Book by: Kathie Rivera
I know I promised myself that I wouldn’t kill Rox, but this was something that I couldn’t bear to stand. I struggled to get him off me, but it was very hard with a machine that unlike me, couldn’t feel the pain of hurt.
“Rox, my daughter. I’m begging you to take me back. Let me reason with your master,” I said as I was pulled with force. I tried hard to force my legs to stay, but I only felt the strain of being pulled back. I didn’t want to kill him, but for my daughter’s safety I would kill an entire army if I could.
“The master has ordered me to release you. Is that not what you wanted?”
“Not like this Rox! Not at the expense of losing my daughter. You take me back. Take me back now!” I barked, but Rox would not stop to listen and his tone seemed unchanged by the dramatic circumstances around us. I realized that I had been fooled to believe that he had any feelings whatsoever. He was nothing but a machine after all and I should have killed him when I had the chance to do so.
“I have been ordered to release you and so I will perform my duties,” Rox said.
“Rox stop. I promise I’ll leave this ship, just stop for a moment,” I said and Rox stopped. I fixed my wrinkled shirt and stood up like a man. If I couldn’t reason with him I was going to have to go around him.
“Rox I can’t leave my daughter here in the hands of your master. Do you understand?”
“I cannot disobey my master’s orders Joe. I thought you understood me as well.”
“Okay, okay. I do. What if I can tell you that you can still help me out and obey your master all at once?” I asked. Rox tilted his head sideways like a little puppy.
“How can this be achieved?” Rox asked and already in my mind I had the perfect plan.
Purple lights surrounded my quarters as I sat on my bed. It had a design of purple that I did not understand. Rox, the robot was in front of me and he stared at me with his blue eyes that were made of lights.
“Would you like anything prior to your preparation?” Rox asked. I shook my head as tears streamed down my face. They were unavoidable.
“Why is your face wet?” Rox asked. I sniffled trying and wiped my tears away with the back of my hand.
“Allow me,” Rox said and he touched his arm. A purple triangular shaped light appeared. He touched buttons made of light that seemed to create something out of it and then a purple cloth appeared. I gasped amazed.
“How did you do that?” I asked as he handed the cloth to me.
“By integration,” he answered as I wiped my tears with it. I could hardly believe what I had seen and yet there was the cloth right there in front of me.
“I don’t… I don’t know what you mean?” I asked honestly. For a moment, my depression was instantly locked away and replaced with curiosity. A curiosity that wouldn’t last long enough to conceal the pain inside of me, but still it needed to be fed.
“Oh, well integration means that we can create matter with the correct patterns of mass, energy and the exact calculations of the property of the elements in its basic atomic structures,” he answered.
“You can create matter?” I asked astounded.
“Yes, as long as long as they are non-living organisms. Prince Brok tried to create a living one, but his attempt was condemned by the King and his punishment was to seek love or face death.”
“Love? What does love have to do with trying to create living organisms?” I asked. Rox sat down next to me. The edges of his long white robe fell to the floor and he placed his hands on his lap and looked at me. Strangely I felt that his eyes were filled with warmth.
“I was not always like this you know,” Rox began as I scrunched my eyebrows and wondered what he meant.
“I used to be a Sha and my name used to be Rok. I became Rox after I was punished to seek love for lacking empathy,” he said.
“You mean you were a Sha like… like?”
“Yes,” he said and nodded. I couldn’t believe that Rox had actually been a living being. I needed to know more.
“What happened? The Sha did this to you?” I asked appalled and Rox nodded.
“But how? How could they do this to their own kind?” I asked. This race of beings were worse than what I had previously imagined. If they did this to their own kind what would happen to those who weren’t like them? Had I only saved my father for a limited time only? I wish there was something else that I could do, but what could a person like me do? I was a nobody, a nothing. I couldn’t warn the world about this and even if I did they probably wouldn’t believe me. I thought of Randolph and how he tried to warn us about this and how we couldn’t conceive to believe that it was really even a slight possibility. Now I felt like I was a Randolph too.
“The Sha are very wise. They know when someone is rotten and how to fix the problem and the lack of empathy is an illness that cannot spread in our world.”
“Lack of empathy?” I asked.
“It’s called Pstanktimi. It is an illness that has a cure though and that cure is love. Unfortunately, the illness can only be cured after a certain point. Once that point is reached, the only cure left is to implant the mind in a controlled state of being and mind or sudden death,” Rox answered.
“I don’t understand,” I said because I honestly didn’t.
“Pstanktimi is an illness that if controlled allow the Sha to live normal, happy liives. However, if it is uncontrolled it can lead to chaos, devastation and even the extinction of Sha.”
“What does this illness have to do with you and Prince Brok?” I wondered.
“If the sick are capable of finding love in its true form they will heal from this illness and lead normal lives. If they cannot then they are sentenced to become an Ebud or a slave within an artificial structure or are sent to die. Pstanktimi is highly contagious among the Sha and its only effective eradication has been by these two means. I have been studying your world and I have seen that your illnesses are of a structural nature. The illnesses of the Sha however are of a behavioral nature. The Sha have no physiological illnesses per-se, just minor discrepancies that can easily be fixed with a certain amount of artificial chemicals. However, the Sha’s neurological system is sensitive and is highly resistant to artificial chemicals,” he said. All of this was very foreign to me and very unreal. How could creatures who can integrate create matter can’t cure themselves of depression or the lack of empathy? This made no sense to me.
“But haven’t you been able to create some sort of a medicine?” I insisted.
“Medicines easily fade. It is the way the Sha are made.”
“So, the cure is becoming a robot or death?”
“Yes,” Rox answered.
“So now you’re what, a robot with empathy?”
“Yes,” Rox answered.
“With empathy, but without a free will?” I asked.
“Robots must be submitted or will terminate the race of the Sha. As I have said, the Sha are highly intelligent and wise. They know what may be rotten and how to fix the problem.”
“Why can’t they fix the lack of empathy then?”
“I have already explained that the neurological systems of the Sha are highly resistant to artificial chemicals.”
“Well can they resist any mechanical fixes? Like implants?”
“Unfortunately, they are also resistant to those as well. My master has failed to find love in the vastness of the universe and instead of having empathy his travels have made him lose whatever else was left of him. Instead of coming into contact with the worlds he has explored he has decided to conquer them and colonize them for the kingdom of Sha. It showed great strength among the governors of Sha and therefore his absolute cure has been on hold, but three stars ago-” Rox said.
“Rox, have you prepared Anabella for our journey?” A husky voice interrupted. It was the voice of Brok.
“Negative,” Rox answered.
“What have you been doing then?” Brok asked.
“We have been discussing your absolute cure of Pstanktimi,” Rox answered and I heard such a loud roar that I had to cover my ears.
“You are not to discuss my Pstanktimi condition with no one, is that understood?” Brok said.
“Yes,” The robot answered. I swallowed hard with a wide-eyed expression. Rox had gotten into trouble because of me.
“Now prepare our guest. We are leaving this planet.”
“Yes master,” Rox said. Then he tilted his head towards me.
“I’m sorry I got you into trouble,” I said.
“Please lie down. I will prepare you for our travel,” Rox ordered. He seemed undisturbed by the situation and so I decided to leave it how it was and lie down like he had ordered.
“Rox, can I ask you a question?” I asked.
“Most certainly, you can,” Rox answered. Long purple lighted straps appeared on the corners of the bed. To say that I was surprised would be a very far-fetched expression. I simply felt bewildered by them. Rox placed the straps on my wrist and tied them tightly on each side. Then a long strip appeared from the middle of the bed and he tied me with it as well. The lights lit around my extremities and seemed to be unreal and lite like a veil, but they were very well enforced and I could not move my limbs.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“I am preparing you for our journey. Your physiology has never met with such speed and your body needs to be on rest mode. We will be travelling with the speed of light, but afterwards our portal maker will be creating a worm hole which we will use to travel through the other side of the universe. He had been severely sick in this journey and I had warned Brok about it, but he ignored my warnings which was why our ship ended up crashing in your forest. But our portal maker has been restored and is now functional.” Rox said. A long needle appeared in the tip of one of his fingers.
“Now I will inject you with jatatenta which will allow you to sleep throughout the entire journey,” Rox said.
“Wait Rox! I have so many questions,” I said.
“Now is not the time to ask your questions Anabella. Now it is time to move beyond,” Rox answered and he injected the needle. I was instantly asleep.
© Copyright 2017 Kathie Rivera. All rights reserved.