-Lieutenant Renly Tesik – 22 – Washington DC – 6.7.2081
Renly Tesik was twenty-two when he finally graduated from the Masters’ Training Program within the Earth Alliance; the united government of Earth that was put in place to keep the future of humanity from being eradicated by alien invasions or nuclear war. While Renly did not have the top honors of his graduating class, he did manage to gain the third place out of nearly six-hundred graduates with his knowledge of weapons engineering and his ability of being able to see through to the cause of any problem and being able to find out the best solution to the situation. Even though Renly had already been enlisted with the military of Earth, his superior officers thought it would be beneficial to the rising star if he continued his training. His father, Admiral Ryker Tesik of the Intelligence Division, was one of the guest speakers at Renly’s graduation; and had made it a point to tell everyone how proud he was of the young man that Renly was becoming.
“You’ve done well, Renly.” Ryker told the man as they walked together down one of the empty corridors of the Alliance Academy. “Your mother would have been proud.”
“Thanks, dad.” Renly said with a hint of sadness in his voice.
“You still mourn her passing?” Ryker asked in surprise.
Renly could only nod as they continued together.
“It took me a long time to get over the death of your mother, too, son.” Ryker said softly. “I still think about her on a regular basis.”
“I feel like it was my fault, father.” Renly finally admitted, making Ryker stop in his tracks and look at his son in disbelief. Renly couldn’t bring himself to meet his father’s gaze.
“Even after ten years, Renly?”
“Yes, sir.” Renly was desperately trying to keep the emotion from showing in his voice as he thought about the fateful day that his mother had died. He didn’t blame the doctors for not being able to save his mother’s life, nor did he blame the man that had shot her. No. Renly blamed himself, even though he was only twelve when it happened. Renly had gone with his mother to the local trading post to buy more supplies when a man pulled a gun on the brown-haired woman that stood behind the counter. Renly’s mother was trying to diffuse the situation until the man turned the gun on her. Renly watched in disbelief as the man screamed at her to shut up. Twelve-year-old Renly screamed in disbelief when he heard the sharp pop of the gun, and his mother fell to the ground a moment later. Renly remembered running to her side and holding her head in his lap as she slowly bled out on the floor of the trading post.
“What could you have even done, Renly?” Ryker asked solemnly. “You were only twelve when it happened.”
“I don’t know,” Renly said sadly. “I just feel like I should have tried something.”
Ryker smiled and patted Renly’s shoulder.
“You carried on, Renly.” Ryker said seriously before he pulled his son into a tight embrace. “That’s all your mother wanted from both of us. So, I devoted my life to my career and to making sure that you were set to excel at everything that you did. All I really had to do was enroll you in the private school and you just ran with it.”
Renly couldn’t help but smile at his father’s words.
“Do you really think mom’s proud of me?”
“She’s prouder of you than I am, Renly.” The man said as he hugged his son again.
-Lieutenant Getty Roberts – 16 – Destiny – 3.9.2127
Getty teetered as he barely managed to navigate his way down the narrow corridor. Everyone aboard the Destiny had been affected by the worm hole. The young pilot was one of the lucky ones, though. He had only contracted one of the minor forms of hibernation sickness; only resulting in a migraine and nausea. The Prince of Pydrak had bounced back surprisingly quick in Getty’s opinion. He had always thought that telepaths were affected worse than normal people by the sickness brought on by deep sleep. It normally happened only on small scales, so Getty was baffled as to why everyone aboard the Destiny had been affected.
The pilot stopped and braced his hand against the wall for a moment as a dizzy spell came over him. The young man shut his eyes as he waited for the spell to pass before he pushed forward.
“Some coffee should help me shake this off,” the pilot grumbled to himself as he stumbled on down the hallway.
Prince Deegan met the ship’s captain at the door to the dining hall where the young boy quickly slipped himself under Getty’s arm, and helped the older teen to a nearby table. Once Deegan was certain that Getty was situated, the boy disappeared into the kitchen for a minute before he returned with a steaming mug of coffee, and a small plate of toast.
“Thank you, your Highness.” Getty said politely. He still wasn’t used to having so many high priority passengers aboard his ship. The majority of his transport runs had been colony resupply missions and package delivery. Passengers of this nature were completely out of his comfort zone.
“It’s Deegan,” the boy said with a grin. His silver eyes seemed to be hiding something as Getty looked at him.
“Fine,” Getty said with a tired grin. “Thank you, Deegan. I really needed this.” The pilot took a sip of the coffee and sighed with delight. “Perfect.”
“I’m glad you like it, Captain Roberts.” Deegan said. “It was my mother’s recipe.”
“It’s very delicious,” Getty complimented the boy. “Also, if I am supposed to call you Deegan, then I would like for you to address me as Getty. Deal?”
“Deal,” Deegan agreed.
“Now, Deegan,” Getty made sure to stress the use of the boy’s name as he smiled at him. “What’s bothering you so much?”
The Pydrakian frowned at Getty’s comment.
“You shouldn’t have been able to tell something was bothering me,” he said simply. “Chos is going to make me train extra this week when he finds out.”
“My aunt was a telepath,” Getty explained with a grin. “So was my mother. While I may not be a full-blooded telepath, I am able to read people pretty easily. It’s your eyes, by the way. Your façade of happiness isn’t reaching them.”
Deegan looked shocked by Getty’s comment before the boy grinned.
“That explains why I’ve been getting a feeling from you,” the white-haired boy stated.
“It doesn’t explain what’s bothering you, though.” Getty interrupted the boy.
“Mason and Eddin haven’t woken up yet, Getty.” Deegan whispered as his gaze fell to the table in front of them. “I’m worried because I can’t feel anything coming from Mason, either.”
“Oh,” Getty said. “I see. They’re not the only ones still asleep, Deegan.”
“I know,” Degan replied. “That’s why I’ve been trying to keep it from you and Jackson. You both have enough to worry about. Jackson is hovering over Fyn and Cort whenever he isn’t checking on Mason and Eddin.”
“He’s a very dedicated uncle and father.”
“He is,” Deegan agreed. “I feel like he’s overdoing it, though.”
“Ha!” Getty stated with a snort. “You’re one to talk, Deegan. I’ve been watching you try to help take care of everybody else, but you haven’t even stopped to handle your own mental stress. Don’t you think you should take a nap?”
“I’m too worried about the others to sleep,” the prince admitted. “I mean, out of twelve people, only three of us are able to wake up? Plus, you look like you’re going to fall over at any minute, and Colonel Tesik has darker circles under his eyes than you do.” The boy’s eyes narrowed. “Even if the Destiny wasn’t properly equipped to handle the wormhole, it shouldn’t have caused this much damage. We haven’t even been able to wake Andrew up, so we don’t know what happened.”
“What are you saying, Deegan?”
“Wasn’t it you who said we were attacked once before?” The prince asked.
“Yes,” Getty replied with a thoughtful nod. “So, you’re thinking that we were attacked again?”
“I really need to get ahold of the Admiral.” Getty stated absently. “I know the coms are working, because the messages are transmitting, but he’s not responding.”
“When did this start?”
“I noticed it when I first awoke, Deegan.” The pilot said as the boy’s silver eyes went wide in shock. “What is it?”
“My father warned me that if Renly ever went more than an hour or two without answering, that we were supposed to get ahold of him instead,” Prince Deegan explained.
“We need to get in contact with Emperor Darnys, then,” Getty agreed. “Can you try to get in touch with your father while I start checking the Destiny’s system logs?”
“Aye, captain.” Deegan replied as he saluted the pilot and smiled cheekily.
Getty laughed and shook his head.
“Let’s get started, then.”
-Lieutenant Colonel Renly Tesik – 27 – Washington DC – 12.25.2086
Renly sat in the waiting room of the hospital as he sipped on his coffee and nervously waited on word from his father’s doctor. The man was heartbroken and scared as to what the future held for the Tesik Family if their Patriarch passed. Ryker Tesik had led the family out of the ashes that the former Patriarch had left the family in when he had died. Ryan Tesik had let himself be bought by one of the mafia families of Earth, and the Tesik Family had suffered considerably. Especially, when it became Ryker’s job to correct his father’s mistakes. At first, the man had found the task daunting, but he soon prevailed and raised the family to one of the most respected within the entire Earth Alliance. If Ryker passed away, the helm of the family would fall to Renly, and it would be up to the young man to carry the family name into the future.
‘I’ll make you proud, father!’ He silently declared as several tears fell down his cheeks. ‘We’ll be one of the most respected families within the entire galaxy by the time that I’m done!’
The Lieutenant Colonel glanced up when he heard the door to the Waiting Room creak open and saw the Doctor glancing at a clipboard with a somber expression on his face.
“Lieutenant Colonel Tesik?” The Doctor asked as he approached the Alliance Officer.
Renly could only nod silently as he stood from his seat and shook the hand that the doctor offered.
“My name is Doctor Connor,” the man introduced himself. “I’m the physician that’s been treating your father’s cancer for the past year. It’s been very aggressive, unfortunately, Colonel Tesik. I’ve done everything I can to treat your father’s cancer, but it’s been resistant to all of our treatment techniques, sir. I’m afraid that he doesn’t have much time remaining.”
Renly nodded as he continued to listen to the older man.
“Your father has a few words to say to you, sir.”
Renly nodded again and followed the Doctor back through the doors into the Intensive Care wing of the hospital. The sight of his father, the great Admiral Ryker Tesik, hooked up to all kinds of machines took Renly’s breath away and made a lump form in the younger man’s throat as he looked at the man that had been his hero.
“It’s worse than it looks,” Ryker said with a slight smile when he opened his blue eyes and saw his son standing near the foot of his bed. “You can come closer, Renly.”
Renly nodded before he approached the bed and sat on the edge. The younger man reached out and patted the back of his father’s hand.
“You really do look like shit, dad.” Renly told the frail looking man. His eyes were as sunken as his cheeks, and a thin sheen of sweat formed on his forehead just from the effort of breathing with the tubes in his nose. The man coughed and Renly frowned. “Am I losing you?”
“The answer is right in front of your eyes, Renly.” Ryker said with another cough before he feigned a smile. “I’ve barely been holding on for a while now, Renly. I’m sorry, but I think it’s going to happen today, son.”
“That doesn’t matter, father.” Renly said sadly as he took his father’s hands in his own. “Your life means more than some stupid holiday.”
“I was hoping I would live long enough to see you get married, at least.” The old man said softly. “Maybe, spoil a few grandchildren. . .”
“I’m sorry, dad.” Renly interrupted his father.
“For what?” Ryker asked skeptically. “It’s not your fault that I’ve got this stupid cancer.” The man stopped to cough and held up his hand to keep Renly silent until he regained his composure. “Just don’t wait forever to start your family, Renly. Don’t ever let a day go by that you don’t tell Heather how much she means to you and support your children as they grow and begin their own lives.”
“I will, father.” Renly said as tears formed in his eyes. “I promise.”
The father smiled at his son one last time before the life left his blue eyes, and his body went limp. Renly let the tears fall from his eyes as his father’s life came to an end.
-Eddin Tesik – 15 – Destiny – 3.9.2127
Eddin grinned as he chased Mason through the flower filled meadow. The floral scents were heavenly to the two boys as they behaved like boys in the afternoon sunlight. Not once did Eddin have to resort to sign language. Mason could speak and understand the older boy, but it didn’t seem to surprise either of them. It seemed normal for some reason that neither could figure out. So, they just left the mystery alone, and enjoyed their time together as they finally rekindled their friendship.
“Mason, I’m sorry that I was such a jerk to you,” Eddin told his cousin as they walked hand in hand through the meadow. “You didn’t deserve that, cousin. I swear on my life that I will never hurt you, again.”
Mason smiled and squeezed the older boy’s hand.
“It’s okay, Eddin.” The younger Tesik boy said. “You were confused and scared. Everybody will understand. Deegan has forgiven you, also.”
“He shouldn’t,” he said gravely. “I don’t deserve to get out of this unscathed.”
“I’m sure that my dad will put you through the wringer, Eddin.” Mason said with a giggle.
Eddin smiled and blushed at his cousin’s laugh before he quickly looked away.
“What?” Mason asked with a grin.
“I’ve never heard you laugh before,” Eddin admitted shyly.
Mason looked stunned by Eddin’s confession before he bumped his shoulder into Eddin’s.
“I’ve never heard anything before, Eddin!” Mason said with a giggle.
Eddin laughed and squeezed Mason’s hand.
“I’ve missed you, Mason.” Eddin confessed.
“I’ve missed you, too, cousin.” Mason said softly.
The two boys continued forward until Mason tried to pull his hand away from Eddin’s, and both boys realized that they were stuck together.
“Let go, Eddin,” Mason said as he tugged on his hand. “It’s not funny anymore.”
“I’m not doing anything, Mason.” Eddin declared as he tried to pull his own hand away. “I swear!”
“What’s going on, then?” Mason asked with a tremble in his voice.
“I. . . I don’t know, Mason.” Eddin before he suddenly looked around them thoughtfully. “Where are we anyways? It looks so familiar.”
“I don’t understand, Eddin.” Mason said. “This isn’t possible.”
Eddin tried to pull his hand away again as tears formed in his eyes.
“What do we do, Mason?”
“I don’t know, Eddin.” The younger boy said as he started to lose control of his own emotions.
-Lieutenant Colonel Renly Tesik – 29 – Washington D.C. – 2.27.2088
“I love you,” Renly said softly as he and Heather danced together for their first song. The woman smiled and leaned in to briefly kiss her husband. The Lieutenant Colonel smiled as Heather leaned back from him. “I am the luckiest man in the universe, Heather Tesik.”
“I love you, Renly.” Heather said as she scratched her fingernails lightly against the back of her new husband’s neck. “I can’t wait until we start a family.”
“Oh?” Renly grinned as his cheeks flushed red.
“I’m only human,” she shrugged.
Renly’s smile widened.
“I love you,” he said the three words again that made his heart flutter with excitement. “I can’t believe that you’re my wife, Heather.”
“We have plenty of time to get used to being married, Renly.” Heather reminded him.
“I can’t wait, love.”
“Neither can I,” Heather agreed.
Renly kissed his beautiful wife again as other couples slowly began to join the newlyweds on the dancefloor.
-Lieutenant Getty Roberts – 16 – Destiny – 3.9.2127
“You should get some rest, Captain.”
Getty glanced up from the readings on the console just as Jackson Tesik slid into the co-pilot’s seat with a mug of coffee in his hands.
“Good evening, Colonel.” Getty greeted the man with a brief smile. “Are you feeling better?”
“Much, thanks to Deegan’s coffee,” the older man said with his own weary smile. “So, any theories on why the Destiny fell apart like this?”
“One,” Getty replied. “But it’s not my theory. It belongs to Deegan. He thinks we were attacked just as we slipped into the wormhole.”
“Any evidence supporting the theory?”
“Not right at the point of entering the wormhole, Colonel.” Getty said as he turned his attention back to the console. “But there’s an energy surge about three seconds beyond the threshold that overloaded the Destiny’s circuitry. I think that since Andrew was connected to the ship, his own circuits were overloaded by the blast, also.”
“Why didn’t the wormhole absorb the energy from the attack when the round passed the threshold?” Jackson asked curiously.
“I think I can answer that.”
Both men turned to see the blue haired Dinrak Soren standing in the doorway with his hand gripping the frame tightly.
“It’s good to see that you’re finally awake, Colonel.” Jackson greeted the man that looked like a fourteen-year-old. “The hibernation sickness affected everyone.”
“I’ve noticed,” Dinrak replied. “Where’s Andrew?”
“There’s been a problem, Dinrak.” Getty admitted.
“What kind of problem?” Dinrak asked as his skin started to glow orange in fear.
“He’s hurt,” Jackson said calmly. “That’s not all, though. There’s multiple people still stuck in their deep sleep state.”
“Why?” Dinrak asked as his eyes went wide in disbelief. “What fucking happened?”
“We were attacked,” Getty told the Fandrian.
“I’m going to need Chos’s help. . .”
“I’m here, gentlemen.” The Tutor said as he stepped up behind Dinrak. “Shall we get started? This can’t be good on the children’s minds.”
-Lieutenant Colonel Renly Tesik – 29 – Washington D.C. – 12.3.2088
“He has your eyes,” the father said as he held the newborn infant in his arms for the first time. He turned his attention to his wife and smiled at her. “You made a beautiful son, my love.”
“We made a beautiful son, Renly.” Heather said with a tired smile. The blue-eyed woman looked as though she was about to fall asleep at any moment. “Can I hold him, again?”
“Of course, my love.” Renly said before he kissed his son’s forehead and gently passed the boy back to his wife. The Lieutenant Colonel watched in adoration as his wife cuddled the boy against her chest. “I love you.”
“Which of our dads are we going to name him after?” The new mother asked softly as she gazed at the sleeping infant wrapped tightly in the hospital blanket.
“Why not both?” Renly asked. “We can name him Stanley Ryker Tesik.”
“I like it,” Heather agreed. “Mom will love it.”
Renly smiled as he silently wished his mother and father could be there to meet their grandson. Heather frowned as she reached out and laced her fingers through her husband’s.
“I know you wish they could be here, Renly.” She smiled as he glanced at her in surprise. “You’re not that hard to read, dear husband.” Heather reached up and stroked his cheek with her thumb. “It’s your eyes.”
“Sorry,” the man said softly. “I shouldn’t be letting my problems bother you.”
“Isn’t that what I’m here for, Renly?” Heather asked.
“Not on the day that you’ve just given birth to our first child,” he replied firmly.
Heather just smiled and giggled.
“It doesn’t matter what happens, my love. I will always be there for you,” Heather reassured her husband. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Once you’re home,” he replied.
“Or now?” Heather insisted.
Renly leaned forward and kissed Heather’s forehead.
“How about, we’ll talk about it after you take a nap?”
“Fine,” Heather said as she stifled a yawn.
Renly grinned at his wife and newborn son, carefully counting his blessings as he watched his wife drift off to sleep.
-Admiral Edward Thomas – 63 – Earth Star Port 1.1 – 3.10.2127
Admiral Edward Thomas sat behind his desk in his corner office located near the top floor of the ACE Headquarters building. The building was at the northern pole of the sphere-shaped structure, and part of the dome that protected the residents below stretched out from its towering frame in every direction. Admiral Thomas didn’t have eyes for the star-filled view at that moment, though. His attention was solely focused on the document he had received for Admiral Porter, the Head of ACE’s Intelligence Division. The assassination of Admiral Renly Tesik, the Head Commander of ACE, made worldwide headlines when his body was found the following morning by his intern. The young woman’s scream had brought people from all directions running, effectively doing away with any chance to keep the man’s death a secret. The world had found out before their morning cups of coffee had gotten cold. The preliminary report on the man’s death had been drummed up almost just as fast, putting the responsibility on Admiral Thomas Cross.
‘How wrong they were,’ Edward thought grimly as he studied the new data he had been given. ‘What exactly were you involved in, Renly?’
Porter’s investigation had uncovered the fact that Renly was in the middle of negotiating treaties with seven other races that the Council had no idea even existed. One of the races had even attacked Earth back in 2022, nearly bringing about the extinction of mankind. It was only the brave sacrifice of a few civilians that had saved the entire world from being destroyed. The names of three children that would only be remembered by history books.
Edward was finally reading about the Lazarus Program when the phone on his desk began to ring suddenly. The man jumped before he quickly reached out to touch the button that accepted the call.
“This is Admiral Thomas,” the man greeted the unknown number.
“Good morning, Admiral Thomas.” The bass voice said on the other end of the line. “My name is Emperor Darnys Aurdyn, the current ruler of Pydrak.”
“Good morning, Emperor.” Edward returned the greeting. This was one of the few alliances formed that the Council actually knew about. “I trust that you heard about Admiral Tesik?”
“I did not,” the Emperor replied. “But I did hear from my son.”
Edward frowned for a moment until he remembered the conversation he had with Renly the day before the man had been murdered.
“Isn’t he on the Destiny?”
“He is,” Darnys said grimly. “They’re in trouble, too.”
“What happened, Emperor Aurdyn?” Edward asked as his expression fell.
“The Destiny was attacked the same day that Admiral Tesik was assassinated. They’re still trying to repair the ship and get everyone to wake up from deep sleep.”
“It’s that bad?” Edward asked.
“Worse,” Darnys replied. “You should let Getty’s grandfather know what’s going on. He might have a ship in the area that can help them.”
“I think Renly already made those arrangements, Emperor Aurdyn.”
“Oh?” Darnys asked in surprise. “Did he send the Stargazer to rescue them before he died?”
“I believe that he did schedule the rendezvous, Emperor.”
“Good,” Darnys stated.
“I take it that you know more than you’re letting on, Emperor Aurdyn.” Edward accused the man as he settled back in his seat.
“I may, Admiral Thomas,” the Pydrakian replied. “I just might know all of Admiral Tesik’s secrets.”
“What do you know about the Lazarus Program?”
“Make sure that it reaches completion, Admiral Thomas.” Darnys warned the officer. “Especially, Subject-7.”
-Admiral Renly Tesik – 66 – Earth Star Port 1.1 – 12.17.2125
“I would feel better if you took a look at him, Dinrak.” Renly stated as he watched the young-looking man enter a few commands into the console he was working on. The android body on the gurney between them was supposed to be the new home for the teenager that Dinrak had found in the back alley of the Star Port. The detectives had scanned the boy’s mind and were currently trying to piece together all of the evidence so they could bring the proper charges against his mother and father. “He looks exactly like Wesley.”
“I am of the firm belief that it helps with the transition if the subject looks like their former selves,” Dinrak explained without looking away from his console. “What exactly do you need to me to do, Admiral Tesik? The memory transfer process is my next step, and I can’t be interrupted once I begin.”
“Why are you transferring his memories if he’s just going to be wiped when you send him on his first mission?”
“He’s not going to be completely wiped, Admiral.” Dinrak stated with a smug grin. “His memories are just going to be locked away in another part of his mind. The android’s mind is designed to give way to the human part of the cortex whenever it is undergoing maintenance, so the android will have comforting human thoughts while its android side is completely in control.”
“It keeps the human inside calm, if they have something familiar to grasp onto while they’re disconnected from their new body.”
“Oh,” Renly said, just as confused as he was before.
“It’s alright, Admiral.” Dinrak stated with a smug grin. “I confuse a lot of people that I meet.”
“Perhaps, you would like to confuse my scientists, as well?” Renly asked with a chuckle. “Subject-3 and 4 keep crashing, while Subject-2 seems to be developing faster than they expected. Subjects 6 and 7 are the only ones that seem to be developing without any issues.”
“Did you happen to bring any of their charts with you?” Dinrak asked.
“I did,” Renly stated as he slid his data-tablet over to the small alien.
Dinrak took the tablet and looked through each record before he finally had an answer for the man.
“Up their dosage of Tylfin by one-milligram daily until you see a result in their performances,” Dinrak said. “That should help balance them all out.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Soren.” Admiral Tesik thanked the man happily. “You have been a great help.”
“How is the Lazarus Program going?” Dinrak asked.
“Better than I expected, honestly.” The Admiral replied with a shrug. “It’s a shame you didn’t let me have Wesley for the program.”
“It wouldn’t have been ‘him’, Admiral.” Dinrak stated, cutting off the older man’s explanation. “At least this way, there’s still a little piece of Wesley that is still alive inside.”
“He won’t even know it’s there, Dinrak.”
“I’ll know it’s there, Admiral.” Dinrak said fiercely.
Renly was surprised to find Dinrak’s skin glowing red, and his green eyes were sparkling with anger. Renly held up his hands defensively.
“I was just questioning your motives, Dinrak.” The Admiral explained gently. “Much like you questioned mine when you found out about the Lazarus Project.”
Dinrak took a deep breath, and Renly watched as the Fandrian’s skin tone changed to a yellowish-blue glow as he calmed down.
“I’m sorry for overreacting, Admiral.” Dinrak said gently as his skin finally settled into a dull blue tone.
“It’ll be alright, Dinrak.” Renly replied. “Sometimes our emotions just manage to get in the way. Would you like to talk about your connection with Wesley?”
Dinrak sighed softly, his skin tone changing to a dark pink tone before going yellow.
“It’s complicated, Renly.” Dinrak said quietly.
“Is it, though?”
“It is on Fandra.” Dinrak sighed sadly. “I’ll never be able to love him the way that I need to.”
“That could change with just a phone call, Dinrak.” Renly said smugly. “It’s been a while since I’ve spoken with Fleet Commander Nolrig, but he and I have always been friendly to each other.”
Dinrak smiled as his hopes surged before he remembered the reason they had even founded the AH-57 Program to begin with and Dinrak frowned.
“There won’t be any happiness until the Leeches are dealt with,” the scientist stated sadly.
“It won’t take long, Dinrak.” Renly said. “Then, you and Wesley will be able to love each other.”
“I hope so,” Renly heard the young-looking man mutter under his breath and smiled knowingly.
“I’ll let you get back to work, Dinrak.” Renly stated as he moved towards the door. “Thanks again for your help with Lazarus.”
-Mason Tesik – 14 – Destiny – 3.10.2127
The ground shook around the two boys, and the once blue sky had turned to a dark gray color with thick clouds blocking out the rays of sunlight. The wind whipped around the boys leaving their hair disheveled as they huddled close to each other, their only hope was to survive the imminent storm.
“I’m sorry that I got us into this mess, Mason.” Eddin said.
“I highly doubt that this is your fault, Eddin.” Mason stated firmly. “Stop talking like that. We have to figure out how to get out of here.”
“I don’t think I can keep running, Mason.” The older boy admitted. “I feel like my body is exhausted and I’m barely holding on. It’s like, the only reason I have any energy is because we’re stuck together.”
Suddenly, Eddin stopped running as the realization of what was happening was beginning to hit him.
“That’s it!” He declared, yanking Mason to a stop. “I know what’s going on.”
“What are you talking about, Eddin?” Mason asked, giving his cousin a strange look.
“We’re stuck in my head, Mason.” Eddin said as he glanced around the field and nodded. “I’ve been to this field. If we go over that rise, we’ll find a log cabin that my brother and I lived in right after our parents died.”
Mason was forced to follow as Eddin took off running for the small hill that hid the cabin from sight. As they crested the hill though, Eddin let out a cry of shock. The cabin and everything beyond it was slowly turning to dust.
“This can’t be,” Eddin said in dismay. “I have so many happy memories from that cabin. It can’t be destroyed!”
Mason hugged his cousin as Eddin began to tremble. The ground started to shake even more violently as Eddin lost control of his emotions.
“We have to get out of here, Eddin.”
“I don’t think we can, Mason.” Eddin said sadly. “At least, I don’t think I can leave.”
“What do you mean, Eddin?”
“Think about it, Mason.” Eddin said as he watched the edge of the darkness continue to advance towards them. “If this valley that we’re in was a representation of my mind, then doesn’t it make sense that the valley being destroyed is the representation of me dying?”
Mason looked at Eddin in disbelief.
“How do you know that we’re in your mind, Eddin?”
“You’ve never been to this valley before, Mason.” Eddin stated as he watched one of his childhood homes vanish in front of him. “You have to leave, Mason.”
“How do you know that I’m not part of your dream, Eddin?”
“You haven’t changed since we’ve gotten here, Mason.” Eddin explained sadly. “I brought you here somehow, and I have to send you back. I swore to protect you with my life, Mason.”
“Please, don’t do this, Eddin.” Mason began to beg as he realized what his cousin was saying. “You’re not dying. Just come with me and you’ll see. . .”
“Don’t make this any harder than it already is, Mason.” Eddin said as he suddenly put the palm of his hand against Mason’s cheek. Both boys had tears in their eyes as they gazed at each other. Eddin could see the edge of his nightmare getting closer over Mason’s shoulder. “Thank you for letting me hear your beautiful laugh at least once in my life. I. . . I love you, Mason.” Eddin sniffled. “I always have.”
“I love you, too, Eddin.” Mason said softly. “More than life.”
Eddin kissed Mason suddenly before they were able to let go of their hands. Mason’s eyes opened wide as he watched Eddin take a step back away from him.
“Goodbye, Mason.” Eddin said before the edge of the nightmare started pulling the older boy into it.
“No!” Mason screamed as the dream vanished around him.
-Lieutenant Getty Roberts – 16 – Destiny – 3.10.2127
Getty watched as Dinrak continuously worked on Eddin. The boy’s life signs were falling as the hibernation sickness took its toll. Stanley sat on the edge of the boy’s cot and held his hands as his breaths grew weaker. Jackson sat next to the still unconscious Mason as his life signs were all over the place, too, and a light sheen of sweat had appeared on the boy’s forehead.
“I’m losing him,” Dinrak declared just before the heart monitor made a solid beeping tone.
Mason suddenly sat up and made a screeching sound like an animal before he fell into his father’s arms and sobbed uncontrollably. Stanley cried lightly as he pulled the sheet up and over Eddin’s face.
“Eddin?” Getty turned to see Eddin’s older brother standing in the doorway. His face changed from worry to one of loss and grief as he saw what his Uncle Stanley was doing. “No. . . It’s not possible! I promised my mom and dad that I would take care of him.”
Getty turned and left the room as his own eyes began to brim with tears.
‘How many are we going to lose before this is all over with?’ The pilot asked himself before he turned and headed towards the bridge. ‘What did you get us involved in, Renly Tesik? Your own fucking grandchildren are dying, now!’