Hello, and welcome back to Sector 43! If you’ve followed the story up to this point then you know what’s going on. If not, I highly recommend you go back and check out the previous three parts of this story. Miles Orlando and Melissa Johnson are stuck in a different universe. But, they were greeted by a mysterious person who calls himself Mystic Man. And in the last part, a portion of Sector 43’s history was revealed. Today, I’m excited to share Part 4 (of 5) in this story. How are Miles and Melissa going to get home? Can Mystic Man help? And what happened to the rest of the astronauts Sector 43 abandoned? Enjoy!
“You’re doing God’s work. The Sector appreciates all of your sacrifice. But, the hard work has just begun. Look around you. Look at the person to your left. And the person to your right. There’s a strong possibility that none of you will be chosen to represent Earth in its latest endeavor. Only two worthy individuals will be chosen, and they must be the best. They must be the brightest, the wisest, and the most ethical. But, you have been chosen to because we believe you are able to meet that standard. Be proud. Because you are forever in our system, in our history books. You will forever be remembered as true scholars and warriors of your generation, no matter the outcome. Sector 43. What are we?”
“Destiny. Desire. Drive.”
“Your goddamn right.”
A black man in a purple suit called Mystic Man has come aboard Miles and Melissa’s ship. They’re scared out of their minds, but they trust the purple man. They can sense his power.
“So, you’re a superhero?”
“Something like that,” Mystic Man said. “Got my powers from a man from another universe.”
“Yeah, it was a whole thing. But that’s not important now. What is important though is who are you two and how did you get here?”
“See, it’s the second part we can’t answer. I’m Miles Orlando.”
They shook hands with Mystic Man and explained their situation to him. They told him about the broken portal, going down to the Pinnacle, and needing parts for a new portal. Mystic Man listened, didn’t ask many questions though. He cut Miles off in the middle of talking.
“I think I can help you,” he said. “I wish you would have come last week though.”
“I have a lot of powers. One of them, and my personal favorite, is teleportation. I can teleport to any galaxy or universe I want to. I’ve actually been to yours before. Your Earth’s advanced methods have helped me tremendously here on my planet.”
“Then why the hell have we been talking? Teleport us home.”
“It’s not that simple. My powers have been—tampered with. I don’t know why or how. I have most of them, but I can’t teleport to different universes. Only short distances. And I’ve been feeling weaker lately.”
“So we caught you at a bad time, is what you’re saying.”
Mystic Man nodded.
“I can help you, though,” he said. “I should have the parts to help you build your portal. I’m a scientist myself. This portal is something I’ve never done before, but we can figure it out together.”
“It’ll probably take months, though.”
“We don’t have many options, Melissa.”
“I know, I just—”
Melissa’s breaths became short, tears started to form in her eyes. She walked over to a chair near the controls. As she sat down, she let her emotions come pouring out. Mystic Man just stood there, his face remaining calm.
Miles couldn’t remember the last time Melissa lost her composure like this. He didn’t fault her, there was a lot going on. But, he just wanted to make sure she was okay. Whenever, he lost it in the past, she always knew the best way to comfort him. Maybe it was because she was a mother. Now it was his turn to help her.
“I don’t know. I know, logically, it would be a while before we get a portal up and working. But I—I think I just miss my boys, you know?”
“I understand. I know it’s hard.”
Mystic Man hit a button on the side of his mask. He took the mask off and revealed his face. He was a normal looking man. Nice features. And his face looked even more calm and inviting than it did with the mask on.
“That feels better,” he said. “My name’s Isaac Eckspo. Everyone on my planet knows who I am anyway. I only put the mask on because I thought you two were aliens or something.”
He laughed a bit, and it was an awkward one. Miles laughed too, but not because of Mystic Man’s bad dad humor, but because it was genuine. Melissa was the most genuine person he’d ever met. Growing up sheltered by the Sector, he didn’t come across authentic people often. Mystic Man was definitely one, and it made him chuckle a bit.
“Your two boys,” he said, “I’m guessing they’re your husband and son?”
“Some of my powers are still working. In fact, some are stronger. If you give me your hand, I can connect you with them. You can even speak with them, if you want.”
Melissa agreed and the two joined hands. There was a long silence. Minutes later, Melissa was crying again. But this time they were tears of joy. And they were plentiful. Mystic Man was crying too. That same energy Miles felt when Mystic Man showed up could be felt again. Miles didn’t know what was going on, but he could feel it. He could feel Melissa’s joy.
“Hey, baby. I miss you so much.”
“How’s work? They promoted you? Look at you! I told you they would go for that pitch!”
“I love you. So much. Where’s my baby boy”
“I’m sorry, where’s my young man?”
“You listening to your father?”
“How’s school? Your favorite subject is what? History? You disappoint me, son.”
“I love you both so much. I’m headed home soon.”
“I’m quitting when I get back. Sector 43 can do what they want, I’m done.”
“You both be good. Keep up the good work. I’m so proud of you.”
Melissa opened her eyes. She wiped the tears from her face and got up from the chair. Mystic Man wiped his face too. Melissa extended her arms and hugged Mystic Man.
“That was something else.”
“I’m glad to help,” Mystic Man said. “Now, let’s see what type of parts we need for this portal.”
“Agreed. I’ll pull up some information.”
“Hold that thought,” Mystic Man said. “Something’s coming.”
“I’m not sure. But I’m feeling something come from the same area I felt you two come from,” Mystic Man said.
Miles ran to the front of the ship. It wasn’t just Mystic Man’s strange powers. The scanners were picking up mass amounts of radiation in the atmosphere. There was a cloud of yellow dust among the stars. A cloud that wasn’t there just a few minutes ago. And for some reason, Miles could feel a light rumble in the ship. The yellow cloud started to expand.
“I don’t know what’s coming, but it doesn’t feel friendly. If your ship has weapons, fire them up. I’ll do what I can,” Mystic Man said.
Melissa was in the main pilot’s seat. She turned on the engine, tapped a few commands, and gestured for Miles to sit down too. Miles followed suit.
“Shields are at full power.”
“Weapons active. How long do you think until they’re here?”
The rumble intensified. Then, the yellow cloud erupted, and a sea of green energy surrounded the cloud. Instantly, at least thirty ships a bit smaller than theirs flew through the green energy. And they wasted no time. They came in an organized formation, but once they exited, it was madness. Lasers lit up the sky. Melissa was already maneuvering away from the cloud.
Mystic Man had teleported back into space. The ships were firing at him too. Miles was impressed with his speed. Mystic Man said that he wasn’t at full power. Still, seeing him move as fast as he did was impressive. He weaved in and out, going between ships, dodging their fire. Every so often, he would blast them with what appeared to be some sort of energy or electricity. It was a bright purple.
“They’re fast. A little too fast for me right now.”
Miles heard Mystic Man say that in his head.
“Flank them. Mystic Man is over there. Let’s help him out.”
Melissa was already doing it. She got in position and started blasting enemy ships from behind. Miles continued to check the engine, the shields, as well as the weapons. There was a lot going on right now, but Melissa was handling it well. Astronauts who, without warning, could turn into top-tier space pilots. That was the beauty of Sector 43. Miles could hear General Worthy in his head. Oh, he would be proud to see this. They were trained for every situation and prepared for every type of enemy. But, this was a first. Miles couldn’t believe how well Melissa piloted the ship. The enemies were still swarming them but were no match for Melissa’s skills.
Two ships did end up getting behind them. They began raining down fire and depleting their shields rapidly.
“I’ll go to the bottom turret.”
Miles ran to the back of the ship and scurried down a ladder where the turret was. Once in, he began firing at the ships. That was when he noticed was happening. He should have seen this coming or should have guessed it when those ships exited the cloud. For a moment he was stunned. A purple blast of energy from Mystic Man jolted him back into reality.
“Melissa,” he said. “These ships. They’re from Sector 43.”
“What? How do you know?”
“I remember seeing these special models once during training. They almost never show them to recruits, but I wasn’t a normal recruit. Sector 43 is trying to kill us.”
“Not if we kill them first. Keep shooting!”
“Melissa, they also have a way to teleport to different universes. And they left us stranded in space!”
“I get that, Miles. But we won’t have time to discuss this if we’re dead. So like I said, keep shooting!”
Miles nodded. They weren’t going to get answers. At least, not right now. All that mattered was survival. And considering how in the zone Melissa was, survival seemed likely. Sector 43 couldn’t stop them.
20 MINUTES LATER:
Darkness. Nothing but—no, now he could see. Miles Orlando was considered a genius. Peak human intelligence and strength. And he was considered the future of America. His caramel-colored skin and oddly textured hair was the new normal. People couldn’t tell if he was Hispanic, Black, Native American, or a combination of the three. Everything Sector 43 wanted to project, everything it wanted to be, Miles was. And he was literally left on their doorstep. But, despite all that knowledge. Despite the charming smile and lean physique, Miles was human. And most humans respond the same way when they awake in a pool of their own blood.
“Wh—What’s going on?!” Miles yelled. His vision was blurry. But everything was starting to become clear.
He was still on the ship. But it was damaged. More than damaged, it was a wreck. Debris was everywhere. They were on Earth, and Miles could smell lake water. He tried to get up.
That’s when he noticed. That’s when Miles became truly human. That’s when nothing he had done in his life mattered. A piece of metal had driven itself into his stomach. Even more debris had crushed his legs, causing him to lose feeling. For the first time in his life, Miles thought he was going to die.
“Melissa?” he said faintly.
He was losing consciousness. Was this the first time? Or had he been drifting in and out? Would he wake up again?
That’s when he saw her. Melissa was bloody, but she was moving. She was crawling towards him.
“Where’s Mystic Man?” Miles asked.
“Save your energy,” Melissa said. “We’re going to get out of here, but I need you to stop talking.”
She finally reached him and reached out her hand. Slowly, Miles reached out, and grabbed her hand. Miles could feel the ship crumbling underneath him.
“I value our friendship,” Melissa said. There were scars all over her face, but she forced a smile.
Maybe Miles imagined her saying that. Maybe that was the last thing he wanted to hear before he died. Either way, it was nice. It made him smile.
END PART 4
Only one part left. This story has been so much fun to write and thank you again to anyone who has followed along. Miles and Melissa’s journey is about to come to an end (or is it just beginning?) and I can’t wait to share the ending. Look out for Part 5 of Sector 43 to go up next Wednesday. Until then, share the story, follow me on Twitter @peacelovecomics and have a great weekend!