Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
Silence sourounded the Zelpha nine as it left the planets orbit, floating farther away from the safety of a home. I breathed softly, and looked at Aria.
"this is it, we are free, we are alone." I shuttered out, letting the words set in.
Through the ships visor, blue and red gasses swirled around us, the stars shining a deep light, and nothing was familiar. We were used to the ground, the trees, the grass. My inner pilot was static, gathering information that was slowly building more data onto my bioheart.
The universe revieled its beuty, as I heard a faint beep, the notification of an incoming transmition. I froze, unable to respond. This was an unauthorized lift off, and as far as I knew the Zelpha nine had a closed system. My thoughts cascaded as a voice broke me free.
"channel open, on screen" the calm soft voice of Aria commanded. The computer responded, and the visor changed into a viewing screen.
A small figure, about thirtern years old stood center view. Her shape and overall face was human, but she was a twisted creature. above her human eyes floated the large oval spheres of the Helios eyes, and on her wrists protruded the scythe like appendages just before human hands. Upon her head was a small silver crown, and she wore a thin purple dress that flowed down to her armored legs.
"Attention tresspassers, you are in Helios space, this is Iris Catherine Grili, princess of the Helios empire. You will boarded, your supplies will be obtained, and all crew and passengers will be exacuted. You have been warned."
I couldnt respond. A human working with the Helios was a bad enough image, but a human Helios was even worse. If the Sirion elders knew about this surely they would have abandoned the planet and started new even farther away.
I felt a warm hand entangle mine as Aria spoke softly to me. "What the hell is she.... This cant be real."
I didnt respond, my mind already forming a soul link with the Zelpha computer system, trying to plot a course away from Helios space. It all made sense. The reason they always found us, always found the elders. This Iris was just around the age that the Bioheart experiment had already began. These mechenisms also doubled as a homing becon back to the elders.
"Aria. Theres a manually controlled escape vessel in the back of this ship. About ten miles south is a small trade planet. Go. Ill find a way out of here and find you."
I could feeL her start to protest, but
I was already linked to the ship. My mind made the point to point transport relocate her to the pod, and with another thought, the pod detatched from the Zelpha nine.
"go time..." I whispered and grabbed the hand controls on the main consol. Pulling a trigger on both controls, a small cluster of plasma balls shot from the front cannons, causing enough distraction to let Arias pod escape unseen. If I could fire enough plasma balls, maybe the Zelpha could slip by as well, but I was highly doubtful.
The ship began to shake, and I knew what it was from pilots training. Certan it was all over for me, I let myself relive the moment I had first felt this kind of weapon.
"Focus Zan! The Helios have backpack like tractor beams. They wont hesitate to use then on our small hover cycles." the voice of Pilot General Shidla barked as i tried to break my cycle free from the tractor generator.
It felt useless, ever turn of the handles or excelleration simply drew me closer to the generator. My mind had been soul linked, so the beam seemed to be tearing me apart with every passing second. A quick glance around told me everyone else in the training field had already suffered a defeat on this lesson.
In a quick last minute resort, I.....
I snapped out of my trance, and screamed an order.
"Bioheart! Full transfer potential! engine overdrive!" It was a last resort, and no one had ever attempted this on anything larger then a cycle.
The Zelpha nine reacted, turning ever so slightly to the course in my mind, as my body spasmed from the order. The full trnasfer potential released a human soul from the body, placing the full mind and spirit into the mechanical heart of the vessal being controlled, alowing for full use of all systems.
The engines roared, all thirteen thrusters and the six plasma backups screaming like pistol fire, as it slowly crept away from the unseen ship holding us back. With Aria safe, I wasnt afraid, and my bodies eyed closed fully relleasing me to become the Zelpha nine.
Our engines let out a final war cry, as we broke free from the beam, taking course towards Brilli, the trade planet where we had sent Aria. For the moment Brilla was protected by the Direct nations Alliance, a Helios free space, but it was only a matter of time before the Helios had enough power to take them down as well.
A safe distance away from the unseen ship, i let my mind relax. I took the time to fully examine the Zelphas system drives and memory banks. We were one the elders ships. The escape plan when the Helios destroyed earth. But we were something more. We were a key, a special design.
We were one of ten. Ten pieces. Ten keys. If we could trace back to our brothers and sisters, the systems at our hearts could be brought together to make a new planet, a new earth.
My bioheart strained, I released myself from Zelpha, and my mind returned to my body.
My eyes opened, and i tried to move my hands but found them to be tied.
"I was wondering when you would return friend, good thing you went full bioheart or you may have heard me transport onto your ship. Too bad I cant steer this shitfest while your linked, oh well we have to capture your little friend anyways."
The voice was cruel, yet sweetly feminine. I turned my head to see the creature who called herself Iris sitting in the captains seat of my ship.
"If I untie you, will you dance with me?" the girl like creature said. Her voice held realism, with no hint of a joke. My mind informed me we had left helios space only seconds before the insane question. I could only stare trying to pinpoint her intent.
"Your human. Right? then you must know the joys of human interaction, a quality forbidden amoungst the Helios. They made me their princess, made me a ruler, gave me a castle that towers over the Helios empire, and I command it all. Yet, I have been denied touch, affection, a family. So i ask again, will you dance with me if I untie you?"
Her voice was now that of a fragile child, sincere, broken yet hopeful. As i gazed upon her, her face was downcast and her expression was grim, craving for her request to be answered.
"If I say yes, are you still going to kill me?" these were the only words i coud think of in that moment, the air felt like bullets against my neck as I tried to decyfer this girl. Her body was a twisted image of both human and Helios, and I could only imagine her mind was the same.
Minutes before she was cruel, talking of death, but now she had a childlike hood around her every fiber.
"I..... I have to. The Helios overlords demand it. You tried to leave the planet, and your our enemy. I.... I must kill you, but until that moment....." she paused, then started anothet thought, as if the human mind had just pushed away the Helios. "I never knew my human father, only the Helios Sub Deltas that are basically a family like unit. Will..... will you be my father until I have to..... Until they make me kill you?"
The girl blurted out the last of her thoughts, as deep pure tears poured down her face and she lept out of the pilots seat, embracing me tightly where i was still bound on the floor.
I was unsure of how to respond, but the Zelpha nine, still linked to my mine, gave me a nudge to speak. I closed my eyes as the ships heart gave me words to speak.
"Iris. Set me free, and I will dance with you. Trust me, and let me guide you. I can see the human spirit inside of you, burning like a fire." as i spoke these word, I placed my head onto her shoulder, offering the girl as much comfort as I could in my tied up state.
In all of my seventeen years of life, i had never felt such an embrace, her small body held on like her soul depedended on it, and the touch of my face seemed to make her fragile as she cried even harder. She streached her arm behind me, as her scythe attached to her wrist cleanly cut my ropes.
My eyes closed again, letting the ships heart guide me voice, as i wrapped my now free hands around her. "Iris, lets dance, and I will be your father, i will protect and guide you." saying these words, I placed all my trust into the helios, and let myself go.
I gently pushed her off of me, and stood up, reaching a steady hand towards her, being weary of her sharp scythes.
The girl wiped her eyes, and took hand. It was warm, but i could feel the icy overlay of Helios blood flowing through them. "Have you ever danced before Iris?" i asked carefully.
She shook her head. "N...No daddy.... Never. But ive seen people and creatures dancing just before the overlords made us invade them. Im sick of the war, sick of killing. Ever since i was five, killing is all Ive known. The helios inside craves it, while I cry alone in my head." she paused her words, and leaned forward, all of her body wieght pressing into me as I swayed slowly, one hand still holding hers the other wrapped around her upper back in a fake tango like position.
"the Helios is asleep write now, she rests until she has once again made contact with the rest of the hive. Daddy, im scared, but i must still take you back, when we find your friend. I cant escape, and i cant be free."
She was crying again, as she swayed with me, letting herself relax in my care. I thanked the Zelpa nine, my new best friend. A mechanical heart that had been around since the end of earth, the device that encased thousands of emotions and human DNA. The Zelpha comforted me in my mind, as the girls words sank in and confirmed the theorys of the humans now living on Sirion.
The Helios were a hive mind, and it seemed like if you got one far enough away from helios space, they shut down. This must be why they went from planet to planet, taking resources and over running them. They were trying to make every part of this galexy helios space.
I broke out of my thoughts, and turned my eyes towards Iris. "Iris, is there anyway to kill the Helios living in your head?" i asked, fearing the answer.
She looked up at me, and her hand tightened on mine, her body still swaying in our fake dance. "to kill the Helios, you must destroy Alpha one, the highest ranked Overlord." her body shook, and she cried again. "b....But only a helios can kill him, and once im close to him again.... She will force me back into my mind, un....Unable to fight back."
I kept hold of her, swaying and holding her tightly. "Iris, I wont let go of you. I promise."