I hope you are enjoying Captain’s Journey thus far. Today is the seventh installment of the story. Please feel free to sound off in the comments or contact me on Twitter.
“You are not a monster.”
“Hal. If I am not a monster, then what am I? I chose to push forward and destroy every last living thing on that ship. I took the lives of my crew to do it and was going to do the same to the Albedo. What other name is there for me?”
“Weapon. It is a simple word but it fits better than monster.”
I stand up and begin pacing about the room. “A weapon does not go off on it’s own. It does not turn on those who may have created it. Monsters do that. There are thousands of stories where this is the formula.”
“Jaxx, your knowledge of history and weaponry is very poor. Bombs are weapons that are dangerous to their creators at all times. They are still used by many primitive races throughout the galaxy and take their toll on their makers as often as their targets. Humans are also well known for their penchant for turning living creatures into weapons. There are ancient records indicating that cetaceans were trained to carry bombs for naval engagements. The horrors heaped upon these creatures didn’t end there either. Upon the discovery of water planets, they were engineered to become even more intelligent yet subservient to humans. They were the perfect army for the conquest of these peaceful planets. Weapons, not monsters.”
“Is that what I am then? Some failed experiment that they decided might be viable at last. Is that why they came looking for me and brought out the scary aliens as well.” I stop my pacing at the view port and lean my forehead against the cool polymer, not even noticing the outside world.
“You are wallowing in self-pity Jaxx. You are adrift. You have been out in the void for a long time, dependent only on your crew for support. This knowledge, that you are the cause for their demise and the loss of your ship is a bitter pill. It is not the end of the story, merely a transition. You state that you are a monster but never ask what it was that made you into this and what does that mean for you going forward. You don’t see a way forward and are ready to give in.”
“My life is a mirror that has been shattered into a million pieces. I don’t even have the luxury of blaming anyone else. Each and every step of the way there are choices that I have made that have lead me to where I stand right now.”
“Would you care to elaborate on that statement. My information may be incomplete and knowing what you believe to be the cause for your current predicament may provide some illumination on this dark time.”
“You heard the terran captain. They think my son is alive. It all starts there. He was one of the good things I did. His mother and I, It just didn’t work out. It was not the right thing for me. I loved him, though. He spent half his time with me and half with his mother. The accident occurred while I was taking him to see the new ship I was going to be commanding.”
I pause in the retelling, slowly rolling my head back and forth on the cool surface. I let the sensation ease me back into tale. The small break makes it easier to go forward.
“I was coasting into a docking approach to the orbital station when everything went haywire. The small jumper stated spinning wildly with alarms screaming from every direction. The sound of metal protesting the treatment it was receiving drowned out the Zane’s screams. Everything went black as I flew out of the pilot’s seat and smashed against view port. I woke up, what they told me was a week later. They delivered the bad news that my son hadn’t survived the accident. I had been hit by a piece of the station that had came loose and I was lucky to be alive. I was devastated. My body was broken and my soul was shattered. I was on drugs that kept my Talent suppressed and fed a cocktail of drugs that I only now realize what they were for.”
I sigh and turn back to the room and take a seat at my small table. I put my elbows on the table and put my head in my hands as I continue.
“They convinced me to join the Terran League. There are never enough Captains for all the ships in the fleet and I would be an excellent addition. With my world fading to black, I took it as a lifeline to salvage what little I had left. I am not the military type and my lifestyle is not one that the Terran League really cared for. I was the best Captain they had but the worst disciplinary problem as well. I couldn’t take the snide comments or the pressure to be something I wasn’t. So, I ran. It wasn’t difficult to find a ship to smuggle me out of the system and take me to the dark edge of human space. There was always a need for my Talent, even more so out among the outlaws and marginal folk. I quickly earned the money to get my own ship and hire a crew. It was a nice life actually. I could breathe again and feel emotions. Now, I’m left with ashes again.
“Jaxx, you seem to be missing the point. You say you now know what the drugs they were giving you were for but are jumping to the incorrect conclusion. You are implying that the drugs are part of the process that changed you. This is incorrect. You were altered on a genetic scale which requires no special drugs, save anesthesia. You were given things to make you pliable, docile. This way you would acquiesce to their request making it easier to monitor your progress. They just didn’t know that what they did made you much more resistant to that type of meddling. They sowed the seeds of their own failure.”
I stare at the table through my hands and then just let it go to slap onto it with a thud.
“Fuck! I’ve been played the entire time. I just have to know if they are telling the truth about my son. I know its a trap though.”
“You are correct. Going in armed with that knowledge allows us to get more out it than they want. You can pull the other missing pieces out and begin to put the puzzle together of what you are now.”