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Authors: Capri S Bard

For One Nen

BOOK: For One Nen
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CAPRI S BARD

 

FOR ONE NEN

 

with technical advisor

JASON L
. BURNFIELD

 

Cover art by

CAROL
CHUEDEN KISER

 

Copyright © 201
3 Capri S Bard

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

In my travels of the universe I came across a story so disturbing and glorious that it burdened me with a compelling question; Can someone own history?

Many kings and tyrants; scribes, and scholars, through ages of what we call history, tried and sometimes succeeded, to control or even rewrite history. But can someone or some power own history?

I had preconceived ideas, as most do, on a number of subjects including history but after hearing this ghastly story I tend to think each of us should answer this for herself.

Therefore, I shall tell this tale as it was told to me and let you use your amazing brain, sparking with its own inclination of intelligence, to decide about the history of Earth, and of Reen, and of the giant Het, and the tiny Nen; of the beautiful Goweli and the ritual killings; kidnapping of children and the attempts to save an entire planet from a nova.

As different societies in the history of Earth have measured time from a single event, so does this story have its own time-line. The departure of a ship called the
‘Egress’ from the planet Reen is year zero in their history. Although, to understand it better, I have included the Earth date since there may be readers from Earth who will use this story for their history classes for years to come. I recommend they do.

I will be wholly honest in admitting that I changed my mind many times in the course of hearing this deliciously provoking historical account
, that made me question whether or not someone can own history. Still, as I ponder my answer, I am not at all certain that I have concluded correctly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

After ages of exploration from Earth, which surfaced very little intelligent life, its people still maintained a SETI program; Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, as well as a CESH program; Colonization and Exploration to Sustain Humankind.

Earth had almost become overrun by thieves and hoarders in many parts of the world because humans were many and laws were few. The Universal Government stood united and was able to set in motion a plan to save the world. They would tax people off the planet.

In a very short period of time, new laws were enacted that made it too expensive to live on Earth for the commoner. These unfortunates took very low paying jobs off world. Most became miners in the asteroids of the outer planets. After mining an asteroid of its ore, they in turn would process the ore and build a colonizing starship from the shell of the asteroid. Each asteroid/starship being mined had a companion hospital/living quarters just a runabout’s distance away. 

One such
vessel was named the ‘Eden’. The primary mission objective of the Eden was to colonize the habitable planets in the Z.O.E. Star System about 750 light years from Earth. Understanding that humans, by nature grow and expand, the Z.O.E Star System was ideal for growth due to its large ‘goldilocks zone’ with four planets believed to hold optimal conditions for human life.

Earth planned for the Eden to colonize
the planet Xena and also terra-form its moons Lihla, Kaylee, and Willow in preparation for future expansion.

A second colonizing ship, the
‘Arcadia’, was scheduled for departure twenty years later with the same star system as its ultimate destination, but was to make Bo its home planet while terra-forming its moons Kenzi and Tamsin.

In Earth Year 2271 CE, the Unified Astronomical Observation Network detected a massive gamma ray burst from a binary star system
about 500 light years away. This kind of common event was merely a ‘blip on the radar’ compared to the hundreds of events recorded daily.

Another seeming
ly mundane occurrence happened less than 24 hours later, when a message was received by SETI.

Receiving messages was not abnormal
either. Earth had been receiving extra-terrestrial messages for almost 150 years. However, this particular message eventually caused CESH to alter the original mission of the Eden and ultimately the Arcadia as well.

 

Among the myriad of scientists staring at monitors and analyzing signals at SETI that day, Howard saw a signal pulse across his monitor. He jumped from his chair with a gasp and a squeal. The thumping on his screen matched the throbbing message in his head, which was all the more disturbing because he was not wearing headphones.

He quickly looked about the room as some of his colleagues grew pale while still others stood wide-eyed and slack-jawed. The room was silent as eyes darted from one unnerved scientist to another. Some looked out the windows
, searching the sky for visitors.

Omar dropped the cigarette from his mouth and didn’t bother to pick it up.

Samira reached deep into her drawer for the large bar of dark chocolate she had hidden.

All around the room a message was being received but not one person wanted to believe they had indeed heard something; something inaudible, something that had bypassed their ears altogether and gone straight into their brains.

Patch raked his dark-rimmed, old-fashioned glasses from their resting place atop his head and wiped his face hard with the back of his forearm.

Lucinda, the youngest junior member of the team, a grad student from Cornell, cocked her head to the side and asked without worry of consequence, “Anyone else hear that?”

At that one admittance the room flew into a whirlwind of movement and sound. Many office chairs squeaked as people sat hastily at their desks, many clicks were heard from the keyboards around the room, shoes on the hard tile floor paced between monitors, voices mumbled until…

“There!” Omar screamed lighting another cigarette. Taking a long drag as he pointed, gave Patch a split second to win his place in history when he announced.

“There it is. CSX 3875.”

Lucinda gave a laugh, “Hey that’s the same star system
that had the gamma burst yesterday. Yeah, my friend messaged me about it.”

Omar blew a steady stream of smoke into the air and scrunched his wild eyebrows together. “Naw, that can’t be,” he said and took another drag. “I’ve researched that star system and nothing can live through that reoccurring nova. So if there was a gamma burst detected yesterday we wouldn’t be getting any,” he looked around and cleared his throat before settling on the term, “message,” which he said with a tremor in his voice.

“But my friend said,” Lucinda began but Omar cut her short.

“Now don’t,” Omar began but he too was interrupted.

“Ah! Blow it out your smoke hole, Omar,” Samira said, shoving the last of her chocolate into her mouth.

“I’ll just message him,” Lucinda said turning away from the small gathering.

Howard almost jumped out of his sweat-drenched, mismatched, disheveled suit when his phone rang. He answered it before the first tone faded.

“Yes, Yes, Honey. I heard it too. Oh! Alright. I’ll meet you there,” he clicked his phone off and grabbed his keys from his desk top.

“Gotta go,” Howard said to Samira his desk-mate. “More people heard the message and my Little Jeanie is still hearing it. The wife says she’s taking Jeanie to the hospital because it’s like her mind has gone to sleep while she’s still awake.”

“Like Nayson,” Samira said, gesturing to a blond-haired man in the corner of the room.

He was bumping his fists against his ears softly and rhythmically while slightly rocking forward and back.

“What the hell is going on?” Omar said lighting yet another cigarette.

They gathered around this man as they heard him mumble over and over to himself the message…

 

“The heavens have turned against us. Most have gone below. We implore beyond the heavens for someone to save us. Someone come. Someone save us. Someone come. Someone come. Someone.”

 

Lucinda was the first one to admit. “That’s the message. That’s what I heard. I mean, I couldn’t have told you the words; almost didn’t come in words. But I know that was the message.”

She looked up to the little crowd as they stared at her without a word.

“You’ve got to believe me,” she said sliding her thin blonde curls behind her ears.

“Oh! We believe you,” Omar admitted. “It’s just what we heard too.

It was days before these scientists learned that they were not the only ones that had received this message and that some were like Nayson and Jeanie; interpreters of the message.

These ‘interpreters’ were fine after a few hours of mumbling the message as if they were in a trance, but all in all
, the message itself wasn’t harmful to anyone.

The point of origin
, from which the message came, was a binary star system approximately 500 light years distant and nearly in line with the Z.O.E. Star System another 250 light years beyond. It had been studied sufficiently and determined to have adequate conditions for human life. However, because the white dwarf/red giant pair was known to be a reoccurring Nova with a period of approximately 100,000 years, it had been passed over as a suitable colonizing destination.

Still, receivin
g an intelligent transmission less than 24 hours after detecting a gamma burst from the system proved that something had survived the most recent nova’s tremendous explosion. With Earth being an overly curious people and an overbearingly helpful people, the objective to the Eden’s mission was extended to add a stop-over to the system and explore the phenomenon, which could have created conditions for life to survive a nova.

 

 

FOR ONE NEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

297 AE (after the departure of the EGRESS)

Aboard the EGRESS – Approximately 300 Astronomical Units out from the twin suns of the planet REEN on an escape trajectory toward the Z.O.E. system, 250 light years distant.

 

She wore a mere loincloth but still, Tanik frequently wiped beads of sweat from her neck, bare breasts and cleavage. Gentle waves of black hair fell slightly over her shoulders. Her students lounged their bare bodies on the smooth, metallic, floor. It was the coolest place for the story keepers to hold class on the Egress, their space ship, their salvation.

Tanik, being the keeper of the stories, loved her songs and poems that told of each tribe’s past and was fully committed to teaching these tales to her students. She had seen them join her class when they were barely old enough to make two word sentences.

Back then their parents or caretakers would bring them to her room where she sang songs of their ancient history, the story of Atenilek the giant
, who was led astray by his Nen friend, who had followed the way of the Hoth by rebelling against the empire. They learned to sing the tales of the beautiful Hrilla who saved her people from the first sparsing season, when the Hoth rebelled against the empire and stole the children.

There were also songs that revealed their planet’s impending nova
, which had put them on their current home ship, the ‘Egress’.

These stories ran through Tanik’s mind as she gazed at her young students nearing adulthood. It was true, her students were only teenagers but they were old enough to know each tribe held stories of regret as well as virtue
, except for the Hoth. There were no stories of Hoth having honor. She believed the tales of the ancient stories that told of the Hoth shame. The misdeeds of the ancestral Hoth left a permanent rift in relations between them and the other tribes.  

Tanik had taught her students
well. She defined herself as a teacher, nothing more. Because of this she hadn’t considered that there may be stories yet to tell; even stories yet to correct. But being a keeper of the stories didn’t give Tanik complete wisdom and truth.

“Class! Class!” she said sternly in her most loving but prideful tones to her students that were slowly becoming restless from the relentless heat. “Have you forgotten the tales?” She looked around the room.

Tanik draped her body with the sheer red ceremonial cloth for the holiest of ancient psalms.

“But we’re so hot,” some of the pupils groaned.

Tanik said nothing but only moved her body in elongated fluid motions, which represented each major time period of the tales.

Her hands reached to the heavens as she pointed her left foot straight ahead; representing their latest tales ahead and then to the side and then behind her as she slid down to one knee.

She lifted her entire body onto the toes of one foot as the other foot pointed straight up beside her head. With one beautiful motion she grasped her foot and flung outward, which sent her into a magnificent twirl coming to rest with her feet side by side and her hands and head raised high.

Her class had seen this before but at that moment they seemed to be watching it for the first time. The
ir breath almost left their bodies at the sight of awe inspired presence.

All the lounging students instantly slid to their feet and raised their open palms upward as they bent at the waist completely to the floor with their palms on the sides of their ankles. Flin
ging one hand upward, their bodies jerked up as well. The first hand slid down the back of one knee as the other hand swept overhead and bent the upper body backward. The first hand sprang back again and swept over their bodies bringing a blooming motion that brought them to their knees with a reverent demeanor; their hands on the sides of their faces with elbows pointed out from their bodies.

Raising their bodies to stand
, they lifted their open hands again to the sky and with palms out they touched their palms across the room to show how their tales interconnected each of them; in fact each of their tribes. They remembered because they were taught to remember.

 

Over-sized papers flew through the air, flung by a bald man with black, round glasses. He raced by the designated area where the keepers' class was currently being held.

He mumbled to himself as he discarded each one more wildly than the last. His red uniform held an engineering insignia on his arm, as well as his lapel, which was casually unbuttoned to show his red sweaty neck.

“Now, Boris!” someone shouted ahead of the man.

The students could hear the bald man’s frustrated grumblings as he barely looked where his quick paces were leading him.

“This won’t work!” Boris shouted. “This will never work.” He flung a paper away from him.

The paper
drifted through the air and landed beside Mathis. The tiny teenage Hoth boy slowly picked up an edge and began folding.

He folded a bit of the paper one way, then turned it over and folded a small portion the same width as the last fold. He did this over and over, while the class quietly watched. When he had folded the large, stiff, paper into a long, thin rectangle, he held one end tightly and spread the opposite end open into a fan. With complete focus on his project, he rose to his feet and slowly waved it up and down, in front of the class.

“Mathis, that’s brilliant,” Tanik said with a damp smile. She swiped her upper lip with one finger and the glisten disappeared.

“Careful not to let the engineers know how smart you are, Mathis, or they’ll steal you away to work in the engine room,” she praised without much emotion.

Mathis only responded, with a blushing smile, and a tug at the long tentacles on his chin, and continued to rhythmically fan his fellow classmates.

Trina, the small Nen, rubbed the sides of her sweaty blonde temples and said, “Maybe he could find a way to repair the ship’s shields since nobody else has been able to yet. We’re all doomed you know.”

“Now don’t believe such terrible things. Our Engineers are from intelligent tribes. They will find a way to save us all,” Tanik stated.

Teltel glared at Mathis while he continued to gently move the fan up and down toward the class. “Then it’s good we don’t depend on a dirty Hoth to save us. His kind couldn’t even keep them
selves alive.”

The class was silent for a long moment.

“Uh, well, now,” Tanik mumbled, “let’s not give up hope on our ship’s engineers. We will do our best to believe in our future.”

Tanik was a Goweli of highest rank. She prided herself in her work of teaching the history of their lost planet of Reen to the keeper’s class. There was a representative of each tribe in her class. Though it had been hundreds of years since there were pure tribes, each tribe still had a council
, which sent one representative to her class for instruction in the traditional learning of history. This included dance and poetry and many long hours of recitation.

She held her posture, her status, and her knowledge of history, with great insolence. Her height and willowy stature towered over most everyone on board. Her beauty
was something to behold, as was the dominant trait of all Goweli. However, her beauty couldn’t cover up the air of contempt she held for the Hoth, and in fact her young pupil, Mathis.

The class’ disdain for this Hoth didn’t stop the
m from accepting, even reveling in the gentle air current moving across their lethargic and placid bodies. Some were raised on one arm. Some sat with their bodies almost folded over their extended legs.

Still others were lying completely flat on their backs, with their legs crossed at the ankles when Teltel, the giant Het, added with an even tone, “Well, they can’t have been too smart, since they are no more.” He stood to his feet and deliberately walked out of the refreshing air current. He sat down with a thud, and turned his back toward the tiny Hoth.

“Mathis did something kind, Teltel. He should be thanked,” Tanik said as if talking to a toddler, “Even if he is Hoth.”

“Don’t do me any favors,” Teltel snapped at Mathis.

“Tam nis,” Tanik responded sharply as she separated each word.

Teltel, the young giant, gave only a straightened back to his teacher, in defiance.

“Can’t really blame him. Can you?”
Rasta thought wildly, toward no one in particular. She gave a crooked smile and raised an eyebrow, as she lifted her body off the floor and repositioned herself against a pillar, at the edge of the space the class occupied.  

Most of the class snapped their heads in her direction.

“I did it again, didn’t I?” she said with embarrassment. She pushed a stray brown dreadlock from her dark eyes.

“Tam nis, Teltel,” Tanik repeated then scolded Rasta also, “Y ke ke. Shay.” Tanik waited.

“My heart to you, Mathis,” Rasta pushed her apology toward Mathis without moving her lips.

“And, Rasta, w
e only use words in our class,” Tanik said evenly.

“Yes Tanik,” Rasta gave a verbal response as well as tipping her chin down, as a sign of respect. When she dropped her chin her dark brown dreads fell across her face.

              “Not like she’s a real Antip,” Teltel clearly said with snarling sarcasm. He remained with his teeth clinched and his back to the entire class.

“Teltel!” Tanik persisted. “Rasta
is
a
real
Antip. Even you can hear the thoughts she sends. And look at her high forehead.”

“But she’s so short. She’s actually a Nen,” Teltel persisted with his squeaky changing voice.

“Inside most everyone, flows the blood of more than one tribe,” Tanik reminded them as she almost flowed about the room and gazed down her nose at the entire class.

“Not me,” Teltel snapped. “I am Het – strong and proud.” He slapped his chest with his open hand.

“But you know that even the people of Earth have taken mates from the tribes of Reen. You could even have their Denizen blood flowing through your veins.”

“No!” Teltel said with a curl of his lip as he looked to Molly, the young Denizen sitting closest to Mathis.

Dark-haired Molly lifted her chin as if ready to defend her human ancestry but instead, turned her face to the gentle breeze from Mathis’ fan and closed her eyes, taking in the refreshment.

Teltel’s towering wide frame rose in one swift motion and turned to eye Mathis.

“My heart, never to Mathis, only my fist,” Teltel spilled his anger and showed his massive hands tightening. Everyone could see he was a Het of the ancient giants because his hands and feet were largely disproportionate to the rest of his still growing body. However, no one knew of his distressing secret, that there were two tiny nubs hidden in the short, stiff whiskers on his chin.

Not even his best friend, Benai, the tall gangly Neph knew of hi
s inner turmoil. Teltel said his piece and stormed off down the hall, past the large dining hall, in the direction of the elevator.

The fan hit the floor as Mathis froze with embarrassment at the harsh but familiar ridicule from his classmate.

“I’ll talk to him,” Benai said to Mathis with a compassion that most others in the room failed to personify. “His cool head will come again,” he looked to Mathis, “and he’ll once again extend his heart to you.”

Mathis bit his lower lip, sank to the floor, and pulled at the two tentacles hanging from each side of his chin. This tiny Hoth seemed even smaller by the way he was able to fold himself up while sitting; chin on knees, thin arms wrapped around his ankles and his eyes gazing downward.

“I’ll speak to him,” Maven Sharla spoke, almost spooking the class with a sudden appearance. She stepped further into the group of students.

“Maven,” Tanik took a deliberate breath to calm her nerves. “Always a pleasure,” Tanik said with honor and respect for the aged Neph.

Maven Sharla was the oldest being on the ship, and the only one left that remembered boarding the Egress. The entire ship revered her, but her kindness made them love her as well.

“I trust you’ll see to his irritation with his brother,” Tanik stated, plainly. 

“His brother needn’t fret.” Maven Sharla almost glowed with the brilliance of peace itself. The ship’s Maven was the most knowledgeable and experienced leader. Her waist length hair used to be black but was now gently speckled with silver.

The Maven’s blue eyes were comforting and kind. They connected with Mathis, as she said, “He has given his heart. He only forgets for a moment.”

The Maven stepped closer to Mathis and ruffled his curly light brown hair as she smiled sweetly.

Placing her hand under his chin she lifted his face. “Our hearts still break for your loss Mathis, Hoth of the water. It has become
our
loss. Long live the Hoth, through you, my child.”

Mathis turned the corners of his mouth into a shy smile, then looked away and pulled at his tentacles. “Thank you, Maven Sharla,” he whispered too softly for anyone but the Maven to hear.

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