Cadet Farouk remained frozen–paralyzed with fear. The surge of trembles throughout his body evenly balanced with Yoshida’s flustered but vicious attempt to shake him into shape.
“Snap out of it, cadet!” Roudan commanded. “We need to look inside that backpack. Whatever is inside will be what we need to survive,” he said.
Suddenly, Shevchenko pushed the men aside. She clasped Farouk by the chin to make eye contact, though his eyes were shut tight. Savoi knelt beside them, placed her hand on the small of his back, and gently applied pressure to calm him.
“Take a deep breath and release when you exhale,” Savoi whispered with a heavier island accent. She spoke in her native tongue, then translated, “The fear you have of pain or dying lets it move.”
Farouk unclenched his eyes as a single tear drifted down his face. He released his grip on the backpack. Shevchenko wasted no time to snatch it open. The contents contained four laser pistols, three earpieces, one radio communication device, and a small map. When she carefully unrolled the map, a torn paper fell out. Roudan picked up the paper and read the inscription to himself. His eyes fluttered vigorously over the note several times.
He shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “The damn thing makes little sense.”
Yoshida peered at the paper as well. His blank expression showed that he could not decipher the mystery either. Roudan helplessly handed the paper to Shevchenko. Her deep blue eyes penetrated the paper, but she remained silent.
“Well, what does it say?” Savoi frantically asked.
“We’re doomed,” Shevchenko blurted. “The inscription is written in Obëquä. I am familiar with some of the lettering, but no one has used that language for over five hundred years,” she said.
Yoshida belted out a scream of frustration that was drowned by the surrounding chaos. “Damn it, aren’t you supposed to be a fancy linguist? What good are you if you can’t read it either?” he barked.
“I can,” Savoi stammered.
She grabbed the paper without hesitation and read. “It says; dark of night. Ever present guide. Through overcasts of fog. The North Star shall withstand and be shown in the sky.”
Yoshida shook his head in disbelief. “What in the hell does that even mean?” he asked Roudan.
“It’s a poem,” Farouk answered, with a tremble in his voice.
“This is the perfect scenario of a living hell. People are being clipped down by laser beams and nearly drowned by that tidal wave, yet we stand here trying to interpret a five-hundred-year-old poem written in a dead language,” Yoshida interjected.
Savoi paced about for a few minutes as she gathered her thoughts.
“I know this poem. It was written by a monk who used to serve as a merchant marine,” she said.
Farouk gained his bearings enough to stand, and said, “I also know this tale. The ship had been lost at sea for weeks until they came upon—”
Both Farouk and Savoi stared at each other, then simultaneously shouted, “A LIGHTHOUSE!”
Savoi scrambled to find the small map. She pinpointed their location and realized the pool of water flowed out of the dome into the ocean. On the other side of the beach stood a tall lighthouse that she noticed the day of induction. She was certain the poem was a hint which directed them to go there. Though Shevchenko was envious of Savoi’s clever insight, she attempted to mask it with skepticism. By then, the men had unanimously affirmed their full support and devised a plan to escape the dome. Since time was of the utmost essence, Shevchenko reluctantly joined the crew.
~The Waring Robins, Ch. 11~