|The Heale V Stories|
|Paradise||The Journey||The Holocaust at Heale||The Black Hole|
|The Sand and The Sky||Alone Amoungst the Stars||The Grand Music||The Survivor|
|The Link in the Chain||The Break of Dawn||Home|
The girl was relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair. The lounge chair was covered with a pleasant shade. A refreshing breeze blew across the chair. The girl could hear the sound of waves gently washing up the sandy shore. A waiter brought the girl her drink. The drink was vibrant. It was a pink and red swirl. There was a slice of a tropical and exotic fruit on the glass. She tasted the drink. It was sweet and delicious. She felt extremely content. She noticed a speck far above. It was a spaceliner leaving the atmosphere. She wondered where it was going: O’Rien? Tropaca? Earth? Feyoya? It did not really matter. She was satisfied here. She closed her eyes, felt the breeze gently glide across her, and listened to the waves gently crash in the background.
The lights brightened. The flight attendant was coming up the aisle. I looked at my watch. It was time for breakfast. There was a choice of eggs or French toast. The food was tasteless. We were coming up on the moon. I settled back and read a magazine.
The Captain came on the intercom: “There are some delays at Lunis Spaceport. We are being asked to wait in a holding pattern. We are going to have to orbit until our number is called. Those on the right side of the ship will have great aerial views of the moon. I apologize for the delay.”
I was sitting on the right side. I looked out my window. The massive transparent domes of Lunar City dominated my view. Through the domes were houses and buildings, all with red tiled roofs, intermixed with abundant trees. This patchwork of green and red was broken by the bright blue of Lunar Lake and the grey lines of streets. I watched Lunar City fade into the background as the spaceliner continued to orbit. There were smaller domes scattered around containing towns and outposts. We hit the dark side of the moon and everything vanished. All that could be seen out of my window was emptiness.
The crew turned off the cabin lights. It was as if someone had turned off my eyes. I could not see the outline of the seat in front of me. Everybody was silent. I had never experienced anything like it. Slowly, I began to notice a single, faint star out of my window. As the spaceliner came out of the shadow of the moon, golden light flooded through the windows into the cabin. The golden light flowed around us and filled the cabin with an aura of grandeur. They turned the lights back on. A baby started to cry.
The Captain came on and announced we had clearance into Lunis. The engines started to roar and we broke out of orbit. The moon’s surface zoomed by as we jetted towards the spaceport. The spaceport was under the biggest dome on the moon. It spread as far as I could see. The ship rumbled as its engines strained against the moon’s pull. The spaceliner glided through a portal into the dome of the spaceport. The rumbling stopped. I did not feel it when the ship touched down.
I was headed for a resort on Heale V for my vacation. I had to catch a connecting flight but I had time. Right off of the gate was the terminal lobby. The lobby was dominated by a massive waterfall. The waterfall began amongst rocks and plants, dropped down a rocky cliff, and ended in a deep blue pool lined with swaying trees. The lighting of the lobby caused the mist thrown up by the waterfall to rainbow into a thousand colors. I just stood there and stared at it for minutes. The old saying kept running through my head: “It is not the destination that is important, but the journey.” My body tingled with excitement at this thought as I stared at the waterfall.
The Holocaust at Heale
Yellow emergency lights flashed. Sirens blared. There was a thud. I heard the hissing of hydraulics as blast doors closed. People were yelling. There was shooting around the corner. I felt nothing. There was nobody in the hall where I was. I heard people running in my direction. I got into an escape pod and shot out into space. I saw the two mammoth ships entangled in each other. Someone had set our hyper-light drive to overload. That was how I survived the battle of Heale V.
The Black Hole
The star had gone supernova. It had become a black hole. A ship had come to study it. It was a military ship, but it was equipped with advanced scientific equipment.
“I don’t understand why the military has suddenly become interested in black holes,” the Professor was saying to his assistant, “they’ve never supported scientific research.”
“They have a hidden agenda,” the assistant agreed.
The Captain came in. He was a lifetime military man, now assigned to a distastefully unmilitary task.
“Professor, we have reached the coordinates that you gave us for the studying of the black hole. You may begin setting up your experiments. A team of my men will be assisting you. I know you don’t want us interfering, but I am requiring it.”
A voice from the ceiling called the Captain to the bridge. He left. The Professor looked out the window at the blank spot in space.
“Well, they’ve just made their first move.” commented the Professor in a soft deep voice, “We will be watched.”
“And so the plot thickens,” chimed in the assistant.
“Well, we’re here, let’s make the best of it.” the Professor’s voice shifted back to normal, “Initial scans show that we are slightly farther away from the hole than I had specified.
Please go and tell the Captain to move us closer to the black hole.”
The Sand and the Sky
The waves gently broke onto the yellow sand beach. The beach was a bright glittering yellow. The brochure boasted that it was the most beautiful beach on Heale V. The beach was littered with palm trees which cast a soft, pleasant shade over it. The trees were still. There was no wind. Scattered along the beach were lounge chairs. Many were empty. Their occupants were enjoying the warm, sparkling blue water. The girl way lying in a chair at the base of a palm tree. The girl was asleep. She had a novel in her hand.
Someone grabbed her shoulder. She woke up with a start. Her eyes were blurry. The receptionist was standing over her. He looked worried. The receptionist began speaking, “There is a battle happening around the planet. We are being told that it is not safe. We are asking all guests to gather in the basement of the hotel for their protection. There will be staff to show you the way.” The girl said nothing. The receptionist continued on to the next guest. The girl stood up and collected her stuff. Guests were rapidly splashing out of the water. The girl started to lazily walk towards the hotel. The glittering sand felt good against her bare feet. Hotel staff were along the trail to the hotel. Many of them looked worried. A few were panicking. The girl was about to enter the hotel but stopped. She looked up at the sky. All she could see was a field of blue that seemed to go on for eternity.
The girl was ushered into the basement of the hotel. There was a lounge there. The walls of the lounge were painted bright pink and neon green and depicted palm trees. They made the girl’s eyes sting. As more people filled in, groups of conversation started. “I hate space battles,” one man started, “Everything looks good and normal from the planet, as if nothing is happening. If you look up, you don’t see a battle happening above you. But who knows what type of carnage is happening up there?” The man pointed at the ceiling. The hotel was handing out drinks. The drinks were colorful and had little umbrellas in them. The girl tried one. They were too sweet. The room started to relax. Jokes were being told. Peppy music was being played over the room’s stereo system.
The girl ran out of the room. She ran out of the hotel. She ran all the way down the path to the beach. The beach was deserted. The sparkling sand felt comforting on her feet.
The receptionist grabbed her shoulder. “What are you doing out here? It’s not safe. We have to get inside.”
The girl looked up at the endless plane of blue.
The receptionist seemed frantic and frustrated. “We’ve got to get inside!”
There was an Explosion…
The sand was turned black and there was a fire in the sky.
Alone Amongst the Stars
The survivor awoke. He was surrounded by stars. Glistening and unjudging, they seemed to fill the whole escape pod. He was lying in an awkward position. He was tense and sore. Gradually his eyes moved away from the window and he examined the rest of the pod. It was small— he barely had enough room to lie down. In a side panel there was enough food and drink to last him weeks. Someone had also stashed a dirty magazine in there. He was alone. There was not a soul for light-years. He felt relaxed. The survivor was surrounded by stars.
The Grand Music
I made my way to the gate. The flight had not started boarding. There were a few people scattered about. There was no one behind the counter. The view-screens blared the grand music that announced a news report. It began: “We have a breaking report. A battle has taken place over the world of Heale V. Reports are of many dead on both sides as well as significant destruction on the planet. The President of Heale has called for a state of emergency and almost a quarter of the planet’s population is being evacuated. All Heale-bound spaceflights are grounded and people are advised to stay clear of the Heale system. It is classified as a warzone until declared otherwise as…”
I looked out the giant terminal windows, past the uncountable number of space-liners and transport ships, at the white dust that was the moon’s surface. My gaze shifted upwards, towards the brilliant blue and green orb that was the Earth.
An announcer came on and announced that all flights to the Heale system had been canceled. Many people started to complain. Others started to cry.
They showed pictures of Heale from space. You could see black clouds of smoke over much of the planet. You could see the glowing red of fires beneath them. There were some large black spots on the planet, where particularly destructive explosions had charred the planet’s surface. I remember seeing pictures of Heale where it was clear, blue and gold, and glitteringly bright. Now it was cloudy, grey, red and black.
My mind went back to the waterfall. To the artificial beauty of it. Reality is always more depressing.
A cruiser picked up the escape pod. The survivor was given a chance to wash and eat. He was then rushed in front of a Colonel for debriefing. He was forced to sit in an uncomfortable chair while the Colonel interrogated him. The Colonel circled around him.
“What the hell happened at Heale?”
“Enemy destroyer. Surprised us. Took out our weapons and shields first and then boarded us.”
The Colonel looked disgusted. “That’s just sloppy.” He paused and then continued, “I take it the captain broke down and ordered the crew to abandon ship…”
“No sir. Someone set our hyper-light drive to overload. Everyone was killed. On both ships.”
The Colonel looked pleased. “So you took the bastards down with you…”
The Colonel turned aggressive. “Then how the hell are you still alive? Why did you get into an escape pod when you fellow crewmates boldly sacrificed their lives?”
“I wanted to live.” The Colonel seemed startled by this answer.
“You’re a coward.”
“That may be, but I’m still alive.”
“Not in anyone’s eyes. Not anymore”
The survivor did not answer. He just sat silently, contemplating this truth.
The Break of Dawn
A sun peeked out from behind the curvature of a planet. The planet was blue, green, and gold. More and more of the star appeared from behind the planet. Things were getting brighter and brighter. The planet was becoming more golden. It looked like a floodlight illuminating the darkness and specifically casting a spotlight onto a golden orb. People were looking at it in awe. It was magnificent in the most complex and fundamental way. Eventually, the crew announced that it would soon become so bright that the filters could not protect us from the intense rays so the view-window had to be closed. People returned to their seats, disappointed and amazed.