Neil Burns

SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO/STAR BLAZERS is owned and copyrighted by Leiji Matsumoto, Sunwagon Productions et al.

"Boring," Alex Wildstar moaned softly.

The older Wildstar was sitting in the back row listening, or trying to listen, to Captain Kentaro Yamamani lecture about military strategy during World War II. He respected the man a lot. Graduated near the top of his class with the likes of Draco Gideon and Abraham Avatar. A decorated solider and respected leader. Like Avatar, he had a stern yet almost fatherly manner about him. But. HE. COULD. NOT. LECTURE. TO. SAVE. HIS. LIFE. Wildstar felt himself about to drop off into Slumberland when--

"Excuse me. Is this seat taken?"

Wildstar looked up and saw a youth about his age standing above him holding a suitcase. Wildstar gave a casual 'sit down' gesture and the slender trim figure sat down next to him, getting out a notebook and pen. His dark hair was cut close to his skull and dark hooded eyes gave him a brooding look, yet there was a pleasant manner about him.

"Welcome to Hell," Wildstar quipped, offering his hand. "Alex Wildstar."

"Nice to meet you," the youth replied. "Stefan Ivanovich Sandorizhilinsky. You can call me Steven or Sandor though."

"Well, Sandor. Glad to know your acquaintance. You're not missing much."

"Mr. Wildstar!" Yamamani's voice silenced the room. "I am not interrupting anything important, am I?"

"No, sir. I apologize."

The lecture continued to its conclusion with no further incident. Later, Wildstar led Sandor to the dormitory and stopped at a room on the fourth floor, unlocking the door. The two entered what could politely be called a "disaster area" with clothes and other items strewn carelessly about.

"Oscar Madison, I assume?" Sandor smiled dryly.

"Only at home mostly," Wildstar replied. "I usually don't leave it like this, but I just returned from soccer practice and didn't get a chance to clean up."

"Perhaps you should clean up because inspection is tomorrow. Besides, from what I hear about the 'Tacs', they'd have a field day with this room."

"No problem. You wanna grab some dinner later on?"

"Sure. I know this nice Italian place not far from here."

Sandor began unpacking as Wildstar busied himself tidying up. Dark hooded eyes fell on a framed photograph of Wildstar with a boy of ten or twelve who was almost a dead ringer. He looked at his roommate and the boy and did a double take.

"That's my kid other Derek," Wildstar chimed not looking at Sandor.

"He looks exactly like you," Sandor replied.

"He is also a devout pacifist. Doesn't believe war solves anything."

"Sounds like my grandmother."

"You have any siblings?"

"I had a sister." Sandor's voice became quiet. "She died in a roller coaster accident."

"My condolences."

The next day, Wildstar finished soccer practice by launching the ball into the net some twenty feet out over a cursing goalie's head. He showered up and decided to hunt down Sandor to have a beer. He walked by the laboratory and stopped by the window. Sandor was lying on the table with NO ARMS OR LEGS! Wildstar gasped as he saw limbs on a nearby table where a scientist was going over them as if testing them for bugs.

"What the hell?!" Wildstar turned away and bolted down the corridor freaked out.

"Alex?" It was Sandor, now fully "limbed", his face one of concern. "You all right?"

"What the hell did I just see, Sandor?"

"You mean these?" Sandor rose his hands in front of them. "I was with my sister in that roller coaster accident. She died, but I survived."

"What does that have to do with your limbs?"

"My limbs were completely destroyed in that accident and I had to have them amputated. These are bionic implants."

"Implants. So, are you like a cyborg?"

"Yes and no. I was giving my limbs a checkup to see that they are functioning properly."

Wildstar digested that for a moment, trying to picture a little boy lying in a destroyed roller coaster car, limbs broken, bloodied and mutilated beyond all possible means of being healed. Whatever problems he had paled in comparison. Later, the two cadets were at a bar enjoying a beer while watching a soccer game.

"So, how's your other in school?" Sandor asked while taking a sip.

"He's pretty good," Wildstar replied. "Keeps at least a B average."

"That's respectable. Any athletics?"

"Oh, yeah. He has a mean fastball and stole nineteen bases last week."

"A real Kojiri Tanaka, huh?" Sandor referred to the Orix Blue Wave's star pitcher/slugger.

"Of course. He has a better chance of making it to the pros than I do."

"I'm more of a bookworm myself."

The two stayed at the pub until late into the evening. As there was no classes the following day, they slept until noon. Wildstar found himself liking the quiet, studious (some might say "nerdy") Steven Sandor while Sandor enjoyed the fun-loving, athletic extrovert that was one Alexander Wildstar. The following morning, Sandor was able to get Wildstar to finish his paper before class. I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Both men thought and it was.




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