"The Rise of the Alliance"
A "Star Fleet" Science Fiction Prequel story by Vanessa DeBryer.
Is it within the essence of all things? The age-old played-out story, looping over and over, around and around, again and again and again...That battle between good and evil. We see it in history, culture, religion, nature, and everywhere that life seems to be. Species battling for life, for supremacy, to procreate, populate, dominate, to rise and to fall. With fate taking a hand every now and then to stir things up a bit.
They say that there are no new ideas, that nothing is new, it's all been done before and forgotten and done again. Is not every possibility played out in the vastness of time and space? Can something loop back on itself, re-occurring in different ways for time immemorial? What develops as mere fiction in one time and place, could yet be happening, or may one day occur, eons into the future, or the far flung past?
How could we have known that? How could we have prepared? Such things do not really happen do they?...
The year is 1982.
A young lad scampered downstairs into the lounge, he could still taste the toothpaste on his lips as he switched on the television and waited for it to warm up. A picture slowly appeared as he frantically punched button 3 on the remote control. A familiar tune was nearly over, but he hadn't missed anything, it was just beginning. Star Fleet, an amazing space adventure show, and one that he was desperately trying to watch without being noticed. The action began, laser torpedoes firing, lots of flashes and explosions, and a big red robot, cool!
Barely had he settled down, legs crossed on the sofa, cushion hugged to his chest when his mum burst in, "what are you doing watching the television on such a nice day!" she boomed.
Then she glanced at the screen, "this is too young for you!"
Without further ado, amidst much protestations, she turned the TV off and dragged said child out of the lounge, pulling the cushion from his grasp.
"Now go and play with your brother outside" she snapped.
Just as she had turned off the picture, he had caught a glimpse of that strange, scary but somehow oh so very interesting character that so fascinated him. Sure, she was a "baddie", but as girls went, she seemed pretty cool, and quite a powerful if rather evil individual. Without really knowing why, he looked up to her, even though he knew it was wrong somehow. Thanks to the efforts of his mother, he never got to see much more of that show, he never knew how it all ended, but the seed had been sown.
As the years passed by, the memory faded but never quite disappeared, something had struck out for life and wasn't going to stop until it had won.
There are species, more advanced than ours, that have made their presence felt upon the earth, many moons ago.
For whatever reason, they chose, or were forced, to leave. There are clues of course, and the peoples around at the time did take heed of some of their most basic of methods. You only have to look into history to see ancient civilisations, distant ruins now, but well advanced for such times. How? Why? Who? Such questions are constantly asked by our historians. Is it all so easily explained away?
The year is now 2000.
Mary Brady, a tall pale wiry woman, dressed in slightly gothic clothes, long brown hair flying about in the wind, skipped between the remains of the stony ruin she was excitedly examining. A session drummer by trade, she fancied herself as an amateur historian. She had always been fascinated by the ancients, the sophistication of the Greeks, the style of the Egyptians, the mystery of Atlantis and the lost Wonders, the treasures of the lost civilisations of the Americas. Indeed, as a tiny gesture of admiration, known only to her, she always did her eye make-up with a nod to the ancient Egyptians. A smile each morning as she remembered her secret homage.
Her own life had been a torrent of complexities, her mind still burning away, even now, under the surface. Is this really all there is? Not convinced by any religion, but maybe not quite a die-hard atheist either, she had yet to make her mind up about it all, and maybe she never would. Now, as she stood amongst the ancient ruins, fascinated by their very existence, and all the possibilities that that brings into her mind, darkness is out of immediate thought. But it would return, it always did. Is it depression? Or a madness of some kind? A defect in her makeup as a human? Some doctors had even diagnosed a type of schizophrenia. It was always a battle to keep it away, at bay, under wraps, out of sight. But inside, an indestructible beast growls, it wants to tear her apart, and everything around it, and no matter what Mary does, she cannot kill it.
Her friend, nay, her one time lover, The Captain, had known of this, but had proved to be the only one who could tame this beast. She always knew that the dashing Captain was special, how had this person coped with her violent self-destructive moods with seemingly a twisted alter-ego taking over, and known what to do? It was all beyond her. Tall, dark and handsome, he was the archetypal dream guy. She mused about the Captain's strange mutterings of not being from this earth, of being sent here to help her get better. And that they had done with some success, and Mary was still here after all that had happened. Yet the Captain was not with Mary any longer, the beast within her had lashed out again and again, and the poor Captain had eventually declared that it was not possible to help her fight her dark demons any longer. Although officially missing whilst flying a light aircraft, Mary secretly harboured thoughts that her Captain had actually gone back to the stars somewhere... No that was just silliness. "Don't think about it any more or you will just upset yourself again", she tried to tell herself. But in her heart she had loved him so, mysterious, distant, and so strong, oh how she missed him...Yet that other dark side of her felt victorious in sending him away.
Drying her eye she viewed the ruined Greek temple with interest, the detailed interest of a budding historian; How was it made, and why?
Her mind drifted again, as it was apt to do...
Mary had hated the drugs that the psychiatric doctors had prescribed, they made her feel like a zombie, so she refused to take them, even though this policy bought perils of it's own. She was trying to battle against her demons her own way. This was a risky business, she had gone out of control in the past. The demon inside trying to consume her whenever it could, and she had accepted death on so many occasions that it held little fear for her now.
But at this precise moment all was well, her friend Pippa was with her and they were doing something that she felt was worthwhile and interesting. It would take her mind off the darkness within, and for now, it was.
As they climbed amongst the ruins, the huge pillars towered above, weathered and so extremely old, yet so well made. Such craftsmanship, Mary admired them, the few that remained standing were a testament to the ancients that had built them. She wondered how this had been done without any of the modern tools that are taken so much for granted now? What had this structure been all about really? She tried to imagine it in all it's former glory, lost in times past for a moment, until Pippa shouted:
"Hey Mary! Come on sleepy head".
"Coming Pippa!" Mary tried to say without any malice, she hadn't been sleeping!
"The sun is starting to go down" Pippa quipped, not entirely unaware of Mary's tone.
"Just a bit more then we'll go", said Mary, more pleasantly this time, and strode off towards an intriguing open line of sight, running through the ruins. Her mind, ever the inquisitor, was wondering what it was for. Pippa scrambled up to Mary and noted with mild dismay that she had got the bit between her teeth again. Pippa bit her lip and followed on behind, she knew how stubborn Mary could be.
The sun began to go down, a blazing ball of light, playing long shadows off the ancient temple ruins. It was still uncomfortably hot though, and the heat seemed to make Mary's temper even quicker, causing Pippa to tiptoe about, trying not to incur too much wrath.
Mary got to a strange large round stone, seemingly lying at the end of the pathway, and patting it she turned and saw the sun dipping down behind the keystones lying on the tops of the remaining Grecian pillars. The beauty and yet mystery and dilapidated nature of the ruin overtook her, and a tear rolled down her cheek.
Her eyes closed and she was suddenly battling with her demons again. The darkness threatened to overcome her, and that part of her that was so gentle and feminine was suddenly afraid, and tears flowed. Without the Captain to help, the attacks were getting stronger. A flashback of her life blasted its way into her mind:
She remembered being so consumed with negativity from such an early age. When had this started? She had often wondered. It was almost like another person would take over and push her out of the way. A dark and evil personality would come to the fore, and would exert a controlling influence over the way Mary's life panned out. Back then, Mary had started life as a boy; A voice inside his head, a nagging persistent voice that had been there for as long as he could remember was trying to guide him, to tell him, to convince him, to push him towards a different path. Maddening and continuous, picking away, constantly suggesting that something was wrong. He had tried to bury himself in his love for music and rhythm, even getting good qualifications, he was no idiot. Yet still, the demon persisted, and he began to hate himself. The hatred would spill out, and love for others would wane. He had remembered watching a program on TV about a possible meteorite hitting the earth and thinking selfishly "Good! I hope it wipes everything out". Such was the distain that was created when the darkness rose, boiling over like a black cauldron of contempt.
He had eventually surmised that the demon was caused by his total despise of his physical appearance. But had it been his own thoughts that had spurred him on to think that maybe he was really a woman, trapped in a man's body? A dysmorphia, as it is known. Had he been guided down this path, or had it been the right thing to do all along? Such a though was not arrived at lightly, it had been there, distantly nagging away at him for years. Suppressed for so long, it had become entwined with the demon that wrought such loathing and despair. Surely it could be tamed, satiated, banished forever by him daring to let out the inner woman? As time had passed, he had slowly danced with this other woman, had he not become possessed by her? He gradually decided he needed her to banish his dark side once and for all. This was not a path to be taken lightly, but he became so stubborn and determined, that nothing, friends, jobs or loved-ones, would stand in his way. Thus Mary was born, or ushered forth into the light. Sure there was pain, inconceivable amounts of the stuff, but she fought through, and succeeded.
Remembering that feeling of finally winning out, of looking down at the new body she now had, full of wonderment and joy, she felt she had made the right decision, but had it been her decision? She sought courage and made life her own. New friends and jobs came and went, no-one knew of her past. She was finally comfortable with her appearance, and standing, in the social and sexual world of men and women. But life was not perfect, you are what you are, and old skills and abilities run deep. She was finding out the hard way, how to make it in a man's world with the inherent lack of respect that men sometimes show women. She resolved to make them respect her, and some did, but she was still rankled by these new experiences. A dim and distant memory of a powerful female character, forcing her way in a male-dominated world seeped back into her mind. By using the singular power of possessing the abilities of both genders, she began to fight back, and got ahead because of these unique insights she had. To others, she appeared powerful, and not suffering of fools, needing things done her way, and stubborn to boot. A dragon even, but with a gentle heart... Yet the stability she craved was crumbling once again.
To her surprise and dismay, the darkness had not been banished, sure it had been subdued for a while, but it was returning, gaining power all the time. There was no loathing of her physical appearance this time around, her demonic alter ego sought mastery over it's new body.
Eventually this flip personality that had plagued Mary began testing her self control, and once again, the evil twin that had dominated her life threatened to take her over. Was this fate trying to right a wrong? Was it the ultimately misguided attempts of the Captain to keep Mary on the straight and narrow that were to blame? Sure, she was still alive, but was she just a ticking time-bomb, waiting to explode? The demon was hollowing her out from the inside, where had it come from? Or was it just that age-old fight between good and evil, playing itself out in such a terrible way within this poor mind? Maybe she was doomed whatever she did...
Suddenly Mary snapped out of her flashback, Pippa was calling to her, "Hey are you OK?"
Mary thanked herself that Pippa was not close enough to see her tears, "I'm fine, just a bit overwhelmed by this whole place".
"I know what you mean, it's so amazing" said her short, blonde and bubbly friend.
A flash of contempt flew across Mary's mind as she thought "amazing? Is that all you can say", but she scotched the thoughts as best she could and got on with the task in hand of exploring the ruin just a little bit longer. The sun had dipped down even further as Mary examined the curious cylindrical stone, with it's own clearway through the ruin. There seemed to be a small, and very worn indentation in the top of the stone, in the centre of the flat topped cylinder. The stone was about 3 ft high, and Mary suddenly had an idea. Maybe just for fun, or to make a photo, or maybe it was something else that guided her hand, but she reached into her handbag and bought out a current favourite knick-knack she had been carrying around. Her bag was festooned with odd keyrings, charms, and little souvenirs of things she loved, it sometimes helped to keep the demons away. She could draw strength from them at times, and amongst these was a little photo-keyring she had created of an old character from her dim and distant childhood past whose strength she often wished for herself. Sure, not the ideal role model, but a powerful female figurehead nonetheless, whose bad-girl image had appealed to Mary's darker side.
She suddenly felt butterflies in her stomach, but had no idea why, as she took out a little resin figure of the Egyptian Cat goddess Bast from her capacious satchel. She had bought this recently while they were on a visit to see the sights of ancient Egypt.
The girls were on a tour of ancient landmarks from times past, it was Pippa's idea to help Mary keep her spirits up. Mary found the cat-shaped souvenir quite cute, and bought it out for photo opportunities whenever she felt so inclined. It appealed to her warped sense of humour, an Egyptian goddess at an ancient Greek temple ruin.
She took the resin figure, said to contain a "sacred" grain of sand from the ancient pharaohs lands, and popped it onto the top of the stone. She noted with surprise that the feet of the statue seemed to fit in the recess on the top of the stone quite well. "Look at that" she quipped to Pippa, "made to measure!".
Pippa was standing a few feet away but she could see the statue and giggled,
"Mary, this is Greece not Egypt".
But Mary's eyes were further afield, she had noticed that the sun was lining up with the pathway and looked like it would shine directly onto the stone. Now that would make a photo and a half, she thought, gesturing to Pippa to look at the sun's rays. Then suddenly she noticed the rock, partway down the path. It would block out the suns direct line of sight just as it dropped below the hillside on which the temple stood. With uncharacteristic panic, added to her usual stubbornness, she suddenly rushed down the path, past a surprised Pippa, and attacked the rock, trying to move it with all her might. Now this lump of stone had been lying there for quite a while, and was not going to be brushed aside so easily.
"Come and help me move this" she snapped at Pippa.
"Hey, don't hurt yourself, that will never move, and you know it silly!" said Pippa in a surprised but surefast tone. Mary turned and gave Pippa one of her stares, and her rage began to boil over. "Why is she getting so angry over this silly rock?" thought Pippa. Mary barked at her again and Pippa reluctantly came over to help.
"We'll never move this you know".
"Put your back into it!"
Pippa suddenly became aware of an urgency in Mary she hadn't seen much of before, as she began straining like mad to nudge the rock out of the way. Mary was now purple in the face and Pippa began to worry that she would really hurt herself, but also knowing Mary's stubbornness, she decided that the best thing to do was to help and shut up.
Maybe it was the fact that Mary had once been a man in the distant past, that gave her an almost super-human strength at times, although you wouldn't think that looking at her. She was quite the looker, never struggling to catch a guy's eye if she cared, and sometimes if she did not. But whatever it was, the rock suddenly moved, at least enough to satisfy Mary and she ran back to the stone to catch the spectacle of light she was hoping for. Pippa collapsed back on the grassy bank, amazed that her friend had the stamina to seemingly move mountains, and spring into life without so much as a caught breath. As Mary reached the stone she turned and looked at the sun, as close as she dared. Breathlessness finally overcame her and she put both hands on the stone as she stood to the side to let the light play onto it.
Had fate intervened again, was this the prodding that the universe needed, to play out that ancient battle over again?
It was that time, the sun lined up exactly with the carved out pathway, and shone on the ancient stone, in a way that had not been possible for centuries, as the ruined rock had blocked it's path. Had this been deliberate or not? Well, maybe we will never know, as events now unfolded at a great rate.
The single grain of sand deep within the resin of the statue, nay trinket, that had been placed upon the ancient altar took the heat from the stone below. A certain, invisible wavelength irradiated from the stone, and Mary felt it warm up astonishingly quickly, too quickly for normal in her mind. Pippa stared as she sat on the side of the bank, the stone almost glowed as the fiery redness of the sun illuminated it's old friend once more. A high pitched noise took Mary's eyes away from the spectacle of the sunlight as it shone along the pathway, concentrating it's rays as if it knew the drill from times of old.
Mary's stare was drawn to the resin statue, the sound seemed to be coming from that. It almost seemed to buzz, and then the cat figure melted away in an instant. Mary's jaw dropped as the grain of sand remained, suspended a couple of inches above the stone, and it sparkled through the colours of the rainbow, faster it went, until just white light remained. The while light grew outwards in all directions from the grain, engulfing the entire stone and an astonished yet transfixed Mary with it.
And then, in an instant, a bright flash of light and Mary was gone.
Pippa's stare was forced away by the intensity of the light, the earth shook and a piece of the ruin toppled and fell to the hard stone ground, splitting and throwing up fragments large and small as it did so. Pippa was struck on the head and was knocked unconscious, and then another much larger fragment landed in the middle of the pathway. The sun was again denied it's sight of the special altar, and some tiny wisps of glass blew off the top of the stone, where the grain of sand had once been held.
It was some time before a group of sightseers came across the crumpled near-lifeless body of Pippa. Not knowing what had happened, and no-one else being around, they took her back to the nearest hotel, where the medical services were called.
Maybe it was luck that she was deep in a coma, well, who would have believed her story anyway? Of Mary there was no trace, and this did achieve a small amount of publicity. A small tremor had been felt, the epicentre had indeed been the mountain where the old ruins were situated. But no other clues could be found, and without any testimony forthcoming from the only possible witness, Mary's disappearance was chalked up as yet another missing person. Her family distraught over the lack of ability, in their eyes, of the Greek authorities to mount a sufficiently thorough investigation.