by Randy Ludlum
Simon admits defeat to the overwhelming decision carrying with it the unfathomable cost, and sacrifice to come. A blanket of darkness began to dissolves the world away from him, breaking down buildings, cars, and people into a greying mist. The last remnants swirl across Simon’s body as if a gentle breeze, while the absent abyss was there to welcome him. Simon, weak and trembling in a nearly violent manner reached for his pocket. He pulls a small oval shaped controller, and presses its blue button.
“I’m done. Just … no more. I tried everything to find a way”, Simon said rubbing his forehead in frustration. This genocide had become too normal, and his emotions were dulled. Beckoned by an invisible voice, Simon enters the dull silver elevator. The elevator jerks as it leaves the seemingly endless room. Simon had spent many years experiencing the horror of Earth’s constant destruction. Sometimes by those in North America, if not more from the rest of the world. Like all the other people taken, Simon was given a choice to see if humanity could evolve.
“Did you make decision?”, said a voice next to him. The most Simon could muster was a nod to acknowledge them. “Did you receive the visual species identification test?”, said the voice.
“Yes, Secsun”, Simon said attempting to settle himself. There were more questions the needed to be answered.
“Simon”, said the voice in an oddly compassionate tone. “How about the basic planetary legislation and regulation procedures, and language longevity injection?” Secsun began moving around Simon, causing him to whip around quickly. Secsun seemed amused with Simon’s reaction letting out a unique laugh, but apologizing all the same.
“Yes, but honestly, I… I don’t understand what … what I mean is, what we were deciding?” Simon’s face struggled not to show the overwhelming feeling of anxiety from the long isolation. “Can I go home now?” Simon now searching for Secsun.
The elevator continued down towards an uncertainty Simon almost dare to ask. Simon eyes still wandered around the elevator until he noticed the levels passing by. Each presented what appeared as different locations, and some in the middle of destruction. People shifting the world around them as they walked or moved through it, but one thing was clear they were almost done. Simon wondered if that was what Secsun experienced when they peered into his small part of the world. In another, Simon realized his insignificance next to the Alliance’s abilities.
“Simon Fletcher, as many years you have been here. You will go home, and you will deliver the results.” Secsun moved around Simon once again. “Are you ready to see what I look like now? You were more curious than most.”
Simon did not hesitate, “Yes, all these year together without the slightest idea of what you look like. Wait. Are you male or female?” Simon’s curiosity soared, bombarding him with questions. The shimmering figure begins phasing into view. Simon was shocked at the female humanoid appearing in front of him, and realized in the database she was a Tetrocot (similar to werewolves). Secsun did appear to have metallic blue fur, and a highlighted fluffy tail, but stood slightly taller than Simon. Her face and body were close to a human’s, except for a few distinct features like her nose, and ears. Secsun’s legs were more like a wolves than a human’s, but her appearance was appealing to Simon; a relief.
“I do not frighten you, do I? Secsun’s face now in full view to Simon, but he showed no fear. In fact, he went right up to her, and properly introduced himself. Secretly, he always wanted to meet a wolf girl, maybe from too many cartoons.
“Let’s do this properly. My name is Simon Fletcher. It is nice to meet you.” Simon said as his hand reached towards Secsun. “No Secsun, I actually like grey wolves.” He said as Secsun and Simon exchanged handshakes. “Why did I have to experience all those choices. I couldn’t find any way that humanity wouldn’t kill themselves, or others with your technology.” Simon lowered his head as he answered letting out a sigh.
“We only needed to allow you to see it yourselves. Other species do not allow themselves to see their flaws. The reasons for their actions in hurting their own species, instead of moving one’s species forward.” Secsun’s face stressed the weight of her next words. “Now that enough of you have decided we move to the next stage. You will gather with the others, and will be given time to decide your words for your people. Simon…” Secsun turns her face away. “Simon, you must tell them they have 11 days before we have to purge the Earth.”
“PURGE!” reacted Simon.
“Yes” said Secsun in a remorseful voice.
“NO!… What, no! How could you do this?” Simon turns cold as the blood drains in waves from his head. His legs go numb as his knees hit the dull metallic floor.
“At the rate of change your planet will be unable to sustain life in the next 1000 years. Your species will kill the planet, and then themselves.” Secsun hesitated on her last words, but had to continue even though she had grown fond of Simon. “The Aou’dtroc Alliance of species was created to ensure life in the universe.”
“Then, why did you come to our planet?” Simon questions seemed normal to have asked; Why make people decide? Why kill humanity?
“We seek out dangerous species that are then given a chance to change. If they are unwilling, they are culled to a reasonable number, and then transplanted on another planet to learn about the universe. We bring them back when their planet has healed itself, and developed a system to ensure historical aspects of humanity. There will be pillars, guardians, and enough people for a large colony to continue your species safely.”
“Dangerous? Culled? Transplanted? Wait, wait, I decided that? You said there were other people deciding this? We must wait for the Earth to heal? Wait…” Simon upon finishing his words, vomits on the cold metal floor losing consciousness. The last thing he see is Secsun’s worried face as she rushes towards him.
Simon slowly opens his eyes hoping all of this was a dream he could forget. The blinding light made it hard to focus. As his body shifted, he realized this wasn’t home. He began sobbing uncontrollably, and wailed over the choice he had made. His body clinched into a ball, while his hands covered his face. This was no ordinary decision, this was death to everyone he knew. To even those he knew nothing about. This was the worst possible outcome in meeting those among stars, one based on logic. Secsun was there the whole time attempting to console Simon, but he was unaware until her hand reached for him. Shocked by this Simon sprang from the curved silver bench, and fell to the floor.
“Simon. Simon. Are you alright? Do you need some water?” Secsun face weighed heavily on Simon. Showing the fear, he felt and the inability to stop the inevitable death of billions. “You are not the only one to have to make this decision. Look around. There are more than a thousand other humans out of their simulations. They had to make the same choice, and they all decided the same as you.” she said in a more tender, compassionate voice.
“I’m not the only one?” Simon said in a cracked voice. “They all decided the same.” Simon stood slowly, and scanned the room. He saw dozens of people alongside multiple other species. Simon knew some of them from the identification tests, and most appeared friendly. This spun his thoughts more.
“You are not the only one to share the burden. You could go and speak with the other humans if you want, or need to.” Secsun says with a tender gesture towards Simon touching his shoulder. As if, she could smell his fear, and anxiety over his new reality.
“I think I would rather stay close to you. If I can Secsun.” Simon says as he moves closer to her reconfirming the attempt to console him. Simon’s thoughts went to the horror he was to unleash. The cities that would burn, the people that would be brutally massacred across the world. Simon’s mind shifted to his town, his friends, and his family. His hands covered his face as the guilt flooded in.
“Yes, I will be with you through this whole process. We give our lives to the protection of planets, and species.” Secsun says reassuringly to a bewildered Simon. “I will be with you for the rest of your life. You will need to pick three of the already willing volunteers to guard you. We will accompany you when deliver the results.” Secsun paused hoping Simon demeanor would change, but he still had the smell of fear.
“Guards, I guess I would need them. Who wouldn’t want to kill me. To decide so much for so many. Who wouldn’t want to stop me.” Simon said trying to hold back the tears. “I will just die with everyone else. That should at least seem fair to them. I die with them.” Simon says aloud as if speaking just to himself. As if it would justify this grotesque fate. That this would provide Simon a way to appease the shame he now felt.
“What do you mean Simon? Die?” Secsun said in a strange tone, almost laughing. “You are a pillar. Ever since you got the injection.” Simon falls face-first onto the floor as Secsun finishes her sentence.
When Simon awoke; it was a week later, and the other pillars had already devised a plan. Secsun informed Simon of a way he could deliver the message to the people of the United States, while relieve some suffering. Using the medical tool that the Aou’dtroc alliance provided, gave Simon the ability to heal any wound, disease, or affliction any human could ever have. It replaced the need for medicines, and Simon would be the only one able to use it. Children would be the sole reason, but Simon was to heal anyone who asked to ensure the kids were cured. The plan was simple; to move all the people in the hospital out, then Simon and the other pillars would enter the building. The Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts was the location the Aou’dtroc Alliance picked for Simon’s message, and their introduction.
The next day Simon, the pillars, and the Aou’dtroc Alliance set forth to Earth to inform humanity of their new fate. Boston Children’s Hospital is cleared of everyone but the patients, and the Pillars were sent in. All the pillars had medical devices, and invisible guard escorts to ensure the success of the plan. Simon was sent to the Children’s Cancer ward, and walked to the first child he saw, Sarah Erikison, age 7, diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.
“Please calm down. My name is Simon. I am here to help.” Simon said holding back tears. Sarah was a beautiful, with short brown hair, and light green eyes. However, she was covered in cables, cords, tubes, and monster devices encompass much of her world view. As if, flashing lights, and beeping machines bring comfort.
“Where is nurse Anna?” Sarah said uneasily.
“She will be right back, but I am here to heal all of you. It will take a few minutes, but you will feel no more pain.” Simon said with a genuine sincerity, and forcing his tears back. “Is that ok? Can I heal you?” Simon’s words steadier than before, now with purpose.
“You can do that?” Sarah said with doubt, and uncertainty. “You mean I could go home, and no more treatments?” said Sarah, now crying as Simon placed the device on her, and the cancer was gone. Simon knew the repercussion were coming, and moved from Sarah’s view as it began. Secsun grabbed Simon before he fell to the floor, and as swift as the pain came, it left just as fast. Simon continued this around the entire ward of children. One by one taking the diseases into his new body to extract them from the children. Not realizing at first the total cost to his body it caused.
“You really need to be careful even with the longevity injection.” Secsun says with a concerned tone.
“I’m fine. I just need to rest a minute.” Simon agonized with varied effects from the Rhabdomyosarcoma, Neuroblastoma, Sickle-Cell Disease, and other cancerous genetic abnormalities. All of them absorbed, corrected, and vanished from the gifts the Alliance gave to Simon’s body. It scares him, to be this powerful now. It made him realize what the Alliance were afraid of with humanity.
“Here. Look here. This should make you understand why you are here.” Secsun says attempting to divert his attention from the pain. This was the reason the Alliance picked this place and Simon for this task. The patient’s name is Rachel Dickens, 8, and dying from Brain and spinal cord tumors.
“Secsun, why is this important? I just healed her a few minutes ago,” Simon said in agony.
“You remember when you asked about your family a few years back?” said Secsun.
“Ya, you guys told me that my parents, and sister had died, but that I had a niece.” Simon said, almost curious to Secsun’s reasoning. “But, my niece should be around her mid 20’s. Not a child in this hospital…” Simon stopped, and froze.
“That little human female is your great-niece. You saved her life today.” said Secsun knowing that Simon’s reaction would need consoling. That was her purpose now, and she accepted it. Simon had become precious to her. He brought out her nurturing instincts.
Doctors, nurses, police and hundreds of others had surrounded Boston Children’s Hospital trying to find some admittance back inside. An impenetrable silver film appeared around the hospital scaring the already frighten people. News organizations, and affiliates from around the world were trapped outside the Children’s hospital. Nearly three hours go by when Simon has all the patients walk out cured of all abnormalities, or diseases. Thirty minutes later Simon emerges from the film encapsulating the hospital. A bubble-like field surrounds him extending as he walks up to the reporters. The military, and police barricade meant nothing, and were pushed aside with ease.
“Who are you exactly?”, asked Gerald Perkins, a frightened local news reporter.
“My name is Simon Fletcher.” Simon said startled somewhat by the camera in his face.
“What were you doing in the hospital with the patients? Said Chi Summers, a syndicated news reporter.
“I was sent to heal all the patients, and anyone else that needs relief from the pain and suffering of disease.” Simon said with a smile that quickly changed.
The sea of reporters swelled with voices of skepticism, and pure disbelief that it was possible for a human to do such things. “How”, “Why”, and other questions followed in drowning out the message of what Simon was attempting. Simon had nothing to gain in curing illness for free. Simon hadn’t forgot these lines of questions from each simulation to the next reporters always angled the gain, as if, the benefit of healthy people was less. This resolved Simon because it was always the simulation, and not reality. Now before him were real people on the real earth, and they still were just concerned about who was to gain.
“I have nothing to gain from this. I am here to heal people. Is that ok?” Simon said with an annoyed, and slightly frustrated tone. Simon didn’t wait for a response and continued, “I have to declare to you all. I have been involved with a decision-making process to confirm if humanity could live peacefully with other species.” Simon paused before his next words. “To see if we would kill ourselves, or other species with the technology that the Aou’dtroc Alliance would provide to humanity. Ultimately, they value the species over disputes of varied causes, costs, scales, or reasons. Logic to ensure the longevity of their species. The Aou’dtroc Alliance traveled here for one reason. The earth is screaming. So, loud in fact. It woke the stars and they replied. No more.” upon Simon’s last words the Aou’dtroc Alliance reacted.
The sky crackled and creaked when vast ships broke the clouds apart upon shifting the horizon. Sonic concussions could be felt among the crowd on the ground as glass breaks falling below. An enormous emerald ship with phasing sections creating the image waves almost matching, but different from another smaller ruby, and black ship. It had a similar phasing effect, but electrical discharge spiraling over its bow instead. Reporters interviewing Simon became silent momentarily before the nervous chattered followed. Almost missing the numerous creatures, and other foreign species that began appearing around Simon. The forcefield apparently keeping everyone for approaching Simon from behind hid the overwhelming alien presence. Reporters, military, police, and the public backed away as if a frightened animal. Quietly as if they never made a sound in their lives, until Simon spoke again.
“Did you NEVER think the day would come that a species from the stars would find us. That they wouldn’t have something to say?” Simon words seemed to push some reporter’s better judgement to run, and question the events. “Or, that a thousand species would come at one time to correct this world. I mean, I was ignorant also.”
“Mr. Fletcher… What is happening?” Suzanna McNeil, a reporter form NTN news said in a wavering voice.
“Our world has many wonderful things, and a capacity to conquer extraordinary challenges. However, we have oppressed, enslaved, raped, contaminated, destroyed, and monetarily driven the society to disregard, and disrespect life. That said, humanity now has 11 days until the purge begins.” Simon’s words echoed upon a now silent crowd. “More information will be released later today, but only a portion of the population will survive.” Simon then gestures to Secsun that he wanted to leave. So, the pillars, Aou’dtroc Alliance, and Simon start phasing until they fade away. Leaving only the massive presence of the ships above the planet we called earth. The later atrocities are something better left unpenned, because we failed in the end.
Randy Ludlum is a transfer student from Durham Tech Community College
majoring at NCCU in English Composition. He has worked with the
student publication at DTCC, and volunteers at WNCU 90.7 as a
production assistant. He is a avid fan of Science-Fiction, and Fantasy
literature, and has been inspired by authors such as; J.M. Barrie, J.
R. R. Tolkien, and Octavia Butler. Randy is motivated to complete a
PhD in Composition and Rhetorical Studies when he leaves NCCU.