure lurking in the darkness.
At first, she thought it was Rumplestiltskin and she began to panic, but then she saw that it was herself— or at least, some version of her— and she wished this wasn’t the case. She almost would have preferred Rumplestiltskin over this— this— thing.
As she soon came to realize, this entity was born from her subconscious. There was a chip in her head that could not be removed, or so the Entity claimed. This was Rumplestiltskin’s way of trying to control her, but the Entity had other plans. Though her doppelgänger existed only inside her mind, the being undoubtedly had a will of her own, as well as ambitions, one of which was to murder Rumplestiltskin.
Though it was Regina’s hands which held the dagger, it was the Entity that willed them to drive it into the wicked man’s chest again and again. The Entity, whom Regina now knew as ‘the Queen,’ was frightening yet fascinating all at once.
“Tell me, Regina,” the Queen said during the trip back to Earth, “What do you love so much about this Earth woman?”
“If you are in my head, then you should already know the answer,” Regina said bitterly.
The Queen pursed her lips. “Fair enough.” She was quiet for a moment. “We will see if your feelings for her are requited. If not, then I suppose we will just have to destroy her.”
The Queen laughed darkly. “I’d like to see you try and stop me.”
“You can’t control me,” Regina said firmly.
“Oh, but I can. I was put in your head for that very reason.”
Regina struggled to find her voice. “Then why have you not tried it yet? Aside from killing that monster, I mean?”
“Because I do not wish to,” said the Queen, “yet.”
Regina swallowed. “You terrify me, you know that?”
“Yes, I am well-aware,” the Queen told her, “and I revel in your fear. It fuels my desire the way starlight fuels a ship. If only I had a body of my own. Then I would not have to use yours. Until then, you will be my puppet.”
“Please,” Regina rasped, “do not do this to me.”
“How precious,” said the Queen, “You actually think pleading will get you somewhere with me. Well you are sorely mistaken, my dear. You may have had this body first, but I am far stronger than you will ever hope to be. Your body is mine, Regina. I will lend it to you, for now, but when I need it, I will take it. That I swear.”