1,000 years ago, our stars hosted fantastic civilizations similar to our own. Incarnations of the constellations, who possessed many human and superhuman qualities, would govern these societies. In this mix, there were eight females (Ursa Major, Aranea, Lupus, Draco, Vulpecula, Serpens, Cancer, and Ursa Minor) and two males (Aquarius and Libra). After bearing and raising the new generation, it was planned that they would be educated in use of their powers via a co-op between both males. Unfortunately, though, this hope along with many old generation spirits would be shattered at the males’ deaths. It was then decided that the females would teach their sons to use their powers and to have the ideal virtues. Aranea decided to train her son Aquila this way, by making herself his training partner. She was decently tall, about 6’5”, with decently-toned muscles, average build, and long white hair. Her attire was typical of the females of the old order: armored gauntlets & high-heeled boots with a long-sleeved leotard and leggings (hers, of which, were royal blue), and a skirted chestplate; The cape draping her backside signified that she was of the officers class of warriors. Aquila was as high as his mother’s shoulders, and his armor was typical of the males: a space-age metal helmet (his being medium green) and a space-age metal (metallite) suit.
One morning on Betelgeuse, Aquila came downstairs from the Betelgeuse Palace upstairs bedroom and found Aranea seated at a large chair overseeing a wooden desk. Through his visor he gazed into those longing and widowed blue eyes of his mother. “Mom,” he greeted her, “you wanted to see me?”. “Yes,” Aranea cleared her throat, “I feel as if you are ready to become a guardian. So, I am going to train you.”. Without giving her own flesh and blood time to react, she stood up and pushed in her chair, walking to the opposite end of the barren Palace Betelgeuse, now Outpost Betelgeuse. She then put one leg forward and the other behind her, fists raised. “Now,” smiled Aranea, “I want you to just hit me. This is day 1: physical contact. Come on, hon, just slug me.”. Aquila stood frozen for a brief second - His mother wanted him to hit her?! His answer was blunt: “I love you too much to hit you, so I won’t.”. Aranea’s smile contorted into a smirk, a slow-burning flame of cleverness burning in her soul. “I knew it,” she joked, “this is my brave warrior? I ask for an eagle and you give me a pigeon - pathetic!”. Aquila was infuriated by such a remark and rammed his departing mother with a strong right hook. Down she fell, dizzy from the impact. “Ladies and gentlemen,” she slurred, “Dead or Alive, in concert.”. She then shook her injuries off, stood up, dusted herself off, laughed, and said to her son: “I knew you had warrior spirit in you.”. That night, a spider had crawled into the nest of the eagle, and made her web there.1
1 Aranea’s constellation is “the spider” and Aquila’s is “the eagle”, both coming from the Latin names for their subjects.
Day 2 was Principles of Respect in the training program. “First objective,” remarked Aranea, “is acknowledgement. You can see me, and you can hear me, but do you acknowledge my presence, let alone my voice? A proper acknowledgement sounds like ‘yes, X, I’ve acknowledged your presence and Y.’. Substitute X for the subject’s name and Y for your compliance to the given task or answer to the given question. Let’s wind up practice with a home example - acknowledge me as your mother: Aquila, do you truly love me?”. His answer was one that every children should tell to their mothers - “Yes, mom, I’ve acknowledged your presence and I truly do love you.”. He then found himself wrapped in a hug with his mother, whose back he patted as a sign of common courtesy. When they pulled apart she said, “the battlefield’s a completely different story: we fight like soldiers until sentiment is inevitable, meaning you will acknowledge me as Aranea until a personal event springs up. Aquila, I require assistance, come help me!”. “Yes, Aranea, I’ve acknowledged your command and I shall help you with whatever it is you need.”. Aranea’s hand, raised in the air, would meet Aquila’s in a high five. “Now then, onto silent praise and backstabbing,” the spider was holding a knife as she said this…and a piece of cake on a paper plate. “Backstabbing is saying bad things about someone behind their back. Silent praise is the exact opposite of backstabbing: it’s saying good things about people behind their back. I’m going to walk to one corner of the wall. When I come back, provided you said good things about me to your sister, I’ll split my slice of cake with you two rascals.”. It was there that this cake-crazed woman started walking. “Time begins now,” she said. Behind her back, Aquila and Princess Betelgeuse worked up a masterpiece conversation. “Time,” called Aranea after a few minutes, and with that, she walked back to her children. “Good things and nothing but?” she asked, to which they both nodded. “Good,” Aranea smiled, giving a thumbs up and a cutesy wink, and the delicious spoils were split amongst them. That night, the spider’s “good night” was “Tomorrow starts the fun part.”.
The so-called “Fun Part” was channeling energy. Aranea stood on the palace steps with the door open, to arouse Aquila into finding her. “Ah,” she sniffed the air, “sweet stardust, a blessed smell to a guardian.”. “Eh, Mom,” called Aquila, “I’m here.”. Aranea looked to her side and was almost startled. “Alright, listen up, son,” she stuttered, “the Mitochondria in your cells power not only your structural integrity as an organism, but also your energy for the fight. Channeling it means attacking the enemy, raising a shield, or even healing your friends. A rage attack is not powered by your cells, but rather your accumulated adrenaline.”. She then thrusted her hands forward. From her action, fountains of white light, all in a row, rocketed skyward - about 70 feet in the air! “Napalm,” was all she commented about her powers, “now it’s your turn, my son. Think of a channeling mechanism, then release!”. Aquila balled his fists, moved his left foot backwards, then clenched his teeth, and yelled through his helmet at whopping decibel numbers. It was an earthquake on a lonely red star. “Nice!” smiled Aranea, patting her son’s shoulders. That night was a little too dark and grim for Aquila, because his mother had removed his helmet, kissed his forehead, and told him “tomorrow, you’ll see me like you’ve never seen me before.”, and turned out the light, departing her son’s room for hers.
That morning, armed with a lone green wand, Aquila met his mother once again. “Nice to see you again,” she said in a dark tone, “Today’s your final day of training: constellation morphing.”. She, who also had a wand, raised hers skyward, engulfing herself in a column of light, and her body underwent radical changes, from mammal to arthropod. Now, what was to see, but a giant spider? A beautiful female, but still a heart-stopper for arachnophobes: her hair was completely white, from her head to her abdomen, and her main eyes were numbered as five - three upper eyes and two lower ones. From her fangs could eject a green mist which passed as her venom - a narcoleptic (sleep-inducer), and her silk would be strong yet sticky, the perfect fly-catcher. “Now try it,” hissed she, “unless you have severe arachnophobia.”. Aquila then proceeded to raise his wand, the pillar of light transforming him into a bird with a brown-feathered body, white-feathered head, and sharp yellow beak. Fifty stars on a blue field and thirteen red-and-white stripes could be draped behind his wings. “Ready, mom,” he taunted her in return, “ throw your whole might at me, make me a warrior, and stand on all eight legs to fight me! LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!”. “I can’t,” she laughed breathlessly while spewing venom, “you make me laugh!”. Her venom was corroding his cape somehow, so he went straight for her abdomen, landing on it and making her search for him. “Come out with your wings spread,” Aranea demanded, “I won’t hurt you! AHA!” She had used her back-end eyes to see him. When the two were human once more, they were both laughing. “That’s my boy,” Aranea smiled, “you’ve made me proud.”.
Chapter 2: We’re both scared.
The news wielded a sledgehammer and shattered Aquila’s world - Aranea and the old order were being deployed to the moon on the grounds of a possible security breach there! And he, placed on Polaris, under the command of its new leader, Canis Major. They were a lot alike, minus Canis Major’s helmet being red, not green. Towards the blue north star there came a black cloud, the thousands of death legions riding it were sizing up their victims . “READY DEFENSES,” ordered Canis Major, “Attack on my signal.”. Down landed the legions, led by the fallen guardian Scorpius. He wore a black metallite suit of armor with a bright green visor. His right hand was currently a giant syringe full of a bubbling purple liquid. “ GO,” Canis Major shouted before Canis Minor killed Princess Polaris. “BROTHER,” roared the big dog to the little dog, “YOU’LL PAY DEARLY FOR THAT!”.
It must be mentioned that Aquila tackled some of the legionnaires, allowing Scorpius to grab Princess Betelgeuse and inject her with that purple liquid. “Oh,” she yawned, “so tired.”. Her eyelids drooped and she fell asleep - for a thousand years. “I’m dead,” Aquila shook his head, “Mom will never forgive me.”. Aquila then yelled in a rage style, chasing after Scorpius post-haste and pounding him savagely. “RETREAT,” called Scorpius when he got back up, and away rode the legionnaires. “We’ve got to get to the moon,” sighed Canis Major, “our mothers will be glad to see us again.”. So went the Polaris-to-Moon teleport. Both orders met and hugged it out on the moon. But there was trouble - the death legions were coming back for more. Ursa Major, the pink-haired black-suited commander of the old order and mother to Canis Major, met face-to-face with her other son, Canis Minor, who made a shallow incision around his own mother’s throat area, only to be met by his brother’s team and his mother’s alike. Soon, the guardians and death legions were duking it out on the surface of the moon with their powers and by tossing moonrock around.
During the fighting, Aranea’s left leg had been snapped in two, but she napalmed her assailant as well as Scorpius, whose hand was now outfitted with a cannon attachment. He had fired three high-energy spheres, which were green. All three hit Aranea: one on the left shoulder, one in the stomach, and one in the left eye, which she had lost. Down on her hands and knees she fell, but not from weakness, rather, from sadness. Tears seeped through her eyes. “I desire,” she wept, “to see my son and nothing but! AQUILA, COME OVER HERE… AND SEE YOUR MOTHER IN ALL HER SPLENDOR!”. When he saw her, poor Aquila cried through his helmet. “Mom,” he whimpered, and moved in slowly. Gently, he held her in his arms. “I can’t stop crying!”. “You needn’t cry, my son,” she whimpered, “We’re both scared, but if we truly love each other, we have nothing to fear. I’ll be here for centuries and centuries,and no matter how old I get, I will never stop loving you.”. There they stood, waiting patiently for a medic to arrive on the scene, and finally one came - a young woman only a thousand years old with short blue hair. “Stand her up,” ordered the medic. “Thank goodness ya got here when ya did, doc,” chuckled Aranea weakly, “I need severe assistance - bandages to my left leg & shoulder, bandages to my stomach, and an eyepatch to my left eye. I might also need a crutch or two.”. Aquila just sighed in relief . “You nearly scared me, mom,” his voice trembled, “ but I’m overjoyed that you’re okay. I must get you off the battlefield, lest someone else try to hurt you.”. The poor spider nodded in agreement. “I can’t transform,” she sighed, “it hurts to even try.”. After the medic patched Aranea up, The duo wrapped their arms around each other like a soldier carrying his wounded sister-in-arms to the team safehaven. Aquila was a hardy soldier: “If you can’t transform,” he told his mother in a hardened tone of voice, “it’s probably for your own good - you got banged up and you got some pretty gnarly souvenirs as proof. Let’s see about finding you some refuge, huh?”. Numerous times, he called out: “PLEASE! MY MOTHER NEEDS SHELTER!”, but no one would offer it - except one woman. Her hair was long and somewhere between lavender and deep silver in tone. She had it done up in the “Odango” or “dumpling” hairstyle: a complex pattern of shaping the hair into spheres or hearts with long trails from each “dumpling”. This woman wore a vesture of a simple leg-hugging dress with an ankle-length skirt and white high heels. From her back there sprouted four transparent, colorless fairy-like wings. Of all things, her defining piece was a tiara, nestled comfortably in the center of her head with a pink heart-shaped gem being the defining prowess - this woman was royalty, no doubt about it. “So, Aquila,” she began, “you want someplace where your mother can rest in safety, eh? Thankfully, I have some arrangements. Never worry your head, I tell no lies in ensuring your mother’s safety. Oh, and before you ask how I know your name, I am the one Queen Serenity. I summoned your mother, and the rest of the old order.”. For his debt of gratitude, Aquila bowed his head and fell to his knees. “I just need you to care for her until I come back. Her injuries are quite severe.”. “Yes,” nodded her highness. “Thank you, your highness,” trembled Aranea, “My gratitude is to you.”. “Hush, now,” said her highness, laying Aranea down on a lavish couch, “I hope you find these accommodations comfortable, just make no cobwebs about it.”. At this joke did the two women laugh.
Back on the battlefield, Aquila re-joined his colleagues while Scorpius readied fallen guardian strategy: “come on, men,” he rambled, “WE’LL SHOW THOSE PUTRID LOUTS HOW TO FIGHT!”. “HEY, BUCKETHEAD,” taunted Aquila, ripping out a disused slab of moonrock, “I’M GONNA ROCK YOU!”. Before Scorpius could get to the punchline, Aquila chucked the slab at Scorpius, throwing a monkey wrench into the dark lord’s fighting capabilities. “MAN, LOOK AT YOU,” laughed Aries (a guardian with a blue helmet, only son of Draco) “YOU GOT FLATTENED LIKE A PANCAKE!”. “Hardy har har,” laughed Scorpius sarcastically, “you fools think you’re just barrels of fun.”. He then transformed into a giant Scorpion, picking up a slab of moonrock in his claw and throwing it at Aries. Poor Aries skidded across the moon, then ground to a halt just in front of a shallow crater, Scorpius transforming back and inviting Taurus to finish the job. “MOM, HELP!” was all Aries could think about yelling, and this prompted Draco to change from a red-headed beauty to a feared fire-breathing mythical creature. After some flying, she’d located Aries, landing behind Taurus, de-transforming, and wrapping an energy chain around both of Taurus’s sword blades. Taurus pulled one way and she pulled another, until the blades broke off. These became her new weapons for the rest of the fight. “Hurt my son again and you’ll be sorry,” she warned, kicking Taurus into space and prompting a fading “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”.
The next showdown was a mother-son showdown between Ursa Major and Canis Minor. Here, the little dog had the advantage of speed and agility, while the great bear had the advantage of strength. “It’s time for some disciplinary action, little doggy,” warned Ursa Major, “it hurts me to do this, but you’ve been following a dark path!”. This was complimented by a grizzly: “All the more worth my time watching you cry! Darkness is the only way to peace! I learned that long ago!”. Sadness, adorned in blue, and anger, adorned in red, would twist together to create a purple tornado of sentiment, setting off a nonexistent siren in the back of Ursa Major’s mind, causing her to “stand on her hind legs”, so to speak, and unleash her bear roar: “YOU WERE MY SON, YOU AND CANIS MAJOR BOTH! I ENVISIONED THAT YOU TWO WOULD BE MY GREATEST FEAT, NOT A THORN BETWEEN MY CLAWS! BRING GLORY TO THE GALAXY, NOT RETRIBUTION! WHY, JUST WHY, DID YOU HAVE TO SCAR ME EMOTIONALLY, YOU BACKSTABBING INFIDEL?!?!?!”. This rainbow of words was a match, held up to the fuse of a three-word bomb, detonated by Canis Minor: “I HATE YOU!”. “You were my son, little doggy,” Ursa Major bawled in a corny Star Wars reference, “and I loved you.”. Her shoulders were then being crushed in the grasp of the armored man. Such pressure allowed her to collapse in agony on the ground while “little doggy” picked up a slab of moonrock, menacing her with it. “Now then,” he scoffed in pride, “Where were we? Ah, yes: PREPARE TO MEET YOUR FATE!”. Paradoxically, someone had blown the slab to smithereens. Canis Major was itching to fight his brother and charged him as a dog, barking and shaking Canis minor in his jaws like a chew toy. At the end, he sat in front of Ursa Major, panting and wagging his tail. “Good dog,” she chuckled, patting her son’s furry head before he transformed back and she was rubbing his helmet. “I was just doing what was necessary to save you - I love you too much to let you die.”. Immediately post hate, Ursa Major conducted seven circles of light behind her head, each one discharged an energy sphere in its respective rainbow color. Scorpius and his merry men fled in terror.
Chapter 3: They’ve Got Your Number.
A moment of silent terror washed over Aquila when he came back for his mother, for her eyes were closed. “Is she..?” he trembled, trepidated at the thought of a heavy loss, And approached his mother’s body slowly. To Aquila’s surprise, a hand reached for his, placing it over his mother’s center-line gunshot wound. “Can...you…”, she said weakly, “...feel that?” “Mom,” Aquila trembled, “if you mean your lungs rising and falling, then yes I can.”. Aranea just smiled with her eye shut. “Queen of Betelgeuse,” he fell apart, “they dressed you in your queenly vesture, mom.”. Aforementioned queenly vesture was a gothic English dress tinted cerulean blue, billowed long sleeves adorning her arms. Around her skirt, pointed fabric flaps, two on each side, formed an X if you were to look at her from a bird's eye perspective. Adorning her feet were high-heeled boots made of dark brown leather. Above all, the icing of the cake was that her white hair was straight and not wavy, a flat frilly blue bonnet adorning her hair in a latitudinal beeline. With that, Aquila removed his helmet to look at his mother. “I’d never thought I’d say this,” he sniffed, “but even with one eye, you’re adorable when you sleep, mom.”. “I had them tidy her wounds up so she looked better,” whispered her highness Queen Serenity, “I wanted her to look her best when you came back.”. Wounds which had previously been stained gray and green were now unrecognizable because the stains had been cleaned up with a tender touch.
Slowly, little miss muffet opened her functional eye and stood on her feet, overlooking her son. Where her wounds existed before there was a blue jelly of some sort. “Consider this an unprecedented fifth lesson,” Aranea remarked in a refined tone of voice, “treatment of royalty. I am a queen and you my son, therefore, you are a prince. Now, I offer my hand out and expect you to kiss the same hand your father kissed and marked with a ring.”. Aquila kneeled and kissed his mother’s outstretched hand. “Star...dust…” were her next words, “I desire stardust. I must be taken back to Betelgeuse immediately, for the stardust will heal me, and make me the endearing maiden I once was.”. With this, Aquila helped his mother stand and started the teleport. Flashes of light engulfed their bodies, and soon, they were gone. On Betelgeuse, Aranea sat in her desk chair, its back to a palace wall while Aquila readied a beamer - a purple tripod gun with an orange barrel, attached to a pump of some sort. “We’ve unanimously decided,” Aranea mourned, gripping the chair arms in sadness, “you must go to Earth. Those bad men know your face, they’ve got your number. You will all hide amongst the inhabitants.”. “Not without you then,” whimpered Aquila in sadness, “I go nowhere without you!”. Aranea shook her head, impressed with her son’s fidelity to her. “Aquila, Earth is a beautiful place. I know you’ll love it,” She said, tears rolling down her cheek, “my injuries today may hurt, but it would kill me if you got hurt on my watch.”. “Point well made,” Aquila turned away, “I’m just afraid they’ll come back for you.”. Aranea laughed weakly, remarking: “Oh, how much I love you. Fine, if you’re still not motivated to leave, then I’ll add two incentives for you to leave. Number one…” she said, bestowing to him a wooden box and turning key, “that mark will never wash off, as it cements my love to you, and how you can take me with you, wherever you go. Number two is a promise…” she continued as her son turned on the beamers then stood to attention. “I give you my word of honor: I, the guardian elder Aranea of Betelgeuse, vow to go to Earth and find my son Aquila, so help me powers that be.”. “And another thing,” she said, falling apart emotionally, “your mother...your mother...As your mother...I love you...WITH ALL OF MY HEART!”. Aquila called back, “I LOVE YOU TOO! I’LL NEVER FORGET YOU!”, then teleported out, leaving his mother to heal.
THE END? NO.
Coming soon from yours truly - Star Guardians: Starshine Again. Find out what happened after the new order went dormant on Earth, and how they re-awakened. Will the fallen guardians find them? Can Aranea keep her promise? That’s for me to know, and you to find out, when Starshine Again finishes completion!
This content is intended for mature audiences.
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