In the vastness of space, a star shinning bright through the cosmic mist.
Around this star was a lonely planet, glinting in the passing light. Alone it stood, like a shard of leaf passing in winter, silently drifting through the shadows of space. Around the planet itself, a massive field of debris. It was the planet ‘Dove,’ the only planet in this solar system. As it’s crown, heaps of twisted metal, man-made relics of the past and unmarked graves floating endlessly, dancing in a giant ring.
Through the wreckage, newer ships ambled by, their lights flashing and searching for something in the floating miasma. They were salvage vessels, hunting for treasure.
Inside these giant O-shaped ships, men and women were busy bodies at work. Some operating machines or control stations, others pounding away swiftly on data pads. Others sipped on hot drinks and rambled on about their last day on this mission. They were here to sift through the mess. Indeed, it was their responsibility. All part of the same organization, they were researchers and relics hunters, piecing together artifacts from the past and binding them to museums of the future.
Inside the hull, a young man named Acadia continued his walk forward onto the outside deck of the ship. He was tall and thin, with fluffy dark hair and eyes, and sporting a grey jumpsuit with many zippers and belts. As he came to a stop at the balcony, a female ship officer approached from behind.
“Is that it?” Acadia asked her without turning.
“That’s it. We’re here.” The officer returned.
The ship came to a slow, steady hault, some pieces of debris bouncing off the hull. Just in front the ship, lay the massive hulk of an old battle cruiser from a war five hundred years ago. It sat outside the window like the face of a whale, staring them in the eyes.
Within moments, Acadia and the other officer were inside a small chamber, suiting up in preparation for their space walk. Once helmets were on, the chamber hissed, buzzed, then the doors flew open.
The two figures flew freely across the floating masses, their suits providing snaps of energy to push and pull them along. A few drones from the ship passed by them. Sleek, unmanned vessels that disappeared into the large slabs of steel, their lights blinking into the blackness. Finally, Acadia and his mate reached the hull of the gigantic old battleship. As they looked up, it seemed to dwarf them like ants, or even mites.
“Wow,” the female officer breathed out, “this is unbelievable. I never thought I’d get to see one up close. Is this..?”
“Yes,” Acadia answered quickly, swerving his head around. “A real Twin Empire dread-hull. Pure titanium crystal.” His hand ran over the surface.
“I’m surprised the crystal is still in such good condition after hundreds of years.” She remarked.
“Not me,” Acadia looked over to her, “the system will probably never see designers like them again. The Andacons were geniuses of their time, in many respects.”
“Most of all, war, I hear.” She shot him a slightly more fierce, sarcastic glance. He smiled.
“Even so, they were unmatched. And...” His voice trailed as his eyes caught sight of something. There, embedded in the side of the hull just beneath his feet, appeared to be some kind of circular blade. As he drew closer and began to feel it, he realized it was a sword. A highly crafted sword.
“...And there’s something to be said, about fine craftsmanship.” He finished to himself.
The next day, Acadia was back on Dove, walking on a sunny day through the seaside city of New Ogunquit. Dove was made up of mostly ocean, but on it’s land were many mountainous regions, with beautiful lush forests and unique landscapes. No deserts of ice or sand, simply blue and green. It’s land was also unharmed, as all structures floated above the ground, even the cities. Most of the buildings only reached about a hundred feet, so construction was never difficult or demanding, especially since this kind of technology and design had been implemented for hundreds of years.
New Ogunquit was, of course, by the sea and it consisted of many different buildings for all kinds of operations: Offices, transportation, cargo ships, fishing, along with small villages, town squares and markets. All of which had very plain designs, mostly square and rectangular with very little ornamentation. Almost as if boxes of different colors hung in the air, with bridges and spires between them.
Seagulls weaved around the structures, big cargo haulers hovered above the coastline, all while people moved along through the bright walkways and corners. But perhaps the most important building of all in the town, was the research center.
The New Ogunquit research center was founded by the Matriarch Ellery three hundred years ago. The purpose is to use the ships, resources and facilities of the government to study the relics of the debris field, left over by the great war long ago. These findings, artifacts, and research are all complied, saved and studied for the betterment of the future. Matriarch Ellery has always believed history to be the most valuable asset, and no one would know better then her.
Ellery herself is over five hundred years old. She is the only surviving Ascopo of this new solar system; a race of humanoids that lived very long lives, resembling humans except for their tiny frame, alabaster skin and black eyes and hair. She is the Matriarch of the Historical Society of Dove, highly admired and praised for her actual, physical historical knowledge.
On this day, Acadia was on a mission to see her. He was accompanied by the female officer from the ship and two of his siblings, a young girl and boy about ten years old. The children ran ahead and played with each other while Acadia kept an eye on them, carrying something under a fabric cover.
Suddenly, the small group almost ran into a man who seemed to be lost and wandering.
“I’m sorry!” The man said finding his footing.
“No problem, where are you headed?” Acadia replied still moving forward, the man began to follow.
“Trying to find the New Ogunquit research facility, I keep getting turned around.”
“It’s tricky to find. Follow me, that’s where I’m headed now.”
“Great, thank you!” He replied and quickly followed.
“You wouldn’t happen to be Myles, would you?” Acadia said bending his head back at him.
“I am! Do you work at the center?”
“I do. I’m Acaida, a field researcher.”
“That’s great! I thought about doing that myself once, but space is a bit too scary for me. Unfortunately, that means I’m stuck behind a desk otherwise, just signing papers.”
“Someone has to do the funding! We wouldn’t have ships without you.”
“That’s true.” They approached a nearby building with a massive, square archway of stone.
“I’d be proud of what I’m funding. Ellery’s work is the future, she is amazingly gifted in so many ways.” He smiled and opened a door.
“You’re Matriarch is Ellery?” Myles was surprised by this and very intrigued.
“Of course,” Acadia replied. “You must be new.”
“I am. And now I am new and honored! Flattered really- I mean to be working for such a great woman. This is truly a privilege.” He thought for a second as they moved forward. “You were certainly lucky to snag this job.”
“Well, I wouldn’t call it luck. I am one of her descendents after all.” Myles almost gasped. “Not to say I’m not interested in what I do. It’s a passion for sure, but its also a given I guess you could say.” Myles grew more amazed and began to liven his pace. He thought to himself again.
“I should very much like to meet her sometime.” He said shyly.
“Of course, she always loves new visitors from time to time.”
“Is now one of those times?” Myles continued to tread lighty. Acadia was quiet for a minute.
“You never know.” He replied with a wry smile.
Myles wasn’t pleased, but he held out hope.
The group walked into a huge vestibule of stained glass and grand, marbled brass architecture. It was like a small museum, peaceful and beautiful. There were clocks with planets, books, a few pieces of relics, and old parts of space ships could be seen in different corners of the room. Acadia walked over to another set of doors and ushered the man through again, the group followed. Before she left, the female officer handed Acadia a few more objects and then returned to the exit.
As they entered a more simple room, with a long table and chairs in the middle, Acadia placed his cloth-covered item on the table. All most at once, a figure of an old woman appeared from the door way.
At first, Myles thought it was Ellery, but then several more started appearing behind her. They came into the room and began to get food and drink prepared, all blending into each other. Some pulled out chairs and urged the group to sit down. Others lit and tended to the fire place. They did so quietly and patiently, all except for Myles who couldn’t help squirm in excitement.
“I really am excited to meet Matriarch Ellery,” he said shaking his head with a big smile. One of the old women began serving him a piece of white cake. “I can’t tell you how long I’ve admired her. I have so many questions.”
“Questions like what?” The women beside him said suddenly as she poured his tea.
“Oh, well, questions about her experiences with so many different races. That’s always been my biggest interest,” he began speaking to the table proudly. “Among many other things, of course! The designs of ships, the habitats of the old planets. Oh, and obviously I would love to know more about her race, the Ascapo. Why such a long life span, how is it possible...” He was almost lost in thought.
Then, all of the old women except for one left the room, almost in the order they had come. The single, white haired woman who had been serving his tea got herself a piece of cake, sat beside Myles and shoved a forkful in her mouth.
“Well,” she began through a cheek of frosting. “I hope you’re not going to ask everything today!” She returned more lively.
Myles stared at her for a moment, the woman stared back. She was small, but had amazing energy. Her face was old and graceful, with snowy, unkempt hair. Suddenly, Myles realized what had just happened. Acadia and the children grinned at him.
“...Ellery? Matriarch Ellery?” Myles struggled out.
His embarrassment showed. Here he was thinking she’d make some grand entrance on a cart driven by slaves, but instead she’d simply appeared with her maidens to get the tea and cake ready for her guests.
“I do apologize, it’s truly an honor to meet you.” He said finally.
“So I’m told!” She said brightly.
“Thank you for taking the time...”
“So, you’re most interested in races, hm?” She cut him off.
“Oh yes, of course.”
“Like what? Who would you most like to meet?” Frosting stained her lips as she grabbed her small cup of tea. Myles pondered the question.
“Hm. Well, I suppose it would have to be the Nek.”
“Yes, why is that wrong?” He worried.
“Ha! No, no.” She slurped her tea. “I’ve honestly never heard another person even mention the name in a conversation. They seem doomed to be lost to history unfortunately.”
“Yes. I wonder why that is.”
“We need more people like you! Who have their eyes open.” She shot back, encouraging him.
“Oh, yes! I’m with you!” Myles was a bundle of nerves and joy.
Acadia then sat forward and leaned into the conversation.
“Would you like to see what we have today?” He tried to get to business.
“Yes, yes. In a minute, eat your cake first!” She drove another piece into her mouth. The two children on either side of her did the same, cream smearing on their faces.
“I think you’ll want to see this now.” Acadia stiffened his stare.
She said nothing in return, but understood he must have something very important to share.
A moment later, the small group stood around the table, looking at the piece of cloth that was covering something. A shape that seemed familiar and yet, odd.
“It seemed impossible that we were to ever find something so valuable,” Acadia began. “At least not this soon.” He stood for a moment, hesitant to reveal what was hidden underneath. Ellery could only wonder as he slowly removed the cloth.
“The gods are with as, as you used to say.”
Ellery leaned forward, the breath taken from her. Her old, black eyes shot open as if memories were flooding into her mind. Then she returned to a quiet, almost meditating gaze.
“Where did you find that?” She replied at last, her boney fingers gracefully stroking a coarse, metal blade. It was an old, oblong battered sword.
“Attached to the side of a Twin Empire Purifier.” He said. “Like it was a growing tree.”
Ellery continued to place her fingers around different parts of the sword. She knew this blade very well. It belonged to him. The last thing his hands ever touched.
“This was his...” Her voice cut in and out, as if the growing sadness in her was silencing her thoughts. “This was mine...ours.” She seemed to depress like someone had taken the energy from her.
Acadia draped his arm around her, the children came to her side.
“Let’s not do this today.” Acadia said, giving her a squeeze on the shoulder.
“Are you alright, Na’na?” One of the children asked.
“No.” She exclaimed, her hands softly slamming the table. “That blade has had a long after life. Now, it is here. It’s in front of me again. The day has arrived.” Her worried, almost painful expression changed to a soft smile all at once. Acadia gave a concerned look.
“What day?” He said almost with a laugh. The little girl tugged on his arm.
“The story!” She tried to whisper, but it was too loud.
“Great Grandmother,” the little boy asked. “Is it true? Will you tell us the story today?”
“Now? In this very moment?” She said spinning toward them.
“This is the perfect time.” Acadia replied walking over to the kids. “We leave for months after this on another research mission.”
“Please!” The children continued to plead their case.
Ellery slowly sat down in a chair by a stone fireplace. The group gathered in front of her. She sighed heavily but happily, letting the flames calm her.
“I feel I am beginning to age just from keeping these tales inside my heart.” One of her wrinkled hands climbed to her chest. “Or perhaps, it’s just age itself catching up with me.” She looked to them.
“Age will never catch up with you.” Acadia joked.
“Age has caught me already, and it will catch you too!” She exclaimed with a sudden burst. “But first, it will give you wisdom like me.”
“Why do you have to be old to be wise, Na’na?” The boy asked leaning forward.
“Because, with age comes understanding. One must travel across the sea to reach the land. Experience comes through living every day. And for me, that meant far longer then anyone else.” The children listened intently. “However, I do not curse my old age or long life. I have lived through the greatest story ever told in this system.” She turned away. “And now, its time for you to be part of it. For the future always depends on history. His story needs to be told.”
“Dove?” Acadia asked.
“Yes.” She looked to them again. “The most vibrant being in the galaxy. We all know him as the hero and the soldier. But he was my dear friend and a great spirit above anything else.”
“You talk about him as though he’s still alive.” Acadia remarked.
“He is.” She replied gazing out of the window. “He is in the air you breath and the grass we walk on. He is in the plants, the rivers, woods and sea. He is you, and he is me.”
Everyone smiled and wondered.
“I remember that poem!” The little girl shrieked in excitement. “You used to say it at our bed time!”
“How did it begin? How?” The eager boy inquired.
As she sat still, time itself seemed to move in on her eyes. It was as if endless oceans of knowledge that lay dormant behind her mind had suddenly been set ablaze. Her audience was pulled in, unable to escape, but having no desire to do so.
Then, at once, they were inside her memories. Her voice carried them.
“It began like all things begin...
“The Creators began our original solar system when it was but a sea of dust. A wasteland of beautiful particles, fertile and wholesome. They were wise beings, older then time, gardeners and seeders of the galaxy. Nine souls, creating new life as they drifted from system to system, always imagining new beginnings. Here in this plain, there were only massive planets that housed elements. They knew nothing of footprints. Thus, the Creators gave to us eight types of biological beings to inhabit the twelve planets in this system:
First, as the ambassadors to the gods themselves, they created the people of Monto’Ac; a word meaning “great spirit.” Made in the image of one of the creators, they were the crown of the solar system, with nine Royal Families ruling eternally and dictating law from the largest planet.
The Andacons. To act as our shield forever, the creators crafted beings of crystal, light and flesh, molded with elements fused from their massive twin gas giants. The one and only military might of the system. Loyal to the Royal Families and our protectors.
The Yapam. A race of aquatic people with hair like roots, blue skin and eyes, and special arcane powers from the Masardis system.
The Nek. Pure elementals, like floating rocks spun by invisible forces, each one representing all four elements, from the Caratunk system.
The Animosh. Bear-like, brute humanoids. Rough, sharp and broad, most standing over seven feet tall from the Albion system.
The Menatona. Organic creatures that lived and grew inside stone. Resembling dragons trapped in monoliths, they were highly respected for their powerful, intellectual minds.
The Ascapo. Peaceful beings resembling small humans, from the pine forest planet Oonossa in the Capitol system. Most lived over five hundred years, with white skin, black eyes and harmonious spirits.
Humans. As with most of their systems, the Creators also birthed an equal, yet meaningful balance for the very diverse system. Humans were basic, but intelligent, and some even heroic. Most lived simple, quiet lives inside the busy Augusta system.
Augusta is where we come from, our original system. Our family’s system. The Capitol planet of Eniam, with desert planet Lintu, and my forest home Oonossa. Yet, it is not on my world, nor with any of my friends that our tale begins. As so often happens, the universe has a plan, a destiny, a pathway, leading to all things and to all ends. And where the end begins, is the first step in our journey...”
Five hundred years ago, the solar system was not as it was now, with one single planet housing the remaining populations after a great war. It was a vast, deep system, home to all kinds of life and ways of existence.
In a perfectly habitable zone across from the sun, lay the Augusta system, identified by three planets: Lintu, a mostly desert planet with strange vegetation. Oonossa, covered in lush, multi-colored pine trees with small rivers and streams. And finally, the Capitol planet Eniam, with an equal balance of green lands, mountains, oceans and huge modern cities. The Capitol of the solar system, which was a literal megaplex of law and order, was centered like a spider in a web of buildings. However, as beautiful as these three planets were, their many lands and people knew war and oppression well.
Lintu had only small villages in livable desert communities, but even there, unrest boiled between rival gangs or local authorities.
Oonossa, a seemingly quiet and serene forest planet, actually allowed slavery in secret, hidden territories.
But none of that compared to the shadow that loomed over the entire planet of Eniam; the most populated planet in the system. With an abundance of life, comes more control, reason and rule.
With more control, comes more resistance.
In the city streets, riots planned by many gangs and factions broke out almost daily. Capitol Security and Safety divisions struggled to maintain control. Today was no different.
Next to the beach and below Ogunquit City, a local battle was raging heavy.
A soulful, harsh force of fierce, dirty youths clashed with riot police as several lingering citizens screamed and dashed out of the way. The resistance force was made up of mostly young kids, anywhere from sixteen to thirty, and their colors raged bright in the smokey air. They wore clothes as if salvaged from thrift stores, or even pirate dens, with sashes, buttons, gloves and ribbons. Their hair was often painted neon colors and whimsical scarfs, capes and jackets blew in the noxious air.
Blue blasts of plasma fire flew out of white, modern rifles. The city’s security were attempting to regain control of the situation, blasting their way through the crowd, throwing people down as the stomped forward.
Suddenly, two brash males scampered up the side of a building onto a small roof, grenades in each hand. As they jumped down, they screamed and released them, jumping atop cars, bounding from one hood or trunk to the next, splashing fiery bombs down on helpless guards. As security returned fire, they ducked behind a few storage crates to regain their composer.
“This is wicked!” One of them screamed. The other quickly darted his head at the sky.
“We shall be memory for this. In stone!” He replied loudly over the blaster fire.
“And blood!” The other finished. They grasped each others hands.
They were Cluehead and Zoohair, obvious nicknames given by whoever was their leader. Clue was named for his very slim body, that often resembled a question mark when he was hunched over creating bombs. He was lanky, with a thin face and hollow eyes. Bleach blonde hair atop shaved sides, with tattoos and scars from what seemed like the neck down.
Zoo, surprisingly, had a more clean appearance. He had dark skin, with a bright button up cotton shirt, a scarf, almost new white sneakers, and more fat and muscle to round him out. His hair however, was complete mess.
But their difference in dress proved something. These people were from anywhere and everywhere. From any life. It was a clear indication of the time they lived in. Street rats battled side by side with college kids.
Just then, their handshake was blown apart by a nearby bomb and they were flung to the ground in rubble.
“Zoo!” Clue yelled as they struggled to their feet.
“I’m good, let’s go-go! Back to the line!” Zoo exclaimed, wavering under the shock.
The war raged on beside them.
Bright colors clashing with dull blue and white security uniforms, screams and explosions echoing all around. The sky was blotted by clouds of smoke, the blasts from the plasma and bombs was deafening. They unholstered their own pistols and began firing blindly as they ran sideways through the thick smoke.
The fight continued on for some time. Until...
A noise like a sharp blade could be heard wafting through the land, like a trapped bird fluttering in an empty house.
Sections of the resistance force began to stop firing and yelling as the sound drew closer. They had heard this before. Someone in the back of the crowd started screaming.
“...Solar Warden! Solar Warden!”
But it was too late.
A figure suddenly draped down onto the battle field with a short, hooded flowing crimson cape.
As soon as they laid eyes on him, his massive, long sword was flying freely through bodies. The resistance reformed their group, rifles and other melee weapons churning aimlessly, desperately attempting with every breath to ward off the impending doom.
A huge man, who had a figure like a bear, darted out of the crowd, latching himself onto the warrior’s back. They thrashed for a moment, but it was of little use. He was thrown violently back into the mass of people.
Almost in one feel swoop, the lone warrior had beat off the entire force of young rebels. He was like a wind, slashing them clean, or blowing them away like leaves.
Eventually, they were sent running in the opposite direction. The sharp edge of the sword slicing the air, creating a storm of clouds with bodies flying.
Clue and Zoo took this opportunity to run themselves, fumbling up a sand and grass hill between two buildings until they were almost at the top. As they ran by a large rock pillar, the warrior loomed up behind them. When they stopped and turned, they saw another person hiding behind the pillar below. He was waiting for the figure to come, crouched to ambush with a giant gatling gun. Clue and Zoo knelt down to watch, smiling and throwing their firsts proudly at their brave friend.
All at once, he hopped out from behind the rock and began firing a point-blank assault as fast at the gun could spit it’s blasts. But before he had even realized, the warrior had knelt down, placed his huge oval shaped blade in front of his body, blocked all of the fire, then in a split second rose and slashed the man in half.
Clue and Zoo immediately panicked and sprang to their feet, continuing their animalistic runs down the other side of the hill. The tall, dark figure placed the blade on the back of its cape, still glowing and steaming from the plasma blasts. It strode to the crest of the hill and looked down. The battle was over, no need to pursue the feeble rats. But still, it stood and stared as if lost in thought.
Far past the other side of the hill, at the end of the beach, toward the outskirts of the city, was the unknown headquarters of this resistance movement.
The government on Eniam had been falling apart for years. Everything was wrong in this place. No jobs, no healthcare, no funding, decent living only for the rich and the list went on. After some time, violent resistances formed, and one of these groups fell under the leadership of a man known as Kloven.
Kloven’s headquarters were inside an industrial park owned originally by his grandparents, who were important leaders in the old government. Some time ago, before their deaths, the industrial park became privatized by his parents, who were servants of the Capitol. This meant that it was still under the jurisdiction of the government, but controlled by his family. A few years later, when Kloven took his father’s seat in the Capitol, everything collapsed. He soon found himself in a unique situation and began to see his own worth and power. He wanted to see change, and he wanted things done his way. The right way.
Kloven himself was a brilliant man. At the age of sixteen, he graduated from an arts school specializing in poetry, writing, painting and various other mediums, quickly achieving the status of a prodigy among his fellow students. It was these very students who formed the beginnings of his resistance. Inspired, or perhaps brainwashed by his poetry, they became obsessed with his words, words that turned from general ideas into propaganda for a movement. After serving only half a term as a Capitol servant, he departed and was never seen again.
Seeing an opportunity to take advantage of all the chaos, Kloven created an original faction called the Power Chord as a commune and radical, peaceful movement. But when the city finally became a war zone, he blended his faction into the battles, arming them with black market, off-world weapons. At it’s heart, the Power Chord was simply another chess piece for him to move into place. A queen to clear the board as the others move in on your king.
Clue and Zoo made their way back across the beach, through old pavement lots and broken buildings. No resistance member returned immediately, always hiding their tracks for hours in groups of two or three. Eventually, they would crawl back out of the walls like mice, following footsteps into the shadows of the industrial park.
Although it was an industrial area, hardly anyone could tell that machines and products used to be built here. None of the factories ran anymore, even the robots that manufactured vehicles had shut down and moved on after the government received control. They didn’t need this facility anymore, so it became abandoned. Now, the walls, panels, archways, windows and steel beams were covered in almost every color imaginable. Tapestries, scarfs, banners and even huge murals of spray painted designs. One in particular helmed their name, with a unique slogan underneath painted over a thousand times:
“The Power Chord - Freedom through Strength!”
As the young men and women made their way through the sea of colors, they chanted and yelled, as if acting out a play. Some went to treat their wounds, while others undressed and redressed in new clothes. Various weapons were stacked against the wall. Shady figures loomed in a dark area, crushing up drugs and sucking the chemicals off their fingers. A few lingered in a kitchen area, hurrying down some food, while others offered comfort to a man holding back tears. Across from him, two figures knelt in front of an upright, open coffin in the doorway. They prayed, then watched as the body was sealed back into the wood and carried away. A daily ritual.
Clue sat down on a bench beside some cargo stacks while Zoo wandered over to him with a cup of water. Suddenly, a vibrant, loud man covered in bright blue fur came storming through the hallway.
“...Honor the dead! We are memory! Today, we are the memory!” He exclaimed again and again, pounding on his chest.
This roused the troops and they began screaming back at him, “Blood and Stone!”
Zoo and Clue slapped his hands as he passed. This place was an endless pool of energy.
“Today is the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” said Clue. Zoo nodded quickly. “What a rush to be out there again!”
“And this time it was real,” Zoo said deeply, getting more excited with each word, “front lines, real battle! No basic rioting- a full on battle!”
“I want to go back. I want to go back again! I’m still hot!” Clue screamed and punched the wall.
“We will, don’t waste your energy!”
“I want to fight every hour of everyday.” His face was intense. “What happened today tells me the gods are on our side.” Just then another man walked past them.
“We lost today, that’s all that happened.” He said dryly. Clue grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around, looking him right in the face. His glasses flew off.
“It’s not about winning!” He said harshly getting closer. “It’s about blood and battle. It’s about the expression of rage and hatred in its most pure form, becoming living art! That’s why we’re the message. That’s why we’re the memory.” With that last line he shook the man violently, which made them both fiercely excited. The other man said nothing, he simply gritted his teeth to a smile and continued his walk.
At that moment a chime could be heard, like sounds from a grandfather clock, sweeping through the ceilings. Clue and Zoo looked up into the air as if watching birds, the rest of the people in the room did the same. They knew something which didn’t need explanation. It was time to go.
In minutes, crowds of colorful youths walked briskly and with purpose through the hallways, leading themselves into a large open area. Some of them added new colors and layers, or smeared paint on their lips and eyes. As the crowd came to a gathering, they grouped around a vacant circular stage, with one walkway leading out to the center of the and one chair in the middle. Whatever was about to happen, everyone was eagerly awaiting as if a concert was about to begin.
Before the crowd could get too wild, they became silent at the sight of someone. A figure who now walked down the path toward the stage.
He was very large and looming, with the body of an oversized human and the face of a bear with an extended snout. Long ears like a rabbit pinned back his brow. His dress was basic, dark grey cargo gear, with a single belt holding a heavy gun. He was clean, but appeared dirty from his burned, battle ridden hair and catfish-like whiskers that stuck out from his upper lip.
His name was Wassador, an Animosh from the Albion system, as big and mean as they come. A skilled warrior in many respects, cunning when needed, and Kloven’s second in command. Leader of the Power Chord army.
The crowd began to utter words and silent prayers. Wassador strode out with glinting eyes and a sullen stature, examining the crowd. But the crowd was not focused on him, for he had simply been leading the way.
Behind him, Kloven stepped into sight.
Like courting a celebrity, the people began to cheer and shout louder, calling out lines of his poetry or offering words of encouragement and love.
Young Kloven, now twenty-five years old, was dressed in a maroon jacket that looked as if it belonged to a ship captain. With simple black pants, boots and big, round glasses that reflected the dying sunlight. He wore a few scarfs and sashes given as tributes. Bracelets, necklaces, and belts hung from his waist. His neck had a design painted on it, and he walked with pride, showing everything off.
Wassador stepped behind him as he came to the front and faced the crowd. They reached up at him as if he was offering water in the desert. He began to rub his hands together.
“Let me warm my hands on this energy,” he said in a soft voice as his head lowered, “this energy is the strongest. Warm and loving and rageful.” The crowd responded with loud murmurs, completely entranced.
“My inspiration lies with you!” His hands broke away from the crowd’s grasp. “This movement, this force of nature like the oceans of the planet itself!” The crowd continued to respond, his poetic words piercing them. “We are the Power Chord!”
“Power Chord!” The crowd yelled as one.
Clue and Zoo watched eagerly, lost among the faces.
“We are the revolution that will break against the tide of time, the very divide between two deadly forces. Forces that wish to oppress and control, starve you, kill you, leave you nameless and naked in the dark.” He began to move around the stage to speak to every face. “Resist this! Make this change! Become the memory that will last in blood and stone!”
“Blood and stone!” The people went wild.
“You will be memory.” He pointed around at the entire crowd. They closed their eyes for a moment as if blessed by some divine light.
Kloven then walked his feet around the entire circle of the stage, running his hands through his hair, adjusting his glasses, searching for words. As he found them, his hands rose and fell in expression through the dusk air.
“The gods of the old world are dead! All of you now stand in their places as the rightful owners of the planet.”
The people cheered.
“We are the perfect. We are beautiful creations, oppressed by a great shadow of doubt. Doubt through rule and law. But your oppression is our revolution! This is our new beginning!”
They cheered again.
“Believe not in the spirits of the great beyond, or puppets that claim ownership over these rights to your life and freedom. Represent nowhere. Speak up for yourself. Your life force will be carved in the mountains. You will be the flesh of the earth itself. And those stones shall break the very wheels of existence. We shall remove the king’s crown, and upon this movement we will lay it down at his feet. For a better world. With each day and each sacrifice, we eat heaven itself.”
The crowd cheered again, but with those last words, his body seemed to slump as if the energy had left him.
His body wavered and he fell back into position in the middle of the stage. The crowd quieted, listening for his next words. Then he spoke once more, but very softly.
“The world is shared souls, with arms and legs to move. But they lay still. Pull the rope with bleeding teeth to deny all order. Everlasting freedom is in your hands alone, for you hold the world. Each one of you. And it is yours to mold as the clay of time. You are new gods.” Everyone in the area quietly absorbed these powerful words and searched for meaning.
But before they could find any, another sound interrupted everything. The unmistakable noise of ships coming to land.
As everyone in the crowd raised their heads, a T shaped security ship from the city began to land just outside the small gate beside the stage. Three others hovered above, white lights brightly blinking on the wings.
A small but mighty security force dressed in the official white and blue garb came trotting through the crowd. They pushed most out of the way, though members of the resistance shoved back, yelling poetic remarks.
Kloven, still centered on the stage as if frozen in the middle of an act, sighed deeply to himself. A smile ran across his face as if he was forgiving someone. He dropped back into the chair behind him as the security detail arrived at his front. He began to slowly clap at them, keeping that odd smile and slouched to one side.
“Nice surveillance, Captain!” He remarked in a mocking tone. He ended his clap and straightened up. Wassador stepped forward.
“You are on private territory.” Wassador said solemnly with grizzle.
“It is officially part of the government. You know this.” A security officer replied.
“This is our land now. You will not raid us.” Wassador returned.
“Raid you? We are here to deal with your actions.” He was severe.
Just then, a younger, more brash officer stepped forward.
“Why must we go through this every time, Kloven!” He shouted to the performer, who was now beginning to slouch again. “The same tired acts you play! And every time, with the same results.” He stared him down. “The time has come, we’re here to deal with all of you.”
Kloven remained unresponsive.
“Let us leave this theater!” He finished.
“Theater!” Kloven sprang up out of his chair and pointed at the security men. “Yes indeed, that is exactly what this is. Exactly what you are.”
He made his way over to the front of the stage and bent himself over, looking more closely at the blue and white men.
“We are here to take you. You must go.” The officer said stepping forward.
“Me? Whatever for?” Kloven pointed to himself.
“A group of rebels from today’s riot were tracked here. This location.”
“Rebels? I am a performer, and this is my audience, good sir.”
“If one of these persons came to see me, how am I to know? Why is it my concern?” He turned away.
“And yet, someone came.” The officer glared at Kloven again.
“Did your master send you?” Kloven turned back. “Hm? You know, your masters. Your puppet masters.”
The security officer grew frustrated. Kloven stood tall once again and mimicked a man dancing with a puppet, hopping and bouncing.
“Enough of this!” The security officer yelled. “Bring someone, or we will take you.”
“Dance marionette, dance! Oh how you dance so wonderfully!” He stopped and walked closer to the officer again, the crowd laughing. “Well, you know what I say Captain? I say, let the puppet strings sag.” He drew out that last word and with it, made his body appear as a dead puppet. The officer was not amused, but stood silent.
“No? Well then...” He walked backwards and eased himself into the chair again.
Wassador leaned toward him trying to find a conclusion in the situation.
“Sir?” He asked almost shyly.
“Very well, the theater will continue.” Kloven replied without emotion and sat still.
Back in the crowd, Clue and Zoo began to stir, they saw an opening for themselves in this situation. It was time for someone to go to jail. This would free Kloven’s operations to continue without the public knowing the actual situation. As long as his followers continue to be jailed or killed in action, they simply classify it as terrorism and let the authorities deal with it. All the while, Kloven is never touched. As long as free speech and action remained law, he could continue his poetic brainwashing.
If you happened to be a member of the Power Chord and paid tribute to Kloven by going to jail, he would honor you forever.
“This is our chance, Clue. We have to speak up, say something now!” Zoo said quickly, urging his friend to join.
Kloven sat forward and raised his hand slowly.
“Is there anyone willing to pay tribute tonight, on this day, in my name!” His voice echoed across the crowd.
All at once, horse voices came to life, shrieking from every direction like creatures of the night. All wanted to act out this play. However, he immediately noticed two very strong, passionate cries coming from directly behind him, almost as if piercing the back of his skull. His head swung around and he looked right into the eyes of both men.
“You! Both of you! Go!” His hand raised higher in the air, he smiled and ushered them toward the security force.
“Thank you, my Sir! My king!” Cluehead waved his arms around excitedly.
“My master!” Zoo added.
Both of them were escorted to the ships by the security guards, as they wriggled to maintain a better view of their leader.
“What are your names?” Kloven called to them.
“Cluehead, Sir! You named me for my body while crafting for you!”
“Zoohair, Sir! My hair is crazy and passionate as the Chord itself!”
The crowd cheered.
Kloven smiled and dropped his head remembering the day he had given the names. Every single person in the crowd had gone through that brief, yet meaningful process. Your new name meant something about you, because in every aspect of this life, you must become living art. That was the way of the Power Chord.
“I remember you,” he started, “and I will remember your faces today. You shall be memory to me.” He waved a soft, kingly salute.
Clue and Zoo we elated.
They cheered with the crowd all the way into the security ships, shouting remarks at each other, yelling and spitting in the ears of the guards. Finally, they had been chosen for something bigger and they knew it.
The security officer stepped forward again, lifting a finger to Kloven.
“The next time I see you, it will be to shut you down for good.” He said proudly. Kloven glanced down at him with pity.
“The next time I see you, Captain, we shall feed the worms together.”
Kloven held his stare until the officer and his men had returned to their ship.
The bulky security vessel fired its engines and lifted off to join the others in the sky. As it turned, it revealed fresh graffiti painted on the side of the panel.
Wassador turned to Kloven again, who was still sitting blankly.
“I grow tired of these situations.” Kloven said quietly, almost to himself.
“They never land here.” Wassador bellowed.
“I dare say, they may become wiser.”
“New gods need new plans.” Wassador replied, crossing his arms.
Kloven nodded once and began to flip a small book between his fingers.