The capsule landed safely and Kian stepped out on Earth. He secured the capsule and walked towards his old city. He knew that on Earth ten years have passed and that Brian might have moved from their old address. He rented a small flat in the neighborhood and asked about Mrs. Knight and her son. He learned that they were still living in his old flat and that Brian has fulfilled his dream. Despite his young age, he was now a well known astronomer.
Kian decided to pay him a visit at work and soon, he found himself facing a handsome young man, buried in star maps and other related papers. Brian was so hooked up, he hasn’t heard the door opening. After a few moments he became aware of the presence of a person in front of his desk; he looked up from the pile of documents …and froze.
-Good to see you, my friend-smiled Kian. It’s me, not my ghost.
Brian jumped from his desk and embraced his long lost friend.
-I thought I’ll never see you again. They’ve told us that you’ve died…You haven’t changed a bit!
-It’s a long story and I’ll be happy to share it with you and your mom. By the way, have you found my home land in the stars? -asked Kian.
-You’re kidding? Brian looked him incredulously.
-No, I’m not. When I came on Earth on my first assignment, I had an accident and lost my memory. All I had was the lighting rock with the star alignment. That’s where I come from. I came back here with the distinct feeling that there’s something more for me here…
-Oh, I’m so glad you came-said Brian enthusiastically. Let’s go home. Mom will be thrilled!
Mrs.Knight wasn’t so surprised. She was very happy to see Kian but she always suspected something. Since they befriended Kian, they were blessed with good luck and she was certain about the young man’s contribution.
“You are Brian’s guardian angel-she used to say and she dismissed any protest coming from him.
Kian took a job at the school and spent most of his free time in his adoptive family. He shared some of his knowledge with Brian and helped him a lot during his researches. On his part, Brian took out his friend frequently. They were young, good looking and singles.
By the middle of spring they met two girls, Mary and Maya and from that moment things evolved at high speed. Brian has found his soul mate in Mary and they were ready to commit. They were already planning their wedding.
Kian fell head over heels for Maya but he was less exuberant than Brian and sometimes he found hard to express his feelings. This was a wholly new experience for him and he didn’t know how to handle it. He shied away even from his inner turmoil. But Maya was a bright and lovely girl and she did her best to ease Kian’s embarrassment. She was in love with him and in a few months all the barriers between the two of them disappeared. For Kian those were the happiest days of his life.
Strolling on the beach closely embraced or watching the night skies for hours were the best passing times for the lovers. As their passion for each other rose higher, they made love and became one. They moved together in Kian’s flat and planned to get married before the ending of the summer vacation.
It was the 1st of august when Kian received an urgent message from his home-planet. He drove at night to his landing spot and activated his receiver. Stelar’s voice was grave and restrained.
-I’m sorry, Kian but you have to return at once. There’s an asteroid on collision course to Earth and your life is in danger. It’s the High Council that orders you back and they would take you by force if you rebel against their order.
After the first shock, Kian’s mind frantically searched for solution.
-Can’t you deflect the asteroid? After all we have the necessary technology-he said reproachfully.
-We cannot interfere. It’s up to them to find their own solution. It’s their evolution.
-How convenient!-shouted Kian back. You’d condemn a whole planet of intelligent creatures to satisfy a stupid rule! You’re a bunch of monsters there, you know? You are my father; do you agree to …this?!!
Stelar’s voice trailed off.
-I’m a minority and I have a family to protect. Don’t be so hard on me, son…
-I’m sorry; I know. Please tell the Council that I’ll comply with their request but I need a week to finish some of my researches. And please, send me the coordinates of the asteroid. Kiss mom from me.
That night Kian studied the asteroid and worked out a solution. First thing in the morning he asked Brian to visit him and explained him the whole situation. Brian was shocked. They were in deadly danger and it wasn’t much they could do. But Kian thought otherwise.
– I need your help, Brian. I want to marry Maya in two days and I need you and Mary as witnesses. She’s expecting our child. I’m counting on your support.
– I’m all yours-said Brian. I’ll talk to Mary.
Shortly after Brian’s visit Maya came to the study. She sat on a chair, watching Kian thoughtfully.
-Is this true, Kian?-she asked.
He came to her and sat on the floor, hid head resting in her lap. She stroked his rebellious black strands, patiently waiting for an answer.
-It’s true, my love. Please, let’s go out. We have to talk…
He told her all about his planet and his family, about his struggle to free himself. He showed her the Mark on his shoulder and spoke about his bitter disappointment towards the rulers of his world. They sat on the sand and he held her desperately, telling her about his love for her and his deep concern about the safety of their child. He asked her to marry him and he promised to protect them at any cost. They married after two days, with Brian and Mary as witnesses. The ceremony was short but lovely and the groom blushed more often than the bride. They went downtown and celebrated the happy event all together. In the evening they split and Kian took Maya home.
It was a wonderful evening with millions of glittering stars showering the deep dark sky. A gentle, salty breeze came from the sea, fingering the grass, whispering in the thick foliage of leaves. Kian poured two glasses of wine, handling one to Maya. He stood silently in front of the open window, lost in thoughts. She watched him lovingly, sensing his inner turmoil. Kian turned, left the glass on the table and kneeled in front of her. He took out his necklace and handed it to her, cupping her hand in his palms.
-Tomorrow I have to go and I’m not so sure that I’ll be ever back. Please! Please…Don’t cry. I DON”T WANT TO LEAVE YOU! My heart is breaking…but I have to do it. It’s the only chance for all of us! Take this necklace and hold the gem in your palm until it warms up. Look inside and you won’t be alone…Just remember this: I love you more than anything.
He took her in his arms and made love to her passionately and desperately. He watched over her until Maya fell asleep. He gently kissed her and closed the door behind him. He took off during the night and headed towards the asteroid. He got close enough before he stopped the engines. The huge, mountain high mass of rock was swirling in the vast emptiness of the Universe. Before anything else he sent a message to his planet.
-I’m right here, close to the asteroid. Since you declined any help to the Earth I decided to take action. I take full responsibility for my actions. Please, tell my family I’m sorry but I couldn’t desert my friends…
He turned off the connection and faced the challenge. He started the engines, aimed at the bulk of rock and landed safely on its surface. He secured his ship on the asteroid and begun phase 2. He grabbed the commanding stick and closed his eyes in deep concentration.
The huge black vortex caught him and for a moment he felt his whole body tearing to pieces. The pain spread like fire through his veins, nearly obliterating him. He fought back against the annihilating forces and broke through their shattering power.
He opened his eyes. He managed to move away the asteroid but he needed a little more. He closed his eyes and dived inside the darkness. The pain was excruciating and he cried out as he fought against the tearing maelstrom. The nothingness reached out with its tentacles, trying to tie him down. He took a steep turn and reached for the light. Gravity tore his flesh and soul and he bled profusely but didn’t give up. The last drop of energy of his tormented mind exploded in a shower of light, pushing the asteroid far from its deadly pathway. The cat and mouse chase between darkness and light ended abruptly.
Kian collapsed in his chair. He was barely breathing. He connected the Earth, waiting for Brian’s voice to answer.
-Hello! Who’s there…?-came the voice from the bottom of the galaxy.
-It’s me, Brian…I…did it…You’re safe…Tell Maya…that I kept my promises…She’s safe…our child is safe…tell her…that I …love…her…forever…
Kian’s voice faded out. The connection broke, leaving Brian in deep shock. They were safe but the price paid was humbling.
The starship sent to save him found Kian in a state of near death. They brought him back to the planet but there was no hope.
On the Earth, Maya woke up suddenly. An overwhelming sadness took over the young woman. She closed her eyes and grabbed the necklace, holding the bluish gem. She opened her eyes and saw an opalescent glow inside the round piece of precious stone. Watching closely she saw a crimson sea and a slender silhouette standing on the edge of a high rock. It was a young man with long, curly black hair and a pair of silky white wings. He was gazing intently in the foaming sea. Suddenly, he turned and looked her straight in the eyes. There was a deep sadness in those bluish-grey pools. Surprised, Maya cried out: from a faraway world Kian was looking back on her with unending love…
Brian was disturbed and restless. There was something hanging in the air; he watched the sky through the telescope. He was looking for a particular star-pattern when the Nova burst in the skies. Taken by surprise Brian stepped back; a shining white feather fell slowly from the sky into the trembling hand of the young astronomer…
Kian was lying on the bed with his family watching over him. Somebody knocked at the door. The man excused himself then said in a low voice.
-Senator Stelar, the asteroid has safely left the proximity of the Earth.
Kian sighed. His body, burned out by the huge use of energy spent to move away the asteroid, slowly relaxed. Adrift in his endless dream, Kian smiled. His heartbeat became shallow until finally stopped. The Nova exploded in the sky while the Mark faded from Kian’s shoulder…
He wasn’t cremated. They’ve put him in a cryogenic chamber, in a special site of the Temple of Stars to sleep peacefully his eternal sleep.