"Argos Respond, Argos, Arg..." Static.
"The Argos mission has been deemed successful. As the private company Fermy Space Works claims construction of the moon base has begun. All the worries and fears of skeptics saying these are still "children" have been washed away. Fermy claims the construction of the small moon base fifteen thousand square feet has begun and more resources will soon be sent by unmanned drones to deliver said payloads."
It was like any other day. We descended onto the moon's surface and continued excavation in preparation for the harvest of resources from the moon's surface, for the foundation of the base to be built.
It was a massive undertaking, so much so that Fermy being the giant they were, with all their power, money and influence still needed more people. We were those people. Two hundred of us in total.
The Pioneer program as it was called, allowed people from the age of seventeen upward to participate in the Argos mission. Those who were well known and established as young geniuses were the fist pick. The nonexistence of laws that dictated who and who could not go to space didn't protect us, or rather me.
It was fun and games for some, some were looking to make a name for themselves and some just wanted to see space. I didn't get the choice. I was approached for the program but I refused. I was already in a box, why would I put myself in one with no end or beginning no up nor down. They didn't take my decision well. So when the company offered money in exchange for my cooperation. They sold me and before I knew it I was being acknowledged as one of the brave pioneers that would brave the journey into space and further mankind. These things didn't matter to me. I didn't even want to do it though now I'm not even sure I feel regret for having gone.
It was a normal day of twelve hours of work. We had a good day, we found large veins of iron, aluminum and titanium. The seismic locator was a success, construction would go even faster than expected. It was good to bring furnaces with us, Fermy was right. The idea to use the ores on the moon to speed up construction was smart, as we were already opening a ten meter hole for the facility.
That day I took the ascent first or so I thought, I had cleared and processed the mandated one hundred pounds/forty-five kilograms for the day so I had no reason to stay. The moon didn't have an atmosphere the gravity, weak. I propelled myself unto the space station that rested in low orbit of the moon, it proved easy, as the suit was well made. They had propulsion that only required that we harvested the hydrogen from the moon's surface, an oxygen supply that could last up to sixteen hours and reinforced exoskeletons for the taxing jobs that would need to be done.
I got up to the ship and went through the usual decontamination and suit disengagement protocols. I was going towards my quarters, floating rather, counting the days, then she arrived, as if waiting for me all along she drifted from inside the cafeteria.
"Sup Psychí (Sigh-he), you're up early" .She smiled innocently a smile that didn't reflect her personality.
"I guess so." I said shrugging her off.
"Come on... are you...mad about that?" She said her eyebrows wrinkled together.
"What do you think Nicole?" I started to propel myself even faster, but she followed suit.
"I was... helping too..." The gaze of her irregular grey eyes fell to the floor." Tidy your quarters, yes! that's it, you cant be mad at such a beauty forever you know." Her smile stretched from ear to ear.
"First of all, beauty Is subjective, and don't lie, your just making your situation more precarious, tidy... my quarters, don't be ridiculous. " I speed up once more but this time she blocked my path, limbs stretched wide as if making a snow angel.
"Alright" She said taking in a deep breath." I'm... I'm... sorry.. you're such a baby so what if I was going through your stuff there was nothing interesting anyway." She crossed her arms and glared at the aluminum walls.
"Well now I know to ensure my door is locked when I leave as to protect myself from people like you." I floated past her hoping she'd take the hint this time.
"Ugh, everyone else is fine with it so why do you have a problem?" She said whilst stomping, on what I'd consider the roof .
I floated away neglecting a response. I got to my quarters, that day I had everything where I put it, all my books organized by subject, all my clothes organized by type and my comforter folded at the bottom of my bed where it should have been. I began to write the daily report and hypothesis that was requested of us based on our observations of the moons surface. This time I left out key details hoping to not get recognized or acknowledged because of my observation skills. The attention was stifling and the people were no better. I was now the center of attention of my peers because of what they thought I could do for them, a few asked for help some tried to take what they wanted, ultimately failing as all was in my mind before writing the essay and submitting it.
I started writing my essay and it was then Nicole arrived trying to get all the information she could from me.
"Sooo... I was being a beaach (bitch) aaaand... I'm sorry." She didn't seem sorry, she was constantly moving, and on the tip of her toes, or rather its equivalent as she was hovering above me, literally.
"Are you sorry or are you sorry you got caught?" I was tired of her crap and wanted nothing to do with her.
"Why don't we forget about that, what are you doing, need any help? Let me make up for it. " She was now wearing her usual misleading smile.
"No thanks, I'm good?" I turned at my desk facing her.
"Well... I think, I can help you, so why not let me see what you're writing? " She inched closer with every word.
"Cant take a hint, can you?" I closed my book and locked it my desk drawer, she sneered. She was used to getting what she wanted.
"Sheesh! I was just trying to help. Why do you always have to be a bitch all the time? Ugh. You know what I'm going to give you a piece of my mind. " She descended in front of me fists clenched.
Then it happened a loud bang that left me unable to move, paralyzed by the sound my ears were ringing, bleeding. As I looked up I saw something I never thought I'd see, darkness, infinite and cold darkness and Nicole was about to fall inside. I realized what was happening and dashed towards her but I was too late, it was a space anomaly both of us weren't making it out of this. I grabbed Nicole and threw her through the door but it was too late for me. As it expanded, it dragged me in due to the air in the station being pulled into the vacuum, all resistance was futile. It was then I lost faith in someone saving me as she just floated there, not even calling for help, not even trying to save me. I was used to it though, no one helping me, it didn't bother me. As I thought about It logically slowly being dragged into the void. Nicole losing her only rival for the Fermy space scholarship was the best thing that could have ever happened to her. Not to mention how easy it would have been to write off the death of a recluse with no social skills or interest in anything. I accepted my fate of being crushed into nothingness and stopped resisting.
As I fell into the empty void I looked back, and saw the hell I was being dragged out of. I was weirdly happy, I had wanted to leave it for so long, now it was finally happening just in a way I didn't expect. Soon everything around me grew dark, black no, darker than black like an abyss that stared back. I watched the space station get further and further away. I was falling and soon there was nothing, I fell for hours, days maybe, seconds, I couldn't tell . Then, there was a light, too much light. It was so bright I had to close my eyes. I thought it was the end, I awaited my spaghettification patiently and calmly, I was going to be added to the infinitely dense matter at the center or so I thought, but then I hit something, dirt. I caressed the ground with my palms confirming the sensation on my back, it was dirt, I even tasted it to be sure, tasted like dirt.
I opened my eyes and to my surprise I saw trees as tall as skyscrapers, vines draping their crowns as if a sign of royalty and age. There branches as thick as my body was long, and I'm seven feet tall. Spanning meters intersecting and intertwining creating what seemed to be floors above reach. The crowns of the trees created a blanket over the entire forest. They looked like green clouds with lone beams of light piercing through. Only letting in the perfect amount, it was neither bright nor dark. The air was humid, it appeared I was in a rain forest, though I had never read nor seen anything such as this. I could hear the sounds of fauna, insects and animals alike, frogs, crickets and the chirping of birds, reminiscent of a forest on earth, but this was no earth. Just moments ago I had been on the Mercury space station. I remained calm, panic would do me no good. I took in a deep breath and was greeted by the smell of mangos and bark not to mention the smell of dung.
The ground below me was lush and damp, my boots were wet. There were shrubs and bushes covering the forest's floor with the occasional stone protruding above the grass and weeds. Centipedes as long as my legs surveying the ground below, I could only remove myself from their path. Crickets the size of my fists. I would be lying if I said my skin didn't crawl. I loved nature but I was never fond of insects or reptiles, namely lizards and I could only imagine the disgusting and unnatural size they must have been, it was something I did not want to witness, but it seemed inevitable, I could only brace myself for the trauma I would receive. It seemed like a world of its own. It was beautiful in its own right.
("Where... am I? ") I looked around me in full. ("Why am I in a forest of all places? I guess there is nothing I can do now.") I thought to myself.
I started to walk around aimlessly trying to make sense of everything that had happened, in what seemed to be a few minutes.
The air was unusually dense and heavy. It made it slightly harder to breath though soon enough I got used to it. This meant the atmosphere of this place was like earth but their was something else.
In the distance I saw the smaller trees and plants falling over, the sound of them crashing into the ground could be heard.
I saw a giant creature moving towards me about two meters tall .
("Really, Seriously?") I thought to myself.
It was a giant bull with six collapsible extensions on its back that looked like eyes with red irises and a black sclera that faded into it's skin's color. They looked like a peacock's train. The creature was hickory in color if it were to hug a tree I would not see it. Strangely it had no fur but crinkled skin, having two spiraling horns crowned on its head.
It was running straight towards me. I was not afraid but in the position I was in, I didn't see a way out, it was fast, too fast. It felt like walking out onto the street into a car, it was happening too fast, I didn't have enough time to think.
I closed my eyes thinking it was over before it began and to think I was transferred to a whole new world and it was all about to disappear. I had accepted my fate but to my surprise I heard its steps getting closer and closer but slower. Its steps were soon aided by a tumble and a crash.
Upon opening my eyes I saw the creature laying before me breathing heavily as if it was running from something, it was exhausted.
Upon further inspection I saw its teeth, it looked like that of a bears but with bigger canines. Its tail was relatively short considering its size. I came to the conclusion that it was an omnivore, but what could have made such a creature run to the point of absolute exhaustion.
It was at this point that I realized the situation I was in . A whole new world with no knowledge and experience whatsoever. It was then I sat down only a few feet from the animal that was slowly regaining its energy, thinking about what had happened.
It was then I started to feel different in my body, so I payed more attention to my being. My body felt lighter meaning gravity was probably different or not, who to tell. As I searched my entire body I found that the surface of my chest felt tight and heavy. As I touched it, it felt as if I was touching a cold piece of rock, needless to say I was surprised.
I tried to observe my chest further by focusing. I felt a stream of something moving through my entire body, though spilling out it was concentrated at my chest, a light green. In my chest of all places to my surprise it was concentrated. Though I had not fully grasped what was happening, I surmised that the concentration of this "substance" must have influenced the result in some way shape or form. I came to the realization that upon observing it I could now control it. I tried my best to stop it entering my body but it proved impossible. I then shifted my focus to controlling it as I could not stop it. I tried to limit the spill of the substance from my body and to the best of my ability make the concentration higher. Upon doing so my chest became even harder, the green, darker. I used my chest as the main point in my body and moved the substance to the rest of my body to be concentrated, all I had to do was think. I then concentrated the substance, in doing so my entire body became like my chest hard and a little cold.
("What's going on here?") I couldn't rationalize my situation, all I could do was foolishly question myself.
As I shifted my focus to the vast and exotic forest around me I felt it, the substance, it was all around me it was surprisingly calm and flowing from the ground, it was different from mine though, clear, but it was like a current at sea, dashing to and fro. The trees seemed to be absorbing it from the roots up and propagating it into the air, it seemed like a cycle. I could sense disruptions in this flow and upon observing them they seemed to be animals, and insects. They themselves absorbing it from the air from one point on their bodies and as they moved created anomalies in the natural flow, I searched myself to see if I also had this, to my surprise, I did, It was on my back, directly opposite from where it was released on my chest, I could feel it flowing into me. At the rate I was expelling the substance before, it seemed trivial, the influx overwhelmed demand. I came to the conclusion that if this substance was being stored, that it was not in the three fundamental observable dimensions as I could not feel all of it within my own body, nor could I see where most of the energy the creatures around me absorbed went, it seemed as if they were using a portion of it for respiration but where the rest went was a mystery. It flowed in at a point and basically disappeared. I surmised that it was most likely making use of the unobservable fourth dimension, but all I could do at that point was throw lots and draw straws, no solid explanation could have been provided in my past situation.
Then, I truly grasped the situation if only a little. I went through a space time anomaly. Though my body felt normal I wondered if any of my physical features had changed.
I reached behind my neck and grabbed hold of the long curly hair obscuring the back of my neck that reached down to my back, it was Burnette, I felt comfort in its usual untrustworthy color, I was a Burnette after all, that much seemed to be the same. I let out a sigh of relief, although I couldn't see my face, I could only assume it was the same.
Then to my surprise, it began to move, my back was turned but I heard its hooves. It had stood up and started walking towards me. As I turned around I was greeted by a fully revitalized creature. It stared me down as if to intimidate me but I did not falter nor did I waver. It seemed that at some point it got satisfied as it turned around and started to walk away, the aura it let off was that of superiority, as in the uttermost parts of myself it seemed I was yearning for its acceptance.
("At least its not trying to kill me which wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility seeing as it is an omnivore.") I thought to myself.
I was satisfied at the very least. I could rely on it to fend off any would be attackers. As I begun to follow it, I saw creatures I never thought I would see. A bird with four legs, the size of a moose not to mention its feathers which were as majestic as they were big. They beautifully covered its entire body as its yellow hue reverberated through the forest, its pitch black beak pecked away . It was eating something, it was as big as my head with the color of a ripe mango red and yellow in color with small protrusions on its surface the inner parts having small seeds and yellow flesh. I wondered if it was edible as I passed, mouth watering, I was hungry. Though I could not just walk up to it and ask for it so I kept walking.
A bright red boar was striding through the forest with tusks that looked as sharp as razors not mention its size. It was at least twice the size of a normal boar. It fled as it caught sight of us, it had the usual behavior of a boar, this made me relieved.
Then we arrived. A beautiful lake with a serene surface that seemed to continue out of viewable distance ,as if encircling where I stood. Above it an absence of the ever so present blanket that covered the forest, perfectly mirroring the sky.
As I looked around I could see fruit, the same fruit the bird creature was eating but was it poisonous, I had no way of knowing. I had to the bite bullet or in that case, the forbidden fruit. That or munch on some grass.
I wanted to make rope to climb the tree. As I looked on the edge of the water, I saw some trees, they were like mangroves but with thatch like leaves. I was about to rush to the edge to get a couple of leaves but I restrained myself, there was no telling what lay wait in that water that seemed so calm, too calm. So I waited until the creature drank from the lake and only then did I reluctantly make my approach.
I looked at my reflection and what peered back was disappointingly normal. My black eyes that only stole from the world, my lips that were as thin as they were useless, unable to oppose my own injustice. My skin that reflected my life and soul, pale and boring, or rather just light brown. I soon came back to my senses not focusing on the negative. I thought it would be as easy as just ripping the leaves but after repeated attempts it became clear that I needed something sharper. I went back in land, being careful not to stray too far from the creature or the shore.
It was mesmerizing, the trees, the animals all of it. As I walked through the forest I reflected on my predicament. It was sad but there was beauty there, one of a second chance and in a world with what seemed to be infinite possibilities, I was free. I continued my quest for flint but found a flower instead.
It had five petals all different colors, it had dark green, light green, red, violet and light blue. Though all apart from the light green seemed to be withering, yet the light green was so strong. It was fascinating, especially the color of its substance that intertwined all the colors without mixing them, it was beautiful even if wilting.
Though I quickly refocused and started my search once more. I soon found what seemed to be flint and so I smashed it against common rock until I got two sharp pieces I was satisfied with because there was something I wanted to try. Quest completed I headed back, not neglecting to catch a glimpse of the flower once more, using it as a landmark as well. When I got back to the shore I saw the creature staring at the fruit as if planning something. I did not get in its way, I passed it by and then upon my arrival to the edge of the water I tried to cut the leaves again, but again I failed the flint to my surprise broke. I expected this due to the durability of the plant but none the less I paid that no mind. I readied the second flint knife I had.
I had decided that I would try to imbue the knife with the substance, which at this point I was convinced was magic, I increased the durability and strength with magic and thus I cut through the thick thatch. I poured the substance into the flint through my hand, ensuring I got a satisfying green. Upon completion it didn't feel like a simple flint knife it felt real. The more "magic" I poured into it the harder it got. Then reaching the hardest I think it could mechanically get, I started to cut through the thatch like leaves. I harvested a lot because I didn't want to risk going back unless necessary. It was very likely that I had gotten lucky up to that point and I didn't want to test that, nor did I want to run out of that luck.
I then proceeded to cut it into strips, after finishing the preliminary steps. I began to weave them together thus creating rope. All that sewing and bradding my late grandmother had subjected me to had finally paid off, though I was sure that was not the reason I was taught those things.
Upon approaching the creature once more I started to observe it before I choose to pursue the fruit.
As I watched, I witnessed something truly incredible. It raised but one of its appendages after which it started to glow. I could feel the flow of magic inside, it was completely different from mine it was white. Though I had no idea what it was about to do I memorized the color it had on its appendage. As this "magic" was a foreign substance to my body and existence I was more sensitive and perceptive to it and its changes, I was able to accurately commit it to memory. I thought to myself, how could a wild animal have such an assortment, I was surprised to say the least, but right then I needed to pay attention it could have been useful. It then went back to lay in its resting position before it sprang forward and released a large gust of wind that blew about six fruit off the tree.
("This... thing... this.. creature used magic!") I was astounded, I had not fully grasped the power that flowed all around me.
My hypothesis was correct but It was then I realized that if I had tried to attack it, it could have easily killed me or if I had tried to run the same would have happened, it seemed I made the right choice. I decided that using magic was the safest approach as it took out factors like my ability to climb and the danger of climbing such a tall tree. While most of the fruit was up much higher the lowest of which was about six stories tall. Surely a fall from that height would kill me but if I had no choice it would have had to be done as the risk out weighed the reward which was not starving. I no longer had the need to think about such things.
I lifted my palm towards the overhanging fruit, I then tried to recreate the color that was on the creature. Thus I pointed toward the fruit and poured magic into my palm struggling but achieving the white color, if I broke focus I would lose the color no doubt, though nothing happened. I heard the creature growl as if laughing at my failure. I then drew a conclusion that the only reason I had failed was because I did not propel my hand forward like the animal had done. I then retracted my hand and with all the strength I could muster, I propelled my hand forward. To my surprise a large gust of wind was expelled from my hand, causing my hand to violently fly backwards, pushing my entire body a few inches back. It seemed I was successful in the use of magic. Though I was negligent and could have easily lost my arm in the process. I decide that in the future when using magic I would also strengthen my body with the first technique I had learnt. Shifting my focus back to the situation at hand it seemed I had caused just under a dozen fruit to fall to the ground. Even the trees were swaying a bit.
As I picked up the fruit I could not see anything visually wrong with it nor did I smell anything wrong with it. I decided to eat it regardless of the risks, as then it was my only hope. This was it, the fruit of my labor, but as I was about to take a bite I heard a growl. It was the animal, though I didn't initially understand its intent I eventually came to a conclusion as every time I was about to take a bite it growled. It wanted me to give it some of the fruit as compensation for using and learning its magic as well as the protection it had given with only its presence.
I humbly split the fruit and gave it the rest as one fruit was as big as my head and I had ten there was no way I could feasibly eat it all plus bigger animals need more food to survive and I couldn't have my protector dying on me. The worst case scenario was that I didn't share and it killed me.
It seemed satisfied. As I watched it eat the fruit, it seemed to be a process. It tore off the outer layer exposing the innards only eating the innards. I used my knife to peel the fruit, its skin was surprisingly soft compared to its look. I was not fooled and thus I didn't eat it, if the animal didn't eat it I wouldn't either. Upon sinking my teeth into the yellow innards a large volume of juice filled my mouth. It was sweet and savory, it tasted like glucose. The flesh on the other hand was firm and stringy it tasted just like a mango but way better.
Finishing the fruit I was satisfied and filled with a feeling of euphoria. As I glanced over at the animal it was still eating, even after four of the fruit, though it seemed to be struggling with peeling it. Filled with gratitude I walked over as it looked at me without stopping what it was doing. It might not have fully trusted me but that was to be expected we had only known each other for about an hour, though to be honest it felt like an eternity. I picked up the fruit and peeled them one by one and put them back in their original places. It ate them no problem, I had gotten it to trust me, even if only a little.
It rolled in the skin of the fruit. I did the same, dirtying my uniform in the process, its black becoming a stained yellow. It seemed as if the fruits skin had a distinct smell, we were masking our scents, their was something, that even this behemoth would prepare for. I felt a chill down my spine, it must have been what it was running from. Not wasting anytime it started to walk, following the shore. I hadn't started to walk yet as I was picking up the remaining fruit and strips of leaves to make a pouch. It stopped and looked back at me as if to to say hurry it up.
When I had gathered my things I quickly caught up with it and it started to walk again. It seemed to care about me and not want to leave me behind. Maybe it was because I would continue to peel fruit for it, I'll never know, but what I do know is that I am glad it didn't leave me behind, for what was about to come was truly terrifying and it seemed to know what fiendish beings lay wait in the darkness of night.
***Arc 1 A New World***