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Vigilant Always

Posted on Sat Sep 7th, 2019 @ 11:59pm by Lieutenant Commander Maralen Seitha

Mission: Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Location: Just Outside the Pirates' Camp
Timeline: Just after "An Officers' Meeting..." and just before "Turning The Lights Back On"

He finished his entry and set the Journal on the center of the desktop. The pen he placed diagonally on top of the book. Briefly, he wished there were other books to read. Even more briefly, he considered reading the one on the shelf. Finally, he just went to the bed, sat down cross-legged, and retreated into his own deep recesses. It was something his mother had taught him. She said that it would give him strength, comfort, and calm, whichever he needed at any given moment. What she had not told him, but what he discovered here, was that it also afforded him a safe haven for memory, pondering, and the expression of powerful emotion. It was the calm place at the center of the storm that was his mind. It was the core of power that fueled the drive systems of consciousness. It was that deep part of him wherein his greatest hopes and deepest wishes resided and from which they gained power and substance. It was to this place within himself that he now ventured.

But his journey was cut short by a loud knock on the bedroom door. His eyes snapped open, and his mind reached out instinctively, trying to determine the identity of the person outside. A futile effort. His scan was blocked by minds far older and far more powerful than his. They were the same as the ones who had chastised Marcus and the Executive when he had arrived. Who were they7

You will understand in time. their thought answered his unspoken question, He retreated quickly. The frightened part of his mind said that he should not push them further, but the defiant part wanted to know whom he was dealing with. The frightened part won again, and he sat waiting for the individual outside to enter and take him to the next Lesson.

The knob turned, and the door squeaked as it opened. The Executive stood there staring coldly at him. In that single second, he knew exactly why everyone feared him so. The darkness deep in his eyes now reached out across the room to Maralen, and he found that as much as it repulsed and terrified him, it also drew him. It was as if the Executive was exerting a measure of control over Maralen's will. Not enough to completely subvert his wishes, but enough to make him temporarily forget that he was supposed to be afraid and approach almost calmly.

Halfway to the Executive, Maralen stopped. It was a small gesture, but it was enough to let the older man know that Maralen had felt his control and refused to allow himself to be subverted by it. Maralen was not certain exactly what he had expected, but what happened after that was not it.

In that instant, the Executive was gone; and Maralen was again left alone in the room. Confused, he stared around himself furtively. His eyes darted to every part of the room, searching them for the man and his invisible protectors or assistants or overseers... whatever they were to him. But there was no sign of any of them. The room was empty. Then the Executive's voice entered Maralen's thoughts.

You have done well This Lesson was Always Vigilance. We were testing you to see if you were aware of ail that passed before you. Your success will be rewarded. Then he fell silent.
Ail that had passed in those few minutes was merely an illusion of the mind designed to test Maralen's observational skills. Strange but it had seemed quite real at the time.

Maralen began to relax. If this was an example of the tests that he would be put through, then this would be easy. Relaxing was the wrong strategy. This was far from the standard test. In fact, it was just the beginning. The tests would only get harder from here out. But he did not know this then. Perhaps if he had, he would have read the book on the shelf.


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