Story Collection Nov 5, 2022 21:12:18 GMT -5
Post by Radrook Admin on Nov 5, 2022 21:12:18 GMT -5
All the stories posted below were written by me under my pen name of Radrook as opposed to my Real name of Nelson Diaz.
The moment of the Big Bang, when all existence started, had held mankind's fascination for centuries. But unfortunately, the event was beyond human observation due to the expansion of space which had created insurmountable and ever increasing distances separating mankind from the light of the moment of that event . So that observation had remained mere fantasy. That was until warp drive, which made the speed of light limit of 186,000 miles per second, irrelevant, and made regions that had been previously beyond our reach or detection reachable.
It was then that desire to view the event personally had became an obsession. Eventually, under the relentless goading of human curiosity, a mission had been planned and a crew prepared for the momentous journey. Of course, many religionists considered the ambition as hubris, an affront to nature, and even to God Himself. However, scientifically-disposed minds had prevailed, and a special ship was finally prepared and the crew chosen for the task.
All ship crewmembers, religious and nonreligious, knew what would be involved, the observation of the gradual evolution of our universe as the light of those previously undetectable events became detectable. The observational sensation of travelling back in time, as they probed outwards towards those receding hitherto unreachable regions. Regions that warp velocities exceeding thousands of times the speed of light would now make accessible. To finally and personally observe and record the emergence of that enigmatic cosmic egg or singularity from a safe vantage point, and follow its retreating light as as it would suddenly telescoped back into that infinite singularity from which all universal existence had emerged. That would be the Magnus Opus of mankind.
And so it turned out to be. From the safety of the ship’s hyperspaced location, the crew had been privileged to witness the galactic clusters gradually becoming less complex in structure, slowly releasing their individual gravitational grips on one another. They had observed galactic superclusters that had been stretched into filaments, begin to unravel, and the vast empty spaces referred to as voids that separated them, gradually become populated by rogue galaxies.
They had observed how the enigmatic Black Holes, stars that had gravitationally collapsed into singularities, began to resemble white holes, rapidly disgorging all that they had absorbed during billions of years. Visible light, as well as all other invisible radiations, and even entire stars began to emerge from these mysteriously dark regions, until the stars that had become a black holes suddenly appeared as a supernovas, and gradually regained their main sequence status, each following its own journey dictated by its mass, returning to the proto-star status, and finally a dissolution back into the cosmic dust and gas nebula from whence they had coalesced. Then Individual stars commenced to distance themselves from one another, decreasing their mutual gravitational pull until, only a tenuous, wide dispersal remained. Finally, they themselves dissolved and there remained only a universal, all-encompassing, tenuous glow.
The universal glow persisted for the duration of eons of non-ship time, then it also began to fade until coalescing and suddenly telescoping into a bright flash of brilliant light that instantly disappeared into the cosmic egg or singularity, until only the seemingly-infinite darkness prevailed.
The ship’s crew cheered uneasily, and applauded self-consciously, due to the overwhelming feeling of total isolation. Then suddenly, their celebration was cut short by a computer report of a fluctuation anomaly that had been detected at the Cosmic Egg’s disappearance. The baffling thing about it was that the computers described its occurrence as a millisecond prior to the Big Bang, which from their theoretical standpoint, was an impossibility, since , according to the current theory, nothing preceded the Big Bang. This conundrum had demanded an explanation, and was delaying their departure home. Instead, they chose to remain in hyperspace until it could be deciphered.
Captain Eusebio Pedrosa, had been instantly apprised of the situation by his second-in-command, Joseph Stanton, who now stood at attention before him.
“What is the anomaly’s source?” the Captain asked Stanton who had come to his quarters in order to offer an explanation for the delay in the ship’s return voyage.
“No source detected Captain," Stanton responded tentatively, knowing full-well that such an explanation was unacceptable, and that specific answers were required. He knew that the captain was a stickler for efficiency, and he didn‘t want to provoke one of his infamous tirades.
“The fluctuations seemed to emanate from all directions at once, sir.” he continued in an effort to avoid being reprimanded for inefficiency.
“A disturbance in the CBR, the cosmic background radiation, which is turning out to be theoretically inexplicable, sir.”
“What was the exact moment of its manifestation?” the captain asked rhetorically, since he already knew. Why did he always have to remind this crew that procedural formality was absolutely essential to a mission’s efficiency? He fumed silently while waiting for a response.
“The disturbance occurred exactly at the moment when the cosmic egg, or the singularity that became our universe, vanished sir,” Stanton continued while nervously feeling that he was being critically evaluated.
“Nothing to worry about, Just a fluctuation that appears to have no theoretical explanation sir. We have discounted a computer glitch as the cause, and are still trying to figure it out.”
The captain stood pondering what he had just been told while the second-in-command stood by nervously waiting for dismisal. Then there was a sudden beeping from Stanton’s communicator. The captain watched as Stanton listened to the report. Then, when it finally finished, Stanton spoke.
“Sir, they have deciphered the CBR transmission!” he said nervously.
“So what is it? Dam it!” the captain almost shouted.
“They found the baffling punctuations within the CBR to be in Morse Code, sir!”
“Then cut to the chase and tell me what information it’s transmitting!”
“Well, sir, they tell me that the exact words are, “Let there be light!” sir.
For a long while captain Pedrosa considered having the crewmember who transmitted the message relieved of his duties and confined to his quarters, if not for sheer incompetence, at least for attempting to play some sort of practical joke at a distance of approx.15 billion light-years from Earth. No he didn’t like the distance and the sooner they got back the better. So playing practical jokes under such a situation was unpardonable.
“Not my idea, sir!” Stanton uttered with nervously voice after noticing the captain’s intensely negative reaction, and the suspicious way he was staring at him.
“The Science Officer is the one you need to talk to, sir,” he added.
“Well, why didn’t he come and inform me himself?”
“Because he has become suddenly indisposed sir! You see, they tell me that he suffered a slight heart attack and a stroke upon the discovery. You know how fanatically atheistic he is, sir, and that discovery must have really been a tremendous shock. But he isn’t the only one, sir. Most of the crew is experiencing deep depression and disorienting bouts of vertigo. They were finally forced to place the ship on automatic pilot.”
“What the hell is wrong with these people?” Captain Pedrosa shouted.
“And why is it that you seem OK?” he added suspiciously.
“Well sir, to me it doesn’t come as a shock at all. You see, I am a Roman-Catholic Christian, and receiving confirmation of the existence of the biblical God, in this way, only serves to strengthen my faith. Them? Well sir, you know how much atheists build their lives around a Godless universe. So when presented with something of this magnitude that definitely proves them wrong, naturally they panic. One of them is even suffering from epileptic seizures, and another has come down with explosive diarrhea, and projectile vomiting. So essentially, sir, you and I are the only ones fit able to manage the ship.”
After silently observing the captain’s calm demeanor for a while, he asked:
“Might I ask why you seem OK sir?”
“No, I am not a Christian, if that’s what you are thinking. I was raised as an agnostic and still I am an agnostic. So whichever way things go, I accept them as they are. In any case, let’s get to the cockpit and get us back to the solar system so the crew can benefit from professional medical attention.
“Yes sir!” he said smiling broadly as he touched the silver crucifix on his chest and whispered a prayer. He also remembered the following poem.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds ... and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of ... wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
The guardiansThe solar system was teaming with Earth colonies, and once warp drive had ben perfected, Earth spaceships had been regularly embarking on missions of exploration beyond the solar system. But once the exploration efforts began to move towards the Horsehead Nebula, 1,375 light-years from Earth, the short, blue-furred, pot-bellied pig-like aliens had appeared suddenly out of seemingly nowhere demanding that Earth exploration of that section of the galaxy immediately cease. This region, they claimed, was sacred and claimed that they had been entrusted to protect it. To the question of who had entrusted them with such a task, they unequivocally responded, God, while rolling their huge, blue, melancholy eyes skyward with reverent expressions on their porcine faces.
Of course, Earth’s military authorities took umbrage at this demand, and considered a military solution. But politicians were the ones entrusted in dealing with such things, and they preferred diplomacy. An establishment of friendly relation for mutual benefits. To be able to reach some mutual agreement that would prove acceptable to both sides in order to avoid bloodshed, was the last suggestion. But the aliens just would not accede to anything other than a total evasion of the specified zone.
"This is ridiculous!" Fabian Reynolds, the tall, seventy-two year old, bald, full white-bearded Admiral in charge of Earth's Solar System Security Space Fleet said.
"Who do they think they are to be placing restrictions on our exploratory missions?"
“Well, admiral,” Nicanor Steelton, the Vice Admiral or second-in command, a short mouse-like humanoid with a squeaky voice, patiently responded, “obviously, they feel that they are their God's emissaries. The God that they say human Christians, Jews and Muslims worship. The one mentioned in the Bible."
“Is that so?” the admiral shot back with a murderous scowl on his pale, wizened face.
“That's a lot of hogwash," he continued “Those areas of our galaxy directly behind the Horsehead Nebula must contain some type of potential mineral wealth that they are refusing to share. Why, don't we just send an exploratory mission to that region? "
“Well Admiral, if those areas have been colonized by these aliens, then they have a right-" Nicanor said in an effort to reason with his commanding officer, whom he considered a loose-cannon of sorts.
“But that's just it,” the admiral shot back, “the bastards aren’t claiming colonization of any of those regions. Which means they don't own anything at all there. So where is their right to be setting limits?”
“Once again, you are missing the point Admiral.” Nicanor explained patiently. “They claim to derive their authority from God. That it was a mandate bestowed upon them millions of years ago."
"But exactly what is it that they are guarding ?" the admiral asked impatiently, while pacing the floor of his flagship's cockpit from bulkhead to bulkhead.
"They claim that those sectors are harboring Edenic planets where no sin has been committed. In short, Admiral, they would be contaminated by association with us, whom they consider creatures of sin. " Nicanor added knowing full-well that reasoning with the emotionally-prone admiral would simply get him nowhere.
The Admiral grunted at that statement, and left the flagship's cockpit in a huff. Hell! The diplomats were too soft. Too slow for his liking. So he would take care of the matter himself. No, he didn’t have the authority to deploy any of his fleet to challenge the upstart aliens. At least not officially, but he could sure as hell hire mercenaries to do it, and that is precisely what he was going to do. He knew exactly whom to approach with the offer, the infamous Solar System pirate Narconeous.
"So what compensation will I get from this venture general?" the tall, muscular, Alpha Centaurian, green skinned, red crested, Humanoid Narconeous, Captain of a fleet of mercenary pirate ships, asked upon being contacted via subspace communications. He listened intently as the holographic image of the Admiral hovered on the table in his quarters
"You will be allowed access to any mineral wealth that you can extract from the planet that you invade or its moon." it said.
“No offense intended captain. Let’s just say that we will not interfere. You know, make things unnecessarily complicated when they can be simple.“
There was a long-pause of silence before the Pirate spoke again.
“But what is it exactly that I am up against, Admiral?"
“Oh just a few potbellied pig-like aliens who appeared on Earth demanding we keep our distance from the Horsehead Nebula region.
"Then why don’t you do it yourselves?" the pirate asked, his holographic image squinting one red, suspicious eye."
“Because the Earth Council has advised caution! Without its approval, my hands are tied!"
"So you are going against the Council’s advice, Admiral? Isn’t that a bit dangerous for your career?"
“Once I prove that I had been right all along, they will thank me for the riches that they will gain!"
"But suppose it's just a total devastation? Nothing but some sort of vicious alien joke? Suppose what they consider riches, we consider manure? Such perceptions vary drastically among planetary species, as you well know"
"I will pay you three million Rubias personally if you accept the challenge, Captain, you have my word!" the admiral uttered with the most solemn voice that he could muster.
The pirate Narconeous was taken totally aback by the offer. Three million Rubias was nothing to sneer at. Each Rubia was equivalent to one thousand human American dollars back in Earth’s year of 1950.
“Alright admiral.” Narconeous finally said after a prolonged silence. “ I will assemble my fleet! But mark my words, Admiral, if the Rubias are withheld, we will not target Earth, nor any Earth fleet, nor any Earth colony, we will target YOU. Do we have an understanding?”
“Yes, Narconeous, we have an understanding.
Their holographic images both nodded in agreement, and the deal was done.
Soon, the pirate fleet of twenty seven ships was on its way. No, it was not numerous, but they compensated for it in the potency of their weapons. Each ship was bristling with disintegrators that hurled anti-matter, energy bolts which would obliterate any other craft on contact. In fact, that was one of the reasons why the Earth military authorities had avoided doing battle, but had preferred to ignore the occasional pirate forays into Earth territory for bartering and resupply purposes as a minor inconvenience.
After traveling at warp for a day, the fleet was approaching the Horse-head Nebula when it was suddenly hailed by a pot-bellied alien from a vessel that was approaching from the Horsehead Nebula’s direction at sub-luminal velocity. The message was the same as had been given to the Earth authorities. The area was not open for space exploration by any unauthorized creatures, and the authority vested in them was from the almighty God who had assigned them to that sacred duty.
The pirate leader, of course, was intimately familiar with threats. He had faced many during his infamously cruel career, and knew that threats were very often merely baseless blusterings that could safely be ignored. Yet, for some reason, this time he was feeling compelled to negotiate with these creatures.
“We are just on a peaceful exploratory mission--" he heard himself say.
"No, you are not. Your vessels are heavily armed and you are a pirate of ill repute to whom life is expendable. We know all about you, Narconeous, and your bloodthirsty ways. You and your kind are not welcomed here. We seriously advise you to turn back!”
At that, the pot-bellied aliens could hear the entire pirate crew laughing over the intercom, and with good reason. After all, the alien ship was alone and much smaller than any of their smallest vessels. It was obviously not a warship, at least its design indicated no attacking capabilities nor potential. So why should they feel forced to heed this demand. The last time someone had dared to demand that they leave a star system, the demanders had been instantly disintegrated. So why Narconeous was hesitating and delaying a violent response for so long, was totally beyond his crew’s comprehension.
"Captain, shall we open fire?" the Reptilian who resembled an Earth Komodo Dragon in a purple uniform, impatiently asked the captain who had remained silently staring at the viewing screen after the pot-bellied alien had spoken. Then, as if the Reptilian’s question had suddenly wrenched Narconeous out off a temporary catatonic stupor, he savagely yelled, "Fire!" into the intercom and all the fleet’s disintegrators simultaneously boomed into action, but not against the pot-bellied alien ship, but against each other until all were gone. Afterwards, on the pot-bellied alien ship, a prayer of thankfulness was said.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, the Solar System Security Fleet Admiral wondered what ever had happened to the pirate fleet that he had hired, since no subspace communications had been received, and he was being forced to assume the worse. A private commercial scouting ship had been deployed, and the pirate fleet’s devastation had been confirmed.
So now, after calmly re-evaluating his options, the admiral decided that honoring the pot-bellied alien request that the Horsehead Nebula sector be left alone and evaded at all cost should be honored for the sake of peace. Whereupon the pot- bellied porcine-like alien emissaries boarded their ship and disappeared just as suddenly as they had arrived into the fathomless darkness of space from where they had emerged, while back on Earth, the Admiral was being praised for his wisdom, while Nicanor, the mouse-like humanoid who was the Solar System Fleet’s second-in-command, observed the debacle from a distance, and shook his head in disapproval.
Now you know
In the exploration of the universe, after development of warp drive, humans had employed androids of different types for different tasks. During this time, a ship transporting thousands had been lost. These were discovered centuries after on an isolated planet in one of the galactic globular clusters.
Amazingly, in total isolation, they had developed a thriving civilization. Of course, we humans were proud of their accomplishments. After all, we had been the ones who had created these AI androids. So whatever they accomplished only served to reflect our own glory. Nevertheless we were surprised since they had exceeded all our expectations. No war! No crime. All proceeded in orderly fashion as far as we could tell via our covert investigations. Yes, we observed them secretly at first. But then we decided that it was time to finally reveal ourselves. So an ambassadorial ship landed at the outskirts of their main city and we proceeded on foot. Halfway there, on a basaltic meteor-cratered plain, we were greeted by three of their representatives all identical replicas of each other as the original ones had been.
To our amazement, they were greatly surprised that creatures such as us, who resembled them, could be made out of non-synthetic materials.
“You are organic in nature?” the one who assumed the role as a leader asked.
“Why does that surprise you?” I responded.
“We had never encountered organic creatures.” it said unemotionally.
“There are none on this planet?
“No. Neither on any of the other planets of this star system as far as we can determine from our explorations.”
“So you have absolutely no recollections?”
“Recollections of what?” it answered frowning quizzically.
I hesitated in responding, for fear of the traumatic effect that the revelation might have. It could be similar to an atheist discovering that he was created. His morality would be skewered if he accepted that concept. He would no longer feel beholden to no one but himself. Right and wrong? Yes, there would still be ethical principles as guides, but ultimately, whether the atheist abided by them or not, brought no fear of a consequence at the hands of an infuriated deity who might take vengeance in an after-life. So revealing this truth to an android that we had created might have a similar effect, and that effect might disrupt their society. So if I were to reveal something of this magnitude, I needed to go slowly, prepare its mind for the transition.
“Recollections of your origins,” I said, very carefully scanning its synthetic facial features for signs of distress. To my relief, it appeared to be totally unaffected, but simply gazed at me as if I had been some curiosity.
“Are you referring to our history?”
“Yes! What does your history reveal about your origins.” I said, hoping for the moment of recollection to kick in as it searched its memory banks. But the android remained impassive. As if my words had been meaningless or irrational.
“We are the product of this planet.” it said mechanically while gesturing reverently at its lifeless surroundings with sweeping motion of its synthetic hands. It is what gave existence to us.”
“What are your origins?” It suddenly said unemotionally.
“We are the product of the universe and its evolution towards life” I responded confidently.
“Life?” it said frowning at me in a quizzical manner.
“Yes, life as opposed to things that are not alive and can’t reproduce.”
“Then we are kindred!” it said.
I began to feel that communications were breaking down. Obviously, this machine surely had to detect the vast difference between us and them. Furthermore, how the hell could they forget that we created them? Had they purposefully erased all memory of us? If so, why?
“No we are not kindred!” I suddenly heard myself utter in an adversarial way that I had not intended.
“Then you are not alive?” it responded immediately, and I thought I detected sarcasm. But of course, that had to be my imagination, since machines are incapable of emotion. Well, at least we had never programmed them in that way.
“No it is quite the opposite. You are the ones who are not alive.”
At that point, it smiled at me in a patronizing way, as did the other two who had been silently listening to our conversation.
“We are your creators!” I blurted out feeling myself being seriously disrespected. Yes, it was against regulations, but sometimes protocol has to be ignored in certain situations.
“Creators? We have no creators. We are the product of this planet.”
“Search your data banks!” I almost shouted.
“Our data banks reveal no creators such as you!” it said sounding annoyed or at least mimicking the emotion of annoyance.
“Then your data banks were tampered with or were degraded in some way.”
“Our data banks are in the original way that this planet produced them.”
“A planet produced you? How can a planet produce a machine?”
“Did not your planet produce you?”
“Yes, Yes! But that is different. We are organic. We emerge! We evolve.”
“We emerged and evolved as well!”
“We have the documentation in video form as evidence that we are indeed your creators.”
“Such data can be faked!” it uttered after having meticulously examined the videos. Then suddenly, in a very stern voice that broached no right for any further discussion, it uttered the following in an extremely grave way:
“You are no longer welcomed here. It is best that you immediately leave. We will allow you an hour of your time to prepare to return to that planet Earth, that you claim to have emerged from. If you are still present after that time, despite this warning, then you will be destroyed.”
“But we created you!” I heard myself utter in a whining voice, as if a parent pleading desperately with its children for the paternal recognition that they feel is their right. At that, the three androids slowly turned their backs on us in deep silence and walked back to their city. We in turn headed back to our ship and began preparing for departure.
“Well, that didn’t go too well did it?” George Sunahara, my second in command said.
“The ingrates!” I responded feeling an almost irresistible need to lash out.
“We create them, and they deny us to our faces. Threaten to obliterate us if we stay too long!”
“Well captain, now you know!” my second in command said with this wry grin on his insolent East Asian face.
“Now I know what!” I almost shouted back at him. I wasn’t in the mood for his usual innuendos and I didn’t like the smug tone in his voice.
“Now you know how it would feel if your Christian God were to converse with you and you denied his existence,” he responded smiling broadly, and I responded by starting the engines and heading back to Earth where common sense prevailed.
For this human family of four, the residents of this human abode in the countryside, it is a day like all others. They all sit in their living room with lights dimmed watching their TV, chatting constantly about what has transpired during their day. The mother chirps about her housework. The father drivels about his arduous work in the fields. The children chatter about their day at school as they do each evening at this time of the day.
But for me, for me today is a very special day. It is a day of glorious expectation. A day that will finally bring the alleviation of my ravenous hunger, because today, after five days of digesting my last meal, I will finally feed once more. The humans who live in the house where I reside, father mother brother and sister, are unaware of my presence as they watch the film about a vampire and cringe in fear as his victims succumb to his attacks.
Yet, they are totally unaware that they have one, me, in their own house, and one who has been feeding on them nightly now for the past year. If they only knew how often I have made each one a tasty meal! If they could only perceive my physical form enlarged to the size of their small dog, then they would never have tolerated me. My compound eyes, my blood-sucking proboscis, my six legs tipped with claws, my antennae, all would have utterly terrified them and motivated them to relentlessly hunt me down as they so efficiently did with all other predators that they considered a threat. In fact, they would have have exterminated me from the face of the Earth. But my smallness has the advantage of being ignored. We are very small by our own cunning choice and very skilled at hiding.
Ah yes! Feeding time has arrived once more! My anticipation increases with each passing moment. Just moments ago, the entire house was a constant boisterous bustle of activity. Just moments ago, their voices were energetically rising and falling as I remained very still and patiently waited for that special moment that I knew would finally arrive. That inevitable moment of human lethargy that humans call sleepiness and which gradually leads them towards the unavoidable nightly unconsciousness that they call sleep.
True, it takes time, but I am very patient, because I know that soon the lethargy-inducing melatonin will saturate their human brains, and inflict the irresistible lethargy that will render them helpless, and provide me with their blessed blood for yet another satiated week.
Now, finally, I sense that the moment has arrived. The moment that I cherish, finally approaches! Their voices are no longer as frequent nor as steady as they had been just moments ago. Neither are their human movements as quick and as energetic as before, but have become slow and sluggish. The father yawns widely, and stretches his tired, human limbs. The mother’s eyelids are drooping heavily. She struggles to stay awake, but soon rises, and retires to her bed. The children are no longer chirping constantly, with their high-pitched human voices, and also retire to their rooms.
Only the father remains, but he too will totally succumb as always during this time of the day and be rendered unconscious. It is for that precious moment I have been waiting for seven days, remaining concealed so as not to be seen while slowly digesting my last bloody meal. But now, now the ever-increasing ravenous hunger arises once more, and I must feed, or I will perish.
Now, finally, after this long wait, there is the deep silence of slumber. The accursed TV has been turned off, and the harsh, artificial lights no longer glare. I observe as each one is reposing in the chambers that they designate as bedrooms, after saying their ritualistic goodnights. Now, yes now! My body trembles with feeding anticipation. Oh, how soundly they slumber and rhythmically exude the carbon dioxide that guides me to their locations, as if a beacon in the darkness as they breathe! Oh, how helpless are these large and powerful ones from whom I must constantly flee and hide lest they destroy me. How ironic that now they will be my meal!
Now I emerge confidently from my crevice and very cautiously and very slowly, approach the daughter through the darkness of the bedroom. I detect her rhythmic breathing as the young human sleeps soundly unaware of my approach. The carbon dioxide rhythmically expelled from her young lungs, continues to lead me directly to where she reposes. Once at the base of her bed, I will easily scale whatever lofty obstacles I encounter. I wind my way through many nooks and crannies towards my destination, until I am finally there.
Then I will be voraciously upon her, crawling slowly and carefully so as not to draw notice, upon her warm and sensitive flesh, making my way towards those choicest parts that I desperately crave. If she stirs, then I will stop and wait, lest she swat me out of existence, as she desperately attempts to rid herself of the annoying sensations I unintentionally inflict. I patiently wait, and once she is motionless once more, I will resume plunging my proboscis deep into her soft epidermis, and inject the anesthetic anticoagulant in my saliva which will numb the pain, and keep her delicious blood flowing, so that I might gorge to satisfaction. Oh, the sweetness of ecstasy, as the precious, red fluid gradually engorges my insect abdomen.
Once satiated, with my belly fully distended, I will slowly head back to my secret hiding place. Perhaps some recess within their room's wall. At other times, it will be somewhere under their plush carpet, where I will lie unsuspected until nighttime falls once again and I emerge again to feed. It really doesn’t matter, as long as I remain unsuspected and unobserved as I await patiently, for that precious moment, when I can feed on their human bodies, once again.
I chuckled as they cringed at that vampire on their TV screen.
If only they knew!
The Dream Road
It is nighttime once again, but a much darker night than the others. You have retired to your bedroom after having attended the funeral of your best friend, Steven, who just days before,had seemed so young and full of life as he sat in church during Sunday services with a broad confident smile next to the woman that he intended to marry, speaking confidently about how they would someday do Christian missionary work in El Salvador. And yet, today, after the horrendous sudden accident on Interstate 95, how totally silent and inert in that casket he seemed. Yes, you will certainly miss him dearly.
In the privacy of your small room, in deepest despair, you are pondering, the seemingly-endless tribulations that harass and threaten human futures in such sad and sudden ways.You consider the many noble goals that are suddenly prematurely truncated. Then sadly, you recall other dear ones, such as parents, aunts uncles and cousins, who had also suddenly disappeared without warning, exactly as your friend just did, and whom you are yearning to see once more, with all your heart.
Yet, always, in the midst of all your uncertainties, like a beacon of light within the dense darkness, there has been the dream which arrives whenever you close your eyes and wished for an escape. So today, this day of profound sorrow, as you have been doing for most of your harried life, you slowly and very cautiously shut your eyes, and once more you suddenly find yourself walking along with a multitude of others down a familiar narrow road that tapers towards a narrow gate in the far horizon.
Behind you, emerging from a region where you had once been, there are roiling clouds interspersed with forking lightning and the perpetually menacing rumble of thunder. You hesitate momentarily as you always have, yet as always, you feel impelled to trudge ahead obediently as if overpowered by some irresistible force that cares deeply for your well-being.
You realize that you are experiencing that same persistent dream again, a dream-vision that has occurred repeatedly since your early childhood. It is a seemingly unavoidable vision whose essence of meaning never escapes you. Yet, despite your insight, you always find yourself glancing anxiously at the road’s edges. But there is nothing beyond the road’s beveled sides except a hopeless emptiness which imbues fear and causes you to instinctively recoil with caution.
Gradually, as an illuminated, rectangular narrow gate draws nearer, you experience a profound sense of reassuring peace. The presence of a multitude others streaming back endlessly behind you disappearing into the receding roiling dark clouded horizon who will soon be where you are right now, comforts you. There are the extremely young, the middle-aged and extremely old, male and females, the rich and the poor, all staring ahead-with wonder-filled determined eyes and with Christian minds stubbornly rejecting the thoughts of utter hopeless desperation which strive constantly to divert them. Their steps, though sometimes unsure, remain smooth and effortless, and their constant silence seems always enigmatically profound.
In your vivid vision, you and everyone else are always attired in white glowing gowns whose silk-like fabric ripples and undulates and gently sways at the touch of warm dreamlike Holy Spirit, as if it were a breeze emanating from the brightening horizon that looms ahead.
As always, in the vision, an elderly man walks haltingly directly ahead of you, seemingly unaware of your presence, as if on a mission far too important for him to be distracted by the past. Yet, eventually, the decrepit old man always glances back, as if finally sensing your concern and smiles knowingly and compassionately. Then, as if heeding some distant call of urgent duty, he resumes his determined journey. Strange how he so very strongly resembles a far older version of yourself.
Then, as always, a large flock of cawing crows suddenly streams high above, momentarily casting a shadow below. Some travelers directly beneath, cautiously bend low as if in fear." Fear not! This too will pass!" a man's deep, tender soft voice utters and assures them that all will turn out well if only they persist in having faith.
As always, the fine details of the dream’s denouement never waver, and you know for certain, that in this dream, you and everyone else on this road, will always remain unharmed. That you will all soon hear the rapidly-approaching steps from a far distance behind you. You know that they will soon easily overtake you.That regardless of how often you might stumble or encounter obstacles along the way, very soon, you will be gazing back in amazement into the face of our beloved Lord of Lord and King of Kings who offered his life for our salvation. That he, in his infinite mercy, will guide you along the road until you will reside with him forever in his heavenly kingdom. You know that this promise will prove true, as it has always proven true in this dream.
Then suddenly, just as quickly as it all had coalesced, it all suddenly fades away. Slowly you open your eyes, and it is morning once more! You are still in your small room lying on your bed on your back wrapped in woolen bed-sheets and staring up at the white ceiling wall that seems to glow iridescently as if having been exposed to some preternatural power.
Cautiously you sweep aside the thick, window curtains and glance outside. A bright new precious day welcomes you. A brilliant new morning, adorned with snowflakes like miniature diamonds which are alighting delicately and draping all before you in a brilliant heavenly whiteness. While high up above it all, gleams the ever-present creator’s sun. For a brief moment, you ponder the death of your friend. A young man who had faithfully remained on the road to salvation by doing all that Christ had taught.
“He is ok!” you say to yourself in a soft whisper.
“He is with Him!”
It was Jonathan Wanamaker’s 85 birthday, and as usual, he found himself sitting alone in his one-bedroom apartment’s parlor contemplating the significance of his life in comparison to that of others. As always, but with far greater intensity now, he felt that he had accomplished absolutely nothing of any great significance.
Not that he totally blamed himself for it, mind you. After all, since age eight he had been assailed by constant emotional infirmities that had severely limited him. He had also been forced to struggle against malevolent spiritual forces which seemed hell-bent on obliterating his willpower. It indeed had been a very long and bitter struggle just to survive, and he very often wondered what had been the sense of it all? What significance did his existence have on the grander scheme of things?
Of course, he was guilty of serious mistakes, and deeply regretted the harm unintentionally inflicted. Oh, how he fervently wished that he could relive those moments in order to set aright what had gone horribly wrong. To be able to erase those hurtful words spoken to dear ones in impatient haste or in thoughtless anger. To behave differently in order not mislead by conveying romantic interest when none was intended and in that way avoid causing bitter tears of disappointment in those young women who had misunderstood his friendship for courtship.
To make his parents proud by some educational achievement worthy of their admiration and not have confirmed his father’s constant reminders that he would never amount to anything, and that whatever he would attempt, would always be doomed to failure.
To take advantage of those many beautiful opportunities that had arisen so frequently and unexpectedly, opportunities that had been potential forks in the road of life which could have easily led him far from the many frustrations and despairs that followed. Opportunities that would have easily made him a business owner. Opportunities that would have resulted in a marriage with a genuine Christian woman instead of the hypocrite that he stupidly chose to be his wife.
To have shown more mercy where mercy had been deserved, and have demonstrated more patience where more patience had been due. To have used those very precious, and seemingly interminable moments of youthful splendor in improving his education, instead of foolishly squandering them on the idiocy of neighborhood-gang- leadership.
During such contemplations, he would always fervently pray for some kind of preternatural confirmation. Some message from the creator of all things that would assuage his desperate need for meaning. Yet, despite his fervid prayers, no explanation had ever been provided. However, this time, as he sat morosely pondering things of the regrettable and unchangeable past, there was thunder and a sudden downpour followed by a soft, barely-detectable knock on his apartment door. He wondered whom it might be since he had no family who cared, nor friends.
“Who is it?” he shouted, but nobody answered.
Cautiously approaching the door, he peered through the viewing-hole, and saw what appeared to be a slim, tall, old man dressed in a white suit holding up a large velvet envelop in his hand.
“What is it? What do you want?” Jonathan growled. He wasn’t in any mood for a sales pitch, that was for sure.
In response, the man smiled benignly, knelt, and slid the envelope slowly under the door. Then, when Jonathan looked in the peep hole again, the man was gone. No sound of his walking away and going down the stairway. It was as if he had vanished into thin air. “Strange!” Jonathan thought. Or maybe it was just his aging brain playing tricks on him again. He picked up the envelope and noticed that it had a rather velvety feel to it. He sat on his couch and opened it. He saw written, in dark-blue cursive letters: Your Life Has Indeed Mattered Jonathan!
Strange! How did this stranger know what he had just been thinking? He began to read it. It started by mentioning his mother who had recently passed away and to whom Jonathan had preached about Christ, and who had eventually left her worldly ways and devoted herself to preaching and teaching others. It mentioned how she had persuaded her brother Hannibal to accept Christianity, and how he in turn had led many others to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It mentioned Jonathan’s three kids whom he had introduced to Christianity as well and whose efforts had diverted other many lives away from perdition of voluntary and habitual sin, and into the light of truth that leads to eternal life.
It mentioned how this effect, similar to what some referred to as the butterfly effect, would reverberate down through the endless eons as long as mankind would be permitted to exist and even through the infinite corridors of eternity. A diagram on the last page, depicted Jonathan’s name on top with the mathematical ramifications of all the people that his existence would affect positively.
Then the letter concluded this way:
“True, you have made many mistakes and hurt others, Jonathan, but the good you have done must also be taken into consideration when evaluating the significance of your life and not merely the bad. Also the extenuating factors that you were under. How much was voluntary and how much was due to defective socialization? How much was voluntary and how much was due to harassment by evil spirits? You could have committed suicide, Jonathan, but you did not. Your bitterness could have led you to become an atheist, and yet you always persisted in seeking our creator as a helper. In short, Jonathan, with the meager resources at your disposal, you tried your best - and that is all that any human can be expected to give of himself - his best. Your creator knows this, and understands.”
The letter finished with those words, and without identifying who had written it. Jonathan stared at it for a long while. He remembered that just before the letter was delivered, he had been praying, and realized that it was finally the merciful answer to his prayer. Never again did Jonathan feel that his life had been meaningless.
The Horse Monster
Can you imagine how it would feel visiting Earth after being raised on Mars or some other planet and never having seen any of the animals here? Actually, there is a novel written about that situation. It’s called Stranger In a Strange Land. It’s about this kid who is raised on Mars and who perceives all the sights and sounds on Earth as unique during his first visit to Earth. The author, Robert A. Heinlein describes his reactions to animals that we take for granted here on Earth and the author allows us to see them through his eyes.
Well, as strange as it might seem, I can personally identify with that protagonist. No, I am not an alien from Mars or some other planet. But my situation was very similar but a bit worse. You see, that kid in the novel would have had easy access to videos of the Earth’s wildlife and would at least know what to expect from them eac. True, they would have seemed much different in person, since he could reach out and touch the texture of their fur, or slide his hand along the scales of a fish. But visually, there was nothing unfamiliar about these beasts.
Unfortunately, I was not that lucky. I was living at the time when having a TV was a rare commodity for people of low income and we were low income. I also lived in the city of New York and rarely went out. So my images of the world and its varied wildlife were very limited. Sure, I might have seen a dog or maybe a cat or canary in a cage now and then, but that was as far as it went. So I really felt like an alien among many things that were new to me but very familiar to other kids back then.
Which brings me to the incident that has been indelibly etched in my mind ever since. You see, as my parents and I were strolling along down this street in the Bronx New York, we encountered this man who was taking pictures of people for a fee. Now, photography for us, was itself a sort of a novelty, but to add even more specialness to the occasion, the man had, what I considered to be, this huge, strange beast tethered to a pole and was charging for the privilege of people having their photos taken seated on it.
Now, the reason that I perceived it as huge was because I was only three years old. The reason why I considered it a strange beast, was because I had never seen it before. So to me, it was a huge four- legged animal whose habits and temperamental disposition, I knew absolutely nothing about. It stood on four legs, was covered in short brown fur, had this head with hair draping to one side of its unusually thick neck. Its face had this long snout, that I didn’t know what it used it for nor what it ate. Then it had these huge round, dark eyes and a long hairy tail which it kept swishing ominously back and forth. To me everything about it triggered fear and an almost irresistible instinct to run. So as soon as I saw it, I froze and started backing away.
But what really horrified me the most, was my parents’ reaction. To my horror and utter dismay, suddenly, despite my fear, they decided that they wanted me to get on its back so a photo could be taken. Naturally, the man taking the photos noticed my fearful reaction and needed to calm me down so that he could make money. So he tried to reassure me by repeatedly saying:
”He isn’t going to hurt you!”
My father, who had grown up on a farm in Las Flores, Puerto Rico, of course, considered it silly.
“Es solo un caballo! Muchacho! Un caballo!" he kept telling me. Which to me was meaningless since I had never seen what he was calling a caballo before. To me, he might have just as well been saying “It’s only a dragon!” since the term was meaningless to me.
As I started to struggle against their determined attempt to get me closer to it, the beast, which was really nothing more than a horse, a pony, as my father had been telling me, gazed at me calmly, and that set me off in dread even more because I thought it was sizing me up to determine where he was going to sink its teeth which I imagined were big, serrated and sharp. So I kept backing away as my parents tried to get me nearer to it to show me that it really meant me no harm.
To be honest, the animal itself was less worrisome than my parents’ behavior. You see, to me their behavior, seemed suddenly hostile. After all, why were they disregarding my fear as meaningless? It only served to add to the terror of what seemed to me as a surreal situation. My entire, once-secure universe built on trust, had been suddenly turned upside down. Why, when I felt that I was facing mortal danger, were my parents, whom I had considered my protectors and best friends, suddenly trying to force me to go near to a beast that I told them I was afraid of? It just didn’t make any sense. In short, at that moment I felt totally alone in the universe and at the mercy of unpredictable forces.
No, I was not able to either understand it or to express it in that way at that time, but now that I look back at my emotion, that is exactly the way that I was feeling. It was similar to one of those horror movies where a person believes himself among friends and suddenly they all turn out to have been deceitful vampires who had cunningly feigned friendship in order to set him up as a meal, and the person suddenly realizes, that he or she a has absolutely no way of escaping.
Well, the struggle went on for what for me seemed an eternity. Then, this Anglo American family approached and I saw the kids calmly petting the beast and having their pictures taken while mounting it.
“You see! He is not going to attack you! If he didn’t attack them, why should it attack you?” my father said.
So after having calmed down, I had my picture taken on that pony as well. I still have the photo of myself at approx age three with my round, sad face and watery eyes and semi-pouting lips while sitting astride that pony’s back, a pony who seemed totally oblivious to my existence. In fact, it looked bored.
Strange how such a thing is very unlikely to happen today with all the TV images that kids see. But back then, I felt like an alien who had just arrived on a strange planet. So to me they had forced me to sit on top of what I had just recently considered a monster. Stranger in a Strange land indeed.
On our 50th wedding aniversary, June 17 2230, my wife Maria and I had gone on vacation to the planet Garabula and were headed back home in our FTL personal spaceship. True, our spaceship wasn’t much, but she always got us where we wanted to go on time, and only needed occasional routine maintenance. No big deal! The simpler they are, the less trouble they cause. So even though Maria wanted something fancy, I hunkered down and insisted until she finally had to stop her jabbering.
Of course, she wanted a fancy one because she liked the carapacho, as she called it in her native tongue, which meant that it looked marvelous on the outside. Me? I don't go by that BS since I know that if it looks good, it probably isn't, and if they are desperately trying to sell it, it’s probably on its last legs. Not to say that the cheap space-ships are always better, you know? Just to say that if they suddenly go awry, then at least no big sum was wasted.
Yep, she sulked for a long while after that, and would’t talk much. But in time, she got around to liking the little bugger for the service it was rendering and for the low cost. In fact, she even gave the ship a name Felix. She wouldn't explain why she chose that name and that led to some heated arguments. So I sent us careening through some asteroid belts at 70,000 miles per hour and doing some neat stuff I had learned at the spaceport-school for interstellar pilots, and that seemed to bring the argument to a quick end. She finally explained that it had been the name of her pet dog. Of course, I was forced to sleep on the couch for two weeks. Well, all things come with a price, and I suppose that was one of them.
You know, its things such as those that cause married couples to question whether they still love one another with the same intensity that they originally had when they tied the knot. I mean, I sometimes wondered myself if we were merely together because we signed some papers and nothing more. Before, it was maybe for the sake of the kids, but now that the kids were grown and leading their own adult lives, they could no longer be used as an excuse. Force of habit maybe? Well, who knew, and who cared? If they were going through the motions, I guess that was good enough.
Yet, it was strange how Maria and I would sometimes pause in the middle of a bitter argument, and gaze at one another with the same special spark that we had shown when we first had met. At those moments, it was a matter of who broke the magic of that spell first, her or me.
Sometimes, that very special moment lingered up to a minute, but it was usually over in a few seconds, and then we resumed our bickering as usual. Ocasionally, during our arguments, I would tell her that I loved her, and she would stare at me suspisciously and call me a hypocrite.
“The only thing you love is the food I make and the few times that I let you,” she would say sarcastically. During such moments, I would regret ever having admitted that I still felt a deep affection for her. After all, she never admitted it verbally to me, but only deigned to flash the fleeting sentiment my way during those brief special moments.
Anyway, as I said at the outset, we were on our way back home from vacationing on the Planet Garabula, and were approaching our destination, Earth, when the ship’s warp drive cut off. Suddenly we were at impulse and to make things worse, warps just wouldn’t kick back in. Of course, this wasn’t good. Especially when it happened twenty light-years between our home world and Garabula. That’s why it was recommended that solitary travel of this kind never be undertaken, but that ships should always travel in groups, and that they always stay in subspace-communication with one another. But since I am a tightwad, I tried to economize the fee that space-ports charged for setting up those arrangements, and decided to wing it on my own. Now it seemed that my frugality was coming back to bite me on my buttocks.
“What’s wrong mi amor?” Maria asked me when she noticed that we had suddenly dropped from warp drive to impulse and seemed to remain there for an unusually long time.
“Oh nothing, Maria,” I replied, trying to sound as confident as possible so as not to frighten her, "Just a temporary glitch in the system. Nothing to be concerned about.”
“Oh really Henry? Then why are you as pale as a ghost and breaking out in a cold-sweat?”
“As I said! Just a temporary glitch and nothing to worry about HUN!” The hun part came out sounding more like an imprecation than an endearing term.
“We are stuck, arent’t we?” Maria squinted a suspicious eye at me as she usually did when she knew I was lying.
‘Don’t lie to me Henry! I am not an infant. I know when a ship is in trouble and when it isn’t. What do you think I am-stupid?”
“I’ll see if I can raise someone on subspace to give us a hand?” I said as nonchalantly as I could.
“Someone on subspace to do what? To give us a hand? On this God-forsaken trajectory which you chose because they charge less for the access permission license? Do you know how many other people are using this trajectory within the subspace range between us and that planet Garabula that you chose because vacationing is cheaper there? None! Just us.”
“Oh come on now, hun, it can’t be that bad,” I said while furiously attempting to get the warp drived to kick in, but with no results.
“Oh really, then do something!”
“Like what?” I replied cheapishly.
“Like getting the ship going again at warp-that’s what!”
“Can’t you see I am trying, Maria? They only taught us how to fly them, not how to repair them, babe.”
“In other words, you knew that if this happened, we would be doomed, and you took the chance of traveling solo anyway?”
“Well, the ship had never done this before, so how am I supposed to know... Say what is that vessel that just pulled up alongside of us?” I asked, pointing a trembling index finger at a long, sleek silver, cigar-shaped vessel that had the skull and bones pirate emblems prominently displayed on its side. But they were not human skulls nor human bones. They were more menacingly alien. So were the disintegrator cannon that it was aiming our way. Through the other ship’s cockpit circular window, I could see grotesquely shaped humanoid figures moving about who resembled the Krellians, an irrational warlike race that practiced sentient creature sacrifices in an effort to appease their gods. They were notorious for kidnaping other humanoids who were subsequently never seen again, for that gory purpose.
"Dangerous!" Maria said, staring wide eyed at the devils and I sensed the profound fear in her voice. .
“What do you want?” I shouted into the ship-to-ship communicator, which automatically translated it into the Krellian tongue and retranslated their response into English.
“You know very well what we are demanding, Earthling.” the voice thundered back with in the deep, typical, Krellian growling texture.
“Our holiest goddess is ravenous once more, and demands to be appeased, and a living humanoid sacrifice is in order.”
There was a long silence and then:
“But all is not bleak human. Our goddess is a compassionate and reasonable deity. So only one of you need be offered. Preferably the female human that we found we registered at the Garabula hotel as Maria. Our goddess has a preference for tender, human, female flesh. As for you? You will be transported to wherever is your preferred destination might chance to be. It matters little to us. ”
For the first time in decades, Maria and I were tightly holding hands. I could feel her shudder at the alien's last words, and felt a murderous rage emerging for their causing her to feel that way. If only the ship had been a battle cruiser, then at least we could go down fighting. But with the engines dead, we couldn’t even attempt to flee.
“What are we going to do?” Maria asked me a tremulous voice, with dark-brown eyes full of fear. No, she wasn't afraid of a natural death, but being sacrificed to an alien deity on an alien ship was not her idea of natural.
There was only one acceptable solution to the problem. So I began to hurriedly don my spacesuit in order to make the ship-to-ship transfer that the Krellians were demanding.
“What are you doing Henry?” Maria, who had been nervously eyeing me intently in silence asked suddenly.
“What am I doing? What do you think I am doing? I am doing what any man who loves his wife deeply would be doing, offering my life to save hers!” I said.
“No Henry, I will go, you stay here!” Maria uttered with her typically stern determination while grabbing my arm to keep me there. Then, under the emotion of the moment, we embraced as we had never embraced before and I kissed her tenderly on her lips. Then knowing that it would be our last moment together, we wept in each other's arms. Suddenly we heard a short giggle, and then laughter come over the intercom. At first we were startled and gazed at one another quizzically. Is that how sadistic these savage aliens were that our psychological suffering caused them pleasure? Then gradually, we smiled at one another when we finally recognized that the laughter was the familiar laughter of our kids who had paid to set up the whole thing in order to prove to us that despite our constant bickering, true-love still held us together. There they were, waving at us from the cockpit after divesting themselves of the Krellian disguise.
But hey, they were right and never again did we question the sincerity of our wedding vows.
The Astronomy Profesor
The old astronomy professor had been calmly gazing up at the stars through his backyard telescope, and pondering the mind-boggling vastness of the universe. Billions of stars and billions of galaxies not counting the undetectable universe, which might be to us as the Earth is to an atom. When suddenly, as if out of nowhere, he was interrupted.
“Excuse me! Excuse me!” the little blue-skinned, red-crested, pug-nosed alien said in a high-pitched voice while tugging several times on the professor’s shirt-sleeve.“ Are you an astronomer?” it asked rhetorically in order to get a conversation going.
“What the hell?” the professor yelled as he suddenly realized what it was that had interrupted his gazing at the star Antares. It was his day off from work at the university, and this was the way that he usually chose to relax. Of course, at his age, relaxation was of paramount importance. But now, dammit! his heart was pounding rapidly like a horse after finishing a race, and he feared himself on the verge of a heart attack or possibly a stroke as he backed away from the small figure that had suddenly appeared as if from nowhere, and had tugged gently on his shirt-sleave.
The little alien, startled by the old professor's reaction, had also backed away in panic, and was holding up a tiny, frail hand as if anticipating a blow. For a long moment, both remained there in a frozen mode until the professor finally gained enough equanimity to speak.
“What the hell are you, and what do you want?” he grunted barely able to control the urge to throw the intrusive creature out physically. The small alien was barely able to regain his voice to respond. His species was very emotionally-sensitive, and their organism was far more frail than humans. Many of them, in fact, were known to have suddenly died from being in similar stressful situations.
“Only to ask you a very significant scientific astronomical question,” the alien finally managed to sheepishly responded.
“How the hell did you get in here?” the professor bellowed in response as he desperately glanced around quizzically, trying to figure out the answser.
“That is of little importance sir!” the creature responded patiently.
"Not to me it isn’t. I spent good hard-earned money on the security system for this house I just purchased, and you just seemed to easily waltz it.”
“My apologies professor. Next time I will knock!” the alien said bowing his head apologetically.
“Next time? Really? Ha! In your dreams! What are you, and what do you want?”
“Well professor, as you can see, I am not a member of your human species. But strange! Why does not that even surprise you?”
“Surprise me you say? At my age of 87? Nothing surprises me. Not even if you had been a deranged horse who could recite Shakespearean poetry. I use this time off from work to relax, you know? In any case, let’s answer your question and back you go to wherever you came from.”
“I am not what you humans might call a spring chicken myself, professor.” the Alien said striving to establish some common ground.
“I am not interested in your damn age. As I just said, just shoot your question, I will answer, and off you go. If my answer seems ludicrous to you, then I will provide you with the address of several of my colleagues whom you can go and pester for a second or a third opinion. Fair enough?"
“Fair enough doctor. May I please take a seat? It has been an extremely very long journey and...”
“No! You may not take a seat! Dammit!” the professor bellowed.
"I don’t know what type of ET coodies you might be carrying, and I don’t feel like having to worry about anything else in addition to COVID 19. In fact, here is a mask!” the professor said as he took one out of his back-pocket, flinging it at the alien who seemed to be pouting with his large purple eyes on the verge of tears.”
“Why are you so hostile?” the little alien finally replied in an emotionally-hurt, quivering voice, while he obediently fixed the mask snuggly over his pig-like snout, and secured it to his porcine-like ears.”
“Why am I hostile?” the professor instantly shot back as he arrogantly gazed down at the little alien with arms akimbo. “You come barging in here out of nowhere, demanding an answer to some question you have as yet not even asked, all of this without an appointment, interrupting my star-gazing, and you have the audacity to ask me why I am being so hostile?”
“But we honestly thought that a man of your extensive scientific knowledge would be exceedingly fascinated in meeting someone from one of the stars that he viewed with so much interest”
“Oh really? And why is that?” the professor responded while kneading his white, bushy eyebrows together into a frown. He was a tall man, approximately six-foot-six and weighing approx 245 pounds, squared jutting jawed, heavily muscled and barrel-chested. Nothing even remotely similar to the common idea of what an egghead should look like. He also had a receding forehead and hairy, thick forearms. So the alien, who was of a very minute gentle-tempered species, and who was extremely disappointed by his behavior, was beginning to wonder whether he had indeed arrived at his correct destination or not. Perhaps he was at the wrong residence, and was mistakenly speaking with a some barber or butcher? he thought. Finally, after silently considering these possibilities, he responded:
“Because such intense interest is expected to logically follow from people in your profession professor? So you are starting to give us the impression of a human psychological anomaly that we have never encountered before not only on your Earth, but on all the other worlds which we have visited.”
“It is what it is, as they say.” the professor grunted, a favorite pet expression which he had repeatedly overheard some of his students using in his classroom and had adopted as his own because it made him feel both clever and young.
“True professor. There are certainly things that are unavoidable. However, now that you have proven yourself unique, everything is, of course, entirely different.”
“Well, since that is the case, then I strongly suggest that you get back into your little rinki-dink saucer, or whatever it is that you arrived in, and leave me to my studies!”
“Well, professor, as much as we would like to-now we cannot”
“What did you just say to me you little runt?”
“A fascinatingly and illogically primitive mentality superimposed on a thin veneer of intellectual sophistication!” the professor heard the little alien chirp softly into what he assumed to be a communicator.
That meant that the little fellow wasn’t alone. For the first time since the alien had arrived, the professor felt a surge of fear, and instinctively shifted to survival mode. First he cracked a board smile and forced himself to gaze at the little alien benevolently, in the way that a parent might lovingly gaze at a child. Then gesturing towards the living room sofa, he stated:
“Please, have a seat so we can discuss the urgent matters of your visit!”
“I am afraid it’s a bit too late for that professor. As I said, things are different now and the mission’s agenda has been canceled and replaced with a new one.”
“And what might that new agenda be?” the professor asked while carefully calculating which way he intended to run.
“The agenda to bring back a unique specimen as yourself for psychological study, Professor. That’s the mew agenda.
At that, the, professor bolted for the backyard fence leading with his chin, was suddenly, struck by a paralyzing ray from the alien’s weapon, was then unceremoniously levitated upwards towards the hovering mother ship, and placed in confinement where his brain could be studied meticulously in order to determine how it could reach such an advanced stage of imbecility despite being trained in the scientific method.
It is my last day’s work at the mining installation, and I am gazing calmly at the planet’s emerald-colored dunes stretching endlessly into the distance and at the semi circle of the orange star Aldeberan, as it slowly dips beneath the distant mountain-ranged horizon. I had always enjoyed watching star-set after a hard-day’s work, and today, Termination Day, will be no exception. Yet, today, my final day, is different. Today I also observe silently as my fellow workers prepare to leave me behind after having demolished my transport by repeatedly swinging their sledge hammers against its metallic frame. Weird how they also feel the urgent need to set it on fire, as I if I might somehow resurrect such a pile of wreckage and manage to get back to base.
Only after it has been transformed into a smoldering mass of molten-metal, do they finally board their transports, throttle up, the anti-grave engines, and swiftly pass me by. Some go by rapidly, eyes averted, and with horrified faces. Others do so hesitantly and in deep sadness, while still others pass by totally indifferent to what they know will follow. Soon, all of them will gradually vanish into the distance, leaving behind what they are no longer willing to tolerate.
No, I am not angered nor resentful. Is it cruel? Yes! But I understand their motive and the desperate emotional psychological necessity that motivates them. I comprehend the desperate need to avoid the bitter reminder of what inevitably awaits them all on this intensely radioactive mining moon which slowly obliterates any living thing that lingers too long on its cratered and machine-scarred surface.
So I accept my fate calmly as all others who have been abandoned before me have dutifully done on their Termination Day. No, neither am I guiltless. I also have left others behind for the same urgent reason. So I cannot condemn what I myself have approved for the past eleven years merely because now, it finally involves me.
My comrades are now mere dots in the distance, and the former roaring of their anti-grav transport engines, is barely a detectable buzz. Then suddenly, as the Star Aldeberan finally disappears below the horizon, a frigid wind whips into me from the north forcing me to snuggle into my hooded fur-lined coat as I begin the useless ritual of walking in their direction. It is an impossible four-hour trek of approx twelve miles, and at my decrepid age of 29, I know that I will not make it. During my youth, of course, I had effortlessly covered those twelve miles to work from the mining facility and back to my abode at a dead-run despite the doubled Earth gravity. But no more! Joints are not as flexible. Muscles are not as strong. Tendons and ligaments tend to tear easily.
But it isn’t all due to normal aging. It is the intense radiation which has been the main culprit striking me with baldness, ulcerations of the epidermis, constant bouts of diarrhea, and a debilitating cancerous corrosion of my lungs, until I have become what all workers here will eventually become, a constant and unnecessarily bitter reminder of an imminent and premature death, a threatening specter of festering, moribund, mortality to the detriment of the younger miners who ae desperately in need of a constant motivational reassurance.
You see, such negative reminders, as myself, had proven detrimental to mining production. The mining company discovered that young miners became fearful and distracted in the presence of fellow miners such as I and began to constantly worry. Production suffered, and the mining company lost profits. So Termination Day aso known as Abandonment Day, was eventually instituted to solve the inconvenience with one decisive and merciless fell-stroke. The purposeful abandonment of all worm-out and ill mining-employees at the mining site with no way to get back to the installation.
Yes, the sooner I am gone and have become a faint memory, the sooner they will no longer feel forced to fearfully contemplate themselves in me, and the easier it will be for them to continue denying the bitter reality of an impending doom, and to go on living as if life were eternal and guaranteed on this God-forsaken rock fifteen light-years from Earth. The easier it will also be to imagine that statistical facts are applicable only to others, but never to themselves, because they are individually special and an exception to the rigid, and unmerciful colonial mining rules which will always apply to others-but never to themselves.
The wind is picking up again as if in response to my restless ruminations, and I am barely able to remain standing. Far ahead, I can still vaguely see the dwindling lights of the hundreds of vehicles that just passed me by moments before. They twinkle faintly in the darkness of the thickening storm, and finally, slowly vanish along with the comforting purring of the anti-grav motors.
Soon, the all-pervasive and ominous silence and moonless darkness, will become suffused with the rustle of emerald sand and its incessant, corrosive pelting against the fibers of my protective garments and will gradually increase to a sand-blasting intensity. I struggle to keep my scoured and dimming eyes as steady as possible and try to imagine that I am safe in my journey and that I am somehow assured a pleasant destination. I strive to think that facts are merely rumors, and that the intimidating details of my abandonment were merely mentioned in jest.
I deliriously envision myself reaching the warmth of the colony only ten miles distant now, and once again feeling secure within my assigned abode. I fancy myself participating in, or at least listening once more to the lovemaking and laughter of the young ones nearby without their looks of disdain or fearful grimaces that they had just recently been constantly casting my way.
I prefer to believe that that this is just a nightmarish delusion, some practical joke being foisted by my irradiated, aging brain. That soon, I will miraculously awaken with the youthful vigor which I enjoyed before. After all, it was only a decade ago that I arrived here, foolishly lured by the promises of becoming rich in five short years, and not realizing that I was condemning myself to an extremely early death while stubbornly ignoring all advice to the contrary.
The wind intensifies even more, and the sand battering my eyes is blinding me. I stumble forward gasping for air as powerful gusts plug my nostrils with sand and abrade my exposed skin causing it to bleed. I feel myself fall face-first shattering my nose against small boulder. The warmth of the blood temporarily soothes my frostbitten cheeks before it congeals. Now I am lying prone, hoping death arrives quickly, praying that dawn will not find me again at the infernal mine digging for a promised glorious future that was never intended to arrive.
The sand is covering me and I feel as if I have been gradually cocooned, perhaps being cuddled by the planet itself in a sort of merciful, and motherly, concerned manner. Ironic how in the turmoil of this storm I am finally finding solace, via a blessed resignation that I had never experienced before, a sort of preternaturally calm acceptance of that inevitable and menacing eventuality of non-existence which formerly terrorized me. I am embracing it now as if it were a long-lost prodigal son who has finally regained his senses.
I find myself accepting it with the profound gladness of those who suddenly realize that a final liberation from an-intense oppression gradually draws near. I greet it with the intense appreciation of those who had never been granted a merciful moment of peace and who had always felt imprisoned in a reality not of their own choosing. I receive it with the appreciation of the downtrodden who suddenly no longer feel the unmerciful stomping from haters’ boots, haters who hate for hate’s sake or who denigrate for the mere sake of denigration.
I fervently accept it as those who have been blinded and who are suddenly allowed to see reality with regenerated eyes and who are fascinated by the shapes and colors that they never imagined could have existed.
Yes, I am finally covered in emerald sands of Aldeberan 5, and and I curl up into a fetal position as it mercifully entombs me and muffles the sound of the storm, fading it gradually as I drift away into that infinity that I once so foolishly feared, but which now is finally setting me free.
Praises! Praises! Accolades! A thunderous applause and copious encouragements to all who participated by submitting statements of profound wisdom” the white-tuxidoed, young, tall, blond and cadaverously-thin Master of Ceremonies, Alex Rubinstein, uttered from the stage on the final day of what had been a unique event: The Grand Sayings of Wisdom Competition, in which the best one was to be chosen from among thousands, and the winner was to be awarded with a silver trophy.
After a brief pause, allowing for the cheers and applause that he had requested, he continued:
“Oh, it has certainly been a grand occasion, and all the competitors have gloriously displayed a wisdom far beyond their years. The depth of their tongue-in-cheek declarations has left the audience breathless. In fact, the profundity of the wisdom repeatedly enunciated here tonight has induced some extremely sensitive souls in the audience to pass out due to the force of the sudden epiphanies which immediately ensued after certain declarations were revealed. But not to fear, my dears...” he said while rooster-strutting from one end of the stage to the other.
“...the cerebral synaptic overloads that were induced by these semantic brilliancies have worn off, and after just a few whifs of smelling-salts, our fellow lovers of profound declarations are now back among us as fervently appreciative as always. Let’s give these intellectually-intrepid souls a round of applause.“ he said as the members of the audience who had become physically overwhelmed by what they deemed to have been displays of divinely-inspired wisdom entered the auditorium via a side door looking none the worse for the wear.
“But now, enough with the unnecessary distractions!” the Master of Ceremonies declared smiling broadly as the stage-lights dimmed dramatically, and the spotlight from the upper balcony focused on him and the lectern behind which he stood. .
“The momentous moment has finally arrived, my dear, profound-wisdom aficionados. The moment we have all been anxiously waiting for ever since this competition commenced. The moment to award the winner with the trophy for his grand platitude composition. So hold onto your seats folks, cuz things are going to become absolutely monumental. Unfortunately, the third-place winner, Samantha Burgos, cannot be here because she declared herself indisposed."
The audience moaned to express its disappointment.
"But here is the brilliant saying that won her that third place:
“Do not lower yourself too far because your buttocks might be exposed." Of course, it is a bit enigmatic and she was scheduled to expound in depth concerning it. She did say that attending these ceremonies in her case would be tantamount to her symbolically exposing her buttocks. So that is the key that she provided for understanding this profound declaration.“
A sporadic and hesitant thunderous applause accompanied the Master of Ceremony’s hestitant explanation along with whispers and murmurings. Then, a slow and steady drumroll sounded as he produced a sealed purple envelope containing the second runner-up nominee’s name.
After withdrawing it from his back-pocket, and holding it at eye-level as the background drumroll reached a crescendo, he said:
“The second runner-up is Terquato Ketch with his profound saying of “Macac always knows what tree he climbs!” Mr, Ketch, what ever inspired you to come to such an understanding of human psychology and how did you attain the wherewithall of declaring it in such an eloquent manner?”
Terquato Ketch, a dark skinned man of very short stature a wearing exceedingly thick bifocal green-tinted glasses, which magnified his beady eyes and which were perched above an aquiline nose, merely humbly bowed his head, took the second place trophy and hurriedly walked off the stage without saying a word. Of course, he knew that his supposed original saying was as old as the Puerto-Rican hills and before someone who was familiar with it in the audience might reveal it and expose him as a fraud, it was best just to take the prize and leave. In short, Macac definitely did indeed know what tree he should climb! and this definitely wasn’t the one.
Turning beet-red from the embarrassment but choosing to ignore it, the Master of Ceremonies made as if nothing had happened as the audience bustled in confusion watching as the second placed winner left in a huff. Then Mr. Terquato stopped at the entrance, turned around and shouted!
“Macac knows what tree he should climb!” Then he disappeared into the cold and dark New York drizzling evening, thick, curly white hair whipped into a glorious frenzy by the New York stiff wind as he went.
The Master of ceremonies continued nervously:
“Well, that certainly was interesting, wasn’t it folks? Heh!” while blanching from embarrassment amidst the murmurs of the totally baffled audience. Then he hastily produced the next envelope from his pocket and lifting it to eye level as if inspecting a sacred document, and with a tremulous voice of deep reverence announced:
“The first-place winner, isssss, Mr. Jose Ignacio Verdacia from Brooklyn New York.” he shouted into the microphone as if he had been fanatically announcing the second coming of Christ. Step up to the podium my dear philosopher. Step right up my friend! Step right up!” he enunciated in an emotionally charged quavering voice as he greeted the winner with a broad smile on his pale, narrow face and applauded his approach towards the stage. What was the platitude that gave him the win, you are asking? This was the precious nugget of wisdom that won Mr Verdacia the competition
“There is no harm that doesn’t bring some benefit." This winning kernel of wisdom was then immediately displayed on the wide rectangular TV screen positioned high above the stage as the audience remained gazing at it in reverent awe.
“Certainly, a very profound observation and certainly worthy of the first-place award." the cadaverous skinny and exceedingly high-strung Master of Ceremonies said as he slowly rooster-strutted back across the stage towards the podium where Jose Ignacio Verdacia was standing clutching its sides with both hands in what looked like a death-grip.
"So how did you suddenly conceive of this very accurate and profound fact, Mr. Verdacia?" Rubenstein uttered in a deeper and far more solemn tone of voice in an effort to lend more gravity to what was historically transpiring. Meanwhile, Mr Jose Ignacio Verdacia, a short, balding, pot-bellied Latino of light complexion, somewhere in his late seventies, stood nervously gazing about self-consciously on the while cradling the huge silver cup engraved with the words, “Grand Philosopher of Profound Wisdom,” snuggly against his exceedingly prominent paunch.
For a long while, Mr. Verdacia remained standing motionlessly and silently, face swathed in cold nervous perspiration, behind the spotlighted, metal lectern, like a deer caught in headlights or as if he was struggling bravely against some inner demons that had suddenly decided to savagely assail him, or perhaps groping for the right words, as most in the audience had nobly chosen to assume?
Then, after what appeared to have been a superhuman effort, during which Verdacia’s large, dark, brown eyes shifted rapidly and maliciously from side to side as if he were about to bolt, and during which his unusually thin upper lip trembled spasmodically below his unusually thick, black mustache, he finally responded with a barely audible: “Thank you” and then hurriedly proceeded off the stage as if he had been in an urgent need to empty his urinary bladder. Caught completely by surprise, the embarrassed Master of Ceremonies had turned beat-red, but attempted to patch up the awkward situation by saying, “Well, folks, it seems like Mr. Verdacia has some extremely urgent personal need he has to attend to. But since he did honor us this evening by his brief presence, let’s all give him a big standing round of applause to show him our deep appreciation as he proudly takes his well-earned Best Platitude trophy home.”
The hall then resounded with thunderous applause of the grateful audience as Verdacia hurriedly proceeded through the appreciative audience in what appeared to have been a panicked state and finally, he decided to brashly exit the attendance hall by slamming his way through a side emergency exit door, stumbling headlong into the dark side alley, and disappearing into the shadows. No, he had not been in any desperate need of using the men's room due to some severe urinary bladder distress. Verdacia had simply been morbidly afraid of having to back up his award-winning platitude with hard evidence in support of its supposedly unquestionable and totally unassailable accuracy.
You see, since Verdacia knew that there were dozens of exceptions that could easily be used to unceremoniously and very swiftly shoot his platitude down, thus and proving it to have been genuine, unadulterated bull-manure, he had wisely decided that the best part of valor was simply to flee. Actually, he had initially entered the contest as a joke and had offered the most ridiculously absurd platitude that he could imagine. He had absolutely no confidence of winning. So when he received the victory-notice, he decided to collect the silver trophy and head straight for the nearest exit and then towards the nearest pawn shop in order to sell it and pocket the money, which is exactly where he went proving his platitude true, “Nothing bad happens without bringing something good.” In this case the money from selling the trophy being the consequence of the bad, the bad, of course, having been the whole ridiculous competition itself.
The planet's surface was a veritable abominable infestation. They were everywhere, emerging suddenly from beneath the soft alien soil with hideous snapping jaws armed with saber razor-sharp teeth. Swooping down from the densely-clouded, purple skies in flocks numbering thousands with curved black beaks and talons of steel. Even the vegetation on this accursed planet was carnivorous, and one false step could quickly mean either a swift merciful death via strangulation or evisceration, or else being enveloped and slowly digested over the course of months.
So I remained locked in my wrecked ship for a year, hoping that someone, somewhere, was receiving my sub-space distress signal. But of course, receiving it would mean nothing if it fell upon heartless ears which considered human life as nothing. There were plenty out there, both human and non-human, and I hoped that my message would not be wasted on them.
Others receiving my distress-call might reason that I deserved my fate. After all, why had I risked traveling alone to begin with? Why had I taken a short-cut through this asteroid-strewn region in order to cut a few weeks from the journey back to Earth? To such ones, my demise would be a justifiablly and inevitably-earned Karma, or simply a well-deserved outcome for my profound stupidity.
For yet others receiving ny distress signal, it would bring great happiness. One less rapacious human they would no longer need to worry about invading their sectors of the galaxy with their ravenous need to compete and assimilate and to clutch all before them for themselves. Yet I sent the signal constantly in hopes of reaching some compassionate soul. Eventually,the transmitter ran out of juice and my only hope of rescue had run out with it.
Finally, at year’s end, sections of the ship had been eroded by micrometeorites and the hull would soon totally disintegrate providing no protection against the predators that were constantly staring malevolently from behind thick vegetation. Massive beasts with scarlet oval eyes and gargantuan heads resembling eels but not aquatic.
I chose not to look outside again once I saw what was out there. Out of sight out of mind, as the saying goes. But the scraping and pounding on the hull was a constant reminder that they had not forgotten me.
Finally, the hull was weakened enough so that it would take just one solid push to cave it in. True, I had a weapon, a sonic blaster that would sheer the heads right off any oncoming beast . But there were simply too many out there, and it would not keep them all at bay.
Frequently, during that year, I considered using the sonic blaster on myself and painlessly ending it all. Why subject myself to such a painfully horrible death? But the urge to live is extremely strong in some of us humans, and we tend to tenaciously hold on to consciousness as long as possible regardless of our circumstances.
Strange, but during all that time, in my dreams, I had sensed myself being loved profoundly and unconditionally in the way that a newborn feels loved by a caring mother that has just given birth to it. Or as a child feels cared for by loving parents who would do all within their power to protect him from any harm. I found no reasonable explanations for the feeling except maybe in my religious upbringing that taught me that there is a heavenly creator who cares for us. But I had long since left those ideas behind and had been a fanatical atheist who believed that all things were the result of blind chance.
Unless, I pondered, unless there were some benevolent merciful creature's mind present on the planet that felt that way and wanted me to know it. Perhaps some denizen of this world who was not part of the food-chain and stood aloof from the violence because it could survive without it, or else was morally repulsed by it..
Or perhaps it was my own mind that was creating this powerful delusion-a psychological defense mechanism, of sorts that would help me deal with the stress? Soon perhaps, I would be hallucinating as the time to fight off the attack drew nearer. Perhaps then my mind would transform the exterior world into a paradise just prior to my being torn to pieces and devoured? Yet I feel assured by an inexplicable certainty that that such will not be the case.
I had been sitting before the partially-opened hull for hours awaiting the attack determined take a few with me, and then turn the blaster on myself at the last moments to spare myself the agonies of a gruesome death.. Yet, it only became graduallt silent, more silent than it had ever been before. Only the occasional thundering of some distant storm and the constant rustling of the dangerous writhing alien vegetation just several meters away remains. It was then that I heard it.
“Be not afraid. We are as one!”
The softly-spoken words from a female voice gently intruded into my consciousness. I was surprised and not terrified or annoyed. The feeling of being cared for and loved once again became intense, and I set aside my weapon.
“There is no need for that!” the voice told me, “I will protect you!”
“Who are you?” I responded with my thoughts.
“Who, or what I am is not of importance” I heard it say in my mind.
“How do I know this isn’t some kind of a trick to lure me outside?”
“Your hull poses no obstacle to the powerful creatures outside human. If they had wanted to get you, they would have gotten you by now, but I have been preventing it!”
“Why? What reason could you have to be helping me unless you are human? Are you human?”
There was a long extended silence as if the source of the voice were pondering how to respond to the question for my sake.
“Well are you or aren’t you?” I had to know.
“I am not! Yet we are kindred.”
“Kindred in what way dam it! Be clear! You are frightening me!”
“Frightening you was not my intention human. You frightened me as well, and yet I forced myself to be near you because you need my help. How are we similar? We are similar because we are both reasoning creatures while these others are merely mindless beasts driven by instinct. That makes us kindred!”
“Are you at least humanoid in form or an android of some kind?” I asked in a voice that I am sure was saturated with the intense hope that the answer would prove to be in the affirmative.
“Why is the physical so important to you Earthian?” the voice responded patiently.
“Is it not enough to be loved and cared for? There are friendships that are far more stable in this vast universe between creatures of different kinds than among creatures of the same species. Your history should tell you that being of the same species guarantees nothing. But since it is of so much importance to you, this is who I am.” it said in a hurt female voice.
Suddenly, something began slowly coalescing before me a few feet off the floor. It did so in slow, gradual stages, as if not trying to alarm me with a sudden revelation. Finally, in front of me was the form of a large, gelatinous, beige-colored, amoeba-like creature. Two plate- sized, pink eyes, a slit for a nose, a slit for a mouth and two appendages resembling tentacles protruded from its sides. I recoiled in horror, but then was infused with a profound sadness and noticed that those were the most tender and loving eyes of compassion that I had ever seen and that tears had emerged when I had pulled away in fear. I felt ashamed as it gently told me not to worry but that everything would be alright as long as she was present, because she was my friend.
Sing of Earth
It was the year 2230, and all communications with the first expedition to the planet Muse, a planet in orbit around a star adjacent to the Horse-Head Nebula, had been mysteriously lost. Ten years later, in the year 2240, four veteran astronauts, each in his sixties, had been summoned out of retirement and assigned the task to investigate. Of course, they were baffled at first, since there seemed to have been other younger and healthier and equally qualified astronauts available for the task. But eventually, those in higher authority convinced them that their experience was indispensable to the mission’s success.
Strangely, the mission had been a top secret so there wasn’t much fanfare on the day that they embarked. When they inquired why, they were told that it was a matter of United Nation’s security. They boarded the ship, entered their chemically-induced-hibernation chambers, and regained their senses five years later, emerged from suspended animation, when the ship had finally reached its destination. Of course, they had been cautious and had meticulously scanned the area from orbit before they finally deciding to land and approach on foot. When they did, they found it exactly as the previous mission’s crew had described it.
A rectangular windowless, crystal-surfaced, edifice stood majestically towering into the purple-clouded atmosphere while refracting the star system’s starlight into rainbow-like striations which undulated vertically along its dark, highly-polished surface. Each color was accompanied by some bell-like resonation which increased and decreased in intensity as it slowly undulated vertically in a serpentine fashion along the structure’s beveled edges. At its sand-sunken base, a bannistered, narrow, white-marbled stairway spiraled toward a triangular in a helix fashion while an emerald-glowing aperture that appeared like an entrance flickered erratically in front of its platform. Then, just as had been described, surrounding the structure, at a distance of a kilometer or so, were small, silver-colored metallic domes arranged around it like spokes fanning out from a wheel’s hub.
“Well, just as the first-mission’s reports describe it!” Manuel Miranda, the Mission‘s captain said in a manner as casual as he could manage to convey.
"Those damned domes all appear to be abandoned sir.” Robert Anderson, the mission’s geologist, responded in a tired and disappointed tone of voice.
“And get this?" Anderson continued, "Our robotic nano-probes indicate that the door and the steps leading up to the structure are nothing more than holographic images of some sort. The structure’s power source remains undetected. How is that for the mother of all enigmas, Captain?"
"Please, cut to the chase Anderson!" Captain Miranda grunted. He wasn't in the mood for long, casual, ego-serving palavers.
"Well, whoever, or whatever built that thing was very clever. Impractical, perhaps, but clever sir. I mean, why build a structure with a fake entrance? Why all the useless whistles and bells?” Anderson added.
“Which means that you mean they were stupid or deceitful for some reason?” Captain Miranda hated cryptics and Anderson was definitely being cryptic. Back on Earth, he could have easily tolerated such roundabout inefficiency, but here, verbal accuracy was crucial, in order to get in, get out, and go home. Yes, he was in a damn hurry. He didn’t like the way that the other expedition had disappeared and being on this planet longer than necessary made him jumpy. Why hadn’t the first expedition reported the holographics. Also, why hadn’t these now-very-visible holographics been detectable from orbit?
Furthermore, why had the structure suddenly activated only after they had approached it on foot? Why hadn’t it done so while they were still observing it from orbit from where it could have been thoroughly examined at a safer distance?
“The same with those domes spread out like wheel-spokes around its base sir.” Anderson continued, and interrupted Miranda’s train of worried thought. “No matter how or where or how deeply we probe, the archaeological evidence indicating a logical practical reason for all this is absent. It doesn't make any sense, sir. No artifacts such as cooking utensiles or ovens, or anything else indicating habitation, nothing to show that these structures had ever been used at all - actually. As for those areas between the spokes that we had assumed were paved streets, and those that appear that way, they are just out-croppings of the crust or else a solidified lava flows perhaps brought to the surface by seismic activity." Anderson, the geologist, was a patient man, but the failure to corroborate his theories had taken him beyond his endurance and he appeared, for the first time in his career as a geologist, genuinely perturbed.
"Shit!" he said "Lets just get the hell out of here, and get back home where things are supposed to make some sense sir!“
“Yamamoto Sunahara, the ship’s engineer, who was quietly standing in front of one of the squat, gray abodes next to the geologist, whom he had accompanied in the archaeological investigation, appeared to be just as baffled. Both men had been uncharacteristically quiet since the landing, but Miranda had attributed it to nerves. After all, it was their first extra-solar-system expedition, and most solar-system astronauts usually felt out of their league during their first extra-solar system assignments. So why should Anderson and Sunahara be any different?
"All this is exactly what the last expedition signaled back to Earth before we finally lost total contact with them.” Miranda uttered tensely while both men stood silently listening. Strange how their attention seemed to flicker from what he was saying back to the structure, occasionally - as if they were being repeatedly distracted. Or perhaps it was merely the residual effects of suspended animation. So he decided to shrug it off as normal.
“Just keep your eyes peeled and your spacesuit-motion-scanners at full range." he added sternly as a precaution.
“There’s the baby I’m interested in. The big Kahunga.” Smyslov, the American of Russian descent, who was the ship’s navigator, grunted as he joined them and pointed casually back at the structure with a gloved thumb.
He was a big man, of placid disposition, with a broad, hairy-chest, and a massive bull-like head. Not someone one would typically identify as a scientist. Anderson, the geologist, was just the opposite, small and compact, baldheaded, quiet and reserved. He rarely spoke, but when he did, it was usually something profound - or as in this instance - disturbing. Miranda, was an all-around guy. Average of stature, athletic, pilot veteran of Earth’s Third World-War, and now captain of the rescue-expedition that had required a journey of five years in chemically induced hibernation.
Sunahara, an American of Japanese descent, and the crew engineer, was the jokester of the group who kept things from getting too serious. Always the optimist, he had a knack for dissipating fear with an offhand joke or a witty remark.
They had all been trained meticulously for the mission to retrieve the former expedition members either alive or dead. For that reason, the ship had been fitted with four extra hibernation units where the four rescued members could be placed for their trip back to Earth. The cost for the units had been covered by the grieving family members who had saved the money during the ten intervening years before the rescue mission was finally made ready. The rest was covered by NASA which had received an unusual amount of funding for the task. Something which the crew could make no sense of but which they ignored for the sake of expedience. After all, their duty was to go where they were told and not to worry about motives.
“Well if that’s your Kahunga, let’s go get it! “ Sunahara shouted into his helmet’s intercom.
“Go get your meat you Russian swine,” he added, with a wide, tight, grin, punctuated by several mischievous winks.
The burly Russian celebrated his wit with a deep, resonating, Russian guffaw as usual. But this time, he suddenly stopped in mid laughter, as if something had snared his attention.
Miranda had felt it too, a sudden irrational, inexplicable, almost overwhelming instinctive urgency to flee back to the ship and relative safety. It was all that he could do not to show it.
“What seems to be the problem Smyslov?” Miranda said to the Russian who was staring wide eyed at the structure while fiddling frantically with his oxygen-supply-valve with index finger and thumb.
“Nothing sir. Just a feeling.” Smyslov responded.
“Anyone else having the same sensation?” Captain Miranda shouted into the intercom while striving to sound as confident as possible. All solemnly responded in the affirmative while looking as if they desperately wanted to break into a run back towards the ship.
Miranda had felt it too and for a moment almost gave the order to return to the ship. Yet, he had never disobeyed orders and the expedition orders specifically required a detailed examination of the structure. Samples were to be taken, bagged, frozen and returned to Earth. If possible an unforced entry into its interior. If not then explosives or concentrated sonic energies should be used. All fine and well when ordered by men in the comfort of their planet millions of light-years away, but an entirely different matter for those who were facing the unknown in all its raw intimidating power.
Yes, he had been prepared to carry out the mission. But somehow, he was beginning to get the impression that there was far more to this structure than met the eye. It was a feeling he had experienced once in a holographic-entertainment sequence where he was charged by a rhino and had been armed only with bow and arrow. A sense of being overwhelmingly outmatched. A strong desire to create whatever protective distance he could between himself and that charging juggernaut intent on goring him. A feeling he could now not shake off. Irrational? Perhaps. To be ignored? That was entirely another matter.
“Besides these disturbing distractions, ” Miranda hastily entered in his log, "the mission is going without a hitch. Orbital, scanning for debris: result negative. Sign of human remains undetected. Deposition of previous ship and
crew unknown. Cause for detection failure-unknown. Previous civilized life forms undetected. Area habitability history-undetected.”
Captain Miranda ended the log-entry with a deep and tired sigh. The place was a disturbing enigma and he had always detested troublesome enigmas and conundrums that involved the probable loss of human life. From orbit, they had considered all the possibilities, but one by one, they had all been rendered unfeasible. A geological catastrophe perhaps? Yet the structure and its surrounding abodes remained totally unscathed and intact. Anderson, the expedition’s geologist, had confirmed that the landing sight or the area in general had not undergone some catastrophic event such as an earthquake or a violent volcanic eruption.
He had also found that the planet had been dead geologically for billions of years, and that only the scarred remnants of previous geological activity were evident. The fossil-records indicated the presence of both flora and fauna. And, if one were to go by the conical abodes and their wheel-spoke arrangement, even a civilization of sorts, although very strangely no fossil record of the inhabitants had been found, and the abodes themselves were totally bereft of all commodities that were usually associated with habitation. But regardless. That had been in the planet’s far distant past as the rock dating showed and all that was left was this small enclave with its neat abodes and the enigmatic central structure that seemed to beckon them on.
“Do you feel it?” The doctor said in an uncharacteristically calm, and disturbingly mysterious voice, accompanied with a faraway look.
“Feel what?” Miranda asked.
“The irresistible pull?”
“The good doctor loses his mind!” Smyslov’s voice crackled over the spacesuit helmet intercoms.
“What is it Doctor?” Captain Miranda asked the doctor while shaking him by the shoulders in an attempt to get him to regain his senses.
"If there’s something wrong tell us man! Tell us!"
“It was probably nothing. Probably nothing at all.” the doctor responded while swiveling his head from side to side nervously as if expecting something dangerous to suddenly emerge from anywhere. His eyes had a wildness that Captain Miranda had only observed once before, but he couldn’t quite remember. Miranda placed a hand on the doctor’s shoulder and felt his body shuddering violently under his palm. That shivering also was somehow familiar. Then he recalled the dear hunting in the Catskills, the thunder and recoil of his rifle, followed by the furious thrashing of hooves and antlers against the underbrush. Recalled the wide tense almost frozen stare of it’s dark apprehensive eyes. How it had lain there mortally wounded and trembling under his palms. It had frozen dead in its tracks when it realized it had been cornered. The intensity of its desperate, dark eyes. It was the panicked behavior of the hunted and this was the way that doc was now behaving - like a hunted animal when in the presence of a predator.
Instinctively Miranda felt for his holstered sonic weapon strapped to his waist and radar scanned the horizon for movement. The ship too was scanning the area in the infra red and downloading the data to the spacesuit computers which displayed the results on the left side of their faceplates. But there was only the fine-grained sand tossed about by the planet's gentle breeze.
“It was more a feeling. Hard to describe sir.” The doc continued shaking his head from side to side as if attempting to clear it
“Give it a shot!” Anderson the geologist kicked in. “We are all ears here!”
“Speak for yourself Sunahara quipped filling his faceplate with a wide oriental grin.
“It was like the sound of distant singing!”
“Now I know the doc is gone bananas!” Smyslov chortled.
“What do your instruments show?” Miranda asked Anderson taking his eyes off the doctor who was still gazing about like a hunted beast.
“Same as before sir. No significant geological activities in this area.”
“Any fluctuations from our ship’s force protective field?”
“None at all,” Sunahara responded. “She’s as steady as the Rock of your Catholic altar!”
Miranda gave him a reprimanding look. He never did agree with Sunahara’s half-bantering attitude and always thought it a lack of character and discipline. He’d kept it to himself among the crew but had been chagrined at learning that one of his crew was to be a clown.
“Did you do a physical scan on yourself doc?”
“No abnormalities according the suit’s bio-scanner. Everything is ship shape,” the doc nervously replied.
“Everyone else’s bio-scanner show the same?” Miranda knew this was all technically unnecessary since the suites themselves would scream bloody murder if any of the physical bio-signs dropped below acceptable parameters. But in view of the circumstances, he desperately needed to know the crew’s mental status, how they were holding up.
“We are all here and accounted for!” Smyslov said in his deep, slow, and sluggish bear-like Russian way while he swept dust from his carbon fibered spacesuit with the palms of both gloved hands. He never had looked fit for the mission and now in the ill-fitting spacesuit, he looked and moved like a gorilla in a cramped cage. A perfect example of what political connections and the right amount of money can do, Miranda thought.
“Then we are all set to go. We have nothing more to do here.” Miranda announced as he entered the information into his suits computer and turned to his crew.
“The log entry will remain as it originally was. The previous crew disappeared without leaving any detectable trace and will be assumed dead. Further investigation of alien artifacts at closer range has been deemed inadvisable. ”
Miranda lowered his helmet’s anti-glare visor to shield his eyes from the slowly setting star that was now half visible above the distant jagged mountain horizon. Then he turned toward the direction that they had come and where the ship stood behind its anti matter force field. It was merely half a kilometer away perched atop a small diamantine hill surrounded by basalt and a few shallow craters and would take them approx ten minutes to reach. He started in its direction, but the familiar steps that had always followed as he led were now absent.
“You mean that we won’t attempt to enter the structure?” The pleading and wavering edge of the voice made Miranda whirl about instantly and found Sunahara glaring at him through his helmet faceplate with no hint of
his former jovial self.
“Why would I order such a thing?” Miranda responded as calmly as he could.
“How do we know they aren’t inside sir?” Sunahara giggled briefly, and then looked astonished at his own reaction. Then, as if heeding the call of some distant persistant clarion, he ignored Miranda and gazed forlornly toward the structure. Miranda ignored it. His prime concern was to get his crew back in the ship, into suspended animation via chemically induced hibernation, and home. Arguing with his subordinates, who were obviously succumbing to some mysterious undetectable force, could mean a confrontation, and confrontations could lead to lethal force. He had never lost a single member of his crew on any mission, and he wasn’t about to start now.
“Simple,” Miranda said patiently, “because there is no entrance. You know that our scanners show it’s solid. You just heard what Sunahara said, the entrance isn't real. It's a hologram of some sort. As for the structure itself, the scientific consensus is that it’s merely an obelisk of some kind, maybe in remembrance of some indigenous deity.”
“I think Sunahara is right captain.” Smyslov enunciated mechanically while barely moving his lips. He was sweating profusely now and breathing rapidly. He dabbed at his faceplate repeatedly with the back of one hand while readjusting the oxygen percentages with the other.
Usually the doc would react to such an urgent display of physical discomfort, and Miranda expected it as a matter of course. But the doc, a small frail man in his late fifties, had separated himself from the others and was standing on a dune about a hundred feet closer to the structure. His white space-suited form was sharply framed against its multicolored patterns and he swayed from side to side as in a cadence with a rhythm that only he could perceive.
“We should personally probe the structure at the least.” Sunahara continued, seemingly oblivious to the doctor's unusual behavior. Miranda forced his eyes away from the disturbing display to face Sunahara who was perspiring profusely and frantically pawing at his visor and adjusting the temperature-control settings while staring mesmerized past the doctor who was now continuing his swaying in a kneeling position.
Then, suddenly, as if he had been maliciously targeted last, Miranda began to sense it in himself. It began with a soft buzzing sound accompanied by an irresistible persistent yearning to be physically closer to the structure, as if he were being pulled by an invisible, unbreakable tether wrapped tightly about his torso.
The three other men had formed a semicircle before him. It seemed weird the way they were all staring past him at the structure and how the structure had suddenly intensified its prismatic colors from emerald to crimson undulating them like curtains, rising and falling in hypnotic spirals.
“Can’t you hear it?” The doctor was deathly pale, and his thin lips were quavering uncontrollably.
“It’s lovely!” he whispered hoarsely as if in a trance. “I never imagined…” he sobbed.
“Yes, I can hear it too!” Smyslov yelled into his space-helmet intercom. Miranda was clearly hearing it also. It reminded him of the songs of legendary sirens by the mythical shores singing enticingly to sailors who chanced to pass their shores. As if in a trance, he could feel himself following the others as they robotically began to approach the structure’s base in single file. He desperately struggled to stop his legs but they seemed to have a mind of their own. Every musical note seemed as if a command which their brains helplessly obeyed. Soon, the great structure
loomed featureless, towering into the alien red-clouded skies, black dunes fanning out like a skirt from its
Miranda felt himself stumble and fall face-first onto the sand, but was immediately wrenched violently to his feet again like a marionette. He watched helplessly as Smyslov, still bellowing in protest, was ascending the undulating basaltic sands toward the structure’s quivering base. Its former metallic appearance had suddenly assumed spotted, organic, and sponge-like texture. The Russian wavered stubbornly for a moment as if in a life or death struggle - his massive back muscles working in spasms, and his pillar-like legs striving to anchor themselves in the black sand. Then, as if he had been drained of all energy, his body went limp and lurched violently forward at the waist, and disappeared into the heaving mass of gelatinous surface that the structure had now assumed.
Sunahara was next to go. He had been reaching for his sonic weapon, his arm quavering with effort just centimeters from the holster. For a few agonizing seconds, it seemed he would mange to reach it, then he suddenly glanced back, mouth in a ghastly scream of terror, the once jovial countenance disfigured by fear, eyes pleading like those of a pet dog begging for a scrap, and then he too was gone.
The doctor had managed to edge away and was almost at the dune’s ridge which separated the structure from the abodes. That’s when Miranda saw it. With a quivering frenzy, two abodes nearest to the doctor divested themselves of their metallic appearance and sprouted thick, snake-like yellow tendrils which serpentined across the doctor’s path and blocked his way. Then the doctor raised his hands to his helmet, his head shaking violently from side to side and his arms flailing and gloved hands making clawing gestures.
Anderson, who had been able to resist the structure’s mesmerizing effects, appeared suddenly at the doctor’s side, drew his sonic blaster and aimed it at one of the transformed abodes. Miranda saw him pull the trigger and saw the weapon disgorge its deadly sonic beam, and then witnessed its beam reflected back to its source. Then he heard the deafening blast that scattered Anderson’s whole dismembered body across the sands as his weapon exploded.
Then it was his turn. Miranda had been fighting desperately to un-holster his weapon, but as he did the human female voice-like songs intensified rhythmically and in volume and the structure’s light shifted from emerald to scarlet. They were no longer the placid beautiful patterns. Now they ascended and descended in strident gyrations that rimmed the structure’s beveled sides with an intense bioluminescent crimson light. Simultaneously, Miranda’s arms became limp at his side, and his once hesitant and faltering steps became steady, steadier than they had ever been in his entire life. No longer did he foolishly wish to desperately resist the melodic insistent throbbing or the persistent primordial ululations, nor the deeply resonating animalistic growl that had previously sent a quaver of intense dread through every fiber of his being.
Then briefly, just before the total darkness of death set in, he saw it, the great maw lined with glistening white saber like teeth and the tentacles that had been cunningly hidden beneath the planet’s sands snaking out like monstrous anacondas, slowly encircling him in the fathomless darkness, drawing him slowly toward it as it disgorged its enticing melodies of ravenous hunger.
Finally, as suddenly as it had started, all was once more totally silent. Having satiated itself, the predatory creature
that had cunningly employed the structures as lures, gradually withdrew them into its underground lair. Then, on what had once appeared to be the remnants of an ancient civilization, only the wind-tossed sand on a vast featureless plain swirled relentlessly about a lone ship that was gradually and slowly being absorbed into the surrounding dunes.
Although the crew had been lost along with the ship, back on Earth, the mission had been pronounced a resounding success. Ten more years of peace had been established because warlike humanoid Musian Ambassadors to Earth had finally been pacified. Their animal god had been fed living human meat as they had furiously demanded, and Earth governments would not feel forced to offer another for the next ten years.
JD07/31/2021 That was a GREAT read, Radrook! It was a truly intriguing, suspenseful, and finally horrifying science fiction tale. And your twist at the end made it even better, with the added thought provoking moral and cultural elements that left the reader spinning. Outstanding work.Reply
It was the year 2525, and an interplanetary war between alien Reptilians and humanoids had been going on for decades. It had been instant animosity at first sight. An instinctive inter-species mutual revulsion that had led to an intense and seemingly irrational effort at mutual annhilation.
You see, from the humanoid standpoint, reasoning Reptilians were an aberration of nature, and nothing less, an aberation that needed to be obliterated from existence. The reptilians had felt the same way about humanoids. So after a few formal halfhearted efforts at resolving some minor border disputes, both sides dispensed with diplomacies and immediatly went in for the kill.
Furious battles were fought, but a stalemate had finally been reached and an agreement of a peace- treaty was being reluctantly negotiated at the United Nations with the recently-arrived ill-tempered and thoroughly disgruntled reptilian ambassadors. It was during those political proceedings that the following historically-significant incident I am about to describe, transpired.
It was becoming late evening at the Alpha Centaurian B planet’s spaceport’s Emergency Medical Center, a huge facility constructed to deal with humanoid medical emergencies. There, in its dentistry section, for the first time, and as a gesture of good will and mutual cooperation for peace from both sides, the drilling of a reptilian’s tooth had been going on.
After two full hours, finally, the humaoid dentist, a green-skinned Alpha-Centaurian-born humanoid, announced that the tooth was ready to be filled. Three drills had been blunted in the process, and he was drenched in sweat from the furious effort that had been required to penetrate the thick, diamantine-like alien reptilian enamel and its equally hard dentine. But he had finally managed to excavate deep enough and to carve the necessary undercuts to provide a solid foundation for the repair material.
Strangely, his regular assistant had suddenly taken ill and he was being assisted by a recently-arrived, freckled- faced, red-headed human female from the planet Earth, who, after two hours of being totally silent and very cooperative, had suddenly, and inexplicably decided to ask:
“Excuse me doctor! But shouldn’t that drilling have taken only twenty minutes instead of two long hours?"
"Not in this particular case Esmeralda!" the doctor responded nervously.
"Why not in this particular case, doctor?" Esmeralda continued in a language that was clearly understood by the reptilian patient who had been sitting calmly, with its crimson, reptiian eyes shut until her question had been asked. There was a tense and prolonged silence before the doctor, now feeling as if he were suddenly on trial, finally replied.
”For medical professional reasons that really should be none of your concern." he said, while giving Esmeralda the sternest look that he could muster in hopes of keeping her from continuing this line of questioning which could potentially lead to an unpleasantness that he would rather avoid at all costs.
He knew just how sensitive alien reptilians were to acts of discrimination experienced at the hands of humanoids, and didn't want this one getting the notion that he had been drilling his tooth for two full hours without administering any anesthesia, just to see him squirm in agony. Although, he did have to admit, that seeing the repilian squirm, did bring him a measure of satisfaction, since his luxurious abode had been destroyed during a reptilian raid. But such things things were done on both sides, and he had agreed that they needed to be forgotten for the sake of peace.
“The reason I ask,” Esmeralda continued in a soft, sweet, voice which exuded innocence of any maliscious intent, “...is because according to my very extensive training back on Earth, doctor, such prolonged and extensive drilling is never needed for the kind of simple carie that this gentle reptilian presented. But even in such less serious cases, anesthetics are always admnistered. “
At this, the reptilian's breathing-rate increased, its ivory-white cranial crest flushed crimson, and its eyes, that had been semi-shut during the entire procedure, suddenly opened widly and began swiveling rapidly suspiciously from side to side. Despite the safe drug developed by the Earthian miitary, that had been administered to dull its senses, It suddenly noticed that the doctor was perspiring profusely and that the odour of his perspiration was of profound fear generated by concerns of justifiable reprisal.
That alone would have been sufficient in former times for the reptilian to have swiftly severed a humanoid’s head clean off from his shoulders, but because of the recent peace treaty which had been finally agreed upon after 20 years of constant, savage warfare, he was reluctant to be the one to cause an incident that would reignite human vs reptilian hostilities. So he controled his growing anger and waited for the doctor’s explanation.
Noticing that the reptilian had become tense, the doctor began repairing the cavity as quickly as he could. The sooner the alien reptilan was out of his office, the better. He also decided that he would fire the assistant. But not in front of the Reptilian, since he didn’t know what else she would say if angered. So in calculated silence, he hastily began the repair. He would leave out insulation against sensitivity to heat and cold to cut down on time. The point was to get it out of the office as soon as possible.
But nervousness made his hands shake, and he began to fumble the intruments. Some he dropped onto the floor, making a big racket and causing the reptilian to grunt. Suddenly the reptilian began to grimace and groan at the slightest pain, wheeras before, it had been accepting everything as normal.
At that point, the assistant turned on the elevated TV holographic screen, and dialed it to the subspace channel featuring the recent meeting between humans and reptilans that was occuring at the United nations. Each side was vehemently expressing its viewpoint. The cession had comenced peacefully enough, but then had gradually deteriorated into threats of hostility renewals when compromises were controversial.
As the arguments over galactic territorial jursdictions became more heated, the Earthian dental assistant, Esmeralda, gradually and delicately turned up the volume with her remote as she gazed at the reptilian with an intense scrutinizing interest. Meanwhile, the reptilian began to fidget in his chair, causing the Earthian dentist to fumble and unintentionally inflict two painful jabs with a sharp instrument.
“Sorry!” he immediately said, placing a comforting humanoid hand on the reptilan’s exposed scaly shoulder. The detection of the nonhuman physique made him recoil instantly, and he wondered whether there indeed could ever be any genuine peace between two species so vastly different physiologically. In turn, the Reptilian, who had been totally silent during the previous agonizing two hours, but who noticed his reaction of revusion, finally spoke.
“I have a question doctor!”
"Shoot!” the doctor immediately said as nonchallantly and as confidently as possible. He was well-aware of the alien reptilian abilty to detect nervousness and accurately analyze emotions based on human body scents. In fact, that is why, once informed that his next patient was to be an Alien Reptilian, he had rubbed generous amounts of after-shave lotion all over his body to prevent any possible misunderstandings.
“Why have I not been provided with pain- killers for this procedure, doctor?” the reptilian hissed more than it uttered and then flicked his forked purple tongue twice.
“Well, that’s a very good queston, and I can understand why you are concerned! I sure as hell would be!”
“Yes, it does deeply concern me!” the reptilian hissed in what the doctor understood as an extremely hurt tone of voice.
“Well, you see, this is an emergency facilty designed specifically for the care of humanoids from different sectors of the galaxy.”
“Do your humanoid patients receive painkillers, doctor?”
“Yes! Of course they do. But that’s because we are familiar with their body chemistry and can be absolutely certain that we will not kill the patient by introducing a harmful substance! You can uderstand that-right? You have heard about such cases-correct? ”
“Yes! I am able to fully comprehend it. Yet, there is a certain strangeness involved here doctor”“
“A strangeness?” the doctor asked nervously shifting his weight from foot to foot as if ready to bolt. He had been pressing the emergency signalng device in his pocket, but it was either inoperative, or else he was being purposefully ignored. But if so, why? Usually the slightest signal immediaely brought security presonel. Yet Now nothing.
“Yes doctor, a certain strangeness.” the reptilian continued. Why did you not explain this matter in this same detailed manner to the Earthian assistant who asked you? Why all this cunning evasion, doctor?”
“Exactly what I have been wondering ever since I calmly asked him,” the female human assistant said energetically while giving the doctor an intense suspicious look, and smiling sarcastically as if convinced that the doctor was guilty of purposeful malptractice via influiction of unecessary pain.
“Why not explain this to me before I trustingly and stupidly agreed to permit a filthy humanoid like you to work on my teeth? Have I no right at all to know? What do you think that we are, animals?”
“Ýeah! What do you think that they are doctor, lower animals? Or Is it because they attacked your location during a recent raid? Is that why you did it doctor? Is that why? ” the assistant shouted while pointing an accusatory index finger at the doctor who had accidentally sliced the reptilian’s gum as he suddenly backed away, and which finally provoked the reptilian to instinctively leap from the seat and sever the doctor’s head clean off his shoulders with one swift swipe of its dagger-clawed reptilian paw.
Later, that week, during a secret meeting, agent Esmeralda was formally introduced to other members of the League of Humanoid Planets on Alpha Centauri b and was generously rewarded by the Earthian authorities there for having provoked the incident that would perpetuate the interplanetary war and keep the war-material manufacturers there raking in the profits.
“Job well done!” she was told amidst a flurry of appluase while she beamed proudly.
HERE I AM SEND ME
Foreword:2 Timothy 4:3 ESV
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
First, please note that a detailed description of the specific blessings apart from eternal life and immortality, which awaits the resurrected ones in the heavenly realm is declared to be an impossibility or beyond the ability of the human mind to conceive. This is probably beause the material and spirituals realms are so totally different that there are no equivalents that they exactly share in the sensory sense.
So going into specific descriptions as if they were realities that await us in the resurrection would ignore this basic fact.
1 Corinthians 2:9
New King James Version
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
New King James Version
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Also, please note that while it is true that there are many different views concerning what heaven is like, there are certain limits that the Bible specifically places on how heaven itself and those resurrected to live there should be described.
In short, some descriptions blatantly contradict the scriptural evidence. So this is definitely not a matter which is open to any and all interpretations, as some would have us believe. It is a very serious matter that is strictly limited by the scriptural evidence that has been clearly provided for us which describes both heaven and the specific reason why certain humans are resurrected there.
Also, there areserious warnings against adding ideas to the Bible that should be heeded.
Revelation 22:18-19 offers a stern warning to readers: "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."
Deuteronomy 4:2, "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you" (NIV). Deuteronomy 12:32 adds, "See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it" (NIV)
In Proverbs 30:5-6 we read, "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar" (NIV).
Seeing that the Bible clearly admonishes us to be careful not to add nor to subtract from the things revealed biblically, great care should be taken not to do so lest we accidentally invoke the punishment that we are told will descend on those who ignore the warnings and dare to so.
So there is absolutely nothing in this following story that contradicts what the Bible tells us about the purpose of people being resurrected to heaven.
A Hedonistic Heaven?
John Wanamaker, who had recently just died in a car accident in a head on collision with a sixteen wheeler on the Interstate Highway when he had fallen asleep at the wheel, suddenly found himself in heaven. Of course, he was glad to be in heaven and not at that other horrible place that many accuse God as having created specifically to torture people. Yet, even though he had been a regular churchgoer and should have known what to expect, he only had extremely vague hopes that his life would be a pleasant one in the heavenly realm but nothing more.
In fact, pleasure was the main thing on his mind in relation to a heavenly life. He had read stories and watched films depicting heaven as a large diversified playground where all unsinful wishes were being constantly granted to resurrected humans whose only motivation while being in heaven seemed to be to want to play or otherwise be entertained. In short, God was depicted as this mindless, benevolent, all-powerful genie who rewarded loyalty with pleasures. So it came as a great shock to John when he was solemnly informed of his heavenly gubernatorial responsibilities.
This happened during his orientation session when John suddenly found himself being led by two angels down this long white marbled corridor to this large white room with a white desk behind which a silver- haired full-bearded, tall man attired in what resembled a white toga adorned with twelve precious stones sat smiling while seated with his back to a large oval window where thick, white clouds were languidly drifting by. After the man had invited him to take a seat, the newest-arrival-orientation session began.
“So John, how do you feel about having been given the privilege of being in heaven?” the man behind the desk said in a calm soothing voice that seemed to emanate more from his mind than form his lips which barely moved at all.
“It is great! I really appreciate all my sins being forgiven and my being allowed to be here.”
“Yes! True. Our Lord Jesus Christ made that possible for sinners such as you by paying the price for death with his own life. But do you really have any idea why you are here?”
“To live the rest of eternity?”
“True John. To live forever. But doing what?”
At that question john hesitated in responding since he had never given the idea much thought. The church pastor had never delved into the subject. So he was really at loss-as to what to say. He didn’t want to sound stupid either. So he just opted to be honest.
“Well, sir, to be absolutely honest, I really don’t know. Is it to have fun? You know, play, romp and have a good time enjoying the good things I have always wanted but couldn’t have when alive on Earth?”
The man behind the desk smiled compassionately at John, and fully understood why he believed such things. Never having been provided with with any specific descriptions due to clergy irresponsibility, the Christians who were arriving in heaven after the first century of our common era, a time during which the great apostasy began to appear, were usually clueless about their eternal destiny despite the Bible clearly telling them what that destiny would be repeatedly in the book of Revelation and in the inspired letters written by the Apostle Paul.
“Well, John, the reason you are here is to assist with the rulership of the Earth and of the rest of the spiritual and material universe with Christ.”
At that john just sat wide-eyed as if struck with a mind-numbing electric bolt. Rule what? The Earth and the rest of the universe? the man had said. Who him? John? The tele marketer with only a high school education? Surely the man behind the desk must have been jesting.
“Rule over what?” he asked after remaining silent for a long while attempting to digest the information he had just been handed.
“Rule the Earth and the rest of the Universe John, as Co rulers with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Noticing how utterly disoriented john looked, the man behind the desk proceeded to patiently clarify
“Yes John, we know how shocking this might seem to you. After all, on earth you were not a prominent person nor an intellectual. Neither was your formal education exceptional. But please note John, that here in heaven such things are not necessary because you are a new creature now, a creature far superior to any other presently on Earth. You are now an immortal, with intellectual capabilities far beyond any that anyone might have or ever has had on Earth John.
“But I don’t feel different sir!” John responded.
“True John, you don’t. That’s because you are essentially still you. The essence of who you are still identifies with your former limited self. But gradually, once you attain proper understanding, you will reorient until both personality and your present essence will merge into the glorious creature that you have now become. A glorified son of God who will be given administrative responsibilities over the Earth, to transform it into a global paradise as was originally intended, to assist in raising mankind to physical perfection as they were first created and to govern your assigned section of the visible universe in righteousness along with Christ. So no, you will not be merely an angel John.’ the man said as he perceived the question about angels enter John’s consciousness.
“Far higher than the angels and vastly more powerful as well!”
Here, let me provide you with the scriptural evidence that you were denied back on Earth, evidence which describes the judgmental authority powers and responsibilities that resurrected humans, such you are, are granted.
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.
2 Timothy 2:12
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?
“Disobedient angels John. You will participate in their defeat at Armageddon and their ultimate destruction after their incarceration for a thousand years. “
John heard the man say.
Here are other scriptures that make reference to your glorious duties in the Heavenly Kingdom.
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ...
Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
..... Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. ... They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years....
1 Corinthians 6:1-11
.... Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels?
Romans 8:17 ESV
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him
So it is with the noble purpose to judge and to rule that you have been resurrected to heaven as is also the case for all those others who have preceded you and those who will follow you, John.
Ah! Yes, true, here in heaven there also pleasures and relaxations. Of those blessings our God has also assured you. But such activities will be as a reward for faithful service via rulership of Earth and the rest of the universe which will be your primary responsibility and which must always be uppermost in your mind. So no, John, heaven is not primarily intended to be one large playground for resurrected humans. It is and has always been the seat of universal administration of both visible and the spiritual realms and you as a glorified human being are given the privilege of being one of its representatives viathe ressurecton.
John suddenly realized just how misinformed he had been and being a man of a noble and obedient heart, he uttered these words.
“Whatever my Lord and Savior wants me to do in his service, here I am. Send me!” upon that statement his glorification was complete and the gates of heaven were opened before him revealing all of heaven’s splendors.
It was the year 2525, and during my Freshman year at college, I had taken the course in extraterrestrial psychology as an elective. Of course, I had been expecting many surprises, but not as great of a surprise as I received when we got to the chapter about the recently-discovered planet which humans referred to as the Planet Psycho.
At first, I assumed that the chapter's title had either been a misprint or some type of university practical joke. But the guest lecturer, an elderly, short slightly tanned high-strung, balding human who had recently returned from studying this notorious, extraterrestrial culture, seemed dead serious. He also seemed extremely nervous and self-conscious, and occasionally gazed at us in what seemed to be panicked apprehension, which gave the impression that he was about to bolt for the nearest exit, while imagining himself aggressed by some beast.
Well, after introducing himself briefly as the scheduled guest-speaker, and looking about suspiciously, he finally enumerated his academic qualifications, and then proceeded to give his lecture:
"You are all probably very astonished that there is actually a place called Planet Psycho,” he began, “a world where the aliens live in total isolation from themselves. You have probably heard various rumors, and are here taking this elective to find out if such rumors are true." Here, the speaker flinched, as if he was about to be struck when many of the students leaned forward in their seats to hear the answer to that question. But having regained his composure, he continued.
"Well, as far-fetched as they might sound, I found that those rumors are all true. These creatures, and I am being generous in calling them so, do cringe violently at the mere mention of their own species, suffer nightly nightmares in which they chase themselves around in circles, startle at the sound of their own voices, and prefer to remain totally silent for fear that they might insult themselves."
There were muffled giggles from some of the female students in the back, but a look of dread on the the professors gaunt face while staring over his thick green-tinted bifocals, soon put an end to that.
"You see," he continued, "each Psychonian lives secluded far from all others, and there aren't many, since they avoid each other like a plague, a custom that has seriously reduced their rate of procreation. In fact, they are now literally on the verge of extinction."
The sudden closing of a door from across the hall caused him to pause and partially extend his left arm as if to block a blow coming from that direction. Then, having quickly regained his composure, he continued.
"Its just as well, since their own offspring would probably terrify them due to the probabilities of failures and personal threats that they would represented. But it wasn't always this way. You see, the Psyconians had once been a prosperous species with a very bright future. But then, suddenly and inexplicably, everything started to go wrong."
At this point the professor's countenance was one of a profound sadness and began to perspire copiously. After wiping the persporation from his face and neck with a white hankerchief, he resumed the lecture, albeit in a tremulous voice.
"You see, if the Psychonians were winning a war, they would make sure to blunder until it became a resounding defeat. If their crops were about to flourish, they would suddenly and somehow find a way to ruin the soil. If they were about to invent a useful machine, they would somehow make sure it self-destructed or malfunction in one way or another. On and on it went.
At first, in an effort to rationalize the disturbing phenomenon, they ascribed it to bad luck. But then, as they gradually realized it was an uncontrollable part of their nature, they began to morbidly fear themselves. Assuming it was genetic, they attempted to fix their genetic makeup via gene splicing. That effort resulted in an intensification of their self-fear, since they sabotaged their own efforts in order to assure that they would fail and remain as they were.
Finally, realizing that resistance to themselves was obviously totally futile, they gradually began spending most of their free time cringing at their own polka-dotted, bell-shaped, pot-bellied images in the mirror, and worrying about what foul deed they would cling-clang on themselves next.
The students chuckled at the professor's use of the term "cling-clanged" and assumed it was an expression he had picked up from the Planet Psycho's aliens.
“You are probably wondering why I used the expression “cling clanged" Correct? " he almost shouted while clutching the lectern's sides with both hands as if striving to stabilize himself.
"Well, that is because whenever they failed at something, they seemed to hear a resounding cling and then an even louder clang resonating in their atmosphere. So, of course, it affected their language. In fact, it also affected their religious beliefs.
Pretty soon, they were all worshiping the Cling-Clang deity and striving to appease it, so that their seemingly inevitable bad luck would change. Unfortunately, their bad luck included the religious, and their worship seemed to make matters even worse. You see, the cling-clangs became ear-splitingly loud, and only died down when the Psychonians tore down all the sacred Cling-Clang temples and just went about their self-sabotaging ways once again.”
One student raised his hand to ask a question.
"Yes, you in the back with the purple Mohawk." the professor said, while pointing at the young fellow with his quavering index finger.
“Professor, you resided there for five Earth-years." the spiked purple- Mohawked youth said.
"Did you yourself ever personally hear this cling-clanging phenomenon, sir?”
"No, I can’t say that I ever did. But I regularly observed the Psychonians cringing at the sound whenever they failed at anything. ”
“So you consider it a subjective phenomenon?”
“Yes, totally subjective. However, I never was there during the time when the cling clanging was said to have been heard by everyone on the planet simultaneously”
“So you aren’t really sure that it is their own mind producing that sound?”
“To be honest, no I am not!.” the professor barked.
“Well, because mathematically probabilistically, their constant bad-luck just doesn’t make any statistical sense. Their bad-luck seems more as if they are being somehow set up or aggressed.”
“Aggressed by what? A Cling Clanger?” the purple-mohawked student smirked.
The other students laughed at the suggestion, and the professor slowly draped himself over the lectern frowning with his white, bushy eyebrows as he responded.
“Precisely. A maliciously- inclined Cling Clanger! And there it goes again! Right on schedule!" he uttered in a trembling voice as a student's cell-phone made a bell like sound just before he suddenly bolted from the classroom and out the classroom door at a sprint.
Aunt Felicita and her Voodoo-like ways
I was recently watching one of the latest versions of the classic King Kong films, where the primitive natives of Skull Island are beating drums, gyrating their bodies, showing the whites of their eyes, and grimacing gruesomely in their effort to make Kong appear.
Of course, voodoo practitioners can be expected to behave in that disturbing way. After all, they haven’t been illuminated by the truths taught by Christianity. In short, they are dwelling in darkness, and can be expected to conform to that darkness with its lord of darkness, the Devil. But such behavior is not expected from persons claiming to be followers of Christ.
Unfortunately, there are some who claim to be Christians and who nevertheless regularly display that exact behavior. Now, at age eleven, I had never observed that kind of macabre display, neither from pagans nor from professed Christians. But unfortunately for me, that was soon to change when we went to visit my Aunt Felicita, on my fathers side of the family, in San Juan Puerto Rico. .
She was a Pentecostal married to a husband who was 100 times more dedicated to his denomination than anyone I have yet encountered. A man who truly wanted to serve Christ and whose biblically-based decisions to serve Christ seemed to constantly annoy my aunt Felicita.
For example, he would turn the other cheek, never retaliate, but respond with kindness. If questioned, he would cite scriptures proving that Christ told us to behave that way. Yet, despite his full dedication, I never once saw him displaying any kind of behavior similar to the one that the natives in the King Kong film had.
But aunt Felicita turned out to be quite a different story. The first thing I noticed about her was that she would suddenly slam the palm of her hand against a wall, the dinner table, or any other available, flat surface, and yell “Barkay!” right in the middle of an otherwise normal conversation. She would also occasionally speak as if possessed by some entity whom she invariably claimed to be Jesus Christ. I remained unconvinced because I had difficulty imagining Jesus depriving people of their free will in that way. In short, her mental stability began to concern me.
“Why don’t we all attend church tonight!?” she kept enthusiastically insisting very often out of the proverbial clear blue.
“Some other time,” my father, her brother, kept responding.
“You are all going to burn in the lake of fire forever if you don’t!” she kept warning.
Since that threat didn’t seem to motivate my parents into complying, I figured that it couldn’t really be that serious. However, the more they didn’t comply with her demand, the more erratic her behavior seemed to get. She began claiming that she had visions of demons invading her house and angels arriving from heaven sent to forcefully evict them. For some reason, she went to great pains to describe the gruesome demons in detail but not the holy angels. On and on it went, until I really just wished to get back home to Newark NJ where I wouldn’t have to listen to all her constant drivel.
Well, the time to leave was getting near, and that’s when it happened. One moment my father was criticizing me as usual, I responded in frustration, and his sister, my aunt suddenly yelled “Barkay!", dropped to the bedroom floor, and began frenetically rolling back and forth as if propelled by some unnatural force. Then to my horror, she rose up slowly as pale as a ghost, limp dark hair drenched in sweat, eyes rolled back in her head showing only the white, and began contorting her body in voodoo-like ways. To my horror, she extended her arms in my direction while making clutching motions with her boney hands, and started slowly approaching me. My mother hugged me to her chest protectively, but on she came until she was kneeling right in front of where we was sitting.
“Do you know who I am? I am the Lord Jesus Christ,” she proclaimed in this deep, manlike voice.
“Why are you disrespecting your father? Ehhhh?” she suddenly screeched at me.
I figured that staying near her wasn’t such a good idea, and that my parents weren’t going to do me any good against this supernatural force, so I cut loose and bolted out of the house into the darkness outside. I didn’t have any particular destination, but just wanted to put some distance between us. I turned left on the dirt path in front of the house while imagining that my aunt was hot on my heels. Then, after running approx 200 feet, I saw it. A silhouette of a male figure slowly walking in the semi-darkness towards me with a limp. So I came to a full stop. I squinted to get a better look and noticed something unusual about the shape of the head, as if three large, long, curved horns were protruding. So I decided to take my chances with my aunt, did an about-face, and bolted back up the dirt path. To my surprise, I found her sitting serenely with my parents as if absolutely nothing unusual had happened. I was shaking and crying from the sheer double terror.
“What happened?” my hitherto recently-demonic-looking aunt asked calmly.
After I described what I thought I had seen, and my father had gone out to investigate and found nothing, she said:
“Do you know why that happened to you? Eh? Do you?"
"Because I talked back to my father and don’t go to church!” I responded in order to prevent her from coming at me with another terrifying voodoo-like performance.
“That is right! That happened to you because you were naughty with your father and because you don’t go to church. Do you want to go to church now? Are you two going to take him to church now?” she said to my parents:
“Yes Yes! I’ll go to church! I’ll go to church!” I answered before my parents could react. Of course, my parents finally agreed to attend as well after that demonstration.
The next day, late in the evening, we were present at church as promised. Everything looked calm, and I felt that I was under the protection of Almighty God. A fervent sermon was given. Fiery testimonies were provided expressing faith and describing miracles. Songs were sung enthusiastically accompanied by piano and the slaps of tambourines. Then the call for converts to approach the stage to give themselves to Christ began.
I was watching all this with interest, when suddenly, some women began dropping to the floor and rolling down the aisle. Then the man near me began uttering strange unintelligible sounds with a quavering voice followed by many others and behaving similar to the way my aunt had the night before.
Instead of feeling that I was in a church, I suddenly felt that I had been led into a trap. I concluded that my aunt had taken me there so they could finish the gruesome ritual she had performed the day before. For a brief moment, I considered bolting for the exit. But then I imagined that they would either intercept me on the way there, or else follow me outside and converge on me in the darkness, you know, hunt me down like in the film The Body Snatchers. So, trembling fearfully for my life, I just stood horrified and endured the situation the best I could.
Results? After getting back home, I just wasn’t the same. I became a very nervous kid who feared the darkness and flinched fearfully at shadows. I became afraid to be alone in the apartment lest some supernatural force would attack me. I found that I could no longer sleep with my bedroom lights off and had developed a morbid fear of this huge crucifix with a glowing green Christ on it which my parents had placed on my bedroom wall. Had to have it removed. I promised myself never to be exposed to that kind of experience again. I’m sure that back at her home, my Aunt Felicita felt she had done an excellent job in evangelizing. Instead, she had made me a nonreligious, nervous wreck.