Sundown – Chapter 16 (Part 2)

[10th of September, 2740 AD; on board the Ameci Wysert – Amthe Ocean]

 

As the sun began to submerge itself under the ocean, Kirk could only think about what he might have to say at Alan’s funeral. There were many things he could say about the man who gave him an opportunity when no one else could. Even when things had gotten tough, Kirk could depend on Alan to make the right choice that would benefit everyone. He also had to wonder if Eva had heard the news by now. No, he had a feeling that she would have found out on her own.

“If only I could be there with you,” he said to himself. “I know how much he meant to you, too.”

“Hey, Kirk, you just gonna stand there on the deck like that?” Tre asked.

“I’m sorry, I was just thinking aloud.”

Tre laughed. “I get you,” he said. “I’ve been trying to cope the best I can, but still it feels like a piece of me has been ripped out.”

“I can only imagine how the others feel,” Kirk replied. “Speaking of which, where’s Lowell?”

“Probably taking a rest or something,” Tre said. “Maybe we’ll get to see the others there, too. Wonder how our friend Gamil’s doing…”

“Last I heard, he’s still working as a fisherman,” Kirk said. “Though he did say he was dealing with his bad back. Perhaps I’ll ask him if he’s planning on a change of jobs.”

“Doesn’t hurt to ask him.”

“Suppose not.”

“So what are you going to do now?” Tre asked. “I’m thinking about getting to the banquet room before it gets too late.”

“Isn’t that place open all night?”

“Well, I always like to pace myself,” Tre answered. “Get some energy and get some exercise in after. The food’s just an added bonus!”

“I guess I’ll walk with you, then,” Kirk said. “I’m not hungry right now, but I guess I’ll go down to the hull and walk around until I get tired.”

“That’s great!” Tre said. “Let’s go.”

Kirk followed Tre down inside the hull of the ship, the two passing through the doors to the banquet room. The room was well lit and had fancy tables, each one decorated with fine tablecloth and candles atop the surface. With no other option, Kirk decided to sit at one of the tables while Tre went to get some food. Off the distance, though, Kirk saw Isaac Kunigunde speaking with President Hasker at a table that was only a few feet away from where he was sitting.

“What’s this?” Kirk asked.

He looked away, but still decided to listen in anyway.

“It will be a tough request, but I’ll try to do it,” Hasker said.

“That sort of effort is not appreciated by me,” Isaac replied. “Either you will do it or you won’t, and I don’t accept someone who doesn’t do what they are asked of me. You’d do best to remember that, Piere.”

“I understand.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Isaac said. “That’s what sets you from all the others, after all.”

“If I could ask one thing, however,” Hasker said, “Are you sure that I have to speak with him directly? I only ask because I have other places I need to be.”

“It’s the only way,” Isaac answered. “He’s a valuable ally of mine in this world. There are only so few I can trust.”

“Right, because of your aspirations,” Hasker replied.

Isaac leaned forward. “When I want to drive my car and the engine won’t start, what do I think I do?”

Hasker shook his head.

“I find the part that doesn’t work and I replace it,” Isaac said. “I simply head to the store and buy the part I need. If the parts to my ‘car’ don’t work, then I merely need to get better ones.”

“Do you believe that you have the right parts?” Hasker asked.

“I do believe so, but it’s a shaky foundation,” Isaac replied. “Say your meeting with Ahga doesn’t work out and you’re back to square one.”

“You mean for the both of us.”

“Oh no, talking with him isn’t my job,” Isaac said, “It’s yours. You and you alone will head this meeting with several of your best people alongside you. Unless they don’t happen to be the best, in which case, I would suggest you start thinking of what you’ll be doing with some more free time on your hands.”

“Sorry about that,” Hasker said. “You’re right. I should be focusing on this meeting.”

“As you should,” Isaac replied.

Hasker adjusted the collar of his shirt. “Mind if I ask what it is you’ll be doing once we’re in Iiayikohn?”

“Well, once the funeral’s said and done, I’ve got some business of my own to conduct,” Isaac said. “There’s a certain general I have to meet, for instance.”

Kirk knew that Isaac was referring to General Fercewend, but he wondered for what purpose it would be. As he continued to listen in, Tre arrived at the table with a full plate and sat down across from Kirk.

“You really don’t want anything to eat?” Tre asked. “They’ve even got some of the finest pasta here.”

“No, I’m good,” Kirk said.

Tre eyed over to the table where Isaac and Hasker were sitting. “I see what it’s about,” he said. “So what’s going on over there?”

“I’m trying not to draw too much attention to myself,” Kirk replied. “What it does seem like is that there’s some sort of meeting that’s supposed to happen.”

“Seems like it,” Tre said. “Lowell was telling me there’s probably more than meets the eye when it comes to who killed Alan. This doesn’t happen without a reason, no sir.”

“That’s true.”

“Listen, Kirk, it’s going to be rough,” Tre continued. “Alan was the reason why Iiayikohn has achieved stability after the war. He knew how to lead, how to listen, and definitely knew when to put his foot down. Make no mistake; this was an action carried out with the purpose of throwing all of that to the wayside.”

“It sounds like you’re not optimistic,” Kirk said.

“I put my body on the line so our children wouldn’t have to fight another war,” Tre replied. “God only knows how long it’s going to take until we have another ‘dispute’ that’ll lead everyone to fight again.”

“I still have faith,” Kirk said. “There’s plenty of capable people all over this world, my sons included. I know for a fact that Sorin has some great friends by his side, and Rysol is still out there somewhere.”

“That’s good to hear from you,” Tre said. “Maybe you’re right. The younger ones are going to be the ones leading the way in the future, so maybe I oughta take your initiative and have some faith as well!”

Tre laughed as he began to eat. Because of that, Kirk turned his focus back over to Isaac and the president, who were just finishing up their conversation.

“So I expect that everything will go well, yes?” Isaac asked.

“Of course you can,” Hasker said.

“Good,” Isaac said. “It would quite a shame if things were to go awry because one man couldn’t do what he was asked of.”

“Please… you don’t have to worry,” Hasker replied.

“I know several people due to my work in the manufacturing industry,” Isaac said. “Some of them have created some very useful tools. Tools that can be used for combat, for instance.”

“I’m not sure I get what you’re saying,” Hasker said.

“I’m saying that if you fail, perhaps you and your family would like to see firsthand how these tools work,” Isaac replied. “Ah, but maybe I’m saying too much. Seems like those two over there have their time preoccupied while we talked. You have a good day, Piere.”

Isaac stood up. He walked over to the table where Kirk and Tre sat at and leered at the two. Kirk directed his view at Isaac, who appeared to tower over the two men.

“Can I help you?” Kirk asked.

“I wonder what it is that brings you to eavesdrop on my conversation,” Isaac said. “Perhaps it’s because you’ve got nothing better to do?”

“You were speaking in a public place,” Kirk said. “Anyone could’ve heard you talk from a mile away.”

“Please save the smart talk for later,” Isaac replied. “Where’s that pitiful bald coot you were with?”

“If you’re talking Lowell, he’s taking a nap,” Tre said. “I bet he would’ve loved to see you, though!”

“Do you intend on not taking me seriously?” Isaac asked. “Should remind you of what’s at stake once we arrive in Rezar?”

“You don’t need to worry about that,” Kirk replied. “I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen once we get there.”

“Your overconfidence will only serve as your downfall, Mr. Wilk,” Isaac said. “I think that you should be more cognizant of your position in this whole thing, because if you do not then it will only make things worse for you.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Kirk said. “So what sort of business do you have with our friend General Fercewend?”

“That’s not for you to know,” Isaac replied. “If you really care, maybe you would ask him yourself, though I doubt that you would even be able to get an answer out of him on this trip.”

“Do you ever try being nice?” Tre asked.

Isaac turned away. “It seems that our conversation is over,” he said. “I expect that neither of you will be bothering me for the rest of this trip, otherwise I will be quite upset.”

He hurried back over to the other table and left Kirk and Tre to themselves. Tre appeared to be finished with his dish as Kirk got up from his chair. There seemed to be nothing else he could do right now, so Kirk decided that now was a good time for him to go lay down. The trip to Rezar would be over in a few more days, so there was not much that he could do for the moment. He had to wonder, though, what was going on now that Alan was gone.

 

*****

 

[11th of September, 2740 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

In the late night, Henry Randolph headed to the main lobby of the embassy and gazed at the phone sitting on the table. He picked up the receiver and began to dial the number to his home in hopes that Tori would pick up. As the phone started to ring, Henry sat down and wondered what news she had for him this time. The next ring stopped midway as a voice familiar to Henry came through.

“Hello?” Tori asked.

“Hi, it’s me,” Henry said.

“Oh, you finally called!” Tori said. “I was getting nervous because it must be really late over there right now. I’m glad you didn’t forget.”

“I could never forget about you, you know.”

“I’m only kidding, Henry,” she replied. “You must have worked pretty hard today, didn’t you?”

“Well, we had a meeting earlier today,” Henry said. “Rohan wanted to discuss our next course of action now that one of our men has been rescued. Seems we have some business back over in Ahnlikohn.”

“And you were just there, right?”

“Looks like they’re having a summit,” Henry answered. “I wonder if they’re just waiting for President Hasker to show before they can start.”

“Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be okay,” Tori said.

“Yeah, I think so too.”

“Okay, well, anyway… I’ve got some news I want to share with you,” she said. “You remember the day before you left, right?”

“Yeah, I do,” Henry replied. “What about it?”

“You remember what I told you late that night, don’t you?”

“I recall that you were talking about the future of our sons,” he answered. “They look up to me quite a bit even though they’ve known me for so little.”

“That’s because you’re their father, of course!” Tori said. “And of course, a father would have to be a great role model for his children, including the one that hasn’t been born yet.”

Henry’s eyes widened. “You don’t mean what I think you mean, do you?”

“I do,” she replied. “I’ve been waiting to tell you for when you got back, but I just couldn’t hold it any longer.”

“That’s… that’s great!” Henry said.

“It really is,” Tori said. “If only you were here right now, though…”

“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m not going to miss seeing the birth of my child, not this time. I don’t care what happens, you can rest assured that I’ll be there with you when that time comes.”

“Just hearing you say that makes me happy.”

“I know,” Henry said. “By the way, do Bradley and Junior know yet?”

“They’ve already been told,” Tori answered. “It just didn’t feel right not being able to tell you until you got back.”

“Well, now you did and now I can’t wait,” he said.

General Fercewend appeared from the hallway and entered the lobby. He eyed Henry in a way that told him that he needed to talk. Henry nodded and turned back to the phone so he could finish his call.

“I wish I could talk to you all night, but it looks like Rohan wants to talk with me,” Henry said. “I’ll call you as soon as I can, okay?”

“I understand,” Tori said. “Good luck.”

“Thank you.”

Henry exchanged his goodbyes with Tori and hung up. With nothing else to do, he got up and approached Fercewend. There was a concerned look upon Rohan’s face as Henry wondered what had happened.

“Is something the matter, Rohan?” Henry asked.

“I really hate to interrupt your conversation, but it’s important,” Fercewend said. “You wouldn’t have happened to have seen Mars, have you?”

Henry shook his head. “Not a trace,” he said. “I thought he was to report to you today.”

“Normally I wouldn’t make too much of a note of this, but it’s the third time he’s been tardy to my call,” Fercewend said. “That and the fact that he has been running off during the day when we need him during missions.”

“Right, but then again, it might be hard to punish him given who his father is,” Henry replied.

“No matter what happens, I’m not scared of Harold,” Fercewend said. “As the general of the Ameci military, I won’t be swayed by a man just because he has more money than I.”

“And that’s why people think so highly of you,” Henry said. “So what are you suggesting that I do about Korbin?”

Fercewend closed his eyes and thought to himself. “Next time you see him, just keep an extra eye on him,” he said. “Perhaps you should enlist the help of another soldier to see what exactly Mars is up to when he runs off.”

“I’ll try to do that, Rohan,” Henry said. “Pretty sure that I can find someone who can do this task for you.”

“I’d expect nothing less from you,” Fercewend replied. “Well, I leave this task in your capable hands. Good night, Henry.”

“Same to you.”

Fercewend departed as Henry turned away. There was a new task on the horizon for him, though Henry wondered if it was true that Rohan did not fear Harold Mars. That was something he would for another time, however, because now Henry had a lot to wonder about as well as a new addition to his family.

 

To be continued…

 

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