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“And death shall have no dominion” -Dylan Thomas
I’m sending out this message to anyone in the proximity of this planet in the hope that people will stay clear. I... I am all that’s left of our crew. I’ve made contact via a light beam so I am planning to make the jump to safe space and the shar’eel station as soon as our drive can be enabled. What happened…we seem… to have been…trapped…in a-a space- time vortex…our on line communication and holo-instrumentation… failed… and we have been out of contact with home-world now for six weeks… when we managed to get our instruments functional and the server-hybrid controls stable we found ourselves in the proximity of a planet very similar to our own; but as we descended our ship as struck by… metallic slugs. We… that is officers Gorn, Ludlow and I, Tenarish… lost control… of the flight systems the ship. It bucked and was buffeted by winds that span wildly in the upper then lower atmosphere. We fought to get some control but failed. Slamming into a vast desert. We would have died there. If it were not for the creatures of the planet. They are tall, far larger than us, also of the bipedal design and what appears to be in the 4th stage of evolution. As you know the most complex stage of existence; the teenagers of the universe so to speak. Most of the crash is not known to me. I had the impression of a being looking down at me, sensing danger and malignance from it, even though it stared at me with gentle eyes. I felt lies and mistrust… From here, I remember nothing until I found myself alone in grey green room. I was lying flat on a resting station. It felt warm, but the room itself was cool.
I stood up. At one end of the room I could see a group of the tall ugly looking aliens at the far end of the room. I walked towards it and found myself touching a barrier. I ran my fingers over it, stroking it. I was in a prison and these aliens were looking at me.
A voice disembodied, filled the room. I must say I had no idea what it was saying, but I could gather from the faces and the minds behind the wall, that they feared me. It took a while for me to adjust my cortex to their notions of speaking. Yet before too long I understood them perfectly.
Two of the aliens were discussing what to say to their commander. That the ship had to be removed and broken down for analysis. The stared at me with a malign stare of mistrust. I asked about my colleagues. At which point one of the alien creatures stared at me with a great deal of hostility. He understood me perfectly.
‘Your crew is dead.’ Its lips slavered as it spoke. Its eyes glistened with hostility and hate.
‘I want to go home!’ I demanded
‘You are in no position to demand ANYTHING!’ The voice was hoarse and riddled with both fury and fear. The aliens walked away and I was alone.
I sat back on the rest station. I don’t know how long I was there for. Time had no meaning in that room. It had been ages since I had had any sustenance, felt myself slowly start to get weak. I began to feel scared as I felt that they were deliberately trying to starve or thirst me to death. Vials of a liquid were handed to me through a partition in the door. I drank them and felt revived; but it was never enough to make me well. Only enough to maintain my slow weakening state. I was also passed some organic substance that I devoured, though I was given no means to release myself. So in humiliation and under what I thought was intense observation, as I was certain that I was still being watched , even if I could not see my captors, I had to use the corner of the room. Within a short period, I don’t know how long. My fluids were collected.
Using this to grab time by I made a mental note of these visits. During each visit, I begged to have someone to talk to, so I could go home. I was greeted by a faceless giant in some white robe and helmet whom never spoke at all.
It was after the sixth visit that another man in a white robe and helmet came in. this time to see me. He took off his helmet and greeted me with gentleness, the first time I had experienced this on this world so far.
‘Please forgive us, for your treatment to date…you have to understand that we are…’ he paused and again not for the first time did I sense betrayal or mistrust ‘a species that has no knowledge of life outside of our system. Our planets are dead or unable to support life as we know it to be beyond our own planet. We are scared and at the same time exited to meet a species from another world. There is much we can, or could learn from each other.'
‘I agree, but keeping me here is wrong, I want to go home. My presence here is difficult and dangerous for you. You are only at your 4th stage of evolution. This is a volatile time for your species…our own world during this period was wracked with wars that decimated our planet and our people. We had to change.'
‘How do we change?’
I felt at a loss as to what to say. For the first time this being, a male officer in their army, was being honest with me. It was as if he could see the nature of the species that he was a part of and felt the need for change. I wanted to tell him what to do, but, I didn’t.
‘You must weather the storm.’
‘That is not an answer.’
I stared deep into his eyes and felt compassion for this man.
‘It is the best that I can give. To show your sincerity, it would be best to let me go… let me contact my family. I know I have travelled in time as well as space. But I can still contact home, if you let me get to my ship.’
The officer looked sad and frustrated. I could sense the battle within himself.
‘You know you have caused quite a stir? Your ship made the news all over the planet. We have had a very hard time in keeping a lid on it. Even down to humiliating one of our own officers.’
A memory popped into my head. A lesson, a lifetime ago. I avoided eye contact. Not wanting to show any form of recognition. For the first time since the crash I felt truly afraid. What if I could not get beck? What if I was trapped here forever? What would happen if these hideous creatures became bored with me and-?
‘If I grant you passage to your ship, will your share some of your technology with us?’
Here it was, the bargaining chip. The means for my release. This truly was a vile species, that lacked honour and compassion. This would go against the Kaitlin accord, set to protect the universe from hyper-advances. Ordinance one of the agreement states “Each species has to develop in its own way and its own time. Only when Jump technology is achieved then a message of greeting could be given. Giving any advancement of technology could impair the species or lead to a chain of events that could lead to its undoing.
But I wanted to go home. This species was malign, I hardly knew anything about them but the ones that I had met seemed bent on hierarchy militarism and gain. Taking this further out from this initial analysis led to the conclusion that this species was heading towards a retrograde cycle. It could advance no-more in its present form so it would, with time, annihilate itself. By giving them any technology, I could be giving the species a death sentence prior its recognised time. I could also be affecting our own species. The school memory came again. What was I to do? I knew, if I stayed here, I would die. I had no option. I considered my options and then agreed.
I was flanked by six creatures and the officer all in militaristic uniforms and taken to what was called “hanger 31”. The ship was in a huge dark room that I couldn’t see the end of. The floor was dusty and dirt ridden. The ship on its side, its silver surface glittered in the half-light given by the low light emitting beams that surrounded it.
It looked charred in places, part of the surface skin had been hacked away and peeled back revealing the green-glowing fibre optics, used to ignite the particle drive. I could see the holes where the ship had been hit with projectiles I felt angry at that. The ship had been hit by this vile species. I turned to the officer whom I agreed.
‘This is why we don’t want to share advanced technology. You would bring your barbarism into the spheres and make captives of us all. You are not ready for space. I doubt you will ever be ready!’
The officer pulled out a projectile weapon and pointed it at me.
‘There will be others. You know there will be others.'
I read the man’s thought and knew he meant it. Underneath this being’s charm and compassion was a vile beast, a creature untamed by history that fed off violence and greed.
I sighed, and gave the command. The ship door opened.
‘Only you.’ I said to the creature.
He accepted and followed me in.
I gave the order and the door suddenly closed trapping us both inside. The officer raised his projectile weapon. But the ship neutralised it.
‘Its’ not nice is it; being a prisoner. Forced to do something that you don’t want to do. I filled the officer's mind with images of suffering. The man fell to his knees in sorrow and pain. I paused, feeling sorrow; knowing that this being was limited by his own species. Death broke this species, time and time again. I read the officers mind “…and death shall have no dominion…” a poem, written by one of its more enlightened beings no doubt/
‘I will give you something.’ I smiled coldly as I looked at the stasis beam. 'In fact I will give you two things. First is this.'
I opened the flight simulator control consul and handed the officer an integrated circuit that contained a micro-processor. I guessed, from what I had seen, which I have to say hadn’t been much, it would take this species about fifty years or so, from its present standing to understand how to integrate it into other computer systems.
I then pressed the laser communicator indicating the ships position.
'The other thing is this… it’s a story… once, we were like you…barbaric, proud, haughty. We thought of nothing other than killing our family over the price of food or technology. We were a doomed race, until a ship came. That ship was welcomed by one of its leader’s; and from that point on, our species thrived. I don’t know what you call yourselves, and, to be honest, I don’t care. Soon I will lift off this shortfall and make sure that not one of our species comes within a Kuantan of this planet. Do you understand?'
The officer nodded.
‘Now get out.’
The officer left. The hangar doors were opened and I took to space. I am now here, waiting for contact. It won’t be long now… It’s such a shame, from up here, it’s such a beautiful planet.
I can sense my family now… they are coming…coming through time to save me…. It’s good to be going home, even though I never left.
(c) adh 2017