Da'an walked slowly gazing at the pavement. The darkness of night had already befallen the city, providing his troubled mind with a temporary feeling of safety. He would not dare to look ahead for fear of being recognized as an alien. In spite of the fact that his race had been in contact with the human species for over 5 years now, things that were not of earthly origin were still considered a curiosity by the inhabitants of Earth; as if it were a circus.
The dark hooded cloak protected him from the looks of humans passing by. He heard them talking about various things: some were going shopping, others had just left their workplaces, but all seemed casual and disinterested. Unaware that he was there, and unaware of the fate that was awaiting them all.
The situation demanded victims; or perhaps it was not as much the situation as it was the Synod. He would have to choose several humans at random; those who would have to suffer the consequences of the irresponsible actions performed by the Resistance.
His pale white hand gently moved the dark hood a little back, so that he could catch a glimpse of the humans passing next to him without being seen himself. The street lanterns lit their faces while he observed and calculated: a pair with children - no, that would not be moral, at least not in human terms - a young girl walking her dog did not seem suitable either, three men dressed in smart suits chatting enthusiastically, an old lady clutching her bag...
Had he been a human, he would have cursed. Five years spent on this planet seemed to have made him unable to perform these calculations anymore. There must have been some elements of the human moral system he had unintentionally acquired. Yet perhaps there was a better way. He would go straight to his office and view the data logs of human common criminals and only then make his decision by choosing several people from the list.
All of a sudden a loud hoot could be heard and Da'an felt someone pulling him backwards from behind. He raised his head and immediately noticed he had almost stepped on the roadway right in front of a passing car.
‘What the hell do you think you're doing?!’ a familiar voice resounded in his ears.
The Companion quickly turned around to see his Protector, Liam Kincaid, standing behind him.
‘Liam?’ he muttered, not quite sure what else to say.
‘How many times do I have to tell you that RED light means you can't get yourself anywhere near the road?!’ the man continued, although despite his words he looked more terrified than frustrated. ‘Fuck, you could have been hit by a car!’
Da'an stared at him with his blue eyes wide open. He had never heard him cursing before.
‘Oh Lord, let's get out of here,’ the man moaned and before Da'an could protest he was pulled by the hand so suddenly that he almost fell. Liam started walking so fast that the diplomat could hardly catch up with the pace.
‘Major, I entreat you to stop this behavior,’ Da'an stated eventually when they were a few hundred meters away from the road. Liam finally released his hand.
‘Fine,’ he answered leaning against the wall of an old building and putting his hands in his pockets. He closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. ‘I'm sorry, I just didn't want anyone to recognize you? That would get us in trouble.’ He glimpsed at the Companion and took a step closer. ‘You should be more careful. I don't even want to think what would have happened if I hadn't followed you.’
‘I apologize,’ Da'an said.
‘I don't want you to apologize. I just don't want you to wander through the city alone. That's all about it. So now we're going to the Embassy together, okay?’
Da'an blinked. ‘If that soothes your nerves.’
Liam shook his head and followed the Companion. The old city clock in the tower of the cathedral struck 10 pm, the sound of the bells echoing down the streets. Liam was hoping to start a conversation, but the Taelon diplomat was silent as if lost in thought.
‘I think we need to talk,’ the man finally stated staring at the people passing by.
‘To the contrary, I believe we have had too many conversations lately,’ Da'an answered in an official manner.
‘But I mean it, Da'an,’ Liam stopped and the Taelon turned towards him. His alien eyes glimmered in the lamp light. ‘I think something's been going the wrong way for the last year,’ the man continued. ‘You once told me that friendship needs to be approached with care. You said we shouldn't be asking questions that affect our loyalties towards the interests of our races. But now it seems to me that silence is not the answer. It just forces me to find what I need elsewhere. If I can't get the answers from you, I just?,’ he paused, thinking, ‘? like two days ago I was busy?’
‘? sabotaging the Mothership,’ Da'an finished. He looked at his Protector but the man did not reply. ‘I cannot be honest with you when I know that everything that I tell you will one day be used against me and my brethren. I know how much you want to be winner in this conflict,’ the diplomat stated and again started walking down the street.
‘If you want to put it that way, it's the same on your side,’ Liam said, following him.
‘It is not. I only wish to prevent it.’
‘You cannot prevent something that's already happening. When I was stealing the codes on the Bridge several people from my squad tried to convince me to plant an explosive device on the console. I refused.’
Da'an stopped, looking at Liam. ‘If this is so, I owe you much.’
The man shook his head. ‘I'm just saying this because I don't know what's going to happen if next time they don't listen. I'm only the leader of one cell. What if other Resistance cells want to blow up the Mothership? Or the Embassy? How do you think I can stop them? They want an open war.’
‘I cannot find a satisfactory answer to that,’ Da'an stated.
‘Doors doesn't want to be the leader anymore. He's trying to be a politician since he was running for presidency. The Resistance supported him because they believed his money would help solve all our problems. Now they look up to me because I am the only Resistance agent who is a Companion Protector. I have access to nearly all Taelon facilities and they think they can use that. But it's only a matter of time till they find out that I don't really want to kill a Taelon.’
‘I see your point,’ Da'an waved his hand and looked at his Protector. The man thought he would say something but he just fell silent and after a few seconds continued walking.
‘You're wise. If there's any solution to that, I know you'll find it,’ Liam persisted.
‘There are no good solutions in war, as well as there are no winners,’ Da'an smiled sadly.
The man closed his eyes and bit his lip. ‘You're the easiest target for them. You are present at all important events with low security level. If somebody's gonna die, you'll be the first one, Da'an.’
Liam expected the Taelon to protest, but he only smiled slightly.
‘Life is all about calculations, Liam. Everyone has their list? Early in the morning there will be several humans on mine - humans that will pay for the mistakes of the Resistance. If one day I am to be on someone else's list, I shall accept it. Because life means calculations,’ this said Da'an gestured for his Protector to move on.
Liam sighed. The wind blew several dead leaves on the pavement and he crushed them with the sole of his shoe. The bells of the cathedral started ringing anew as the two shadows walked across the park.