Author : Desmond Hussey
The holy city resembles a colossal dodecahedron two and half thousand kilometers thick. The reflection of a billion suns slip across its twelve quicksilver surfaces as it speeds through space, yet the bowels of the craft remain dark, as it has for millennia.
Then there is light.
Triggered by unseen hands, hidden machines whir into motion performing pre-programmed functions. A complex series of green pinpoints blink on and banks of blue, crystaline eggs flicker to luminescent life. Slowly, the frosty wombs clear revealing sleeping toddlers within.
A sun-like orb flares into being at the center of the craft, illuminating a lush oasis wrapped around the inner walls of the sphere. Twin rivers spiral from an equatorial lake twisting into either hemisphere, flanked on either side by a forest of metallic, tree-like structures rising above dense foliage. Dangling from leafless branches are strange crimson fruit; bulbous, opaque membranes, veined and throbbing with organic fluids. Elsewhere, within a hundred and forty four thousand crystalline eggs, the first born awaken to a new morning.
Gay laughter resounds throughout the enormous garden chamber as naked multi-racial youths frolic under the warm eternal sunlight.
A boy and a girl stand alone by the river looking up in wonder at the pear shaped, fleshy masses hanging from one of the metallic trees.
“What are they?” The girl asks.
“They’re the second born..” The boy answers, studying the veins radiating over the membranous orb, tracing them to where they thicken and pulse at the stem.
“From the Old World?”
“When will they join us?”
“When we’re home.”
They stare at the throbbing fruit. After a time, the girl speaks. “I want to see what’s inside.”
The boy says simply, “It’s forbidden.”
“It can’t hurt to look inside just one. Besides, I’ve seen one fall before,” the girl lies effortlessly, “Long ago. They just shriveled up.”
The boy has no reason to doubt her. There has never been cause to tell a falsehood here. His own curiosity wins out.
Just one. They vow.
Gracefully, the boy scales the thick metal trunk and edges onto a limb. He tugs at the thick, rubbery stem of the nearest fruit, but he cannot dislodge the mass.
“Here!” the girl whispers, waving a sharp stick from a nearby shrub. “Use this.” She lobs the branch up to him.
He plunges the pointed end into the dangling bulb and it bursts open with a gout of reddish brown fluid. The puncture quickly widens from the weight of the sac’s contents and the boy glimpses a figure floating in the remaining ooze. A foreign, earthy odor assaults his senses. He gulps fresh air and leans in for closer inspection.
The figure awakens suddenly, screaming, its pupiless eyes bulging wildly. Startled, the boy loses his grip and falls awkwardly from the branch, smashing his skull against the steel trunk, soaking the turf in dark blood.
Father Rasmussen is yanked from an insensate oblivion into a world of blinding agony as his unformed clone is prematurely awakened in its artificial womb. His undeveloped lungs burn and his body convulses, but his mind is intact, ringing with the last command made by the Armaggeddon Angel who took his life. “Remember”, they ordered. “Remember and teach”. And he does. He remembers everything; humanity’s fateful history, his home destroyed by aliens playing God. He remembers the one hundred and forty four thousand infants found without guile, protected in a vain hope to cure humanity’s Evil. He takes his memories and his knowledge with him as he dies a second time, thousands of light years from home.
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