Begins where last post left off. It's a little longer than usual.
“Wait… Ren-what?” I demanded, running after him.
“You may call me Renn, and you may also be quiet unless you want me to leave you here,” he hissed, walking faster. I followed him obediently until he came to a junction, which was heavily guarded. There was closed blast door just across the hallway that intersected the hallway Renn and I were in.
“I am not going that way.” I stopped abruptly and leaned against the wall, out of breath.
“Then which way do you suggest? I want to get into the hangar, and this is the only way, so we’re going this way,” Renn argued. Before I could stop him, he stepped out into the hallway. I tensed, expecting him to get shot, but he made a strange motion with his hand and the guards turned away. I stared at him like a fool, and he beckoned to me.
“Hurry up. I’m not going to be able to keep these guards occupied much longer.” He went up behind one of the guards and extended his hand toward the guard’s head. Whatever he was doing must have taken a lot of concentration, since he closed his eyes and bit his lip. After about fifteen seconds, his hand dropped and his eyes sprang open. He leaped over to a panel by the blast door and frantically punched a sequence of buttons. A green light appeared above the door, and it opened. Renn shot through the opening, dragging me with him.
As soon as he got into the hangar, an obnoxious alarm went off.
“Warning: unauthorized access. Warning: unauthorized access,” it blared. Renn scurried through the hangar, and it was all I could do to keep up. Apparently, he knew his way around, because he went directly to a sleek black cruiser that was on the far side of the hangar. Security personnel were following us by the time we got to the cruiser, and Renn nervously watched them come as I tried to figure out how to get up.
“Just jump,” he snapped when I asked him how to get on. I looked at him like he was from another planet.
“Are you crazy? I can’t jump that high,” I protested. Renn sighed.
“I forgot. Humans have been teaching you. I’ll give you a boost.” I arched my eyebrows. Renn was taller than I, but slender to the point of being skinny.
“I’m stronger than I look. Trust me,” he added, again echoing my thoughts.
“Well, all right,” I conceded, and Renn proceeded to throw me up onto the cruiser, proving beyond argument that he was indeed far stronger than he looked. I scrambled into the rear seat of the cruiser, and in a moment, Renn had leaped into the front seat, where he pressed some buttons and fastened his seat belt. Seeing him do this, I buckled my seat belt as well.
The cruiser warmed up quickly, but it seemed like an eternity. The security guards had almost reached us when Renn gunned the cruiser. It shot out of the hangar, blowing away the guards that happened to be behind it. I was thrown back in my seat as Renn accelerated, faster and faster. Soon we were out of sight of the compound, and we were gaining altitude rapidly. As we went higher, Renn gained altitude slower.
“I can’t take this directly out of the atmosphere because it’s built to be a short-range battle cruiser, not an interplanetary shuttle,” he explained, without waiting for me to ask a question. I exhaled before I tried to speak.
“Why do you do that?” I questioned. He glanced back at me.
“I’m a mind reader. I usually know what the people around me are thinking, unless they’re somehow resistant to mind reading,” he explained.
“How can you be a mind reader? Humans can’t read minds,” I debated halfheartedly. I was beginning to suspect that there was more to him than met the eye.
“Did I say I was human?” he returned. I shifted uncomfortably.
“No. But what else would you be?”
Renn looked back at me again. His eyes were glowing brighter than they had been before.
“Something else. I’m not going to tell you yet, since you wouldn’t believe me,” he said mysteriously. I rolled my eyes.
“I’d believe you,” I protested. Renn shook his head.
“You know your thoughts. You wouldn’t believe me,” he replied. He ducked his head to check on something, and his hair moved a little so I could see that his ears were abnormally pointed. I leaned my head on the back of the seat.
“So… you’re not from Earth.”
“No,” he whispered. “But I’ve lived near it for awhile.”
“Where are we going, by the way?” I wondered.
“Well, first we’re going to the space station not far from here. It’s where I’m based,” he began, but I interrupted him.
“Where you’re based? You don’t look much older than me,” I interjected dubiously. Renn smiled.
“I’m not, but I’ve been conscious longer than you have,” he clarified cryptically. “Someone else can explain that to you. I don’t have the patience. Suffice it to say that I’m quite a bit older than I look.”
“You’re always more than you look, aren’t you?” I grunted. Renn laughed, surprising me. His laugh was musical and exceptionally joyful.
We flew in silence for almost an hour, until Renn spoke up again.
“There’s Mars, as you’d call it. The station should be coming up soon.” I stared at the back of his head, nonplussed. “I’ve been flying close to the speed of light. A cruiser this small can’t really go past the speed of light without blowing something,” he elucidated, although he only succeeded in making me more confused. I knew that he must have sensed my perplexity, but he made no attempt to clear things up. Perhaps he thought that he wouldn’t be able to.
At any rate, we soon arrived at the far side of Mars. Renn spoke in a strange, rippling language that was utterly foreign to my ears, and a large space station suddenly de-cloaked to our left. I jumped, since its appearance had been so sudden. With an unexpected grin, Renn turned toward me.
“It’s startling, I know. It took me awhile to get used to it myself,” he reassured me, no doubt reading my mind again. I shrugged.
“To be honest, I’m not sure that I believe any of this,” I muttered to myself, but Renn heard me.
“Oh, you will.” His tone was almost frightening, since it had the feeling of being both an encouragement and a warning.
“Some help you are,” I grumbled, and awaited the landing. Renn piloted the craft into a small aperture in the side of the station, which closed the moment he landed inside. He sat very still for a moment after he unbuckled, and then he turned around to face me. His face was inscrutable, and all of a sudden, it looked very alien to me. I suppressed a shudder. What had I gotten into?