The Pilgrim of Cele — 3
Chapter 3: The Awakening and Infiltration
Kai was fiddling around in his chair as little boys do because they can’t sit still — especially not during a wretched sermon. There wasn’t a children’s church either. Not like there used to be on earth. The population on The Ark was still too small for that. Sister Diane had become his sole companion and teacher ever since he was left an orphan child. His parents were killed when an unexpected asteroid collision sent debris flying in the direction of their vessel while in transit to The Ark. Luckily for Kai, the vessel veered towards The Ark’s landing strip and was rescued by Brother Kelly and Brother Stephen, The Ark’s elders, before it exploded — sending his parents off to what Brother Kelly called the hidden dimension. “Our hope now lies in Samuel.” Brother Kelly had once told him. Of course, none of it made sense to Kai. However, he was intrigued by the stories Sister Diane told him about a Navigator prophet arriving in an egg-shaped pod to take them to the hidden dimension. The idea made him happy. To see his ma and pa again would be a dream come true.
As Brother Kelly delivered the final prayer, Kai heard what sounded like a shotgun being cocked from the hallway. His chair was inches from the exit. He was reluctant to remain seated and moved at a snail’s pace to sneak a peek out the door. He didn’t want Sister Diane to catch him in the act of mischief — although it never failed to lure him away from the straight and narrow. Kai was also hoping to see the man named Samuel. But as soon as Kai scooted himself to the edge of his seat to turn and look, Sister Diane snatched his wrist and pulled him back. She never missed a beat.
“Calm yourself Kai.” She whispered.
“But I jus — ”
“Shush.” Sister Diane shut him up before he could say another word.
The noise grew louder as he now heard footsteps shuffling. He didn’t want to miss out on being one of the first to lay eyes on the Navigator prophet and jumped to his feet to take a quick look, causing a bit of a raucous in the congregation.
“Kai!” Brother Kelly shouted from the pulpit.
“Ye… Yes!” Kai turned back in alarm.
“Sit down, son. The service isn’t over yet.”
“No bu — ”
“But I saw Brother Stephen using his shotgun to escort a man to the interrogation room.”
“Wha… What’re you talking about, son?” Brother Kelly asked, looking confused.
The congregation filled with murmurs.
“Sister Diane, please take Kai back to his room. Clearly he needs to be taught a lesson on how best to behave during service.”
“Honest! Just see for yourselves.” Kai shouted, jumping to his feet again and pushing the doors wide open to the sight of an empty hallway.
Folks stood up to look but many brushed it off as a foolish prank and sat back down.
After realizing that no one was going to believe him, Kai decided to run down the hall, forcing Brother Kelly, Sister Diane, and the whole congregation to chase after him. He was intent on proving he wasn’t lying and capturing a glimpse of the potential Navigator prophet, Samuel.
“Wait up, Kai.” Sister Diane shouted, but Kai kept running.
“Just you sit on that chair and don’t you move a muscle.” Brother Stephen ordered, still pointing his shotgun at Paul as he closed the door to the interrogation room. He had been put in charge of security at The Ark but often overstepped. Paul Kane, now Samuel Creed, obeyed — not wanting to further escalate the situation.
“I don’t know what kinda nonsense you’re tryin’ to pull, but I’m gonna get to the bottom of it.” Brother Stephen continued.
Paul thought for sure he was discovered now. Beads of sweat formed on his temples, but he kept his breath steady — hoping Brother Stephen wouldn’t notice the uptick in his heart rate as his wrists were being tied together.
“Now I’m just gonna ask you once. Who, in God’s name, are you and what business do you have here?”
“Louder, boy.” Brother Stephen demanded, pressing his shotgun into Paul’s shirt pocket.
Paul was about to reveal the truth when Kai barged into the room with the whole colony trailing behind. The room was mostly dark except for a spotlight that shined down on the old treatment chair where Paul sat. Brother Kelly flipped the switch to brighten the room and everyone shouted almost in unison, “Bless us all.” Brother Stephen had pointed his shotgun at them in reaction to their surprise visit.
“Brother Stephen, please put down your weapon.” Brother Kelly tried to diffuse the situation. He complied.
“Now. What’s the meaning of this?”
“I wanted to ascertain whether this man could truly be the prophet we’ve been expecting.”
“Brother Samuel is our guest. He’s had a rough journey and should be resting.”
“I found him lurking about the doors of the Chapel.”
“Surely, he was only finding his bearings.”
“Wel — ” Brother Kelly interrupted Brother Stephen.
“And what do you have to say for yourself, Brother Samuel?”
“Is it really you?” Kai chimed in, causing others to shout their questions all at once.
The room became crowded as people started to force their way into the interrogation room to hear Paul’s answer. He still didn’t understand what they were expecting or how he might prove to be the Samuel they seem to be looking for but was willing to take his chances. At least until Kai started bouncing on his feet to ask another question. Everyone towered over him, which blocked his view.
“Do you know where it is?” Kai shouted.
Paul was hesitant to respond, but the room was silenced and all eyes were on him in anticipation.
Paul stumbled on his words at first. He then remembered how the terrorist organization back on earth had been successful at infiltrating Weller Station and influencing people to follow their cause. It was how he ended up being wrapped up in the mass murder of thousands. “These people were already vulnerable.” He thought and decided to play along with their beliefs.
Paul sat up in his chair, cleared his throat, and unraveled the weak zip tie around his wrists. With his hands now fixed on the arms of the chair, he darted his deep blue eyes at them and said:
“I am that I am who has been sent to you.”