Michael was sitting in a chair next to Trystan. He was relaxed with a broad smile, leaning back in the chair with a cup of steaming, black coffee in his hand like he didn't have a care in the world.
The woman in the uniform was leaned forward in her chair with her arms over the desk, also with a broad smile as she observed both Trystan and Michael as if she were looking at the two biggest heroes of her life. Finally, she said, "Thank you for joining me in my office." She paused and breathed in deep for a moment. "I guess you're wondering what exactly all this is about."
Trystan looked a bit annoyed and widened her eyes at the woman for a moment in response to her statement.
"Well," she paused. "Maybe this will help." She got up from her chair and walked to a console on the wall behind her. The touchscreen console integrated in the wall lighted up at her touch and a display of a small gray being appeared on it with a list of information. "Have you ever heard of...the Grays? Small, gray beings with the big, egg- shaped heads and black, almond-shaped eyes?
"Back in the late twentieth century of earth and on into the early twenty-first century-just before the advancements of interspacial warp field drive, there was a phenomena known as the alien abduction phenomena. People were claiming they were being abducted by extraterrestrials and experimented on. There were thousands of reported sightings of alien spacecraft." She displayed a picture of a silver, disk- shaped craft. "The spacecraft were called flying saucers and reported as Unidentified Flying Objects.
"Course the people who claimed of these abductions were ridiculed and quickly became outcasts. Some were put in mental hospitals- being thought of as delusional and insane. Just before the development of interspacial warp field drive most people around the world were convinced all the sightings-that had by then pretty much died down, were actually just secret military aircraft tests. They were told this repeatedly by government officials and the United States army. By the time the first starship had been built about 97 percent of the world believed the entire alien abduction phenomena was about as real as the tooth fairy or Santa Clause-and the number was on the rise.
"Well," she continued cutting off the display and sitting back at the desk, "it, in fact, was real. Well..." she paused, "every bit of it except for the probing part. The oscilic weren't as advanced back then so it took a while for them to take complete cover. The oscilic are the Grays. The tests they ran was simply protocol before issuing assimilation order. Once they felt they had enough genetic information on us they issued the assimilation order.
"Carefully chosen people were taken by the oscilic. Their official records on earth were deleted from existence, and everyone who knew them had their minds wiped of the person. All evidence that that person ever existed on the planet earth was erased. The person was then briefed on pretty much everything, trained, and eventually given duty as an officer to serve under the oscilic for the earth. That would be us. Me, the other humans aboard this ship and every human you'll see ever again.
"We, the humans chosen by the oscilic, call ourselves the Dormant. We watch everyone. We watched every human that was not chosen. We all had our specific assignments. Either to watch a specific area or a specific person. We use an interdimensional cloaking technology to keep from being seen, and its worked since the twenty-first century on into now. The government officials that made up all of those stories about the flying saucers being tests of military aircraft, they were working for us. The oscilic realized the scar they'd left on the population and knew they had to heal it soon, and that is how they did it.
"The oscilic had taken exactly five thousand humans during the construction of the first earth starship, all of them French, American, Asian, and Canadian-they were the only ones that passed the tests the oscilic had run during abductions. You may notice there are no dark- dermaled humans." She noticed Trystan and Michael had no idea what she meant. "Black people. The oscilic-they weren't exactly racist...just...they didn't pass enough tests. The five thousand were trained and eventually became the Dormant. Marriages were allowed, families were created. We have gone from five thousand to approximately three-hundred billion around the galaxy right now."
"Three-hundred billion!" said Michael in awe. "Damn."
Trystan looked at Michael, surprised. "You believe this shit?"
The woman lowered her head, disappointed. "I understand this may be a bit hard to take in-"
"A bit!" said Trystan. "Shit, you got wizards and mermaids aboard, too? Maybe a bunch of little elves makin toys for'ya?"
The woman sighed and looked away.
"Who's your leader, the loch ness monster?"
The woman suppressed her annoyance and nodded without looking at Trystan. "I understand you're-"
"Bull shit!" said Trystan standing up. "You know what, I'm not listening to any more of this."
"You don't understand," the woman was desperate in her tone. "The earth-"
"Fuck you." Trystan turned and walked toward the door.
"The earth has been destroyed."
Trystan had stopped still. An eerie silence filled the room for a moment. Michael was still sitting in the chair with a look like he'd just figured out the cure for cancer.
"The Terran Space Force has been completely wiped out. The earth's atmosphere was stripped. Every starship carrying a non-Dormant human was destroyed. Only eighty-seven non-Dormant humans, not counting you, exist...anywhere. It was done by...well, a collective group of beings. We're not sure they are extraterrestrial...'cause, we're not even sure exactly what kind of being they are.
"They aren't originally from space-not our space anyway, and they exist in a form of matter that is not solid, liquid, gas, nor plasma. It is something none of us have ever come across before, including the oscilic, and the oscilic have existed as space-farers for over five thousand years now. There is no theory saying where they might come from, no theory saying what they might be. The very idea of "them" has never been imagined by any known person.
"When their ships aren't completely undetectable by us or shifting in and out of space, we can see that they seem to follow the basics of this universe. The only strange thing is they're ships are made from neutronium."
By this time Trystan had turned around and was now standing against the back of the chair she had been sitting in. Michael was taking in every word the woman said like it was gospel truth.
"Neutronium?" said Michael. "But that's impossible. Nothing can harvest a neutron star for hull plating."
"That's what we thought," said the woman. "But their ships are indeed made of neutronium and are therefore basically impenetrable. The only strange thing is, they can land on a planet without having the mass of the neutronium plating sink the ship to the core of the planet it's on.
"The oscilic have reached a level of advancement in technology that they believe is very near the technological limit, and yet these...beings have technology that defies the imagination of even an oscilic."
Trystan was clenching tightly to the chair, her head down, her nails digging into the leather. She had been deadly silent. Her hair hung around her head and masked her face from view. "Take me back to my ship," she said eerily quietly.
The woman was a bit taken back by the sound of Trystan's voice. She nodded, though she knew Trystan would not see it. "I will explain the rest later. I understand you need some time to think about this."
Trystan turned around, not once looking at the woman or Michael. She folded her arms over her chest and kept her head lowered.
Michael and the woman stood.
"We will download our ship's data files into yours, you can look over anything you want in them," said the woman.
"Thank you," Michael said, trying to make the situation a little more comfortable.
The woman nodded in response. "Just hail us when ever you're ready to begin talk again." She hit a comm. button on a machine integrated into her desk and looked into it. "Miss Haley, please send an officer into my office to escort our guests to a teleporter operator and have them immediately sent back to their ship."
"Aye, Captain," came the peppy reply of a young female human.
A tall, black-scaled, reptillous creature in the same uniform as the woman entered the room. Michael couldn't help but stare. Trystan stood as if she hadn't noticed, her eyes still glued to the ground.
"You'll excuse our guests' eyes, Ensign Orial. You understand their situation, correct?"
"Aye, Captain," said the understanding creature. He and the woman nodded at each other.
"Mr. Orial here will direct you to a teleporter operator that will teleport you directly to your ship's bridge," she said to Michael.
The woman chuckled. "Yes, Captain. My deepest apologies. I am Captain Vanessa David, commanding officer of this vessel."
"No need to apologize, Captain, I understand," said Michael. "I look forward to our next conference. I'm sure my partner here," he glanced at Trystan who still remained motionless. "Will be under better control then, and we will meet soon."
Trystan and Michael left out the door with Mr. Orial and were led to a human officer at a console on the bridge. They were teleported to the bridge of Wolsifier.
For a while they just stood there. Trystan's head still remained down, her arms crossed over her chest. Before Michael had another moment's thought, Trystan had suddenly lunged on him, throwing him against the wall. She had him by the throat.
"I don't fucking appreciate being turned on like that!" she said.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"I hate you," she said with a look so indescribable in her eyes that it hurt to just look at them. "I fucking hate you."
Michael was left breathless. His eyes began to water. He'd never heard her talk like that or seen that look in her eyes before. It just made his body go limp and his heart shatter.
Trystan let go of him and slammed the button to open the door and left the bridge. When the door shut, she crumbled to the ground against the door. She covered her mouth with her hand and began to cry. She pushed into the corner and wrapped up into a ball. Nothing could describe the emotional torment she was going through. No one knew, not even herself, what was going on inside her. She felt alone. More alone than she had ever felt before. Like she was trapped, balled up in a corner in a cave on some deserted planet in a universe where she's the only living thing. She felt dead inside. She just wanted to scream and beat everything. Just keep beating and beating on everything around her until her hands fell off. There was something inside her exploding and she was keeping it inside as long and hard as she could, but the clock was ticking.
Michael found the door to Trystan's room on level three of the Wolsifier. He knew she was in it the moment he set foot out of the elevator on this level because he could hear her rock music playing all the way down the corridor.
He never did like that music but after living with Trystan for so long he'd gotten so used to it he could block it out without even thinking about it. He knew it was useless to try knocking, for she wouldn't hear him over the music. So instead, he hit a button beside her door that turned on a light on the other side of the door and hoped she'd see it and let him in.
Trystan, lying on a couch in a room lit by a black light, noticed the light that turned on, on her door. She knew it was Michael. She had a small device on her head just behind her left ear that enabled her to use her mind to write her poems on the lightpad in her hand instead of some type of writing utensil. She was in the middle of writing a poem when she'd noticed the light.
Michael could feel the bass of Trystan's stereo beating all the way up in his chest. He didn't like the music, but he kind of liked the feel of the bass beating in his chest. His heart ached though. Not because of the bass of Trystan's stereo, but because of what had happened between them on the bridge earlier that day. The way she had said she hated him. The scene kept rewinding and playing over and over again in his mind. It hurt more each time he thought about it. It was true, as Michael had decided a few months ago, that he really does love Trystan. After what had happened the last night, the way she'd asked him to lye with her, he thought she was in love with him, too. Now- now he didn't know what was going on. He could almost sense something boiling deep down within her, and he wished with all his heart he could make it all go away and make her happy-that's all he wanted, was for her to be happy.
He had noticed changes in her. Since a few months ago she had gotten a little more...temperamental. He and her used to go out for dinner at some nice restaurant occasionally back on earth. Or they'd go out and shoot pool at a bar. She'd distanced herself though in the last few months. They hadn't done any of that. She spent most of her time on the Wolsifier while it was docked at the Terran Space Society station. The only time she ever went out was when she went to a party, which she never took Michael on before anyway.
The door slid open. Trystan had turned down her music. Michael had to take a moment to catch his breath. His eyes had instantly locked on hers and every time he looked into her eyes he lost his breath.
Trystan's face was expressionless. It was almost eerie to Michael.
Michael found it hard just to look at her face. He'd never felt this nervous in front of her in years. "I, um...-I talked to Captain David."
Trystan turned from him and walked back toward her couch. "I bet you did."
"She explained their reason for contacting us. I figured I should talk it over with you before a decision is made."
"A decision?" reiterated Trystan.
Michael drew in a deep breath. He took it upon himself to step in and have the door close. He couldn't help but take quick glances around him, for he'd only been in her room a couple of times before. He noticed the moving holo-posters on her wall of dragons and gore. Parts of his clothing were luminescent because of the black light. It looked like a Halloween haunted house.
"They want us to lead a...rescue mission."
She looked at him as she fell into the couch. "A what?"
"You remember the eighty-seven non- Dormant humans she talked about?" he said. "They were taken by the aliens that attacked earth. They aren't sure why, but they want us to find them. When we do, they'll take us to a safe world to begin a new civilization."
"What for, according to them, there's billions of humans in the galaxy? What does eighty-seven more mean to any of them?"
"I don't know," he replied a bit aggravated. He paused for a while. "I want to do this."
Trystan chuckled. "Yeah, I bet you do."
"They've given us a list of the officers they want to come with us. We'll use the Wolsifier, and they'll supply her with a few new armaments and defensive operations."
"I say fuck'em," said Trystan bluntly.
Michael sighed. Now he was frustrated. "Would you stop being so selfish and just...help someone other than yourself."
Trystan raised her eyebrows at Michael. "Well, fuck you, too."
"Damn it, Wolsifier, will you just- "
"What?" she said. "Just what? Allow some fucking assholes to take over my ship to save a bunch of people I don't even know?"
"These are good people! All they're trying to do is save the human civilization! Is that so bad?"
"Maybe it is," she said. "Maybe those aliens did the universe a favor when they wiped us out. Twenty-six hundred years and we're still all a bunch of drones walking around for the government. The civilization fucking sucks! It was filled with crime and poverty a thousand years ago and it would've been for another thousand. No one gave a fuck about anybody. Why should we give a fuck about them?"
"Not everyone is an uncaring bastard like you seem to think," he said defiantly. "There are good people out there."
"Shit! There's no such thing as a good person."
"Fine! I give up!"
"Oh, please," she said sarcastically, "say it ain't so."
"No," she said standing up and shoving her middle finger in his face. "Fuck you!"
They stood there for a few seconds, inches from each other's faces. Then, like mad lovers, they threw their lips upon each other's. Their arms wrapped around like crazy around each other. Breathing heavily, they began spatting wildly to each other.
"God, I want you," said Trystan.
"You can have me," replied Michael.
They slammed into a wall and knocked over a desk covered with dragon statues. They fell to the ground, Michael lying on top of Trystan. They began to rip each other's clothes off.
"Mmm-wait," said Trystan getting up from Michael's grasp. "On the couch," she said finding a switch on her wall that turned on her strobe light. She found the stereo and turned it way up. Michael found the couch and got comfortable. Trystan joined him. Some how the music didn't bother Michael anymore.
For hours, on the couch, in her bed, on the floor, they made wild, passionate love. They concluded it with an hour in the shower and fell asleep in each other's arms on Trystan's bed. They were so close, yet so far.