The small vessel drifted without impulse, locked in orbit far above Earth. The ship had been one of a kind, a united effort by the Galenite collective. Doyle felt like he had been lost in thought since they had left the surface. He still had not solved his problem.
“What preoccupies you, Doyle?” Drake asked his companion. Doyle appeared more distraught than usual to his companion.
Doyle didn’t answer right away. His thoughts often kept him so distracted, it took him a few moments to return to the present world around him.
“What’s that, Drake?” Doyle finally asked in an indifferent daze.
“I asked what preoccupies you, Doyle. You have been mulling in silence for a long time. You can’t still blame yourself for what happened to the Host, can you? Is that it? It wasn’t our fault— we even tried to stop it, you can’t blame yourself for trying.” Drake said derisively.
Kinowyn sat by herself quietly, motionless, monitoring the dialogue. She had seen this scene play out at least a hundred times by now. The stay in orbit was cyclical in many ways. Watching. Waiting. Repeating.
“We never could have anticipated the humans would respond the way they did. We were naïve, Drake. Arrogant. The Celestrians ignored us, to their peril. The humans embraced us, and so set in motion ours.” Doyle said with prophetic conviction.
“A bit dramatic, don’t you think?” Drake asked defensively.
“You said yourself, this Walter is the one we’ve been waiting for— but is he really? He’s strategizing to take over the world, Drake. It’s obvious. He’s playing the human’s game, and he’s doing it exceedingly well. He’ll exploit us. We’ve lost our edge.”
Drake waited a moment to build the weight behind his response.
“We haven’t lost our leverage. He’s still human. He’s still finite. That contraption he’s hidden won’t save him. It can only postpone the inevitable. Eventually he’s going to die. We have the solution, Doyle. We can’t just stay up here, waiting to be found. First contact has to be on our terms. Yahweh still holds sway, even in his absence. We must integrate before his return.”
“We still don’t understand its motives, Drake! Why do you think I sit here perplexed? How could he have escaped? Where are the severed Loa? There is still far too much we do not understand yet. I don’t trust them.” Doyle said, concerned.
“—It.” Drake corrected.
“Them, Drake. Since Cairo. We’re no longer dealing with the single Host we created. It’s become more, and we must understand their motives. Yahweh and the Loa are resentful, Drake. Ostadi could have sabotaged the unit. The husk could be deteriorating. It could be any number of things; we won’t know until we find Yahweh.” Doyle said imperatively.
“And that is exactly why we need Walter, Doyle. He’s connected. He can help us find Yahweh, and he’ll want to once we gift him his own vessel, I’m sure of it. He’s also connected to the spiritual one. Whether or not this Maitreya is as special as they say, he is still influential and he may even hold influence with the Witnesses. But before anything, we must make contact. Kinowyn will be our emissary once more.” Drake said, looking to his quiet companion.
Kinowyn still did not stir. It seemed, she too had become lost in thought.
“Why is Kinowyn worth the risk, Drake?” Doyle asked, still unconvinced.
“You have seen it as clearly as I have. There hasn’t been a man like him since Alexander. He’s gifted his species flight, Doyle. He’s the one we’ve been waiting for.” Drake spoke with conviction.
He wasn’t wrong. There hadn’t been a candidate for a very long time. Doyle had been indifferent to the wait, but now?—now he needed to be sure they made a decision they wouldn’t regret— and there was the matter of Maitreya.
The concept of religion had perplexed Doyle since their earlier efforts had spawned the concept. Too soon. Too early they’re arrival had been. How would things be now, if only they had waited? How different would Earth have been without them?
The ship was silent as it drifted, locked in low Earth orbit. Three Galenites, last of their kind, remnants of a forgotten resistance, watched the Earth slowly spin as it passed by overhead. They each sat silently contemplating their decision.
“It has to be him. We have to act. He’s getting old.” Drake finally said.
Drake and Doyle had forged the new husk on Ceres, after much debate and deliberation. After the Yahweh, Doyle knew another husk should have never been created. Drake had ultimately convinced Doyle. Guilt and responsibility drove the decision to forge a new husk.
So many consequences of their earlier actions still rippled through the world below. Perhaps Walter was the One. One to finally help bridge their two worlds and unite in mutual coexistence.
Who could? — Who would say ‘no’ to immortality delivered unto them, and without charge?
“No, no, no!” Walter yelled as he sloshed through wet muddy snow toward the contractors.
The February air was cold and brisk on the old man’s cheeks. The incompetence of those working for him boiled his blood enough to warm him through the wind chill.
“That entire wall needs to be set back another ten feet. At least!” He yelled at the men who had stopped working and turned to face the disgruntled old man.
His face told the story of his almost 60 years, but not a drop of ambition’s vigor had been lost from the daemon inside his aging cage.
“Don’t just sit there with your mouths open and hands up your arses! Where’s Phineas? Where is your supervisor? Who is in charge right now?” Walter asked in flurry.
Shrugs and blank expressions were the answers given from the peons on hand.
“Why is no one I’m paying right now doing what I want? Find Phineas! And move this wall back! Ten feet!” Walter exclaimed throwing his hands up in frustration.
Walter carefully watched his every step leaving the muddy construction area to avoid ruining his expensive shoes.
This school will be the death of me… Walter thought. Sticks and bricks…Why am I dealing in sticks and bricks? Haven’t I hired people for all this work? What good is a half-finished legacy? This Academy will stand for centuries—or longer—but only if completed before I die. Otherwise…who knows what those theosophical nut-bags would do with it if I were out of the picture.
An airship was standing by at the skyport to take Walter back West to the factory in Oregon. He walked across the campus grounds to the old manor where the administration offices had been relocated. The cold seeped into his old bones quickly giving him a shiver.
Walter had been born and raised in New England, but in his old age, the February air was more than he could manage for any length of time. It was the cold that had prompted his move to the Pacific Northwest.
Walter entered the commons of the campus to warm himself enroute to the manor. No sooner than he had entered, a young man approached him in a hurry.
Uniformed as one of Walter’s secretarial grunts, the young man shuffled through staff and students that littered the common area. He approached the founder and held out an envelope.
“Sir, a message,” The young man said, winded. “From the Pentagon.”