Okay! Sorry for the long delay folks, the Endlust War Chapter 8: Destiny is now ready for your consumption! We are only 1 chapter away from completion! Thanks to all those reading! I hope this brighten up your day somehow. Without further ado, the Endlust War Chapter 8: Destiny
The Endlust War
Chapter 8: Destiny
I INHALED A SHARP BREATH. The creature in front of me stomped its tree-trunk size heavy legs. It was called the Peacemaker; one of the Five. I believed the name was an oxymoron. It had a massive, egg-shaped, gray body and six black arms that were similar to mine, except they were the size of my head. Muscles bulged all over his arms and body as it flexed them in a show of intimidation. An elongated green tail swiveled back and forth from behind it. Its face was similar like a bull’s. It even had two ivory horns protruding from its head. It had three golden eyes along with a large mouth full of sharp, spiky teeth. Even though I stood about thirty feet away, the creature still had a domineering presence over me, all seven feet of it. Two of its seven-fingered hands held long swords while the other two held heater shields. The last two were unarmed but had fingernails as sharp as daggers.
That was the rule that it had initiated when it made its home in the Coliseum of Rome. It was to fight combat by human medieval weapons against two combatants. The victor would be able to ask it any question. I did not know if it was just one question or many, but all I really needed was just one. I had tried for these past eighteen months to beat it but every time I had failed. After my last failure, a little after my proposal to Katie almost a year ago, I decided to stop trying and instead dedicated my time to training. I had spent the better part of the year training in medieval swords and shields. In that time, the Peacemaker had fought against many people and each time it had won. For such a large body it moved with incredible agility and speed. All of my bouts with it had ended in less than seven seconds. My previous battle last month, after almost ten months of training, lasted an incredible three seconds.
When I came to, Katie told me that I was in a coma for a few weeks. I guess the Peacemaker was getting tired of my attempts. Amazingly, no one had ever died from fighting it. It always seemed to take the loser to the brink of death, but then stopped. While I laid there in the hospital, thinking about giving up, Katie brought up an interesting point.
“Hey TJ, what are the conditions for the fight again?” she asked me as she moved her hand through my hair.
“Two combatants. The combatants can use whatever weapons they have naturally to them, or use weapons from the Middle Ages,” I replied slowly. While I was mostly healed, it still hurt to breath.
“Two combatants? How come I’ve always seen you fight with one?”
“Because I haven’t been able to find people stupid enough to fight with me I guess.”
The afternoon sun filtered through the hospital blinds as she stared at me with her bright hazel eyes. “Does the rule say two human combatants or just two combatants in general?”
“Just tw–” I froze mid speech. There was a slight grin developing in the corner of her mouth.
I stood my ground as the creature huffed and puffed. The fight was to begin exactly at noon. I slowly unclasped the chainmail armor I had on and dropped both weapons and shields to the ground. The Peacemaker stopped stomping.
“What is this? Giving up already worthless human?” it growled in a low voice.
I smiled and shook my head. “Not giving up. I know I’ve already won.” I turned to look behind me, and gave a ‘come here’ nod.
The Peacemaker’s mouth almost dropped. After many long months of defeat after defeat, I had finally found the loophole. I looked down at my green buddy and gave another nod. “You ready?” I asked Blub.
He looked up at me with his one red antenna and replied, “Yup!”
When the clock struck twelve, the Peacemaker charged forward with amazing speed and almost closed the thirty feet gap in an instant, but Blubber was faster. As fast as it began, the fight was over. The bull-like creature had fallen over on its run toward me and was convulsing on the ground. Three black spots marked its body. Spots where Blubber had shots his weapon, whatever it was.
I put my foot over the giant alien’s body and pointed my sword at its throat. I really didn’t know what to do, but that felt right. On this day, the day that I won, there was no crowd to watch me except for Katie, who was already rushing into the arena. The rest had grown bored of my attempts and had given up on me. All except for one. The one running up to me.
“That was amazing Blubber!” she shouted as she ran up to us. She reached down, picked him up, and swung him into her chest to hug him. Blub didn’t have a mouth, but I knew he was pretty pleased with himself.
“Do you yield?” I asked the Peacemaker.
It sighed loudly and replied, “Yes. I yield. What question do you wish to ask me?”
“How can I save the human race?”
The creature hesitated for a few breath span, and finally answered. “Can you recall all Five?” it asked me between laborious breaths. I guessed Blubber’s weapon must have done a number to it. For a second I feared that I might have killed it.
“The Watcher, the Enlightener, the Protector, the Peacemaker, and the Judge.”
“That is correct,” it said as it slowly pushed itself up into a sitting stance similar to how people would sit in order to meditate. “You already know of the other three. My role as a Peacemaker was to ensure that no human countries would try to remove the flora and fauna of the Ark aggressively. This coliseum battle was meant to just entertain me.”
“How can you be here and ensure your duty at the same time?”
“Now you know four of our roles. Can you guess what the fifth one is?” it ignored my question. It began stretching its arms and cracking its neck. I could tell that it did not respect me. Probably not. I had cheated at its game. But that did not matter.
“The Judge? I can only assume that the Judge is meant to judge whether the integration has been successful or not. The Protector told me two years ago that we had failed. So we had failed at the integration?”
The Peacemaker laughed a throaty laugh. “After all these years and you still got it all wrong. I guess maybe we were wrong about you after all.
“What are you talking about?” I said. My eyes narrowed to the creature’s golden eyes. I noticed it had no pupils.
“The Judge is meant to evaluate whether humanity even deserves planet Earth. You’ve polluted it. You’ve ravaged it. I remember when I was here just two hundred years ago. How can you do so much destruction in two hundred years?!” its voice began to show traces of anger. As I listened to it, I was beginning to feel the anger as well. It was right. We had destroyed Earth in our modern progress. The ice caps had melted. The Rainforestscontinued to be cut down. Species went extinct every day.
“You have failed,” it addressed me in a loud booming voice. “We are preparing right now, but in two years, we will have the forces capable of destroying most of humanity.”
“Most?” Katie asked. She had been listening quietly by my side, still holding onto Blubber. He was amazingly quiet.
“It is against the Order’s Determinant to kill off an entire race. We will wipe most of you out, save just enough to keep the genetics varied. Then we will allow you a second chance. Or wait…this would make it your sixth chance. Oh no.” It rubbed its face with one of its hands. “It has happened so many times I’ve forgotten now. This isn’t your sixth chance. This is your seventh and final chance.
“What happens after the seventh chance?” I said, betraying no emotion, even though my heart was banging against my chest and my hands were wet with nervousness.
“Thenthe Determinant stops applying and the human race will cease to exist.”
It was too much information to process in my head, but I already knew what I had to do. “Tell me where to find the Judge. I need to convince it that we have not failed. That we can change.”
“It is impossible.”
“No, it is possible! My victory today proves that. I have shown that humans can coexist with alien life forms and we can value preservation over destruction. I have beaten you. You must answer my questions as you promised.” I held up my sword against it. “Or do I need to send Blubber against you again?” I knew I was throwing empty threats at it. But emotion overrode any kind of self-preservation by that point.
The Peacemaker looked at me first, baring its fangs. Then at my green friend. Finally at Katie. It shook its head and sighed loudly once more. “Then you will go to your grave.”
It stood up and dusted the sand from its body. “Do you remember where you were during Starfall, eight years ago?”
It took a couple of seconds before its question registered in my brain. “Yes!” I almost shouted. “The Anza-Borrego Desert outside of San Diego.”
“Yes. Be there in a year. The Judge will be there. You can go there and try your feeble attempt to convince it not to destroy you all. And you will fail, just like the rest of humanity has failed. It was great knowing you warrior.” It turned its back to me and began walking away. “If we had met another time, another place, I could have taught you some fighting tricks.”
After it disappeared into the shadows of the Coliseum, Katie turned to me and said, “What do we do now?”
I looked up to the cerulean sky and closed my eyes. When I opened them again and turned to look at her, I answered, “Convince the world of what we heard today, and prepare our case for the Judge. Come on.”
As I stumble here in outer space, with only my head left to my humanness, I wondered if the galaxy would had been better off if we had not tried then, and just allowed humanity to die out like it deserved to. But alas, I guess it was not our destiny.
200 years after Starfall
THE SHIP GRUMBLED AND MOANED IN ANNOYANCE. The locking mechanism retreated back into its crevices and, just like that, the Pilgrim was floating in space on its own power. I stood at the ship’s bridge, looking out through the giant glass pane that was in front of me. As the ship slowly moved away from the construction port and began rotating, I could see the blue marble coming into view. There were about thirty people on the bridge that day and they were all staring straight ahead with mesmerized eyes. The Earth was in front of us with countless stars of different brilliance serving as the planet’s backdrop. The birthplace of humanity. The home of humanity. I closed my eyes at that moment and thought about what had happened in the last two hundred years. About all that I had done in order to preserve mankind’s dominance over the beautiful planet. I then thought about what I had to do in order to ensure mankind’s survival and dominance over the galaxy. There was a slight lurch when the Pilgrim came to a stop and everyone turned to look at me.
I was standing next to the Captain’s chair. Even he was looking at me with his one red antenna. I smiled.
“How we looking Captain?” I asked my dear friend.
“It’s different than what I’m used to Messa, but for human crafted, I think it’ll do,” Blubber replied.
Messa. It was the name given to me by the United Earth’s Government, which was the government that I created when I unified all the nations of the world. Many people had started calling it the Three. It had a good ring to it. A few months prior to the completion of the Pilgrim, they had elected me to represent humanity for when we show ourselves to the galactic community for the first time. At the designation ceremony, someone screamed out the word messiah when I was being given the handle of Ambassador. Immediately afterward, the politicians officially changed my title from Ambassador to Messa. From that moment on, everyone began referring to me as Messa. I hated it.
My light blue uniform pressed tightly against my body. The upper shirt fit perfectly while the pants were a little bit tighter than I wanted. A sullen red cloak hung from the gray straps on my shoulder down to my waist. I stood tall and proud. But even then, I knew it was all a sham. I had succeeded in creating one planet, one nation. But it was only the beginning. It was the first ten feet in a marathon. As I stood, my eyes gazing at the blue planet that appeared to just dangle in a sea of blackness, I couldn’t help but feel the weight of the enormity of my task. It was only when I felt a hand touch my shoulder from behind did I break out of my daydream.
“Messa,” the short, portly man bowed his head to my outstretched right hand. He was dressed in a fine orange and black outfit that was a one-piece, long, garb held tight to his body by a black belt at his waist. A small, rectangular, cone-shaped hat adorned his head with ribbons of red and white falling from the top perch. His dark brown skin and light blue eyes hid his ethnic background.
“Pillar Josephine,” I said with a courtly smile. “How are you adjusting to being in space?”
He walked around me to gaze out at the glass pane and whistled loudly. “You’ve outdone yourself Messa. This is a beautiful, beautiful ship,” he said in a deep booming voice.
“Imagine it is prom, and we are the nerdy looking girl who has undergone a dramatic transformation, only to appear at the top of the stairs for all the school to see.”
“Then let us hope we do not slip in our heels,” he chuckled at my metaphor.
“If the heels slip dear Pillar, we will be dead before we even know it,” I said jovially.
“How are the preparations?”
“Captain?” I turned to look at my green friend. He had followed me through thick and thin. I could not have asked for a better friend. I could only wonder how much further he would follow me.
“The solar sails have been fully outstretched. We will be ready to depart in less than five minutes.”
“Five minutes. Incredible. Just incredible,” Pillar Josephine said gleefully. “Where did you find such a majestic design for this, Messa?”
“During my trip across the galaxy, I spent a decade at a planet called Nirva, which was the home of an alien race called the Quarnaks. It was one of the most beautiful planets I had ever seen. While living there, I learned how their people had gone into space, and before I left, I was given two gifts. The first was the Inside System Engine, which is what is going to be using the energy from the solar sails. The second gift was the design of the Pilgrim itself.”
At that moment, the glass pane in front of us darkened and materialized into a large display. It was showing a feed from a drone that was looking at the Pilgrim from afar. The ship was over two football fields in length and almost four stories in height. It was shaped like a convex rectangle with two giant wings arching out into space on both port and starboard side. The solar sail wings glistened in the rising sunlight; their golden color splattering the display screen with twittering flashes of yellow hue.
“Captain, ISE charged to fifty percent,” one of the engineers said out loud.
“Good,” Blubber responded. “Set a course for coordinate niner-alpha-charlie-seven-zero.”
“Course set for niner-alpha-charlie-seven-zero,” responded the female pilot.
“Are you sure we don’t need to be strapped into any seat for this?” Pillar Josephine asked me nervously. I could see a small hint of his fear. Prior to today’s launch, there had been previous usages of the ISE itself, but this was the first time so much energy was going to be used to launch a spaceship halfway across the solar system.
“We will be fine dear sir,” I said as I patted him on the shoulder. “The gravitational field is working within expectation. The external shield is humming proudly, if you listen close enough. This is a prideful moment for humanity. I am glad you are here to share it with me.”
Before the short man could say anything, Blubber was looking at me for directions. “Messa. The ISE is fully charged. We’re ready to go at your command.”
“You’re the Captain,” I said. “Your ship. Your call.” Blubber already knew this, but I guessed almost two centuries of following me had instilled a follower’s instinct in him.
“Ensign,” he called out to his pilot. “Shoot for Europa.”
Everything stood still for a moment. And then there was blackness. The distance from Earth to Europa, which was a moon of Jupiter’s, was about five astronomical units, which correlated to about four hundred and sixty five million miles. It would take light about forty one minutes to cover that distance. It took the Pilgrim less than three seconds. The first second was for the ISE to get the ship up to its maximum speed of seven astronomical units per second. The second was for the Pilgrim to cover the distance spanning between planet and moon. The last second was for the ship to slow down so as not to turn everyone on the ship into cosmic goo.
When the ship reappeared, we were in a safe orbit near Europa. The brown moon was hovering in the distance. There were copious amounts of red and blue and green lights blinking on its surface. A giant blue lake had formed near its equator since the last time I saw it. The terraformers had done their job well. There was an eerie calmness and silence to the ship as everyone remained frozen in place. As they began to realize that they were still alive, they were treated to a beautiful view of gigantic Jupiter and its Great Red Spot, an everstorm that was a little bit smaller than the Earth.
“That was incredible,” said the Pillar. I could see his hand trembling quietly beneath his sleeve.
“You haven’t seen anything yet,” I smiled. “Captain, how long til we received the necessary ice cargo from Europa?”
“It shouldn’t take long Messa. The containers are being transferred over as we speak.”
“Will it work?” Pillar Josephine asked me in a quiet voice. I could see the fear in his eyes.
“Indeed. The Drift Drive. We have never tested it before. When we had finally built it, you wouldn’t even let us experiment with it for a while. Instead you demanded it for this expedition. Why?”
I looked over to the glass pane, inhaled, and turned to look the short man directly into his pale blue eyes. “Because it is what defines us as humans. It is trust and the sense of adventure. The galaxy is watching us right now Pillar Josephine, even though we do not see it. If we do not show that we are capable of believing in the gift they gave us, then they will laugh at us for centuries to come, and we will forever be at the bottom of the galactic food chain. I will not have that. I cannot have that. Even if it costs me my soul, I will ensure the dominion of mankind over the rest of the galaxy.”
Everyone had stopped doing what they were doing. They had heard what I had just said. The only noises came from the quiet humming of the machines. One of the engineers finally spoke up, “The shipments have been transferred. The Drift Drive is ready to go on your command Captain.”
“Why?” the Pillar asked me, looking deeply into my eyes.
I hesitated…and then smiled. “Because it is our destiny.”
The Drift Drive hummed to life and a bright white light enveloped the Pilgrim.
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