In the concluding interview, I talk to Stephen, a member of the Indigene race that lives on Exilon 5.
If you didn’t catch the other interviews, you can do so here:
Bill Taggart has arranged for one of the Indigenes named Stephen to do an interview over a secure communication feed from Exilon 5. The image on screen sharpens and it is clear the interview will be conducted from inside a darkened cave. I draw a sharp intake of breath when I see Stephen for the first time.
My mouth hangs open as I stare, almost rudely, at his translucent looking skin. I am strangely transfixed by his ethereal appearance, as if I am under some spell. He commands a presence on screen that I am convinced is due to his yellow flecked eyes that stare straight through me. He is calm and sitting on a chair, yet does not look comfortable judging by the stiff way he holds his body.
Unlike Deighton, Stephen doesn’t intimidate me. Quite the opposite, actually. He puts me at ease. That in itself is a worry because I have heard they have special skills we do not fully understand.
I sit down and begin. ‘Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Stephen.’ He nods once in response. ‘Can you explain to us what life is like for your race on Exilon 5?’
‘In the beginning, there were explosions,’ he says calmly. His speech is slow and deliberate. ‘We were driven underground to where we live now—in the tunnels.’
His posture remains rigid and unchanged. Meanwhile, I have fidgeted, crossed my legs and tapped my nail off the digital pad sitting in my lap. How can he be so still? ‘And you like it there—underground, I mean?’
‘We cannot live above ground, not with the changes that have happened. The atmosphere altered soon after the explosions and we can no longer breathe the air.’
Yes, I had heard about the terra forming that occurred on Exilon 5, to prepare for the new arrivals. But only recently had I discovered information about the race who lived there before the terra forming began. ‘Are you bitter about the changes the humans made to your home planet?’
Stephen shakes his head in a slow, measured way. ‘Not entirely. We can adapt to life underground, but I am bitter about how callously we have been slaughtered by the race that resides above us. For so long we have lived in fear of what they will do next.’
‘You mean humans?’
‘Yes,’ he replies the tone of his voice remarkably even for one so bitter. ‘For years we have been hiding from them. We have been afraid for too long. But no longer.’
I frown. ‘What’s changed?’
‘My opinion of the human race.’ He is eerily still and his face lacks emotion, but I see something in his eyes—a flash of empathy, perhaps?
‘Can you elaborate?’
‘It would be difficult to do so without going back to the very beginning.’
I glance at the time, realising there’s not enough of it to go through everything. ‘Who governs your race?’
‘The elders reside over each district.’
‘And there are how many districts?’
‘Many scattered beneath the surface. I live in District Three.’
I cross my legs causing my DPad to wobbles precariously on my raised knee. I grab it just before it slips off my lap. ‘Would you describe your relationship with the humans who live on the surface as fractious?’
Stephen stares at me with that unusual gaze of his and I find myself averting my eyes. ‘There are those who I would trust and those who I would not.’
I look up, bravely challenging him. I want him to open up more. ‘You mean Bill Taggart? Who wouldn’t you trust?’ I think of Charles Deighton.
A faint smile appears on his lips. ‘You already know the answer to your second question. I can sense it.’
I’ve heard that his race is supposed to have many skills. A chill runs the length of my spine. ‘How can you tell?’
Stephen moves his face closer to the screen. The yellow flecks are exaggerated in size. ‘I can hear your thoughts and read it in the emotions you’re trying to hide from me.’
I find myself checking my emotions, locking the fear I have of Charles Deighton up tight so he can’t sense it.
Telepathy is also one of my skills. His voice is suddenly in my head.
My eyes widen and I mouth the word, How? ‘I thought telepathy over distance was a problem for you?’
‘For others, yes. But I have mastered new skills. Besides, you are different—belonging to neither this world nor time. I can sense you wherever you are.’
I feel him rooting around inside my mind. Okay, this is a little weird.
‘Not for me,’ he replies aloud, leaning back. ‘I know who you fear and you would be wise to proceed with caution.’
‘Who?’ I can guess the answer but I want him to tell me, for the audience.
He smiles briefly but doesn’t reply.
‘Should the people of Earth fear the Indigenes?’ I ask.
‘It depends on whose side they’re on,’ he says plainly.
I’m not sure what to make of that answer.
Rattled by his sudden intrusion into my thoughts, I’m unable to carry on. This has been a difficult series of interviews and my concentration is all over the place.
‘I’m sorry but I must cut this interview short.’
Stephen nods politely. ‘I understand. You need to check on them.’
He disconnects the call and I’m left with my opinion of the first Indigene I’ve ever met up in the air.
I snap out of my daze and pick up the DPad on my lap. I call my family again. I breathe a sigh of relief when a familiar face appears.
They’re safe—for now.
I hope you enjoyed my trio of interviews. If you’re interested in picking up the trilogy, you can buy my books here.