Sunday, February 3, 2013
D.S. Brown - AFTER THE LAST DAY CHAPTER 4
When next they appeared they were standing on a vitreous surface. It was a vessel, a sphere in nature, but completely transparent. The agent walked over to a floating luminescent console and waved his hand over it. Telepathic contact was established with the Fleet.
“What is this?” Kantootha asked.
“We have arrived in a stasis orb,” the agent answered.
“I’m aware of that,” Kantootha said testily. “I want to know what’s going on out there.”
Kantootha waved a tentacle at the spectacle before his eyes. Outside the orb, space was littered with spaceships and artificial environments. The artificial environments, which were essentially flat, floating, pieces of planet maintained by stasis fields, were thick with sentients.
“Several vessels of the Fleet have come here to investigate,” the agent stated placidly. “We have agents and officers of the Fleet interviewing observers of the nova event.”
Shirra and Kantootha both watched the nova before their eyes. It was gorgeous. Intense colors that would be blinding, if not for refraction fields shunting light away from them coursed across the panorama of space. It was the death of a star. An intergalactic opera played out in a spectacular fashion for the mass of sentients there gathered.
The great planets of the birth system of the race known as Humanity had been engulfed. All that remained was Sol, deep in its death throes, radiating energy ever outward.
“The system had been completely vacated?” Asked Shirra.
“Yes Minister. Humanity was a prodigious race. They had terraformed every planet in the system in one form or another. But as we all know, the great bulk of them soon forgot their homeworld. Records indicate custody of the Sol system had been maintained by a small sect of Humanity in the Aetian sector.
“Oh? And who were they? I didn’t know any sentients of great number still resided in that sector”
“Yes sir, the area had been set fallow. But the Humans who lived there had proper settlement rights and had been living there prior to the sector being officially abandoned. We have ships in the Aetian sector now. The primary planet of settlement is huge, designated listing is Purgatorio. It’s in a standard star system with twenty-two planets. Initial reports indicate all that was in the Sol system now resides or resided there.”
“Everything except the Humans, of course.”
Shirra nodded quietly, focusing his attention on the event before him.
“Another odd thing Minister.”
“The Humans there were one-hundred percent corporeal.”
Shirra slowly turned towards the agent. “What?”
“Yes sir. The Humans of Purgatorio maintained their ancient human characteristics. Nexus records have no information on this, but it can be assumed at some time they underwent a de-evolution of some type.”
Shirra was taken aback. Sentients did not purposely de-evolve. The mystery was growing more convoluted. Humanity was a highly evolved race of energy beings. They could convert some of their energy to mass and thus resemble their ancient forms. Randolph used to do so incessantly. Only human genetic material combined with other sentients through cross breeding still yielded fully corporeal beings. Or at least so it was thought.
“Are you sure they were full Humans?”
“According to what investigators have found on Purgatorio, yes. And it would bear out Minister, since they’ve all disappeared too. We know sentients that were not fully Human did not vanish.”
“That is correct.”
“A planet of de-evolved Humans?” Kantootha looked perplexed. “But why Minister?”
“I do not know, but it would appear Purgatorio will be our next stop.”
“But we’re supposed to report back to the Galacticum once we leave Sol sector.”
“In good time Kantootha, in good time.” Shirra turned back to the exploding star. “Agent?”
“This stasis orb, are its protection fields equipped with time referential filters?”
“Yes Minister, full capabilities.”
“Good. I want to observe the actual destruction of Sol. Isolate two images. The star and the planet Terra, maximum dilation and clarification.”
The agent passed a hand over the console. Two huge images appeared before them, eclipsing the dying star.
“What are you looking for Minister?” Kantootha asked.
“Something out of the ordinary.”
“Purgatorio Kantootha. The name is familiar, but at this moment I cannot recall why. I’m actively searching my internal data-wells. I know I’ve never heard of this planet before, but the name reminds me of something ancient. Something distinctly human and mythical.”
“Did you actually say mythical Minister?”
Shirra ignored his aide. He knew myth had no place in an investigation. Neither did instinct, but Shirra felt his instincts tugging at his near immortal form. He knew he would see something. And after hearing the word Purgatorio, he felt myth would come into play as well. On this he would wager the energies of his eternal being.
“The images are coming up now Minister,” the agent said.
The party of three watched through a window of time as Sol exploded. The agent tuned out positional distortion, a time factor emanating from the vast crowd nearby at that point in time.
Shirra concentrated. Sol’s cleansing flame reached outward, engulfing the worlds of Mercury and Venus. As the flames licked the third planet, another bright light appeared. It was twice the size of Earth and as soon as it came into view, it was gone again.
“What was that agent?”
“I’m not sure Minister. I have a recorded image. I’ll enhance and display.”
The image appeared on the screen. All three were more than a little surprised.
“It’s a Human!” Kantootha exclaimed.
“I’ve never seen a Human that big before,” said the Agent.
Shirra stepped towards the image. He examined it closely. It indeed appeared to be a Human, a Human in partial energy phase, still retaining its ancient physical likeness. It was brilliant and quite literally two or three times the size of the planet. The Human appeared to look happy, but in a sad sort of way, as if it was resigned to something. Its hands cradled the planet Earth briefly, then all was engulfed in flame. But Shirra had seen one other thing that surprised him and put him further, no matter how unlikely, on the path of myth.
“Did you notice Kantootha? Did you see it?”
“How could I not Minister, it was huge! I mean, growth of that magnitude is not an impossibility, but the amount of energy that Human would have to have amassed—.”
“It had wings, Kantootha. The Human had wings.”
Kantootha didn’t say a word. He glanced back at the agent, whose face was a mask of stone. Everybody knew Humans didn’t have wings, energy form or not.
“It had wings Kantootha. Reminiscent of an ancient being Randolph and I discussed out of Human lore. It was called an Angel.”
Kantootha looked worried. He stared at his Minister, lost in the silence following Shirra’s strange words.