Chapters:

Mystery Man

Chapter 4. Mystery Man

The Sun began to set low behind Emperor. The halls were sparsely populated by a few Task-droids making their way back to the docking floor. The long stretched shadow in the hall reached out like a hand as if to clench the straggling Androids by the heels. Verium stalks in the darkness, searching, hunting…

Orin now cruising at a conspicuously fast speed knows he hasn’t much time before the “protection” of light fades away. The Commander was pursuing him with growing frustration moving from a brisk strut to a full on jog trying to keep pace with Orin. “Almost there… Almost…” mumbles Orin to himself. “Finally! Ready, and…” Orin turns and leaps onto the stacked crates behind him running back as the truck continues forward at incredible speed. He locks eyes with the Commander for a split second, exchanging a flood of emotions, before leaping up into the open vent shaft overhead, just in time to avoid a wild swing from the Commander which violently knocks the truck over on its side skidding to a halt. The Commander follows the tubing with his eyes into a closed loading bay. Without exerting much force the Commander rips through the bay door as if it was thin aluminum. He scans the dark room, thoughts fiercely rushing through his head, tuning to his primal nature, he is somewhat surprised that an empty bay required a shipment of such size.  Yelling out with annoyance he exclaims, “ORIN! You are trash! Worthless and insignificant! Come out coward!” Orin quietly observing from the register grate above holds his breath as the Commander looks in his direction. He feels a rush of pressure grow within. He can’t help himself and begins to weep for the first time as quietly as possible. Confused and afraid he notices movement behind the Commander. The giant’s keen senses already alerting him to the stranger’s presence turns furiously and faces his new guest. “Orin?” asks the Commander slowly. No answer. “ANSWER ME! Speak, beg me to spare you.” says the Commander with a slight anxiousness in his voice. After a moment of realization the Commander asks, “Where is Orin?” “Actually, I was kind of hoping you could tell me big guy…” suddenly the figure begins to produce a whistle forming melody from his lips. Orin had never heard such sounds and doesn’t even blink as he watches the two face off. The Commander beginning to reluctantly piece the situation together quickly pulls out his DNA analyzer and powers it on. Staring in utter shock at his equipment he curses himself for being so blindingly arrogant, it reads: HUMAN DNA directly in front of him as well as behind in the form of two bright red blinking dots on a 3-D compass like screen…

Just as the Commander turns to the vent shaft over his shoulder he sees the stranger advancing towards him in his peripherals.  The figure taking his opportunity speeds to a full sprint. He leaps onto stacked crates and equipment, somersaulting over the top of the panicking Commander who is desperately trying to keep up with the swift movements of his attacker. As he flips he launches a dart into the back of the Commander’s neck instantly rendering him unconscious. The mystery man lands lightly on his feet tucking and rolling to absorb the impact then popping up to a brisk trot as if thoroughly rehearsed. The huge mass toppled over with a boom. The shock from the impact shook the register in which Orin was hiding. He fell through the dislodged panel and landed hard on his back knocking the air from within. Disoriented, Orin rolls to his stomach and gingerly gets up to a knee. He looks around quickly for the figure. Suddenly he hears a faint whistle around the corner up ahead; this time with a soothing melody. He knows that soon Saffron will be heading for this area due to the destruction and mess left outside by the enraged Commander, who now lay in front of him breathing heavily with his eyes wide open and moving all around. As Orin creeps past Commander Raiz they lock eyes once more. This time a very different message is spoken without words. The Commander grunts and growls but is unable to lift a finger. Orin glances up at the dart protruding from the back of the giant’s neck. He continues on following the sound as it gets louder. Then behind some plastic shrouding he reveals a brightly colored ship and without time to register what he has seen numerous flood lights fill the room blinding Orin from the source.

The whistling has stopped and all is quiet aside from the soft sounds of Orin wincing shielding his eyes from the light.  Orin can hear footfall approaching before he sees a partial silhouette through his fingers. Overwhelmed with emotion and fear Orin falls to his knees, exhausted, hanging his head allowing his eyes to adjust and waiting for his end as more tears fall. The mystery man’s boots come into his view of the ground in front of him but he does not lift his head. He feels a heavy hand on the curve of his neck and his shoulder as the figure takes a knee in front of him. “Orin, are you ok? There is a lot to talk about my boy, we should… Hey can you shut some of these lights off?! C’mon guys…” “Sorry!” yells a voice from the ship. Orin beginning to calm down glances up as the mystery man is turned around and sees a few others all resembling Droids dressed in very distinguishing jumpsuits of different colors. “It’s going to be ok… but you must come with us now.” Orin notices the alarm blaring, “How long has that been activated?” he thinks to himself. “Who are you? He asks the mystery man. We are humanity, you are a human being Orin. Eyes locked for miles Orin can’t believe his ears. Just then he sees another figure approaching from the ship. “John?” “Hello Orin, you must have so many questions but now is not the time I’m afraid. You must get on the ship and leave quickly.” “But, I…” Suddenly Orin is cradled up by his waist by another stranger with ease. “Sorry kid but we don’t have time for this.” says the new stranger, tossing Orin into the ship, he turns and talks to John outside the ship and they shake hands. John looks back to Orin and grins as Orin lays on his side watching the door slowly eclipse John. “Wait! John!” “We will see him again kid don’t worry says one of the Humans.  Orin rushes up to the rear window just in time to see Saffron entering in through the docking bay door confronting John. “We have waited years to come get you Orin” the stranger says. Now at this distance, unable to see John, he can see the Outpost in its fullness for the first time thinking of his star-dive with Ken and Julia… “Ken, Julia!  We need to go back for my crew!” Orin exclaims.  “Orin, your friends have a destiny all their own. You are part of a new crew now. Orin, you are a Skyscraper and…” “What are you talking about? None of this makes any sense!” Suddenly a bright flash emits through the rear window of the ship. “No…no…NO!” Orin presses his forehead against the glass as he watches the entire docking bay level explode in violent rippling bursts of light and debris. “Julia…”