'Over the relatively brief history of your species,' Mentor told Lukas. 'There have been several individuals who have shown themselves to possess the qualities we seek. These strains have been identified, and enhanced where necessary. These enhanced bloodlines were identified, and induced to breed true. I have counseled and guided each bloodline, encouraging them to mate and breed with others of similar talents.' Mentor paused for a moment, then continued. 'You might be interested to know, Lukas, that you can count Moses among your forebears, and Cassandra. She looked a great deal like this form I wear now.' She added softly.
'That's nice to know.' Lukas muttered absently. 'So, I, along with a few others, have been created by you, to try and stop a creature that entire worlds have been unable to destroy?'
'That is, in essence, true.' Mentor agreed.
'How the hell are we supposed to do that?' Lukas scrambled awkwardly to his feet, and began to pace; nervous tension propelling him back and force in front of Mentor. 'What little talent I might have had has gone, for all I know, for good. And now you tell me that I'm supposed to help save, not only my own planet, but every other one as well. This is madness.'
'Your ability is not gone.' Mentor informed him. 'It is merely cloaked.'
Lukas froze, mid-step. 'I'm sorry?' He was not sure that he had heard correctly. 'Cloaked?'
'I have had you under observation for most of your life, Lukas. When you were almost injured and killed, I was suspicious, and investigated. When I examined the mind of the driver of the machine your train collided with, I discovered his mind had been destroyed; obliterated in a such a way that is typical of the Al'urion. I knew then, that our allotted time was almost gone, and the first Al'urion outrunners were here.'
Lukas stared at her for a moment. Then, with a small sigh and shrug, he went back to his place next to her. 'So,' he began tentatively. 'If the crane operator was forced to park his rig on the line, then...' He trailed off, as the implication hit home.
'You were the target, Lukas.' Mentor finished for him. He stared at her, speechlessly. 'I must confess; I did not expect the Al'urion to know of your existence this soon. The fact that they tried to dispose of you so soon, does not bode well.'
'Why me? Just me?' Lukas asked. 'You said that I was only one of several like me. Why haven't they been targeted?' He thought for a moment. 'Or have they? And you're not telling me.'
'All are yet still alive.' Mentor assured him. 'They are not in danger, and are being protected; as are you. I have inhibited your ability; as I have the others. This will make you hard to detect, and will gain us some small advantage. It also,' she added, 'enabled you to detect the Al'urion outrunners;
'So, my ability isn't gone?' Lukas felt he needed the clarification.
'Now that you have observed the outrunners, you will see them always. There is no longer any need to mask your ability.' Mentor affirmed. 'Also, the Al'urion has seen the face of its foe. It now knows you.'
'That's reassuring.' Lukas thought for a moment. 'So, why hasn't it tried to kill me again? It's had several opportunities, using Jackinson; I assume Jackinson is under its control?' He asked.
'Yes,' Mentor said. 'But not to the degree the operator of the device meant to kill you was. The man Jackinson must have somewhat of an already violent personality, in order for the Al'urion to be able to coerce him, and yet leave him with freedom of thought and mind. It is even possible,' she added, 'that he welcomed the Al'urion outrunners into his mind freely.'
'What?' Lukas frowned. 'I can't believe that. Nobody would want those things crawling around inside their head. And, he's a policeman, for goodness sake.'
'And why should that make a difference?' Mentor persisted. 'Lukas; the condition of the man's personality need not be severe. It would take but little, for the Al'urion to locate and exploit the man's weaknesses. The slightest tendency to violence; even violent thoughts, are enough, no matter what profession he pursues.'
'I suppose.' Lukas admitted, after a moments thought.
'And, Lukas,' mentor went on. 'There was a second, and yet a third, attempt upon your life.'
'There was?' Lukas blinked. 'When was that?' He asked, adding, 'I think I would've remembered; somebody trying to kill me.'
'Perhaps,' Was Mentors cryptic reply. 'Do you remember the accident you witnessed, involving the transport drivers?'
'That accident was meant to involve you.' Mentor informed him. 'Instead, I turned the drivers hands, and forced his transport in the opposite direction.'
'Lukas stared. 'Almost a dozen people died in that crash.' His voice took on an accusatory tone. 'And you're telling me, you caused it, in order to save me? A dozen people died, so that I could live?'
'It was necessary.' Mentor was unperturbed by Lukas' outburst. 'The emotion generated by the crash drew away the outrunners, and allowed you to leave, unmolested. As I have told you; singly, and in small numbers, they are little more than mindless drones. They are easily distracted.'
'That's...' Lukas tried to voice his outrage. Mentor said nothing; she studied him impassively as he struggled to find the words.
Finally, sensing that anything he did have to say, would be wasted on the silent figure beside him, Lukas slumped.
'That's not the point.' He said finally. 'Those people died for me, and I wasn't even aware of it. That's a huge burden for me to carry around.'
The mediums gaze skittered erratically around for a moment, before finally settling upon Mentors placid features. Again, he had for remind himself, that this was not MacKenzie Church, but a being almost older than time; with conceptions alien to those of Lukas. Mentor viewed things, events, on a scale that was incomprehensible to human minds.
And, without Mentor's help, he thought wryly, it was probably fair to say that the earth would die, as had myriads of worlds before it.
'I'm sorry,' He muttered. Mentor did not reply. She waited silently, patiently, for him to continue. 'I guess this is going to take a little getting used to.'
'You have little time to adjust.' Mentor told him evenly. 'Al'urion is real; the threat is real, and imminent. You asked me; why you? I will tell you why.'