Khan's attunement with mana wasn't a secret. Even if he wanted to hide it, his many trips would get in the way. He always had to cross scanners and other machines during travels, so the Global Army knew how quickly he improved.

Usually, soldiers would require infusions of synthetic mana to achieve such quick improvements, but things got harder and more expensive at the higher levels. The recovery time also increased, stopping even the richer descendants from abusing that training method.

However, the Global Army now had an example of a soldier who could improve faster than anyone without any apparent repercussions. Khan had also begun exposing his unique expertise to various parties. It was only a matter of time before the higher-ups' interest became too great to quell, and he was painfully aware of that.

"I won't give away my training method," Khan announced.

"Contributing to expanding the Global Army's arsenal is a valuable deed," Mister Cirvags explained. "It would earn you important points with all the right people."

"It's out of the question," Khan remained firm.

"I need more than that," Mister Cirvags stated.

"You don't, sir," Khan politely replied. "The regulations are clear. I don't even need to justify my decision."

That was factually true on multiple levels and regulations. Soldiers had a right to privacy as long as the Global Army didn't find them guilty of something, especially regarding training methods and personal techniques.

Of course, the Global Army could devise excuses and fake evidence, but Khan's position was more than secure. It was actually insulting for Mister Cirvags to demand explanations without formal offers.

"Captain, such a service would go a long way toward achieving your goals," Mister Cirvags explained, changing his approach.

Khan was aware of that but still shook his head and diverted his gaze, bringing the drink to his mouth. He wasn't worried about others catching up with him, but exposing his training methods could give insights into his art, and his enemies would use that against him.

"Such a service would enable a promotion," Mister Cirvags continued. "It might even allow you to skip years of education and award you the title of Ambassador."

Mister Cirvags were tempting. Khan believed the promotion was basically set in stone, but the road toward the title of Ambassador was full of hurdles. It wasn't only exclusive. Khan simply wasn't ready, and sharing his alien knowledge could compensate for his inexperience.

However, Khan ignored Mister Cirvags once again. He didn't doubt the legitimacy of his words, but arguing with him would only force the Global Army to write a formal offer. Refusing that could have harsher repercussions, so Khan opted for silence to keep the conversation inside that flat.

"Most importantly," Mister Cirvags added, "Such a service would help humankind."

The statement brought Khan's eyes back to Mister Cirvags. The latter was cryptic, but Khan had long since understood one detail about him. Mister Cirvags had undying loyalty toward the Global Army and humankind as a whole.

"The answer is still no," Khan declared, emptying what was left of the drink.

"Why?" Mister Cirvags calmly asked.

"It's not something I can put into words for humans," Khan said in a half-truth, "And I don't want to see young soldiers exploding to test it out."

That was an actual concern. Testing new arts and spells always carried some degree of danger, and Khan's technique went beyond that. He could imagine greedy and naïve soldiers attempting something without mastering the necessary foundation.

Of course, Khan was mostly concerned about himself, and Mister Cirvags wasn't easily fooled, but that explanation seemed enough. Mister Cirvags diverted his gaze and headed for his office, marking the end of the conversation.

"You can go now, Captain," Mister Cirvags announced, and Khan didn't dare to miss that opportunity. He even ignored the mandatory military salute to return to the elevator and reunite with the escort on the roof.

Khan's phone now contained a goldmine, but he didn't unlock it during the flight to the embassy. His mind was elsewhere, focused on Mister Cirvags' last statement, creating various thoughts that left a bitter taste in his mouth.

The walk through the embassy didn't clear Khan's mind, and his thoughts remained messy even after he reached his office. A few soldiers were still working, but he ignored them to isolate himself inside his room.

A few taps on the interactive desk made the room's windows go dark, completely isolating Khan from the rest of the office. He also sealed the door but didn't approach his seat. His eyes lingered on his reflection on the darkened surfaces, worsening his mental condition.

Khan's appearance was unmistakably human, but he only saw the big differences from the rest of his species. His blue hair was uncommon and alien, and his eyes conveyed an intensity that reminded him of the Niqols. They didn't shine but looked about to.

Khan's hands moved on his own, unbuttoning the upper part of his military uniform to uncover his chest. He let those clothes fall to the floor, and his blue scar appeared in the open, showing another different feature.

The reflection on the darkened windows wasn't too clear, but Khan still followed his own movements. He traced the scar's edges with his fingers, appreciating the differences in texture between the wound and his intact skin. That hideous mark had been part of him for as long as he could remember, and it didn't feel too alien anymore.

Khan's fingers moved to his other scars afterward. His right arm had clear marks from his battles on Cegnore, but his body had so much more. Shallow holes, reddish spots, and other wounds covered his skin, telling stories of multiple battlefields.

To Khan's surprise, all those marks felt no different from the blue scar. It didn't matter whether aliens or humans had inflicted those wounds. His body had no biases.

The blue tattoo ended up in the reflection during the inspection, and Khan couldn't help but stare at it. That alien mark of eternal love was still on his shoulder, and nothing could wipe it off.

'You would know the answers to my doubts,' Khan thought. 'You have always been wiser than me.'

Khan heaved a deep sigh before falling on his chair. His hand rose to his face to hold it and ruffle his hair. He was in a pickle, confused and hesitant, and nothing could solve that internal conflict.

Mister Cirvags' undying loyalty toward the Global Army had shaken Khan. The latter had the chance to help thousands of soldiers with his knowledge. He could bring immense benefits to humankind, but his mind categorically refused it.

'What's wrong with me?' Khan cursed. 'It should be my species.'

Khan had already faced similar doubts, but they felt stronger now. He knew he wouldn't hesitate to help the Nele. He wouldn't even question himself among the Niqols. Still, when it came to humans, his altruism vanished.

'I will marry a human,' Khan cursed again. 'I'll become part of a human family. I'll eventually represent humankind, so what's my problem?'

As much as Khan searched inside him, he always came back empty-handed. He couldn't feel the slightest attachment to humankind. His subconscious had already accepted that he didn't belong to that species.

That wasn't to say that Khan felt no attachment to some humans. He loved Monica from the bottom of his heart and truly wanted to marry her. Khan would give anything to help George, and more examples existed. Yet, when it came to the species as a whole, he was simply empty.

Khan let go of his face and stared at his palms. Those hands could grab things far beyond the limits of humankind. He saw, breathed, and touched differently from humans. He lived in another world, something his species couldn't reach.

'Where does this leave me?' Khan wondered. He had accepted that issue long ago, but the internal conflict remained, and the concern never left.

'Will I always feel like an outsider?' Khan asked himself, leaning on the chair's back and looking at the ceiling. 'Is this my future?'

Khan could picture the rest of his life very well. He would marry Monica, get rid of the nightmares, and start a family, living the rest of his days as a leader of the Solodrey family. His current path would lead to that future, and he didn't know how to feel about it.

Eventually, it would come the day when Khan would stop traveling around, meeting different species and learning their customs. He would retreat among humankind, letting the new generations handle the minor problems he liked facing so much. The trips through the universe would become a distant dream as he dealt with his species' politics.

'Would I even be happy with that?' Khan questioned. 'That stiff, restrained way of life really is what I worked so hard for?'

A fantasy slowly formed while Khan's eyes lingered on the ceiling. His mind created vague scenes fueled by childish but honest desires. He saw himself piloting a medium-sized ship, facing the wonders of the universe, and with someone he loved sitting beside him.

Khan's expression broke into a sad smile. He felt happy, cozy, and at peace in the fantasy, but part of him knew that future was already impossible. Humankind's ropes were tight around him. As things stood, he would spend the rest of his life as an outsider among his own species.