Canto 83 – Star Nomads Revealed (The Silver Thread)
Artran Blastarr, the eight-year-old son of space pirates, and Tiki Astro, the robot-boy, stood holding hands on the docking bay floor next to the somewhat unreliable yet amazingly effective Bill the Postman (Scarpigo Snarcs in his current secret identity).
From the portal opposite, on the far side of the docking bay, three gigantic humanoid figures dressed in metallic armor of some kind emerged.
“Who… who are those?” gasped Artran.
“Those are Star Nomads. If I don’t miss my best guess, it is the Black Knight, the Dark Traveler, and the Magnificent Wanderer,” said Bill.
They slowly approached, each a massive figure in armor that completely covered their entire bodies, completely obscuring even their faces, no matter what race or configuration they actually represented. The Black Knight was all in gleaming black armor with a razor-edged hook for a crest on his faceless helmet. The Dark Traveler was all decked out in metallic green armor. And the Magnificent Wanderer, as Bill pointed out, was armored entirely in gleaming silver.
Drawing close enough to speak, the Magnificent Wanderer’s voice boomed out like a thunderclap on a rainy planet. “So, you have brought us the chosen one, Scarpigo Snarcs.”
“Yes, oh Magnificent One. But please refrain from using my real name in front of those who might not be stupid enough to misremember it.”
“I will never fully understand why demi-humans like this one insist on their comic prevarications the way this one does,” said the Dark Traveler.
“Indeed,” said the Wanderer. The Black Knight remained silent.
“Who is this chosen one?” asked Tiki Astro meekly.
“The human child born on the planet known as Outpost.” The Traveler nodded at Artran.
“Me?” squeaked Artran.
“Of course, you,” said the Wanderer. “We need an authentic discoverer of worlds for our purpose.”
“…And you know the boy thinks that’s the silliest thing he ever heard,” said Bill.
“Of course, he does. We pulled him out of the time stream well before he was ready to set foot on his first planet. Who better to use for the purpose, than the one fated to it?”
“Yes, you are right,” admitted Bill quickly. “You are always right.” Bill rolled his eyes when the Wanderer’s featureless face was turned away.
“So, Tiki and I are supposed to be here? This wasn’t just an accident?”
“The robotic child-construct is fated to be elsewhere. You alone are the chosen one, Artran Blastarr.” The Wanderer pointed his armored finger at Artran’s breastbone.
“No! I won’t go anywhere without my friend Tiki!” Artran began to leak emotion-induced wetness from his childish eyes. Of course, the Star Nomads would never give in to any such emotional nonsense.
“The Metaloid boy belongs to the White Spider,” said the Black Knight in what can only be described as a dark black voice. “He must be there when the critical time comes. The universe decrees it.”
“You can count on me,” said Bill, not actually adding, “because I must be some sort of human abacus.”
“You are not actually human,” said the Wanderer, apparently answering Scarpigo’s thoughts.
“What if I don’t agree to go to this White Spider?” asked Tiki.
“Then we invoke protocol alpha in your programming,” said the Wanderer.
“Oh. Sorry, Artran. I have to be going. It’s a robot thing.”
By this time Artran was beside himself with misery. “Bye, Tiki. I love you.”
The real boy and the robot boy briefly hugged before Bill (Scarpigo) the Postman led Tiki Astro back to the X-boat.
Artran looked up at the Wanderer with tear-filled eyes.
“So, are you gonna eat me now?” he said in a fully resigned voice.
“We no longer consume food of any sort. We will now take you to civilized planets that you will learn about and then give to the newly-formed alliance that is to become the New Star League.”