Astra's Wish

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Athena brings Malcom and Anja to his home, to teach them about possible consequences of their mindless actions. What will the consequences be? Have their actions doomed them?
Faced with a fear of unknown, Anja sits in Athena's flying car, watching as the alien world below his legs becomes smaller, and smaller.

Chapter 3 (v.1) - V.O.I.D.

Submitted: July 03, 2017

Reads: 193

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Submitted: July 03, 2017

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„You still haven't told us... why do we have to travel with you, pallie?.“ Malcom asked, sitting in the back of the flying device which reminded on a bubble sticking from the thin, metal plate.  It produced no sound as it ascended from the crevice, up in the purple sky. The man stopped his car midair, turning his opal eyes, which were completely devoid of any pupils.

„You killed that which you shouldn't kill. And you made my daughter cry.“

Suddenly, both Malcom and Anja went silent. Anja opened his mouth only to confirm his suspicions.

„You're Meeio's father, aren't you?“

„Correct. My name is Athena. My daughter is inconsolable since you two killed her pet hares.“

Athena spoke in a calm, collected tone. There was barely an emotion in his voice, almost like he recited well learned poem. But poets would at least add some emotions to their speech. There was a wisdom of decades, maybe even centuries, hidden behind every carefully woven consonant.

Malcom bit his lip and leaned forward. A sharp smell of cheap ale overwhelmed the cabin as he opened the mouth.

„Damn, pal, you guys from Kepler think we Earthians can survive without meat? It's our sustenance! Eating meat is in our blood!“

Athena flinched as Malcom yelled, and when the yelling stopped, opened a hidden  window on the cabin's glass dome, taking a deep breath. Letting out a sigh, he gently pushed Malcom back to his seat.

„First thing, Earthling, we Keplerians live to be a thousand years old simply because we never consumed meat. We live in accordance to the teachings of Vani Kenshiatu, Goddess of sparsity, spring and frugality. She teaches her kindred that only by living simple, peaceful lives we can reach immortality. Killing another living being is a greatest sin.“

„We don't follow your religion, pal. And we're hungry! Do you think we can survive only by eating potatoes and those strange plants you send us?“

Athena pressed a green circle with a gentle touch and flying glass dome buzzed towards a mushroom city. Only when Malcom saw a picture of his wife placed near the steering wheel, he realized Keplerians live lives similar to humans.  Still, he didn't want to give up.

„Name of those plants is vati. On your language, it means prosperity. Our wise council agreed vati would be a good substitution for meat. It has the same number of proteins, calories and healthy sugars.“

„Have you ever tasted that vati? It tastes like mud, mud!“

Athena's emotionless eyes and face got filled with silent, hidden grief.

 

„It's sad that you Earthlings are the same as everybody feared. Our people went to a long distance to make special buildings which would simulate the atmosphere of the Earth. Council sat for a whole decade to prepare accommodations. We planted farms of vati over whole Kepler, and our Wise Academies started teaching younglings about Earth and their people. We all thought you were heroes. My Meeio thought Earthians were great, she wanted to meet one through her whole life. I can't express the level of grief I feel when I think how broken her heart is.“

Malcom just went silent.

„I just wanted to eat meat. You don't have to be so sensitive about it.“ he muttered, turning his head.

 

Athena's home sat upon three stalks. The branches formed a conglomeration, which somehow turned into a living organism. To Anja and Malcom, whole thing looked like somebody crossed a mushroom with a big shellbug.  Athena slowly took his car and it reached one of the depressions on the shell of a house. It opened up, and the car simply flew in. Anja and Malcom stared in awe around the seemingly living walls of the house, which slithered and moved in front of their eyes.

Suddenly, a car stopped. Athena pressed a button and they found themselves sitting on an empty metal plate. Sudden lack of seats surprised them and they fell on their backsides. Rubbing their painful rears,father and son only later noticed how weird the house looks.

It was, probably, a hallway. Unlike living walls on the tunnel they went through to get here, the walls here looked static. However, it didn't make them less weird. Maybe the strangest fact was Anja and Malcom could see through them, far in the distance, even though the walls should have been at least two meters thick. Sunlight passed through them, and Malcom felt dizzy as he looked down and saw that he stood on nothing.

„I feel like a fucking Coyote.“ he let out a sigh.

„I feel you.“ Anja added.

„We're not going to fall, right?“

Athena turned around, noticing their frightened eyes.

„You Earthians aren't used to our hallways. This is a place where I park my car, and at the same time this is my garden. Actual house doesn't have transparent walls, so you don't have to worry.“ he explained.

Inside the house, surprisingly, looked modest. It wasn't at all similar to science fiction novels, with automated robotic cleaners, flat screens, neon lights and every possible cliché Anja could think of. A low wooden table, simple, clean tablecloth, low stools without armrests. The only thing that looked alien were strange-looking things on the walls, which Anja didn't know the purpose for. Their surface looked like liquid jelly, changing shapes and color at will. 

Athena approached one of the jelly's, putting the hand inside. Suddenly, Anja and Malcom heard a voice coming from it:“Papa, me ianato!“
Athena smiled, answering: “Yes, dear, papa is back. Can you unlock the door? We have visitors.“

Part of the wall which looked completely inconspicuous opened, revealing a doorway. Sliding away, it opened to a girly room. The walls were completely pink, covered with various paintings which showed cartoonish people. There was a similar piece of jelly on something that looked like a table, and one on the wall. Meeio sat on her bed. Her obviously swollen cheeks looked red, even on her slimey face – obviously, she cried.

Papa, in Denar tal has?“  she asked, on her weird language.

„She asks who have I brought.“ Athena turned to them, before averting attention to his daughter, saying:“I've brought misfits that killed your hares. Here. Take this.“

Finishing his sentence, he threw something small and round to her. She swallowed it without a second thought.

„Ah, papa. Language pills? Isn't that too expensive? I've told you, we have to spare money. Last week, we ate cotula every day!“

„Ah, don't worry, my daughter. I simply wished you to meet some of those Earthians you talked so much about. This is a direct consequence of skipping common classes.“

„But those classes were boring. And the teacher is old, and senile. I couldn't learn anything, even if I attended.“ Meeio huffed, turning her head around.

„However it is, you, those misfits and I have a lot of things to discuss. Wash yourself and come to the living room in five minutes.“

Meeio nodded, and Athena closed her doors.

 

Compared to the simple room where they've been, the living room was well decorated. Athena was obviously one of these people who used all of their money on decorating one room, leaving the others for later. It was beautiful. Air in the room brimmed with ozone, and light coming from large panel windows reflected in a wide glass table. Anja tried finding out how  could there be windows inside of that huge shell, but he felt that the answer would be too long-winded, thus giving up on trying.

Meeio came in five minutes, as ordered, sitting on the other side of the table. Athena sat on the opposite side, ordering two Earth-born to sit on left and right side.

„Do you realize what have you done, Earth-born?“ Athena opened the discussion.

„We caught some game. I was hungry, and sent my son to do the hunt. His skills with a rifle are impressive.“ Malcom proudly exclaimed.

Anja sighed, seeing how his reputation was already destroyed, and Malcom was intent on destroying it even more. He thought that all of this farce was pointless and boring. In his mind, trying to prove their point to advanced race of aliens such as Keplerians, was the same as trying to explain quantum physics to a fly. Their mindset, way of thinking, their very lives have been fundamentally different, and with all his intuition, Anja couldn't read through it.

„You caught some game. Those were my pets, you lumbering...“ Meeio hissed.

„Silence, my daughter. Don't stoop to his level. Look, earth-born. You and your son have disrupted a peace that lasted since the fathers of my fathers, of their fathers, first walked on this land. You don't realize the consequences your sin will bring. If you did, you would shiver in fear. “

This definitively sparked their attention. Both Anja and Malcom stared at his opal eyes.

„What have we done, then?“ Anja asked.

„To fully understand why do we value our peace, you have to learn the whole story.“ Athena said.

„Papa, they do not deserve!“

„I know, my daughter. I know. As much as it saddens me to tell the story of such importance and value to simple-minded humans as themselves, their actions lead to this. Thus, they will have to learn, whether we like it or not.“

Athena stood up without a word, and suddenly, those panel windows turned black. For a moment, they sat in the dark room, but in a next second, instead of windows there was a screen that showed Kepler. Still, something was different. Anja recognized violet sky, but there weren't any mushroom like buildings. Instead, there were many, simple cottages.

„You will learn the whole story.“ Athena repeated.

 

 

***

 

It is said, in the time before the fathers of our fathers lived on Kepler, another raced lived here, on this planet. Sadly, we know only a little of what they've been like. Most of the records and knowledge on them is lost to us.  We made this picture you see with our minds, to fill the blanks.

They may have been same as us, or same as you.  Those people have probably lived simple lives, but those were cut short. Because, back then, a terrible malice roamed free, throughout the land. It is said it was born when a black hole sucked a planet, trapping a mass of souls inside. Those souls became twisted by anger and fear, thus turning the black hole into a sentient being of great evil. They haven't had a name for it. We call it V.O.I.D.“

„Void? Like an empty space devoid of life?“ Anja asked.

„Correct. You're knowledgeable,  for a human. Voracious, omnivorous, infernal demon. Shortly, VOID. VOID was hungry for more souls. It traveled through the eternal darkness of vast, open space until it found a small planet, Kepler. Blinded by hunger, VOID started eating everything. It ate, and ate, swallowing villages, devouring people, eating even the light itself until the only thing left was dark, dead planet. Intergalactic Council realized the danger when it was too late. It was all they could do to trap VOID on Kepler, and there it lived, brooding the anger and malice.

However, the risk was too great.“

„Your planet was destroyed, then? How comes you're here now?“ Anja asked.

„Patience, earth-born. The story has just begun. VOID existed on Kepler, living in eternal darkness. It trapped a bit of light in the bottle, using it as a lantern to guide itself through the empty wasteland, desperately trying to find a way out to the open space. Nobody knows how – perhaps it was due to the influences even we don't know anything about, but the light in the bottle grew consciousness. It became a living being. Maybe it was due to VOID's will, or due to loneliness the creature must have felt. The glimmer of light grew ever more powerful, until the glass that confided it broke, letting the light escape.

VOID saw the terror and destruction it sowed. Perhaps the souls, trapped inside of the eternal darkness, realized what happened, their suffering eyes opened to the truth by this sentient being of light. Her name was Vani Kenshiatu, the first Goddess. Vani approached the VOID, which cried the bitter tears of despair, each soul breaking apart in the horror. By her touch, VOID was dispersed. Souls, their bodies destroyed by sheer force of gravity, finally left the vortex they’ve been in. Using the remains of their bodies, Vani bound the souls hungry for comfort and purpose. Thus, first Keplerians were born.”

“Wait, so you’re basically born from the dead remains of past body owners? Gross.” Anja said.

Athena chuckled.

“Were it so simple. Vani did not simply raised corpses. She gave life to those bodies. The form the bodies took was on the lowest level. They were simple cells, but had a spark of life. Each cell wanted to reproduce, to grow, to create. Standing above the mass of newborn life matter, Vani spoke the words ingrained in our DNA.

“Never again shall you hunger for flesh. If this fate chances upon you, the ancient evil shall be awoken inside of your bodies. You will a have purpose, abundance, peace, all you desire, if you follow this simple rule.  Now go, my children, and create a new planet.”

The picture showed a great woman bathed in light, standing atop the wasteland, filled with hundred thousand speckles which glimmered like tiny diamonds.

“Wait, you’re telling me we have destroyed your people?!” Anja yelled.

“Were it so simple. Even we don’t know what will happen, Earthling. Perhaps we will change, and eat one another. Perhaps only one of us will turn to evil, and separate us in groups. Sadly, this is the fate that awaits us, in one shape or another.  Will you save us, if such fate happens, earthling?”

“I… I can’t do that. I don’t know how.”

Athena nodded.

“We know.”


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