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Drin In The Desert panel 1

The shuttle skidded to a stop. By the grace of God, Drin

didn’t crash against one of the hard rocks out in the sand. His body

hurt, ached beyond anything he could have ever imagined. The

harness had held him in but burned against his skin, rubbing through

the fabric of his nanite-constructed 3ight suit. If Drin had concentrated

harder, he could have had his armor protect him, but he had

focused on the task at hand, setting down the viper and surviving the


He was on the ground. Now what? Drin let out a breath as he

considered what he’d do. He had to get out of this 5ghter, or the

Sekarans would 5nd him.

Drin pulled on a lever, manually popping the cockpit, opening

his space to the air of this world. It was hot, stale, worse than the environmentally

controlled 5ghter that he had been in, even with the life

support mechanisms blown. This was what Sekaran worlds felt like.

Oppressive. Hot. But coming here was his choice. He had to deal

with it.

Pushing the top, Drin slipped out of the 5ghter. He plopped onto

the sand, the grains of the earth below covering his toes when he

landed. What was his best course of action? God would have to

provide for him. Drin closed his eyes and prayed. Which way should

he go? Where did God want to lead him?

Keeping his eyes closed, Drin walked, leaving behind his

downed fighter. He would have to give up the relative comforts of

the Elorian Templar fleet. Until now, standing under a beating sun,

walking through the hot sands alone, he hadn’t considered how

blessed his life had been. The scriptures had always told him to be

grateful, but it took leaving comfort to understand what those words

meant. His mouth already felt dry after a few steps. Would he even


Drin kept walking, spending hours traversing the sands until they

turned into hills, and then grasses. It was still hot, but the scenery

changed rapidly. Perhaps he wasn’t as lost as he had thought. But still,

he found no water, only more land. In the distance, Drin saw what he

thought was a fence. He squinted to make sure. Was that a settlement?

It was hard to tell in the unending daytime heat.

He pressed forward, even though his body screamed at him to

stop. The alternative was to lie down and die. He couldn’t allow that,

not now, not after all he’d given up getting here.

As he moved closer, Drin saw he had been correct in his assessment

that a fence lay ahead. It was wooden, erected several years ago

by the looks of it. Beyond the fence lay tall grasses with domesticated

animals, ones he didn’t recognize, having never been on this planet

before. The large creatures browsed on those grasses. Past the grazing

animals was a small pond, almost brown in color, where other

animals drank. They seemed so peaceful. Drin squinted and looked

further. He saw some buildings. A farm?

Drin jogged toward the fence and put his foot up on the bottom

plank so he could hop it. It felt freeing to get out of the desert.

Perhaps he would live after all.

He pressed forward, bringing his hand above his brow to shield

his eyes from the sun. His calves ached, hamstrings protesting every

step after the hours of trudging through the sands. He needed water

but dared not drink that brown dreck the animals used. He was

parched, his mouth so dry his tongue stuck to the roof of it.

Each step became harder. One after another. He had to focus to

keep himself upright, even with his nanite assistance. They were

drained from all the strain he’d placed on his body these last several

hours. Was he being punished for his betrayal of his people? Drin’s

vision blurred. The animals around him seemed to mock him with

the strange noises they made. But still, Drin refused to give up. Sweat

dripped down his face, pouring into his eyes until he could no

longer see.

His breath became labored. Heatstroke. It was too much for him.

It would take more than just water to survive—shade was crucial as

well. He smacked his lips, trying to get any moisture into his mouth,

into his eyes.

“Mister?’ A small boy stood in front of him, perhaps eight years

old, dark hair blowing into his face. Where had the boy come from?

Was he a hallucination?

“Water,” was all Drin could mutter.

“I’ll get you water, sir, hold on,” the boy said. He ran away from


Drin reached out a hand, trying to stop the boy. Don’t leave me.

That’s what he wanted to say, but couldn’t. If he were to die, he

didn’t want to die alone. The world spun, blurred even further, and

then went dark.

Drin In The Desert panel 3
Drin In The Desert panel 4
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