Chapter 17: Dude Looks Like a Lady

Everyone on board of the Archangel looked at the pair with confusion in their eyes. Everyone except for Flora, that is. She immediately stopped what she was doing and stormed over to the two of them.

"What the hell is she doing here? Did you forget that time she attacked us yesterday?"

Frankie threw his hands in the air as if someone were pointing a gun at him. Nelsie took the initiative and stepped in front of him to explain herself.

"Sorry about that. If it's any consolation, you fought pretty well for someone your size."

Flora leered back "What do you mean, someone my size?"

Nelsie lifted her arms and flexed both of her biceps. "I mean, just look at these guns! Sure you may get a few shots in, but you would never stand a chance against me."

Now Flora was starting to get irritated. However, both were interrupted by a male voice with a Skilorinyan accent.

"Greetings, miss Nelsie. I am Yuri Kolsovo. Comrade Merleaux has mentioned that you were in the imperial legions, despite being a woman. Is this true?"

Nelsie grew a smile "Sure is! I was totally in the legions. Trained like crazy for a long time to get in shape just to pass the basic training. Had to disguise myself as a boy to do it though. Turns out that ended up being a lot harder than you might think."

Yuri listened with interest. Flora interrupted their conversation by ordering her to help carry some of the new parts that arrived for the space shuttle in the cargo bay.

"Yeah that is all great and whatnot, but since you're so strong, why don't you help us out and carry those boxes?"

"Can do!" Nelsie ran over to the large delivery and lifted the tremendous boxes with ease. She got to the space shuttle to see a small green skin girl wearing a black robe and a black witch hat tinkering on the exterior of the rear engines.

"Hi there! I'm Nelsie. Nice to meet ya!"

Chan Chan stopped what she was doing and turned to face her. Her eyes grew wide as she took in the awesome sight of the massive red skin female bodybuilder.

"Damn girl, you're huge! Like seriously, how do you even get that big? You look like you could take on most pro athletes without breaking a sweat."

Nelsie smirked and did another body builder pose. "Years of training, hard work, and a great diet my little green friend. Why, I bet even someone like you could look like this with the right amount of training."

Chan Chan froze, then everyone else started laughing behind her.

"Look, I appreciate the thought, but computers and technology are more my thing. I usually let those jerks handle all the grunt work."

Nelsie frowned at her. Chan Chan paid her no mind. "My name is kinda hard to pronounce, so everyone here just calls me Chan Chan. You said your name is Nelsie right? Welcome to our happy little band of misfits. Oh, word to the wise, try not to piss off Flora."

Nelsie looked at her with a confused stare. "But I thought she was already pissed off at me?"

Chan Chan laughed. "Nah, that is just how she always is. Trust me, when she gets REALLY mad, you'll know."

Nelsie nodded as Frankie walked back over to her. "Alright, now that you have met everyone, let's go finish our tour of the ship."

"Okie Dokie!"

The two of them walked around the main deck. Nelsie was shown the Galley, the lounge area, the fitness room (which she was very critical of), and the officer cabins.

Next, they went up to the upper deck where Nelsie was shown the command bridge.

"Pardon me, sir. But will this young lady be staying with us?" A holographic image of a butler appeared on the large circular table in the center of the room.

"Oh, hey ARIN. Yeah this is Nelsie. She is going to help us get past the Aurelian wall so we can land on the Daesoman home world."

"I beg your pardon sir, but I am unfamiliar with this "Aurelian Wall" that you speak of. Would the young madame care to elaborate on this further?"

Nelise stared at the hologram. "Hey Frankie, who is that?"

ARIN responded. "Oh, where are my manners. Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Autonomous Regulatory Intelligence Network. My primary duties are to oversee the management of all critical systems such as the engines, life support, information, and other systems aboard this vessel."

Nelsie was in awe. "Woah! You have your own A.I? Dude that is so awesome! We don't have anything like this in the imperial legions."

"How flattering of you, miss. Perhaps your appreciative nature will rub off on the rest of the crew. Right, captain?" ARIN said with a hint of sarcasm.

Frankie took Nelsie back down to the main deck and showed her to one of the empty officer cabins. Inside the room looked similar to the rest of the crew's private rooms. There was a queen size bed, a small private bathroom, and a dresser containing basic Union Galactic navy attire. One set of formal dress whites, one set of BDU's and one set of PT clothes.

"You can stay in here for now. Yuri should have dinner ready in an hour, so we'll have someone let you know when it's time to go to the galley. I gotta go help everyone with the new equipment, so make yourself at home."

Nelsie smiled at him as Frankie left the red skin muscular woman to get settled into her new home.

X

Nelsie was laying on the bed, thinking about how everything in her life had changed so much in the last two days. She wanted so badly to believe that Frankie and his friends would help her get off this planet, but she felt bad about running away from her situation. She reminded herself that the legions kicked her out. There was no other option than to trust Frankie. After all, how could she go home and face her father after this? What would he think of her?

Nelsie heard a knock on the door. "Come in!"

Flora opened the door and leaned on the door frame. "Hey. Yuri wanted me to tell you that dinner is ready. If you don't want to go hungry, then I suggest you come eat."

Nelsie did her best to act friendly towards Flora, despite her attitude towards the new crew member. "Yum! Yeah dinner sounds great." Nelsie got up and started walking out of the room when Flora stood firm in the doorway with her arms crossed.

"Listen you meathead, cause i'm only gonna say this once. I don't know what you're planning, but If you hurt Frankie, or anyone else on board this ship, I will end you right then and there."

Nelsie looked down at her due to the obvious difference in height, but still felt threatened by her words. She finally understood what Chan Chan meant earlier by "You'll know when she is REALLY mad."

"Are you threatening me? Because if you are, just know that I could break your spine in half without even breaking a swe~"

Flora lunged forward and extended her grabbed Nelsie's neck and gently applied pressure just enough to draw a little bit of blood.

"You wouldn't even get the chance. Now get your big red ass to the galley and eat your goddamn dinner. Captain's orders."

Flora released Nelsie and walked out of the room. Nelsie coughed for a few minutes as she ran to the bathroom to find a towel to stop the bleeding from her neck.

X

The rest of the crew had all been seated at the large table in the galley when Nelsie walked in. She had several bandages on her neck and looked a little nervous. The crew had all been having their own side conversations when they saw her walk in, but grew silent after seeing her.

"Umm… hi everyone. I was told dinner was ready?" Nelsie mumbled as Flora, Chan Chan, and Frankie were all staring at her. Frankie was the first to speak.

"Glad you could make it. Come have a seat!"

Nelsie walked forward but ended up getting interrupted by Flora before she sat down.

"You can't sit with us. This table is for crew members only. Go sit over there!"

Nelsie looked at her with a hurt expression. "But, I thought~"

"Did I stutter? That is a direct order from the commander of this vessel."

Frankie interjected. "Flora, what the hell? Why are you being so mean to her?"

She turned to Frankie "I'm doing this for you. For all of us. Did you forget she attacked us yesterday? What if she tries something while we're eating? We can't be too careful around her. She is dangerous."

Nelsie turned and sat down at the adjacent table. She looked down with a dejected gaze. Frankie wanted to say something before Yuri came to the table with a large pot.

"Dinner is ready! I hope everyone is hungry, tonight we are having Stroganoff. Dig in, comrades!" Yuri served everyone their food before going to the adjacent table to serve Nelsie. After he finished serving her, he whispered in her ear.

"Don't worry about Flora. She'll come around."

Everyone began their dinner. The food was cooked to perfection. In fact, it was so delicious, that the galley was surprisingly quiet due to everyone having so much food in their mouths. Nelsie was also surprised at how good this meal was. She had never tried Skilorinyan cuisine, but found herself wolfing down the food.

The rest of the crew were beginning to get interrupted by how loud Nelsie was chewing her food. It seems that in her attempts to disguise herself as a boy for so many years, she cast aside all sense of table manners.

When she was finished, Nelsie let out the loudest burp anyone had ever heard.

"That was so good! Hey Yuri, can I have seconds?"

Yuri was grossed out at first, but served her a second helping of Stroganoff. Nelsie finished that quickly too. Then a third helping, then the rest of the food altogether. Every other crew member only ate their original first serving of Stroganoff.

"Holy crap. How can you eat so much, Nelsie?" Chan Chan asked.

Nelsie smiled from the other table. "Gotta eat big to get big! Muscles like these need fuel to keep them big and strong."

Once all of the crew had finished their meal, Yuri collected all of the plates and put them back into the kitchen to clean later. He came back to find everyone facing Nelsie. Frankie decided to break the ice and ask the one question that was on everyone's minds.

"So Nelsie, now that we are going to be working together, I want to know. Why did you join the legions? If only men are allowed to serve, then why did you go so far to hide your true identity to do it?"

Nelsie breathed in a heavy sigh and faced the group with a sad look on her face. Yuri had taken notice and decided to sit down as well.

"Because it was my destiny."

Nobody expected that response.

"I come from a very prestigious family. My father, Lucius Sotillius, was a highly respected commander in the imperial legions. He led the empire to many victories, and was officially recognized by the late emperor Aurelian as "Lucius Maximus".

Frankie and Chan Chan were both confused. Meanwhile, Yuri and Flora had their jaws on the floor.

"Your father is Lucius Maximus?!" Yuri shouted.

"Hang on, I don't understand, who is Lucius Maximus?" Frankie asked.

Nelsie answered. "Many years ago, there was a great civil war within the Daesoman Empire. The nation was being torn apart by infighting among several generals after the death of the previous emperor who left behind no heirs. The empire was at its weakest state that it had ever been. Then one day, a man named Aurelian rose to power. He led his armies against all of the rebels and traitors. One by one, they fell to the might of Aurelian. He brought the Daesoman empire back from the brink of ruin and united the people under one banner. Lucius Maximus, my father, was his top general. Together, the two of them saved the empire. However, after the war, there was a dispute between them and the senate. The senate declared Aurelian as the new emperor, but he refused. Aurelian was a military man through and through, and never wanted to get involved in politics. He recommended that my father be declared the new emperor. Unfortunately, my father did not have a male heir at the time, but Aureliean had three sons of his own. My father gave the senate an ultimatum: He and my mother would produce a male heir within one year, and they would declare him emperor. Well, nine months later, I was born."

The room was silent. Nelsie grew a very sad expression on her face recounting the memories of her childhood.

"My father was denied the throne, and Aurelian was named emperor. Under Aurelian's leadership, the empire prospered, but my father grew bitter and depressed. He would always yell and scream at me about how I ruined everything. That he would have been emperor if not for me. We lived in a big mansion with plenty of food, and servants. By all accounts I was living a good life. I should have been happy. I mean, other kids always used to tell me in school how jealous they were that my father was so famous. That they wished their family was as great as mine. If only they knew."

Nelsie lifted her head up and looked at the group. "Then one day, my little brother was born. It was an amazing time for my family. For the first time in my life, I saw my father smile. He was so happy back then. I had never seen him so full of energy and hope. He loved my little brother so much. Unfortunately, this meant that my existence was even less meaningful than before. Nobody ever talked to me, or paid attention to me. Neither him nor my mother cared that I even existed anymore. All they did was fawn over my little brother. Now that I am an adult I can understand why. I don't agree with them for how they treated me, but I understand."

Frankie interrupted. "It was because your father could convince the senate to make him emperor now."

Nelsie nodded. "Yeah. But back then, I was so young. In my mind, I thought it was because my parents didn't love me anymore. I mean, I had heard my mother tell me she loved me plenty of times before, but my father? Not once."

"When the time finally came for my father to appear before the senate and make his case for becoming emperor, something horrible happened. Aurelian had been murdered."

Everyone in the room grew white eyed in shock.

"Naturally, the senate suspected my father of the crime before any type of investigation took place. He was arrested by the Praetorian guard before he even made it inside the building. Aurelian's oldest son became the next emperor, and pardoned my father. Well, he pardoned him AFTER they beat him and tortured him for days. He became paralyzed from the waist down due to that bastard's torture. This was to ensure that my father would never be able to rise up against him and challenge him for the throne."

"After that, my father trained my little brother every day. The poor kid was only a few years old. He could barely walk and use the bathroom on his own! My father didn't care. He ran my brother raggad for years. Every day they did exercises until he puked. Combat drills until he was covered in bruises. All while telling my little brother that this was because it was his destiny to overthrow the false emperor and seize the throne for the Sotillius family. To restore the dynasty that was stolen from us….. Stolen by me."

"By the time all of this was going on, I was almost in high school. While I felt sorry for my little brother, I also envied him. His life was hell, but he had my father's love and support. Something I had never had in my life. Then one summer, things took a turn for the worse. My brother got very sick and was bed ridden with a rare disease. Doctors only gave him six months to live. He died a few weeks later."

At this point Frankie and Chan Chan had grown a little teary eyed. Yuri felt so bad for the poor girl, and even Flora began to sympathize with her story.

"My father was devastated. He cried at my brother's bedside for hours. At his funeral, the emperor himself showed up to "pay respects", but we all knew why he was there. He just wanted to rub it in my father's face that his only son was dead, and so was his legacy. My father may as well have died that day too."

Nelsie grew a vengeful look on her face. "But on that day, I swore to him that I would restore our family's honor. I would train hard and become the soldier that my brother should have been. I spent all of my high school years training every day. After graduation, I did my best to hide my gender and enlisted in the legions. Despite all my training, I was still much weaker than the men. But I didn't let that stop me. I never gave up, and despite having the lowest PT scores in my unit, I still made it through basic training and joined the legions! I will never forget the look on my mother and father's faces when they saw me on graduation day. For the first time in my life, my parents were proud of me."

"However, due to my low PT scores, the legions did not feel that I was suited for front line combat, so they sent me out here to guard the Archimedes forum. As anyone in the legions will tell you, being out here is like a death sentence to your career. This place is where officers put you as a punishment. I thought that if I worked hard and made a name for myself here, that I could rise through the ranks and maybe get back to the capitol. My big chance came when I saw you guys pull up in your Union Galactic ship. I knew if I could defeat you, they would recognize me and I could finally get out of here."

Frankie interrupted "Nelsie~i...I had no idea. For what it's worth, I'm sorry we got you kicked out."

Nelsie looked at her. "Last night I had no idea what to do. I thought I would be homeless living here forever. That my father's legacy would die with me. That I would be the final nail in the coffin of our family's failures." Nelsie started to cry a little bit before getting up to hug Frankie.

"But you gave me a second chance! You said you were going to the capitol, and I could come along. I will never forget this act of kindness!" She let him go, got down on one knee and crossed one of her arms over her shoulder.

"I swear to you, on the blood of the Sotillius family, that I will serve you to my dying breath, Jean François Merleaux."

X

Meanwhile, in orbit around the planet Protaga

Several Days Ago

Katsumi Michiko was sitting in her makeshift office aboard one of the LS ships that the Marshals loaned her for her manhunt. She was completing her reports of her encounters with Frankie back on the frozen planet below. Once she had signed the last line, she hit send on her computer. After the reports were emailed to her supervisor, she began to undress and take a shower.

As the hot water relaxed her skin, she thought about how Frankie acted towards her back there. He was faking it to get her to lower her guard down so he could escape, but part of her wanted to believe that he was being genuine. She wanted to believe that his words were sincere and truthful. It had been a long time since any man was interested in her like that, so these feelings felt unfamiliar to her. Logically speaking, there was no way this would work out between them. He was the son of the galaxy's most famous outlaw, and an outlaw himself. She was a Marshal. Not to mention the age difference. Michiko was on the wrong side of 25 and Frankie looked no older than a high school student. Maybe he had a thing for older women?

She looked down at herself. Through the soap bubbles, she was able to make out her curvy figure. Her large breasts and feminine waist gave her an almost hourglass figure. Despite her age, she felt that her face still looked very young, thanks to all of her moisturizer that she makes sure to apply each night. By her own standards, she was good looking. Due to her position, most men were too intimidated to approach her in such a romantic way. Frankie held no such fear. Back on the train, he was forward, direct, and honest with his feelings. He told her how he felt, and made the first move. For a woman who was so used to being in control and being a leader, it caught her off guard to be with a man who took control. A man who made the first move

The more she thought about this, the more that it turned her on.

"Ara Ara, Jean François Merleaux. You may have gotten away this time, but you can't run from me forever. I will find you, and make you mine."

After Michiko finished her shower, she wrapped herself in a towel and began getting ready for bed. Suddenly, she received an incoming call from one of her agents.

"Miss Michiko! We have just detected some suspicious activity from the Archimedes forum."

Michiko sighed. "With all due respect, that's the only kind of activity that takes place in that dump. What does this have anything to do with Merleaux or his accomplices?"

"Well ma'am, we have detected several large purchases from the Union Galactic employee bank account of the late Doctor Roger Armstead. Doctor Armstead has been officially listed as "missing" since the incident on planet Gorinth. What do you make of this?"

Michiko had a light bulb go off in her head. She was there on Gorinth when Doctor Armstead died. If Union Galactic thinks he is only missing, then they must not know he really died.

"Lieutenant, I want you to get us on the first FTLS train to that system. That is Merleaux alright. What he is doing there is beyond me, but he won't get away from us this time."

"Ma'am yes Ma'am!"

X

The Next Day

It was early morning on planet Archimedes. Frankie and Yuri were sleeping soundly in their beds. Chan Chan was plugged into a computer on the command bridge since her body was able to "sleep" when she was like this. However, the other two women on board were wide awake.

Nelsie was making her way to the small fitness room on board the Archangel. Once she was inside, she was surprised to see Flora already in the room dressed in the PT uniform that was found in everyone's closet. Plain grey t shirt and loose black shorts. Flora was doing some sit ups against the wall when she noticed Nelsie walk in.

"Good morning. Umm… sorry to bother you. I can come back another time if you want." Nelsie stuttered.

Flora looked up "No it's okay. Nobody else ever bothers to use this room. It will be nice getting to work out with someone for a change."

Nelsie walked inside and started stretching. Flora continued doing her situps for a few minutes until she was done.

"Hey Nelsie, I wanted to apologize for how I treated you yesterday." Flora sat up from the floor and made her way over to the bench press. She racked one 45 pound plate on each side of the bar.

"Mind spotting me?" She asked.

"Sure thing" Nelsie replied.

Flora laid down on the bench and grabbed the bar. She started doing her first set of six reps on the bench press, then racked the bar.

"This may come as a shock to you, but I totally understand how you feel. Back on my home planet of Kracia, I was in the army. In fact, I was so good that my first sergeant had my placed in the special forces training program."

Flora grabbed the bar and began her second set. She did six reps on the bench press before racking the bar.

"Although, I ended up getting kicked out of the army before I could graduate. Thanks to the wonderful crown prince of Kracia."

Flora did one more set of six reps on the bench press before racking the bar and finishing her set. She stood up from the bench and offered Nelsie the spot to do her workout. Nelsie agreed and added two more 45 pound plates to the bar, making three plates on each side.

"Umm… are you sure you want me to spot you? I don't think I can pick up the bar if you drop it?"

Nelsie shrugged it off. "Don't worry, this is light weight! But finish your story. Why did the prince get you kicked out of the army? And how did you end up here with everyone?"

Nelsie grabbed the bar and began her set of six reps on the bench press. Flora continued her conversation.

"Well, that stupid prince kept hitting on me all the time, and I would always turn him down. One night, he decided he was not going to take no for an answer and forced himself on me."

Nelsie grunted "That bastard! What did you do?"

Flora smiled. "I clawed his face! Left some pretty big scars too."

"Nice!" Nelsie finished her reps and racked the bar.

"Felt good to cut him down to size, no pun intended. Too bad for me, it is against the law to attack a member of the royal family. So once he ratted me out to my superiors, I was court martialed immediately. Not only that, I was arrested and put on trial in a royal court. The king found me guilty of high treason against the royal family."

Nelsie looked at her with sympathy. "Holy shit! That's awful."

Flora sighed. "Yeah, but for some reason, they decided to banish me instead of the death penalty. So I got on the next ship off world and wandered the stars looking for the legendary lost ship of Union Galactic."

Nelsie gripped the bar and began her next set of six reps on the bench press. "Oh yeah, I remember hearing the servants talk about that when I was a kid. Supposed to have some kind of treasure on board that would make you richer than a thousand kings. At least that's what they used to say. I never believed in that stuff."

Flora had to spot her on her last rep and help her rack the bar. She looked at Nelsie with a smug grin.

"Light weight, huh?"

Nelsie looked away. "Well… my chest is kinda sore today. Feels weird just letting them hang without having to tie them up with tape like I would normally do." Nelsie started rubbing her large breasts.

Flora scolded her. "Nelsie, stop that! Women don't just rub their boobs like that out in public. It's very un-lady like."

"It is? Sorry, I didn't~wait hang on." Nelsie let forth the loudest fart that Flora had ever heard in her life.

"Sounds like Yuri's dinner is on it's way out! Know what I mean? Hahaha!"

Flora was disgusted by this. She pinched her nose and started fanning the air with her hands.

"Ewww Nelsie that's disgusting! Girls don't just fart like that either! At least not around other people."

"Sorry about that. It's just that the guys would do it all the time, so I had to do it to keep up the act. Man, being a lady sounds hard."

Nelsie got up from the bench press and walked over to the squat rack. She asked Flora to join her.

"Can we do shoulder press first?"

Nelsie got very angry after hearing that. "Absolutely not! This is the squat rack, and as such, it is for squats ONLY!"

"Okay okay, geez just calm down."

Nelsie loaded four 45 pound plates on each side of the bar and started her lifts.

"So what happened next? Did you find the lost ship?"

"Actually Frankie found it first, then I found him."

Nelsie finished her set and racked the bar. "No shit? So what was inside?"

"It's kinda hard to describe. Ask him about it next time you see him."

"Does he ever work out? Maybe he and I can talk about it in here like we're doing now."

Flora laughed. "I don't think Frankie is really the fitness type. But you're welcome to try!"

Nelsie finished her squats and turned to Flora. "You know, when we first met, I thought you were a total bitch, but you're not so bad after all. You're alright, Flora."

Flora smiled and patted Nelsie on one of her chiseled shoulders. "Right back at you. But that is the last time you get to call me a bitch. So, welcome aboard!"

Nelsie smiled. Suddenly, ARIN spoke over the intercom. "Miss Flora, if we are to make Miss Sotillius an official crew member, then she will need a position on board this ship. What role shall she take?"

Flora turned to Nelsie. "Well, what job do you want? Everyone pulls their own weight around here. Frankie is the captain, I am the commander under him, Chan Chan is our chief engineer, Yuri is the cook."

Nelsie thought for a minute and smiled brightly. "Can I be the chief fitness officer?"

Flora looked puzzled. "Umm…. I don't know if that is a position we even have available. ARIN?"

"Congratulations, Miss Sotillius, I have just updated our ship's manifest. You are hereby the chief fitness officer aboard the Archangel."

"Huh, I guess we do…"

Nelsie flexed her muscles in a body builder pose. "Hell yeah! I'll be sure to help get your sorry asses in shape in no time." She flexed her muscles in another pose before her and Flora laughed together.

X

Later that day, a crew of men came by and completed the new paint job to the exterior of the ship. When they were finished, Frankie had everyone leave the ship and head out to the docking area inside the forum. They each took turns looking out the window at the beautiful new look of the Archangel. Gone were the yellow and grey colors of Union Galactic. Instead, the ship was painted white with a large golden Fleur-de-lis on each wing. The Fleur-de-lis had two angel wings extended on both sides of the logo. Finally, on both sides of the nose of the ship near the bridge, the words "Archangel" were written in gold with balck trim.

"Woah! Now that is a sweet looking ship if I ever saw one." Chan Chan complimented.

"I like the white color choice. Simple, yet bold." Yuri approved.

"Woah!" Nelsie gasped.

"Gotta hand it to you Frankie, it looks pretty badass." Flora nodded.

Frankie was all smiles. He looked back at his crew and gave them all a thumbs up.

"Now it's time to take this pretty little thing to the Daesoman capital. But before we go, I was informed earlier that we have a new addition to the crew. Everyone, as captain, allow me to re-introduce our ship's new chief fitness officer, the lovely Miss Nelsie!"

Everyone clapped sarcastically. Nelsie flexed both of her biceps, earning a few laughs from the group.

Frankie addressed everyone. "Alright guys, lets head back on board and get this trip underway!"

X

With the power of Soul Sister and the FTLS engine, Frankie was able to launch the Archangel faster than light speed to arrive at the capital of the Daesoman empire in just a few hours. A trip that would normally take several days in a standard light speed ship.

After the ship descended to sub-light speeds, Frankie disengaged from the FTLS engine and called the crew up to the bridge. One by one, everyone joined him to look out the windows at the incredible sight before them.

"Hey Nelsie, what exactly are we looking at?" Frankie stared in awe at the incredible display of military might in orbit around their next destination.

Nelsie patted him on the shoulder. "The Aurelian wall. It was constructed by the late emperor Aurelian after the great civil war. 300 orbital battle stations all armed with Kaiser class laser cannons. One shot from one of those bad boys is enough to put a hole through even the toughest of ships."

ARIN appeared on the large circular table in the middle of the room. He was in his holographic butler form.

"Fascinating. There are no records of this anywhere in the Union Galactic naval database."

Nelsie smirked. "It was the will of Aurelian that our homeworld be secure against any and all threats. He knew that one day Union Galactic would be strong enough to come knocking on our door. So he installed a pretty tough deadbolt. Or rather, about 300 of them. If nobody at Union Galactic knows about this, then that is just even better for us."

Chan Chan ran over to a computer terminal and started typing away.

"Hey guys, we are being hailed by one of those platforms. They are requesting an audience with the captain. Should I put them through?"

Frankie looked over at Nelsie. She nodded at him.

"I got this. Captain, if you don't mind."

"Not at all. That's why you're here. Chan Chan, establish connection."

"Aye Aye cowboy." Suddenly a holographic image appeared of a Daesoman legionnaire on the holographic table.

"This is the Daesoman Empire hailing the Archangel. You are entering restricted airspace. Please provide your clearance ID at once or we will fire a warning shot."

Nelsie stepped forward. "Patres nostri in sanguinem. De filiis nostris sanguis. Gloria esse Daesoma!"

Everyone was silent for a moment before the holographic man spoke. "Passcode accepted. Archangel, you are cleared to land. Welcome to the capital. Daesoma Invicta." The connection ended.

Everyone was now staring at Nelsie. She shuffled a little bit and got nervous. "What? What are you all looking at me for?"

Frankie walked up to her and offered his praise. "I can't believe that actually worked!"

Nelsie smiled back. Chan Chan interrupted them both. "Hey guys, congratulations are going to have to wait. We have another problem. Now that we are cleared past orbit, we need to figure out where we are going to land. It doesn't look like we can afford the docking fee to land at the commercial spaceport in the capitol."

"What do you mean we can't afford it? What about the expense card we took off that Armstead guy?"

Chan Chan glared back at him. "You idiot! We are in the Daesoman capital. Union Galactic Credits are no good out here. Unless you know a place we can get 10,000 Daesos in the next thirty minutes."

Nelsie interjected. "We can stay at my house. My family owns a large mansion outside of the capitol city. We have enough land for a small ship but nothing that can accommodate the Archangel."

Frankie responded. "That will have to do. Everyone, get on board the space shuttle. Chan Chan, you stay here and remain in orbit until we give the signal."

"Aye Aye, cowboy."

Frankie, Flora, Yuri, and Nelsie headed below deck to the cargo bay and made their way inside the space shuttle one by one. It was a tight fit, mostly for Nelsie, but they managed to get everyone inside. Flora started up the engines and opened the cargo bay doors. Immediately the zero gravity of space took effect and the shuttle released from its magnetic locks on the floor to float away into orbit.

"Alright everyone, let's see if those mods that Chan Chan installed work." Flora declared. Immediately, the new solar propulsion engines took command and shot the space shuttle towards the planet surface. Lucky for them, the new shields that they installed also helped to keep heat off the underside of the ship as they entered the atmosphere.

"Nelsie, which way to your house?" Flora asked.

"It's a few miles that way. You should see it on top of the big hill. Just land near the bottom."

Flora began her descent and finally saw the Sotillius estate. Just like Nelsie said, there was a massive mansion near the outskirts of the capital. There was a large three story house decorated in greek architecture. The house was surrounded by a beautiful garden, swimming pool, training area, and near the back of the property was a large paved square with a circle painted inside. Flora assumed this was for ships to land on the property.

"Alright, let's see if that little green brat got the butterfly landing system working."

Flora pressed a few buttons and sure enough, the space shuttle descended quickly near the landing pad almost until a full stop, before hovering in place and dropping straight down for a landing.

"Alright! Remind me to thank that little green brat when we get back to the ship. Okay Nelsie, lead the way."

Nelsie unbuckled her seat belt and opened the side door. She jumped out of the door and landed on the ground. Following her lead were Frankie, Yuri, and finally Flora. They looked around the estate and marveled at its beauty. There were plenty of trees, green grass, flowers, and beautiful landscaping everywhere.

"Hey Nelsie, you okay?" Frankie asked.

Nelsie broke her trance and answered. "Y-yeah. Just feels weird to be back home is all. Come on guys, we can get in through the back entrance."

Suddenly the group was ambushed by a squad of about 10 Daesoman women dressed in maid outfits. They were all holding swords and proceeded to put the swords at everyone's throats before anyone could react.

"You are trespassing on the Sotillius family estate. Identify yourselves."

Nelsie struggled before squeaking out."Calm down Arianna, it's me, Loknelsio! These are my friends. Please stand down."

The maid who was holding a sword to Nelsie's neck hesitated for a few moments before releasing. She instructed the others to do the same.

"My apologies, lady Loknelsio. It has been so long since you left that I did not recognize you. We saw an unidentified ship land on the grounds and suspected the worst. Please forgive us."

Nelsie brushed it off "It's no big deal. Glad to see you and the rest of the maids have not lost your edge after all these years!"

Arianna bowed before the group. "Greetings,. My name is Arianna, head maid for the Sotillius family. Welcome to Daesoma. "

X

Arianna gave a tour of the mansion to Frankie, Flora, and Yuri. Her and Nelsie spoke to each other about Nelsie's time in the legions and how she met everyone. They also spoke about what happened on the Archimedes forum and why they were here now.

"I see, so your father is the legendary outlaw Jacques Merleaux, and he has been captured. They will only release him if you steal the armor of the first emperor and offer it to them. I must admit mister Merleaux, you are facing a very difficult situation."

Frankie interrupted. "So you understand then? What do you think we should do?"

Arianna was about to speak before another maid came in with a tray of fresh brewed tea for everyone. They each took a seat at a fancy table in one of the many beautiful rooms of the estate.

"The news of the archaeological discovery of the first emperor's armor is all anyone has been talking about here in the capitol. As you know, legends say that thousands of years ago, the gods blessed the legendary Kaiser Julianus the great with a magical set of armor, along with a shield and sword. He used these to conquer the entire world and establish himself as emperor of the planet Daesoma, and create the Daesoman empire. It was said that his armor never once took any damage in battle ever. His sword was so strong that it could cut through solid rock, and his shield never once yielded. After his death, these legendary tools of war were lost. None of his surviving family or anyone in the palace could find them. They simply vanished out of thin air."

Everyone listened intently as Arianna sipped her tea. "According to the legends, since the armor was blessed by the gods, it returned to heaven along with Kaiser Julianus the great. All traces of them were lost to history. However, the high priests believe that one day, a warrior will be born who will earn the favor of the gods once more, and they will send that armor back to us, so that it may be reclaimed by that warrior to lead the Daesoman people to a new golden age."

Yuri spoke next. "If the legends are true, then why would the armor reappear now? According to comrade Nelsie, the emperor Aurelian has been dead for years."

Arianna took another sip of her tea. "I do not know. The media is saying that the new emperor, Austrius, has been chosen by the gods after the death of his father. But in my personal opinion, that man is nowhere near as great as his father was. Nor are any of his brothers. The way he treated Master Lucius all those years ago…."

Nelsie interrupted. "Arianna, it's okay. I already told them what happened. Regardless of whether or not the gods chose anyone, we need to get that armor and save Frankie's father. Can you tell us anything else?"

Arianna finished her tea. "Yes. The emperor is having a grand ball at the imperial palace tomorrow night to show off the armor to the patricians of Daesoma. Only the most prestigious families have been invited to attend."

"Did father receive an invitation?"

"Yes, but when I told Master Lucius of the affair, he scoffed and threw it back in my face. I still have the invitation in my chambers. Why do you ask?"

Flora finished her tea and spoke up. "Miss Arianna, if I may. I propose that we attend that party. Nelsie can use the invitation her father received and attend on his behalf. Assuming the invitation includes a plus one, then Frankie should accompany her. They can then infiltrate the palace, locate the armor, and the emperor."

Frankie smiled at her. "Great plan Flora! But what are you going to do?"

Flora winked at him. "Sneak in and steal the armor of course! I was trained in Kracian special forces, alpha sierra company, remember? Sneaking into the imperial palace of the Daesoman emperor would be a piece of cake for someone like me."

Yuri interjected. "I will assist you, comrade Flora. Misha and I will provide long range tactical support for you, along with any other assistance you may need. "

"Thanks Yuri! I will definitely need your help getting past some guards, as well as scouting out the area from a distance."

Arianna interjected. "Pardon me, but there is one major problem with your plan."

Flora looked at her. "Yeah, what's that?"

"Earlier, you said that lady Loknelsio would be attending the party as an official guest. However, my lady is not exactly what you would call "feminie". I do not think she would be able to mingle among the guests without causing a scene."

Nelsie was leaning back in her chair with her legs spread apart currently picking her nose. Everyone was looking at her for a few seconds until she noticed the attention. "What? You dont really expect me to get all dolled up and go to that stupid party do you? Sorry to burst your bubble but fancy royal balls are not really my scene."

Flora looked at her with a sinister grin. "Oh don't worry Nelsie. I'll make a woman out of you! Arianna, I will need your help. Nelsie, by the time i'm done with you, I will make you into the most beautiful girl in the whole empire!"

X

The next day

The party was going to start in a few hours. Frankie was in one of the rooms being fitted into a black tuxedo by two of the maids of the estate. Yuri had changed into his combat outfit which consisted of black pants, a black shirt, and his white ushanka hat with the red star. Yuri had left about an hour ago to scout out the imperial palace before Flora made her way there. Chan Chan was briefed on the plan earlier that morning and agreed to provide remote technical assistance from the Archangel currently floating in orbit. Flora was finishing up getting changed into her combat clothes which were similar to the outfit she wore back on Gorinth. A black sports bra, tight black shorts, and her twin short swords that were in the scabbard on her back. To the request of Franki, Flora was also wearing a large belt.

Flora was applying some black paint to her face when she heard a knock at the door. It was Arianna.

"Miss Flora, If you have a minute, I would like your assistance applying the makeup to my lady."

Flora turned around. "Very well. Has she been fitted into the dress we picked out yesterday?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Hair?"

"Styled just as you requested ma'am."

"Nails?"

"Manicured and Pedicured, ma'am."

"Shoes?"

"It took some work, but we managed to get my lady to put them on."

"Excellent work. I'll be there in a minute."

Flora walked out of the room and followed the maid to Nelsie's room. Inside was a sight that she could not believe she would ever see.

"Wow…. Arianna, great job!" She and Ariana exchanged a fist bump.

Nelsie was sitting on a pedestal chair in a very lady like position. "How do you girls wear this stuff all day? My legs are so exposed I feel like i'm naked!"

Flora walked over and took a seat in front of her. "Nelsie, you made it this far, now just bear with me a little longer. I am going to put some makeup on your face. Try not to touch your face after I put this on, okay?"

Flora worked with Nelsie for about an hour more. Once she confirmed that the hair, makeup, dress, and shoes were all perfect, she asked Arianna to get Frankie.

Frankie had finished putting on his tuxedo and was combing his hair one more time before Arianna walked in.

"Pardon me mister Merleaux, but my lady is ready for you. Please follow me."

Frankie left the room and walked down the hall to the main entrance of the mansion. Near the front of the room was a large two story double door which led out to the driveway. The driveway had a fancy looking black car that was being driven by one of the maids. Frankie looked to the other side of the room and noticed two sets of winding stairs on either side of a large balcony descending from the second floor to the first floor. He looked up and saw Flora walk out of the left side of the balcony. She was dressed in her special forces outfit.

"Ladies and gentlemen. I present to you, Lady Loknelsio Sotillius!"

The door behind her opened to reveal a tall redskin woman with long snow white hair that was done in a perfect half up half down braid. She was wearing a beautiful baby blue strapless dress that hugged her impressive bust perfectly. The baby blue fabric wrapped around her waist so as to highlight the feminie curves of her hips and hide her chiseled six pack abs which lie underneath. The dress continued to drape down her legs until it stopped just above her knees. Frankie's eyes kept falling down until he saw her feet covered in a pair of baby blue heels with her toes in a perfect pedicure. Finally, he looked back up and saw that her face was perfectly down with just the right amount of makeup to make her look very gorgeous.

Nelsie walked down the stairs as best as she could in her heels. Frankie was too busy looking at her to even notice that Flora had expertly jumped from the balcony and landed right next to him with cat like reflexes.

"So Frankie, what do you think?"

Nelsie had almost made it down the bottom of the stairs when Frankie whispered "Holy shit. Nelsie you look….. Beautiful."

Nelsie smiled and blushed a little. Flora punched him in the arm softly. "You're welcome! Now I gotta meet up with Yuri at the palace. You two have fun tonight! Be sure to bring her back home by midnight, and don't try anything, mister."

Frankie tried to chuckle. "Yeah yeah I get it, mom." In a flash, Flora was off. Frankie walked over to Nelsie and extended his arm.

"Lady Loknelsio Sotillius, will you go to the prom with me?"

Nelsie giggled a little. "I don't know what a Prom is, but let's get this show on the road!" She linked her arm through Frankie's arm as best as she could due to the height difference.

The two of them walked outside and into the black car. The maid who was driving began to leave the mansion and head on to the main road. Frankie spoke to everyone in his earpiece communicator.

"Alright team, everyone get in position. Operation: Cinderella is a go!"