"Commander Fletcher, you may proceed with Project 999," Brandon instructed Fletcher, a calculated undertone hinting at a concealed agenda meant to be kept from his son's awareness.
Respectfully, Fletcher raised a query, "Sir, if I may, isn't it a bit premature? Your son still hasn't left the planet."
Brandon's response was swift, laden with chilling indifference, "It's of no consequence. They'll be occupied with other matters, and I sense some skepticism in your tone lately, Fletcher.
"As you wish, sir," Fletcher replied his brow dampening with a nervous sheen, acknowledging his subordinate role.
Clearing his throat, Brandon delved further, "So, who are we using as a test subject this time?"
Fletcher's expression tightened slightly, "Sir, due to the partial success of the last trial, we have decided to elevate the level of test subjects. We plan to utilize 3-star warriors instead of the previous 2-star ones."
Brandon's voice turned colder, his gaze fixed on Fletcher, "And who is the designated test subject?"
Fletcher's unease was palpable, "I apologize, sir. It's Anthony."
Brandon's eyes narrowed, "Anthony? Your personal assistant? You're willingly using him?"
Fletcher swallowed hard, his answer, "Yes, sir. He's the sole survivor from our last experiment. We believe he has developed some level of resistance, enough to withstand another trial."
"So, he's one of the three survivors," Brandon remarked, his voice devoid of emotion.
"Yes, sir," Fletcher confirmed with a heavy sigh.
"Very well, then proceed with it," Brandon concluded, allowing Fletcher to leave the room. As Fletcher exited, Brandon remained seated, gazing out of his window with a contemplative expression.
After seeing both the heavily intoxicated Eva and Chris to their respective homes, Adam ascended the grand staircase of the palace. Their party had stretched into the night, and Eva's indulgence in wine had surpassed the week's stock. Adam, well accustomed to such scenarios after their years together, had taken it upon himself to assist her. He had guided her out of her wine-soaked attire, dressed her in fresh clothes, and gently placed her into bed, a routine borne from their shared history.
As he ascended the staircase, Adam crossed paths with Commander Fletcher, who had recently emerged from Brandon's office, his expression stern and unwavering. Fletcher acknowledged Adam's presence with a nod of his head.
Adam took a moment to address the situation, "So, I assume you're aware of the verdict. I was actually on my way to inform you."
"Yeah, I had something important to discuss with your father, and he shared the details," Commander replied, his departure momentarily halted as he descended a couple of staircases. He paused again, casting a knowing glance back at Adam. "Although the aroma of alcohol hints that you intended to keep me in the dark until the eleventh hour." With his words delivered, he resumed his journey, reaching his car a few steps away.
Adam's response carried a hint of sarcasm, "Well, I don't see the need to divulge every detail to you, Commander." His tone held a playful edge, an unspoken challenge in his words.
"As you see fit, young master," he uttered before departing in his sleek vehicle.
Once, their camaraderie was unshakable, a bond built on trust and shared experiences. However, as the onslaught of attacks grew more relentless in the past five years, the commander's strategic decisions led to increasingly perilous placements of the 6th Army. This didn't sit well with Adam, for he had dedicated his efforts to shaping the 6th army into its current formidable state. Despite the growing tension, both knew better than to let personal differences cloud their professional responsibilities.
ραndαsΝοvεl ƈοm"Father, what brought Commander Fletcher here? I can't recall any ongoing matters that would require his discussion with you," Adam inquired upon entering his father's office.
Brandon shifted his gaze toward his son. "It's nothing of great concern, Adam. He needed my approval for a certain project."
Adam's curiosity was piqued. "A project? Why wasn't I informed about it? Shouldn't I be the one to review and verify any proposals?"
Brandon sighed his expression a mixture of reluctance and concern. "Just some old unfinished matters from before you assumed that position," Brandon responded as he made his way toward his desk. "So, how did your celebration go? I received a call from our financial advisor, and he informed me that you managed to spend over a million galactic credits. Quite an extravagant party for just a trio of friends."
Adam blushed, momentarily forgetting about the topic of Commander Fletcher. "Yeah, well, we were catching up, and before I knew it, Eva had practically turned the entire room into a sea of bottles. You're well aware of Eva's appetite for food and drink."
Leaning back in his chair, Brandon's expression shifted as a memory resurfaced. He leaned forward suddenly. "Ah, I recall now. I believe I've heard the name Eva before. Was she the same young lady you brought home for dinner back when you were still in college?" His tone held a playful note.
Adam's embarrassment intensified, his face reddening like a tomato. "Could you please forget that? I'm out of here." Without waiting for a response, he hurriedly left the room, the door closing behind him.
Brandon chuckled as he leaned back in his seat, still amused by his son's reaction. The laughter soon subsided, and he let out a sigh. "Tsk tsk, it's so simple to divert your attention, my boy. A mere mention of the past, and your original question is out the window."
"But it's all good, otherwise I'd have to take care of the matter myself. And I don't fancy going through that phase without a son by my side again," Brandon mused to himself, a hint of nostalgia in his voice. He remained seated, lost in thought.
The following days passed quickly as the members of the 6th army, along with Adam, tirelessly prepared to depart the planet. The initial strategy Adam and his father had hatched upon receiving the offer from Eternity was to exploit it to evade the consequences of their transgressions. However, the extensive devastation wrought by Chris during the battle had come back to haunt them.
As the departure day neared, Brandon convened a dinner gathering for all three of them in his palace. Eva and Adam navigated the corridors with a familiarity that indicated their previous visits, while Chris trailed behind, still acquainting himself with the layout. "It's been so many years since I last visited your home, isn't it adam?", eva asked playfully, she had her uniform.
"Don't, Eva. Don't dredge up those memories," Adam's voice held a sense of restraint, and Eva pouted in response. She quickly shifted her expression upon hearing Adam's next words, adopting a more serious demeanor as he continued, "We're not outside right now. We're here on official business, so let's keep our focus."
Chris couldn't help but chime in, his frustration evident in his tone, "Can't you two just reconcile? Your initial breakup was due to the rigid army regulations. But technically, now that we're not part of the army anymore, those rules shouldn't apply."
"We can't, Chris. And it wasn't just about rules; we chose to go our separate ways," Eva's tone was resolute as she clarified their history.
"That's right", Adam interjected; his gaze steady as he halted in front of the door. He turned back to face Chris and Eva, emphasizing the gravity of the situation,
"Remember, this dinner isn't just a casual gathering between a father, his son, and his friends. It's a meeting between a planetary ruler and those who serve under him."
With that, Adam pushed open the door to the dining room. Eva turned her attention to Chris, her smile small but warm, as she added, "And Chris, just remember my advice: don't get too awestruck."
The grand dining hall spread before them as the door swung open. The dining room exuded elegance and opulence, adorned with intricate historical tapestries on its walls, illuminated by the soft glow of chandeliers. A long, polished wooden table dominated the center of the room, lined with ornate silverware and crystal glasses. The table's surface was set with an array of delicacies, each dish meticulously crafted and plated.
At the head of the table, Brandon sat with an air of authority, his expression calm yet contemplative. He looked up as Adam, Eva, and Chris entered the room, offering a warm smile to each of them. The dining chairs were plush and cushioned, inviting them to take their seats. The room was adorned with tall windows that overlooked the palace gardens, allowing the soft moonlight to filter in, casting a serene ambiance over the scene.
Despite Eva's warning, Chris couldn't help but be utterly surprised by the view that greeted him. The grandeur of the dining hall left him momentarily awestruck, rendering him almost immobile. He stood there, his gaze fixed on the lavish surroundings, as if unable to process the scene before him. It was Eva who eventually intervened, helping him regain his composure and guiding him to his seat.
Brandon's chuckle resonated in the room, adding a touch of amusement to the atmosphere. "Quite a nostalgic sight, isn't it, young miss? You had the same reaction when you first came here, although you weren't too embarrassed afterward."
Eva's face turned a deep shade of crimson as she dropped Chris to the ground in her embarrassment, her own memories flooding back. Chris's abrupt landing on the floor jolted him out of his stupor, and he quickly scrambled to his feet, his eyes darting between Eva and Adam. Both of them seemed to be stuck in a similar state of embarrassment, frozen in place by the shared reminiscence.
Brandon's laughter subsided as he looked at the trio with a mix of fondness and amusement. As the echoes of laughter and the weight of nostalgia settled in the air, Brandon gestured toward the table. "Please, everyone, take your seats. Dinner is served."
With a mixture of sheepish smiles and shared glances, Chris, Eva, and Adam took their respective places around the ornate table. The ambiance was serene, the dim lighting creating an atmosphere of intimacy. The table was adorned with an array of delectable dishes, reflecting the diverse culinary palette of the galactic region.