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The Ancient Song

BEFORE READING:
This piece uses invented pronouns for the future evolution of humans called Novus.

PRONOUNS FOR NOVUS: 
               he / she =                xé
               his / her =                xír  
               him / her =               xém
               himself / herself =   xémself 

Part One

9 minute read

In the far distant future, there is no God, there is no fate, there is no love. There is only, the Green.

 

 

Emerald flames lashed out across the control panels. Monitors of the green-lit spherical command module splintered into shards of glass. Walls rippled with an onslaught of vibrations booming a single word: ‘Bivel.’

 

               The unseen pulse bellowed through the ship and crushed a humanoid figure sitting at the centre on a fixed command chair. Xés muscle tissue laid bare to the constant intensity of the green light that soaked the room with paint-like splashes of jade and grey.

 

               ‘Bivel Aroba.’

 

               A face stripped to the muscles of a blood-soaked skull screamed. Words lingered mute. The green inferno faded into obscurity.

 

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The vessel's core is connected to seven compartmentalized ionic thrusters shaped like artillery shells from a bygone war era. The Echo Ninety-four was the last ship to be built with artificial gravity over a century ago. Each thruster gave the cylindrical structure a low centre of gravity as it travelled at incredible speeds across the vacuum of space. A single android, Twelve eighty-five, floated from the bridge in zero gravity, bathed in orange light from the nearby planet of Yero Four.

 

               A hard, flat voice announced from the main hatch: ‘Bivel Aroba has awoken.’ The android pressed its feet on the ground and then unplugged the cables from Bivel’s heavy, lead-clamped coffin.

 

               Bivel laid as a statue, xír biological body enshrined in silver. A mouthful of musty air after the liquid mercury retreated like melting glacier ice off ancient stone resuscitated the corporate entity soon to become part of the Green – A subspace digital realm used by all beings to travel throughout the universe. To advance from a form of flesh to digital is the greatest honour someone can achieve; to commune with the Green in what is called the Merge, is a rite of passage to the next step of evolution. Bivel knew this and dreamed since xír was a young Novus of ever being accepted.

 

               The perfectly sculptured android charged the defibrillator and sent an electric current shot to the heart of the fragile flesh.  The Novus body responded with a loud gasp, lashing to life from one side to side. ‘How many times do I have to tell?’ Bivel coughed in rage as mercury dripped off xír pale, bald figure. ‘I don’t need the aftershock. My body would recover in its own time.’

 

               The android raised its hands. ‘It’s something you’ll come to miss,’ the android, Twelve eighty-five, said. It viewed Bivel’s vitals on a bright blue monitor. ‘When you Merge with the Green, you won’t feel anything ever again. I hope you realize the sacrifice you will be making.’

 

               ‘Should I feel any different now than any other jump?’ Bivel asked, stretching long, flat-tipped fingers silhouetted by the orange planet outside a viewport. Xé scratched a streak of red patterns spreading like a river delta across xír paperwhite skin. ‘These nanobots. Twelve cycles we’ve been inducing them while I sleep… Shouldn’t I have enough in me to feel a little less pain?’

 

               ‘You’re still organic material, Bivel. Until the Merge, the nanobots will remain inactive,’ Twelve eighty-five confirmed powering down the stasis machine. Bivel is dressed in a greyish bodysuit. ‘Unless they are under threat,’ – It leaned in, pressing xír kneecap tightly until it clicked. ‘In rare cases, the nanobots do activate themselves. But only if the host suffers extreme duress.’

 

               ‘Running from scrapper droids was extreme duress… and it didn’t do anything.’ Bivel recalled their last assignment leaping off a lowering stasis freighter onto the teleporting platform. ‘That really hurt!’

 

               The android turned to another screen. ‘I haven’t felt true pain for three hundred and fifty-seven cycles, three months, twelve days, four hours and twenty-seven minutes and fifty-nine seconds; I’ve had so many parts replaced that there is not a single part of me that remains a Novus like you,’’ Twelve eighty-five said.

 

               Its voice buzzed while it zoomed into a magnified view of Bivel’s vital organs viewing whether the nanobots had attached themselves successfully. The android tapped the vitals, and a sheen brightened its cheeks. ‘It almost makes you wonder. If I am even alive.’

 

               ‘Leave it out Twelve eighty-five. You’re the one who tells me all about the beauty of Hyperspace or the knowledge of the Cosmic Network. The countless memories of all the other Homo Spatium. What’s that memory you refer to so much for satisfaction?’

               Twelve eighty-five mimicked a smile unveiling an impeccable set of teeth. ‘The drowning of twin suns into a black hole while they set on the moon of Riocotris Seventy-Two D-C.’ Its vacant turquoise eyes reanimated. ‘I can’t wait to show you but… It doesn’t bring satisfaction, Bivel. They are the little things that justify the purpose of immortality.’

 

               Bivel rubbed xír fingers across the android's smooth, perfect dark green body suit up and pinched it. ‘Immortality should be the purpose of all sentient beings,’ Bivel told it. ‘I’ve wanted all my life to shed this mortal coil.’

 

               Xé climbed around the android and then up the ladder to the command module. Reaching the junction to three other compartments, xé stopped at the sealed hatch of Module 18. ‘Get to know what is behind that finally,’ Bivel said. Twelve eighty-five walked slowly alongside him. ‘I could use Emergency code three, nine, two, oh.’

 

               ‘Those words must not be considered in humour, Bivel Aroba,’ Twelve eighty-five warned flatly. ‘I now know I should never have revealed that code to you. If you disconnect the gravity field, all the other compartments will collide, and we would be marooned in space.’

 

               ‘So. Tell me…’ – Bivel smirked. – ‘What is in Module 18?’

 

               ‘It is where you must go… where we all go to complete the Merge.’ Bivel studied the hatch. That is where the transformation of almost twenty cycles of hard labour, both mentally and physically, would reach its conclusion.

 

               Xé spun back and entered the command module in the shape of a sphere. Monitors dotted around the edges had mixed with long viewports. Bivel stepped to one of the two central chairs and fastened a safety harness.

 

               The Novus pressed a few switches on the control panel on xír armrest as the android came out of the hatch behind. ‘You do deserve to join the Cosmic Network,’ its voice, sombre and monotonous, said. ‘Your insights are invaluable to the Green.’

 

               ‘I’m sure the Green can get all it can from me in seconds.’ Bivel fixed a stare, attentive to the monitor of dazzling lights.

 

               ‘It will,’ Twelve eighty-five confirmed, startling Bivel. ‘It’s the fastest processing system in the galaxy, if not the universe.’

 

               ‘That’s not what I meant,’ Bivel whispered. It was times like that when he treated the android like what xé was, a Novus, that a little more humanity would strengthen their friendship. ‘Computer, bring up the information on the Earth Prime Project.’

 

               ‘Accessing.’ The monitor showed the blue-like marble grow as they drew near. Sidebars appeared describing the archaeological sites made across the planet.

 

               A sudden panic rushed over Bivel. ‘I just remembered a dream… in the stasis. Sat here, I saw the Green. I heard something. Someone,’ xé said, clenching the armrests.

 

               ‘Dreaming in mercury is impossible,’ the android confirmed. The white marble planet of Yero Three, codenamed Earth Prime, gradually appeared larger in the main viewpoint. ‘Besides, you cannot behold the Green in your organic flesh.’

 

               ‘You told me I would get pulverised under the pressure, and my internal organs will explode under the ferocity of hyperspace,’ Bivel said, analysing the computer's astral coordinates.

 

               ‘Not to mention hyperspace-time dilations that would twist you into a ball of mucus.’

 

               ‘Way to paint a picture.’ Bivel laughed. ‘You’re in an exceptionally comforting mood today.’

 

               ‘I’m a Homo Spatium,’ Twelve eighty-five said with a swift glance, unimpressed by xír attempt at sarcasm. ‘We don’t have moods.’

 

               The computer finished accessing the information, and the monitors filled up with statistics and figures: ‘Discovered one-hundred and eight cycles ago by the chief Lystro, Hecate of the Thermóri in a vision on Sanctum Diligenti through the Oñarius,’ the computer announced. ‘The Earth Prime Project was a lost relic after the deletion of its existence during the Temporal Civil War, eight-thousand, four-hundred cycles before the Green…’

 

               ‘Yes, yes, computer.’ Bivel interrupted, pinching xír fingers together to zoom in on the excavation imagery. ‘I’m not here for a history lesson; tell me the current status of the Earth Prime Project?’

 

               ‘Currently, twelve archaeological sites are managed by: Two Homo Spatiums. Two Novus. One Thermóri.’

 

               Bivel’s grey eyes brightened with raised eyebrows asking, ‘Identify the Thermóri?’

 

               ‘Tegína Evigilationem,’ the computer answered. ‘Novus allocation - H143 part of the excavation P.A.R.I.S.’ Twelve eighty-five stepped forward, its pale skin texture dulled at the imagery of a strange pillar-like structure made of wires sitting on four stools standing three hundred and twenty meters tall.

 

               Bivel’s thin eyebrows lowered and then squeezed together. ‘What type of artefact is that?’

 

               The computer continued, ‘The artefact has been logged as “Eiffel Tower”. Discovered in the vision of Thermóri, Tegína Evigilationem. Novus allocation - H143…’

 

               ‘Computer set a course of site P.A.R.I.S.,’ Bivel said.

 

               The android held its wrist behind its back. ‘Why Paris?’ it asked.

 

               ‘If we’re going to debunk this whole Earth Prime Project nonsense as the Green has commanded, I figure we go to the source.’  

 

               ‘Excellent; as I mentioned, you will share invaluable insight to the Green with your intuition.’

 

               The ship arched upwards to fall into a nosedive. Twelve eighty-five leaned to one side as a smooth judder detached the command module from the remainder of the spinning ship.

 

               The computer declared the success of the ship's detachment from the main vessel in orbit across the monitors.

 

               Bivel pointed at the image of the Eiffel Tower and stroked xír chin. ‘It will be easy to undermine a whole planet of archaeological sites by remaining objective, especially if it is based on visions from these charlatans Thermóri,’ xé said.

 

               ‘The Thermóri are a genetically modified race with extensive breeding on the hypothalamus to regulate the cerebral cortex to become more susceptible to the Oñarius, not charlatans Bivel. Remain objective.’

 

               ‘A shroud of lies to justify their existence, Twelve eighty-five,’ Bivel bit back, frustrated by the android’s defence of the Thermóri. The defined blank expression numbed the room. ‘You see, Oñarius isn’t some mysterious universe that only these liars can look into,’ Bivel explained. ‘These Thermóri are temporal agents. Jumping in and out of the past and present reveals these segments of history as some divine superpower giving them and only them access. You can’t believe in them.’

 

               The android paced to the main monitor and looked at an image of Tegína. Xír braided hair and a dimpled smile on xír dark complexion appeared worn like a weathered sculpture. ‘Your judgement of belief is based on what element of the Thermóri’s existence?’ the android asked.

 

               ‘I don’t trust any species who don’t wish to join with the Green,’ xé said.

 

               ‘There are plenty of Novus who don’t go through the rigorous training as you do, and I did, who have not joined the Green,’ the android clarified.

 

               ‘That’s true, but the Thermóri?’ Bivel straightened xír back as xé fully recovered from hyperspace stasis. ‘All that Oñarius nonsense,’ – xé pressed on the armrests and pulled back from the g-force of entering the planet's gravity. – ‘I say we meet up with Tegína Evigilationem and convince xír to leave the archaeological site.’

 

               ‘Do you think it will be that simple?’ asked Twelve eighty-five.

 

               Bivel grinned as the ship rattled, entering the turquoise-blue atmosphere, ‘When it comes to Thermóri. We are no doubt in for a surprise.’

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To be Continued...

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