In a perfect world, heroes don’t exist. In a serene utopia, with mankind looking out for each other, there is no need for a hero. The absence of evil makes an absence of heroes. Good always exists. It’s the normal path. To say that it is a scale of good vs evil is to be lying. Good is the middle. Evil is the right side of the scale and doing nothing balances evil. If good does nothing, evil triumphs and gains a foothold. If good acts, evil ceases, and good remains.
This is not a story about heroes. This is a tale of woe and tragedy. Of the inability to act. But not without redemption. Rebirth. A chance to start anew. Refreshed. Ready. A hero cannot exist without a villain. A protagonist is not necessary a hero, neither is an antagonist a villain. The choices made by the hands of fate wield that.
Time echoes differently between the cosmos. To some, that means that a century is but a drop in the ocean. To others, a rapid evolution. He does not remember what He is. Just that He was once amongst the starts travelling freely between worlds, a gardener on a celestial scale during times of peace. And should war rear its ugly head, He was quite adept at managing that. Alas, the fall through the heavens damaged his ship – safely ejecting Him alongside the clouds, and His ship to the planet below. He would prove unable to locate his ship – massive thunderstorms blanketed the surface. His pod safely redirects him to a better location on the surface; however, upon landing, the pod takes extensive damage resulting in emergency directives. He was teleported to a suitable location nearby, while the pod initiated protocols and self-destructed. His last known location of the ship was on the other side of the planet. Inside the storms.
His trek was mostly easy as the planet had not yet developed life that wasn’t born in water. The lands were free of any life that wasn’t vegetation. The trees soared endlessly to the sky, their tendrils reaching for the stars. He himself wished to go back, but his pod only left him with his nano-suit and replicator. He could breath the air of the planet as if it were His own. The nanites did all the work. If He had want or need of anything, food or machine, He gathered the carbon needed for such a conversion.
The easy part of His journey ended when the coordinates led to a massive lake bolstered by a lightning storm, endlessly lit on fire due to the fuel of His ship. Maybe It didn’t escape. He thought to himself. Maybe It died in the flames.
Unfortunately, life is never that easy. Except in the cases in which it is. He could not find a way to access His ship. His race had one power over the rest of them – the reason they were all exiled from the Planetary Council (so named because every race must reveal their home planet to be considered). His race controlled Time. They never calculated for it, or considered it. Eons of belief of this singular system of thought. They evolved to be Keepers of worlds. Celestial gardeners. Making sure that every world that could potentially have life, has life – no matter the form or size. A race that was a serene Utopia. Everyone working together. No heroes. No problems. No villains.
The lightning stood still, an endless surge of energy. The fire burned but the heat could not reach. The burning lake frozen like a painting, each moment of Time held in its own bubble. Nothing but black in between. In a blink of an eye, He was back inside his ship. A journey travelled between the stars of Time as He navigated the black. Singular belief in not calculating Time. How useful. The ship was still intact; in fact, the ship had charged itself with the plasma from the lightning. The lifeblood of the universe. He had the ship run further diagnostics while He gathered data about the world using the ship’s instruments.
“ERROR! BIOLOGICAL ENTITY NOT DETECTED! CALL FOR BACK-UP INITIATED.”
“Cancel that appointment with the boys, I’ll deal with it on my own. No need for back-up, Mathias”. The ship complied to His command and awaited further instructions. None were given, only the previous directive was being followed – diagnostics.
“ERROR! LEAK IN ENGINE CORE. SUGGEST HIBERNATION UNTIL SHIP SELF REPAIRS. Suggested timeline 2,000,000 years from now.” The ship speaks to Him with almost a reference. “INITIATE PLANETARY SEEDING?”
“Yes, Mathias, please do. Wake me when life has figured out how to reach the stars. Repair the engine core in the meantime. If it cannot be repaired, jettison the core with a pod and let it explode in space.”
And with that He went to sleep.
During the long dark… I age.
For lack of a better explanation, His kind is immortal. Him and Mathias are the last. Exiled by consequences of their own making, by breaking their sacred law. No creating lifeforms other than themselves. Mathias would have died were it not for His intervention. He saved his soul and mind within the ship, a new creation of AI. Forever will Mathias be indebted for Him. Forever will He be served.
It is during their sleep, that His kind can die. If Time enters the equation, and their minds wander to a linear path, it is possible to go raving mad as one is trapped between differing perspectives of reality. Forever insane. He does not suffer that problem, but Mathias did and at least now, Mathias is free.
The planet is taking form. We are buried. We will survive.
“PROXIMITY ALERT! UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT IN VICINITY! WAKE HIM NOW.”
To Him, it was merely a turn of His head but to the planet, it was several hundred millennia. His dreams were either memories of the past, or visions of the future. Time is fickle: each bubble or star in the black is undetermined until witnessed. And He slept a lot. Hundreds of realities bound by their own rules.
“Activate ship diagnostics and enter stealth mode, Mathias. Let whatever is out there think we’re nothing but a rock.”
The diggers had been drilling for months in the Arctic, through the ice, searching for whatever it was that momentarily pinged their satellites. A short wave burst of unidentifiable energy that somehow communicated with their systems and then went silent. Their location systems had pinged the source from somewhere near the North Pole. Small time mercenaries and other private contractors were hired with the promise of everlasting wealth should the source be found. It was a bloodbath. The ice became no man’s land. The local wildlife feasted on the corpses of those involved in such a hunt. The diggers about to uncover the ship had a different method. They posed as friendly merchants for months, infiltrating every organisation and whichever group found it first would be taken out and replaced.
“Huh, that’s strange.” Remarked the foreman, “it’s just a rock… You’d think there’d be something worthwhile in all this cold. Well, let’s dig it out and pack it up for the men with bigger paychecks back home to figure out what’s up.” The foreman ordered his men about and set to work – Much easier than them bodies we buried.
“WHY LET THEM TAKE US, YOU WOULD RISK DISCOVERY?”
He cast aside Mathias’ worry with a laugh, “they’ll never see anything but a rock. I am dealing with ants. Don’t worry. How are the diagnostics coming? Any sign of our old friend?”
“ERROR. BIOLOGICAL ENTITY DETECTED. ALL LIFEFORMS. RECOMMEND CONTACTING HOME DESPITE OUR TRESPASSES. DO YOU CONCUR?”
“No. If we contact back home, this planet will die. They are made in our image – it is made in our image. The planet is a replica of our world, though Time rules their reality. And you know I’m also banished for walking in both realities without the curse of madness. Let’s see what these creatures do. If they are even a replica of us, would they have our words? Would they walk the same path? I wish to see these answers for myself. We will let them take us.” He replied to the ship resolutely.
From the outside the ship resembled a large black shard of obsidian, an unnatural sight to be seen amongst the ice. Its shape so chosen to attract attention and limit the amount of stealth tech needed to maintain the illusion. As close as possible to our natural state. It didn’t require much time and resources to move the giant shard (GS as it was begun to be known), and soon it was in the most advanced lab that the world had yet conceived of. Humanity tried every single test possible and every single test came back with the same result. It is made of obsidian and of this planet. It is merely old, older than the ice around it suggesting it may have migrated. Other than that, the greatest minds couldn’t figure it out what possible greater purpose it had and, therefore, it was forgotten away in an abandoned warehouse in the middle of a desert. Only took them 10 years to finally stop trying.
“WHAT IS THE NEW DIRECTIVE?” Mathias asked finally after a decade of silence, he only wished his systems weren’t so limited by the ship’s capabilities for speech, and waited for his master to reply.
“Find the original biological entity. He must have survived. He wouldn’t just have seeded this world with His genetic materials and died in some cave. I should know, He’s my second creation after you, Mathias. He always brought such light into my life. It’s a shame He followed my path. He was to be your new body, but sentience awoke in Him. Even a scientist makes mistakes. Naturally He rebelled and here we are.” He said back to the soul in the machine. “Search the planet. I don’t care how long it takes. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy what this planet has to offer. See the sights. Explore the world.”
He’s limited by Time, I am not.