Glitter

“Not all that glitters is star, not all those who wander are lost…”

He mumbled the first two lines of a variation of Tolkien’s poem in Lord of the Rings. Looking out of his observatory deck, the view was indeed breathtaking. He was drifting in space while the ring systems of Saturn slowly crept into the view. That was roughly over one billion kilometres away from Earth, and the wanderer was finally close to his home.

“…The old that is strong does not wither, deep core is not reached by the frost…”

The rings, a great feature of the gas giant, formed a glittering halo around its mother planet. Billions of tiny pebbles and ice cubes reflected the sunlight to his capsule, not unlike a flowing river that sheen with Sun’s grace. Sun, the yellow star that is special to humanity yet is totally ordinary in the universe, was fine now. He thought to himself. At least, it still remained unharmed, untouched by those hunters from which he escaped.

“…From the stardust a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring…”

He remembered what Mrs. Amy had taught in that breezy afternoon: Stars are born from the gravitational pull of the space dust, a gathering force so strong that the space dust starts to fuse and radiate heat and light. Most of them burn through their fuel and go off in a spectacular fashion, spewing out stardust in every possible direction. The cycle repeats and a new star is born again. He still remembered how the sunlight reflected off his crush’s glasses, and how beautiful her eyes looked under the autumn sun.

He stopped before the last couplet. The space capsule tumbled and stumbled, and he caught glimpses of a terrifying view every time the observation deck faced the Sun. It glittered, or in a better term, became glitters in the black backdrop of space. The sphere of hot plasma has disintegrated into thousands of small balls, like a big bubble breaking down into small ones in bathtub.

At that moment, he knew he was too late.

 

via Daily Prompt: Glitter

Yellow

Any sort of colour was a welcome sight to him. In his field, people grouped different subjects in terms of their colours – red, yellow, blue – and studied them. The different hues showed the maturity of each star, how close it was to its doomsday. They could blow up in a interstellar firework, or collapse to a black hole. Of course, the assumption was the star died to a natural cause.

To him, yellow was particularly alluring. It signified home, instilling a sense of belonging in him. The appearance of a small yellow speck on his navi-globe could have brought him to tears. That could mean the Sun, and in turn, Earth, his home.

He has been a space nomad for twenty years. Or that’s what his console’s screen showed him after the superluminal device broke down. You couldn’t really count days and years in space without a reference point. After all, the notion of year started as the time for Earth to revolve around the Sun for a complete round.

His space capsule was kept in a tumbling motion to create a micro-gravity environment, not unlike how a rollercoaster could keep the passengers on the seats. He once groaned at the reason when Mrs. Amy mentioned it in Physics class – “For God’s sake, there are seat belts!” No one could argue with the universal law of centrifugal force though, especially when you’re stranded in space without any seat belt.

He was on a mission from Aegean: to be a herald of inevitable doom from Marathon. And he’s afraid he was too late. Mrs. Amy and all the people he knew might have perished, and everything he knew turned into dust.

 

via Daily Prompt: Yellow

Marathon

Word had it that space was the final frontier – a boundary to push ourselves beyond our capabilities to achieve things beyond our imagination. What the word didn’t say was we might cower and crumble under the sheer speechless horror when facing the unimaginable.

He opened his eyes and gasped when the capsule shook uncontrollably. It has been two hundreds years since he was put in the stasis, and his awakening could only spell one thing: the total destruction of Starfleet Endeavour. The battle at Aegean System must have failed, and he needed to carry the message back to the Earth.

He was one of the ten Mercury agents, a special crew trained for superluminal travel to carry messages between two predestined points. The discovery of such technological breakthrough happened in 3,257 AD at Planet Ionian, a planet at the outer rim of Aegean. Humanity elated at its potential: hyperspace travel, information transmission and other dreams once forbidden by ordinary physical laws.

And they came. Cold and calculated, as if they had been waiting for this precise moment to happen. They belonged to a species called Perxian, according to an intercepted signal. Not much intel was extracted, only one painful fact: they consumed light, creeping endlessly in the dark space.

He tried to recall what happened before his pod was ejected: Endeavour warped to Marathon space in Aegean to stop the spreading of the mad Perxian mass, and arrived only to be swallowed by the swirling void. Mercury agents were deployed when the hull cracked, to warn the Earth: RUN.

Fumbling the console in front of him, he saw a tiny screen with a reflection of his eyes. Haggard and bloodshot. He pressed a key and a message flashed on the screen.

” νενικήκαμεν?”

 

via Daily Prompt: Marathon

Filthy (6)

It swallowed the half-chewed tar, coughing and mumbling: “How do you know?”

Madame’s eyes followed the trail of her glowing orb before she put down her cup. “I’d not have placed a sliver of bet to believe it, if M’sha didn’t tell me about your mission.” She took a sip again, and sneered. “Before carrying on, I suppose I should have the right to know whom I’m working with, don’t you agree, dear D’ion?”

It, or D’ion the female Durousian, remained silent. She noticed the two shrimps hovered at her sides in a flanking formation. Her indices twitched. “M’sha sends her regards. We have been seeing an increase of distortion in data at Durous, so it’s just for an evaluation of rigidity as M’sha instructed.”

“Is that so?” She glanced her from top to bottom. “My orb said otherwise. It said you are here for something … bigger. What else could have invited an agent of Durous without any potential opening, flaw or crack to breach?”

She cleared her throat, awaiting for D’ion’s response. “Threads are our lifelines – we use it to transfer money, data, energy – everything that flows depends on their good operation. Your mission is either a sabotage, or an intelligence espionage.”

D’ion was tapping her two indices on her head like a tap dancer. The coldies formed a kaleidoscopic pattern on her face, blinking in a random order. Finally she broke the silence. “As per M’sha’s will, I am to seek your help to cut loose a thread connecting to Story Seven. We suspected an abuse of power, and a recent investigation confirmed our worst prediction.”

“Ahhh… Story Seven. Filthy place begets filthy host. We’ve been monitoring him for four cycles of Promethean, He has been taking up much processing power of our part without contributing to the Core.” Her glob turned from an alarming orange to soothing blue. “So now D’ion, tell me, how can I help you?” She grinned.

via Daily Prompt: Filthy

Tart (5)

Her shriek went an octave higher. Her glob started to oscillate in a frequency resonant to her laughter. “Well said, just like a rookie who just graduated from the academy.” She glanced to the side and two machines hovered out behind her. Those were curved metal cylinders, with two metal wings and four pairs of indices attached to the side. Called Shrimps, they were a common sight in household.

She sighed, “take a seat, youngling. Your teacher should have given more tuition.”

It peered at her and followed the instruction. Her mentor once commented that her honesty might cost her life one day eventually. She curled her four rear indices in a concentric circle and settled on the floor.

She looked at it with an piercing stare. The shrimps buzzed back and put down a plate carefully between them. On it were two small cups of black liquid and two plates with a certain delicacy. Hot steam swirled up from the cups – it was tea, a drink reserved for meeting and discussion.

What caught its eyes were the things on the plate, a flat cylinder with tapered sides, a product shaped by fire, and a craft designed by an artisan. Under the coldies, its yellow crust muddled by the blue light.

“Madame, thank you for your hos…” It spoke before being interrupted by her. “Here, we eat first before we talk. Help yourself with the tart.”

A tart. Such food is a rare sight in Durous, as its people were afraid of fire, let alone wielding and using it to make anything. It was not one of them though, and could almost feel the lively flame contained in the tart.

The Madame said, “So I heard you were here for some matter regarding the threads?”

via Daily Prompt: Tart

Fish (4)

The Promethean city blinked restlessly in the night. Millions of lines, flexible yet strong, stretched across the skyline. Arranged in a radial pattern, the threads connected every dwelling to a tall structure at the centre, which glowed with a mesmerizing, rhythmic light.

A figure moved steathily on a narrow path between two square buildings. The silhouette, covered in the darkness of the night, was of feministic nature. Seemingly in a rush, it squiggled hastily and skipped a beat now and then.

The shadow came to a halt when a light cast out on its left side. It covered its face with first and third indices and hid in a corner.

“Well well, what string pulled you here, my little sweetheart?” A voice, an unwelcoming one.

It tapped its head and glided into the building.

Emanating the lights were pairs of little balls hanging on the ceiling. Each of them resemble an eyeball harvested from some sort of aquatic creatures. It’s a common source of light called Coldray, or coldie as the people liked to call it.

It removed its cowl with the first two indices and said, “I guess I didn’t send my travel itinerary to you this time”. Sitting in the room was a giant creature, upper body appear vaguely like a human and lower body a tail. Its head was flat with the eyes grown at opposite side. A small glob of orange appendage hung from its top to the front.

The creature laughed, a laughter filled with a complex spectrum of low and high pitches. “I could smell you at the instant you first stepped here. Don’t you know our people are pretty good at sniffing the bad from the good?”

“My pleasure to tickle your sense today then, madame,” It said.

“Stop the pretense, my dear, who doesn’t know you people from House of Durous are good at lies? Tell me, what brought you here to Promethean today?” The glob swung and glowed more intensely while she spoke.

It frowned, its top eye squeezed into a tiny wrinkle raisn. “As the Deceit department, it is our nature to keep an extra eye on our friends. I bet you can’t beat the evolution, we are born to sense things.”

via Daily Prompt: Fish

Lofty (3)

In the Serpents System, House of Kuros is not the only one who held the power. There were four other Houses which, together with Kuros, were in a reluctant state of collaboration. To maintain the stable equilibrium of authorities across the Empire spanning two hundred light years, the Heads came to a consensus that lending each other their strength is a long-term, profitable investment.

Science, the study of interaction between matter and energy, has been Kurosian’s forte. They make up their physical weakness by empowering their minds, connecting to the cosmic threads and absorbing the knowledge. The rest of the Houses shared the mind by sharing muscle, food, energy and lies. This, in turn, made Xul uneasy.

Xul has been the chief scientist leading the research of cosmic logic and quantum computing for three and half lives. Despite his mind being downloaded to a new host twice, he was still like a new-born Kurosian baby. Hungry, eager and never afraid to take chances. He once created a tiny time loop generator which caused the death of one talented colleague. He was the first one to sign up the opportunity to lead the recovery expedition to MAL.

He brought a team of twenty scientists, all from his lab, to MAL. When their spindle landed, he could not believe what he saw. Rows of machines, three hundred metres each, stood in lines, neatly arranged like chess pieces. Low, dull sound bounces off each other as if they were… communicating.  Self-initiated communication by artefacts were not unheard of, but on this lone, remote planet? The projected probability was much less than the standard P value.

The team glided across between the machines, busily picking data and recording down observation. It seemed that the machines’ syntax was logical, its use of variables and constants similar to Kurosian’s language. Xul, tapping its head with his first index, was wondering the reason while one of his apprentices notified him of a strange pedestal between the 245th and 247th row.

He made his way to the place, just to see a black console decorated with alien glyphs. Its appearance reminded him of a certain taste – exquisite and lofty. It was like intelligence and wisdom manifested in the physical world so flesh beings could be amazed and humbled.

Xul waved his tentacles on the floating squares and circles on the console. He felt it – the surge of knowledge, revelation and salvation, under the control of the House of Kuros. No longer the House needs to bend its back to the others, and could finally erect its flag in the Serpents and the neighbouring systems.

via Daily Prompt: Lofty