The Titan’s engines hummed quietly just outside of the Benidi Region. Most wouldn’t touch this rock but Elian Moten was fascinated by the small planet mostly covered in water and with a vast array of aquatic life. He held on to the maneuver bar above his head as he watched the weather patterns shift and change on the planet. It was one of the most beautiful planets he had seen since starting this journey.
After a year of watching and waiting and secretly visiting, it was time to contact the researcher he’d been following. The man was sick and didn’t have much time to live. The report of him refusing treatment nearly crushed Elian’s hope. He did not want this man to give up—not yet. There was movement around him, but he didn’t turn to look at his second in command, Luse Cohan, as he stared at the planet they were monitoring.
“Have they responded yet?” Elian asked.
“Yes. The scientist has given us coordinates.”
A surge of appreciation stormed through his body. He knew the scientist would say yes. “I will go alone.”
“Sir? That’s against protocol,” Luse said.
“Do I look like I care? I’ve researched this planet. We cannot communicate with their heads of state. It will start a war. They do not easily trust.”
Luse nodded. “We do not want a war.”
“No, we don’t. I will take the surfacer down alone.”
“How long will you be?” Luse asked.
“I haven’t decided yet. Just stay in the shadow of the moon until I give the order.”
“Yes, sir.” Luse made a huffing noise through his nose. “Sir, the bio implications of all of this…the air in this region is most unstable.”
“I know. I’ve considered all angles of this.”
“You had trouble the last two times you went down. What if the atmosphere isn’t as pure as the readouts indicate?” Luse asked.
“We’ve been in this situation before. I’ll return to the Titan if I feel sick.” As Elian started to pass by, he put his hand on Luse’s broad shoulder. “We must risk everything if we’re going to repopulate our kind.”
A frown wrinkled his brow. “We need to keep looking. I don’t think this life form is as intelligent as you believe.”
“Not all, but some stand out. We’re running out of time. We already are missing a generation. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”
“There has to be another way.”
“There’s not. The eco tanks are no longer working. Everything has genetically shifted.” Elian sighed. “Keep the Titan out of sight until I return.”
Luse snorted. “Their government wouldn’t be able to do anything if I parked right out in front on the moon surface.”
“No, but we still need to respect our differences.”
Frustration ran through Elian as he passed by his second. The man was way too impulsive for his tastes. He wasn’t his first choice for his second-in-command but he didn’t have much say in the matter when orders came down from his superiors.