“I am General Lucas Shenk, commander of the Republic Military, grandest army in all of the galaxy.”
He led him to the observation deck of the bridge where he could survey the wide expanse of the galaxy. Millions of stars dotted the landscape in front of them. A dozen planets and moons completed the fascinating canvas. The Sirus galaxy. A magnificent display of brilliance and beauty.
“This is our frontier. A playground of immeasurable magnitude. You will never see a finer existence in all of the universe. Sirus is the crown jewel. Isn’t she beautiful?”
“Yes sir. She is.” Johnny mumbled.
“Johnny, what is it you want to know? Where do you want to start? I can empathize with the burden that weighs on you. Let me attempt to lift it.”
He paused a moment. Where to begin? “Well, why am I here on this ship? And how did I, Johnny Pheryl – if that really is my name – come to be in this current situation? I feel like I’m walking in a never ending murky sea. I don’t have purpose. I don’t have meaning. I’m lost. Honestly, I don’t know where to go from here.”
“Johnny, you are a highly trained and gifted specimen. I suppose I should go back to the beginning and explain how you and I came to meet. It might help to shed light on your circumstance. Please, join me in my quarters, where we can talk undisturbed.”
Shenk put his hand on his shoulder and led him off the bridge, down a corridor, to the captain’s quarters.
They entered and Shenk motioned the doors shut. He walked behind a very large, black desk and sat down in a captain’s chair set on a swivel. The oval desk sat positioned in front of a large bay window, looking out into the vast depths of space. It’s cool, smooth, marble-like surface looked like a dark pool of liquid metal. A transponder affixed in the center was the only item on the desk. The chair was also black with a smooth surface. It looked like an oval pod, cut open in the front. The top curved into an overhang above the General.
Shenk motioned Johnny to a small chair in front of the desk. Four chairs lined the wall to his right, and three on the wall to his left. A dimly lit, crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling in the center of the room. The dome shaped ceiling cascaded down like a waterfall of velvety red into a cornice spanning the entire circumference of the room. From inside the cornice radiated a soft, white, iridescent glow, accenting the midnight blue walls.
At the center of each wall on the face of the cornice was a carving of a circular shaped insignia. It appeared ancient in design, from a dark, ominous time long forgotten. At it’s center stood a black cloaked figure with a staff in hand and a crescent moon attached on the end. The figure held a sphere with a triangle inside, in it’s other hand. The sphere radiated a blast of light and power.
A very large abstract painting hung on the wall behind him, facing Shenk’s desk. The painting displayed a blood bathed field covered in broken bodies. A lone man sat on a hill above the field looking up at the vastness of the universe in contemplation. The moon and stars, painted in beautiful detail, shone down on the man in a lone pillar of light, shadowing the ugly carnage below him.
“A beautiful masterpiece.” Shenk’s calm, strident voice resonated through the silence. “I chose that piece myself. I suppose you could say it holds a sentimental value for me.”
He sat forward in his chair.
“But that is for another time. You would like some questions answered.” He folded his hands and leaned over on the table. “Johnny, you were a promising young agent, when I discovered you. You were looking for ways to live an elevated life. You were a dreamer and a visionary, who wanted to find tomorrow, before it left you with yesterday. You dreamt of forging new trails, discovering new galaxies, all in the name of creativity. Your imagination was your greatest asset.”
“But you were struggling. You desired relevancy. You felt betrayed by those who had meant so much to you. You were dark and alone. And I came along with an offer. An opportunity for you to be a hero.”
He switched on the transponder and produced a file from a secure channel within the computer’s central application system. The file-name read: Johnny Pheryl.