Mace Black, Page 17-20 by Wolfenshire ()
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The Senator was surprised to see Ganel sitting in the corner of the hut as he got up to leave. Had the boy been there the entire time? He didn’t remember seeing the boy when he and Nezo had entered the hut for their meeting. The boy was still wearing the socks on his hands, with a few modifications; there were now eyes drawn on the sock puppets. There was a open chest in another corner with clothing spilling out onto the floor - Mace’s clothing. That must have been where Ganel had gotten the socks from. The Senator glanced around the small room of the hut. There was a bed, several bookshelves of books haphazardly arranged, several more chests with clothing threatening to spill out on the floor, and of course the small table and two chairs the meeting had taken place.
“Do you live here with Mace?” asked the Senator.
The boy smiled and nodded, then pointed at the opposite wall. There was a bed against the far corner, a bed that had not been there a moment before. The Senator looked back at the small boy with a puzzled expression.
Nezo walked past the Senator at that moment, headed for the door of the large hut. “Don’t let them tease you, Senator,” warned Nezo. “They can alter their reality at a moments notice.”
The Senator looked back at the… large room? It had been a small room a moment before, but now was nearly the size of a formal banquet hall. The Senator heard giggling and looked back at the boy, who was now a small goat sitting in the corner. The Senator narrowed his eyes and concentrated while he waved his hand dismissively. The goat-boy became a normal-boy again, and the room returned to the small hut room it had been. Ganel’s eyes widened and he broke out in a wide grin.
“I’m Darai,” said the Senator. “Darai are telepathic, and while most Darai can’t control their telepathy, those with a strong mind and some training can. Your tricks won’t work on me.”
The Senator turned and headed out the door. Ganel jumped up and followed after the man. The Senator knew the boy was following him and headed away from the tables laden with food. He could see that Bobby and Mace were devouring the roasted pig while Huror inspected the offered fruits. Trey seemed to have gotten over his suspicion and was also eating. The Ravens were still wary and poking at the meat with their daggers.
Ganel followed behind the Senator as he walked across the island to some rocks at the far end of the beach. Ganel glanced at the Senator’s closed fist where Ganel knew he carried the piece of paper Nezo had given him.
“I need a few moments alone,” said the Senator.
“Are you going to go pee?” asked Ganel. “There is a toilet and bathroom behind Mace’s hut.”
The Senator paused and looked at the boy. “Excuse me? That is an inappropriate question.”
Ganel shrugged. “Everything has waste it has to get rid of. Mine are called solar flares.”
“I see, so you are a sun?” asked the Senator. “And a precocious one.”
“I am, and I know you’re not going to the toilet,” replied Ganel. “You’re going behind those rocks to read that piece of paper Nezo gave you. I want to know what it says.”
The Senator tipped his head slightly to the side in the Darai fashion. “And what interest is this matter to you?”
Ganel tipped his head, mimicking the Senator, and closed one eye. “If Mace can have more than one best friend, so can I,” said Ganel sulkily. “I’ve decided we are going to be friends.”
Senator Lam’t’galla was truly shocked at this revelation, and now it explained what this day was truly all about. Mace wanted a best friend closer to his age, and Ganel was jealous. A thousand thoughts crossed the Senator’s mind. To have such a being on his side, the sheer power and political leverage he could assert would be tremendous. He could propel himself to the status of an Emperor with such a being helping him. He could become a God and rule the Universe, people would bow before him and worship him. He could crush his enemies and enslave those that opposed him.
The Senator shook his head. Where had those thoughts come from? He had never aspired to even become the Hawk King. His loyalty was always to the Hawk people and their future. And then there was Ganel. The boy may be a six billion year old sun, but his mental state was closer to that of a six year old, even if a prodigy six year old. How could he have even for a moment considered using the boy for such evil? The Senator was surprised when Ganel, the sock puppets still on his hands, pushed a small hand into the Senator’s free hand, the one without the note.
“I’m sorry,” said Ganel. “I had to be sure. I did the same thing to Mace and he passed also. You’re a good person, we can really be friends now. Can I call you Grandfather?”
The Senator felt an overwhelming emotion that he had only felt once before, and that was when he had watched Bobby break his shell and emerge into the world. The Senator looked down at the small boy-sun and scowled. “Are you doing that to me?”
“No,” Ganel said simply. “I wouldn’t do that.”
“This doesn’t make sense,” said the Senator. “You’re the enemy.”
Ganel giggled. “If a sun is your enemy, you’ve got bigger problems than the Cettise.”
The Senator started laughing, the first good laugh he had had in many years, and tears filled his eyes. He felt warmth radiating from the boy. He felt… the island began to fade and in it’s place he was standing on… he didn’t know what he was standing on. Rivers of plasma flowed around him, and waves of energy so powerful Darai itself could be swallowed as if it were a pebble being swallowed by the ocean.
“Where are we?” asked the Senator.
“Not even Mace has been here, he’s still too afraid,” said Ganel. “Are you afraid?”
The Senator looked down for the boy, but he wasn’t there, though he swore he could still feel Ganel’s hand in his. “We’re inside a sun, aren’t we?”
“This is me,” Ganel’s voice said. The voice was all around, flowing with the rivers of plasma and gas. “In the perspective of an organic, I am six billion years old, but to my kind, I am only six years old.”
“How can a sun be sentient?” asked the Senator.
“You produce 97.2 joules of energy per second, I produce 3.8 x 10 to the 26th Joules of energy per second. How can I not be sentient?” replied Ganel.
The Senator took in the amazing vista before him, the vast layers of energy moving outward from the core produced colors the Senator was certain he had never seen before. Layers of plasma and hydrogen swirled in patterns that couldn’t possibly be random. Then at the very center of the core he saw a small boy sitting with his legs crossed and his eyes closed.
“Why do you want to help me?” asked the Senator.
“I don’t point at one planet and say, that’s my friend, and at another planet and say, that’s my enemy. I give warmth and light to all equally,” said Ganel.
The Senator walked over to the small boy, he looked so helpless and alone. “I see, you give yourself to everyone equally, take care of everyone equally, but who takes care of you?” The Senator bend down and picked the boy up, and held him tight against his chest. “I’ll take care of you, you aren’t alone. You can call me Grandfather.”
Ganel nuzzled his face into the Senators neck. “I knew we were going to be great friends.” Ganel pulled his head back and again mimicked the Darai way of tipping their heads to the side. “So, what’s the piece of paper say?”
The Senator unfolded the paper and read it aloud. “It says, Senator, I can only give you one thousand years, use that time well.”
“See,” said Ganel. “Nezo isn’t so bad, you just needed a little light shined on the subject to see it better.”