“Rainbow, please identify yourself.”
“This is Samuel 1701 and Ganis 1031. We are deserters who’ve had second thoughts.”
“Deserters? Normally we need to go find you, not the other way around.” The station’s com officer sounded pretty suspicious. That just showed he had some sense. Unfortunately for us.
“We managed to capture Diamond Stars and his crew. We’re willing to trade for a pardon,” I told the lie we’d agreed on, but I expected them to just shoot us out of the sky and save everyone trouble. I had my hand on the jump button in case. It might end us inside the sun, but I liked my chances better than with a missile.
The com was quiet for much too long and I thought maybe they were on to us. How did Diamond look so calm? That woman was amazing.
“Alright, dock at dock 3. Open the airlock with arms up and no weapons,” the voice said. Definitely military and not Black-Sun, or he’d have demanded we tie our hands behind our backs and lie on the floor.
As we waited for the airlock to open, I asked, “Do you really think this will work?”
“I’m hopeful, but I have four other plans just in case.”
The door opened to show two soldiers in full uniform with their side arms drawn. “Keep your hands where we can see them and walk slowly into the hall.”
We did what we were told and they cuffed us, almost gently, against the wall. Where had these guys learned to deal with prisoners?
“Now where are the others?”
“What others?” asked Diamond.
“Diamond Stars and his crew?” the soldier asked with a smirk having expected it and didn’t bark back at the sass. Something was off and it was making me nervous.
“If we brought them right away you’d have killed us all and called it a good day. We stashed their bodies in cryo-pods.”
The soldier doesn’t seem surprised, but instead seems pleased. “Alright, we’ll take you to talk with General Maxime. He will decide what to do with you.” That was a good sign. There were no generals in Black-Sun. Only soldiers, commanders, and speakers. I always thought it was strange that the highest echelon of authority was called speakers, but since I never met any, I never got the chance to ask why.
“You’ll be in this room,” one of the soldiers said and pushed me into a small meeting room. The table in the middle was round and would seat four or five people. The walls were covered in whiteboards that had been meticulously cleaned or never used.
I was alone. It was a smart tactic. Get our stories separately and make sure we’re telling the truth.
I was feeling the walls to see if there were any back passages when a man walked in with a brown paper bag. He wore a lab coat over a grey shirt and black pants with bright red sneakers.
“Sorry. I didn’t realize this room was taken,” he said, not really looking at me. When he finally did and saw I was handcuffed he relaxed and added, “Oh you’re one of the prisoners. Mind if I have my lunch here?” He was handsome in a nondescript way.
It was a strange request, but I shrugged and replied, “Sure, unless you have something stinky.”
He laughed and said, “Naw. Just this tunafish, truffle, and banana sandwich with blue cheese.” He paused for a second and laughed at his own joke before adding, “Not big on jokes huh. Well, you were Black-Sun. Don’t worry, I just have some cheese, crackers, and an apple.” The food was fresh looking and impressive this far out in a secret base. How did they get fresh produce and dairy? Either they’d perfected the device we were here to steal or he was more important than he let on.
He ate mostly in silence. He was neat to an impressive level. He offered me a piece of cheese midway that I politely declined.
“So what are you in for?” he asked in a jovial tone.
“Bit of desertion,” I replied with a smirk I hoped looked more charming than dangerous.
“Ouch. Black-Sun normally just kills you guys. Why do you think the military is going to protect you?”
“I have someone they want. I’m Samuel 1701, mostly go by Garnet.” I didn’t ask his identity. I’d already figured it out, I hoped.
“Where are my manners. I’m Echo.” His eyes searched mine for recognition. I must have faked ignorance well enough because he said, “Physicist and researcher.”
“Nice to finally meet you, Sun Speaker Echo, sir,” I said dropping the pretense.
He smiled and his eyes glowed black for a moment. “So you saw right through me. You’d make a good Sun Speaker.”
“Why the ruse?”
“You respond better to casual conversation and I needed to eat,” he chuckled. Standing up, he headed for the door. As he passed through, he turned and said, “Sun Speakers are able to see the past, present, and future. You can’t lie to us and you can’t trick us. The gods are on our side. We are the righteous and I’m glad you’ve found your way back to us.”
He left and I deflated. What he’d said was normally told in whispers after too many drinks. How could we possibly out-maneuver a god-powered psychic?
I paced and tried to calm my breathing. My heart ached if I thought about the plan and what might happen to poor Onyx.
It wasn’t until I thought of him that I was able to distract myself enough to process my conversation with the Sun Speaker. If he was all knowing, he’d have shot us out of the sky the moment he saw us. That meant he didn’t know everything, and that meant, maybe, we had a chance.
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:
- 2022 – Birth of the Aetherverse (Fantasy)
- 2021 – Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist (Sci-Fi, Heist, Romance)
- 2020 – Point Zero (Superhero, Sci-Fi)
- 2019 – Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station (Sci-Fi Adventure Mystery)
Want to learn more about what Sun Speakers are? Check out what the one in our solar system is up to.
In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.