Henry took a few minutes to catch his breath. He stood beside one of the viewports, and watched the emptiness outside. Dragos joined him, and they stood silently together for several minutes, until Henry broke the silence.
“What will you do, when we get back to Earth?” Henry asked.
“Disappear into the shadows…into the night,” said Dragos. “I plan on getting good and lost.”
“You could help us win this war,” Henry said. “There’s about to be plenty of fighting to go around. We could use a guy like you on our side.”
“I have done nothing but fight for thousands of years. I just escaped from hell, or did you forget? I’m sick of fighting. I just want to find some peace,” said Dragos.
“I can understand that,” said Henry. “I have often felt tired, and drained myself. I wish I could quit. Retire, and spend the rest of my days hunting and fishing.”
“Then why don’t you?”
“I’d just get bored. I was born to fight. Fightin’s all I ever known, and all I ever done. I don’t reckon I want to think too much about who I am without all the fightin’. In times like this, when there ain’t much else to do, I start gettin’ a little crazy. Spent almost the entire trip out here talking to myself and my imaginary friends.”
“Understandable. Yours is a social race. You need other people to survive. My people are more solitary. We feel no need to interact with each other.”
“Tell me about your people,” said Henry. “You said before you weren’t no vampire. What are you, then?”
“I was once a human being like yourself. I was cursed, and became consumed by hatred and rage. When I died, I did not die, but became this thing I am today.”
“I am a Revenant. We are similar to your vampire or mummy legends, but not quite the same. I do not drink blood. In fact, I have no need to eat or drink anything at all. I am not affected by religious images or icons, but exposure to sunlight will destroy me.”
“The sun is just another star, and out here in space, there’s an awful lot of stars. How do you keep from going up in flames?”
“All stars have the same effect on me, yes, but I have to be on a planet orbiting a star. I am no scientist, but I think it is a combination of factors, such as proximity to the star, the presence of an atmosphere, and other things. I haven’t had time to figure out the exact conditions that cause it.”
“Interesting,” said Henry. “How many people like you exist?”
“It has always been a rare gift, bestowed under the most dire circumstances. Never more than a handful in the entire history of Earth. I assume that the gift is equally rare on other planets, though I don’t know for sure.”
“You seem to know a lot about Earth for someone fresh out of hell,” said Henry.
Dragos laughed. “I was born on Earth many, many years ago. It was another time…another age. After I died, I remained on Earth, hunting and killing, for many hundreds of years. Eventually, I got bored, and I began seeking out ancient, forgotten knowledge. I traveled across the Earth, always searching for clues. Trying to ascertain the truth of the gods behind the different mythologies of the world. I didn’t find anything like that, but I did find a portal to that hell dimension. I got trapped there, and I was only able to escape because the Peri opened that rift.
“The rift is a tear in the fabric of space-time,” said Dragos. “There are thousands, if not millions, of other dimensions out there. Perhaps even an infinite number of them. In fact, we are traveling through one now.”
“The Tesseract Drive operates by punching a hole in the universe, traveling through an alternate dimension, and then punching another hole on the other side. That’s why interstellar travel isn’t instantaneous. The “fold” as they call it, is really just another dimension. It gets even better. It’s not even the same dimension each time you enter it.”
“It’s not?” asked Henry.
“No. Most of the time, you get lucky, and you travel through an empty dimension. Nothing happens, and you emerge on the other side none the wiser. However, sometimes, the dimension you enter isn’t empty, and the shit hits the fan. When that happens, the ship is usually destroyed. The Peri have ghost stories about ships that were lost in the fold.”
“Like the Bermuda Triangle back home.”
“If you say so.”
“I guess that musta been after your time,” said Henry. “It’s a place where a buncha ships and planes disappeared without a trace. It was a big mystery for a long time.”
“Perhaps there was a portal there, and they slipped into a different dimension,” said Dragos.
“That’s as good an explanation as any other I’ve heard,” said Henry. “You want to help me clean out the rest of the zombies? I’d rather not take any of them back to Earth if I can help it.”
“Certainly. There’s not much else to do. This should be a fun diversion…at least for a little while.”
“Let’s get to it, then,” said Henry. He gave two of the metaphasic pistols to Dragos, and they left the bridge together.