Thanks for reading. The story begins to pick up as more clues to Aran’s past and destiny are revealed. To read previous chapters, click HERE.
Danyelle rose from her seat and nodded toward Ramon. She then turned and walked out the door, not once looking back at Aran. Ramon just sighed and shook his head. He them mumbled something about egotistical women as he walked to his mini bar and poured himself a drink.
“Would you like a drink, Aran?” Ramon asked politely.
Aran shook his head. “No, Sir,” he replied. He was sure it was way too early for a drink.
Ramon nodded and downed the drink quickly. As he finished, he set the empty glass down near a small washing sink and turned back toward Aran. Aran could see the stress that Ramon was apparently under. He knew the Admiral wasn’t that old but for some reason, right here and now, he looked old.
“I knew you would come because of Klaw’s involvement in the kidnapping and I have a feeling he’s going to be….around,” he said after a few seconds pause. “I know we’ve had our differences. I want you to know I never doubted your ability just your desire. I understand the pressure you have of living up to your father. He was a great man and a good friend.”
Aran nodded. “The desire’s always been there,” he said. “It’s just been focused on other things.”
“Well, I’ve always believed you didn’t care what happened to your parents. I know that’s wrong to think that, but that’s how I’ve always felt. Until now at least. You seem….different, I guess is the word. Did something happen recently by any chance?”
“No,” Aran replied. “I can’t really explain what’s been happening with me.”
Aran felt telling Ramon or anyone about the dreams of his mother was unwarranted and really none of anyone’s business. He had another one of her last night. The only thing he vaguely remembered from it was her smiling at him. He only wished he could hear what she was saying.
“Okay then,” Ramon replied. “I want you to understand why you getting that stone is so imperative. Not just because of Ganelon but what Krenox means to others. Your mother and father both died for it as did Kamal. You saw how Lieutenant Gomas looked at you. You are a symbol of hope.”
“I know,” Aran said.
As he took a deep breath, he began pacing back and forth over a span of twenty steps. He stopped and looked out of Ramon’s balcony.
“It’s been harder to deny what the natural course of things ask for,” he said. “I know what I have to do and I’m ready for it.”
“Good,” Ramon replied as he placed his hand on Aran’s right shoulder. “Your parent’s would be proud of you.”
Ramon smiled and turned toward his desk. Aran looked at his wrist-com and hesitated. What he had to ask for now wouldn’t be easy but he had nothing to lose and it was necessary for the mission.
“Admiral, Sir,” he said. “Av Ankiel came back with me.”
Ramon had just about sat down when he stopped at the mention of that name. Whatever he expected to come out of Aran’s mouth, it wasn’t that. Ramon, after some hesitation, finally sat down but grimaced at what he knew was coming next.
“I want him on the mission,” Aran continued. “I know he’s had a few run-ins with you but he’s a good engineer and I’m sure he’ll be a big help with Darkata.”
Ramon said nothing as he fixed himself another drink. To him, the subject of Av Ankiel was touchy. The run-ins he’d had with other officers, with one of them being Commander Danyelle Hawkins, plus the disappearance of that prototype syclone, which he could never pin on him. He sighed wearily as he took a deep and heavy breath. He downed the drink and looked back at Aran. One of his qualities that was both inspiring and damn annoying was his fierce loyalty to his closest friends. Ramon needed Aran on this mission so in the end there was no other alternative.
“He’s your responsibility,” Ramon warned Aran. “One incident, big or small, and he’s done.”
Aran smiled and nodded. “I understand,” he said. “So….”
“I’ll let him know.”
With that, Aran was dismissed. After shaking hands with Ramon, he quickly exited his office and walked down the corridor to the lift and waited. He sent a message to everyone involved to meet up with him at the promenade in a few minutes.
When the lift doors slid open, Aran saw the face of a tech operator he had seen before but couldn’t place. The man, who looked to be Osagian, saw Aran staring at him and gave him a wry smile. He moved as to try and hid his name that was emblazoned on his uniform. Aran caught three of the letters, which were s a k. The name didn’t ring a bell either. As he entered the lift, the tech operator turned back toward Aran and gave him another smile, this one more furtive. He continued to stare as the lift doors closed and headed down to level one where transport would take him to the promenade.