The generation ship was never actually intended to journey across the stars. It was just supposed to act as a social experiment and a show piece. It was a precursor to intergalactic travel which would hopefully fill people with wonder and inspire future scientists and explorers to strive for life beyond earth. Hopefully it would also garner some much needed funding.
Unfortunately this prototype testament to human engineering would forever remain a one of a kind marvel. With only sixteen people on board it was forced to become a functioning lifeboat for the last of humanity. Only days before the original crew were set to trade off with a younger group of astronauts, the nations of the earth fell onto each other in a resource war that quickly escalated into full on nuclear conflict.
Perhaps some people survived down there, but there was no sign of life though the ship's telescopes and no communications coming through. To make matters worse, the occasional waves of radiation and heavy radio static coming off of the planet's surface were wreaking havoc on their life support, navigation and propulsion systems. The crew voted. It was unanimous. They would leave the earth behind and hand their fate to the winds of space.
Twenty-six years later, only one child had been born to the aging crew. Only three of his elders remained alive to accompany him on the journey to the nearest possibly habitable star system. This was the second they had tried. The first turned out to be a barren rock. It had water but was far too toxic to sustain life. This time, they were in luck.
To the astronauts' surprise this world was not only habitable, but inhabited.
"I know we are eager to get off of this tin can, but first contact is a big responsibility and we have to do this right." The acting captain, Jenkins, said as they marveled over the impossible alien cityscape on their screens. "Who do we send?"
"I'll go." The boy, Frankie, volunteered. There was some debate about his youth and ignorance of social situations, but it was decided that despite all that he presented,I the least threatening visage and possibly his fresh eyes could endear the people of this world to him.
The capsule fell to the surface just as it was intended to. The elder space travelers guided it to a field, within walking distance of one of the large towns.
Franky noted the smoking chimneys and steam pipes through the porthole, as he passed by a few rooftops during his descent. He thought the population must power their society with something similar to the coal used on earth in bygone eras.
The capsule landed and the youth stepped out onto the red grass. Seed pods popped under his feet as he made his way towards the brick homes.
A crowd was beginning to gather. The people of this world were basically human in shape but were blue and had features like fish or perhaps lizards. There was fear in their eyes as the stranger, who had arrived in a flaming metal egg, slowly advanced on them. They spoke in a language that would take Frankie's translation software weeks to decode and a few of them brandished some sort of weapons.
It looked like this first encounter might turn ugly and not knowing what else to do, the boy sat down in the dirt, a few yards from his new hosts and began drawing his native solar system in the sand and pointing skyward. He told them a story they couldn't possibly understand, in the least threatening tone he could muster and eventually the braver or more curious of the fish people inched closer to find out what he was doing.
After about an hour a loud roar echoed through the air and the crowd quickly retreated to their homes. A few peered though barred windows as something approached from the forest of thorns and vines, beyond the red field.
Frankie stood and dusted himself off. He started to make his way back to the shelter of his pod, but when the beast appeared, it quickly cut him off. It was an enormous, weasel-like creature, as long as one of the busses he knew from old video files and as tall as an elephant.
There was no escape. The thing before the boy born in space was giant and fast and clearly intent on eating small humanoids, such as him. It reared above him and roared. He fell onto his back in fear and as it came down, jaws open, he instinctively lashed out with both feet. He expected death, but to his surprise he felt his attacker's jaw break like wet cardboard under his boots. It fell back and screamed. Silver-grey blood fell from it's mouth by the gallon and it convulsed and desperately made it's escape.
It was a stroke of luck that first contact didn't begin with a handshake. As it turned out this world was composed of low density minerals and so were the beings who inhabited it. The Vextirii eventually came to love their human protectors but they were never able to live in close quarters. When Frankie and his crewmates walked the stre
The Dragon's Blossom
Since the fire keepers had first emerged from the mists of antiquity, it had been known that a long and happy marriage was only guaranteed if the bride wore a dragon's blossom in her hair during the wedding.
Yongil had traded seven fat goats for the flower when he married Neest. But that was some twenty summers past. Much of the old ways had died out with the blue wyverns.
The beasts were the only domesticated breed of dragon and as everyone knew the flowers grew in their stool. Glass scale was a fast pox and it spread through the stables like fire across the brown brush of year's end.
Most couples skipped the expense of the near-impossible to obtain blossom, these days, but Yongil was a traditionalist and he would be damned if his daughter was going to suffer through a loveless marriage, infidelity, a drunkard of a husband or death during child birth. No. He would do as his great-grandfather had done. He struck out into the mountains in search of the wild wings.
Three days into the hunt he saw the signs. The trees at the base of a rocky peak were scratched at the trunk. They smelled of reptiles' urine. The ground was littered in the bones of both stag and boar.
The old man looked up at the stone maze, leading into the clouds and let out a long sigh. If nothing else, his knees would burn for months after this. He left a lot to hope as he picked his way to the summit. If luck was with him, the creature would be out on the prowl when he arrived. If the gods were kind it would be a small, lame beast of great age and half blind. If miracles still happened it would be freshly dead due to some happy accident and he could pick the perfect flower at his leisure.
Yongil knew it wouldn't be that easy. For one thing, the youth no longer made offerings at the temples and he doubted the gods still listened to the few voices who sought them out. He was surprised when he discovered that not all was grim. He came out above the aerie and as he crept to the edge, he saw his prey stretched out, soaking in the sun.
It was a young male feather drake, the smallest of the dragon breeds. Small was relative in this context. It was the size of a farm horse, not counting its thirty foot wingspan. It had claws like a bear and a long tail that could take a man off of his feet.
The hunter kissed his axe and silently promised the North Wind he would burn double sacrifices next time he came into the village if it would grant him swift feet.
Bletslania was more worried than upset, when her father was late showing up to the Nuptial Grove. Still, she insisted that they couldn't start without him. She pleaded with him not to go on his fool's errand after some superstitious flower. She thought they had come to an agreement on the subject, but of course that man had done as he pleased, as he always did when he thought something was best for her.
The sun was beginning to sink and those gathered to watch the ceremony were all looking worried and whispering to one another when Yongil finally appeared at the far end of the clearing. He was stumbling and covered in dirt. He wore an unseasonably heavy cloak and kept it wrapped tightly around him.
The girl stomped over, but, before she could yell, a left hand stuck out from beneath the soiled cape bearing the most beautiful blossom she had ever seen. "I know you don't approve," her father rasped, "but there was much wisdom on the tongues of our ancestors and their ways are our ways. Please... take this."
Bletslania and her love stood before the priest. He recited the song of union and together the couple dug a hole and planted the seedling that would grow into their life tree.
Yongil was there when they started digging, but when they'd finished patting down the earth his daughter looked up and he was gone.
Half a moon later, Bletslania made the trek to her father's cabin; a day's ride from the village. The cozy log home was just big enough to house a lone widower and his memories of past glories.
"Why haven't you been around?" She asked.
He didn't immediately answer. Finally he turned from the pot he was stirring over the fire pit. "I've needed rest and you needed to enjoy yourself, without worrying about an old man and his problems."
It was then that she saw his right hand or rather the hook carved from a deers antler, where his hand had once been. "Daddy, what happened?!"
"Sometimes love," Yongil's smile was bitter sweet ",takes a heavy toll."
The double thought involved in this is incredible
Created 1 year, 9 months ago.
Animations and political commentary from an anti censorship, right leaning comedian. Occasionally I do movie/book reviews, history and travel videos, too.