Coming of Age … February 20, 2013

Chapter One

Humanity Rises

Centuries have passed since the last wars of Humankind. In this year, 2949 C.E., the trials of this species have been surmounted. A stable and sustainable population has been established and, including other colonized worlds, has reached well over a trillion members. Humankind has overcome the tendency to despoil their nests, pollution of all types being brought under complete control. There is no hunger, no war, and no unrest. Most importantly, no one among the peoples considers race. Once that hurdle was overcome, the populations of the world, seeing each other as simply members of the same species, intermarried. There is no white, no black, no yellow, there is only one of blended mix, a light brown Human. A homogenous population exists as a result of several hundred years of Human harmony. Variations still remain, of course, in height, weight, facial features, as well as thought. Heated discussions still occur, but they never precipitate physical violence. It has become a commonplace expectation that at the end of the day, agreement and a shared sense of direction will be reached.

Humanity, having reached near homogenous status, has no need of separation, so the concept of countries and sovereignty has also passed. No matter where a Human resides they are merely Human, not American, Italian, Japanese, or Russian. Humanity has adopted a new philosophy, a new concept has been embraced, that of self-improvement, that of bettering one-self. Gone are the days when such concepts meant bettering one-self by subjugating others. Now helping others is a prerequisite of bettering one-self.

The duly elected Planet Council is discussing the implications of a new archeological find in what was formerly known as the country of Egypt, now known as the BeCan area, named after a prominent Man who died over two hundred years ago after bequeathing to humanity the technological wherewithal to travel faster than the speed of light. This new archeological find may lead Humanity to the resolution of an old and persistent question: Who is God?

Religion, in this year of Humanity, exists no more. Yet there are questions about Human origins that persist. Did a God really exist? Or was it only a fabrication of the extraordinary imagination of the Human mind. Was it a creation as the result of an indigenous feature of the Human brain? Or … was there something more to it?

A Man approaches the podium before the large assemblage within the Common Man auditorium, a part of the elaborate vessel of the Planet Council.

“My fellow Human,” he begins, “We received information last week which is of great importance and may answer some if not all the questions Humanity has had about historic evidence of God, specifically the God known as Jehovah.” The crowd, having been engaged in hushed conversations among themselves, becomes silent.

A Woman stands among the audience and asks for the speaker to indulge a question. “I am an historian, do you mean the God described within the pages of the Bible, the Christian Bible. If that is so… which edition of that Bible are you speaking of?”

The Man at the podium sips from a cup, and plainly perplexed by the question speaks, “I’m sorry, I don’t have that information, in fact I am not familiar with this Christian Bible you speak of. You will have to wait to ask those involved in the dig those questions. They will be here this afternoon along with some artifacts which they promised would be of a nature pertinent to answering questions of religion.”

Resuming His dialogue with the audience, “Please return this afternoon for what promises to be some exciting discoveries. Meanwhile, feel free to explore the facility, have breakfast or lunch, or whatever. Thank you.”

As the auditorium slowly empties a three dimensional holographic display presents current events, news, updates, and general information. The Common Man auditorium alone is a thing to marvel, yet compared to the immensity of this structure it encompasses only one percent. Its size by itself, staggering, this Planet Council vessel, built in 2873, resides in whatever locale is needed. Fabricated from new alloys only previously discovered, this craft, the size of a large city, is capable of interstellar flight. Impervious to most anything except perhaps, and only perhaps, as it hasn’t yet been tested, an exploding nova, its arrival at distant ports is always greeted with celebration. Nevertheless, work proceeds, reaching near completion, on a craft which dwarfs the present Council vessel.

What a wonderful world Humanity has built after having escaped near extinction during the war of 2098. Reduced to a mere few million mating pairs during this last of wars, Humanity recovered, cleaned up Its world, then reached out to the stars. Now capable of interstellar flight the most distant planets are mere weeks away. Plans are even in the making for an intergalactic vessel, scheduled for lift off in the next century, to travel to Andromeda and beyond.

But first, Humanity must tie up loose ends. The questions must be answered. Perhaps that time has come.

As the great vessel, named the Planet Council One, hangs, fixed over the Klanic area, once known as New York, people once again gather in the Common Man auditorium. Having arrived at the receiving bay underneath the glistening craft, the archeologists make their way to the auditorium by way of one of the many commuter shafts which thread their way through the vessel. In their possession, floating inches above the floor, a container, which may be of interest to everyone aboard, as well as those who reside on distant worlds, leads the way.

As the guests, these archeologists, enter upon the stage, the people within the audience cease to babble among themselves, eyes straining to discern the scene before them.

“Welcome to our guests. May I introduce Janovic Karlo, chief archeologist and manager of the team. Please enlighten us as to your discovery.” introduces the elderly leader of the Planet Council.

A short Man by almost any standard, Janovic steps up to the podium and places a sheet of paper thereupon. Utilizing a stool, placed for the purpose, he rises into position.

“Since Humankind’s seminal origins people have always asked: Where do we come from? How did we come to be? Is there a god?” He sips upon a drink placed before him, clears his throat and continues, “We have discovered, deep within the walls of a subterranean cave, excavated by ancient peoples, possibly that, which will answer our primal questions.”

Another Man, among those that accompanied Him upon the stage pulls a lever on the container which has settled on the stage. A nearly inaudible hiss signals the break on the seal and the top of the container, ever-so-slowly lifts. Donning gloves composed of a material which leaves no residual fibers on whatever is handled, the assistant lifts a slab of rock from inside the container.

“Look upon this record, written in stone with precision, and you will see what brought us to these humble chambers. Here, in a previously unknown ancient language, is written a message. Believe it or not, that message is addressed to… us all.” Janovic continues. “It is addressed to ‘Those who live in peace and in harmony without religion.’”

Janovic, donning gloves as well, lifts the slab of rock and holds it before the audience. He pauses to emphasize the importance of the object.

“This language,” He resumes, “levels more intricate than any language of the times, and written in small letters, precisely formed, describes the writers as an elite group of Humans that resided on the outskirts of Egypt, now known as BeCan. They observed, it is described, a craft of unknown origin and construction ‘float’ from the sky and land in the desert. From this craft, which they observed, emerged ‘giants’. The craft remained on the desert floor as the group of giants, using some craft alien to the observers, rode off toward the nearby cities.”

Janovic asks for the next tablet. Holding it before the audience he continues his oratory, “This slab, equally as precisely written, equally as well preserved, describes what happened next. Two of those watching moved bravely forward and entered the craft which was carelessly left open by the departing giants. Inside they came upon blinking lights, unknown devices, and in one corner, a sleeping giant.”

The audience, entranced by this tale, remain motionless, straining for every word.

“The giant awoke,” Janovic speaks with a slightly higher voice for emphasis.

“How were you able to decipher this so quickly?” asks the council head.

“The people who made these slabs also tried to reference their vocabulary to associated objects, purposely to make it easier for those who found it, to decipher it. They were wise enough to know that those who might find it might need help in learning its message.”, Janovic answers, then continues, “As the giant awoke the two intruding Men panicked. The giant, however, arose gently and spoke to them. He explained that he was a prisoner, that he didn’t agree with what the others were up to, and told them the plan.”

Placing the tablet back into the container the assistant resets the lever and the top to the container proceeds to close.

“This giant from another world explained that the others, especially the leader of the pack, one called Jehovah, were going to pose as Gods and angels for the purpose of enslaving Mankind.”

The audience begins to chatter among themselves. Links to the stage podium holographic display light up with questions from the crowd.

“I can’t answer your questions now, but I can say that we have a map, given to the two Men who entered the craft, by the giant, depicting exactly where this bunch came from. This is now a matter for Planet Council to consider. Will we or will we not send an expedition and answer once and for all Humankind’s most persistent questions?”

For several months the Planet Council vessel travels from port to port to allow not only for the message to be relayed, but to seek input on what to do about it. Also, in the interim, confusion and mayhem occurs as the Council moves into the now completed Planet Council Two.

A year elapses and then the council meets once more. Images of the council meeting are transmitted via closed links to the entirety of Humanity.

“After much consideration and communication with all concerned,” begins the council leader, “The council has taken a vote and a decision has been made to pursue this issue. Planet Council vessel One will depart within two days for the planetary system as described in the slabs from BeCan. Is everyone ready to meet their maker?”

Chapter Two

Just a man

“Gee, you’re up early this morning, Aleen.” speaks Poll as he exits their mutual bedroom.

“Morning my love. Planet Council left a message that I am to report to the Planet Council chambers at 9.” Aleen responds.

“Something up?”

“They didn’t elaborate. The message said ‘be there promptly’. That’s all.”

Aleen and Poll, joined by Council some ten years ago, live in Aiken area, formerly Colorado. Aleen, now aged 36, is trained for and has piloted large vessels for the last five years. Council has now chosen Her as captain of the ship Planet Council One.

About ten minutes to nine Aleen arrives in Council chambers.

“Good morning , Aleen, please be seated,” warmly greets the council leader. “I hope you have gotten a good night’s sleep.”

“Up to a point, council leader, what can I do for you?”

“Have you heard the news of the BeCan discoveries?”

“I was quite busy yesterday, sorry.”

“It’s been in the news for months”

“Guess I’m behind, what’s it all about?”

“Well, as a result of the discoveries council has been busy accruing data and opinions from around the entirety of Humanity. Now it has been decided to send a ship off-world to the planet which is supposed the origin of God.”

Aleen freezes in Her seat, stunned.

“Council is going to see God?”

“Yes, purportedly. So it seems.”

“And, I am here because…”

“You are to be captain of the ship.”

Aleen can’t believe it. She’s always wanted the captain’s chair. Up to now the best She’s been able to garner is Top Leader under the captain. But this mission seems rather far-fetched, unreal, out in left field.

“When do we leave?” She finally manages.

“Tomorrow morning at sunrise,” ends the council leader.

As the new captain of Planet Council One departs another Man enters.

“Yes, Council sub-leader?” speaks the council leader.

“I have lined up the historian, the security division, as well as the complement of the crew. They are not very happy about leaving their families at such short notice.”

“I imagine not. Then I suppose they thought it worth it after you informed them of the mission.”

“To the individual, none turned it down.”

“Good, let us hope we are doing the right thing.”

“Ditto.”

On an early Tuesday morning about 8, crew and ship are ready to depart. A deep hum accompanies the ship’s ascent. After the ship breaches the limits of earth’s atmosphere it quickly accelerates. In moments the boundaries of the Solar System are crossed. The crew sets in for the two and a half week journey.

A week into the journey Aleens’s Top Leader approaches and giving respects, speaks, “I realize that we have made some real advancements here, but still, Humans will be Humans. At least half the crew has asked me if “we’re there yet.”

Aleen laughs, and after taking a bite off a meal biscuit responds, “I know. Three asked me on the way to the bridge this morning.”

“It’s hard to believe that despite how fast we can travel that it’s just not fast enough for some people. This is likely because no one alive today can remember how slow space-travel was in the ‘old days’”

“My grandfather said it was so slow some people went mad during long voyages. People would get irrational, suspicious of one another. Some ships were lost by inept decisions made by delirious captains.”

Aleen consumes the remainder of Her meal biscuit and directs the navigator to make the last course correction needed for the voyage. She thinks about the taste of the meal biscuit as the last of it leaves her tongue. ‘Nutritious and delicious’ she thinks as she remembers the old jingle from the advertisement promoting its acceptance as ‘space-food’. Literally, it lived up to that, too.

The rest of the voyage passes without incident. Unless two pregnancies count as incidents, that is. Planet Council One arrives and assumes orbit around a planet slightly larger than Earth but comprised of greater land mass as compared to water.

“Captain, the atmospheric detection grid sees 73 percent nitrogen, 20.2% oxygen. Other gases are strictly negligible.”

“Thanks, Tops, guess we won’t need survival gear,” responds Aleen.

The ship begins its slow descent into the alien atmosphere.

“Have we been detected?” asks Aleen.

“No, Captain, the field surrounding the ship is rendering it invisible on all spectrums. No sign of any response to our presence.”

After descent the ship assumes a motionless position about a thousand feet off the ground in what appears a deserted area. Vast forests stretch out below as far as the horizon, and probably beyond.

“Top Leader, assemble the archeologists, security, and other needed landing party group. We’re going down.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Arriving in the forest below the crew cannot help but notice how manicured the floor of the forest presents. No dead wood other than a few half-hanging branches is seen anywhere. The air is pure and regenerating as the crew breathes deeply.

“What goes, do they send in cleaning parties to pick up the deadwood every day?” remarks Mick, one of the assistants to Janovic.

Just then a large lumbering creature plods through the forest. In its mouth are numerous branches upon which stout jaws work.

“There’s your answer Mick. An organic vacuum machine of a sort,” observes Aleen.

The party rides quietly in open-car vehicles gliding a foot or two from the ground. They see a break ahead, an open area, as they reach the edge of the forest. What seems to be a developed area appears before them. In this clearing are ornate mansions, the likes of which Human eyes have never seen.

“Is this the Heaven the Bible of yore speaks of?” softly speaks the historian, Soolee, the same Woman who asked the question of the Council Leader back on Earth.

“Let’s go see,” answers Aleen.

The two cars continue forward approaching one of the ornate structures.

Out of the structure comes a large man…a very large man. His hair is white, his beard white; his appearance elderly, but his movements very agile. Speaking in a booming voice in a language none of the ship’s crew understands, he holds out a finger of his hand. Instantly a bolt of energy, blue-white, streaks from his finger in the direction of the approaching Humans. Striking a transparent shield surrounding the cars, the bolt careens harmlessly to the ground.

Aleen holds up a hand in an effort to halt the attack. As she keys a pad on a small instrument in her hand another bolt emits from the giant and again is deflected. As the small translator works to decipher the behemoth’s utterances, yet another bolt strikes and is deflected. Frustrated, the creature lifts both hands and directs an even more powerful stream of energy towards the intruders. It too, is dissipated without effort. The giant mutters another sentence, easily identified as one of wonderment.

“It says the monster said ‘Who dares invade the land of the Almighty!?’ and then ‘What manner of beings thwarts my will?’” Aleen relays to the rest of Her crew.

Speaking into the device, what they call a multi-translator, Aleen attempts to answer, “We have come in peace seeking answers.”

“Of what land be you?” demands the man.

“We are from Earth.” Is the response.

Suddenly fear crosses the giants face. He races back into his residence.

“What the… why do you suppose he rushed off like that?” asks one of the crew.

“Perhaps we should venture on and find out.” Aleen replies, putting the craft back into motion.

The cars proceed on into the city of giants. As they continue down a neatly kept avenue they note another giant approaching. It comes within 20 feet of the approaching caravan. The cars stop. Speaking slowly, the man, seeming more accommodating of the intrusion, asks, “Who are you? Why have you come here?”

“We have come in peace. We are from planet Earth.” is the captain’s response.

The large man’s eyes widen. A slight smile comes to his face.

“You’ll be looking for Jo.” he says.

“Jo?”

“Jehovah. Though I expect he will not be happy to see you.”

“Would he happen to reside on the edge of the forest?”

“Yes, I guess you’ve met him already. Follow me, I suppose you have many questions. I will try to answer those that I can.”

The giant leads them into a nearby facility. He lifts them one by one onto a table. Seating himself he looks them over.

“Your species was interesting when we first found you. They did seem a little overly preoccupied with the nature of their existence. Your people were very vulnerable to deception.”

“Did you…. make us?” inquires Captain Aleen.

“No. You were there when we came.”

“Why is this Jehovah afraid of us?” asks Janovic.

“Jehovah was afraid this day, the day of your arrival, would come. He was afraid of the day you might come-of-age”

“Why is that?”

“Look to that Bible. It lists many of his crimes against your people.”

“Crimes?” asks Janovic.

“I can answer that,” the historian interrupts, “From mass murder to outright genocide…it’s all there.”

“Yes, and as a people we are bound by our principles to insure that the perpetrator is made to answer for his crimes. Even now, having been alerted of your presence, others have confronted Jehovah and bound and taken him to your vessel for trial on your world.”

“So, we came from … where?” asks the historian.

“The same place we came from, the stars. Life is inevitable, enduring, and resilient. “

“We will go in peace.” asserts Aleen.

“Before you go, a gift… here.” speaks the huge man as he hands the captain what appears to be a potted plant.

“A plant?”

“The Tree of Life! Now go… and return to our world as you wish.”

The crew returns to Planet Council One for the trip back home. In a cargo bay, still bound, sits a man, just a man waiting to answer for crimes against Humanity.

Chapter Three

Trial of the Millennium

Planet Council One arrives at Earth port within a couple of weeks more or less. Its crew remains stunned from the knowledge which they now possess. They went searching for answers to age old questions, instead they found a fugitive from justice.

Jehovah is taken, still bound, to a secure facility. Security decides to keep the chains in place until it can be determined that the facility is capable of restraining the prisoner.

A new week begins, and with it all of the members of council are bid to attend a gathering aboard the Planet Council Two. The trial begins and the list of crimes against Humanity pronounced. Jehovah is dragged into the auditorium and seated in the front row before the stage.

“Dear friends, this is the first trial we have had to hold in over a hundred years. The prisoner stands accused of many crimes against humanity. Among the long list of heinous crimes are the following:

· The Flood, of which there is no archeological evidence, yet it is listed. All humanity with the exception of a handful of people are said to have perished.

· The destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, including every innocent therein, babies, Women, and Men. It is estimated over 2000 died.

· The killing of all the first-born children of Egypt.

· The drowning of the Egyptian army.

· The mass killing in Jericho, where every Man, Woman, and child were murdered, save one family.

· The prisoners commanding of Joshua to kill all that breathes in the city of Makkedah.

· Aiding and abetting the murder of approximately ten thousand men in the city of Moab.

And the list continues, and is too lengthy to complete here.” ends the Council Leader.

“How do you plead?”

Jehovah stands and glares at the Council Leader. Glancing around the auditorium he then fixes his gaze on the Council Leader.

“You will all suffer grievously for this day. My wrath shall incinerate every last one of you. How dare you judge the will of the Almighty God!?” shouts the angry giant.

The Council Leader repeats, “How do you plead?”

Except for the clanking of the chains which restrain him, Jehovah is silent. Straining against the chains that hold him it is evident of the anger which is building within him.

“Return the prisoner to his cell. It is decided that this court will decide guilt and lever justice.” speaks the Council Leader realizing no more will be said by the prisoner.

The Council Leader, Janovic, and the historian Soolee meet in the council chambers.

“It is evident from the reactions of Jehovah that he is guilty of the crimes. He has not denied a single accusation against him.” the Council Leader begins.

“The evidence from the tablets surely place him at the scene.” asserts Janovic.

“The bible lists the crimes and is purported to be a historical document.” adds Soolee.

“The tablets, are they verified as authentic?” questions the Council Leader.

“The tests indicate they are indeed of the age to have been created at the time.” offers Janovic.

“Who made them?” asks the Council Leader.

“In the caverns which we found them there was only scant evidence that there were a peoples capable of such advanced engraving. Nothing really definitive.” Janovic responds.

“Without a plea of any kind we of the council will have to pass a summary judgment. We will meet this afternoon and complete this task.”

The next morning the auditorium is filled to overflowing. Jehovah is brought in and seated in front of the stage. The Council Leader steps to the podium and begins to speak. “We of the Planet Council have met and decided the fate of the prisoner. The prisoner will please stand.”

Jehovah, still filled with anger, stands.

“It is decided that the prisoner will be interred within a suitable holding facility for the rest of his life. There will be no further hearings, no parole hearings. There will be no visitations and no contact with any living being other than the security personnel.”

Jehovah rages. Pulling against his chains he grimaces and a glow appears around his wrists and ankles. He shouts, “I will make you suffer for this abomination. You will all die in horrible agony.” As the giant strains the bracelets of his bonds begin to glow red, then white hot. A security guard approaches holding a weapon directed upon the prisoner and warns, “Don’t make me use this.”

“Your puny weapons are meaningless to me.” shouts the giant as one bracelet falls from his wrist.

A blue arc emits from the security guards weapon and Jehovah, teeth chattering, mouth stuttering, falls in a heap to the floor. He lies motionless as a medical team moves forward to examine him. Moments pass and a medic looks up at the Council Leader.

“Sir, he’s dead.” she whispers.

Momentarily at a loss for words the Council Leader stares, mouth open. Then, turning to the crowd once more, he speaks, “God… is dead.”

End

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4 Responses to Coming of Age … February 20, 2013

  1. john zande says:

    Wow! Shades of Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clark. A great read!

  2. drenn1077 says:

    I’m glad you liked it. I was thinking at first of making it into a book. But that’s too much work.

  3. john zande says:

    Not really. Publish as an ebook. Email/website below is for a great e-publisher. He also buys ISBN’s in bulk so you can get your number at a good price. You’ll be surprised at how cheap it is to do.

    http://www.mcwriting.com/MC/eBooks_ePubs.html

    michael@mcwriting.com

  4. Good story! Kept me interested all the way through. Get it published as a short story somewhere if nothing else.

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