Soldier of the Rorne
By David Scholes
Just outside Canberra, Australia
The human form male entity was kneeling by the roadside looking disoriented. Dressed in a metallic blue-grey semi military style outfit with some unfathomable attachments.
“Are you all right?” inquired Rachel, stopping her SUV.
He hesitated as if gathering his thoughts. Then spoke slowly as if unfamiliar with the language he used.
“Thank you for your kindness, I have some memory loss, but this is normal in my circumstances. It will return as I rest for a while. The journey always takes it out of you but I see that I am where I should be.”
Rachel knew immediately that he was not “from around here” or anywhere else that she had heard of or probably could even imagine. Still she offered him a room for a few days at her nearby farmhouse and decided to let him tell his story in his own time. If he chose to.
Rachel enquired as to his name but he seemed unable to provide an answer, even struggling with the concept.
Before resting at Rachel’s home he withdrew a piece of instrumentation – pulsating light tracers left it in several different directions then converged above a large shed at the edge of Rachel’s property.
"These are the coordinates, this is the place,” he said pointing to the shed. Have you ever witnessed anything unusual here?”
Rachel’s mind raced. She recalled stories of strange happenings decades ago as told by her grandfather.
The “man” spent more than two weeks at Rachel’s home, then the sole reason for his being there crystallized.
As the dimensional aperture above Rachel’s shed appeared she saw the fearsome Xyylk gathering to cross over. They were too horrific for her mind to fully process and she “saw” instead what was only a filtered approximation.
The “man’s” task was to stop them gaining any kind of beachhead. To defeat them right at the dimensional interface. He did so, destroying the dimensional aperture in the process. At the cost of his own life.
The destruction of the interdimensional aperture had a finality about it.
Rachel realized that he had come here to die for a world he hardly knew. She knew a sadness out of all proportion to the length of his stay here. He did not even have a name but explained that he was a soldier of a race known as the Rorne. Soldier 13849734.
She was grateful that she had been able to show him some kindness during his short stay and to tell him a little of our world.
Rachel and her daughter were at the modest grave site when the alien came.
It had been years but she immediately recognized the metallic blue grey semi-military uniform. Then as he came closer she saw that he had his father’s eyes.
“The war with the Xyylk is over,” he said “we, the Rorne, have won.” He did not say this in any triumphal way and chose not to elaborate on what had been the Multiverse’s most horrific war. Simply stating “I have come to see where my father died.”
Rachel wondered if the alien would be bitter. That his father had died so far from home. For a world of which the son probably knew nothing. She was wrong – if his father could die for a world he could certainly learn as much about it as possible. As he had done.
“The authorities here do not know of your father and what happened here,” said Rachel sympathetically “we kept things simple and avoided complications.”
“Dad would have wanted it that way,” came the reply “he is remembered where it counts.”
And in our hearts too, Rachel thought.
There was silence for a long time.
“Will you be taking his remains with you,” Rachel inquired somberly.
“No we do not do that,” came the reply “Rorne soldiers are buried on the world where they die. It is our way”
Inwardly Rachel breathed a sigh of relief.
“This is your half sister,” she said quietly.
“I know, I can feel it,” the third generation soldier of the Rorne embraced his half sibling. Rachel smiled.
“We gave your father a name,” she said, tears welling in her eyes “an Earth name “Orin” you can see it on the small grave stone along with his soldier number.”
The son of soldier of the Rorne 13849734 (aka Orin) smiled.
“Thank you," he said quietly.
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I've been writing science fiction for 6 years and have 5 collections of short stories and 2 novellas published (all on Amazon). I've been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF and Beam Me Up Podcast sites and have been published on a variety of other sites. My Alien Hunter series appeared in the then Golden Visions magazine for 2011/12.