Starscape: Destiny

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Chapter 6

Earth, 2016

It was half-past noon by the time Symon got home. He quickly made his way up the driveway and through the front door of the house. Once inside, he shut the door behind him and moved towards the living room, mouth open and ready to deliver his decision to Veda. But he quickly shut it again when he was met with Candace sitting in the armchair facing the door, brow furrowed and arms folded across her chest. Veda was awkwardly standing to the right of his sister.

“So, where did you go off to?” she asked in an icy tone.

“Just out for a drive,” Symon replied dryly. “I had a lot to think about, so I went out and thought about it.”

“Really? And what exactly did you have to think about?”

“Something tells me you already know.”

Candace slowly nodded. “Veda told me all about the little offer she made you.”

“Well, that’s good,” Symon said. “Because now you’re about to hear my decision.” He stepped onto the living room’s hardwood floor and turned his gaze to the blue-furred fox woman standing beside his sister. “Veda, I’m coming with you.”

“Oh, no,” Candace said, quickly standing up from her chair. “No, you’re not.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Candace,” Symon said flatly. “Was this your choice to make? Did Veda say that you could make my decision for me?”

“Symon, you are not going with her,” Candace said.

“You aren’t Mom, Candace,” Symon shot back, his voice rising. “As much as you may like to think so, you aren’t the boss of me. Veda gave me an offer, and I’m accepting it.”

“Symon, you’re being a child.”

“Am I? Am I being a child? You’re the one that’s telling me how to live my life right now!”


“I’m not a little kid anymore, so stop treating me like one!”

Candace looked completely taken aback. Her eyes were about as wide open as they could get without having them fall out, and she kept on opening and closing her mouth as she searched for something to say in response to her brother. But words failed to come to her, and she stood there silently.

“This isn’t a decision I made on a whim, Candace,” Symon said to her quietly. “I had to think really long and really hard about this. Because I know that when I’m gone, I’m probably never going to see this planet ever again. Do you have any idea how badly I’m going to miss this place? How badly I’m going to miss you, Mom, and Dad?”

She didn’t give him a response.

“The thought of leaving you guys behind forever tears me apart,” Symon said.

Candace gently grabbed hold of him by his shoulders and brought him in a bit closer. He could see tears beginning to form in her emerald eyes. “Then why do you want to go?” she asked.

It took Symon a few seconds to formulate his response. “Because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” he said. “I can’t let this opportunity go to waste, especially not after Veda told me about what I am.”

“An Auran?” Symon could hear his sister’s voice about to crack. “And you actually believe her?”

Symon nodded. “She proved it to me,” he said. “If I pass this up, I’ll be going the rest of my life without ever learning anything more about being an Auran. That’s why I want to go.”

After a few seconds of silence, Candace slowly nodded in acknowledgment. “Okay,” she nearly whispered. The first streams of tears began to stream from her eyes. “If this is what you want. I still don’t like it, but...”

She pulled her brother in close and wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug. “I’m going to miss you, little bro.”

Symon returned her hug. “I know,” he said. “I’m going to miss you, too, sis.”

The two held each other for another couple of minutes before they finally came apart. “I need to pack,” Symon said.

Candace nodded. “Okay, I’ll be down in my room.” On that note, she made her way out of the living room and walked down stairs, closing the basement door behind her.

Symon sighed deeply. “I’m sorry you had to hear that, Veda,” he said.

He felt her place a hand on her shoulder, and he looked up to meet her gaze.

“You can still back out, Symon,” she said. “If it’s going to eat you up this badly, then it’s probably better that you stay here.”

“Veda, I’ve made up my mind,” Symon protested. “I want to come with you. I want to learn more about being an Auran and become a Knight, like you.”

Veda didn’t look all too convinced. “Are you absolutely certain?”

Symon struggled to answer that question. His family, his friends, Earth in general--he would be leaving it all behind. But he wasn’t about to squander the opportunity to learn more about himself and the universe as a whole.

“I’m certain, Veda,” he finally said. “I want to do this.”

The rest of the day went by painfully slow. It hadn’t taken Symon long to pack everything he had planned on taking. Things like extra clothes seemed obvious to bring, but he also decided to bring along a few miscellaneous items, primarily so he would have some relics from his homeworld to hold onto. These included his laptop, a trio of Halo novels that he had read numerous times, his sixth edition Warhammer 40,000 rule book, all of the beverages he had bought on Friday, a pair of headphones, and the chargers for both his laptop and iPhone. He felt like the chargers wouldn’t do him much good when he was away from Earth and that his devices would eventually die, unable to be recharged again. But, he decided to bring them along just in case he did figure out a way to keep his devices charged.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way,’ he had thought to himself when he stuffed them in his duffle bag.

With everything packed, the rest of the day was spent waiting for Veda’s friend to show up and take them offworld. Symon didn’t like all of the waiting around. Every extra minute that he spent in the house only made him think about all of the things he would be leaving behind. He tried to think optimistically, focusing on everything he would experience by leaving with Veda, rather than dwelling on the things he was abandoning.

“It’s almost ten,” Symon said as he checked the clock on his phone. “Do you suppose he’ll be here soon?”

“I’m expecting a call from him any minute now,” Veda said. “Just a little bit longer.”

Another fifteen minutes ticked by before Veda’s comm unit began chirping. She grabbed it off of her belt and hit a button on it. “That you, Jei?”

“Yeah, it’s me,” Jei’s voice responded over the comm. “I am in orbit and ready to break the law. You mind sending your coordinates my way?”

“Here they come,” Veda said, pressing another button on the device that sent her exact location to Jei’s ship in orbit.

“Alright, got them,” Jei said. “I’ll be there in just a few minutes.”

“Understood. We’ll get ready for you,” Veda said.

“Alright, see you in a...wait, ‘we?’ Who else is with you?”

“You’ll see when you get down here,” Veda said, cutting off the call before Jei could say anything else.

“Shall we head outside, then?” Symon asked.

Veda nodded. “Yeah, let’s go.”

Symon picked his duffle bag up off the floor and looked over to Candace sitting on the couch behind him. “You wanna come with? See me off?”

She didn’t say anything, but she slowly and somberly nodded, stood up from the couch, and followed her brother and the Cerinian downstairs and out the basement’s sliding glass door.

It wasn’t long before Symon could make out the shape of Jei’s ship coming down towards the surface. The closer it got, the better he could make out its features. It wasn’t anything like Veda’s craft, which had a rounded, almost bubble-like hull. This one was much more angular in shape, and looked vaguely similar to a military fighter jet. On either side of the main body was a large, triangular wing structure. The front of the ship extended to a point and housed the cockpit. On the back of the craft were three large engines, each one glowing a deep violet as they burned fuel.

“Last chance to back out,” Veda said, nudging Symon with her elbow.

Symon shook his head. “I’m not backing out, Veda” he said. “I’m ready.”

The roar of the starship’s engines grew almost deafeningly loud as it came in for a landing. Seven meters above the ground, it began to hover in place. Four large landing struts extended from the bottom of the hull as it slowly descended towards the grass. Once it touched down, the engines quieted down and a small elevator platform slowly lowered from the hull onto the ground. A lone figure, dressed in a tunic similar to the one Veda wore, stood in the center of the platform. Symon could only assume that this was Jei.

Symon was genuinely surprised when he saw that Jei wasn’t some sort of anthropomorphic animal like Veda was. Instead, he looked almost exactly like a human male in his late twenties. The only differences between him and a regular human were his bone-white skin, milky-white eyes, and his long, neon-blue hair.

Jei cocked an eyebrow confusedly when he saw the two humans standing with Veda. “Is this what you were talking about when you said ‘we?’” he asked.

Veda nodded.

“Are they both coming with us?”

“Just me,” Symon said.

“He’s an Auran,” Veda explained. “I’m taking him back with us so I can train him.”

Jei’s eyebrows rose with surprise. “Really?” he asked. He locked his eyes with Symon’s and said, “You think you have what it takes to be a Knight?”

“Well, if you became a Knight, it can’t be that hard,” Symon responded facetiously.

Jei smiled and laughed. “Nice catch, Veda. I like him already,” he said. “So, you ready to go, kid?”

Symon looked over his shoulder at Candace standing behind him. He could see tears forming in her eyes again. ‘Last chance to say goodbye,’ he thought.

“Just a minute,” Symon said.

Jei gave him a sympathetic look. “Take your time, kid,” he said.

Symon nodded, turned around, and walked up to Candace. “Well, I guess this is goodbye,” he said.

Candace sniffed and wiped her eyes dry. “Yeah,” she said, forcing a smile onto her face. “I guess it is.”

“Come on, sis,” he said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Think positive.”

“I’m definitely trying, Sy,” she said, her voice cracking slightly.

“You know, I’ve learned something within the last day,” he started. “All of the crazy shit that's happened in the last twenty-four hours has told me that anything is possible. Now, with that in mind, it is possible that...”

“We’ll see each other again,” Candace finished for him.

Symon smiled. “Keep thinking like that, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll meet again.”

The two came together in a tight hug, and Candace began weeping into Symon’s shoulder. “I’m going to miss much,” she sobbed.

Symon held his sister tightly in his loving embrace, cherishing what were likely the last moments he would ever spend with her. He tried to take his own words to heart, but he felt like he couldn’t. As much as he wanted to believe he would one day be reunited with his family, he knew perfectly well that this was probably the last goodbye. “I’ll miss you, too,” he finally said.

The two separated, and Candace wiped her eyes dry again. “Go on,” she said. “Your flight is waiting.”

Symon turned back to face the ship. Veda had already stepped onto the elevator platform and was standing beside Jei. He took a deep breath and walked towards the ship. Once he was on the platform, Jei hit a switch on the platform’s guard rail and it began to slowly rise up into the ship’s hull.

Symon looked back at Candace one last time and smiled at her. “Stay strong, Candace!” he called to her.

Once again, tears began to stream down his sister’s cheeks. “I love you, Symon!” she cried.

Symon choked up, and he felt himself come on the verge of tears. “I love you, too!” he called back. A few seconds later, the platform had finished his ascent into the ship, and the connection between their eyes was severed.

Less than ten minutes later, the ship had made it out of Earth’s atmosphere and was speeding towards the edge of the planet’s gravity well. The second they were free of the planet’s gravity, Jei punched in the coordinates for Corneria and initiated the jump into warp-space. The stars outside the viewport smeared and elongated against the black before they were completely replaced with a spiraling blue tunnel.

“So, this Symon kid,” Jei said, leaning back in his chair. “Do you think he’ll be okay?”

Veda sighed at his question. “I don’t know, Jei,” she said. “He says he’ll be fine, but I’m not sure.”

“He’s still back in the common room, right?”

Veda nodded. “You should go talk to him. Get to know him better.”

“Only if you come with me.”

Veda giggled. “Of course, I forgot about how hard a time you have when meeting new people,” she said. “Remember when we first met? I believe your exact words to me were, ‘Your tail looks really soft. Can I hold it?’”

Jei’s incredibly pale face blushed bright red. “Are you ever going to let me live that down?” he asked. “Come on, Veda! I was six years old!”

“Yeah, you were,” Veda said. “And, honestly, you really haven’t changed all that much.”

Jei groaned and stood up from the pilot’s chair. “I’m gonna go talk to the kid. Are you coming or not?”

Veda stood up and walked beside him. “Right beside you,” she said with a smile.

The two stepped out of the cockpit and into the common room in the center of the ship. Symon was sitting by himself on one of the small couches built around the middle of the room, listening to music through a black pair of headphones. He looked over to Veda and Jei stepping out of the cockpit, and Veda gestured at him to remove his headphones. He complied, taking them off of his head and placing them next to him on the couch.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“Symon, I think it’s time you were properly introduced to Jei,” Veda said.

The blue-haired man stepped towards Symon and extended a pale-skinned hand. “Jei Makalo,” he said.

Symon accepted his hand and shook it. “Symon Redfern.”

“Y’know, you seem surprisingly comfortable being around aliens, if you don’t mind me commenting,” he said. “There are a few other humans in the Order that I’ve met, and it took them months before they were fully comfortable with being around different species.”

“Well, I feel like I let out all of my shock and surprise when I first met Veda,” Symon said.

Veda nodded. “He freaked out,” she said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure he began questioning reality.”

“To be fair, Veda,” Symon started. “I feel like most humans would have a similar response to meeting a sentient, anthropomorphic fox.”

Jei let out a hardy laugh at Symon’s comment. “That’s right, you have wildlife on Earth that closely resembles some of the Federation’s member species, don’t you?”

“Um, yeah, I guess,” Symon said awkwardly. “By the way, Jei, if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly are you? I mean, you look very similar to a human.”

“I’m a Beloran,” Jei said. “Not really much more to tell. You can read up on my species once we reach Corneria if you want to.”

Symon nodded in acknowledgment. “Beloran, alright,” he said. “And Veda’s a...Cerinian, right?”

Veda nodded. “Indeed, I am.”

“I feel like it’s going to take me a while before I get all of these specie’s names down.”

“You’ll figure it out,” Jei said. “Every other human that I’ve met managed to pick it up rather quickly.”

Symon nodded. “Right,” he said simply. “On a completely unrelated note, how long until we reach...Corneria, was it?”

“Yeah, that is the name of the planet,” Veda said. “As for how much longer until we arrive, we have a little more than four hours.”

“Okay, I think I’m going to try to get some shuteye in the meantime,” Symon said.

“The bunk-room is right through that door,” Jei said, pointing to a door in the far right corner of the room. “There’s plenty of room. Just pick a bunk and collapse. One of us will let you know when we land.”

“Alright,” Symon said with a nod. He stood up from the couch and picked up his duffle bag and headphones. “I’ll just go ahead and pass out.”

“Okay, sleep well, Symon,” Veda said with a smile.

Symon didn’t say anything more as he strode over to the door that Jei had indicated. The metal portal slid open, and then closed itself automatically once he was on the other side.

“I like him,” Jei said. “How did you find him?”

Veda answered that question very easily. “Luck.”

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