And This Sea Eternal

The battle for the Kashkeegee settlement on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, is unique in the archive of Terran Federation history.

“She dreams of the ocean late at night
and longs for the wild salt air”- Author unknown

Histrogram

The battle for the Kashkeegee settlement on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, is unique in the archive of Terran Federation history. Consider this: - prior the Enceladus incident, if you attended a Terran Federation 1st school, the war was hardly mentioned. Except, naturally, during the 11th Month, and in Holo-books or screeners full of very scary looking creatures that are best “left where they are” for the rest of the year.

In 2nd level schools and colleges, the conflict was discussed, but, “purely from the position of the Terran Federation” whose, “brave and noble fighters” battled “gallantly to protect the settlement from the hideous Enceladus’s who were a danger and a threat to Terran survival.” To warrant this, there are holograms of hideous blue creatures and brave soldiers, fighting them off; together with images of Emperor Harass the 7th, the notably brave leader of the Terran Federation, stamping on an Encoder’s head to shouts of “bravo!”

By the time you reach 3rd school’s colleges and undergraduate University courses, other stories came to light; such as the leaked hollo-discs of Terran Federation units carrying out atrocities against the Enceladus, whose “own planet was under attack” and who “had to protect it’ own resources” this context was pitched into linguistic classes about racial identity. “…After all…” states Quinto Thale, the head of the Histrionics department of the University of Terra “…it must be firmly stated that it was the Terranes themselves who named this unique species “Enceladus”. The indigenous population of the planet refer to themselves -in the best approximation of our own language- as QUR;enT: R ( For the benefit of the reader note: the /R/ sound is caused by rolling the flicking of the tongue between the plate and the back of the top front teeth making a sort of cat purring sort of sound with both the mouth but also within the mind of the interlocutor.) Their home planet known to the indigenous population as “Wrangghth:R” which, can loosely be translated, simply as “home.”” (Taken from the holo-lecture “The Terran in the universe” Thale, Q, 2343 Terran University press.)

This naturally leads to academic questions in relation to the complexities behind the Terran Federation’s use of indirect rule to maintain order upon the colony; and the subsequent impact such rule had and has continued to have over some species of life upon Enceladus.

By the time you become a post graduate, it changes yet again as untangling the weeds reveals an ever more complex, though very poisonous flower; if one were to get too close to it.

These holo-discs reveal the political necessities that underpin the real need that the Terran Federation had both for the sake of its own people as well as the complex and at times hostile relationship it had with the once powerful Sloat conglomerate. All of which point out many of the political difficulties upon Enceladus itself.

Finally, intertwined with all of the political posturing, and difficult decisions, and ever longer legal arguments, come the over long, dry sounding, tiring lectures; bumbled out by old, dried out professors, mumbling into their wet pubic beards, about the “role and responsibility” that Terra had, and from that position, how the human race has not adapted well towards other species and forms of indigenous life within the recorded universe… and so it goes on.

However, despite all this endless academic debate there are the true stories of individuals who spent their time either working in a hostile environment of the planet to either protect the product or manage the extraction process. Not to mention the stories of the “Enceladus’s” themselves; who, it has been recognised have a deep, rich culture that is far, far older than humanity. As is to be expected, these stories are collated into the histrionic archives that are based both on Enceladus and in the Terran- Federation University in Brazil and its affiliated University on Mars.

One of the most remarkable stories from this period of Terran/ Enceladus history is the story of Sargent Daniels.

The text comes from two sources, one from the archive of the native population of the now recognised status of the Planet Enceladus, the other is the Terran archive. A lot of time and effort was taken in detailed stylistic and linguistic analysis by the histrionic department to make the tale as authentic or as genuine as possible.

Thus, the story is remarkable, both for its authenticity, but also for the ongoing impact it has had on both Terran/Enceladus relations in the years that have passed since the initial event occurred.

For a general breakdown of histrionics and its role within academic study, then please read the appendix 1 connected to this text.

***

Sergeant Daniels stared out of the shuttle window. How long had the war gone on? Far, far, longer than he cared to think about. Outside were the stars in the endless vacuum of night. Behind him was Earth. But not a blue green crystal orb, that once shone in the dark. (The images caught both in his imagination and his youth were now long gone.) This Earth was mottled. It was a dirty brown, riddled with deep scars and covered with grey black domes; domes where the population -embattled and owned- fought simply to survive.

The earth was dying. It was dying from centuries of pollution, caused it has to be said, mused Daniels, by a lunatic capitalist economic model that was underpinned by neglect and greed …neglect of the individual and the greed of the few. Yes, it was all turning to shit: The Sloat conglomerate had seen to that. Now, he mused, even air was a commodity. This planet's final natural resource turned into profit and wealth. On Earth, everything had a price and the Terran Federation bowed the knee. It had to. “Sloat Water” fed the “Sloat fusion reactor’s”, that provided the “Sloat electricity”, that fed the “Sloat computer mainframe’s" that kept the logistics of the Terran Federation together. And hell, It didn’t end there; the population relied upon “Sloat hydro –engines” that recycled the “Sloat air”, which, if you could afford it, could be scented with anything from roses to Jasmine to mint. “Sloat hydro-dynamics” made the ships essential for space and linear, and now, for the select few, as always if you could afford it, time travel. Sloat even managed the waste product. From the phone in your ear to the drugs in your food, from the shit humans produced the waste of the fucking fusion reactor’s Sloat owned managed and controlled everything. Sloat even owned the military. They made the guns, designed the uniforms, even down to the fucking boot straps. It might be called the “Terran Federation” on the surface, but it could as easily be called “Sloat PLC”.

However, he mused on, the planet was running out of water. The seas were drying up. There was no doubt about it, it was all turning to crap and Sloat was still making money out of it. Nothing was enough for that fat greedy bastard, living upon his luxury satellite, pulling the fucking strings while the rest of the Federation danced to his tunes, sung at his ballets and listened to his version of the news.

How long had it been? He thought, one hundred and fifty years since mining for water extraction had become common? Something like that…. During that time, the Moon’s ice supply was almost exhausted. The Mars colonisation led to Mars needing its own supply, so thank you no and fuck off Sloat. Which, naturally, led to Sloat throwing a bloated hissy fit and a war with Mars… what were they called? Insurrectionists? something like that. Well, as far as he knew they lived off the grid and wanted “democracy.” Ha, as if that will ever happen. But that was fine and dandy, as it meant work for the likes of me… but it didn’t end there. No way no sir, Sloat- research and development took to scanning other planetary bodies for suitability and sustainability of water mining; and there were two in range. Io: one of Jupiter’s moons, and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Io, ha, how many millions of credits had been spent in establishing the thriving mining colonies there? Enough to spend on making earth survivable to be frank but no, Io and Enceladus were the future. Where Sloat and The Terran Federation could be seen making its stand in its corner of the solar system.

Unfortunately, Io's product was so full of impurities, and, let’s not forget the lethal radiation, that it was soon made painfully clear, even from a mere glance at the holo-news, that Io was slowly becoming a very expensive bust.

Not so Enceladus. By the time the bad news was reaching home about Io, good news also reached home about Enceladus. The water was pure, however, what the team didn’t expect (though, bearing in mind, it should have done; as, even a year one pupil knows both water and heat are key elements to life even on our dying planet) was the first genuine alien off world species had been detected.

And alien it was.

Whether the alien life was sentient, was naturally, another factor.

For twenty years, linguistic experts and experts in the newly formed academic study of histrionics were sent to the planet; though it became clear that any contact the Enceladus’s simply made the argument even more confusing; leading to conjecture and arguments in academic papers that cannot be understood by anyone, except those that read the things.

In any case, at the beginning, the Encoder’s seemed very mute about what was going on upon their home world. It didn’t last though… when water extraction began to increase, so rose the death count. Bodies began turning up pulped to bits, vital equipment for water extraction began to get severely damaged. This eventually led to, well, where we are now. What could be called war in everything but name.

He looked away from the widow. As he did so, he wrinkled his narrow nose in both in anger and disgust, then closed is pale blue eyes, to hide the shame and the guilt he felt within his heart at seeing humanity reduced to this: humans scraping for air, for profit. It was insane. But this is what you signed up for... and you, of all people, should know what it’s like to be a- To be a..? His heart sarcastically chided him, forcing him to be angry at himself, to even be subconsciously thinking the word: -off-worlder?

Off-worlder… was there something in the sound of it? Or was it the way he made it sound, that made him feel ashamed... ashamed, then guilty... and finally angry. Guilty and angry for being poor, for not having the right human genetic structure, for not having the right parents, so he could live on the Earth breathing expensive “pure” refined regenerated retreated air.

He fought against himself with a discreet twitch of his upper lip, as he recalled the words of his father, a solar farmer and an elder of a free church, based upon the moon colony. “…It’s the little words that rest within our hearts that either condemn us, or set us free.”

Dad spoke bollocks.

The voice of his father inside him, again chided; and with that, he felt a bitter bee sting. It rose in his throat and made him gag, as he recalled their parting words.

‘Yes...’ His father began, pausing carefully, when he had told both of his parents that he had enlisted five years ago. ‘...It is a noble thing... and a life with the milt- military can get you a free pass to earth... but...tell me... Is it worth making a a deal with the devil?...by signing up, you’re a a part of the Sloat conglomerate you know that don’t you? What do you think you can achieve? Freedom? There is no freedom you, you don’t have the' 

‘-the genetic traits?’ He spat the words out. People stared, he looked down.

He hated his father for that, and as said as much. He had friends, good friends -some of who were now dead- who had chosen a life in the military. It wasn’t something to be ashamed of, or made to feel guilty about; Just because he had not chosen the life of toil and drudgery amid the dry airless white dusted fields of a solar reflector station... Being a part of the Federation, despite its faults, was making a difference; and the difference was on Enceladus! He fought back.

‘-don’t you see, the water I’m in charge of protecting, would make a difference. It would force Sloat to rethink his greed. The seas would return, the domes would fall, the air would be breathable and free again.’

His father’s reply was cutting.

‘-Do you really believe that? Do you? By the systems, you must be totally fucking naive. Sloat owns everything! Everything! He, he won’t want his profits wrecked. Do you know where the water collection from Enceladus ends up? I can tell you now… it's not on Earth, that’s for sure. 20 years of extraction and it's not made a lot of difference! He’s locked it away on the dark side of the moon. Hidden, protected held in profit, to maintain the share value. Wake up John!’

He dismissed his father with a wave of his hand.

For he believed no, he knew, that he was doing something to be proud of. What did that old man know? He was just a hick farmer, living off the remnants of the power he provided for Sloat; and he was just as responsible for Sloat’s profits as the military.

‘-you are doing a deal with the devil son, pure and simple.’

‘The devil..!’ He almost shouted. ‘...Well…better the devil you know, than the farmer you don’t!’ He spat back, and instantly felt guilty and ashamed for saying it. He remembered his father’s face at that. The look of pain in his eyes, at the time it made John smile, now it made him painfully sad, as they hadn’t spoken since.

*

The shuttle arrived at the surface docking by at 23:45, by 04:30, he was in the narrow grey green metal lined barracks, surveying the men that he would spend the next six months with. The room was long, with two sets of bunks equidistantly apart. Beside each bunk were two lockers. At the far end of the room stood the weapons cabinet to the left, the showers to the right and in front of a window that stared out into the pale blue of the endless ocean that he was here to defend, the rights of the miners to collect.

There were two “Joe grunt’s” in bunks to his left just coming off “The wire”.

“The wire” was slang for the “Temporal Holographic Network” officially known as T.H.N.

T.H.N, was an informal, non-political, three dimensional imaging stream. It worked by sending images via minute variants in the threads graviton waves within space-time, where they were compressed through man-made miniature black holes’, that, when linked together, became threadlike wormholes through space, like the minute threads from a spider's web.

That way the messages could cross vast distances, in less than a fraction of a second.

The images were collected and sent to the soldiers in the field, via small grey and black oval disks, no bigger than six centimetres across.

The discs also had three long silver wires, which, when connected around the forehead on little suction cups, sent high intensity alpha waves directly into the occipital and temporal lobe of the brain.

Thus, inducing a vivid, but semi-controlled, dream state in the user. In this state, the users could enter an inner world where anything and everything was possible; and where nothing could be denied. However, the side effects from frequent usage also had a disturbing effect upon the human mind. To start with those who used the wire more frequently seemed to react in a similar way to those who frequently used hallucinogenic drugs, and that eventually led to a slide into full mental collapse.

Despite that, and despite THN being illegal on Earth, it was open and free to all military personnel and their loved ones as the Terran Federation felt it was as an aide to morale; however, privately many high ranking officers felt that it was a potential breech in security, and frowned upon it.

John never used the wire. John never got drunk or stoned, or fucked, -simulated or otherwise-. For John was clean, clear and in control. And he was proud of the fact.

Now... He thought as he took his seat; shuffled and thankfully managed to get comfortable. He then habitually rubbed a hand across his well shaved angular jaw; ...What was that Joe-grunt’s name. He looked at the bunk badge, which had his face and his info disc....Martinez... yes... that’s it Martinez!

‘Officer on deck.’

Martinez and O’Bannon came out of their THN trances and briskly stood to attention in the middle of the room.

‘At ease.’

The men relaxed.

‘I know it's early… where are the rest of the men?’

‘Some are in water training, sir.’

‘-I didn’t ask you Martinez.’

‘The men are in bio mechanics with the medical officer sir. We were given the all clear, so we came back.’ O Bannon replied.

‘I see…’ John coughed. ‘…I don’t know what the rest of you expect from me. I will not tolerate weak minds and over use of THN leads to weak minds are we clear?

‘Sir. Yes sir.’

‘Now… there is a drill at 0700, I expect you to inform the other grunts, that they should be ready for kit inspection at 0630 hours, are we clear?’

‘Crystal.’ Martinez muttered and smirked.

Daniels turned on Martinez in an instant. His voice cold hard and full of fury. ‘Now listen to me, you weak pile of Martian dirt, I expect my platoon to be well dressed and prepared to fight those fuckin spiders at a moment’s notice! I don’t expect, nor do I want to have to, pull your pulped form from the ice water because YOU CAN’T HANDLE YOUR SHIT! ARE WE CLEAR?’

‘SIR YES SIR!’

‘Good, now… O’Bannon, get the message to the rest of the platoon.’

The two men faced each other as O’Bannon left the room. Their eyes locked in mutually accepted cold hostility.

John took an instant dislike to Martinez.

He hated his slow speaking drawl; which essentially was his New Mexican West Martian accent; and John hated New Mexicans. John hated the fact that Martinez had no desire for military protocols. His greased back, thick black hair; -which was over long- and the red bandana that he wrapped it in, and the fact that Martinez, very pointedly, refused to have it cut to a regulation length. This man was trouble.

Martinez was also from the Delta four Martian colonies; which was another reason to hate him, as John, being a Lunar Colonist, and therefore closer to earth, considered himself, a class above the “Trash that had been exported to Mars.” A phrase that he had once heard from a lunar official, and had privately agreed with.

Essentially, on first glance John thought, Martinez was a lazy, greasy “Joe-grunt”; that never really looked after himself properly and therefore was potentially dangerous in the field of battle.

‘I don’t want to make an example of you, but I will…’ John coughed again. ‘and believe me I will make your life a living hell here, until one or the other of us has left this god forsaken ball of ice water. Do you understand me?’

Martinez nodded, his eyes cold dark orbs of hostility.

*

So, Martinez's life became hell. It became hell because Daniels wanted it to. Everything was Martinez’s  fault; from the fact that perhaps his father could be right, to the attacks by the spiders, to the Sloat corporation cutting his wages, due to the rising of attacks since his tour began.

All of it was Martinez's fault.

If the latrine needed cleaning... Martinez... if there was an extra sentry duty to perform... Martinez... if the reconstituted veg needed to be peeled...Martinez... If there were extra shitty duties anywhere... Martinez... John made Martinez's life unbearable; because underneath all the hate that he had burning in his heart John was a bigot who hated aliens and hated New Mexican Martians, and lazy shits who wasted pay getting smashed on the wire.

He spoke to Major Reece about the problem.

‘Sir he’s he’s fucking insubordinate, lazy, he’s just not suitable and in my humble opinion sir-’

‘-I understand, but-’

‘-Sir, Martinez needs to be-’

‘Martinez…’ was the terse reply ‘…has pulled more hours and saved more colonists, than any other private in the past five years. If I had my way, I would have promoted him prior to- ’

‘-Sir?’

‘- Sergeant I suggest that you look to your attitude towards him!’

The Door was closed.

In the Barracks room Martinez sat with O’Bannon and Hollering discussing shifts, as Daniels came back into the room.

Daniels pulled Martinez from his bunk.

‘Seeking promotion, were we?’ He slapped Martinez in the face, then he punched him, sending him reeling across the floor.

Holleran paled, jumped from his bunk and ran out of the Barrack room.

Martinez got up and pulled a knife from his boot. He stared at Daniels with cold hard glittering eyes.

‘Sir, with great respect, I am going to love carving you a new-’

He was restrained by O’Bannon as the door slid open and Commander Reese entered the room.

‘GENTLEMEN! What the sweet mother of fuck is going on here?’

‘ASK THAT MOON CUNT THERE! THE FUCKER HAS HAD IT IN FOR ME SINCE HE ARRIVED!’

‘STAND DOWN MARTINEZ!’

Martinez stepped back.

'-the knife, give it to me now.'

With a cold hard stare, at Daniels, Martinez handed the knife to Reese.

‘MY QUARTERS DANIELS NOW.’

‘Sir with great respect-’

Reese stepped up to Daniels and stared him down.

‘This is an order sergeant.’

A moment later and they were back in Reese’s quarters.

Major Reese glared at Daniels

‘So… I just tell you that the problem with Martinez is yours, and what do you do?’

‘-Sir I…I-’

‘-Look, we are on this ball of ice for one reason: to make the water flow. If the water flows, then the Sloat corporation is happy, if Sloat is happy, then my commanding officer is happy, an in turn I am happy. I don’-’

‘Sir-’

‘-Daniels’ just shut up Ok?’ … ‘As I was saying if my commanding officer is happy, then I am happy… But Sloat is not happy, do you know why?’

‘No sir.’

‘…Sloat is not happy because the spiders are winning. Civilians are dying, but more importantly to Sloat, his profit margins are not being met, and that makes him unhappy. This, this feeling of unhappiness… it grows…it filters down the chain of command and where does it end up?’

‘Here sir.’

Reese smiled sourly, his eyes glittering with fury. ‘See you’re not the stupid fuck up, I heard you were on Mars… yeah I heard about that. What was his name? Perez? I think… what is it with you and Martian Hispanics? Did one fuck your mother?’

Reese stared at Daniels

‘You need…to sort this out. Do you hear me soldier? You need to find a way to realize that not all Martian Hispanic’s are perverts and murderers. THE ENEMY IS OUT THERE! IN THAT FREEZING WATER AND IT'S WINNING DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?’

‘SIR YES SIR.’

Reese sighed, ‘Right you need to prep the men. We have a group of spiders gathering within the left quadrant, close to the extraction point. We need the area clear ready for pickup.’

‘Yes sir.’

Reese nodded.

Daniels left the room.

An hour later and he was suited up surveying the scene. His gaunt, grey chiselled features were partially hidden; masked by the helmet of his bio-suit.

He looked to his right and left. Reese was right, they’re winning.

The thought was a sour one. Its knowledge built within his chest. He allowed his eyes to follow the chiselled-out formation of ice trenches; that his battalion, had, for the last twenty months or so, made secure. They faltered in their gaze as he stared at the twisted remains of his comrades.

Beyond the trenches and stuck up into the ice sheet above were the huge pale white, chrome and plastic-glass domes of the mining town of Cashmere. Living upside down was a way of life for both the mining civilian’s and the T.N.NC, who had to battle for every drop of water sourced from here. And though he had read the Reiss report, which was standard reading for all units stationed to Kashgeekee, (see appendix 2) he had concluded that there was more to this conflict than he understood.

It seemed to him that every week of this tour became worse than the week that had preceded it that had preceded it. It wasn’t just Martinez, or the THN or the fucking Sloat conglomerate, he’d been nearly shot three times, almost blown up twice or imploded under the regular attacks from the Enceladus’s; whose native name he couldn’t even pronounce, even if he wanted to.

What made it worse was the growing notion that the species here were not simply animals. There seemed to be an underlying intelligence going on, something that he could not put his finger to, but was all around him, within the water itself.

He shut these thoughts from his mind, as he saw the slow moving Enceledan’s gather for another attack. It was liking watching Spiders made of a blue silky liquid, cluster into a gelatinous bulbous mass, of very alien very hostile eyes bore into him.

‘Berkley? Berkley you there contact. Anyone sound off.’

‘-Berkley, contact sir…. looks like their coming in again.’

‘-Smith contact sir.’

‘-Claybrook contact sir.’

‘Martinez-’

‘-Grave maps at the ready gentlemen…ok fire up.’ Daniels sighed.

The ocean in front of him began to glow a soft gold, then fluttered.

‘-I’ve lost contact with Cuba Sir.’

Who the fuck was that, Daniels thought. ‘Hold the line…fuck… pull, pull back to the emergency hatches! MOVE IT PEOPLE!’

A sudden swirling pulse of water shuddered through him violently. He stumbled backwards. The jutting black and blue ice wall prevented him from falling over the edge. They began to move.

And at that he shuddered deeply.

Spiders... The one thing that he hated... no...He corrected himself. The one that that was truly terrifying to him, were the spiders. Even the name sounded creepy. The fact that their plump bulbous bodies sped and twisted in a permanent underwater ocean lit from below only made things worse. Their hideous wide open circular mouths, nothing but sharp teeth... their hideous triangular yellow eyes... their legs as they patted and felt their way towards their prey... all of it repulsed him to his core. He could kill every single one of them, and not bat an eyelid. The fucking things deserve to die. With steel determination, he raised his pulse rifle.

*

Within the water the warring He’d of the QUR; Ent: R, swirled about each other, allowing their delicate front tendrils to connect. As they touched they shared their thoughts and feelings. They shared their collected grief over the loss of their loved ones; and the removal of the sacred from their home. Since the arrival of the “Aalen” the as QUR; enT: R called Terrans, they had noted a gradual siphoning off some of the sacred. This was to be expected, as loo of the sacred occurred from time to time. However, in recent years, these aliens had blasphemed and removed more and more. What was more disturbing, the sacred was not being replenished.

Their yellow eyes became swollen with pain and fear, for they were scared of these new aliens who had built upon the great wall above. Ka’Rell, the commander of the upper reaches pulsed out calming blue and indigo green colours. Despite the fact that she was heavy with pre-birth, she did not want the others to lose hope in the battle so far.

She swirled about her friends and family, soothing their fears, confident that soon, the battle would be won. And as she circled, she could feel her children within her womb, start to giggle and play. For their connection to the sacred was divine.

*

Daniels looked up into the top right hand corner of his helmet. His air tank indicator had gone from green to amber just over five minutes ago. Now it was flashing dangerously red. But he saw the weakness in the enemy’s flank and took a chance. In his near unconscious state, he savagely screamed, as he fired twice. The multi barreled weapon shuddered. His shoulder jarred with the impact. The timed implosion shells burst in balls of bright white light; leaving in their spiraling wake a barrage of compression bubbles, as they sped towards their target. Air was the killer in this war. Air killed the dopy spider’s dead.

*

Ka’Rell, saw the weapon fire; and with a vapid, liquid, motion suddenly slid left then right; as the others dispersed. She hoped that her actions had caused the shells to miss. But she did not know that they were timed. They imploded then detonated about her; pushing her huge bulbous body first up then forward. There with a sick clacking sound, followed by an agonising pain that seared through her right side. She looked down to see, her life blood mix with the sacred as one of her fragile front tentacles’ crumpled, then broke within a bubble of raised air pressure.

She suddenly turned. Her enormous lidless bright yellow triangular eyes were burning both with pain and a wild savage fury.

Her huge lipless mouth, opened into a gaping, cavernous hole, which had within it a mass of spiralling razor -sharp, needle like teeth. She wailed with pain and frustration as they spiralled one way then the other in a pitiless sawing motion. She screamed; both in rage and in pity, for she wanted to protect her children from this foul scourge that threatened to destroy her home.

*

Daniels groaned with fear as he fired again. This time the second shot punctured through the spider’s lower abdomen; buckling her in two. He grinned with viscous satisfaction.

*

Intense pain rippled through Kartell’s body. She knew she was about to die. She could feel the new lump within her womb, and her blind young gently touching it... her young... an ache grew within her heart for those she knew who now would never know the peace and the meet the light of the sacred depths.

She let out one more whirling scream as she sped as fast as she could towards her enemy and dived upon him. With anger and something deeper, she wrapped a feeler about the creatures’ waist. Grey green polyps extended from the tentacle and punctured through the bio-suit, and buried themselves deep into the creature’s damp flesh.

For a fleeting second, they were one. Then with sadness she withdrew herself, and threw the creature to the floor.

*

Daniels was thrown further backwards against the wall of the ice trench and then down. Instinctively, and for no real purpose, he covered his face, and he let out a scream as the detonation wave shuddered outward as Ka’Rell and her young dissolved into a broken pulp like mash.

The compression wave hit Daniels full on, sending him flying from the ice ledge and away from the safety limit of trenches. He looked down. Below him the warm blue ocean beckoned. In the confusion, he heard the voice, that of Martinez shout:

‘Sarge’s been hit’

And Cranbrook yell

‘you can’t it’s too dangerous!’

But he then began to fall,  the internal sea of Enceladus wrapping around him, its darkness becoming pale blue, and ever paler as he slipped deeper into the abyss. But that was the beautiful paradox about this planet... he thought absently, as the last of his air finally began to dissolve. Everything was reversed…. That strange light shone which from below, and the ice above that led to the stars... and home... it all seemed insane... The light seemed to reach out...to call to him as he stared... He felt a slight drag from behind, before everything went warm and dark.

He had no recollection of how he returned through the air lock. He simply opened his eyes and found himself in the white tiled walls of the sealed med-lab, tied down to a narrow cot. A machine he couldn’t see beeped regularly.

To his left stood Major Reese staring firmly down at him. To his right, sitting on a char Martinez who looked tired.

‘You better thank this private.’ Muttered Reese,

‘He nearly died saving your life.’

And with that darkness returned.

When he returned, he could smell strong disinfectant, and sharp lemons.

Sitting in the chair was Martinez.

‘I suppose, I should be grateful.’

‘Perhaps…’ cough ‘…though I didn’t want to save you.’

‘That’s honest.’

Martinez shrugged.

‘Why do you sit here?’

‘To make sure you’re okay. Reese has promoted me to sergeant now. He’s going to send you home.’

‘I expect you're pleased about that.’

‘What can I say? I like it here; the people remind me of home. The dirt has given way to pipes, but that sea, it's intoxicating… There’s rumours it's alive you know. The water itself is a living entity. ‘

‘Why are we having this conversation?’

‘Why? Well mainly because you have to wake up John.’

‘What?’

‘I SAID WAKE UP!’ Martinez's skin was ripped away and an Enceladan screamed at him.

He woke with a start to see Eve resting beside him. Her slender hips shone in the artificial light of his quarters. The smell of Lavender filled his senses. He reached for her hand, then Her long straight auburn hair. Her cat like green eyes shone, thought she was sad.

‘This has to end.’

‘no, no, surely- ’

‘I’m moving in with Perez.’

‘No no.’

‘You killed Perez.’

‘No no, I love you!’

‘You don’t know how to love.’

‘Stop this, just stop this.’

He went to hold her, but she started to dissolve, turn into liquid. Hot yellow triangular eyes fiercely glared into his own.

‘You’ve killed my babies, you killed my babies!’

‘OH god NO!’

The world went dark.

A rat faced Doctor, smiled, as he made some adjustments to the drip going into his arm.

‘The way that your suit was compromised-’

‘I don’t know what you mean.’

‘The spider grabbed you by the waist before it blew. We all thought you were pulp; till I found you almost out of reach.’

Daniels recalled his last tour when a gunner named Watson imploded in his arms after his suit was compromised. The memory made him ill. Nausea over took him.

‘I’m going to...’ he began, but he didn’t finish his sentence, as he vomited over the side of the bed.

A slender nurse, with large round amber eyes in a stiff white uniform came into view from behind the closed curtain. ‘Are you alright?’ She asked concerned. ‘Your EEG results just hit the top of the graph.’

‘Fine...’ he said quietly, ‘Just a bad dream, that’s all.’

She smiled gently as she disappeared.

The next day the curtain was removed, so Daniels had a better view of his surroundings. He was in a long narrow white rectangular eight bedded room with curved walls. White tiles covered the floor and the ceiling which had large spot-lights over the eight beds. At the far right was the door out. To his left and almost out of view rested a desk where two people, a man and a woman, both wearing white, sat, laughing quietly. The doctor came back through the door to his right.

‘Now I don’t want to alarm you.’ He began. ‘But we have to make some further tests upon your blood results...’

‘What do you mean?’ He asked anxiously.

The Doctor smiled gently. ‘It may-be nothing...’ He began falteringly, his voice just too off-hand and dismissive, for Daniels to believe him. ‘...but if it’s not...’ He gave his most friendly Doctor smile, his rat face would allow. ‘...Then, well, we need to be sure, so, let’s be sure..?’

A week passed by, then another and then another and still the doctor hadn’t come back. Hospitals have a habit of eating time, as each day becomes a routine of bed shower, exercising and eating. So he had no real knowledge of how many days, or weeks had passed. It was only when he got up to have a shower one morning three months later that he saw something about his body that disturbed him. His body had gained weight, he had expected that, after all sitting about all day will, but he hadn’t expected to get as large as he had. He sat up, feeling his feet warmed by the under-floor heated tiles, then he walked past the empty nursing desk, and turned left. The shower room door curled open, he stepped into the shower, and waited for the water to start to flow.

With slow arching motions, he began to rub his body down, as the warm water stung his body. It was as he was looking down at his stomach that he saw something underneath his skin suddenly move.

Cold fear gripped him as he started to scream. The nurses came through the door as it opened.

‘There’s something in me!’ Daniels screamed at the Doctor.

The Doctor stared down with compassion upon Daniels. Daniels could see that he was held down securely to his cot by two metal wrist restraints. He couldn’t see his legs, but he guessed that they were held in the same, as he couldn’t lift them.

‘There’s something else living inside me!’

‘Now calm down John’. The Doctor said soothingly.

‘How can you tell me to calm down!’ Shouted Daniels, feeling the fear rise inside of him like a cold black wave.

‘There is nothing inside you.’

‘Just look at me!’ He retorted. ‘I look...’

He saw his stomach move again, then again and again, in sweeping curling motions, and screamed once more.

‘Oh fuck me!’ He screamed in terror. ‘I’m fucking pregnant...’

‘...What’s inside me..?’ He bellowed. ‘...Don’t tell me it's fucking spiders I hate fucking spiders they eat their parents and devourer their husbands...’ slowly Daniels began to become calmer as the medication began to take effect.

‘They are not spiders; they call themselves the QUR; enT: R and they have been here a lot longer than you…’ the doctor gently, replied ‘besides… you’re not pregnant...’ he shrugged his shoulders ‘…well not in the way you would understand the term.’

‘-What other way is there to understand the fucking term?’

‘You shot and killed Ka’Rell, she was considered the birth mother. Birth here is complex; simply because of, what would you say? the environment. The female and the male who wish to be joined, meet within the light, the light imparts the soul to the male and the body to the female and in an act of joining, chosen later they share and intertwine. Around both and amongst all is the sacred. The sacred is all and is in all. Life cannot exist without the sacred…and if the sacred is shared, then the gift of life is shared…’ he coughed. ‘What you call water…gives us birth…’

‘-oh my god…earth…’

‘…all parts are united within the mother who becomes the Ka’Rell… You have to give back their souls or we lose our tribe... Life here is all connected and collected as one. As one... You have to understand that...You have the Sarkar of her young inside you.’

‘What?’ Daniels asked dreamily.

‘You have their souls.’ Said the doctor; a cold smile curled upon his face; as he tapped him in the centre of his forehead.

He opened his eyes, and rose from his bed, outside rose the muddy clay of earth. In the middle distance rose the white dust of the moon, scattered with solar panels. Behind him, he heard mumbled voices. He rose from the bed and walked towards the door, that curled open. In the wide white and purely functional living quarters stood his father, and opposite him was Sloat and Martinez.

‘Good morning Mr. Daniels.’

‘I know you.’

‘-Yes, yes you do… I’m that, how did you put it? “That fat fuck who pays for your fucking bootstraps.” ’ He stared at Daniels coldly.

‘-what do you want.’

‘-Son,’

‘Dad, fuck off!’

‘-It’s like this …’ Began Sloat ‘…you have been through; shall we say an incident. That will make you, well quite rich indeed.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘You a daddy now.’ Martinez chuckled.

Daniels stared at Martinez

‘What the fuck are you doing here?’

‘That’s your fault.’ Martinez retorted.

‘Well?’

Sloat smiled.

Martinez smiled.

His Father smiled

Perez smiled

The rat faced doctor smiled

Eve smiled.

The eternal smiled.

Daniels opened his eyes and the white light of the ocean shone about him; it completely disorientated him. The first thought he had was that he was dead. He was about to say it, when he heard spoken inside of him a word that sounded like no.

Within his body, he could feel them move now, moreover, he could read their thoughts, as they happily played.

I don’t understand what’s happening. He shouted mutely.

‘That’s because you’re separate from your light.’ He heard the Doctor say around and within him. ‘Your species is alien here, it doesn’t understand. The light guides us, it gives us strength, and we give to it. The sacred is a part of all, it brings out our life cycles... Death turns to rebirth. And all are connected and collected…all are as one.’

As Daniels stared at the light, he became aware that it was more than just one light, it was a spiral... a spiral of light that itself was made up of millions, no billions of smaller delicate orbs with flowing glowing delicate tendrils, that glowed with a delicate golden hue. Each one that shone and glittered and turned and twisted and turned once more both clockwise and then anticlockwise, within the turning arms of the larger spiral, that itself twisted and turned about and upon itself.

Perfection. Daniels thought with an envy he never thought he knew existed within him. He could feel his arms and legs begin to tighten, he looked up and saw nothing there, in this almost drugged state, Stephen felt the water itself, that tightly holding him as suddenly his body began to convulse. He shuddered as the partially formed young slowly began to leave. To then unite with the light once more.

‘What on earth?’ he thought to no one at all.

‘-Earth?’ Came the doctors’ whispered reply ‘Earth will change forever.’

Appendix

Histrionics an overview.

To give a clear understanding as to the role of histrionics and its part to play in the gathering on this text. We need a definition of what histrionics is.

Histrionics, is the merging of three academic fields of study. History, and or the gathering of data, both written and recorded for analysis later. Nonlogic’s or the use of other means of communication, other than the mouth, egg telepathy, or “mind to mind” communication, as means to share both identity and culture; and linguistics, which is the academic study and analysis of all recognised languages both as a means of communication with an understanding of the complex historical context, connected to the diverse cultures throughout the recognised universe.

By combining the three academic fields of study, it was thought that the means to understand other cultures, like what was found on Enceladus, the Terran government could prevent similar catastrophe’s that occurred upon Enceladus and lead to better understanding and cross cultural diversity within the recognised universe.

For a deeper understanding of the impact of Histrionics, and its practical use in field study, then the author recommends “Histrionics, an interplanetary discipline” by Rd. Kirk Oarlock and “The tangles man: an understanding of interspecies telekinetic communication” by Dr Roland Shaft, who’s a paper on Histrionics are varied and far easier to comprehend, than the dry former text.

The histrionics department worked tirelessly analysing complex data collected by the natives of the planet Enceladus and the archives collected from the Karachi disaster to give as rounded story as possible into the events related. The story, covers the recognition of the notion of the four forms of truth, established on old Earth, prior the Terran rise to dominance. These are universally recognised as “factual or forensic truth, or truth that can be cooperated, personal or narrative truth, that is the truth of the individual’s experience, social or dialogue truth, to be reached through recognised discussion or debate and healing or restorative truth, that comes from the acknowledgement and recognised pain of the teller.” (see Brook M 2015) the recognition of this to analyse historical texts from the position of histrionics, is a landmark of universal co-operation and understanding.

Appendix 2

Top secret – EC/ 433/1-1TD.

Interim Report compiled by Victor Reiss, chief of staff the Enceladus project.

Date 23/11/2487

Paragraph amendment by J. A. Steel acting chief of staff, the Enceladus project Date 24/07/2490

Since the end of the 21s centuries, the need to move into renewable resources has taken humanity, from the terror of the 21st century, towards the growth of renewable energy resources. However, even these are now under threat.

To maintain the once expanding Terran federation and now the growing Terran Empire, away from the seeds of our birthplace on earth: out into the black ocean of space and towards our colonies, expansion is vital. However, this expansion has come at a considerable cost: both in financial terms but also in relation to a considerable loss of life

Moreover, the considerable growth of the H.O.P.P.E.R conglomerate, has led to many of our planet’s natural resources not only to slowly dwindle but also turned into profit for certain stock and shareholder’s. One shareholder: Richard P. Sloat, of Sloat hydro-dynamics, has been under scrutiny, since it was his company, that made a substantial profit from the lunar disaster of 2450. (Details of the incident and the ongoing investigation into Sloat hydro-dynamics are to be found in file IC/433. 7-11 2433 . ) (To be amended and considered for easements. 24/07/2490 J. Steel.)

Nevertheless, the accident on the moon must not get in the way of human progress. We must accept the fact that both our human survival and our present economic sustainability, both on earth and in space are directly connected to water. We use water as means to sustain our hydrogen fusion reactors; we use water in our hydrogen drives, through which came the affordance of regular fuel. Perhaps, and some would say more importantly, water is the only means we must sustain plants and grow food; not only here on earth, but also upon our colonies on Mars and on the moon.

Therefore, it has become very clear that new resources of water are needed to be found if humanity, is to progress into the 25th century. After much thought two planets were considered ripe for water-harvesting. Jupiter’s moon Io, and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Io, with its surface eruptions was considered as a viable to establish a surface colony and farm the surface ice that could then be transported back to Earth and distributed within the planets decreasing oceans to maintain life on Terra.

It is true that Io has been a great success; however, it is very costly to maintain. Moreover the water we have processed from Io contains impurities that are hostile to human life. Even if the impurities are filtered out, the high content of acid within it means it’s far too costly to maintain production costs into the next millennium. We simply don’t have enough ph. sticks to soften it up enough to make it functional.

However, Enceladus, with is shifting ice surface strata, led many to conclude, in centuries past, that there might be an ocean underneath its surface and if this was so, then an ocean of water, if it could be reached, would be far more cost effective in means to farm than the overpriced running of the Io processing plant. Ships could come in, simply fill up and leave. This rather simplistic notion was an image that was agreeable to the Terran Empire, so a survey team was sent to the planet in 2460.

What the survey team found when they arrived was astounding. Not only was Enceladus containing a liquid ocean of very pure water; it was also maintaining an internal heat source processed by the very same means of hydrogen fusion that has been developed by the Terran Empire. Only this was naturally occurring with little, if any radiation as a by-product. It was stunning. Up to that point it was considered that any form of fusion reaction, would always lead to increased radiation.

Enceladus proved the scientists wrong. However, something else was found on Enceladus that cheered the scientists up.

The ocean was warmer at lower depths.

It then became very clear, that life upon Enceladus, in some form or another must exist; simply because life on earth came into being through precisely the same combination of both heat and water.

It didn’t take the survey team very long to meet the Enceladus’s, and the first settlers. In fact, for a fifteen year, they seemed to consider us as perhaps we might consider an ant. However, as time progressed, it became clear that they saw us as a threat. War began on the fourth of April 2478, and has been ongoing for the last thirty years.

File amendment dated 2491

The loss of life in this conflict has been great. However, it is necessary for our survival both on Earth and on our colonies that this threat is contained. What has become clear since the Daniels incident at the hands of the Enceladus’s is that the species which exists upon Enceladus is hostile to human life. Therefore, It is recommended that droid units, should be dispatched immediately and that droid teams, run from an executive base in low Enceladus orbit, be used to terminate this threat as quickly and as effectively as possible, however, we think that it is now too late.

So concludes the interim report, for Terran High command.

Victor Reiss, chief of staff, the Enceladus project

Date 23/11/2450

Amendment. A. Steel, acting head of the Enceladus project

Date 24/07/2490.

© ADH 2010/ redraft 2016

Andrew David
Andrew David

Andrew David Hunt is a blogger and short story writer he attained a Ba with honours in 2015 in English language and literature and has since then been seeking  means to publish his work. He lives in the county of Devon 

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