Syral and Hroljarus sat down in Syral's office. Syral grinned at his old friend. "So, the High Command is in a major tizzy over you, and you remember Lieutenant Orrin, don't you?"
Hroljarus shook his head.
Syral pressed a button, and the small brown rabbit that they had terrorized several months ago peeked around the door. "Orrin, you remember Admiral Hroljarus, don't you?" Orrin nodded. "I have a form for him, could you get it?"
Orrin scampered off, and Syral chuckled. "That's him. Anyways, I decided that an aid would be of use. Orrin saw the chance to work for a Grand Admiral, and jumped. Then he found out who he was working for. I'm not too hard on him now, but I won't hesitate to take him down a few notches. He's learning."
Hroljarus nodded. Orrin returned, and gave Hroljarus a form. Hroljarus looked at it.
"The first crew request form was temporary," explained Syral. "This one lets you keep a crew indefinitely.
Orrin shyly cleared his throat. Hroljarus and Syral looked at him questioningly. "I was just given this as I went to get your form, sir," he said to Hroljarus, handing him a second form. "The High Command wants to see you about a dead hyena."
The High Command questioned Hroljarus about his actions. Hroljarus was losing his patience.
Finally, Grand Admiral Sorak snapped, "Listen, Hroljarus, killing hyenas is NOT in your job description!"
"Not in the job description, MY FOOT! To protect our cargo, our crewmates, and our passengers is right there in black and white. Sometimes, that means fighting off pirates. Sometimes, those pirates get killed. Every spacer knows that."
Sorak sighed. "Hroljarus, you are an admiral, not a spacer."
Hroljarus sighed. "Isn't an admiral supposed to be a spacer?" The others looked as if they'd never dreamed of that concept. "All right. Let me put this straight. If I am forced to chose, I'll resign."
Syral also stood up. "And if he goes, I follow. And you'll lose the only two admirals that give the High Command any semblance of relevancy."
The gauntlet had been thrown. The rest of the High Command sat there, silent. Syral and Hroljarus were poised to rip their respective badges of rank off.
Orrin cleared his throat, and upped the stakes one last time. "As a low-ranking officer, I hear a lot that I don't tell my superiors. The StellNav is teetering on the edge of mutiny, and all that's holding it back are the only two Admirals left who have ever been in space. Once they're gone..." He left it hanging.
The High Command folded, and their case against Hroljarus was dismissed.
"Is that true, Orrin?" Hroljarus asked as they exited.
Orrin nodded. "The spacers, recruits, officers, EVERYONE is sick of the High Command. You and Syral are the only ones holding their anger in check. If you go, it will be chaos. Well, not chaos, but the High Command will simply cease to exist."
Hroljarus nodded. "And Lord Admiral Attro is completely senile, and has no idea what's going one in the StellNav."
Orrin nodded, and sighed. "He's dying, actually."
Hroljarus rumbled quietly, then changed the subject. "You know, working for Syral has made you a lot more likeable."
Orrin grinned ruefully. "I took a crash course in manners, I'll tell you. During the first few weeks, I spent half my time pinned under that big lynx, and him bellowing in my ear. I had a lot of incentive to brush up on etiquette."
Hroljarus laughed, and took his leave.
Syral met up with him. "Why not go down to the Spacer's Tavern, and have a beer?"
"Why not?" grinned Hroljarus.
At the Spacer's Tavern, they found the rest of the crew were already there. Aponaphelma looked up, and grinned hugely as he saw Syral. "Syral! Didn't you say you say you wanted a wrestling match when we got back?"
Syral laughed, and removed his shirt and tossed it aside. Aponaphelma's landed on top. The patrons, eager for some entertainment, cleared an area on the floor.
Aponaphelma grabbed Syral from behind, and flipped him over backwards. Syral grunted as he hit the floor, but grabbed the wolverine around the waist, lifting him about waist high, then slamming Aponaphelma into the floor. Aponaphelma just started to get back up when Syral drove his knee between Aponaphelma's shoulder blades. Aponaphelma yelped, then retaliated by hoisting Syral upside down, then doing a half-flip, driving Syral into the floor with his shoulder. The two powerhouses struggled for more than an hour, Syral finally gaining the upper hand. But the two were so exhausted that Syral couldn't get up, and Aponaphelma hadn't the strength to push the lynx off. The patrons helped them get up and sit down, while Hroljarus bought them both an ale on the rocks.
"Good match!" grinned Aponaphelma.
"I really didn't know who was going to win. You were amazing!" replied Syral. After cooling off, Syral and Aponaphelma were strong enough to walk. After another round, they said their goodbyes, and Hroljarus and his crew beamed back aboard their ship.
Hroljarus also made one side trip to see Fellnaro. Fellnaro was in custody, but he seemed more or less content. "I'm glad to be out of the service," he said. "They're doing a lot of therapy to restore my mind, and it's going great, but I never want to return." Hroljarus nodded, and left. Back aboard the Exceldor A, Hroljarus sat alone. He though about the past mission, especially the last attack by the pirates. Suddenly, he stood up, coming to a decision.
The crew members were discussing why the Wanderers were so friendly with Hroljarus. Ryramorl had an idea of what was going on. "I think that somewhere's he related to them. I know the Alpha of his house. Zorl Andruvar'a would never let that information out, especially not to Hroljarus."
Aponaphelma nodded. "It would explain his wanderlust. But I want to make one thing clear. Even if he IS descended from the Wanderers, I'm with him."
"Well, of course!" snapped Alran. "He's the best officer there is."
Aponaphelma stood up, and pledged his allegiance to Hroljarus. The entire crew followed suit. Then Aponaphelma told them something that he had decided on, and the crew grinned in approval.
Someone knocked on Hrala's door. "Come in." she said slightly confused voice.
When Hrala saw it was Hroljarus, she was taken completely by surprise. A male wolf never entered a non-related female's chamber's, unless...
She looked in his eyes, and her heart beat faster.
Hroljarus dropped to one knee, and held her paws between his. "Hrala Ordragar," he said with a trembling voice, "Will you marry me?"
Her reply was a hug that nearly squeezed his breath out.
Hroljarus greeted his crew as he returned to the bridge, and announced his engagement. The crew responded with a joyous cheer, Aponaphelma fetched some wine, and they drank a toast to the couple.
Suddenly, Aponaphelma stood up, and made an announcement of his own. "In honour of our captain, we have agreed on a better name for this ship. I hereby christen this ship The Starwolf!" The crew all raised a toast to the new name.
The Exceldor A, newly rechristened The Starwolf, floated in its docking cradle, awaiting its next mission.