Disclaimer: None of this is mine except for the language and the events that happen as well as the information.
He blinked his eyes open slowly. The first thing he thought was, I'm freezing cold. He lazily looked around, taking in his surroundings like his best friend always tried teaching him to do. There was something the color of almost-transparent white surrounding him. He shivered. Where am I? He could hear a muffled chink, chink, to his left. Or was it his right? He tried shaking his head but it wouldn't move. It was like he was frozen in place.
The chink-ings had stopped and now he could hear muffled voices. Were they voices? Sometimes he thought that he heard clicks but maybe it was his imagination. A few minutes (or was it hours?) later, he felt a bone-chilling winter wind blow across his face. He turned his head as much as possible to escape it from freezing his face. Another freezing wind struck like a sharp slap that his mother once received a long time ago from his dad. He struggled to keep conscious, but despite his struggle, he fell into a deep, black hole.
"Alo? Alo?" a voice called softly.
Jim opened his eyes as he heard the voice. "Mom?"
The voice laughed. "Click. Click clack Dr. Flashblade. Cum sunt click! senzaţie?"
"Huh?" Jim asked. A light shined right into his eyes, forcing them shut. They were forced open again by the voice. "Where am I?"
"Cìck! Am nevoie de clock un traducător! Cìck!" The urgency made Jim start to sweat.
"Wha-what are you going to do to me?" he screamed. Cold sweat ran down his temple and his palms became clammy. "Where am I? What's happening? Who are you? Why are you speaking so weird? What are you going to do to me? Please! I don't taste like chicken!"
He heard the voice chuckle. "Noi nu mananca pe plan click." A shadow, Jim assumed it belonged to the voice, blocked the bright light for a second. "Mulţumesc."
Jim shielded his eyes from the light just enough to see an outline of a huge black square held by what looked like tongs. He saw the square coming closer and closer to his neck and flinched as he felt the cool metal touch his neck. Jim squirmed, trying to get away. "Num donk." Even though he fought, the square latched onto his neck and knocked him out into a deep sleep.
Then, for the third time, Jim opened his eyes. The light was less harsh than the second time he had woken up, but he still had no idea where he was. He tried to crane his neck up to get somewhat of an idea of where he was, but his neck hurt too much. He laid his head back and closed his eyes, trying to figure out a plan. He moved his arms and legs to see how free they were. His limbs were tied down, but not tightly. He could easily slip them out and leave. I would if the pain in my neck would go away, he thought.
Jim heard a door open and slam shut. "Mă bucur să te click! treaz." The voice! He turned his head, careful to leave his neck as still as possible. In front of him stood a man in his mid-thirties with short blond hair. He wore a metallic silver shirt with teal pants, and white combat boots. The man clutched a thin piece of metal to his chest as he made his way over to Jim. Talk about a fashion disaster, Jim thought. "How click! senzaţie?"
"Huh? How what? And what's that clicking sound?" Jim asked, his voice coming out in a faint whisper.
"Good. It's clėck."
"Where am I? Please, I am so confused!" pleaded Jim, his voice stronger than before.
"Give it a mai puţine cļűz," the man said. While he checked on the machines next to Jim that he had never noticed before, Jim laid silent. He still wanted his questions answered and Jim was not really a patient man.
Then, after a while, the man turned to Jim with an expecting look on his face. "Can I ask my questions now?" Jim asked. The man nodded. "Okay, who are you? Where am I? What's going on? What am I doing here?" The man laughed at the rapid fire questions Jim was firing at him. "It's not funny!" Jim shouted.
"I know," the man said. For the first time, Jim could actually understand him. His voice had a commanding authority to it that made him feel like he had to stand up and salute him. "You must be feeling better."
"How can I suddenly understand you?" Jim asked again.
The man put his hands up in mock surrender. "I'll get there. Just let me finish answering your other questions. My name is Dr. Wildwing Flashblade; I told you when you first woke up. You obviously didn't understand anything I said which is why I put that square on your neck, which we'll get there later. You're in the extensive care unit of our hospital. You were found in a block of ice our gheaţă de recoltat."
"Wait," interrupted Jim, "what's a great de somethingorother?"
"Gheaţă de recoltat," Dr. Flashblade corrected. "They, how do you say it, harvest the ice up in the northern and southern region of our planet. Very expensive and dangerous job. Anyways, they found you frozen in the ice and tried to get you out. They brought you here where we slowly unthawed you and very fortunate to get your heart and brain back up and running. We ran several tests on you and the results showed that you are a healthy twenty-five year old male and born in the year 1949 A.D. You're from the time before our planet fell apart."
Flashblade walked around to the other side of the room. "The thing on your neck is a translator for all and any language in the known universe and the ancient one. It automatically translates my words to yours and vice versa."
"When am I getting out of here and how do you know so much about me?"
Flashblade shrugged. "If you were paying any attention as to what I just said, my team and I ran several tests on you so we could see what we could do to save you. It's rare we ever find people in ice. As for your other question, we're hoping to get you out of here this afternoon if we're lucky, which is more than likely to happen, by the way. Now, until the rest of my team is ready to finish your exams, here are my questions..."
The two talked for hours, answering each other's questions. Sometimes Dr. Flashblade would hold back on the answers, stating that two of his team members would answer those questions later when they took him on the tour before his big interview in front of the historians.
After the tests Dr. Flashblade had promised would come, he guided Jim over to two people, one male and the other female. The male had gray hair with a premature streak of white in the front and looked like he was in his mid-thirties. He wore a wine-colored jumpsuit with lightweight black boots. The female had fiery red hair and looked like she was in her early thirties, just a couple of years younger than the male. She wore a two-toned purple jumpsuit with white combat boots much like Dr. Flashblade. Seriously? Jim thought. What is with their clothing?
"Jim, I'd like you to meet Drs. Duke and Mallory L'Orange," Dr. Flashblade introduced. They are going to show you around and tell you about our planet. Well, technically, it's the same planet as yours but just, older." He turned to face the doctors. "When you guys are done, take him to the Historian's home. I promised him that Jim would be there today. Don't keep him waiting for too long otherwise I am sure all six of us will get angry phone calls."
Jim looked over and saw the doctors holding hands. "Um, Dr. L'Orange?" he hesitantly asked. They both looked over at him waiting for him to continue. "Oh, right," he said bashfully.
They laughed. "How about you just call us Duke and Mallory," Mallory suggested. "It'll be easier for all three of us, trust me."
"Okay, uh, I was wondering if we could get something to eat?" Jim asked. He hadn't eaten all day because of the tests and X-rays earlier that day and it was well past lunchtime according to the numerous clocks that happened to be everywhere in the city.
"Sure," Duke said. Jim was surprised to hear a Brooklyn accent when Duke spoke. It was not like these people knew what Brooklyn was, or what the accent sounded like!
Duke led the small group to a nearby bakery where he order three things that looked like hamburgers and some water. While Duke waited for the orders to come up, Mallory and Jim found a seat by the window that gave a nice view of the busy streets of the city. The early autumn sun lit up the leaves that littered the streets. Duke walked over to the table the two were seated with a tray filled with their orders.
As he set down the tray and handed out the meal, Duke asked Mallory what they should start telling Jim first. He insisted religion but Mallory thought it would be better if they started with the history and then moved into religion, seeing as how it tied in. As the two fought, Jim quietly ate his food that strangely tasted good.
Then, as the fighting got worse, Jim felt like he had to step in. He knew what would happen if he did not stop it. He had seen it enough between himself and his best friend, Will. It had happened plenty of times when Mr. Dark's Carnival had come to town. "Are you guys brother and and sister or something because you certainly fight like you are!" Jim said, loud enough to be heard by the two arguing doctors. They stopped long enough to look at him before they started laughing.
"No," Mallory said.
"We're married," said Duke. "Doesn't seem like it, huh?" Jim shook his head. "Believe me, it works out just fine," he said with a wink. "But go ahead, dear," he said to Mallory, "we can start wit' tha history."
"Thanks." She unwrapped her late lunch and took a couple of bites before starting the tale of the history of the planet. "Back in the early 2000s A.D., our ancestors ruined the planet with war, pollution and hate. The worse the planet got, the worse the fighting got, and soon enough, everything that the humans had worked so hard on in the past, laid in ruins. All of their history was gone. Hundreds of years passed and the planet kept falling apart. The people fought for any supplies they could get their hands on. It wasn't long until the people split into two groups, the Zyxet and the Ettol. Would you like to take over, Duke?" she asked as she gulped down some water.
"Of course, sweetheart," he said. "Okay, now tha Zyxet and tha Ettol were two warrin' tribes. They would fight each day and every night against each otha. One day, after years of fightin', four heavenly bodies accompanied by hundreds of stars, appeared in tha middle of tha biggest battle anyone had ever seen.
"One of tha beings stepped forward. Tha people noticed her fiery red hair and jade green eyes. 'I am Tha Fourth. My friends are known as Tha Third, Tha Second, and Tha First.' As she said each name, she pointed to tha matchin' beings. 'You must stop your fighting and live togetha' in harmony. We are tha creators of this planet and your ancestors and we will not let our hard work fall ta ruins. We shall leave a book filled wit' everythin' you need to know. Follow this closely and you and your children shall survive.' And just as quickly as they arrived, they disappeared." Duke stopped to take a couple swigs of his water and a few more bites of the hamburger-thing. "Do you want ta finish it up until present day?" he asked Mallory.
"Sure," she said. "So, with no other choice, the people read the book given to them by the beings hundreds of times, trying to live the way it said to. You'll get more details about it when we get to the Clădire and tell you more about the religion. Anyways," Mallory said, "The more they read the book, the more the people wanted to improve their way of living, which is exactly what they did. As years went on, their technology improved rapidly. Currently, we have computers, hybrid cars, cities with moving sidewalks, solar panels and wind turbines plenty, tiny music players that can play thousands of songs, and TVs that not only let you see and hear, but also lets you smell and feel what's going on and experience what those on the screen are experiencing with them. It's quite an accomplishment for a planet that had to start everything from scratch. Any questions so far?" Truthfully, Jim's head was spinning with all the new information that he had just gathered. Things like computers and solar panels and wind turbines confused him and he wasn't quite sure what they were. With the way Mallory made it sound, it seemed like they were something as common as the sun. He didn't want to bore the doctors with pointless, stupid questions so he shook his head.
"Cool," Duke said "Let's go to the main Clădire and teach him more about the Scrolls."
Mallory nodded. "Good idea."
"Woah," Jim breathed. On the outside, the Clădire looked like a normal church with the bell towers and big doors and large windows. But on the inside, it looked nothing like a normal church. There were little pillows on the floor and large, open windows that allowed plenty of light and air flow through the building. There were pictures hanging on the walls depicting four different people surrounded by things that Jim assumed they represented. There were statues and pieces of art everywhere and refreshments everywhere.
"This is the Clădire, our place of worship," Duke said from behind Jim. "See that book up there in the front? That's The Scrolls of Ascension. In it, it says that if people live good lives, they will ascend into the sky with The Four and zoom through the universe, protecting it and all that live within."
Duke pointed at each picture on the wall as he talked. "So the four different people you see in each of these pictures are one of The Four. They each represented a different thing. The First was accepting others and yourself; The Second was respecting the elements and Mother Nature; The Third was change and second chances; and The Fourth was compassion and intelligence. As our ancestors read the Scrolls, they quickly realized that The Four had done incredible things in their human forms. The people, naming themselves the Star-Seekers, made them their gods, naming them The Four and their religion Stellism after their goal to ascend into the night sky with The Four and others that had joined them." Duke looked at Jim and asked, "Any questions?"
"Not really," Jim said, "but what happens if you don't live a good life? Are you reborn or do you just die? And are you called a Star-Seeker, too?"
Duke shrugged his shoulders. "Nobody really knows. The Scrolls make it sound like it you can either ascend into the stars, be reborn, or just die and have nothing happen to you again. But like I said, nobody really knows. It's not mentioned much. The Four don't want you to focus on what could happen, just what you want to. They want us to join them, not try again or disappear. As for your second question, yes. Everyone who believes in Stellism is called a Star-Seeker, which is everyone on the planet, by the way."
"Okay," Jim said slowly, "so do you guys have any holidays like Christmas or Easter?"
Duke looked at him with a questioning glance.
"Uh, days where you celebrate your gods," Jim tried again.
"Oh, you mean holy days," Duke said, his face brightening with recognition. "Ya, ah course we do. Every year on the day The Four came is their biggest holy day. On this day, called The Descent, there are parades, reenactments of the historic event, parties, and worship services honoring The Four and thanking them for changing their ways. There are four other holy days, each of The Fours' birthdays. On these days, there are half-day services held for the god."
"Come on, you guys!" Mallory poked her head inside the building to round up the two men. "We have to drive over to the Historian's house and you know how long that'll take. We're on a strict time schedule!"
Duke and Jim laughed when Mal's head disappeared behind the door. "Is she always like this?" Jim asked.
Duke nodded. "She's lived in tha army her whole life. It's expected."
"Our government is very different from most common forms," Mallory informed Jim as she drove the car down the jam-packed highway. "It's called technocracy. In this government, engineers, scientists, health professionals and other technical experts are in control of decision making in their respective fields. In a technocracy, decision makers are selected based upon how highly knowledgeable they are, rather than how much political capital they hold." She paused as she sped through a yellow light and turned right. "Those who are chosen must give up everything to live simplistic lives so they can focus solely on their jobs and the decision making."
"Isn't that kinda cruel?" Jim asked. "Forcing them to give up everything just so they can make decisions?
"They choose it for themselves," Duke answered.
Mallory nodded. "Exactly. And it's not as bad as it sounds. Most, if not all, are very happy with the simplicity. Not to mention that it gets them away from the greed of power and bribery of people. They can't gain anything power or money wise while they are in office. It works out very well."
The car was silent for a while which was fine by Jim. He needed time to think things over. After all, this morning was the first time he had actually been awake for more than five minutes in what, a hundred years? No, that couldn't be it. With everything that the Star-Seekers had, it had to be more like at least a thousand. They were way more advance than he remembered Earth ever being. Not to mention that he had to start remembering what Earth was like so he could tell this Historian guy the information he needed. Jim continued to stare out the window when a thought occurred to him. One minute they were in the city and the next all he could see were trees.
"What happened to the city?" he asked.
"We left it," Duke answered. "That's our largest city and one of the few cities in the world. Our planet is very diverse when it comes to geography. There are sky-soaring mountains always covered in snow and green rolling hills filled with sunshine. Bustling cities with skyscrapers to peaceful farms with classic barns. Raging rivers and quiet streams in the middle of every forest, and oceans filled with the mysteries of the unknown, hidden by the watery protectors. Tropical islands with white, smooth sand and icy continents with blinding ice and freezing air. And it all changes within a blink of an eye." Jim was impressed. The Earth he knew was nothing like that. The rest of the car ride to the Historian's house was quiet.
Mallory pulled the car up a long driveway that led to fifteen, twenty houses all next to each other. They were all one level, simple looking houses with a couple of windows and a door.
As the three got out of the car, Jim couldn't help but ask, "Will I be able to understand the Historian? I mean, he still speaks the same language you guys do, right?"
Mallory nodded. "But it might take a little bit, though," she said. "The language of the Star-Seekers is quite complex, involving a mixture of words and clicks of the tongue, a combination of the original two languages spoken by the Zyxet and Ettol. Like any language, there are different accents depending on where the speaker is from. The Historian and his colleges speak similarly to Dr. Flashblade, Duke, and myself, but with a few different words here and there. Nothing your translator won't be able to pick up on." She smiled reassuringly.
"So what is it that I'm answering, exactly," Jim asked.
"Whateva questions tha Historian has," said Duke. "There's bound to be some clarifying questions, but if you don't know them, that's fine. You see, education is very important to us as it is to The Fourth. Little ones start going to school at the age of four and continue until they are in their mid-twenties. The courses are quite rigorous and, even though they finish school, we are encouraged to take extra courses outside of school and work. You are like a scientist's and historian's dream come true! But like I said, don't worry. Everything will be alright." Jim gulped but nodded. The doctors walked him up to the door of the middle house and rang the doorbell.
"Now remember," Mallory said, "try and answer everything you can as detailed as you can. This is important information not only for our history, but for future generations. Everything you know, we need to know. Understand?" Jim nodded, the words on his tongue gone. There was so much he wanted to know about the Star-Seekers and their civilization before he walked into the interview, but knew that wasn't going to happen.
"Don't be stressed, kid," Duke said jokingly. "You'll do fine." Jim nodded again, wanting to ask more questions than ever. Jim mentally braced himself as he heard the door open and stepped inside.
Hey guys! This is my project that I worked on for school and for a website called Storybird (which is a huge pain in my butt!). The goal was to build a civilization and make a story including a character from one of our novels/short stories that we have read. So I chose Jim Nightshade from Something Wicked This Way Comes. The words in italics are clicks of the tongue, based off of the language in tropical Africa. Yes, it is a real language and very difficult to understand.
Some of the characters I use you might recognize from other stories of mine. For example, you already know Jim Nightshade, but I also have The Four (which I'm still working on) and several characters from Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, one of my faves. I did have to make them human, for those of you who know what I'm talking about, for the sake of the story. I hope you enjoyed my project and please leave a review. Thanks!
Until next chapter,