With the first light of the morning came realisation for Trak. He would have to leave the human planet now, they could not accept him after what he had done. He could have walked away from those humans, but no, he had to defend his honour. Hannah. He had done it protect Hannah, he told himself again.
Silently entering his house Trak removed his few treasured items. His blade, field kit and other various affections. Finally he looked at the single book he possessed. Cain had given it to him after Trak had asked to borrow it so many times. Moses had lead his people free, now Trak must return in chains.
Quickly he tried to don his armour, but two years of not using it and constant growth resulted in the armour being far to small for Traks new body. Instead he carefully placed it in his bag and slung it over onto his shoulders. Finally he looked for a piece of paper. He owed Cain a goodbye. He could not say it to his face though. Coward, he said to himself, angry at what he must do.
The morning light had fully arrived. The town would soon be alive, reliving the events of the previous night. The search parties, and there would undoubtedly be search parties, would surely be looking for Trak. And eventually they would check his home again.
Opening the door a crack Trak looked out over the deserted grassland between his home and the edge of the forest. Positive it was safe Trak sprinted the full five hundred metres to the forest and slumped against the tree. Taking one final look he trudged into the dense woods, he had to leave the planet. How, it didn’t matter, just so long as he never put another human at risk. As long as Hannah was alright.
Cain rolled over in his bed. God it hurt. He wondered why though. He had never had a hangover this bad. Then it struck him like a freight train and three hundred miles an hour.
Oh God. Why had Trak done those things! Cain rolled over and toppled of his bed. In less than twelve hours he would be a married man, supposedly the happiest thing in his entire life and yet he felt like…
“Crap,” he whispered to the small room.
Groggily getting dressed Cain thought deep and hard about what the surviving man had said, not an easy thing to do when your head was awash with pain and nausea.
He had claimed that Trak had jumped the men believing them to be making fun of him. That sounded nothing like Trak though, the Trak Cain knew was careful, patient, understanding. Not a murderous beast.
But he been once, a small voice piped in.
Cain squashed it, stamped on it and spat on it. No. Trak had changed; he was more human than Covenant. Then why had Trak attacked them the small voice asked again?
The sun outside was blinding, shielding his eyes from its powerful glare Cain started towards Traks small house. It was very close, a special request to the builders on Cain’s part.
Knocking on the door Cain got no response, as expected. Using his spare key Cain slowly opened the door and peered inside. Instantly he knew Trak had been and gone. The once proud armour was no longer on its stand, a bare patch of wall all that remained. The rest of the room was the same, perfectly neat and tidy, the way only a very proud outsider could leave a room, nothing out of place. Poking around though Cain noticed certain items were missing. Special things he knew Trak revered. Trak had been and gone, too late now thought Cain sadly.
A single letter stood out though next to a small light. On its front was the spidery writing of Traks hand. He had never quite mastered how to use a pen Cain thought humorously. Delicately opening the seal Cain wondered if he really wanted to read the contents. But the prospect of never knowing what they contained far outweighed any damage that could be done. At least he would know what Traks final words were.
“To my Brother Cain,
Forgive me for I have sinned. Once, a long time ago, I promised you that I would never harm another human. I sit here now thinking of all that I have undone because of last night. Hopefully you can find it in yourself to give me forgiveness, but I do not expect it. I must earn that forgiveness, something I cannot do. At least not now.
I fought in the name of honour last night, that you must believe. It was a challenge upon my very beliefs, but also something much closer to my heart. Hannah. Please do not let her weep for my loss. Tell her to move on, make her see sense. She must love again, if only to overcome what I have done to her. Done to you all.
I will soon be leaving this planet. You can rest assured that I will not return. Do not search for me. Do not cry for me. Do not forgive me. I did what I did alone. I alone must face the consequences.
I will return to my kind, they will surely kill me, but that will be my final payment. To them, to humanity, to Hannah. To you.
Goodbye dear brother. May you live long and enjoy the love Rachael brings. My blessings for your wedding.
I leave you my final words. Written long ago on your world they bring the only comfort possible to me. May you take heade of their meaning.
It matters not how straight the gate,
Nor how charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the Master of my Fate.
I am the Captain of my Soul.
Third son of Ruis Basamme.
Cain let the letter fall from his hands. His body shook. His mind raced and stopped at the same time. Trak had truly left. He would return to the Covenant he so despised. And they would kill him. No, Cain wailed in his mind.
“NO!” he shouted pleadingly at the bare walls. “No,” he whimpered softly.
Walking out of the small room Cain was in a daze. He saw nothing, only felt unending pain. The letter was clutched tightly in his hand. Traks hand.
Cain walked un-obstructed into the town hall, pushing the door open he walked straight into captain Harrison’s office, his face a mix of anger and sorrow. The captain jerked up from the reports he was reading, surprised at the sudden interruption.
“What in the hell are you doing son!” he shouted out.
Cain slammed the letter down onto the desk and stood back as the captain read over its contents. Eventually he looked back at Cain.
“They’re going to kill him sir! He’s innocent and they are going to kill him!” Cain almost shouted at the aging officer.
“We would of done the same Johnson, he killed two men and I don’t care if he had the best reason on Earth to do so. He did kill and in every culture I know that is a crime.”
Cain sobbed lightly, his emotions getting the better of him. “I have to talk to him before he leaves sir, if he even can.”
The captain glanced at the young man in front of him, “You’re sure,” he finally asked, “seems to me he wants to leave in peace.”
“He’ll understand when he sees me. Please, let me help him.”
Sighing loudly the captain looked down at his oak desk. “I’ll station patrols at all the major airports, if he tries to leave they’ll hold him for you. Tell him he can have one of the older model pelicans. I don’t suspect we’ll get it back.”
“Thank you sir,” Cain barely whispered.
“Trak was a friend of everyone in this town, he deserves this.”
Nodding slowly Cain stood up and slowly left the captains room. Now all he had to do was wait for Trak to show up.
The forest was thick, but Trak travelled quickly. Thick vines snapped, others simply pushed out of his path. He knew the closest airport was this way. Visible from his tree he knew it would only take him an hour or so to reach it. The resistance would be light. Resistance. He already thought of the humans as his enemies. By the Gods. Had so much changed. Would they treat him like an enemy? Trak dreaded the possibilities. He could not let himself be taken. He would have to escape on one of the spacecraft as quickly as possible.
Soon the perimeter walls came into view. They were short, designed more to show the boundaries than to keep out unwanted visitors. Looking across the deserted airfields Trak saw few humans. The main control tower looked deserted and the large hangers were shut tight. Perfect thought Trak.
Quickly edging around the perimeter fence Trak arrived behind the control tower. It was empty, just as he had predicted. Hastily Trak dashed towards the hanger. The airfield was deserted, but he didn’t want to take any chances. Suddenly without warning three warthogs pulled into the airport. Trak spun, he was in the middle of an open runway with no cover for at least two hundred metres. Cursing himself he dropped to the ground and hoped he had not been seen.
His luck was not in. The three vehicles swerved in his direction and the drivers put on an extra spurt of speed. Cursing again Trak picked himself up and ran for the hanger. He could not let himself be taken now, not this close. The hanger was only one hundred and fifty metres ahead, but the ‘hogs would reach him before he could even get halfway. It was a futile effort, but an effort nonetheless.
The vehicles were upon him, forming a wide circle, the rear mounted guns locked on the lone elite standing motionless in the middle. “Get down on the floor! Now!” one of the men shouted. Trak slowly turned, taking in every detail, looking for any weakness. Finding none he began to speak, but was instantly cut off. “Shut the fuck up! We were told to keep you here by Harrison himself, your mates comin’ and we gotta’ keep you here until he arrives. We ain’t gonna shoot unless you make us.”
Trak looked quizzically at the human. Was this human they spoke of Cain? Was he coming to see Trak? Why? He should just stay back at the town. Why did he have to make this so hard! “Please, I must leave,” Trak pleaded.
“What’s the rush?” one of the other men questioned, “Got something on your conscience?”
Trak frowned but another car was already speeding into the airport. Trak could already see Cain in the passenger seat, his eyes wide. The vehicle came to a stop and Cain practically ran out. He stood just inside the circle staring at the elite.
“You left,” he began, “and you didn’t even say goodbye!”
Trak gulped nervously, he had not expected Cain to be so aggravated.
“You must understand what I did Cain. They threatened Hannah. They attacked me when my back was turned. I could not let the challenge pass.”
“You could of told me. You could of told the captain. You could of done a hundred different things.”
“But none would uphold my honour.”
“Who gives a fuck about your honour. I thought you were becoming more and more human, but you showed just how Covenant you really are.”
“Please Cain. Don’t. You couldn’t understand, it is something that is totally alien to you. I did what I must. I thought you would of understood.” Trak shook his head slightly, “I was wrong.”
“So now you’re just going to run away. Is that it! You kill for your honour then run away like a coward!”
“And what would you have me do, huh Cain?” Trak shouted, his anger finally getting the better of him.
“I would of…” Cain faltered, his voice breaking. “Why didn’t you come and find me afterwards man? I’m your brother.”
“I had broken my promise to you. I could not face you.”
“Please. Don’t go. For me. For Hannah,” Cain pleaded.
“One day we shall be brothers again, but for now we must go our separate ways. I will never forget you Cain,” Trak said, slowly walking towards the hanger.
“YOU BASTARD!” Cain shouted after the retreating elite. “You said you would be my brother forever. Doesn’t that mean anything to you? BROTHERS FOREVER!”
“Brothers forever,” whispered Trak before disappearing inside the hanger.
The small spacecrafts in the hanger were laid out in two long lines. Trak walked up to the oldest looking one and climbed into the cockpit. He was familiar with human flight technologies, it was part of his schooling. He looked around, trying to remember which buttons to press, but Cain’s final words rang out in his mind. Like a constant barrage they obliterated all other thoughts.
“Forever,” whispered Trak pressing a small green switch. The engines roared to life and Trak secured himself in the human shaped seat. Remotely opening the doors Trak piloted the vessel out, shakily at first, but soon gaining control. Cain stood in the middle of the doorway, his hands by his side, his head facing the pelican.
“Brothers Forever,” he mouthed before Trak passed him and gained altitude.
The sky slowly changed from blue to black as Trak left the atmosphere of the planet. Over two years ago he had been plummeting through the very same air, about to commence battle for the first time. Now he was returning to his true home.
The possibility of death hung in the air. He would be tortured surely before his death. Trak did not dread it. He accepted it with open arms. His brothers would hate him, but Trak did not care. He would return home one last time.
But a final thought flickered across his mind. One of a new possibility. He hated the idea, but it would prove him to all others. Maybe even spare his life. Maybe, just maybe. But as Trak had thought before, maybe was a very big word.