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Chapter 2

-Mason Tesik – 14 – Destiny – 3.4.2127

Mason frowned and turned away from his older cousin as he felt the ship settle back into Star Speed. He had tried to tell Eddin about his dream, but Eddin had just told Mason that it was time to grow up. Mason could feel the tears burning at the corners of his vision, so he quickly unbuckled his restraints and left the passenger cabin. The boy didn’t want to give any of his brothers ammunition against him.

Mason turned down the corridor before he made another turn followed by another without bothering to pay attention to where he was going. The boy ran into a dead end and sat down on the floor with his back against the wall. All Mason could do was cry as he thought about how lonely he was in his life. His own father, Jackson Tesik, practically ignored the silent middle child. Mason didn’t blame his father for ignoring him when Fyn and Cort were both turning out to have promising careers in the Association. Being deaf left the boy feeling defective compared to his other family members. He would never be able to accomplish the same things they could.

‘I doubt they’re even looking for me,’ Mason thought as he drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around his legs. ‘They don’t care enough.’

-AH-57 – 16 – Destiny – 3.4.2127

‘Initializing Systems Maintenance Checks and Balance procedure,’ the computerized voice said in the back of his mind as he slowly slipped back into existence after spending so much time in hibernation. Then, he began to feel a tingling sensation that started in the tips of his toes and swept up his body until it hit the crown of his head. Electrical impulses began to shoot down the different nerves in his body as the systems test moved on to the next step. The electrical bursts were followed by a series a beeping noise in the creation’s ears. Then, the AH-57 could hear voices from nearby.

“How much longer do I need to be here, AJ?” The voice sounded familiar to the unit. He ran it against his database and noticed that it belonged to the Pilot of the Destiny, the android’s new partner. “You know how I feel about machines.”

“I know, Lieutenant.” The one named AJ replied calmly.

Then, there was another voice that was familiar to the android’s database. The voice of his handler; Dinrak Soren came across the AH-57’s audiology receptors next.

“You have to be here for the visual activation as well, Lieutenant Roberts.” Dinrak informed the pilot. “We’ll work on your trust issues when you’re off of watch.”

“My trust issues?” Getty demanded in disbelief. “This coming from the man that hates being around humans. How did you say it again? ‘All humans are despicable creatures, and the universe would be better without them?’ Is that how it went, Lieutenant Commander Dinrak? Refresh my memory.”

Dinrak sighed patiently.

‘Initializing final system startup sequence,’ the voice in the back of the AH-57’s mind stated. Then, a digital readout began to flash against the back of the android’s eyes as his systems came online. ‘All systems nominal.’

The AH-57 blinked his optical units open and stared at the ceiling above him until his vision came into focus. He sat up slowly and swung his legs over the side of the cot that he was lying on. The unit automatically scanned the lifeforms with its eyes as it waited for its next authorization sequence.

“Now, what?” The one with the hazel eyes asked in a cross tone of voice.

The AH-57 frowned slightly.

‘We’re not getting off to a good start,’ the android thought sadly. ‘How do I get Lieutenant Roberts to trust me?’

“First,” Dinrak explained patiently. “I need you to enter your name and rank for authorization purposes.”

“Why me?” Getty grumbled under his breath. “Of all the people in the fucking universe, Admiral Tesik chose me for this job.”

“He has faith in you, Lieutenant Roberts.” Dinrak stated solemnly. “From what I’m told, you’re still a legend at the Academy.”

Getty Roberts frowned much to the AH-57’s confusion. He thought humans were supposed to be happy about receiving praise from a comrade.

‘I have much to learn if I am going to fit in,’ the unit told himself.

The young-looking pilot shook his head before he stood directly in front of the android. The AH-57 followed the pilot’s movement curiously.

“Prepare to receive authorization, android unit.” The lieutenant commanded.

“Prepared to receive authorization,” the AH-57 responded instantly as he connected to his virtual database of authentication codes. “Please, state your rank and name, followed by your service code.”

“Lieutenant Getty Roberts,” the pilot replied with the same frown on his face. “561-722-3401-96.”

“Authorization received, Lieutenant Roberts.” The AH-57 responded. “Would you like to set up user preferences, now?”

“Maybe later,” Getty replied before he turned his attention back to the alien to his right. “Is that all I’m needed for at the moment, Lieutenant Dinrak? I’m still having trouble adjusting to this.”

“I believe so, Captain.” Dinrak replied with a slight incline of his head. “I’ll send for you if I need your assistance, sir. AJ and I must work on interfacing the AH-57 with the Destiny, anyways.”

Getty nodded in acknowledgement before he took one last look at the android and left the medical bay.

The AH-57 sighed deeply as he watched Getty walk away.

-Prince Deegan Aurdyn – 13 – Destiny – 3.4.2127

The prince sat with his back against the wall and closed his eyes as he felt the rhythmic vibration of the ship against his skin. The boy placed the palms of his hands flat against the metal floor of the corridor and listened to the different sounds of the ship. The boy’s silver eyes suddenly shot open as he felt a wave of sadness and loss coming from somewhere near the rear of the ship. The boy climbed to his feet and dragged his fingertips along the wall as he went in search of the source of the emotional vibration.

Deegan could almost see the black-haired boy tumbling down the corridor in front of him as he traced the boy’s footsteps. He could feel the pain the child had felt and fought the urge to cry as the onslaught of sadness made the boy’s stomach turn in a knot.

The prince leaned against the wall until he was able to regain his balance. Then, he continued until he found the boy that called out for him, even if the boy didn’t know that he was doing it. Deegan would learn what made the boy sad. He turned left before he turned right, and then he turned left again before Deegan finally found the object of his search. Sitting at the end of the dead-end corridor, with his back against a wall and his face buried in his arms, was the black-haired boy that Deegan had sensed crying.

“Excuse me?” Deegan called out softly so he wouldn’t frighten the human-being. “Are you okay?”

The boy didn’t respond, which only confused the prince. He wasn’t used to people ignoring him when he spoke.

‘Maybe, he wants to be left alone?’ Deegan thought with a frown.

He began to turn away when he felt a wave of fear and loneliness wash over him. The prince turned back and froze when he saw the boy staring at him with tears running down his smooth cheeks. His blue eyes were puffy, but Deegan still found himself getting lost in the other boy’s gaze. Deegan didn’t realize he had been staring until the other boy started to blush.

“Forgive me,” Deegan began. He motioned towards the corridor behind him. “I was exploring the ship and I thought I heard somebody…”

Deegan trailed off as he realized that the boy was staring at him in confusion. Deegan’s silver eyes narrowed in concentration as he tried to figure out what he was doing wrong.

‘I know I’m using the proper language,’ the prince told himself before he tried a different tactic.

“I’m Prince Deegan of Pydrak,” Deegan introduced himself.

The boy still looked at him in confusion. Then, the boy wiped his nose on the back of his sleeve before pointing to his ear and shaking his head. The message was clear to Deegan. The upset boy in front of him was in fact not ignoring the prince. He was deaf. Deegan smiled softly and motioned towards the boy.

“Can I join you?”

The boy hesitated only briefly before he nodded. Deegan’s smile broadened as he hurried over to sit on the floor in front of the deaf boy. The boy squinted and leaned in closer to Deegan’s face before he sat back in surprise.

“What’s wrong?” Deegan asked as the boy looked at him curiously.

The boy pointed to Deegan then pointed to his own eyes. Deegan smiled and nodded.

“Silver is a blessed color where I come from,” Deegan explained slowly, not really sure if the boy could read his lips or not. “My father had silver eyes, too.”

Then, the boy began to move his hands and fingers rapidly in front of Deegan. The prince giggled as he realized the boy was speaking in a different language, but he had no idea what the dark-haired youth was saying. The prince reached out and grabbed the other boy’s hands and held them gently in his own.

“I don’t know that language,” Deegan said with a grin. “I’ll learn it, though. Just for you, my new friend.”

The boy blushed deeply, and Deegan smiled. Then, the boy’s happy grin returned to the sad frown as he glanced over Deegan’s shoulder. Deegan turned to see an older man with jet-black hair and deep blue eyes standing behind them. The man frowned briefly until he noticed the prince looking at him.

“Prince Deegan?” The man asked as he approached the two boys.

“May I help you, sir?” Deegan asked as he stood to face the approaching adult.

“I was just coming to find Mason, your Highness.” The man motioned to the boy behind the prince.

“We were just talking, sir.”

The man smiled but Deegan wasn’t finished spending time with his new friend. He wasn’t going to give up that easily.

“I’m not here to separate the two of you, Deegan.” The man smiled reassuringly. “I’m Mason’s father – Jackson Tesik. He left the cabin before I could see what was wrong with him, and I’ve been looking for him ever since.”

“My apologies, sir.” Deegan quickly stated as he bowed his head. “I misunderstood. Mason was clearly upset when I found him, and we just sort of started talking…”

Jackson reached out and squeezed Deegan’s shoulder affectionately. The prince’s eyes widened in surprise. Nobody beyond his immediate family or servants had ever touched him before. The odd part for Deegan, was the fact that he actually felt comfortable with the touch from the stranger.

“I haven’t seen Mason smile in weeks, Prince Deegan.” Jackson told the boy warmly. “If the both of you can become friends out of all of this, then I am more than willing to support the two of you spending time together.”

“Thank you, Mister Tesik.”

Then, Jackson turned to his son and kneeled in front of him. Mason’s mouth fell open in surprise as Jackson simply held his arms out towards the boy. Deegan had to wipe the tears from his own eyes as Mason fell into his father’s open arms with a yelp. Jackson stood and turned towards the prince with Mason still clutching tightly to him.

“I’m going to take him to his quarters, your Highness.” Jackson informed the boy. “I’m sure that he’ll need someone to be there for him when he calms down.”

Deegan smiled happily.

“I’ll do it,” the prince quickly agreed. “I need to run by Sir Chos’s room to let him know where I will be.”

“Sir Chos is actually in the passenger cabin discussing having a school aboard the Destiny during our trip.” Jackson said as he led them back down the different hallways that led to Mason’s room. The door slid open the moment they were outside.

“I’ll be right back, Mister Tesik.” Deegan stated before he promptly ran off towards the passenger cabin.

When Deegan returned, Jackson was sitting on the cot next to the window with Mason sitting beside him. Deegan watched as the father and son used the hand gestures to silently talk to each other. As the prince watched them, he began to get an idea in his head. He knew exactly how to fix the issue between himself and Mason.

Jackson thanked Deegan profusely for staying with Mason as he left to go check on the rest of his family. Deegan joined Mason on the cot, and just sat next to the boy as they stared out the window together. Deegan was lost in his own thoughts as he took occasional glances towards the blue-eyed boy. He wanted to connect his mind to the boy, but it always took a lot out of him whenever he used his telepathic abilities. Plus, there was the problem that they could be bonded forever if Deegan made even the slightest error. Only Pydrakians were able to break mind-bonds without causing a mental meltdown. Deegan’s tutor would lose his temper, but the prince knew with all of his heart that Mason was the reason his father had even placed him on the Destiny. Deegan knew what he had to do and closed his eyes for a moment.

‘Father, can you hear me?’ Deegan asked as he focused on the familiar bonds that tied him to the Emperor of Pydrak.

‘I can hear you, Deegan.’ The voice was faint, but the prince could hear his father if he focused. ‘Is something wrong, son? You’ve rarely ever used this form to reach out to me.’

‘Nothing is wrong, father.’ Deegan replied sheepishly, knowing that he was worrying his father for no reason other than his own selfish ones. ‘I have a question, father. It’s important to me.’

‘You know that I will always answer you truthfully, my son.’

Deegan smiled knowing his father had always been honest with him.

‘I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, father.’ Deegan began hesitantly. ‘But, is the deaf boy the reason I’m aboard the Destiny?’

He could almost hear the deep laugh of his father in their shared connection. The sound made Deegan smile.

‘It was Admiral Renly Tesik’s idea,’ Darnys told his son. ‘We both figured that you would find each other eventually. Neither of us expected it to be this quick, though.’

‘What do I do, father?’ Deegan asked nervously. ‘What if I make a mistake?’

‘You won’t, Deegan.’ Darnys reassured his son calmly. ‘You’ve never made a mistake in your trials.’

‘Those were against other Pydrakians, though…’

‘What’s the difference?’

‘They were able to break the connection when the trials were over,’ Deegan said softly. ‘Neither of us will ever be able to break the connection.’

‘Neither of you will want to, Deegan.’ Darnys stated. ‘Trust me. Everything else is the same as you were taught.’

‘Thank you, father.’ Deegan said after a moment of consideration. ‘I’ll let you know how it goes.’

‘I look forward to it, Deegan.’ The man said truthfully. ‘I’ll inform the appropriate parties.’

Deegan opened his eyes and was surprised to see Mason staring at him in concern.

‘Are you, okay?’ Mason mouthed silently. His dark eyebrows were furrowed over his blue eyes as he watched Deegan closely.

Deegan chuckled and smiled before he motioned for the boy to sit facing him. They both crossed their legs and faced each other with shy smiles on their faces.

‘What’s wrong?’ Mason mouthed.

“Nothing,” the prince replied. “Anymore, at least.”

Mason only looked even more confused.

“There’s something that I want to do with you, Mason.” Deegan began nervously. Mason’s expression changed from confusion to apprehension. “It’s something that my species can do.”

Mason motioned for Deegan to continue.

“Well,” the white-haired boy sighed deeply. “We can connect with other people through our minds, Mason.”

Mason seemed thoughtful before he moved his right hand like it was a mouth talking. Then, the boy pointed to Deegan’s head before he pointed to his own.

“Yes!” Deegan said happily that his new friend was grasping the concept of what he was about to explain. It would only make it easier for the younger boy if Mason had some experience with mind powers. “Exactly!”

Mason smiled happily.

“It’s more than just our thoughts though, Mason.” Deegan went on to explain. “It connects us emotionally, as well.”

The blue-eyed boy frowned and pointed at each of their chests. Deegan nodded.

“There’s something else, though.” The prince frowned before he continued. “The bond can only ever be broken if it is formed between two of my kind. If we were to break our bond, we would both lose our minds.”

Mason’s eyes went wide in shock.

“I know,” Deegan said with a shrug of his shoulders. “We would be able to talk to each other anywhere, though. It wouldn’t matter if we were on the opposite side of the galaxy from each other, we’d still be able to sense each other.”

‘How do you break the bond?’ Mason mouthed the question.

Deegan smiled as he watched the boy’s pink lips, and heard the light popping sound he made on the last word.

“It’s a lot more complicated to explain, Mason.” Deegan tried to say. “The easiest way to break the bond without being one of us, is by dying. Needless to say, you don’t want to do that.”

Mason frowned and nodded. Deegan watched as the boy’s gaze turned towards the window for a moment. He knew that Mason was considering the implications of bonding with him. It wasn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Deegan wouldn’t have even considered the idea if he didn’t already feel connected to Mason. Mason’s cries had vibrated the entire ship and called for Deegan. The prince had never felt that type of sensation before.

‘What else could it mean?’ Deegan asked himself. ‘Even my father thinks it will be a good idea.’

Deegan looked at Mason again and smiled.

‘It’s worth the risk if it means that I get to spend the remainder of my life with him,’ the prince thought as his smile broadened. He blushed when Mason suddenly turned his head and caught the younger boy staring.

“Sorry,” Deegan apologized.

Mason smiled and took each of Deegan’s hands in his own. Then, the fourteen-year-old nodded and touched Deegan’s temple with his finger before touching his own temple. Deegan felt his heart begin to race. He motioned for Mason to relax and close his eyes before he did the same and took Mason’s hands firmly in his own.

Deegan pushed out the tendrils of thought and let them drift across the bridge he had made by holding Mason’s hands. The prince heard the boy take in a sharp breath of air, and his hands jerked making Deegan grateful that he had learned to hold on tightly to someone. Breaking the connection during the initial bond could break a person down to complete madness. Sir Tywin had made it a point to introduce Deegan to multiple people that had lost control during the connection and lost their sanity as a result. The young prince had immediately made a vow to maintain as strong of a connection as he could. Deegan didn’t want to become like the men he had met during training.

Then, Deegan felt his own mind begin to push into Mason’s mind. He felt Mason jerk again, as the information began to flow freely between them. Deegan and Mason could both see the beauty in each other’s species as their minds embraced each other affectionately like old mates finally being reunited after centuries of being apart.

-Eddin Tesik – 15 – Destiny – 3.4.2127

“Come on, Wade!” Eddin begged as he followed his older brother back towards the training deck.

“Leave me be, Eddin.” The twenty-four-year-old replied gruffly. “I have training to get done, and I don’t need you to be in the way.”

“I just want to watch, Wade.” Eddin whined.

“Why don’t you go hang out with our cousins?”

“Because,” Eddin said softly. “They’re all mad at me after I made Mason cry.”

“Apologize to Mason, then.” Wade suggested with a scowl. “Why did you make Mason cry?”

“Great, not you too?”


Eddin sighed impatiently before he finally spoke up.

“Mason wouldn’t stop following me around and telling me about the stupid stars he heard in his dreams,” Eddin said with a roll of his eyes.

“Wait,” Wade stopped in his tracks and put his hand on Eddin’s shoulder. “You made fun of your cousin, your deaf cousin, because he was excited about a dream he had about the stars?”

“You make it sound stupid, Wade.” Eddin pouted.

“Seems pretty stupid to me,” Wade said with a scowl. “Don’t bother speaking to me again until you manage to pull your head out of your ass and apologize to our cousin. Mason fucking looks up to you, Eddin. You’re lucky that I don’t take you into the training deck and use you as a target dummy.”

“You wouldn’t do that,” Eddin said doubtfully as his face paled.

“Don’t underestimate my temper, little brother.” Wade said as he turned and started to walk away. “Apologize to Mason, or get used to being an outcast, Eddin.”

Eddin watched his brother walk away in disbelief. He pouted momentarily before he finally turned and stormed off towards his cabin. He wasn’t going to apologize to Mason. He shouldn’t have to. Mason should just leave him alone.

-Admiral Renly Tesik – 68 – Earth Star Port 1.1 – 3.5.2127

The gray-haired man sat down behind his desk and powered up his computer. While he waited for the system to initialize, Admiral Tesik noticed the yellow light flashing on his comm-unit. The older man reached out and hit play before he pulled out a notepad to record any numbers.

“Renly, it’s Admiral Thomas.” Renly frowned as he heard the Exploration Admiral’s voice echo in his office. Renly loathed the younger man and couldn’t wait until he reached enough credits to retire. “I was wondering if I could run a new bill by you before I propose it to the committee. I’d really appreciate your help in this matter, Admiral Tesik. Please, get back to me as soon as you can.”

“Delete message,” Renly interrupted the unit.

‘Message deleted,’ the voice on the machine replied. ‘Next message.’

“Admiral Tesik, it’s Getty Roberts.” The young voice stated calmly. “It’s not an emergency, or anything like that, but could you get ahold of me, please? Thanks.”

“Delete message,” The admiral called out.

‘Message deleted,’ the voice stated. ‘Final message.’

“Admiral Tesik,” Renly’s heart skipped a beat at the sound of the Emperor’s voice. “I just wanted to notify you that the package has been delivered, and our plan is coming together perfectly. The two have already found each other, and the bond is going to be made.”

“Delete message,” Renly stated.

‘Message deleted,’ the voice replied. ‘That was your last message.’

The admiral turned his attention to the computer as he prepared to check his schedule for the day. He knew exactly what Getty wanted to discuss with him. The boy didn’t want an android as a co-pilot.

‘He’s just going to have to get used to it, though.’ Renly thought grimly. ‘I didn’t have a choice in the matter.’

Instead, the admiral decided to call Emperor Darnys.

“Computer, call Emperor Darnys, priority-3.”

‘Standby for connection to be made,’ a soft feminine voice replied from around the room. ‘Door is sound-proofed.’

The comm-unit beeped twice before the holo-unit flickered to life, and a small image of the smiling emperor appeared on Renly’s desk.

“Good morning, Admiral.” The emperor greeted him pleasantly. “I take it that you received my message?”

“Good morning, Emperor.” Renly replied warmly. “I did, indeed. Are you certain that the prince is going to be able to make the bond?”

“He already has,” Emperor Darnys said with a smile.

“Do you know how Mason handled it?” Renly asked nervously.

“Chos told me that he found both of the boy’s sleeping peacefully together, Admiral.” Darnys reassured his friend. “Mason and Deegan are both going to be fine.”

“Good,” Renly said with a nod. “Now, how do we fix your Empire?”

-Mason Tesik – 14 – Destiny – 3.5.2127

Mason groaned in pain as he climbed out of his cot. The boy was certain that he wasn’t going to be able to stand up straight by the time their journey came to an end. He wondered if he could ask AJ or the pilot about it but decided that they had more important things to do. Instead, Mason slipped into the wash closet that he shared with his younger brother and turned on the shower. He stood under the streams of hot water and reached up to turn the shower to massage. Mason sighed happily as the pulsing water jets worked the stiffness out of his neck and back. As he stood there, Mason let his thoughts drift to the silver-eyed prince that had spoken into his mind the day before. He could have sworn that Deegan was here when he had fallen asleep, but after his strange dreams, the boy wasn’t certain of anything at the moment. In the back of his mind, he could feel a happiness that seemed to permeate throughout his mind the longer he stood there. Beneath the happiness, he felt as though he was curious, the more he probed that feeling, the deaf boy realized that the curiosity was directed back at himself. He felt the happiness surge slightly when he discovered the reason for the curiosity about himself. In his mind, he suddenly felt like he was one of the most interesting people on the ship. Even his admiration of the android seemed to be dull compared to his sudden self-idolization.

‘Where did that come from?’ Mason asked himself as he shook his head to clear his thoughts.

Mason saw the image of himself in his mind, but he knew what it needed to be replaced with. He pictured the silvereyes and added the thin pink lips of his new friend. Deegan’s youthful face was smooth of any blemishes, except a tiny white scar beneath his left eye; a scar you couldn’t even see unless you were looking directly at the prince. That was something few people got to do, and Mason was one of those few. Mason smiled to himself as the long-white hair of his friend cascaded over the younger boy’s shoulders as they sat next to each other on his own cot. His stomach felt like it was turning itself into knots as he thought more and more about Deegan. Mason couldn’t help it, he wanted to touch the prince as much as he could. He didn’t think that would happen, though. All they had done was hold each other’s hands the night before. Mason would never get lucky enough to feel those lips pressed against his own. No matter how bad he wanted it. No matter how much he felt like he needed to feel that sensation.

Once Mason felt as relaxed as he was sure he was going to get, the boy got out of the shower and pulled on his clothes for the day. He wore the usual gray flight suit that his grandfather had given him and double checked his appearance before he left his room. Mason’s grandfather had always instructed Mason to take pride in his appearance. More people would show him respect if he did. Once Mason was certain that he was presentable, the boy grabbed his notepad and made his way to the door. Mason jumped in surprise when he found Prince Deegan standing with his back against the opposite wall. The silver-eyed boy had shared a connection with Mason the day before, and he wondered if the strange boy was going to connect their minds again.

‘Our minds are going to be connected forever, Mason.’ The boy’s eyes went wide in shock as he realized what he had heard. Then, he heard the prince’s musical chuckle echo in his mind. ‘I did my best to ignore those thoughts, Mason. I am flattered, though.’

Mason blushed profusely. The fourteen-year-old didn’t realize that their connection was going to be that close. It did explain the strange dreams he had of a world he had only been to once, though.

‘I’m sorry,’ Deegan apologized. ‘I should have explained it better. My father is always getting on me about my delivery.’

Mason blushed again as the young prince rambled on. Mason had always imagined what a person’s voice sounded like. He had never expected someone to sound so musical when they spoke.

‘Maybe, it has to do with Deegan’s thoughts being sent straight to my mind.’ Mason thought before he realized that Deegan could hear him, as well. Mason blushed again.

Deegan stepped forward and lightly touched the older boy’s chin with his fingertips, making Mason meet his gaze. Deegan smiled and lightly stroked Mason’s cheek with his thumb.

‘Would you like to spend the day with me, Mason Tesik?’ Deegan asked his new friend.

Mason nodded excitedly.

‘Yes!’ The boy replied as he fought the urge to hug the younger boy.

Prince Deegan smiled to Mason’s surprise and hugged him tightly, instead. Mason sighed happily.

‘You can hug me whenever you want, Mason Tesik.’ The prince said softly.

‘Thank you,’ Mason said contentedly.

‘Let’s go explore the ship,’ Deegan suggested after the two boys embraced each other for several minutes.

Mason stepped back and nodded. He realized that he would do whatever it took to spend more time with the Prince of Pydrak. His entire being seemed to yearn to be near his white-haired friend.

‘You’ll figure out the true meaning of this bond once you’re able to meet my Tutor, Mason.’ Deegan said as he slipped his hand into Mason’s. ‘Let’s go get you something to eat from the mess hall. I can feel your hunger.’

Mason blushed and smiled.

‘I’m starving.’

‘Me too,’ Deegan said with a grin. ‘Especially, now. Sir Chos is going to enjoy meeting you, Mason. You project every thought and feeling. I’ve been trying to think of a way to get back at him for keeping secrets from me.’

Mason grinned.

‘How is that payback?’

‘Sir Chos is a natural telepath, Mason.’ Deegan explained with a smug grin. ‘He has no control over it, either. The way you broadcast everything is going to give him a headache that will take him days to get over.’

-Lieutenant Dinrak Soren – 23/14 – Destiny – 3.5.2127

“Do you know why Lieutenant Roberts dislikes me, Commander Soren?”

The Fandrian was surprised by the android’s question. He had forgotten that the AH-57s had all been programmed to learn and experience biological emotions. He glanced over to see the android’s blue eyes focused on him.

“It’s not you personally,” Dinrak replied. “He has a history that only he can share.”

The AH-57 nodded seemingly in acceptance of this answer before he asked another question.

“Do you think there is a way for me to earn his trust?”

Dinrak thought carefully about the android’s question before he smiled sympathetically at the creation.

“I don’t know, honestly.” Dinrak said. “I’ve been trying to make him see the benefit of a crewman who is an android, but it’s not helping. He throws my own mistrust of humans back into my face every time.”

“I see,” the AH-57 said as it turned back to its workstation. Dinrak had given it the task of sorting through the ship’s Star Catalog to see if the galactic drifts had been accounted for in each equation. It would be a few hours before he was finished with the task, but it was better than the Fandrian having to do the task. It would take an organic lifeform several weeks to go through all of the files within the catalog. “Does he know why you mistrust his species?”

“No,” Dinrak said in a shaky voice. “He does not.”

“Would it be beneficial to your own emotional well-being if you told him?” AH-57 asked curiously.

“It might,” Dinrak replied. He reached up and ran his hand through his dark blue hair as he chuckled. “Well then, I think I have some meditation I need to do before I go see our Captain.”

The AH-57 nodded briefly.

“Good luck, Commander Soren.”

Dinrak was surprised by the sincerity in the android’s statement before he turned leave for his cabin. He would need to figure out a way to handle facing the memories of that terrible night before he went to find Getty.

-Lieutenant Getty Roberts – 16 – Destiny – 3.5.2127

Getty monitored the controls as the Destiny slipped through the depths of space, moving faster than the speed of light. He studied the coordinates against his Star Catalog but couldn’t find anything that matched them. As far as the young Lieutenant could tell, the Admiral’s coordinates were taking them to the middle of nowhere.

The pilot sighed and relaxed back in his seat. It was almost time for AH-57 to come relieve him from watch, and Getty couldn’t wait to get away from the bridge for a few hours. He had been up late the night before with flashbacks from the death of his parents. Their deaths caused by androids that had been hit with an EMP and had their entire programming erased. The android that had been operating the shuttle of Getty’s parents crashed into the side of a building, killing both of his parents instantly. Getty couldn’t stand being around any android from that moment on. His entire life had been taken away from him when he was only twelve years old. Getty’s family home was sold, and Getty was put into foster care until he was old enough to join the Association of Colonization and Exploration at the age of fourteen. That was when Getty learned that he was born to fly.

From the moment the young man entered the Academy, he spent his life striving to do his best. He rose to the top of his class within his first month of training and was never surpassed by another student. Getty never bragged about his success, or tried to hold himself aloof of his class, though. Instead, he helped those that were struggling to advance themselves; something that all of Getty’s instructors noticed from the beginning. Lieutenant Roberts had just received his command of the Destiny two months prior on his sixteenth birthday. A day that he would never forget as long as he lived.

Getty remembered the first time he heard the loud clunk of the docking clamps as they released from the side of the Destiny, and how the ship itself dropped slightly away from the dry dock before the maneuvering thrusters powered up and leveled the ship back out. The teenager remembered the smile on his face once AJ had announced that they were clear of the dry dock. Then, the tower had given them clearance to begin their shakedown run. Together, the two young men set off into the great beyond on a mission that would bring them together as friends.

Lieutenant Roberts had requested a few extra crew members to help him and AJ out, but Admiral Tesik had repeatedly denied the request. Renly Tesik would always tell Getty that he had different plans for Getty and the Destiny would be given to someone else.

‘I guess he really does have other plans for me,’ Getty said with a chuckle before he turned his attention back to how he was going to get over his mistrust of androids. Could he really continue to hold a grudge against the AH-57 just because it was a creation? ‘No. I can’t.’

There was a knock at the cabin door that broke Getty from his own thoughts.

“Enter!” The pilot called out.

He turned to see Commander Soren standing behind the door when it opened. The blue-haired man that looked like a boy stepped onto the bridge and bowed deeply to Getty before he motioned to the empty co-pilot seat.

“May I, Captain?” Dinrak asked politely.

“Of course, Commander.” Lieutenant Roberts said once he got over the shock that someone was actually visiting him aboard the bridge. “What brings you up here, sir?”

“Aboard your ship, you out rank me, Captain.” Dinrak said with a slight incline of his head.

“Then, aboard my ship, we can address each other as friends, if you don’t mind?” Getty suggested hesitantly.

Dinrak smiled nervously.

“My people call me ‘Dinrak’.” The Fandrian said politely.

“My name is Getty,” the pilot said with a grin. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dinrak. I’ve never gotten to meet a Fandrian before.”

“There are not many of us remaining after the Great War, unfortunately.” Dinrak said sadly. “The Fleet of Nations did not understand my people, and they set out to wipe us from the galaxy.”

“You don’t have to tell me this, Dinrak.” Getty said softly.

“I’m afraid that I do, Getty.” Dinrak said. His green eyes gazed at Getty, and the pilot could see the fear behind the stare. Dinrak was afraid of him. “Sixteen years ago, the Righteous Ones, a group of humans that had been given the gift of space travel by the Tyrakians, joined the Fleet of Nations when it came time to attack my home world.”

Getty let out a small gasp of realization as he listened to Dinrak’s story. Dinrak smiled patiently.

“It was a squad of humans that killed my family in front of me, Getty.” The Fandrian said softly. “Since then, I have never trusted another human-being.”

“I’m sorry that you had to go through that,” Getty said sympathetically.

Dinrak nodded once in acceptance of the comment before he continued.

“My beliefs have recently been changed thanks to someone we both know, though.” The blue-haired man said calmly.

“Who is that, Dinrak?” Getty asked nervously.

“I don’t know,” the alien said with a smug grin. “You haven’t given him a name yet.”

“That’ll make him ‘mine’, though.” Getty whispered.

“He already is ‘yours’, Getty.” Dinrak stated before he decided to take a different approach. “Does it help for you to know that he’s part human?”

“What?” Getty asked in shock. “What do you mean? How do you know this, Dinrak?”

“I was part of the initial design crew for the AH Model production line,” Dinrak said calmly. “I know almost everything about them.”

“Almost everything?” Getty asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Almost,” Dinrak said with a brief wink.

“What can you tell me about him?”

-Mason Tesik – 14 – Destiny – 3.5.2127

Mason Tesik and Prince Deegan sat across from each other in the Mess Hall as they both tried to eat their lunches without laughing too much. The meals that the generator had made were passable, but both boys yearned for the taste of real food again. They both hoped the Destiny would be stopping by an Outpost soon for supplies.

‘I’ll buy all of the fruit they have,’ Deegan said with a grin.

‘Only if I can help you eat it!’ Mason chided the younger boy.

‘There’s nobody else I’d rather share with,’ Deegan said, making Mason blush in embarrassment.

“I trust you have a valid reason for missing your lesson this morning, my Prince?”

Mason looked up at the tall man in awe. His green eyes flickered with amusement, and he smiled at Mason with a brief nod of his head. Mason’s jaw fell open when the man flicked his fingers in front of the deaf boy.

‘Did you sleep well, Mason?’ The man asked with his hands.

All Mason could do was smile and nod as the man smiled at him.

“My apologies, Sir Chos.” Deegan said as Mason continued to stare up at the tall man. His blonde hair wasn’t nearly as long as Deegan’s hair, but it still reached the middle of his back where there was a gold ribbon tied into the end of it. “I had to stop and check on Mason here, and I got distracted. It won’t happen again.”

Mason was surprised that he could hear Deegan’s voice in his mind, even though the boy was speaking out loud with his Tutor.

“Good,” Chos said with a slight bow of his head. Then, the man turned his attention back to Mason and smiled. ‘You are a beautiful soul, young Mason. I trust that you will want to start attending classes with my prince?’

Mason nodded emphatically. That was something he wanted more than anything. He would spend every second with the silver-eyed boy if he could.

‘That’s the Bond working, Mason.’ Chos replied to the unspoken thought making Mason’s eyes go wide in disbelief.

‘I told you he was telepathic,’ Deegan’s words slipped into Mason’s mind, and the boy blushed as he remembered the prince telling him.

Mason tried to imagine what it was like to be able to hear everyone’s thoughts, but the boy dismissed the idea when he realized he would settle for just hearing sound.

‘It could be possible if you practiced enough, Mason.’ Chos said with a few more flicks of his fingers. ‘I’ll start your training when you both come to class tomorrow.’

Mason nodded happily again. His mind exploded with different ideas of what people sounded like. Then, he began to wonder if everyone’s voice sounded the same or not. He doubted it since everybody looked different. It wouldn’t make any sense for everyone to sound the same, too. Mason glanced up and realized that Deegan was smiling broadly as Chos rubbed his fingers against his temples.

‘Never mind,’ Chos said with a flick of his fingers. Mason felt his happiness fade away quickly as he noticed the grimace on Chos’s face. ‘You’re going to start training today. Be in my room at 1500. That should give me time to get rid of this headache…’

Deegan and Mason smiled at each other as the Tutor walked away still rubbing his temples. Mason began talking excitedly with his hands until Deegan calmly reached over and grabbed them.

“Sir Chos still has a few things to teach me, Mason.” Deegan said with a grin, making Mason blush profusely. Then, Deegan reached out and touched Mason’s cheek as his voice slipped into Mason’s mind. ‘Just think the words, Mason. I’ll always hear you.’

Mason smiled.

‘I’m really happy,’ Mason said with his thoughts as he began to blush. ‘I’ve never been this happy before.’

‘Feeling your happiness, makes me happy.’ Deegan said with a smile as he gently squeezed Mason’s hand. ‘Come on. Let’s go explore the ship before our class starts.’

Mason felt a surge of happiness flow through his mind as he squeezed Deegan’s hand back.

-AH-57 – 16 – Destiny – 3.5.2127

The AH-57 glanced up for a moment when Commander Dinrak entered the small lab, but quickly returned to the display in front of him.

“I have almost finished with the Galactic Drift equations, Commander.”

“Thank you, AH-57.” Dinrak said with a nod. “What time is your watch aboard the Bridge?”

“1400, sir.”

Dinrak nodded again.

“Do you need to rest?”

“No, Commander.” The android replied without looking away from the screen. “My power reserves are currently at sixty-five percent. I will only need to charge once my cells drop below twenty-percent.”

Dinrak nodded again.

“All systems are still nominal?”

“Aye, Commander.” The AH-57 said. “All of my personal operating systems are operating at full capacity with no errors. The Star Catalog was a good choice for me to use while double checking my systems. A logical use of time.”

“Good,” Dinrak said in affirmation. “Once you are done with the Star Catalog, you are more than welcome to go get some rest before you report for watch.”

“Thank you, Commander.” AH-57 said. “That shouldn’t be necessary though. I will only be on watch until 2000. When Sergeant Miller relieves me, I will rest then.”

Dinrak chuckled lightly. Both men were surprised when there was a knock on the lab door, and when it slid open; Getty stepped inside with a nervous look on his face. Sensing the young man’s apprehension, the android did the only thing he could think of to make the pilot feel more comfortable.

“I will leave you alone so you may talk with the Commander, Captain Roberts.” AH-57 said as he stood from his station.

“That won’t be necessary, AH-57.” Getty said softly. “I’m here to speak with you.”

“I should go check…” Dinrak started but Getty interrupted him.

“No, Dinrak.” Getty stated. “You should stay for this. It’s important.”

Then, Getty turned his attention back to the android and smiled nervously.

“First, I need to apologize to you…” Getty hesitated when he realized he had not given the android a name yet. He hadn’t even bothered to think of any possibilities. “I let my own opinions and past experiences get in the way of actually giving you the chance you deserved.”

The android frowned.

“You do not need to apologize to me, Captain.” AH-57 stated calmly. “I am but a machi…”

“Wrong,” Getty said. “I’ve learned that you’re not just a machine. Also, I’ve figured out what your name should be.”

The android nodded once.

“From this moment on, you will be known as Andrew Harper, crew member of the Destiny Transport Ship.” Getty said with a nervous grin.

“Thank you, Captain Roberts.” Andrew said as the name seemed to spark a few memories for him. “I hope that I will exceed your expectations.”

Getty nodded in acknowledgement of the statement.

“All I ask, Andrew, is that you give me time to adjust to this new situation.” The pilot said humbly. “My parents died when an EMP shorted out the androids that were flying their shuttle, and they crashed killing everyone aboard.”

“Your mistrust is understandable, Captain.” Andrew said calmly. “I will do my best to keep your fears about me at bay.”

“Thank you, Andrew.” Getty said with a slight bow of his head. “I’ll see you at 1400.”

With that, the pilot left to return to the bridge leaving a stunned Andrew staring at the spot the man had just been standing in.

“Congratulations, Andrew.” Dinrak said with a smile. “The name fits you well.”

Andrew smiled, but he still couldn’t help but feel like the name was bringing up strange memories of his past. Memories from when he was human.


“Yes, Andrew?”

“Do you mind if I take that personal time before I report for watch?” Andrew asked.

“Of course, Andrew.” Dinrak said with a smile. “Rest well, friend.”

“Thank you, Commander.” Andrew said before he left the lab in search of solitude.

-Admiral Renly Tesik – 68 – Earth Star Port 1.1 – 3.5.2127

Admiral Tesik sighed wearily as he powered down his computer for the day. He was just in the process of packing up his briefcase when his comm-unit began to chirp with an incoming call. The gray-haired man thought twice about taking the call, but decided it was better to get it taken care of while he was still at the office.

“This is Admiral Tesik,” he stated as he settled back into his seat.

“Good evening, Admiral Tesik.” Renly fought the urge to groan as he heard the voice of the other person. “It’s Admiral Thomas. Sorry for calling you back so late, sir.”

“Apology accepted,” Renly stated. “What can I help you with, Edward?”

“I was wondering if I could discuss a few details of Operation Discovery with you for a minute, Renly?”

Tesik appreciated the fact that younger man sought after his opinion, he just wished Edward Thomas had better timing.

“You do know that I won’t have anything to do with the operation, don’t you?” Renly asked. “I won’t even be in the service by the time the operation begins.”

“I didn’t know that you were retiring, Admiral Tesik.” Edward told him honestly.

Renly shrugged.

“I’ve tried keeping it a secret, but it’s started to come out in the news, recently.”

“Fucking reporters,” Edward said with a chuckle before his mood sobered. “The operation has already entered the planning process, Renly.”

Renly’s gray eyebrows shot up in surprise.

“I didn’t know that.”

“Our goal is to launch in June,” the younger admiral admitted.

“Well then,” Renly said as he leaned forward in his chair and rested his elbows on the desk in front of him. “That changes everything, Admiral Thomas. Let me hear what you’re struggling with. I’ll help if I can.”

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