Chapter 6

KluYa is dead.

The pang of the thought echoed through Kip’s skull. Though they were never super-close, KluYa was someone Kip considered a friend. It was hard not to like him – he was the charming type, and a brilliant techie nerd, much like Kip. They spent their share of time arguing over which was the optimal OS, and the best engine designs for flying ships.

Now, he’s dead. Just like that.

It seemed impossible. KluYa was the type of guy who seemed larger than life. Immortal.

When Kip heard that FuSoYa had sent his brother to be the bridgeway between the Lunars and the humans, he had no doubt that KluYa could accomplish it. KluYa could do anything. At the time, Kip didn’t know why he had that impression. Now, he did.

He was a Sygnus. The son of the Arweinydd, Zemi Dreigiau.

But thinking back to the time he spent joking and making nerdy jabs at KluYa’s technology, he never knew. There was never an indication. In the end, his footsteps didn’t follow the path history claimed all Sygni did. KluYa didn’t lose himself and become a vortex of mass destruction.

And that left another new thought rattling in Kip’s mind.

Maybe there’s more to Sygnus than we know. Maybe history only told us about the crazy Sygni… not about the ones that kept their heads.

He stopped in front of the door to the communications room, pausing as he peered at the keypad with a numb look.

Maybe Ben can also break that cycle if someone gives him the chance.

Kip felt something cold spread from the pit of his stomach.

Ben. How am I going to tell him that his family is dead? Who’s going to teach the boy about what he is and the dangers of what he could become?

His hand wavered over the keypad for a moment, hesitating. Talking to Zemus would confirm whether the news that TsuMe delivered was true. Not that he didn’t believe TsuMe – the man wasn’t the lying type. That’s part of why Kip took TsuMe’s instructions to confront Zemus at face value. There must have been a reason the warrior suggested it. It wasn’t just to get himself off the hook.

Finally, the mind mage gathered his resolve, entered the code and watched the door to the communications room swoosh open. It was a curious place, full of starlight and space-color. In the center sat the large holographic device that Kip used to open a direct line to Zemus, despite the mage being in forced cold-sleep and on a distant moon. All in all, it worked quite well.

“Zemus,” Kip said in a strong voice as the door shut behind him. “You and I need to talk.”

The communication device emitted a shimmering light, crackling as the connection reached out into space. Then, the fuzzy image of Zemus’ violet, black and white robes came into view. Robes that made Kip shiver as memory of the Manor shifted through his mind.

Never forget what he is and where he came from. I’m only working with him because it’s for the good of our people.

-Is there something I can do for you, KiNaTu?- Zemus’ voice echoed through the chamber and his mind.

“Yeah. Like I said, we need to talk,” Kip ground his heels into the floor to prove that he was serious about the conversation.

-What’s on your mind?-

Zemus was being cordial, just like he always was when he played it safe. It was likely that he knew exactly why Kip was there.

“Let me get straight to the point. I was informed that KluYa and his family are dead. Is this true?”

-Regrettably so.-

“Why wasn’t I told about this sooner?” The mind mage crossed his arms with a stern glower.

-Did you have personal connections with KluYa?- Zemus was avoiding answering.

“Yeah. We talked in the Manor from time to time. He was a good fellow, and well-liked. Though, rumors say he was once your rival.” Kip could play those evasive games, too.

-Indeed. And his rivalry will be missed. The passing of KluYa is an unfortunate happening.-

For some reason, Kip imagined those words dripping with unspoken sarcasm. Seeing he was getting no information from that line of conversation, he shifted the focus, “What about his son? Benjamin. He knows nothing about the passing of his family.”

-For now, it would be better that we didn’t share this news with him, don’t you think? It’s hard enough for him to adjust to his new location. Don’t grieve the child any more than he already is.-

Kip narrowed his eyes, “That’s a terrible thing to do to a child.”

-He’s not just any child, KiNa. You know that.-

“He has a right to the truth!” the mind mage argued.

-He’s too young and dangerous to be left unguided,- Zemus disagreed. –Even if the boy did know the truth, what good would it do him? He’s an orphan. Where else would he go?-

Kip gritted his teeth. “I don’t know. Surely he has some sort of family on the Blue Planet somewhere. His mother’s family?”

-Are you really going to trust the inept humans to guide the education and upbringing of a potential Sygnus, KiNa?-

The mind mage furrowed his brow.

-They know nothing of this peril.-

“Them?” Kip echoed. “What about us? We don’t know anything about Sygnus. We have nothing but a bunch of hazy legends. And all those stories end in massive tragedy!”

-Exactly. What would happen if a Sygnus Awoke among the humans of the Blue Planet? A Sygnus who was unguided and untrained?- Zemus made his point sharply.

The mind mage didn’t have an answer to that.

-KluYa is no longer here to support the burden of his son’s destiny. It’s within the best interest of us all to keep the boy here in Zot, in order to teach him. Until he learns of his true power.-

It was logical. It made sense. But something about it still didn’t feel right.

-This does seem reasonable to you, yes?- Zemus inquired.

“Yes,” Kip admitted grudgingly.

-Very well. Is there anything else that you wish to discuss?- The hologram asked, but Kip knew he was being dismissed. –My time here is short and our signal is fading.-

“No, that’ll do,” the mind mage lowered his brows. The signal was fine. He was monitoring the connection.

-Then, allow me to return to my slumber,- Zemus said. –I will meet with you again at the end of this week to discuss your specimen studies. I heard that you found something quite interesting.-

Kip froze, thinking about the human boy, Aur. Zemus still had not addressed that situation with him yet. It was better that the conversation didn’t happen. Not at that place and time, anyhow. So, he kept his mouth shut as the light of the communication device dimmed and faded.

As he left the chamber, new thoughts came swirling in Kip’s mind. Ben was confirmed an orphan. There was no one to protect him from the dangers the world would pose if the world understood what he really was. There was no one to protect him from himself if he embraced the truth of his birthright.

No one but me.

Kip took a long, deep breath as he stared at the flowing lights of the hallway. Then a sly smirk crossed his face.

I’ll make sure the boy gets his training. Only, it won’t be the kind of training Zemus has in mind.

Zemus may have his plans for the boy, but the truth was, he was stuck in a sleep pod on the moon somewhere. And Kip was right there, much closer to the situation. Much more able to influence and set an example.

That’s when he made up his mind.

I’m not sure that keeping the boy here in Zot is the right thing. But if he must be here, then I will make sure that he is protected and safe. That’s what KluYa would ask of me.

He looked down quietly.

That’s all I’d ask of anyone if it were my son.

Then, shaking himself out, Kip felt something he hadn’t in a long time. Not since the loss of his own family. There was a child who needed him. A child who depended on him to fend off the darkness and eventually teach him how to protect himself.

And while Kip was still regretful of KluYa’s death, it felt good to have that purpose again. Even if it was a little purpose, stirring in the depths of his mind. It was something he’d forgotten through loss and long years. Something that once defined who he was and what his life meant.

Ben was not NaTu. But, they both needed each other in a way neither of them realized.

Kip just wasn’t sure how he could get Ben to see that. The boy had no trust in him, and after all he went through, that trust would be hard earned.

I can do this. Kids love me once they warm up to me.

He told himself. Then, to prove everything was going to be okay, Kip folded his hands behind his head and whistled a cheerful tune as he strode down the hall back to his chambers.

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