Tag Archives: drama

The Day of The Fall

It came as a surprise. I would like to offer a piece of wisdom and say all dramatic events do. But, nothing I know stands anywhere near the devastation of The Fall. I can close my eyes and see the horror of it every day.

The private train transport shot across the city as it always does. I lingered watching the conductor mess with the controls. Happiness flooded my every pore, because we were about to make some exclusive trade rights with Vorsheein for rare metals.

A casual glance to look through the window shattered everything. Huge, fiery balls were raining from the sky. “What is that?” For a moment I couldn’t process.

Then, all the knowledge, fear, horror, and rage slammed into me at once. “Get the General Bolin on the line, someone’s bombarding us.” One of our beautiful spires exploded into shards. I dropped to my knees.  Burning bits of fire struck other buildings, and trains. The spire swayed once before crashing taking out walkways below. My eyes shut thankful I couldn’t hear the screams.

“Rillan, what can we do?”

I looked at my assistant. She had thick curly blonde hair, and friendly green eyes. She recently joined my staff. “Send an alert for everyone to move to the lowest levels of the city, and get underground. Also, tell people to go to low population areas, and places outside Amarran.” Almost our entire planet was covered by Amarran, our great city. An accomplish that now tasted like ash in my throat.

An ear splitting sound shredded my thoughts as the entire train shook. The track next to us was twisted, and torn. “We aren’t safe here. We need to speed up and get out of here. Also, launch small fighters at the ships bombarding. Distract them, if nothing else.” I pushed against the ground as the Council, my assistants, and military leaders scattered to do what needed to be done.

I leaned against a chair. I felt useless. Thousands, if not millions, of my people were dying and all I could do was bark orders. A’oi didn’t have a true military, only enough to deal with pirates, and planet side security. As the train sped up building broke into pieces, the air crackled with fire, and all the glory we made of our enslavement died around me.

I wished my mother, Rilas, was still alive. I always thought she would know what to do in a crisis. But, she had been dead a very long time. Besides, seeing all this would break her heart.

“Rillan, why are being attacked?” The girl, Pean, asked her voice shaking.

I whipped around to give a quick answer. When I realized I didn’t have one. “I should know, but I don’t.”

She dropped into the chair and began to sob into her hands. I didn’t blame her. I only didn’t, because I wanted to stay strong. “We never threatened anyway, we never attacked anyone.” She managed between the sobs.

A frown wrinkled my forehead as we reached a point outside of Amarran. “Stop the train. We need to get out. They’ll start targeting trains once they are done bombing the cities.” The few not doing anything started to get the emergency exit ready. Pean kept crying. It helped for some reason.

There wasn’t even warning of the attack. I couldn’t think of a single race who would benefit from attacking us. We weren’t powerful and we often stood as one of the few neutral parties in negotiations. A fiery rage, much like our burning city, shot through my body. I wanted to kill someone, anything responsible. I took a few deep breaths and forced myself to calm down.

“Rillan, the lines are ready.” The head of my personal security tapped me on the arm.

I managed to nod walking over to the hatch in the train. I grabbed the metal hooks and jumped. The air rushed by me as I descended to the ground. The burnt acrid smell was everywhere. I slowed, automatically, and settled on the moss. I let go of the hooks as they shot back up. My security force landed a few moments behind me. And, soon the train was empty of the twenty -five people who travelled with me everywhere.

“Is there an underground tunnel nearby? If so we need to get inside. Whatever military isn’t being occupied needs to gather up rations, food, any emergency supplies and meet us at.” I stopped. “Bring me up a map of the underground tunnels so I can figure out a good location for us to meet, and I need the overlay of the city.”

Pean wiping tears from her eyes pulled out a computer and showed me grid underneath the city overlay. My eyes searched over it. When I saw the best spot. I marked it on the map with a few key strokes. “There. It is near the central of the planet, also where all the tunnels intersect even from other continents, and it is mostly away from the city. Send those coordinates on a secure channel. Make sure the military swept from their location up to there. People fleeing will need assistance. Plus, we haven’t been in the tunnels much since the Jirth left. Who know’s what’s in them now.”

The messages went out. After all the business was concluded we started to march to our nearest tunnel entrance. Pean grabbed my arm. “Are we going to survive this?” Her eyes devoid of hope, and her eyes empty of tears.

“We survived the Jirth, we’ll survive this.”

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Planet of Jirth, Part 20

My apartment was barely enough for a bed, bathroom, and a kitchen. I hit the glowing blue panel by the door to check my messages.

There was one from from Juin. “Rilas, I haven’t heard from not surprising considering, but don’t tire yourself out. You’re no good anyone if you die from exhaustion. I talked to the Go On Don, and I will be there for the speech. They didn’t want me to go. You know, their usual Go On Don can’t be involved in politics argument. I told them either I go, or I quit the Go On Don.” He laughed. “Which convinced them perhaps it would be best for me to go. Take care of yourself.”

Against my will I smiled. I knew he shouldn’t be risking his training to be at speech, yet it made me happy. Maybe, I did love Juin?

A knock at my door jerked me free of my thoughts. With a groan I hit the command and it glided open. I blinked at the Jirth standing my doorway. By the glossy brown robe it was Leader of Jirth. The mottled brown spots across its body stood in contrast to the nearly white skin. “Leader of Jirth, what can I do for you?”

It bowed showing off the full fringe of hair on its oblong head. “Teacher of Einlari, may I come in?”

“Of course.” I stepped the side allowing the large creature ample room to get by.

With the strange, flowing gait it moved a few steps into the room before turning to face me. It folded its three fingered hands together. “I suspect the judgement of the Council will be that Einlari will no longer be our vassals.”

“I suspect that as well.” I wasn’t sure what the Leader wanted. There was only ten of them at one time in Jirth society. I had only met one my entire life. And, for one to come to my apartment, unannounced, unescorted was beyond strange.

Its skin flushed an array of colors in the dim light. “Einlari do not look upon us with favor. I understand. Some of my people do not, however I was chosen for my ability to understand other races. I do not wish to enmity between Jirth and Einlari. If Council does not free Einlari, I will make the Jirth free you. I am also prepared to waive the payment offer you gave the Council, and allow your people to keep all the profits.”

I stumbled back a bit in surprise. “Why are you telling me this?” I wouldn’t have dreamed of even asking to not be taxed.

Einlari may not acknowledge it. Jirth don’t either, but you are Leader of Einlari. You protect them to your own suffering. You always think of them before yourself. You work to benefit them. I acknowledge you are a being of great honor. The generations ago of Jirth did not treat you well.” Leader of Jirth pulled itself fully upright brushing its head against the ceiling. “I will not this mistake. I will not let the rest of Jirth make it either.” Its skin didn’t change, or flush at all during the speech. It was honest, and with even emotions.

Something clicked in my mind. Jirth generally do not think themselves as individuals. Yet, there was a single Go On Don Jirth living. “Miek, you are Miek, aren’t you?”

A flush of red confirmed it as it tipped its head. “I am. I will see you in two days, Leader of Einlari.” A flush of pleasure swept through me. Leader of Einlari the title sounded right to me.

I moved out the way sitting on my bed. It tapped the panel, the door opened, and it left. I let out a half laugh, half sigh. “Okay, now I’m going to bed before anything else happens.”

 

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Planet of Jirth, Part 19

I barely remember the following weeks. I travelled the planet talking to local Einlari trying to find who they each looked to as a leader. It was complicated by the fact they were convinced I was sent to spy on them. As if the Einlari would bother. My elation about the ruling kept me from getting worn down. I found about fifty people who could be considered leaders. I explained the situation to them.

“The Intergalactic Council is coming to announce whether or not we’ll be freed from the Jirth.” I realized they didn’t know what the Intergalactic Council was, but I decided to say it anyway.

A cacophony of objections filled the air. “Quiet! What is a matter?”

“Why didn’t they free us earlier?” An older man, Toff, asked. He was one I thought would make a good administer.

“They manage the whole galaxy. It has thousands of races. In order to get them to even hear my plea I had to build up power. Then, after I delivered my proposal I had to keep on my contacts so it would get moved up the list. Honestly hearing back in less than fifty years is impressive.” I held up my hand to forestall any objections. “I’m guessing they are coming here to free us. But, they want to make a big show of it, so Einlari will be more likely to join the Intergalactic Council. Look like the big heroes.”

Toff snorted. “Politics. I think we should go with her. If she’s telling the truth I don’t want to miss it. And, if she’s lying we are already caught.”

I bowed deeply to him and got them into the transports. I had only a few days to get them back and settled before the announcement. As they sat down in their seats all them, except Toff, sat on the opposite end of the transport from me. I gave Toff a single lifted brow. I wondered what prompted the warm gesture.

He snorted. I was beginning to understand this was a habit of his. “Unlike them, I doubt you’d go through a huge charade to capture us. The Jirth don’t care as long as we work. Better to be on your good side, then hurt your feelings.”

I smiled. “How delightfully practical of you.”

He flashed a dark grin. “Yeah, I’m too old for anything else. Besides, I believe you have been working for our people this whole time. I don’t think Jirth would have taught us to write, or do anything but menial labor without someone making them.”

“Once…” I paused but he motioned for me to continue. “They didn’t want to allow us to start doing the more technical jobs like running the computers, or customer service jobs. Instead they wanted to ship our people off world to mine. I fought so hard. I had to beg the Go On Don leadership of this sector for help. I wasted a lot of good will on it.” My eyes closed. I went to the mines they intended to send the Einlari. The idea of them slaving there brought tears to my eyes. They would get injured, lost, and die of mining sickness in a few short years. The Jirth wouldn’t send anyone, but millions would have died.

Toff padded my knee. “The Council is coming here. Focus on it. Perhaps your fight is over.”

I shook my head as I wiped the tears from my eyes. “If they free us, my work is starting all over. It will be better work is all. I’ll need to find leaders, restart government, get people used to running the planet. And, keep things from changing too fast.”

“It will be work with more joy, I’d hope.” Toff responded tersely.

I realized he didn’t like me crying. I almost laughed. Never had a met an Einlari man who was okay with a woman crying, not even me. “It will be.”

The transport ride continued in relative quiet. We stopped at the small hotel meant to hold them. I filled them in. I organized with the transport to pick them up in two days to be delivered to the stadium the Council had designated. I headed home.

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Planet of Jirth, Part 18

I’d like to say Juin’s training was more interesting than mine, but I’m afraid not. His powers were somewhat weak, but strong enough to live a bit longer. A year progressed as I watched Viirra die, and Guin grow up.

I leaned up against one of the huge windows that stared into the black void of space feeling annoyed. The Council began to review my case, but they were progressing slowly.

Rilas,” Juin soft voice surprised me, as I lifted my head. A little bit of awkward youth clung to him, but he was on his way to manhood.

“Yes, my apprentice,” we both laughed. A joke we had, because officially I was only visiting, but everyone knew why I was here. “What did you need?”

“There is something I’ve been meaning to tell you.” He stared out at space.

I frowned, because he tended to be direct.

“I never realized before I came here how much you gave up.” He swallowed hard. I could feel an emotional storm springing passed his barriers. “Fighting to free the Einlari you gave up everything. And, how most of us talk, and think of you it must sting.”

One my shoulders shrugged as I forced myself to smile. “I understand why they do. I seem more like the Jirth than I do Einlari. Jirth scared me a bit when I first knew them.”

“Don’t pretend it never bothered you. I may not an Empath, but I know you.” A shift in his attitude as his eyes bored into my mine. “And, you didn’t have to deal with it. You could keep your mouth shut and played nice. The Jirth would have promoted you up the ranks, since Teacher’s often get promoted every few years. Or, you could have left Einndias and immersed yourself in Go On Don society. You could have even played down your abilities and lived quietly among us and died long ago. You never needed to carry the burden of freeing us. Why did you?”

The desire to dismiss it with a glib retort came and went. I didn’t like to talk about it.  My own feelings on the issue were muddled. I felt in many ways betrayed by the others. They never accepted me and called me a traitor. Would I feel resentful toward them if I didn’t think myself a traitor? I couldn’t answer that. Yet the idea of leaving them here with the Jirth turned my stomach. “I couldn’t.”

Juin hands pressed against my shoulders as he grinned. “That is what so amazing about you. I’m sure you sometimes regret staying. You gained nothing for it. But, you could never go. As unhappy as everything made you, the idea of leaving probably upsets more than all that put together.” Then, he did something I would never expect he leaned up and lightly kissed me on the lips.

I jumped back to banging my back against the window. “Juin,” was all I managed to say.

Red flooded his face as his head dropped down. “I had to tell you, I’m in love with you. I know what you say, you’re too old for me. I’m so young. All sorts of objections. None of it changes the reality.”

His devotion and love me I’d had been ignoring for months now. I still wasn’t sure how I felt about him. Viirra told me it was, as usual, my obsession with freeing the Einlari was all that consumed me. I didn’t dare raise the objections he so casually dismissed mere moments before. Yet, I couldn’t think of what else to say. Times like this when I was genuinely thankful that Juin was not an Empath.

A beep startled me. I tapped my communicator. “The council has reached its decision.”

A wave of relief swept through me. Regardless of what happened at least now it was over. “What is it?”

“The Council desires to deliver the message in person. Five members will arrive on Einndias in a few weeks. They will be escorted to the planet, and there they will give their pronouncement before an assembled crowd. The Jirth have been contacted with requests for accommodation and needs. You must assemble whoever is your leadership among your people and have them there.” The communication cut off abruptly.

“I have to get back to Einndias right away.” In a moment of pure joy I hugged Juin.

“What does it mean? Why come here? Did they judge in our favor or not?” He asked over my shoulder.

I spun out of his grip. “I have no idea, but either way I have work to do.” I rushed off and realized I managed to avoid his implied question. I felt a bit guilty about it, but for now I was happy to to avoid answering whether or not I loved Juin.

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Planet of Jirth, Part 10

At hovered over me the next few weeks, but I shooed him whenever he interfered too much. My learning moved at a much quicker pace without his presence.

On my way back to the testing machine I ran into Viirra. I spoke to her mind to mind. Viirra, why do you think At seems to throw my training off?”

She tugged at her pale pink hair as I could feel her mind considering. “I’m not certain. His mind is vast perhaps it distracts you enough to slow down your progress.” She switched to speaking. “Why are you going to the testing facility?”

At first I didn’t want to tell her. At would have had a fit if he knew. On the other hand I might be taking too much of a risk. Viirra seemed to me the type who cared for the convention. I felt it made her a good person to measure one’s actions against. “I spent the last night in a trance. I think I can now access the ability to lengthen my life. From my reading the testing machine can a sample of my DNA, and map my abilities to give me an idea of the cost of doing so.”

“There is only one thing I feel obligated to ask.” The tendrils of her mind linked to me. “Why do you want to live longer?”

The question was reasonable. A had a lot of nebulous reasons, but maybe I needed to talk them out. “Can we go somewhere and talk? My life has been altered so much; I think I need to clear my head a bit.”

A motion with her fingers as we strode down the hallway to the lounge. She settled on one as the chitin covered guardian kneeled beside her chair. I sat across. “I have several reasons.” Among the Go On Don pleasantries aren’t as observed. I suspect they spent too much time in each other heads for it. “The reason that sticks with me is that I finally know what is out there. I know things I couldn’t even have conceived of. I need another lifetime to even start to understand how it all fits together.”

As Viirra’s tendrils still touched my mind, she absorbed the information in a minute or two. “I feel your desire is genuine. And, I acknowledge it. Do you believe this is enough? Everyone you know and love will most likely die. Things you found comfortable and familiar will fade. The culture of your people will twist, and change.”

“Do you think your point is relevant to me, Viirra?” I tightened the connection between her mind and mine. She let out a gasp.

The images of how everyone I loved, my family at least, had died. I never loved a man, or was loved in return. I had accepted it, but the scars remained. Everything about my life had already changed, shredded to pieces by the Jirth.  And, likely my people would change before my eyes in a normal life, because of them.

Viirra shook of my grasp a touch. “Still, you must have other reasons.” She didn’t ask, because she could feel them floating around my head.

“I worry for my people, Viirra.” The words came out a bit raw filled with emotion. I didn’t trust the Jirth. “What are they going to do them? I’m the only one who has these powers, as far as I know. From the records I know my powers are strong, and from At I know the Jirth Mentals are rare. If I live long enough to protect them, it will be worth it.”

“You don’t feel as if you owe the Jirth? They did introduce to this world allowed you to access your powers. Without them you would have been as ignorant as the day they found you.” I pushed my hurt aside. I knew she didn’t ask to harm me. She needed to oppose my desires, and pluck at my secret shames.

My thoughts travelled for a while. “In a way, I do. But, they didn’t take me to do me any favors. In fact, they didn’t really give much of a choice. They showed up, dazzled me, and dragged me away. A few hour times passed from when I met them, until I left. They took advantage of me to meet their own ends.” Inside my core my resolve hardened. “I’ll not let them do the same to the Einlari or the other people of my homeworld.”

A smile broke across her face. “How did you ever get so strong, Rilas?”

“A mistake of the divine.” I stood up. “I’m going to go take the test now.”

Viirra smiled. “I’ll be around if you need anything, Rilas. Do not fear.”

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Gulla, The Rebel

A hand snapped over the side of a ventilation shaft. Then, a second one. A grunt was followed up by a young woman up with severe eyes, and brown skin. “Ugh, this hurts.” She mumbled under her breath. With a heave, she pulled herself into the shaft. She leaned up against the wall clutching a dagger shoved into her side. “She told me it would hurt, and she was not lying.”

She dug around in her tall black boots, and pulled out a slim tube. She clicked the back-end showering light onto her side. She chewed on her lip for several hard bites. Her nose twitched once. “I should have asked whether or not I should pull it out. Can I get out with it in me?” She chewed on her lip some more. “I think I can.”

She shoved the flashlight back into her boots, and started to crawl. She sang a quiet song punctuated with a curse word or two. A faint blood trail followed behind her. Each foot scrap, and ding made her wince. “I wish I wasn’t so loud.” Her voice just above a whisper. Several more feet before the tunnel began to lighten. She increased her speed a bit, it got brighter and brighter.

At last, she was facing the outside, her face staring up at the glistening spires, and shooting up from shattered remains of the old city. She let out a holler. She shifted to face downward and grimaced. The drop was several feet high. “Ko.” She cursed in a mild tone.

A loud chink made her jump sideways, and her eyes close as her face paled. She leaned out the tunnel to see a massive hook and rope. A figured climbed up it with skill. The woman smiled when she recognized who it was. “Hey, Amaria.”

“Stuff it, you are late to the rendezvous.” Amaria, looked very young, her face unlined with the round, soft features of someone not quite mature. Her eyes, in contrast, were mature, and far-seeing.

The older woman grunted. “I went on a mission. I didn’t go out to buy a new dress.”

Gulla.” Amaria voice was girlish and high, but there was a hint of danger in it. “You wanted to lead a rebellion, get used to the fact people will worry about where you are. Come on, jump on and let’s go.”

Gulla’s twitched her lips. “I might need help.”

Amaria’s narrowed her eyes. “Why?”

“I got stabbed.”

“You got stabbed?” Amaria’s black brows shot up underneath her massive pile of bangs.

She shot her a sideways grin. “You adorable, when you’re shocked.”

Young girl ignored her, and twisted close to the wall. She grabbed her arm. “This is going to hurt.” She yanked her out of the shaft, and swung her over to the wall.

Gulla let out a cry, which she cut off by biting the inside of her cheek.

Amaria glanced down, and shouted. “You didn’t pull the knife out. What is wrong with you?”

She clung to the rope for several minutes. “I wasn’t sure if it would be better to leave it in or not.”

“Unbelievable.” Amaria shimmied down the rope. Her eyes level with the knife. She pressed one hand against Gulla’s side. “It does not hurt, you feel fine. The wound is not bleeding.” She repeated the phrase over and over a minute. She took her hand off Gulla’s side and placed it on the hilt of the knife. “Hold on to the rope tight.”

Gulla’s eyes were squeezed shut, and she gave a terse nod.

With a quick rip, Amaria pulled the knife out and let it fall. “I can’t believe you. You are genetically superior being, you are not immortal.”

She opened one eye. “I’m young and foolish.” Her face was white with tension, but she managed a smile.

“No need to tell me. I’ll climb under you. I’ll catch you if you slip and fall.”

Gulla twisted so her legs and arms were wrapped around the rope. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, as always, friend.” Amaria moved down the rope her eyes on Gulla as they made a slow pace down to the ground.

 

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