Saturday, June 6, 2015

Seeing is Becoming: Champions (Part III)

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What the last Orothsew native had said to them was more of a joke than a threat. But it was still partly true. The first thing they did was take baths and change into new clothes that resembled Ancient Greek togas, but were a little bit more form-fitting. They were led to a great hall full of delicacies. Each food they tried resembled, in more ways than one, something from Earth. The grape-looking fruit tasted somewhat like grapes. The pinkish meat with white veins tasted remarkably like ham. The bread tasted exactly the same. Saga voiced her concerns about edibility, but the natives assured her that many a human had sampled the food, and there had been no problems.
“How many of us have you encountered?” Vearden asked during lunch.
Their liaison, Fanelius, put down his drumstick and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He was assigned to answer questions and keep them safe. “Over the centuries? A few hundred, I would estimate. They don’t all come from the same time. There doesn’t seem to be a temporal link between the other planets and ours. An Earthling will show up from the 20th century, and then another from the 17th. We know very little of how it works, and none of them have a clue.”
“But aliens from other planets, besides Earth, also appear?”
“Yes, it happens quite often, actually,” Fanelius said with excitement. “It would seem as we are some kind of focal point for spontaneous space travel. People from all over the universe come and go on a daily basis, but none of them report such a high degree of visitors to their home worlds.”
“You say they come and go? At some point, do they just disappear again?” Saga asked.
“Yes. As soon as they complete their mission. Sometimes they know exactly what they’re supposed to do, like it’s just their jobs to travel around, and they’ve been given instructions. Others need to use their instincts. One thing we’ve learned, though, is that each visitor who spends their time only trying to leave, never succeeds. Several of them have died here, never having discovered their purpose.” Fanelius said that with a purely intellectual tone, but Saga and Vearden couldn’t help but interpret it as a warning. They weren’t going home, unless someone else decided that they were allowed to.
“Even if we did get back,” Saga began once they were left alone for a period of time, “what year would it be? It could be 2004, or it could be 4666. What year is it right now? How long does it take to travel across space? To us, it felt instant, but maybe that was an illusion. Maybe we’ve been gone for thousands of years!”
“Yes, that may be. But what do you want me to do? Not hope we find our way back? We have to keep going either way.”
“No I know, Vearden. I’m just...trying to get things straight.”
He took her hands in his and looked into her eyes. “I promise you this, Saga. If we never get home, or if we do, we will always stick together. We will get through this...together.”
That gave her some comfort, until later that day when they were headed for the capital and they were ambushed by the Gondilak. Saga survived, mostly unscathed, but Vearden was captured. A native who also survived the attack took her to the capital to speak with the Magistrate.
“Did they head North, or East?” he asked.
“I was knocked out cold,” the fellow survivor admitted.
“If by East, you mean away from the setting sun, then it was that.”
“That’s promising,” the Magistrate said. “He may be alive yet.”
“What are they going to do to him?”
“If he’s the one who somehow inherited their healing abilities, then they will experiment with him, and test his limits.”
“We have to get him out of there,” Saga pleaded. “Please. I know that to you we are nothing but humans, but he’s important to me. There must be something that we can do.”
“We already know that you two are important,” the Magistrate said, surprised that she would feel the need to beg. “You were already scheduled to come here. Another human told us that you would, and said that we must conscript you into our army.”
“What?”
“You were being brought to me because you are our new Champions. We need you to lead us so that this war may finally end.”
“I see.”
“You will have the full force of Orothsewan resources at your disposal so that you can return to us your partner.” Click here for the next installment...

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