Authors: Charles W. Armstrong
Copyright © 2016
Published by W.T.
All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced or distributed in any electronic or printed form without permission. Please do not make this book available for piracy.
Book Design by W.T.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, places, characters, events are a product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to persons, dead or alive, or any business establishments, incidents, or locations is entirely coincidental.
For my son Jared:
“Paradise is but a moment away.
Always keep it real in your mind while awake and vivid when you dream.”
-Charles W. Armstrong
I thank my entire family for helping and supporting me in the writing of this book. By actually reading it, giving me helpful suggestions, proof reading it (done by my son), etc. I am truly indebted to them in so many ways.
I thank my loving wife for always staying by my side faithfully supporting me for the last twenty three years.
I would like to thank Clive Cussler who is an inspiration to me in his captivating stories, fiction and nonfiction. The way that he tells a tale is very similar to the way my father does and oh how many tales does he have to tell! I could listen to or read them all day long (and sometimes I do).
Date: August 21, 2349
This story has been translated then recreated from the handwritten records and audio-visual recordings taken from a space vessel that crash landed in
Yellowstone National Park
on July 23rd, 2347. The archive is taken from two separate worlds belonging to two star systems in what is called the
. This cluster of star systems is located nearby our own solar system. 11.2 light-years away from earth. Linguists have studied the languages extensively, and translated some of the written records as well as a small portion of the vast array of audio and holographic video. The archive was so extensive and comprehensive of the events depicted therein that the vessel was dubbed
. These archives were all in the central pod. It alone would fill the Yankee stadium. The reason why the handwritten records were on this space vessel is presently not fully known. The linguists with other communication specialists have not yet completed the translations of the writings and the recordings. In fact, they say they have not even scratched the surface.
Although the crash caused extensive damage to the vessel, its central pod is for the most part unharmed. This is largely due to the actual site of the crash. The vessel landed on
, near the caldera boundary. The area has small groupings of trees sparsely scattered across the mostly flat plateau. After permission was granted to build a road to the site from the
John D Rockefeller Jr Parkway
, large construction vehicles were brought in to erect buildings. These living quarters are designed to be temporary and in some cases, permanent accommodations for various individuals. The staff living there are predominantly scientists, military and government personnel.
All the writings and recordings are neatly ordered. Initially, it was thought that the vessel was returning from a mission where the audio-visual recorders were seeking information from those who had their hand-written documents preserved for future generations. Why they would want such information from the people without technology is not fully known. Piece-by-piece the specialists are gradually filling in the blanks as they closely examine the records.
The people from the world with very little technology have a unique way of naming themselves. All of their names had a meaning. The First Nations people of North America used to incorporate this practice in their culture, so this is not new. However, the distinction came with the practice of them spelling their names backward. It is unknown why this was incorporated into their culture. Perhaps they implemented this to stimulate the thinking of the younger ones. This was merely one possibility brought forth. Accordingly, in an effort to be accurate it was decided to use the same method in this translation of the first portion of these records that is now available. The space faring people with their holographic recordings had names that were very difficult to translate and next to impossible to pronounce. They were either too long, or complicated with numbers and symbols included. It was decided that they would be given simple human names to avoid getting bogged down in the confusion that would result if we attempted to use their actual names. They often abbreviated their own names, so this liberty was viewed as understandable.
There are no historical records of the space faring people from their home world, only references. Their records begin when they awake from hyper sleep, after their long voyage to the world where people write down their records by hand. Similarly, there are many allusions to and actual documents of the history of the people with calligraphic records. Although, the story really begins when an individual (whose name is translated as Taerg Esidarap) looked up at the sky and noticed something happening. An event that he had never seen before.
This document will be combining the records of both peoples in story form. The account will be offered to you for the most part in chronological order. (There will be some exceptions to this.) We will start with an excerpt from Taerg’s daily log writings.
Today is a day that stands out from all the days of my life. I have never before seen a burning fire from the sky, fall to the ground. Yet, it worries me, for I see smoke ascending in the distance. I hope that no one was hurt. It is evening. I am sitting by the fire writing down my thoughts as the elders have advised me to always do. Tomorrow morning, I will deviate from my plan of visiting my uncle near the marshlands on the border of the southern province. I will travel to the site of the smoke and see if anyone there needs my help. I will make sure the fire that is causing all that smoke is under control, to prevent further damage to our beautiful land. I cannot travel by night; the area here makes traveling in the dark too treacherous. Also, I need to remember that the rishtok’s come out at night. I have found a safe place to sleep, although I will keep one eye and one ear open.
The next day, Taerg woke up with a smile on his charcoal grey face. He stretched his muscular arms and then his powerful legs. He flexed his defined chest muscles and broad shoulders just like he did every morning. He squinted as his pale orange eyes scanned the horizon for smoke. There was none visible from this vantage point. So, he readied all of his equipment and supplies for the trip. He knew which direction to take and he wanted to be there before nightfall. He had everything in his pack and was strapping it to his back when he heard a faint sound from far away. It sounded like someone calling out something, but he was too far away and the sound was indistinct. He decided to be a little hastier with getting his things together. Maybe someone needed his help. The land here was shaped perfectly for sound to travel a good distance. There were tall cliffs on either side of him and he was walking on a rocky broad ledge. On his right there was a cliff face that extended upwards hundreds of feet. On his left was a deep crevasse that dropped vertically, disappearing into shaded darkness. Further to the left there was cliff face, on the other side of the crevasse. Any noise would reverberate through here.
What was that sound that he heard every few moments? Was it really a voice? Perhaps his ears were playing tricks on him. The terrain here was rough, rocky and steep. In some places he had to climb carefully so he would not lose his footing. This slowed him down, but even so he hurried along as quickly as possible. It was not so dangerous along this crag during the day. As long as he stayed away from the edge, he would be safe. Eventually, by early afternoon his path veered away from the crag and now he could pick up his pace. “It shouldn’t be too far away,” he thought. He could hear that voice a little more distinctly now. He guessed he might even be there by mid-afternoon.
As he climbed over the final steep hill, he could see a path of destruction ending up against a small ridge. The ridge that he was standing on. It was like a giant scar on the face of a beautiful woman. It did not belong there, it needed to be repaired somehow. Taerg wanted to fix all the destruction before his eyes.
As he approached the horrible disfigurement, he could hear the sound more plainly. It was unmistakably a voice. Unfortunately, he could not understand what the voice was saying. The tone and volume indicated that the person was calling out loudly, with urgency. It was coming from the destruction’s end at the ridge he was standing on. He could see a destroyed metal building. It was smoldering with fire and smoke was pouring out through openings. There were broken windows in the building, with part of its roof missing. As he approached he realized that the sound was coming from inside the building. He carefully made his way into the building, toward the voice. There were two chambers on each side of a hallway leading to a door. The voice was coming from one of them. As he entered the chamber he discovered someone lying down on the floor. A strange looking male, trapped underneath a large piece of the wall made of thin metal and support beams. He still could not understand what the person was saying. So, he tried to pick up the part of the wall that he was trapped beneath. It was too heavy. The person urgently gestured, indicating that he should direct his attention to the other side of the chamber. Taerg’s eyes were watering because of the smoke, but he blinked the tears away. He looked in the direction the person was pointing, he could see a long piece of thick metal. He picked it up and used it to pry the piece of wall off of the person. As the wall lifted off of him, the person cried out in pain gripping his leg. He quickly crawled backwards, free of the piece of wall. Taerg let the wall fall back down on the floor. He reached down and helped the injured person to his feet. He put his arm around Taerg’s shoulder and together they hobbled out of the destroyed building. They were both coughing uncontrollably as they put a little distance between them and the burning building.
Taerg made camp for that night far enough away to be safe from the building that was still smoking from within. He made the person that he rescued, comfortable by letting him have his blanket. The man was still coughing from time to time. So, he gave him a drink of water, a small pot of water and a rag so he could clean his wounds. At first the person did not know why he gave him the pot and rag, so he looked at Taerg with a questioning expression. Taerg pointed at a cut on the person’s arm with blood and dirt on it. The person smiled, nodded in recognition and said two words that Taerg did not know. After he cleaned up his wounds, he looked in the direction of the burning building. He pointed at it and said two words with a questioning tone. It was difficult trying to communicate with him. They could not understand each other. The person used different words, strange words that Taerg did not know. This made him feel uncomfortable, as this had never happened to him before. He always understood everyone and everyone always understood him. The stranger was extremely exhausted and he fell asleep on the blanket immediately. Taerg went to sleep that night too exhausted to make any log entries.
* * *
Thirty-one hours before this, the mothership called
powered down her massive Ion engines automatically, as she was programmed to do after a controlled reverse burn. This had resulted in a high orbit above the moon that revolved around a beautiful planet.
The moon is very large, nearly a planet itself, its mass is sixty-three percent of the planet that it orbits. It is situated far enough away that it exerts tidal forces on the planet that are only very mild. Since it is not tidally locked to the planet, it rotates slowly as it orbits the planet. The inhabitants of the planet would regularly see a different side of their moon. It takes five days for one complete rotation. The moon is affected by stronger tidal forces, but not so extreme as to wreak havoc on the shore lines of its oceans. Both the planet and the moon are thriving with plant and animal life.
The life pods cycled through their wake up routines. The temperature gradually increased to a comfortable level to revive the crew. All these routines were accomplished by the carefully calibrated systems on board. The result of centuries of continuous advancements in technology and ingenious programming. The diagnostic system routine recorded a message for the commander to read (after he awakened) that there were no malfunctions and that all systems were operating within their assigned parameters. The alarms were programmed to go off immediately after these diagnostics were recorded, so the crew could wake up and assume their duties aboard the
Computer engineer and computer scientist Victor Marcus woke up with a throbbing headache at the base of his skull. This always happened to him after hyper sleep. It did not help that the alarm kept sounding every five seconds, to wake everyone else up. At least, he did not vomit like he heard some of the others doing. He needed to have something to eat and drink, then it would not be long until he was back to his normal self. He staggered out of his life pod. The same one that he spent the last three years in, even though he had no recollection of that time passing. He felt older every time he had to do this. Hopefully this would be the last time. He shivered as the freshly recycled air hit his damp flesh. The hair on his arms and legs stood up.
The plan was to colonize the moon permanently. To accomplish this, they all had their assigned duties. Although they were equipped with various machinery for building, nevertheless the project would take many decades to accomplish. Their objective was to continue building and to increase the population in order to expand the colony. He was one of the few not required to participate in the construction efforts. No, he was much too valuable for that. He would be responsible for many of the technological advancements in this sector and that was a heavy weight upon his shoulders.
On the mothership
there were only two others that exceeded him in the command structure. They had authority over the three thousand five hundred twenty-three people on board the mothership. This authority also extended over the relatively small fleet that surrounded her. They were military leaders different than him, with completely other interests. He was a scientist at heart. He knew how necessary the chain of authority was, but he never desired to participate in it. He was glad that for this mission his authority was only to be exercised in the case of an emergency. If the other two were not capable of fulfilling their duties as leaders he was to take charge of the mission. However, this eventuality was very unlikely. As soon as he established living arrangements, he was to concentrate on his research without distraction and that suited him just fine. This was a difficult task on Homeworld, where there were always too many interruptions. Continuously, pulling him away from his crucial research. People were constantly getting in his way. Victor Marcus was married to his research. Now finally, he could settle down and continue it in more tranquil surroundings, without needles diversions.
Life on Homeworld was busy at all times. In many ways it was a cold, calculating unfriendly and unforgiving place. People did not even know their mothers and fathers. Most were fertilized in a dish and grown in an artificial womb. The few that were conceived naturally were removed from their biological mother and also continued their growth in the artificial womb. They were assigned a name by the artificial womb’s computer program as soon as they were placed there. So, they did not have any family; all they had were their friends.
Their first few years were spent in a nursery until they were old enough to be sent to the academy. At the academy, they received their initial overall training and were tested to see where they would excel. After several years of education and other testing, they would be chosen for certain educational programs within the academy. Ones that suited their abilities. This is what happened to everyone, including Victor. There was no choice, only duty to fulfill your assigned role. Duty, no matter what, was highly stressed. Typically, even automatic blind obedience was expected.
After he earned his computer engineering degree at the academy years ago, Victor went on an experimental mission with a particularly aggressive commander. The commander ordered one of Victor’s friends to do something that Victor knew was foolish. Victor urgently warned his friend. However, fearing the repercussions of not performing his duty, his friend went ahead and proceeded with the more than dubious experiment anyway. Victor was forced to watch his friend die horribly, without being able to do anything about it. Then, Victor was the one that had to fill out the report of what transpired. This event was a pivotal moment in his life. From that time on, Victor always had a wary eye fixed on the authority figures that surrounded him. He made up his mind that he would never be blind in his obedience. Fortunately, his high intelligence always helped him to get out of such situations. He was a man that always hoped for the best, but realistically was prepared for the worst. This gave him a certain confidence that many others lacked. For these and other reasons, he advanced to be well respected in computer engineering and computer science among all his people.
After his warm shower, his legs felt stiff and weak as he slowly walked over to the closet to put his clothes on. The alarm was still ringing in his ears causing his headache to throb. It would continue to ring until the last person woke up. His hands were shaking as he opened the latch to the closet door. He gazed in the mirror at his pale grey face. His yellow eyes were bloodshot. He looked so tired. How could he be tired after three years of sleep? He shrugged and headed off to get something to eat.
While he was eating his first meal in three years, he tried to block out the frivolous conversation he heard all around him. They all seemed like shallow morons to him. Everyone was overeager to get going with their plans, get off their mothership and step on real soil again. Even if it was not the soil of their home world. This, in itself was understandable. However, Victor was a man that wanted to do things properly, according to protocols. The protocols were put in place for good reasons. One of those important reasons was for everyone’s safety. Why did they not realize this?
He took another sip of his caffeinated malt drink, designed to make revival a little easier for them all. An effective remedy, made from the dried grain of a plant native to Homeworld. He was starting to feel a little more energetic and his headache was starting to subside. He was pleased that the alarm was no longer sounding.
Victor was among two others assigned to be the first of this fleet to land on the habitable moon. They knew it was habitable according to the reports of the earlier scouting mission sent to investigate this solar system. He stared out the viewport. The view pleased him, a slight smile started to form on his face. The moon was very beautiful. Lots of green and quite a bit of blue. A perfect place that he could call home at last. He would build his home far away as possible from the others so he could concentrate on his research. Homeworld was overcrowded and packed with too many inhabitants. He wanted to spend his days without having his neighbor observing him cutting up his food and putting each morsel into his mouth.