Sunday, February 10, 2013
D.S. Brown - AFTER THE LAST DAY CHAPTER 5
“That is Purgatorio below Minister,” the agent said.
They had decided to take the stasis orb with them to the planet. The Minister wanted the stored images with him and the orb would afford them much more maneuverability in the star system, maneuverability he felt they would need.
Minister Shirra had not yet made an official report. His actions at the Sol system would already be a matter of record at the Nexus-Septum data-cluster. Through channels it would work its way back to Nexus-Prime, where the Galacticum would look at his findings with much skepticism. His mention of an archaic mythical Earth entity in the midst of a scientific inquiry could very well cause them to call into question his reasoning capabilities. Before that happened he wanted to find more information. He was sure an answer could be found below.
“There are no artificial environments, no structures to be seen from orbit. What kind of planet is this agent?” Kantootha asked. “All I see are our Fleet ships.”
“Despite the world’s primitive look, they were quite advanced. Most of their technology is underground. The cities on the surface of the planet are primitive beyond belief. All the planets in this system are like this and it appears this one was its capital.”
“Take us down agent.”
As the agent began to program the orb’s descent, he touched his brow.
“Minister, I’ve received a telepathic signal form the surface. Agents of the Fleet have found a half-Human, half-Zatai sentient in the largest city. They are questioning him now.”
“Take us to their location immediately.”
The agent lowered the orb deftly through the atmosphere of the vast planet. Purgatorio was one of those unique planets of incredibly immense size still possessing a planetary surface. Its atmosphere had obviously been altered, since planets of this type rarely possessed enough of it to support life. The sky was an iridescent blue, with flecks of red. Shirra noted the sky and thought it to be quite beautiful.
“Is that the capital below?” Kantootha asked, looking down through the floor of the orb.
“Yes,” the agent replied. “As you can see, it is quite archaic.”
“And quite familiar,” Shirra said.
Both Kantootha and the agent looked at the Minister, who ignoring them both stared at the approaching city below.
The agent landed the orb in the center of the old looking metropolis. They were in the middle of a wide thoroughfare. It wasn’t paved in any manner, modern or otherwise. It was a simple dirt road, not uncommon among frontier settlements. The agent caused the orb’s fields to become permeable and all three stepped outside. The agent gave a telepathic command, the orb unraveled, and shrank into a storage tesseract at his side.
“What do you make of this place Minister Shirra?” Asked Kantootha.
“It is a magnificent achievement.”
“Sir?” The aide said, looking at his minister in amazement.
“You do not recognize it, of course.”
“And you do?”
“Yes, from my studies with Randolph. As you know, he indulged my fascination with Human history. I know these structures quite well. This is a replica of a city from an era millions of years removed. I cannot be absolutely sure, but I believe it predates human flight, a time when they were very corporeal.”
Kantootha was mystified. “But why? Why build it? What is it doing here? Is it some kind of monument to the past?”
“I do not know, but I believe we will soon have our answers.”
Shirra turned towards the agent. The question was answered without having to be asked.
“We’re holding him in the structure on your left Minister.”
All three turned to face a multi-spired edifice reaching up towards the sky. It wasn’t huge by their era’s standard of construction, but it was still a formidable structure.
“And what is that?” Kantootha asked.
“It is what the Humans called a Cathedral. A place where ancient corporeal Humans gathered to worship what they believed to be the one true deity.”
“Are you serious?”
“Quite. Oh, I know the Humans we dealt with never did such things. Randolph certainly never displayed a belief in a god. But I believe the Humans of this world did just that.”
The Minister proceeded to walk into the vast Cathedral. The Galacticum agent of the Fleet and Kantootha followed. Inside the building were several rows of seats. It was just like the images Shirra had seen in his studies.
The agent took the lead.
They walked through a door made of wood into a back room, which the agents had turned into a temporary holding area. There, agents and officers of the Fleet were standing around a humanoid being seated serenely in an ancient wooden chair.
The agent turned towards the Minister and after mentally asking permission, pulled Shirra into a telepathic link. He could better serve him this way and prevent possible harm from the unknown sentient. Shirra took another wooden chair and sat directly in front of the humanoid.
“Greetings, can you understand me?”
The humanoid tilted his head. He had a look of humor on his face, as if to say of course I can understand you.
Shirra had seen this kind of sentient before, fully corporeal, with golden skin and thick long cords of hair. He had deep purple orbs for eyes and tiny hearing orifices. The joining of Human and Zatai had happened long before the majority of Humans evolved to the next level. There were enough hybrids from the joining of both races to perpetuate themselves as a species. They could almost be considered an ancient race unto themselves they had been around so long, but they didn’t involve themselves in Galactic affairs. Or any other affairs save their own, or so it was thought.
“Of course I can understand you sir. I speak Gal-lang as well as the next sentient,” the Human/Zatai said matter-of-factly.
“Yes, of course. Well, do you know who we are?”
“As I’ve already told these others gathered around me, of course I do. You’re the Minister for whom I’ve been waiting. These others are witnesses. You are from the vast governmental structure that lingers in blindness.”
“Blindness? Why do you say that?
He looked at Shirra and smiled. “Because you cannot see,” he said simply.
Shirra telepathically queried the agent. He wanted to know if the sentient possessed telepathic capabilities as well. He was satisfied to find he did not.
“Do you know my name?”
“Yes. As I’ve told you, I’ve been waiting for you. You’re Minister Shirra, honored among the Trantken.
If Shirra were not a highly trained diplomat, the side of his face would have glowed purple, a normal Trantken response to surprise. He remained steady and bowed to the Human/Zatai, acknowledging his identity.
“I am called Malachi,” the Human/Zatai said, bowing deeply in his seat towards the Minister.
Shirra wasn’t impressed with this game of identities. It was time for answers and he would have them.
“Now that we know who we are, I believe it is time for you to tell us a few things. What is this place? Why are you waiting for me?”
“You already know Minister, deep down inside. But I shall tell you anyway.”
“Please do,” replied the Minister nonchalantly.
“You are in what we call the star system Israel, unlisted in the data-clusters of all known Nexuses. This world is named Purgatorio. This city is Jerusalem and we are seated in the main Cathedral of the Lord’s City.”
Shirra felt a stirring inside and he didn’t know why.
“You are in the star system, which resides on the very edge of the firmament Minister. I know why you have come and yes … I have your answers.”