The crystalline chamber opened and the male emerged
from his rest cycle. He sat upright, swung his feet out of the
hollow compartment and put them down firmly on the glasslike
surface. He stood up in the center of the room and
performed a self-inventory; he found every part of his body
was functioning at peak capacity. The results were pleasing
and somewhat surprising to the male because he had little time
to heal from his last mission.
The familiar feeling of anticipation swept over the male.
He thought about his masters and why they needed him so
soon after his last undertaking. The twelve beings known as
the Synod had summoned him once again and they would
only do that if the task was a very important one.
He was a Vestigare. Part of an assemblage of 1,656 interstellar
investigators and defenders. Each of these beings was a
carefully selected individual from the large group of united
planets called the Collective. The appearance and abilities of
each Vestigare varied but they were all dedicated to the same
cause: The protection and advancement of the Way of Yar.
Yar was a being of incalculable power and unknown
origins. He was said to reside in the Beyond, a place outside of
the universe and home to the Engelas, Mondjina, and the
Suntis. Yar was also the leader and architect of the Collective –
billions of beings who were under the care, protection and,
some would say, ruler-ship of Yar.
From the Beyond and through the Synod, this all powerful
being spread his influence and philosophy throughout the
Yar’s doctrine dictates that it is the responsibility of the
more advanced race or civilization to provide assistance to
those that are lesser and one day lead them to the stars. From
there, the civilization will join the ever-expanding Collective.
This became known as Yar’s Way.
The Synod was comprised of twelve beings from the
Mondjina race entrusted to speak for Yar. The Mondjina are
tall, thin creatures with large, black, oval shaped eyes that
never blink. Their faces do not contain a nose, only two small
slits on opposite sides of one another; unmoving mouths that
are a darker shade of brown than the rest of their bodies. The
smooth, hairless heads are encircled by a nimbus that is usually
yellow in color. When they speak, it is only through thought
conveyance. The Mondjina do not believe in unnecessary
The Synod had reached out from the Beyond with a
thought wave communicating to the male that he was needed
There were to be no delays.
The male activated the refresher and moved under its green
light. As the green rays bathed the male, he found the feeling
of anticipation being replaced with his sense of honor and
duty. He had lost track of how many revolutions he had been
serving the Synod, and of all the places he had been. This
servitude had become his life. He was considered first among
all Vestigares and because of that distinction, missions had
been virtually nonstop for as long as he could recall. Planets
were always in need of vigilance and protection from threats.
His life mate shared his devotion to the Way, for she had
accepted an assignment in a far off solar system, knowing it
would take many revolutions to complete.
Loathe as he was to admit it, the time apart had weakened
the link which seemed unbreakable at the time of their
bonding. Now there was very little trace of her in his thoughts.
The male thought it strange that he was not saddened by this.
He was confident she felt the same and he knew a severance of
their bond was imminent.
Decisions on their link would have to be answered on
another cycle. The green light shut off and with it, all personal
musings and worries. The male stood in the center of his room
and thought once again about the Synod. The room shifted
and moved and then became aglow in the dimly translucent
field of blue and green hues. The entire dwelling was replaced
and the male found himself in the presence of the Synod.
The Synod watched the Vestigare but said nothing. The
lights around their heads were blinking rapidly, and the male
knew from experience they were speaking amongst themselves.
And most likely about him.
The dark skinned male with coal black eyes stood and
waited patiently for the motionless figures in dark green robes
that stood in a semi-circle to communicate their wishes.
After several moments, the Synod finally spoke.
“Are you well?”
Always the same question.
“Yes,” was the standard answer.
It was immediately followed with, “Is there anything that
will prevent you from successfully completing this latest
He was the most accomplished of all the Vestigares, yet the
question was asked each time he stood before them.
“You will go to the blue planet known as Earth. That world
has not developed as we originally planned. We wish to know
the reason for this. Other planets have progressed with far less
aid, and yet after centuries of assistance and encouragement,
this planet has not had a single being advance past their own
moon. Do you know of this world?”
“Every Vestigare in the Collective is aware of the planet Yar
most favors,” the male said.
The nimbus encircling the heads of the Synod seemed to
shift to a bright red.
The male knew that particular color around their heads
meant a high level of stress for his masters. Failure was not an
option for this undertaking. But then for the dark skinned
male, it never was.
The Synod continued.
“Numerous procurators descended on this planet and
bestowed upon them what was necessary to succeed and join
the Collective but they have not. You will go forth and learn
what has kept them in darkness and savagery. But beware;
humans are still primitive in their behaviors. You must walk
among them to learn their customs as we, the Synod, did
centuries ago. Once there, you will find the cause of Earth’s
stagnation and report back to us.”
“When I find the cause, do you want me to eliminate it?”
“No. Violence on the planet is to be avoided. For now, we
merely desire information.”
The male found the command odd. He sought clarity by
rephrasing the question.
“You wish me to take no direct action once I discover the
“Your mission is to observe and report.”
“Does this order extend to the Degans as well? They are
likely the cause of Earth’s inertia.”
“Your instructions are to only observe and report your
findings to us.”
This directive was strange to the male. The Synod had
never concerned themselves about conflict in the past. It was
expected. ‘The Way of Yar was to be advanced at all costs’ was
what they once told him. Battle was commonplace in the life
of a Vestigare.
Why now, and why on this planet?
Despite his numerous reservations, the male gave his own
“May Yar be with you. We bid you success.”
With that, the glow around the twelve heads shone a bright
yellow and the male found himself alone in his room again.
His superiors had spoken.
Time to depart.
They had given him perhaps the most important mission
any Vestigare ever had.
The familiar feeling of anticipation swept through his body
A new world to see.
A new world in need of salvation.
Chapter 1: The Man Called
“Beast of darkness, as you have heard this
is the last time. No longer will you wait.
Earth begins its last days. The Third Evil
—The Daemoniorum Libris
EARTH. 2018 CE
San Diego, California
The man walked aimlessly through crowds of people. He
noticed how everyone but him moved hurriedly along from
building to building. It was a beautiful day but it was
unseasonably hot and people scrambled along to get from one
air conditioned place to another. The frenetic pace combined
with an inefficient use of energy was mildly troubling. The
heat had no effect on the man because he did not allow it but
humans did not have that luxury. The man had to remind
himself it was simply one of the many differences between him
and such a primitive race.
A primitive race I am here to save despite all of their shortcomings.
No one paid attention as he weaved through the scurrying
masses. To them, he was simply a man of good stature and
build. His skin was dark, like the hair and eyes. He had heard
people refer to him as Afro-American and he had seen many
people in his travels with similar coloring.
Since his arrival on Earth, the ability to remain anonymous
while observing large groups of humans was important. He
had taken the name Quentin, and immersed himself in the
planet’s culture. He walked the globe taking mental snapshots
of all he surveyed, but avoided dialogue with the planet’s
residents unless absolutely necessary.
It was not that Quentin had disdain for humans; he had
never met one. He simply held the belief that none could aid
him in his mission. He was also under direct orders by the
Synod to limit his contact with them and not to engage any
It was an easy directive to follow. Quentin looked at the
multitude of humans rushing about and thought his enemies
could be masquerading as one of them. He suspected the
hideous shapeshifting Degans were everywhere subtlety
pushing the planet to the brink of destruction.
Everything I have seen on this world tells me the Degans are
here in force. Humans have yet to explore the stars or even their
own oceans. They burn through their natural resources at an
alarming rate and wage war over the most infinitesimal things.
Surely my masters already know the Degans must be responsible.
Why am I here to identify the cause when I should be
concentrating on its destruction?
Quentin reached into the pockets of his pants and felt a
round metal object. The coin-like object gave him a feeling of
comfort while on Earth. He arrived with several but had
misplaced them during his sojourn across the globe. He pulled
out the last one and held it in his palm. He read the
inscription: OPPORTVNVS ADEST. It was the emblem every
Vestigare proudly wore on their armor.
It helped ease the lingering doubts that for some reason had
begun to form in his mind.
The fate of Earth was linked to the salvation of the entire
universe. The most underdeveloped planet I have ever seen must
be preserved at all costs.
Why would such an important assignment be given ONLY to
me? A team of Vestigares LED by me would have a much greater
chance of success. I do not know how many Degans are on the
planet, or what positions of power they have taken. And why
would my masters give an order not to engage the Degans if I
Too many questions with no answers forthcoming.
Quentin stopped his musings and took in his surroundings
once more. San Diego was the first place visited when he
arrived on Earth. Quentin wondered why he was drawn to this
city, in this country.
Could the largest Degan infestation be here?
Quentin was unsure why he had chosen this particular
place on this particular day once again, when there was so
much work to be done. He knew little had been accomplished.
He was no closer to solving Earth’s dilemma than he was when
he arrived. He had not even made contact with fellow
extraterrestrial and friend, Aron.
He had been walking without purpose for a couple of hours
when he realized he had in fact been following a woman and
her child for quite some time. When Quentin first passed by
them, the woman flashed a smile that was both friendly and
alluring. He wondered what he had done to warrant such an
action as his observations told him humans are not that
welcoming. Simple curiosity soon morphed into genuine
Who IS this woman? Was her smile to convey an interest in me
or is she a Degan in disguise? I will learn the answer.
Quentin followed the woman and child as they trudged
through the museums. The boy appeared to have boundless
energy while the woman maintained a smile as she answered,
by Quentin’s calculations, sixty-three questions in eighty-eight
Her patience was impressive. Equally impressive was her
knowledge of art and history. She certainly appeared to know
more than the museum guides, whose acumen did not extend
beyond the pamphlet from which they read. Further
observation yielded the woman was an educator at some level
and the boy was her son. Despite the questions, it became
obvious the boy’s knowledge base belied his years.
Quentin continued to watch and listen as the boy and his
mother engaged in an animated discussion about outer space
at one of the picnic tables. The interest and awareness about
things beyond their own world was unlike anything Quentin
had seen in humans before.
The boy believes there is life beyond Earth but the mother does
not. The mother recognizes only her deity as occupying the space
above the planet.
Quentin found himself intrigued by the woman physically.
She had long dark hair that cascaded past her shoulders. The
woman had a figure with full breasts and shapely hips and legs
that appealed to Quentin on many levels. There was also the
contrast of pale skin and light green eyes that completely
captivated Quentin. Each time she spoke to her son, he found
the sound of her voice soothing.
Her son was beautiful as well. The boy had golden brown
skin and long hair to match that gave him an almost angelic
glow. It made sense to Quentin that such a woman would
produce a fine looking offspring.
The love she displays for her son. The way she smiles at him.
The way he smiles at her. The love is genuine. No Degan is
capable of such a thing. I have watched other humans struggle
with such emotions but not this woman. It flows from her like a
river. I….must learn more about her.
Quentin was so immersed in his thoughts about the
woman that he failed to notice another dark man who had
been following him since he entered the park.
The Museum of Air and Space was the last museum the
woman and child were scheduled to see that day. It brought
squeals of joy from the child. The boy was practically inside
the building when Quentin heard the woman say, “Wait for
me honey. Mom has to pay.”
If I am to meet this woman, it must be now.
Quentin’s dark eyes briefly flashed.
The woman stopped and reached into her purse. A clear
look of panic spread across her face.
“What’s wrong mom?”
“I don’t know sweetie. I set aside money for this, and for us
to go out to dinner, and now there is nothing. Give me a
minute. I must have put it somewhere else.”
A few more moments of hopeful searching through her
purse brought nothing.
Quentin’s face wore a slight grin as he walked towards the
exasperated mother and child.
“I am sorry honey. It must have fallen out somewhere along
the way. That was all the money I set aside for the week.
Looks like its back home for some mac & cheese.”
The disappointment from the boy was evident but his
words said something different.
“That’s okay mom. You know how much I love mac &
cheese. Can we play chess after dinner?”
The woman crouched down to his level, caressed his
cheeks, hugged him and said, “Thank you, honey. Money is
tight but I really planned for this. I don’t understand what
happened. It was there just moments ago.…”
“Excuse me, ma’am. I could not help overhearing and I
think I can be of some assistance.”
The woman stood upright and slowly recoiled with the boy
“Do not fear.”
The woman stopped in her tracks and Quentin began
speaking once more.
“You should not let lack of money prevent you from
continuing your outing. Please wait here a moment.”
Quentin walked up to the ticket booth and said,
“Admission for three please.”
After paying, he returned to the stunned woman and child
and handed them their tickets.
“I can’t accept these.”
“Why not?” said a puzzled Quentin. “This makes you and
your son happy. Surely there is no better reason.”
“Please mom. My grades are still tops in my class. I will go
to bed on time. Annnnd you don’t have to play chess with me
The woman’s resolve was clearly crumbling and her son
zoomed in with the argument that he knew would seal his
“Besides mom. You do EVERYTHING for everybody
else. It’s time someone did something nice for you.”
“Listen to your boy ma’am. He is wise beyond his years.”
“Don’t I know it,” the woman said. “I raised this boy to be
that way. Okay. Okay. I know when I am outnumbered. We
go on two conditions. One, you must stop calling me ma’am.
It makes me feel like an old schoolmarm.”
“But you are. You’re like thirty five!” the boy interjected.
“Thanks for throwing mom under the bus.”
This comment set the boy off into a fit of laughter and he
dropped to the ground in dramatic humorous fashion.
“Enough, young man. Stand up and introduce yourself to
the gentleman. My name is Regina.”
“And I’m Dante,” the boy said jumping in front of his
mother and extending his hand to Quentin.
“Pleased to meet you both,” Quentin said, accepting the
hand of the boy.
“Now,” Quentin said turning his attention to Regina,
“what is the last condition upon which we may enter the
Now it was Regina’s turn to smile. It was the same slightly
seductive smile she gave him earlier when he was just another
“You must tell us your name. What is your name?”
Quentin returned the smile and said, “My name is
Quentin… Quentin Dyari.”
Another man watched the scene from a distance. Quentin
had finally made contact with the woman and her son. The
man was pleased with the results. Intervention would not be
necessary. At least for now. Smiling, the man sauntered up to
the Museum of Air and Space, paid his admission and casually
walked inside out of the summer heat.
“That was soooo much fun. Mr. Quentin has to come back
with us again. Is there ANYTHING you don’t know about
Dante burst through the exit doors and into the still
scorching heat leaving his new found friend and mother in his
Regina turned to Quentin and said, “I cannot thank you
enough. It has been a long time since I have seen this much
light in Dante’s eyes.”
“It was truly my pleasure,” Quentin replied. “I find it quite
encouraging that one so young takes an interest in the stars.”
This statement piqued Regina’s interest. “Why is that?”
Quentin stopped walking and looked to the blue sky.
After a pause, he said, “Mankind has not taken the proper
steps. There is so much pain and misery on Earth, yet people
here refuse to embrace what surrounds them. The answers to
all of your questions are above. Yet here you all remain.
Rooted to the ground. Captives to the elements. Slaves to
gravity, lack of knowledge and the deluge of misinformation
that is circulated daily.”
His eyes met hers. “That is why.”
Regina opened her mouth to reply, but was interrupted by
Dante who, at this time was at the car complaining of hunger.
Quentin wanted to keep talking to this woman but he knew
he must break off contact. He was already in violation of his
Quentin continued to look into Regina’s eyes and the
thought of saying goodbye at this time was surprisingly
Why does she seem familiar to me? I feel I have encountered
her before, but that is impossible. And why does she intrigue me
like no other?
Dante had returned to the adults. He was hugging Regina
as she was speaking. Both were smiling.
“……such a special day. Would you like to have dinner
with us tonight?”
Quentin’s mind was a tsunami of thoughts but all he found
himself saying was, “Yes, I would like that very much.”
End of Preview
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