Where the Evil is
I had traveled 3.2 light years to an oxygen rich planet at just under the speed of light. The mission was to orbit the planet, take readings and photograph the surface return to earth with a report as to the viability of this world becoming the first colonized planet with another three year trip back home to report the news, pro or con.
This was my second trip to survey a planet in the neighborhood. The mission was to orbit the planet, take readings and photographing the surface and return to earth with a report as to the viability of the planet becoming the first colonized planet other than Earth.
The projected six month survey came to an abrupt halt after two weeks in orbit ending the first interesting work I had to do after a long two and a half year trip when the oxygen generator and backup systems failed. The mission changed; survival!
From the moment I lifted off Earth’s moon the Space Explorer was on automatic pilot. The only reason I was the official pilot on this mission, other than volunteering, I was in-fact along for the ride until I arrived to do the work I was assigned.
What I knew
The planets' circumference was 23,250 miles. Shallow seas covered app. one half of the surface with more than one hundred thousand islands with thousands of dormant volcanoes. A forest circled the equator in a 400 mile swath circling the equator. There were several volcanic ranges rising from the verdant forest floor. Several narrow passages through the savanna and forest allowed the North Sea to mix with southern waters. The savannas bordered both sides of the forest. A towering mountain range covered wide areas of the savannas and extend long arms into the seas reaching for the ice caps. Vast herds of beasts grazed on grasslands while smaller quick footed animals fed well up the mountain foot hills. The seas gave way to rocky land bordering polar ice caps. The rest of the discoveries would be on foot, if the Space Explorer eased me to a safe landing.
Minutes before descending into the atmosphere the ship dispatched a satellite into space to orbit the planet where it would start dispatching message's back to Earth explaining the situation. The Post it Note pasted to the satellite simply read; 'HELP!’ I then settled back and allowed the ship to work out the approach to a safe landing.
There was going to be at least a six-year wait before any possibility of a rescue. I did not have any choice but to get out and see what resources there that would get me through several years of isolation. I had eight years of supplies to keep me alive and not enough to comfortably sit back and wait for a knock at the cabin door. I had to step out onto the surface for a chance of survival.
Spacecraft do not have to be a specific shape for space flight. The Space Explorer was built with the ability to glide to a surface landing in an emergency. To avoid a crash landing the craft would slow in the atmosphere and stall to deploy a chute to make the final descent to the surface with, I hoped, a graceful landing. I and the craft touched down safely between an imposing mountain range and the forest girdling the planet. The landing was a bit of luck, the craft landed right side up the drawback, The fucking thing has no way to get back into space even if repairs could be affected. Now I had, if cramped, a home for the next several years.
Before braving explorations of the planet’s surface I needed to spend time checking the ships emergency supplies. Then the next task was figuring out how I was going to approach exploring my new neighborhood.
The most valuable piece of equipment I had in the emergency stores was a small truck with a cab, it was just big enough for a man to squeeze into, I hoped. The mini truck possessed four wheel drive and independent suspension all around. Solar was the power source. Spare tires were a nice touch especially when the nearest service was 3.2 light years behind you.
By the third week I had everything I would need for my first foray. I double checked my load and then drove the truck down the ramp onto a savanna with widely spaced squat trees and bushes. The day was nice enough for a pleasant ride after church.
My plan was to survey the land using cardinal the points, N, NE, E. I would continue around in this manner until I had a good idea as to the direction I would take to find my future. I did have a map of the planet taken from orbit but I wanted a good feel of the land under my feet before embarking on what I knew to be my actual decision. That would be to head south from the savanna to the forest.
I took enough supplies to explore all directions of the compass, as an example I would travel one day north and then move along an arc to a NE position, camp and head back to the ship. I would continue to circle my current home in this manner until I arrived at my starting point. I needed to know what lay in my vicinity and if there were possible dangers to the ship or me that I may have to deal with.
I located the first supply dump halfway between the ship and the forest with as much equipment and supplies as I thought I would need. Supplying the dump stretched into five months of hard labor, exercise I needed after two and a half years in a small 'boat' racing through space. The supplies consisted of survival gear such as weapons for hunting/protection, water purification tablets, knives, fishing equipment, super light but strong tents, and other items one would find around the kitchen at home such as sugar and salt.
When the first stage of my plan was complete I prepared to set out again. I spent a week resting and preparing to get on the way with enough food and equipment to arrive at the forest in good shape.
It took three more months to arrive at the edge of the forest. Before I entered the forest I parked the truck and feed the parking meter and then planted a homing device; I did not want to be another Livingston. My imagination was far from what I expected to see. As I entered the forest a few steps that life was in abundance with "All Creatures Great and Small."
There was a well worn trail within a few feet of the truck heading south into forest in the general direction of the equator. As I continued down the trail I noted trails angling off the well traveled trail I was on. There should have been signposts at each exit with the distances posted indicating the distance to the next stop... just daydreaming. I assumed the trails were worn by animal life in the forest. The life forms were in abundance with animals and birds occupying the canopy. The life roaming the forest floor was an explosion of colors, reds, shades of blue and beasts of many colors. The only sounds in this forest of fantasy came from bird life in the canopy. Birds, flying, and fluttering plus birds perched on tree limbs, all making a cacophony of noise consisting of abundant chirping, twittering, singing, hooting, screeching, and squawking to the point where and if there were any other noises around me I would not have heard them. If the colorful animal life was a surprise, I found the birds in and among the giant trees and branches a spectacular profusion of moving color. The animals roaming the forest floor were numerous and the variety of species was not to be counted. I was sure the animals did not make any sounds and if they did make noises the noise was washed away by the racket up in the canopy. I hoped I would soon adjust to the racket; I was pretty sure there were no mental hospitals nearby to check into and be treated for a nervous breakdown.
The animals treated me as if my presence was of no concern to their continued existence. There was no sign that there ever was a fight or flight in their genetic makeup as most earth animals do when they encounter a human that they know could be a danger. The life in the forest was couscous of the new intruder in their territory but they were not afraid for they have had no experiences with humans good or bad where they would have to deal with the fight or flight problem.
After two and a half weeks I arrived approximately at the central point in the forest. The days hiking and camping along the trail was a peaceful trip with no incidents that overly worried me. A couple hours later I could see a portion of a large structure coming into view, in a sun-lit clearing, with more caution than I had taken on the trail thus far. I eased my way past a leafy plant into the clearing and stopped. The glade revealed its self to be a large expanse of cleared ground and if there were ever any trees here they were cleared from the land long ago. The grassy grounds were well tended with small fruit bearing trees placed along both sides of wide paths, paths leading to gates. This was not as spectacular as the quarried stone rampart sitting in the middle of the clearing. When I first entered the forest I made sure my personal weapon was close at hand. I thought about the weapon I carried that begged the question as to why we use powerful weapons for hunting food or protection and use them to start wars in the name of hatred so we can hunt each other with these weapons of death. So here I was on alert ready to shoot first and ask questions... way too late. The weapon was at the ready to kill beings that were able to build the structure in front of me. Man, what was I doing?
I stood with my feet rooted to the ground staring at the thirty foot wall that could have been the tenth wonder of the universe. I was in an overload at the sight. I took some air into my lungs to steady myself. Here was a planet that the probes from Earth, indicated that this was a possible planet fit for Human colonization. My job on this trip was to confirm that the probes were correct by taking a survey from orbit of whatever the probes may have missed, then return home.
….........................The blue people...................................
The tall imposing black wall of worked stone slowed my ability to think clearly. The edifice was enormous. From my point of view I saw that the doorways were arched with what looked like wrought iron gates. I was looking at a pre-industrial society or so it seemed.
The wait was not long before the welcoming party arrived. They were small blue furred bipedal beings that I immediately referred to as the blue people. They gathered at the nearest gate, the gate opened and a two feet tall being headed in my direction. He had bright blue short fur covering his body. His hands and feet were large considering his short stature.
What do you do in a situation like this, is there a galactic gesture to indicate peace and goodwill? I moved my hand away from the weapon and waited. He or she came to a stop and sat down cross-legged six or so feet from my position. Monkey sees...; I sat down and crossed mine.
As soon as I settled into a somewhat comfortable position six more individuals came and sat behind him.
I reckoned that the blue person sitting in front of me was their leader. like the forest creatures he did not show any fear and no fight or flight behavior. Minutes pasted and I believe the final decision had, since they were sitting in front of me, been easy with ‘let’ check this new creature out’. We stared at each other for some long minutes. The group sitting behind the leader sat in a semi circle. As I sat there trying to process the scene in front of me I realized I had not heard a single sound coming from these people other than my pumping heart pushing blood to my brain trying to keep my sanity in check, was the creak of the gate opening to allow the blue people enough room to pass through.
The leader or headman or was he a king? I doubted a king would sit on the same level as his subjects.
Too much coffee causes annoying buzzing in my head. As I sat at the edge of the clearing with the forest at my back a similar buzz started in my head. There was intelligence in the buzz and lots of confusion. The confusion was not my own, it was somewhere else and like light probing the entrance of a cave I had to approach that buzz in order to try and understand the confusion. The leader was swaying in a circular motion with small green eyes fixed on my face. I was sure the buzzing in my head was trying to communicate with me. The buzz was not annoying as it was interesting. The contact was questing and searching. At this point I imagined that true telepathy may exist.
From first entering the forest the only sounds were the cacophony of the birds. I encountered lots of the bright colorful mammals and they were silent, and also had no interest in greeting me with a moo, oink, meow not even a toss of their head in greeting as I passed.
A few pieces of the puzzle scattered about me were coming together this was a visual and telepathic society, if not the entire planet with each species playing its part in the environment. With the bird life living a visual and vocal existence and vocal they are!
One hour passed then another and another, after four hours I was becoming comfortable with the continuing buzz. But then there was my body, sitting was taking a toll on my body and spirit as well as certain bodily functions dropping big hints.
The buzz was smoothing out into a relaxed sensation, then it suddenly quit and the people rose together and returned to their compound leaving me to do what this "creature" wanted or needed to do, I did! Then I set up camp right where I was. Besides the emergency landing this was the next point where I needed to figure out what the near future had in mind for me, interesting would be nicer than disastrous, these were my waning thoughts as the world faded into sleep.
The sun peeked over the western horizon to find that not much had changed since sunset the day before, nor were the inhabitants of the compound in sight. Morning brought the usual necessities then a freeze dried high protein breakfast. After three hundred years you would have thought science would have developed something a bit tastier for the pleasure of travelers on vacation, crossing the star lanes to the pleasure planets of their choice. I guess for the first planet bound traveler the current fare was good enough. With morning chores done it was time to look around the neighborhood.
First I circled the wall with an eye for details, I found the stone was a dark translucent black and with the sunlight shining into the surface I could see a very dark red. The top of the wall featured twelve inch iron bars with formidable copper points at the end of, what I deemed to be passive weapons (Were there enemy’s to defend against). Every other fixed spear with its copper point was bent downward, not unlike a fish hook, in the direction of the forest, is there a meaning? As a defensive weapon, the stationary spears would definitely a deterrent; they stopped any urge I may have had to charge the fortress.
The iron gates were hinged in stone work within the stone archways. The fit of the gates in the arch left no wiggle room even for the smallest blue person. The gates had the same sharp weapons' arranged across the top of the gates and fitting the arch quite nicely. I was picking up details that were not the focus of my attention the day before. Standing twelve feet out from the wall there were huge ten foot high worked stones in the shape of triangles, the triangles had the same iron and copper spears that the wall presents. The spears protruding on the triangles were in a pose of menacing threat. They were placed in three concentric rings around the rampart.
Could two feet tall flurry blue beings build large stone structures or was the fortress a well maintained rampart from a previous culture. Nor were there signs of a quarry where such stones could have come from.
The thought was put aside as I approached a gate and peered into the compound; activity in the compound was in blue motion. The little folk were all over the place working at this and that. The entire compound was all garden except the small housing made of the same stone as the wall.
I thought someone would have noticed their guest/visitor, it seemed I was not of any interest at this time. A small pup, they do have fur!, wandered up to the gate and stared right through me, I was invisible. I believe he could have walked right through me if the gate had been open.
Then the buzz started in again and became stronger as I studied the pup. I thought he was probing my mind until the leader startled me by coming up beside me. He looked up as I looked down making eye contact. He waved me aside (communication via signing must be universal in the universe) to allow a gate to be opened and as the leader entered, the same gesture was encouraging me to follow, he turned and I followed. I glanced back at the rest of the group and found it to be a hunting party with enough game to throw a large feast. Moving farther into the compound blue people were gathering in behind the hunters and followed and followed us to what was possibly the center of the grounds. The site consisted of a ring of worked stone seats with a barbie near the center of the ring. There was another ring of the same stone in a circle situated in the center. Was I the guest of honor? I would have been quite worried if there had been a large black pot setting on an equally large pile of wood and then the wild game could have been me.
The leader (I was beginning to think of the leader as the Grand PooPa) The PooPa pointed at my head and then stretched his arm in a wide arc around the grounds, I got the point, I hoped. Taking his leave and suggestion I wandered the grounds taking in the sights and atmosphere on a fine sunny afternoon. The place was an ordered garden, not Eden but in the style of nineteenth century gardens of the wealthy. The entire garden seemed be devoted to growing food. As in the forest the vegetation was not particularly spectacular, that was left up to the birds,
Mammals and brightly colored insects, insects that is almost as loud as the birds. The noise competition was fierce in the forest. Within the compound the forest noise was muted by the distance from the edge of the forest to the wall. I discovered that sound was not the reason for the separation between the two. The answer came when I wandered around the corner of a house bumping into a pup and automatically saying, sorry. The response was a tilting of the head in my direction and a slight increase of the background buzz in my head. The pup turned around to face me and stared for a moment, then waved at me and went on his way to tend to his own business. I was pretty much invisible to these blue people.
I spent more time wandering around inspecting the curious and unusual. There were pets of a sort that did not seem to belong to anyone. These tiny orange and white animals, wandered through out the grounds interacting with the blue people and they in turn returned the attention. Maybe I was a new pet.
The acceptance the blue people showed me was how animals that have never seen a human end up in the stew pot to the creature's extinction. In my case the blue people allowed my presents as if I was a gazelle living among lions.
I returned to my ship every three months for a short visit to find out if a rescue was in the offering. Each time I arrived at the ship there had been no communication and no evidence that anyone had been there. The number of visits dwindled as the years passed. I settled in for a long stay with the blue people.
…........................Steep learning curve.............................
The first fifteen years that I lived and worked among the blue people I could finally understand or feel what was said to me and in return they understood me, all mental communication also involved subtle hand and arm movements. I was not a transmitter. The blue people eventually understood my meaning. They could form their own communication to fit my unique brain patterns. For my part I could understand the hand and facial expressions as well as their thoughts. I was still a pupil still in the process of learning language. I was being treated as if I was a pup; I was a pup.
Another three years passed and I was finally accepted into the tribe in good standing. I occupied my own community stone house and worked in cooperation with the entire community. I had settled into a routine among the blue people working side by side learning about their culture as I grew from a pup to a teenager.
Another feast was slated. A celebration of life and death I always looked forward to. As the sun moved the planet into evening the people gathered around the circle, then the feasting began. The event went into the night with mental chatter and fluttering hands among the gathered throng. The evening wore on into dark silence. The blue people were now paying close attention to several people sitting in a small circle. The village story tellers were preparing to recount some of their long history and in the telling you learned that what happened in the past were not fables. The story tellers could see the crowd around the outer ring; it was story time. This is how it went, the story tellers sitting around the center circle took turns telling stories of the ages of the blue people. The story this night was for my benefit and a reminder to all that heard the telling.
The following is an abridged version of what happened.
The story tellers began the history in the mists of time when they were almost wiped from their world when the red horrors first emerged from the forest floor, pushing up and casting aside any living animal and vegetation standing in the path of the their desires; eating and mating. Mania grips them when their base need sends them off to the hunt, ravaging everything except the screeching birds in the canopy, to feed on any beast that dared to get in the way. Their terrible need rages in the slaughter house of the forest, eating and mating. This was the way of the horrors, needing to mate and having a base need for sustenance and the continuance of their kind. Anything that moved was a target of their digestive system the blue people were included in the slaughter. The brutal devastation lasted for a month when of a sudden life went silent as in a forest when dang
Not knowing when this new threat would begin again they gathered all that could be spared of the living to a conclave to plan a defense for next time. This first gathering took place in an open area that was in a central location in the forest so the other tribes could attend as soon as possible. The meeting place had been in use for an uncounted span of time flowing back into lost memories.
The leader of all tribes lead the silent discussions, many days passed until a unanimous decision was made. Everyone needed to agree to ensure that there would be no dissension in their society.
The plan was a quantum leap from their present technology, no matter, it was agreed, they would build an impenetrable rampart as a defense against the possible return of the red horrors.
Search parties were sent out in all directions to discover building materials; what they found was a beautiful black rock with a blood red hue in its soul. The other finds were copper and iron ore. How they came to understand the mechanics of quarrying and smelting copper and then working the copper and iron ore. The only answer the blue people offer is the equivalent of an Earth expression... (two heads are better than one) in the case of the blue people it goes way past a study group working out a possible solution to a problem. Their edge was the collective sharing of minds.
The second gathering worked out a method for transporting the massive quarried stone, iron and copper. The pups played games with found objects using levitation. The games win/lose was lost on me. There was no word for war in their language, so I believe there was a different meaning to the games. Levitation outside the game had no real practicality. What can one do with being able to raise a light twig or small pebbles? They did work out the problem by realizing that by combining their method of communication the job could be accomplished. The solution like all solutions had simple answers once the hard work is done. They worked out through experimentation that a given group working together could levitate a given amount of weight. Like all committees, if you can really large groups of blue people a committee. They appointed work groups that would do the heavy lifting, so to speak.
The planning stage lasted a year. Once all the planning was completed the real work began, such as quarrying, mining iron ore, copper and smelting and working of the copper and iron. The work lasted several generations; four hundred and forty-nine years, by their reckoning. All that work for what will happen again in one year.
Devastation was upon us and for the first time since I left earth’s moon I was scared, more fear than the most convincing hell and fire Preacher could give in a house of God.
I now knew that this planet was a true paradise for five hundred years then the terror emerges again from the forests soil. The terrors are reborn, reborn in a cycle of one month, the continuing conflict between good and evil. I fear this is a condition that lives through out the universe. In my mind the human race will eventually ravage the universe. Their nature is well suited to such devastation. May they destroy their Earth before they sweep throughout the galaxy and beyond?
A million years of vital life prepared this world to survive, surviving terror beyond my ability to comprehend. I will have my chance in one year. The blue people were ready; they have been ready from the beginning of time; was I ready.
At the time of the first period of terror their communication network sent out messages around the equator relating the plans for communal survival. Hundreds of villages swung into action preparing and achieving the goal of building fortresses for their own future and maintaining vigilance beyond what my species could ever achieve.
Finally the day came when the forest would erupt in unthinkable violence. The hunters stood watch in case one of the red beasts reached the wall hoping that their skills at hunting would not be needed. I watched with the hunters, I could hear the fear of my heart pushing my blood to the brain in a desperate attempt to maintain a balance against horror. How these little people stood against the fear I cannot fathom, for myself I loathed the approaching festivities. My soul ached for a swift end.
Just as told by the story tellers the fell red monsters rose from the forest floor throwing aside trees and vegetation. They raged through the forest in a torment that Lucifer, sitting on his earthly throne would have aspired to. There may have been tens of thousands of the red banshees with screams upon the air forcing an explosion of colors into the darkening sky above the canape. The birds fled into a bleak sky. The cloven hoofed demons were crashing through the forest racking havoc wherever their madness guided them. The plague emerged into the clearing rushing onto the triangular barriers, impaling their moribund red flesh on the gleaming copper spears. The copper spears further enraged the horrors into reckless madness whereupon their hunger would consume them as they threw their tremendous weight onto the spiked black defense. They kept coming until they came upon their own kind, the dead and dying that were impaled, dark red blood ran. The newcomers were trapped against writhing death as their beastly brethren followed from behind crashing and crushing the dying menace in the fore. The gore of the dead and dying welled up into a ghastly mass of stinking flesh. The blue people planed well. The red chaos reigned upon its throne; enthralled by their ancestral thirst and desire to complete the domination bred into their genes, to swell from the soil of paradise and consume all. The blue people did not have the knowledge to understand the overwhelming power of what warped genetics are capable of despite the power of their communal brain. This knowledge I do understand and I should know; the human race shares the same genes! I am a red terror. My kind took the horror into their midst to reign and then drive mankind to extinction. The collective instinct of the human race will regret the influence of their unseen red leader! The red leader will revel in victory. However he will fail in trying to take paradise along with the human race. Paradise will rise up and remain until the end of time.
The nonstop destruction did come to a close as the red horrors appointed time to withdraw arrived, taking another defeat back whence they came; the eternal battle of good and evil. Good always wins in paradise.
I am an old man now and still possess strength and good health. Two generations of blue people have now gone to rest in their paradise.
The rescue never came. My hope is that the invasion never lifts off to destroy another paradise.