Blearily, he glanced around the big conference table again.
He felt tired.
More than that he felt exhausted. Sore. Abused. His attention had fizzled out long before Ferris had shown up to 'relieve' him. Despite this, he didn't even the will to get up and leave. So he just stared at the table.
"You ok, man?" Ferris asked for what seemed like the millionth time.
Darrian meekly nodded in way of response.
"Come on, Darrian. You look terrible." Ferris said with a hint of concern. "Go home. You could use the rest."
"I'll be here when Jin'thun contacts us." he added quickly.
Darrian slowly turned his attention towards his compatriot who offered him a friendly smile.
"Can't." he said shortly.
That sat in silence for another indiscernible period of time. They had already done this same song and dance several times, but neither had broken their stead. But the outcome had yet to change. Ferris kept gently nudging him and Darrian just responded that he couldn't leave.
Not that he wouldn't leave. He couldn't.
Darrian had to wait for the inevitable. He needed to know what was happening at Mars.
If only they would contact them, he would know what was happening.
In the silence of the room, it seemed like everything that had happened up til now, that had led up to this, was constantly replaying in his mind. Even worse, a thousand scenarios born of fear and anxiety took heed when he managed to slip free of the past.
What is the Gorderians and Tulgucks started an all-out war? What if this one conflict, over this one questionable species tore apart the very Consortium? What if despite everything, the humans were destroyed and...
His mind was a turbulent mess of terror and remorse.
If only he knew what was happening.
"Well..." Ferris began.
Darrian glanced back at him.
"Illiquina should be here soon." He offered.
"Yea." Darrian said in way of response.
That had been the other thing that had been bothering him.
Did the Old Judge fit into any of this somehow?
Every time that question cropped up, it was like a viscous black ooze that mucked up his mind even further. In slipped into the cracks of his thoughts and gelled his anxieties together; making him wonder how it might all be connected.
But each time, he would eventually reject it.
The Old Judge is nothing. He thought to himself. Just a stupid old robot.
And so he'd continue stressing in silence. At least until Ferris tried to get him to go home again.
True to Ferris's word, however, Illiquina showed up shortly thereafter. She walked into the conference room and immediately focused on the weary Darrian.
"What are you still doing here?" she asked pointedly.
"Can't get him to leave." Ferris offered.
"Darrian?" she asked.
"Can't leave." he said quietly.
Illiquina glowered at him before turning her smoldering annoyance on Ferris.
"Hey. I've been trying."
She approached him and her demeanor softened.
"Darrian. Go Home."
"I need to know what's going on."
"And you will." she offered in probably the gentlest tone the little Cadrax had ever spoken in. "But you need rest."
He looked at her, but found himself simply staring through her.
"Please." she said quietly.
"I'll even walk you home." Ferris added.
"No." Darrian said shortly.
Illiquina and Ferris exchanged glances.
"How long have you been awake?" She asked.
"Don't know. Cycle maybe? Probably a little more."
"You've been awake for an entire cycle?" Ferris asked shocked.
"Ok." Illiquina snapped. "Go home. You don't get to sit here til you die of exhaustion."
Darrian glared down at the tiny Cadrax. He was considering just digging his heels in. It's not like she could physically move him. There was Ferris though...
"Now." she said sternly.
"What about the Old Judge?" he asked, the thoughts oozing through the cracks of his mind.
"What about him?" asked Ferris.
"Wha-" Darrian felt his words stumble. "What didn't you tell us?"
Illiquina sighed and her tone softened once again.
"That's what you've been stressing about." she said.
"One of the things."
"I was going to wait for everyone." she said hesitantly. "But if I tell you, will you go home?"
"Mmm." he grumbled in confirmation.
"Fine." she said as she settled in next to him.
In an instant, she had her odd looking datapad out and was tapping away furiously. Maybe it was his tired mind, but he still couldn't figure out where she hid that thing.
"Let's review, shall we?"
Start at the Beginning
(Hello Lovelies. So, I wanted to address something real quick. I know we're going slow but it's primarily related to me wanting to get these final chapters right. On top of this, I've begun the inital re-writing process since, as mentioned before, all posted chapters have been a first draft. That said, I'm only going to do one or two more public chapters. I'd like to leave the climax for the release of the book. Once I've released the last few public chapters, we'll return to a schedule of more random writings, discussions, etc. along with planning for blog tours and things of that nature.
Sorry about the wait, but I promise more is to come. Hopefully the whole re-write and editing won't take too long, but I know a few good chunks will take a while since now I KNOW the characters a bit more and can make it a more of a cohesive story with strong character arch. See you next time!)