Starscape: Destiny

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Chapter 4

Earth, 2016

Symon’s heart was beating so hard, he was afraid it was going to explode. His entire body shook nervously as he stared down the alien on the couch. The entire affair only lasted a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity to Symon. Eventually, the alien’s gaze drifted from him to the object he held in his hand.

“What are you doing with that?” she groggily asked, her voice bearing an accent that sounded eerily similar to Cockney. “Give it back to me.”

Symon’s eyes flung wide open with shock, and his heart began beating even faster. “Y-y-you speak English?” he asked quietly and shakily.

She didn’t give him a verbal response. Instead, she raised a hand and flexed her fingers. Suddenly, the object was wrenched out of Symon’s grip and flew across the room into her waiting palm.

Symon screamed and stepped backwards, only to trip and land rear-first onto the hardwood floor. He continued to scramble away from the couch until his back was up against the wall.

“Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!” he shouted fearfully. “George Lucas was right about everything! How did he know?!”

Candace stepped back into the room, holding a bottle of Heineken in one hand and a can of Mountain Dew in the other. “What is happening in here?”

“You wanna know what’s happening in here?!” Symon responded, unable to help shouting. “She speaks English and has telekinesis, and I damn near shit my pants!”

Candace donned an expression of surprise and turned her gaze to the alien. “You speak English? You can understand us?”

And she has telekinesis!”

“Yes, I can understand you,” the alien said, clipping the device back onto her belt.

“Are we just going to completely gloss over the fact that she has telekinesis?!” Symon shouted.

The alien turned her gaze over to him. Her expression seemed more gentile than irritated. “Calm down, I’m not going to hurt you,” she said softly. She tried to sit up, but groaned painfully and lay back down. “It’s not like I could, anyways.”

Symon struggled to get his breathing under control. After taking a series of deep breaths, he had managed to get his heart rate back down to a reasonable level. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s just’re a...I mean...oh, Jesus Christ on a bicycle. This is so surreal.”

She gave him a confused look. “Are you alright? In the head, I mean.”

“After all of this, I have no idea,” Symon said.

Candace walked over to her brother, knelt down next to him, and handed him the can of Mountain Dew. He accepted it, cracked it open, and took a long swig from it. After a couple of seconds, he had resumed a normal breathing pattern and appeared much more relaxed.

“Okay, I’m calm. I’m calm.” He looked back to the couch, sighed, and stood himself up. “Look, I’m sorry. We got off on the wrong foot. I’m Symon Redfern. This is my sister, Candace.”

The alien’s large, blue eyes moved between the two of them. “Symon and Candace,” she said quietly. “I’m Veda. Veda T’mara.” She tried to sit up again, only to let out another pained groan and lay back down.

“Okay, don’t try to move too much,” Symon said. “It looks like that crash beat the crap out of you. I’m gonna grab some painkillers for you.”

He didn’t wait for a response before walking out of the room.

From the moment she saw the humans, Symon and Candace, Veda knew that she was in deep trouble with the Order. Only now did she finally understand where she had ended up when she was forced out of warp-space, and she was mentally kicking herself for not realizing sooner. Earth was strictly off-limits for all Federation citizens, with the exception of high-ranking members of the Auran Order visiting the world on official business., if she made it back to Corneria, her status as a Knight was very much at stake for violating Federation law.

“So...Veda, right?” came Symon’s voice as he stepped back into the room, holding a small glass of water in one hand and a bottle of painkillers in the other. “Quick question: how old are you?”

“Is it relevant?” Veda asked.

“It’s for the meds. They’re based on age,” Symon explained.

Veda nodded in acknowledgment. “Twenty-seven standard years,” she answered.

“Alright, three of these should be good,” Symon said. He set the glass down on an end table and shook a trio of pills into his open hand. “Take these and wash them down with the water,” he added as he handed her the pills and the glass of water.

“Symon, you do realize that you’re giving human painkillers to an alien, right?” Candace asked.

“Yeah, an alien that, in some ways, physically resembles a human,” Symon said. “And speaks English. That’s, like, two out of three right there.”

Candace sighed and slapped a hand against her face. “I swear to God, I will never understand how your brain works.”

“Perhaps its better that way,” Symon shrugged.

Veda swallowed the pills and washed them down with the water as directed. “They should work,” she said. “Human physiology is almost identical to Cerinian physiology.”

“See? What’d I tell you?” Symon said, gesturing towards his sister. But after a few seconds, what Veda said actually had a chance to sink into his mind. “Wait, what? How do you know that?”

Veda groaned. “I’m sorry, I’m too tired to make small talk,” she said. “I just need some sleep right now.”

“Well, you do not want to sleep on that couch. Trust me,” Symon said. “We have a spare bedroom. You can sleep in there.”

“Oh, no, you don’t have to--”

“No, seriously,” Symon said. “That couch is good for lounging, but not for sleeping. Can you stand up?”

Veda struggled to sit upright. She ached all over, and it felt like there wasn’t a single place on her body that wasn’t bruised. Thankfully, nothing was broken, and none of her organs were ruptured. The Harbinger ended up suffering more from the crash than she did.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m just badly bruised,” she said once she was in a sitting position. “Walking might be an issue, though.”

“Here, let me help you up,” Symon said as he assisted her onto her feet. He walked her to a small room at the front of the house. It was definitely better than her quarters aboard the Harbinger. There were two beds against the left wall, a large closet built into the right, and a small dresser in the room’s far right corner.

“Just pick a bed and fall in,” Symon said. “Get some rest and let the painkillers kick in.”

Veda nodded. “Okay, thank you,” she said, taking a seat on the bed nearest the door.

“I’m going to get some sleep,” the boy said. “I hope you won’t mind talking tomorrow morning. I have a lot of questions for you.”

“I’m not surprised,” Veda said tiredly. “I’ll answer any questions you have. Tomorrow.”

Symon nodded. “Alright then. My door is just down the hall if you need anything. Sleep well.” With that, he turned and stepped out of the room, shutting the door behind him.

That kid is a piece of work,’ Veda thought to herself. She had met a few other humans in the past. But they were all Knights in the Auran Order, either born and raised in Federation space or having been brought there at a very early age. She had never met one who had lived on Earth his whole life, blissfully unaware of the galaxy-spanning civilization that existed beyond their world.

From what she could tell, Symon was nice enough. He also seemed intelligent enough, especially for somebody his age. He was strange, though. Once he was over the initial shock, he seemed surprisingly comfortable with having Veda in his home. In contrast, his sister remained awkwardly quiet, only ever directly addressing Veda once or twice. Symon seemed open to the idea of there being life beyond Earth, curious what was out there in the galaxy. But there was something else about him.

From the moment she had regained consciousness back in the living room, her Auran sixth sense had picked up something she hadn’t felt since she left Corneria. One of the most basic things about her Auran powers that she learned when she was a Disciple was how to telepathically sense the energy of other nearby Aurans. In the living room, she knew for certain that she had sensed the presence of an Auran, and a powerful one at that. But in her groggy state, she couldn’t figure out whether it was Symon or Candace. It was only when she was alone with Symon where it became clear to her whose power she was sensing.

Symon was an Auran.

Suddenly, Veda became hopeful. If she managed to get back to Corneria and brought Symon with her to be trained as her Disciple, there was a chance that the Order’s Grandmaster would allow her to retain her status as a Knight. It wasn’t a bad idea, and it definitely had a chance to work. But she had no idea if he would go along with it. She would be asking him to leave behind everything he had ever known.

I’ll talk to him about it tomorrow morning,’ she thought to herself. ‘I should probably prepare for a rejection, though.

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