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If he'd been in a tougher situation, Dorian Walker couldn't remember it.

It had been only a few days since he'd found Nexus, and just a few hours since he'd set the Blue Horizon down at the south end of a long canyon in the middle of a windswept region he'd nicknamed Galeras. As soon as he'd stepped off the ramp, a group of strange aliens had appeared out of the mist and forcibly taken him to their small village at the end of the canyon. They called themselves the Pell.

Everything in their village, from the dilapidated huts to the mysterious glowing totems, appeared to be made from scavenged pieces of what he assumed must be Eldan technology.

Now Dorian was tied to a pseudo-technological altar made of bones and feathers, surrounded by smoky torches thrust into the sands of the canyon floor. A tall, elaborately dressed Pell stood before him\; a priest of some kind, unless Dorian missed his mark. The priest called out in a strange, guttural tongue, and soon the hunched, birdlike forms of Pell villagers emerged from the shadows, wrapped in tattered robes. Chanting incomprehensibly they shuffled forward, flickering firelight glinting in their beady, menacing eyes.

Things being what they were, Dorian thought he'd better reason with them.

"Hey there, chief. Name's Dorian Walker. I'm new around here. Don't want any trouble."

"We are the Disciples of Air. You came from the sky. Did the Masters send you?" the priest rasped.

"Yes and no," Dorian replied. "I did come from up there, but I can't say that I know any masters."

"We serve the Masters, but the Masters are gone," the Pell said. "Still, their great work must continue."

"Ah. Well, I can see you're busy. If you'd be so kind to untie me, I'll just be on my way."

"You will aid the Disciples. You will continue the great work." A chill ran down Dorian's spine, as the priest raised a staff into the air. "As a sacrifice to the Masters!"

The staff crackled with blue electricity. Dorian figured time for peaceful first contact had officially run out.

Using the strength of his cybernetic arm, Dorian broke free of the ragged ropes that held him. As the priest screamed in surprise and rage, Dorian leapt to his feet, grabbed a hyperflare from a pouch on his belt, clenched his eyes shut, and threw it to the ground with all his might. The flare exploded with the light of a small sun, casting giant twisted shadows on the surrounding canyon walls.

"Masters' Fire!" the high priest shrieked, and the assembled Pell fell to the ground and collectively wailed in agony. That gave Dorian the opening he needed. With every ounce of energy in his septuagenarian frame, he charged back to the Blue Horizon, disabling the security lockouts as he ran. By the time the Pell saw he was gone, the ship was blasting off into the atmosphere on a column of blue-white smoke.

"I really did regret that," Dorian would later write in his journal, "They seemed like nice enough folk. Once you looked past the fact that they wanted to kill you."

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