Written by castor :: [Tuesday, 29 April 2014 14:48] Last updated by :: [Thursday, 08 May 2014 23:48]
I was an alien.
How’s that for a good opening line, hmm? Something strange and fantastic, weird and wonderful.
Really, what did it mean?
I lived on the planet Myclisis. It’s not located anywhere around Andron, but in the vicinity, around a small orange-ish yellow sun. It’s a smallish blue-green world – blue for its oceans and green for its continents – which were just islands, really. It had about 20 of them, but none of any great size. Its core produced a strange radiation in its electromagnetic field. It was a world dominated by its seas its vast waters. Most of the buildings were made of a rocky shells, of something that whould look much like Coral to you.
But not all. It’s easy to say: “Oh, these are alien people, everything is the same.” They weren’t.
I live in the city of Aertea, the largest city on the mini content of Apona. Which was different. While most of the cities were built on the ocean, this was built inland near some of the few mountain ranges on the planet. It was a mining city, built to mine iron and silver. Yes, they had iron and silver – they’re elements remember?
It’s a cold city. As I mentioned, the architecture style favoured corals light colours and spires of white stone going up in small beads. It felt slightly out of place, built into the side of a guerra. A city that factories that turned the iron into useable goods stuck out like sore thumbs – they tried to disguise it in places too angular and light. But beyond it … it was a city that needed to be huddled up somehow, protected from the darkness of the mountains and forests that surrounded it.
Which is where … .I come in?
The people of Myclisis were called the Formal, at least in the language of the north. You may think I’m just making up random words here, but whatever. Would you like the word Earthlings? Since Myclisis is their word for Earth, Formal is there word for people. And that’s what they where.
They were in fact, to someone 10 feet away, almost identical. They ranged from about 5 to 6 feet … but it wasn’t rare to see one 7 feet tall. There skin went from dark brown to pale … with an occasional one that was light green. One racial group that lived in the south had tails …
But for the most part, they were about people height, with people color hair and skin. They tended to be a little thinner then humans, but only tended. Women had breasts (though smallish). Men went bald. Two eyes, a nose and often a smile..
But that was at 10 feet. Up close you would notice that there skin often had a characteristic scale pattern – it could almost venture into the translucence. Their fingers and toes were webbed (which if you cut healed – but that was a real painful thing). There were more visible but often smaller. Their limbs thinner. Inside you could see a lot of differences – their largish lungs let them breath for up to 20 minutes. Their organs were in different places, and they didn’t have spleens – but, well …
I lived in a smallish apartment – that was the word for it. It was built in one of the towers about 4 stories up around what could be classified a garden. It was a small place – a single room, and a small one, but a large window overlooking the garden. Designed, I am sure, to hide the dreary. Well done.
And by single room, I mean just that. It had features of kitchen – a sink, a refrigerator, a stove (they didn’t have ovens as such – they fried most things) … all around the room. The fridge was built under the bed. It had a toilet towards the side of the room. Just that. On Myclisis this was private – but well, you were assumed to do it when you didn’t have company over. It was the kind of space that was designed to be a bedroom , a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, a study – well, whatever was required at the moment.
I had a name. Belana. I was about 5’4 (shortish), slightly curvy, with larger breasts then most women. On Earth I was the kind of girl who was between a D or an E cup, which was a shame as Formal, as a rule, aren’t that attracted to large breasts. Ah well. They made getting clothing a pain.
I had blondish hair that, as Formal did, ventured into white. Long, which I liked. The boys did too. The Formal like long hair and blondes. See? Worlds are the same.
I went to university or kind of the equivalent here. I was studying Engineering. It was a bit Harry Potter, except for the magic . All of the disciplines had there own little schools where you went – no such thing as taking a class in literature or gypsy studies because you were interested in it. Engineering was, well … engineering. Simple machines combined. It wasn’t that different, and to my mind that complicated. I am not going to say that I lived in a utopia. One of the cool things about this world was there was no bias against woman involved in engineering.
I liked it. If sometimes i felt … .
No, as our story begins (sorry for the long intro, Apnorian literature is known for it) I was sitting in my room studying pier design. It was interesting. Lot of stuff about pile density. Well, okay … maybe not that interesting.
Plus I had cookies. They weren’t called cookies, and they where fried … but, well … cookies. And a drink that if one was careful had some of the qualities of milk. But you probably don’t want to know where it come from. But then again I suppose that was also true of cows milk.
It was, as evenings go, not a bad one. But a lonely one.
I often felt lonely. I suppose that was part of my nature. Even when I was part of a crowd I could be off to the side, the girl in the shadow watching the popular kids (yes, this world had popular kids) walk and laugh. Selak with his handsome smile, and gentle hair … I watched him go by too, many a time
It was only when I was alone like this that I feel less lonely. Not a bad one.
But pier design.
Which got to me.
So I sat in the chair and turned the Radio on. Yes, they have radios. Not TV’s – but radios. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the technology, but it never quite evolved to that. Instead we listened to a mix of music, and radio plays. I listen to the sound of a gentle harp, and looked out the window … when …
Yes they – well, it’s probably at this point I shouldn’t say they do that on this world. Even though the door was made from paper.
I opened it. It was Svett. Tall, small breasted. Beautiful. Sad.
She was crying.
“It’s Selak … he … doesn’t want to see me any more!” She came in and sat without asking … .she sat and told me her story as the single harp played.
I was good at listening. Perhaps because I didn’t talk much.
They had a fight. A fight over nothing, really. They had been together for around half a year, a tumultuous courtship as these things go. They were both so beautiful. I wondered if that’s what they saw in each other.
Selak wasn’t the smartest student, but he had a decency to him. A sweetness that matched his gaze. A way of laughing at the world that made it better not worse. So what if he didn’t know all the ways to groat mortar at least he admitted it, and was willing to work hard to look it up.
She was more brittle. Prone to deep emotions that were destructive and forceful. It wasn’t that she was mean. She was my friend, and not just my neighbor. But I could see her. Even as I listen to her my mind realized her blame. Her ability to make the smallest thing so large, even a perfect man like him, angered me. She didn’t deserve him..I, of course, said none of this.
I comforted her, as she was. Sad. No matter who it was she deserved her feelings, deserved to express them as she wished.
Selak then … .he was … .
Well, a girl can dream can’t she? No matter what planet she was on.
“He’s so sweet though,” she said.
Yes he was.
“We have done this too many times. Maybe its just not meant to be.” Yes it was.
Then I heard the noise.
Now it should be explained – my hearing..it was much more advanced then most of the people on the planet. I could hear a pin drop a mile away. It was rather distracting, so i filtered it out. I was good at it … but this was a big noise.
She didn’t hear it.
“He was so mean to me … you just think … you just think … am I tiring?” Yes.
“Um …” I struggled.
It was a second explosion. This one she heard. I could tell because she looked.
“What the … ?”
I ran to door.
“I’m going to check,” I said, racing to the door “It might be dangerous,” she warned.
“You have to help if you can.”
That was a phrase. The formal valued community. They didn’t have money or property as such, but the sense of community, of coming together … of sacrificing for the greater good. It wasn’t like blind devotion to order or authority – their stories had their share of rebels and buckers – but the point was to help, to make the the world around you a better place. Even if that cost them their life. Self sacrifice, everyone above you.
That was the the ideal.
Tell me about ideals on earth, hmm?
We could be petty. We could be greedy, mean, selfish, and hunger power.
And as I ran into the hallway I could look through the walls. The radiation I mentioned earlier let me do that. It wasn’t perfect but.,.I could see. In a world of windows, mine was too.
Large metal men. Robots in the shape of Formals … with guns for hands and evil metal eyes. Built by greedy men. They were invading the city.
Why? I didn’t know.
Invasion? War? Or just robbery?
Though I suppose most wars are just robbery.
They were heading towards the center of town, a large public square where most of the government, such as it was, was held. We didn’t have mayors or councils … but, well … it was more complicated then could be explained here.
I watched. I found a window outward into the dreary night so I could see it better. They were shooting at buildings, destroying …
They had no faces. Except for their eyes.
The radio was on in the other room. They had broken into something you would call a news bulletin.
“No words. No demands … just … they just seem to be descending. No word on how many, or where they come from, though it appears to be Heliaxian technology.”
Now you may say: Heliaxian? Is that another world, a far of planet of jackal headed men? No. It was the next city over.
Hundreds, it seems, marched through the streets.
I was to engrossed I didn’t notice it when he came up behind me.
He touched my shoulder. I shuddered as it turned.
It was Selak. He looked at my face. He was smiling, even though he could see as well. It wasn’t a happy smile … but ahhh …
“Don’t worry. Just stay here, we’ll all be safe. It’s..well … you always need engineers, and your a good one.”
“Selak..i just don’t know what to do,” I blubbered.
“Nothing to be done. They’re too powerful. I studied their technology, it’s just … very strong, their metals. But I guess they need more. We’re a logical choice … but … we need to be strong and safe and … NO!!!!!!
I looked out.
It was Svett. She had run out into the street. She was brittle. But I guess brittle included brave somehow. She ran into the street in front of a robot, standing her ground. It kept moving. Well what it could …
She was my romantic rival … to a man who obviously had feelings towards her …
She was my friend.
I ran down the hall.
It should be mentioned that I was strong. I was fast. I had powers no Formal or anyone on Myclisis had.
As I got to a balcony … .
And I flew into the sky like a gigantic bird on soaring wings.
I flew through the square just as the monstrosity paused to aim its gun … and hit it in the side. We flew together into the side of a building where it head hit the wall and exploded. It went down with surprisingly little fight. I suppose I had the element of surprise. A bully never expects to be jumped.
“What the …” said Svett in the street. She was as astounded as anyone else. She was the brave.
Not wanting to be seen I flew away. As fast as I could..which was rather fast … faster then a speeding bullet to turn a phrase …
I landed on a building five blocks away. One robot was done, but there were hundreds more.
All my time here I wanted to be hidden. No point in standing out. Just an anonymous lonely girl in a city … no one really cared.
I cared. People cared.
This was a good city. A good place and it deserved to be protected by …
Just fitting in was my cover, my ideal of the way I could live, well … a life. Even if was I just an ordinary university student. I didn’t want to loose what little protection that gave me.
So I looked around.
I saw one of the robots shoot down a flag that flew over the city from two poles as was their ideal the flag of Aretea. Red and blue. The robot moved on.
I, on the other hand, ran forward and picked it up. I looked at it.
With my super speedy, a small dress, a tight top unlike most of the flowing robes here, and a cape. Which they did have.
I looked, well … super. That was the word. I felt powerful.
I flew into town … I saw robots walking forward. They were in the shape of men and had the same design flaw. I hit them in them in the back and they fell like dominoes. I flew near the speed of sound, hitting them one by one, making them fall over and over without half a chance to turn and fight.
Fair? No. But I wasn’t the one invading.
People were in the street looking at me. Amazed. Awed. Some terrified, yes, but most? Hope … I could see it in their eyes, their souls.
I felt powerful. After all these years hiding, I could be seen.
There were five main streets into town. I did 4 of them. I took out 642 robots in about 10 minutes. Math: key to engineering. I took them out one by one to the small lake in the middle
I floated above, hovering 20 feet over it. One of the elders of the town, Orin, came forward “Whats going on?” he demanded. “Are you one of them?” I waited a second.
The robot entered. Twice the size the others. It bore a large metal scar down it center.
It was, I think, their leader. It moved like one.
“Leave!” I commanded in my authoritative voice – which after spending all this time here wasn’t much. “Leave, and take your people with you. Never come back.”
It didn’t answer. It didn’t speak.
But it did laugh.
I was just a small girl in a ridiculous costume.
I waited for it to come. I waited for it to hit me …
Which, in retrospect, was rather foolish.
Because when it punched me I flew into the lake like a sack of bricks.
Harder then I imagined, it knocked the wind out of me … which caused me to breath in the water.
I mentioned that they cold hold their breath a long time. I couldn’t.
It just laughed.
I swam to the surface coughing as it looked over at me giggling.
I supose flying in the middle of the air I didn’t have any leverage for my strength – I supose a lot of things.
I flew straight at its heart, and picked it up into the air, hitting it a hundred times.
Despite its massive strength, its power … nothing, no leverage either for it to grapple.
I ripped it and saw inside of it a man … a small man. Balding and scared, he looked …
“Don’t hurt me!”
“Take you and your men home and never return.” This time
I flew through the street. The remaining solders he order to retreat … which looking at me, looking at my power, they did, walking slowly out of the city.
Within two hours the invasion was over.
Yes people died. No I didn’t save all of them. Too many people where scared.
But they chanted as I flew over. Their hero. Their superhero.
“Take the fight to them!” they cried. “Invade!” I stood cooly.
“No,” said a voice. It was Salek. “End the cycle of violence. They won’t soon repeat this. Let them shiver in their cowardice. To use metal men! We have a woman of steel to protect us!”
I smiled. He had a way with words.
I flew up into the night sky.
“It was amazing … she was …” Svett told me. “… strange … and wonderful! She saved me. When I was a coward!”
No. I was invulnerable, really. The strange rays of the orange sun; the weird radiation of the planet; Myclisis was only 60 percent the size of Earth, which helped … altogether it gave me strange powers. But not bravery.
“She really was amazing,” agreed Salek, walking in. “But, well … I saw what you did. Can you forgive me?”
She looked up at him. I look up at him.
He was talking to her of course. And he was right. That had been brave of Svett. Facing a robot with nothing but your courage … that was braver than what I did.
“He’s right,” I added. “You went out into the street … when I saw it … I just ran like a coward.” It was a total lie … but well … .my secret, my life, was more important then accolades or speeches … more important than any of it. Just to be humble little Belana. Mild-mannered.
I think about Earth a lot. There I was a scientist – not the head scientist, but a scientist – working on something that may allow faster-than-light teleportation. We were just working on theory – when practice came in. The ray sent me (on a one way trip) to a place where I had strange magical powers – well science superpowers mattered the same. Back when I was named Belinda and I was from Kansas. There people liked my big boobs, and thought I was pretty. There I was …
I watched them hug and kiss.
But then he got up and hugged me.
“You’re brave too, Belana,” he said. “You’re going to do great things. Your smart and clever … and I don’t belive you ran away to hide … but whatever. Someday you’ll save us all.”
I felt his hands on mine, weird webbings and all (mine were glued on). I felt his breath on my back …
And for a second, just a second … I felt part of something. Connected to this world, this strange place this planet. Alive …
Home. This was my home.
The moment ended … but not quite the feeling.
Maybe I was an alien from a far off planet … but, well … this was my home.
(special thanks to Dru for editing and Woodclaw for editing and suggestions)