2144, Common Era – Planet Gaia, Outer Rim, Tynan Empire
The arrival of a stranger was seldom a good thing, particularly in the Outer Rim. Bad things happened when strangers arrived, things like Soul Harvests or piracy. A farming couple entertained these thoughts as they stood over the stranger they’d found lying unconscious at the river’s edge. But perhaps he wasn’t a stranger to this planet, only to them. The farmer lifted the man, carrying him all the way to the planet’s only medical centre. As the stranger drifted in and out of consciousness, the couple waited anxiously to discover who it was they’d found.
At long last, the doors to the room slid open as the assigned doctor entered.
“And?” asked the farmer. “Who is he? Where is he from?”
“That I cannot say. I know he’s not a citizen of Gaia, and I checked if he was from Ares, but he isn’t.”
“So he’s a pirate?”
“I don’t think so. The full-body scans suggest that he’s about thirty-three standard years old, in good physical condition – probably had an easy life. They also show that he’s got severe post-traumatic dissociative amnesia because of extensive, unnatural neural trauma. This man’s mind has been artificially tampered with and forcefully modified.”
“And that doesn’t make him a pirate?” the farmer inquired, derision filling his tone.
“We’re not graced with the technology to perform such operations here in the Outer Rim, nor the Mid Rim for that matter.”
The doctor paused, carefully thinking about how to phrase his following words.
“Therefore, I think it fair to surmise that he has come from the Inner Rim, and that is the domain of both the United Earth Republic and the core of the Tynan Empire – piracy doesn’t flourish there.”
“So, what does all of this mean?” implored the farmer’s wife. “What will happen to him?”
“I am no fortune teller, but if I were to make an educated guess, I would say that this man is largely going to be a blank slate. He’ll need to be cared for and supported as he forms a new identity.”
The doctor watched as the couple exchanged a glance before checking his notes. “If I’m not mistaken, you are childless?” he queried.
“We had a daughter!” the farmer snapped.
“Livietta. She died five years ago,” his wife added quietly.
“My condolences. Perhaps then, you could care for this man. I realise he is not a child, but he could become a strong set of farm hands in return for his board and lodgings.”
The couple exchanged another glance.
“But he is a stranger!” the farmer disputed. “Bad things happen when strangers arrive!”
“This man is a stranger to himself! Trauma like his doesn’t leave you knowing who you are. He’ll need guidance, support: both of which I think you can offer him.”
“And if bad things happen?”
“Then we’ll send him to Ares – let the Empire’s grunts deal with him.”
With a final glance and a nod, the couple agreed.
“Fine … we’ll take him.”