My apologies this has been so long in coming. Thank you all for your patience.
Chapter 6: The path to redemption
Lindis could finally rest easy. The escape from the IAS Nightblade had gone off with barely a hitch. The crew and guards had been caught completely by surprise, whilst the Drath computer virus had sealed off as many of the crew as possible in crew quarters and isolated sections of the ship. Lindis, Darue, and the Drath operative had then made a beeline for the hangar bay, where they had all squeezed into an Interceptor and made a break for the Arcean border.
Lindis had been passed around between Intelligence officers from the Arcean Empire, Drengin Republic and Terran Alliance for what had seemed like months. They had debriefed him on everything he knew and more; the evidence of the Drath holocaust, his work with the Altairian Security Services, including protocols and past missions, and life in general under the Empire.
Now finally that was behind him. He had dispersed his knowledge to the Empires enemies, and now he was soon to begin a quiet life in exile. He was on his way to the Terran Alliance, where had been offered asylum. The Arcean Cruiser Forthright was transporting him to a small Terran colony where he would enrol as a citizen and live out his life in peace.
Suddenly his train of thought was interrupted by the entry buzzer on the door to his quarters.
The hulking reptilian form of Darue ducked through the oversized Arcean doorway. Darue had long since reverted to his natural form. A form which was even larger than the already intimidating Arceans.
“Greetings Lindis. I was just calling by to wish you well before you depart for your new life with the Terrans. The Captain tells me we’ll be there shortly.”
“Thanks Darue. It is good to see a familiar face after so long, your allies had a lot of questions for me.”
“It’s no problem. And as I’ve tried to tell you several times my real name is Tyris.”
“I know that. Old habits die hard I guess. Just the same as you won’t call me Elan.”
“Well, Elan, I think we should try and be less formal now we are on the same side. And not least because I can call you a friend now. I never thought I’d ever say that to an Altairian, I can tell you.”
“Thank you, Tyris. I have a small favour to ask. There’s a letter on my terminal addressed to an old friend on Altaria, probably the only friend I have left there. Could you arrange to have it smuggled onto the Altairian hypernet?”
“Of course, it’s the least I can do.”
“Thank you Tyris. It means a lot to me. I needed to explain to her why I’m here, I owe her that much.”
“It’s not what you think. It probably should have been in retrospect, but I was always a little too over-zealous with my work. Too busy being a loyal servant of the Empire to make time. But I suppose I can’t change that now. It’s time to begin life anew.”
“A good philosophy. We both have to make the best of things, after all we’ve both lost our homes in a way, and have to forge a new life. Come Elan, it’s time for your new life as a Terran to begin.”
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Alone of everyone on Altaria you are probably the one person who does not think ill of me by now. You most likely do not understand why I have abandoned the Empire I once so loyally served. And I can only imagine what the state propaganda is saying about me.
I want you to know that my reasons for defection were moral and just, as I thought the Empire was. The sad truth is that the moral integrity of the Empire is an illusion. Our leaders had near enough a whole species exterminated rather than risk compromising the myth of Altairian supremacy. If you thought the Drath were just a fairy tale, think again. I have met one. Our leaders had most of his race wiped out rather than admit we once shared our homeworld with another sentient species.
To think that our leaders could have done this in secret and presented the illusion of being just and righteous in public turns my stomach. There is a sickness at the heart of the Empire, a sickness of hate and destruction. My heart tells me that it is not meant to be this way. You, and every other Altairian I have known have always been in your hearts good, honest and peaceful people. If only the Empire reflected that. Until the day that it does I cannot honestly live within it. I hope that change will come to the Empire in my lifetime, and that I can finally come home. I have gone to live with our Terran cousins for now.
I have many regrets in my life. Foremost is the fact that I never had enough time for you, our friendship, and what might have been. If I ever get the chance to come home I will change that. Until that day know that I miss you deeply.
Epilogue: Plans within plans
It was with some trepidation that Tyris stood before his superiors. He had been summoned to the headquarters of the Invisible Hand for an audience with Eris Draken, the daughter of Embryes Draken, director of the Invisble Hand and the de facto leader of the Drath people. Such an audience was either a sign of great favour or a portent of his doom.
“Tyris Rakaan, step forward.”
Tyris stepped up before the Executive Panel of the Invisible Hand.
“You have done a great service to the Drath people. History will remember your contribution to the rebirth of the Drath Legion.”
“Thank you madam director.”
“However you took a great risk in the manner you carried out your mission. It was a bold move to create an Altairian defector. You choose your mark well when you selected Major Lindis. Had your psychological assessment not been so accurate you could have compromised knowledge of our survival for no material gain.”
“My accomplices and I felt the risk was justified. We could not have kept knowledge of Drath survivors from the Altairians indefinitely.”
“Indeed, the Executive Panel and I concur, which is why you were allowed to procede. Tell me, what is the current status of your accomplices?”
“Our agent in the ISS command staff is still in place and completely above suspicion. His only task was to assign Major Lindis to the interrogation of Lord Vire. Hardly a suspicious task. Our other operative, who impersonated Lord Vire, was as you know terminally ill. His sacrifice allowed us to put the plan concerning Major Lindis into motion, and feed a large amount of disinformation about Drengin fleet movements to the subsequent interrogators. It is likely that he has been executed by now.”
“Very good. Now I want you to know the fruits of your labours. I was not exaggerating when I said you had made a great contribution to the rebirth of the Drath Legion. We traded the information provided by Major Lindis for some key assets from our allies. The Terrans have provided us with a colony ship, the Arceans have given us the rights to settle in a remote system on the edge of their territory and the Drengin have provided the technology required to settle this new world. The Drath Legion will rise again.
“I am overawed madam director, I had no idea my mission was of such importance.”
“There was no reason for you to know. The Invisible Hand owes its success to secrecy and moving pieces behind the scenes. The same principles apply to its agents.
If you had failed and been forced to divulge your mission by the Altairians, you could not have divulged the larger plan.”
“I see madam director. May I ask about our new home?”
“You may. We are settling in the Rhea system, at the very edge of the galaxy. This system is on the far side of the Arcean Empire, well away from the Altairians. The world itself is a harsh one, but it has much potential. Approximately 1000 years ago the Rhean’s civilization collapsed in a devastating nuclear war. Our new home is still heavily irradiated, but that is not a problem thanks to the Drengin technology we have acquired. So in short there will soon be a New Dratha where our people can rebuild.”
“What role am I to have in this new world?”
“Your work with the Invisible Hand has only just begun. Once the Drath Legion has been reborn, you will help us engineer the downfall of the Altairian Empire. Rejoice, for the time of our revenge has come.”