65 million years ago, a conflict took place that would dictate the course of Earth's history for the next several thousand millennia, forever changing its inhabitants and affecting their successors. Had any historians survived that conflict, they might have called it the Klacso-VIRM Skirmish.

It was the first war in Klacso history.

As well as the last.

Bloody Evolution

The small girl huffed in boredom as she listened to her instructor drone on about a multitude of (meaningless) things, giving the pretense of paying attention but doing quite the opposite.

History and politics were boring, after all. While the other children got to go on breaks to talk and laugh and play, she was stuck learning as much from her instructor as possible. Even worse, the other children wouldn't even interact with her properly on those rare occasions she managed to gain some playtime, for some reason, stopping everything they were doing to bow reverently, no matter how many times she told them not to. It was so bad she had to order them to play with her.

It felt wrong. It made her sad.

Did no one want to play with her?

Her instructor halted his spouting of nonsense, and said something about needing a break, he'd be back soon and do not leave the room, and suddenly he was gone. The girl looked up from her seat, confused at his sudden departure, then shrugged, leaving her seat and beginning to look for something to play with. It was times like these when she wished her mother had less work to do.

This went on for some time, and after a while, the girl couldn't shake the feeling that something was supposed to happened, and she looked out the viewing glass at the back of the room expectantly, gazing into the courtyard.

Just for a moment, she saw the silhouette of a boy, and her heart leapt.

Then everything was set ablaze.

The aide entered the room, stopping a few footsteps away from the makeshift throne flanked by four guards, and fell to his right knee, left palm pressed against the cool surface of the floor, and the right tip of his fingers between his horns. He bowed his head, waiting the signal to begin speaking. Upon receiving it, he looked up and spoke.

"Princess? We are approaching the fortress. The Invaders appear to be attempting to breach the defenses. We will come into firing range within a half-hour."

The figure sitting on the throne leaned forward slightly, indicating that She was interested in the conversation. "What of the rest of the relief force?"

The aide shuddered at the tone of Her voice, but shook the feeling of dread off and answered. "They won't make it here for another planetary rotation. I advise we turn back- "

"Continue along our current path."

The aide blinked, surprised at Her decision. "My… my princess? You would have us fly straight into the enemy's siege lines? That- that is suicide-"

"No." She cut him off, and the aide went silent. "I would have us fly into our sieged fortress," She continued. "From there we will join and resupply the garrison with what we have and prepare to assault the siege lines when the relief force arrives."

"...But, my lady, we will be vulnerable to anti-air weaponry!"

"And we will deal with it, and them, when we arrive. Dismissed."

The royal aide bowed his head again in acknowledgment. "As you say, princess. I shall inform the pilots." The aide then left, fleeing the royal as quickly as etiquette allowed. All the while wondering how a female of fifteen could act so cold.

It was rather ironic, actually, considering how her mother died.

Princess Nawabari was many things.

A princess.

A tactician.

A warrior.

A child, at least in the eyes of the veterans and nobles.

All those things except the last were necessary for such an era, unfortunately. An era of terror wrought down from the stars, simply because they refused a 'gift.'

One thing she wasn't, however, was a decent conversationalist

"You know," one of her guards spoke, "It probably isn't a good idea to terrorize your subjects, princess."

Princess Nawabari's eyes moved to stare at him, then she shrugged. "I wasn't trying."

"Sure you weren't," he snickered. His female partner jabbed him in the ribs causing him to double over, wheezing. "Shut up!" she hissed. "Just because we can speak during guard duty doesn't mean we should," she scoffed.

"Niani, stop harassing your partner."

"Well, you try keeping your partner in check for once!"


Niani, Gendry, Nagini, and Lorance. Her retinue, so to speak. Guards assigned by her father to ensure her safety. The best of the best, and all of them Lehta pilots.

(Although, Nawabari was beginning to suspect he just wanted her to have people to talk to.)

She pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed. While the retained their sense of uniform and decorum in front of others (namely, her father), they immediately became rowdy once left to their own devices.

Well, the males became rowdy. Niani and Nagini usually tried to reign them in, like today.

With similar results.

Unraveling her 'throne' and forcing the biomass to condense into her extra limb, she stood up, turning towards Nagini and Lorance, who were on her left. "You have a half-hour. I'm going to check on him."

Immediately the mood dampened, and Lorance spared her a sympathetic glance. She could feel the other two do the same behind her.

She hated it.

"We can come with you, if you wish," Nagini began, but Nawabari shook her head. "I will be fine. Enjoy your break."

Then she was gone, out of her throne room and into the corridors of her ship, quickly making her way to the medical bay. The medical staff greeted her with the customary bow, before leading her to the person she had come for.

In a different time, had anyone's gaze landed on the male, they would have remarked in horror that he looked like he had been mauled by a bear.

Unfortunately, it was well known by now that this was condition was normal for her partners.

The male gasped weakly and opened his eyes to stare at the princess, and she stared back, eyes cold and emotionless.

"Are you… feeling better?" she asked, and the male gave a laugh that quickly turned to a fit of coughing.

"As… best… as I… will get… princess. I… feel better… every… day."

It was a lie, they both knew, but for whom the lie was intended to soothe neither knew.

Nawabari turned towards one of the medics, who approached when she saw her princess beckoning with her gaze. Her face saddened as she predicted the princess question, and answered.

"We cannot. His internal damage alone is too extensive, and his external damages only make things worse. He'll be lucky to live through the day."

The princess clenched and unclenched a fist. She would have clenched it again had the male not grabbed it.

"Prin...cess…" he gasped. "We are… to engage… the enemy soon?"

Nawabari hesitated, then nodded. The male sighed in relief. "Then… I shall die… fighting."

Nawabari gave a stiff nod and quickly left the room. As an aide fell in behind her, she spoke. "Prepare my Lehta."

The soldier splashed water on his face, ignoring the excited and anxious chatter in the background of the barracks and taking controlled breaths.. Stay calm. Stay calm. Just follow orders and you'll be fine. Just-

"Yo, Ghirim!"

The unexpected call cause Ghirim to jolt, and he turned to face his 'assailant.' "Neptune," he grunted. "What do you want?"

Neptune shot a cheeky grin at the sour male. "What? Can't I check on a friend? We'll be going to battle for the first time soon! Aren't you excited?"

Ghirim's silence was his only answer. As he sat down on a nearby couch, Neptune joined him, a concerned expression on her normally carefree face. "Are you still upset that you didn't pass the Lehta exams?"


"Oh, come on!" Neptune scolded. "It's not the end of the world! Just because you missed out on your chance to become an elite pilot doesn't mean that you should keep moping! You just need to-"

"Move on?" Ghirim cut her off. "I've been dreaming to pilot an Letha ever since I was a childing. Being a foot-soldier is nice and all, but…" he trailed off. "It doesn't matter. I'll do my duty no matter what. Lehta or no Lehta."

Neptune stared at him, then gave an encouraging nod. "There you go. There's the Ghirim I know. Never one to give up just because you didn't get your way. Hell, you'll probably pilot a Lehta anyways.."

Ghirim looked surprised, having never considered the possibility of getting another chance. "Yeah… maybe you're right."

Neptune gave another nod, before moving her eyes away from Ghirim, blushing slightly. "Then… maybe I-"

"Ghirim! Neptune! There you are!" Whatever Neptune had been about to say went unsaid as Ghirim's other friend, Tazlin, spotted them and made his way over to them, weaving through the dozens of soldiers loitering around the barracks. "I heard we're getting deployed soon. Something about reinforcements. I heard that they have actual food on board as well."

Ghirim's eyebrows raised. "'On board?' You mean our reinforcements are coming from the Fleet-in-Orbit?"

Tazlin laughed. "Heh, I wish. It's just one ship, carrying three Lehtas and one VIP." He sat down next to Neptune as he joined them. Said female frowned in curiosity. "Who's the VIP? I thought most nobles don't leave the capitol these days."

"Hell if I know," Tazlin shrugged.

Suddenly, the alarms flared, and the klaxons began to wail. The three shot up, and silence descended on the barracks.

The silence turned into organized chaos as everyone began to rush around looking for uniforms and armor, suiting up then rushing to the armory.

"Well," Ghirim spoke as the three moved an tandem with their fellow soldiers. "Guess it's time to put our mettle to the test."

"'Mettle.' How cliche. Were you always a romantic, Ghirim?" Tazlin teased as they equipped their armor.

As soon as they finished, they rushed to the armory besides their fellow Klacsos, grabbed their pulse-rifles and helmets, and quickly fell in line behind one of commanding officers.

"Listen up!" the officer spoke. "The Lehtas we have garrisoned here will be deployed to take out the Invader's siege and anti-aircraft weapons. Our reinforcements have no way to get their ship inside save the underground bay doors, so we must secure the perimeter of the fort. We will be aiding in clearing the bay doors of enemy infantry." He paused, gazing over the group of twenty in front of him. "Take a good look, warriors! This is your Pack, and those beside you are your brothers and sisters! Memorize their faces, and remember the fallen! FOR THE CAUSE!"

"FOR THE CAUSE!" came the roar from the gathered soldiers, and the Pack quickly move to their deployment zone.

Ghirim's apprehension only grew as the Pack exited the fortress on the outer railing, a very dangerous position. In the distance, he could see the Lehtas he had dreamed of riding engaging VIRM's war machines, and could see other Packs fighting the Invader's infantry.

He wondered how many Tainted were amongst them, and faltered for a moment.

It saved his life.

From the distance, a stray shot from an anti-air turret blasted past him, and he missed disintegration by a hair. Those immediately in front of him were not so lucky however, and their screams were cut off almost as soon as they began. He watched with wide eyes as have a dozen soldiers were burned to ash in a single moment.


The cry broke him out of his shock, and he took a step forward almost to immediately take two back. Neptune and Tazlin stood on the other side of the now destroyed railing.

Damn, I'll have to find another way to cross.

"I'M ALRIGHT, NEPTUNE! FOLLOW THE PACK! I'LL FIND ANOTHER WAY AROUND!" With that, he turned and sprinted in the other direction, hoping to find another Pack or a doorway that led back into the fortress. He found one, but upon trying to open it he discovered, to his annoyance, that he didn't have the credentials for it. "Damnit-"

His swear was cut off as he noticed a feline-class Lehta fighting not far from his location, going head-to-head with one of the Invader's war machines, and it seemed to be winning.

Then something strange happened.

The bipedal Lehta suddenly halted it's pummeling assault on it's enemy, and began to slouch, and it continued to do so until it had transformed into a quadruped version of itself. The Invader wasted no time taking advantage, slamming it's bulk into the writhing Lehta, sending it flying.

Straight at him.

Nawabari ignored the wounds on her chest and ignored the bleeding on her forehead. She managed to force herself to stand, and limped to the dead male behind her.

Sayonara. See you in the Next.

She grabbed the body and opened the cockpit of the Lehta, dragging it and throwing it out unceremoniously. She didn't have the time to pay the dead respects.

She heard a shocked yelp as the body hit the railing, and was somewhat surprised to see a lone soldier staring up at her. He held her gaze for a moment, before wrenching his eyes away and going to check on the dead male, obviously concerned for his health.

"Forget about him. He's dead." She wasn't sure why, but she wanted to talk to him a while longer, if only to distract herself from her former partner's corpse.

"What… what are you doing in there?" the male asked, and she felt obliged to reply, for some reason.

"Killing the Invaders."

"Alone? You're going to pilot alone?"

That stung a lot more than she had anticipated, and she quickly schooled her expression, eyeing the war machine ambling towards them slowly. She sighed. "I must go," she spoke, and began to turn away from the interesting soldier-

"W-what? Are you insane?! You're injured! You're in no position to fight, much less by yourself!"

Her heart warmed slightly at his obvious concern, and with a scowl she quickly froze it again. "Leave, for your safety. I can't guarantee is while fighting."

The male looked distraught. "Hell no! Lehtas can't be piloted alone! The strain would kill you!"

"It's fine. I've always been alone. You get used to it. Now leave." She really wanted him out of the way before the fighting resumed. She'd prefer for him to dislike her than to wind up dead. "And death doesn't really frighten me anyways."

If anything, she looked forward to it.

But not until she found what she was looking for.

She turned away one last time, only to stop when the male spoke again with a determined voice. "Wait."

Silence. Then-

"I'll pilot with you."

Her eyes widened. What is he-

"I'm not going to let you do this alone."

Could this male be…

Could he be the One?

"Are you prepared to die?" She spoke in a tone that would freeze anyone in place, but the male stood resolutely.

"I'm not sure. But as I am now…" He clenched a fist. "I failed the one thing I spent years training to achieve. Right now, I don't belong anywhere." He lowered his head slightly. "To me, it's feels no different than being dead."

No, he couldn't possibly be Him. Surely, He would have recognized her if it was really Him, but…

He looked up again, and she could see the hope in his eyes, ad well as the desperation. "So take me with you!"

Would it really be wrong to take this chance?

"Huh… You and I… we're similar. It's been a long time since I've seen someone volunteer to be my partner." She descended to him, and soon they were face to face. She licked his cheek. That taste…



"You really want to ride (with) me, don't you?"

The soldier blushed a deep blue. "Don't phrase it like that…" he muttered. Nwabari's lips twitched upwards.

She could have fun with this one.

She began to pull him up, luring him deeper and deeper into the cockpit. He stared, seemingly entranced, and Nawabari found herself just as entranced. "Now, let me get a taste of you.