Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Captain Timofie Pueson took his time getting down to medbay, arriving with a sidearm neural devastator gun – not the best aim though effective in closed quarters, and entirely unnecessary given the restraints the prisoner found himself in. Boro immediately had Dr. Sufai brief Pueson on her discovery.
“This is troubling,” the Captain said, staring at the image of the double helix like he could actually understand something within it, “If the Thorians or even the Hatvan have access to this kind of technology … there could be others like him anywhere.”
“Well, now we also have access to this technology,” Boro nodded in the direction of the prisoner’s room. “I’m sure it won’t take much to reverse engineer whatever has been done to him.”
The doctor shifted uneasily in her seat as he said this. Ory Sufai would clearly be of no help in this endeavour, but once they delivered the prisoner back into Human Interstellar Dominion hands, there might be some progress.
“No sense in wasting any more time,” the Captain said, “Doctor, are we able to see the prisoner now?”
“He’s conscious and restrained, if that’s what you’re asking,” she said and then followed them out of her office. Boro noted that she did not correct the Captain on his use of the word ‘prisoner’ as she led them to his holding room, and opened the door for them.
The fake Intelligence officer lay on the bed, his feet, hands and chest all held down, staring up into the ceiling, looking every bit disturbingly Human.
As they walked into his field of vision, he turned his head, his pale green eyes focusing, the larger one opening as if in surprise while the smaller one lagged behind.
“Ah, visitors,” he said, “And here I thought that the good doctor was the only one left aboard this ship.”
“We’re not visitors,” Boro corrected, lacking any interest in humoring another basket case, “This is Captain Timofie Pueson and I’m sure you know who I am.”
“Yes, Commander Stevin, of course. I hear you were very brave during the whole ordeal, you should be very proud of yourself. Though I’m sorry about the loss of that young man. He struck me as someone who would not pick a flower but admire it more than someone who would.”
“What?” Boro growled quietly in response. Reverse engineering be damned – best course of action was clearly to stuff him in an airlock.
Captain Pueson, before stepping closer to loom over the prisoner, shot his Second-in-Command a look but Boro ignored it. “We need to know who sent you,” the Captain said. “Who else knows about this mission?”
“Your eyes, Commander,” the prisoner continued, ignoring the Captain’s question. “They’re very dark. But the darkness there contained, is multitudinous.” That answer, combined with the look in those mismatched green eyes that made it seem like their prisoner wanted to reach out and gently caress Boro’s face was unsettling, so Boro stepped in with his own query. “What are you? We know you’re not Human, so what were you originally?”
“Captain. Captain Pueson. Captain Timofie Pueson. I can feel what you’re thinking. Not everything, not all of it, but some of it comes out, spills out of your mouth and your eyes, even your skin. When I’m this close, I can actually sense the pinprick that is you, among all the noise. Same with you, Commander, and you, Doctor.”
The words he spoke were disturbing enough in their own right, but it was something about the way he was speaking, so soothing and almost comforting, that it touched something inside Boro that he did not need anyone’s hands on. His throat tightened at this and the room started to feel too small.
“Stop avoiding our questions and spewing gibberish,” Boro warned, though somehow he knew that it wasn’t gibberish at all.
“I’m sorry, I’m just fascinated. My progenitor has certainly interacted with Humans before but my personal iteration has not.”
“Who is the ‘progenitor’?” The Captain asked and his voice seemed to quaver, more so than Boro thought it usually did. The Doctor just kept her distance and Boro wondered how many of these conversations she’d already had with the green-eyed alien. “Is the progenitor who sent you to destroy the Forseti?”
“Sent me to destroy? I guess …” the prisoner’s mismatched eyes unfocused for a second, one briefly staring off into an independent direction from the other, “I guess that’s why I was sent, but not what I was sent for.”
“Are you trying to deny that you and your co-conspirator tried to set off an explosive on our ship?” Boro asked, and almost took a step backwards when the prisoner turned his head in his direction and pointed those green eyes straight through him, his mouth slightly open in what looked like confusion.
“That’s not true though, is it, Commander? Surely you must have seen some security tapes. I was the one who saved the Forseti. Humans are our people, not like with that other one. I don’t know if she survived, but if she did, I recommend she not be allowed to do so for much longer. But in any case, I said too much already. Always with our progenitor, we have this problem, never anyone else it seems.”
Boro had of course seen the tapes, had watched on repeat that split second where he’d lost control, where the green-eyed fake Intelligence officer lunged for the controls of the crate and managed to reach them, because it was his dark-eyed partner that had been marked by the Parsk Nahur as the first to get shot. Boro had assumed that the reason the crate ended up lurching backwards into Tuka instead forwards into the Forseti, was because the prisoner had made an error. Boro was not ready though to consider that the words of the disguised alien were the truth and that the crate was launched away from the ship intentionally. Especially since Boro had not alluded to this potential version of events in any of his reports.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.