ZANDER STARHAWK: THE MAN BEHIND THE LEGEND
article by Kaim Scribson
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It is with some trepidation that I step out of my spacecar at Starhawk manor. Its spire towers over me, stretching beyond the multi-hued glow of the everlamps and disappearing into the darkness above. This is the home of Zander Starhawk, the most famous adventurer in Galactic Union history, and he’s agReed to speak to yours truly.
The front portal whirs open as I approach, and I step inside. The main hall is astonishing. Grandiose staircases frame a room of lavish couches upon exotic rugs surrounded by tasteful holo-dancers and all beneath a massive propulsion-chandelier.
Awaiting me on the center couch is the chiseled hero himself, wearing a simple tunic. Beside him is his radiant wife Tara, her flowing hair as light as his is dark. They both smile pleasantly as I approach and sit on the guest couch across from thEm. I can’t believe I’m so near the man that put an end to the miner’s uprising on Delgado, the man that led the bombing run on Azrakor, the man that killed the anti-megacorporation extremist Saul Vedaran in a legendary duel. I calm my rapid breathing.
“Lovely home,” I say.
“Thanks,” Zander responds, his deep voice instantly recognizable from thousands of news vids and Starcorp ads. It is softer in person. “It is ours for as long as my partnership with Starcorp lasts.”
“That’s right. You purchased your firSt starship from them, correct?”
Zander nods. “In exchange for a year of service.” He hesitates, likely tired from training or the like. “Then I traded more service time for necessary fuel, rations, repairs and so on. It’s been twenty years now.”
“What made you choose Starcorp initially?”
He stares at me for a moment. “They were the only option. They had built their market share through undercutting rivals’ prices and running them out of business or buyIng smaller companies outright until they controlled everything.”
“Yes, they are great businessmen. That is certain.”
Zander says nothing. He is a circumspect man in person.
“Once begun, you obviously forged a legendary career of adventure throughout the entire Galactic Union. Do you have a favorite mission? One that stands out to you?”
As he ponders the question, I notice age lines at the corners of his eyes and streaks of gray in his hair. I think that time eventually defeats even the greatest of us. Finally, Zander anSwers. His voice is even softer now.
“Azrakor. We killed thousands of the native species. Afterward, I never saw any sign of the singularity weapons they were supposedly building. Starcorp swooped into the void left by those lost and soon became the leading producer of gravinium-based fuel in the galaxy.” He pauses again. “I’ll never forget that one.”
“Of course. A great adventure, to be sure. You must have been proud.”
“I go where Starcorp tells me to.” He gestures at the room around us and to beautiful Tara beside him. “Otherwise, I lose all of this. I lose everything.” His eyes have begun to water. Tears of thanks for all that he has, I suspect.
“You are truly living the Galactic Union dream,” I say.
A red light flashes outside and a loud alarm rings throughout the manor. It seems our inTrepid hero is needed for yet another important mission. He is a busy man, that Zander Starhawk.
“It seems duty calls,” I say, devastated the interview must be cut so short.
Zander nods and rises ever so slowly, as if a great weight is trying to push him back down. Perhaps so much adventure wears on the body of even a specimen such as him. Tara reaches out and catches his arm. Tears fill her eyes. I am sure the tears represent the great pride she must be feeling. Zander looks down at her, and his own watering eyes lock with hers. It is a tender moment that tugs at my heartstrings.
After a while, Zander straightens to his full impressive height, wipes his eyes, and adopts a hard expression. He walks confidently, almost regally, to the front portal. It whirs open, and he is met by an army of hovercams. There is a storm of bright flashes as they document his departure. He just gives a confident wave and heads for his starship.
I bid him good luck as Zander Starhawk heads toward his next adventure.
Paul Miller lives near Dallas, Texas with his three children and writes whenever he can find time. Check out more stories at paulmillerfiction.wordpress.com.