Professor Denvil waited patiently for the elevator to stop on Deck -Z-. His mind was occupied with one thing, and one thing only. He repeated his objective to himself as he passively listened to the music blaring in the cabin.
“Get to -Z- Deck quickly. Set up the vaporizing system by typing in the codes and turning on the knobs. Put the animal mutating formula inside the humidifying tubes and give the go-ahead through the circular space communicator. All should be fine; nothing will go wrong.” He checked his watch. “Tony and Evila should be exterminated by now, so the hard evidence is gone. The only thing that remains is for the human race to die.”
He kept repeating this cold message to himself as he shifted back and forth on his feet. Anxiety and excitement were now gripping at his nervous system like black tar on a hot road. He had done this dozens of times before and still wasn’t used to it. It was like every time he went to -Z- Deck; he felt like he got a little bit closer to being discovered by the high commanders at the Embassy. The Tenatian Embassy was very particular about racial genocide in the galaxies. A certain evolving species would have to be a very big threat to them and their way of life to warrant a mass killing from the T.E.’s home government. One couldn’t just smother something to death without permission first. There was a whole of paperwork involved.
The giant space academies that existed in the galaxy were supposed to be obedient and compliant to the wishes of their leaders, both on and off the ships. The T.E. only chose the best and brightest officers to lead one of their top universities around the unexplored universe. Their Deans were practically groomed from birth for space travel and exploration. Theoretically, they were trained for anything that should happen or could happen on a trip. They also had to follow strict rules and guidelines, given them by the T.E. themselves. These massive spaceships were not independent entities floating light-years away from their home planets. They had to follow a chain of command that was older than a neutron star.
Every Dean was accountable for what went on during the duration of his voyage, and if things didn’t add up in the final report… well, then, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty for the one in question. Each ship had primary and secondary rules.
The primary ones were the most important. They were:
1.Educate the next generation of Tenatian men and women by examining galaxy’s and solar systems.
2.Colonize other inhabitable worlds only when the T.E. authorizes and directs it. ‘NO EXCEPTIONS’!
3.Eliminate any hostile threat to the Tenatian people effective immediately. Threats must be validated through scientific evidence and documented examples before destruction can take place, ‘NO EXCEPTIONS’. Failure to comply with this rule will result in immediate termination of command!
4.Maintain peace and control at all times.
What Professor Denvil and Dean Redder had been doing was illegal with a capital ‘I’. They had not collected enough facts to even begin termination of another species, and yet, they had cruised through the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies destroying all human life that existed in their solar systems; it was like shooting fish in a barrel. One would only need to go up to the planet in question, shield it with a forcefield and then gas it with the formula. The resulting enhancement of lesser species into super predators would soon wipe out the humans.
Illegal though it was, for Dean Redder it seemed so right, but it wasn’t without its own repercussions. Early on, all hell had broken loose around the space academy. Human huggers, ‘as they were called by the faculty’, started pouring out of the steelwork like air from a pressurized cabin. They began protesting in the lower Decks of the ship. Opinions about animal cruelty started flying left, right, and center. Social and ethical debates were being brought up in every part of the ship.
That’s when some of the scientists, engineers and high paid doctors became divided in their beliefs about what humans were capable of. That’s when the weird con-spiracy started. That’s also when rumors began to spread about ethical controversies and the abusive extension of power.
Some Tenatian were even calling Dean Redder a usurper and a dictator; they were saying he was abusing his authority. Others were calling him a hero and a saint for abolishing the human bug, but the majority of the academy were mostly agnostics in the whole ordeal. They couldn’t care less about the problems the humans were facing. They didn’t understand the issues fully. They couldn’t see the big deal behind it all. If the hairless monkeys’ impending doom didn’t interfere with their daily schedule, it didn’t mean much to them. So long as the agnostics got to live the lives they wanted and breathe the fresh air they wanted, all was right with the universe. No one cared about what was wrong and right unless they were in the hotspot themselves. Until they were completely backed into a corner and threatened with nonexistence. Then things become complicated and hypocritical. Then things get ugly.
Most of the students’ apathetic mentality went like this: “If it doesn’t have anything to do with me, I don’t care.”
And they shouldn’t care, thought Professor Denvil. Humans are the appendix of the galactic intestines, and, we are the unauthorized surgeons who remove them before they become a bigger problem; before they can get infected and turn bad. And just like a real surgeon, one had to be careful he did not become liable for malpractice. The meta-phoric cuts had to be perfect. The job had to be flawless. They had to convince the majority of the school that this was the right thing to do.
Professor Denvil stared at his reflection in the elevator door. “Dean Redder is going to have to be extremely careful and persuasive when he makes his announcement today. If he makes one mistake with the complex data I have given him, he’ll have no-thing to show for it but a riot. Today he either becomes a tyrant or a hero. Luckily for me, I’ll be down here when it all unfolds.”
The elevator stopped moving. The digital panel flashed the letter ‘Z’ as the silver doors opened up slowly, revealing a long hallway. Cold air rushed into the small lift and caused Professor Denvil’s hard skin to prickle. He fought off a shiver as he stepped out onto the metal-grated floor. The sound of the nearby ion turbines vibrated the walls and cause a low-pitched hum to run through the air. He was way below the ship’s working stations. Hardly anyone ever came down this far; it was a restricted area. One would need special clearance for the job he was about to pull. Luckily for Professor Denvil he had his clearance from the Dean himself.
“Here we go,” said the Professor over the noise of the massive engines, “let’s get this over with.” He headed for the Plexiglas doors at the other end of the hallway. When he got to them he swiped his card through the pad. The doors pulled aside and he walked into the cavernous belly of the ship. He stared in awe at all the massive machinery in front of him. The engines were purring so loudly that it sounded like a barrage of atomic fireworks during a Tenatian lunar festival. He carefully stepped around the complicated machinery on his way to the humidifying tubes. The ship’s elevator system had gotten him as close to the vaporizing system as possible. After moving across the massive hull, he stopped in front of another Plexiglas door and ran his card through the paneling. The door slid away and he walked quickly into the hall. At the other end there was yet another set of blast doors and a key pad. He pressed forward until he found the room he was looking for.
Now it begins, he thought. Now it begins.
* * *
The small dorm room was quieter than Fri’a had ever heard it before. The sound of electricity running through the plastic fixtures was the only thing that kept her mind company. She leaned against the living-room wall and stared blankly at the solar shields blocking the windows. Their tough lead and titanium surface seemed to restrict any light from entering the spartan cabin. The atmosphere was completely dark, but not as dark as Fri’a thoughts. She had been pondering and murmuring to herself ever since the space officers had left with all of Evila’s stuff. She had been searching her head for answers to questions that bugged her the most. She was determined to find the reasons for all of the chaos that had taken place so recently.
Why did Evila do such a stupid thing? Why did she steal a human? What did she hope to accomplish by doing such a foolish thing? What did she find out? Why didn’t she tell me what she had done? Why… why… why…Why was I left in the dark?
Fri’a looked around her at the benighted room. She pushed herself off the wall and walked over to the couch. Her hands scooted over the chrome cushions in search of the dorm room remote. After a while she found it and pointed it at the solar shields. She pressed the ‘open’ button and waited as the heavy shutters pulled away from the window like a giant slinky. Starlight rushed into the room and fell over the black furnishings. The darkness scattered in all directions.
Fri’a sat down on the sofa and crossed her legs. She folded her arms across her chest and studied the planets as they floated peacefully by the window. The ship was moving to yet another undisclosed location. Her mind contemplated where they would stop this time. The academy had been bogged down in the Milky Way galaxy for what seemed like an eternity. There wasn’t anything new or exciting to see in these star clusters. Everything was pretty basic.
We’re probably going to yet another human planet, thought Fri’a. How I hate wasting time with the lesser species. I am not like Evila, I need variety. I need to see something interesting and new every once in a while. I want to measure the static frequency of an orbiting satellite, and then watch it blow up as we probe it with nuclear microwaves. I want to examine asteroid belts and meteor colonies for any anaerobic bacterium. I want to go light collecting inside a black hole; I want to do anything else besides waste time with the hairless monkeys.
Humans are completely boring! Science has already proven they can’t be of any help to us. We can’t change them into us… they can’t stop our extinction problem from happening! They’re worthless….
Fri’a faded into deeper thought. She uncrossed her legs and whispered to the silence softly, “Why were the humans so important to you, Evila? Why would you compromise your whole education on the stupid creatures? And most of all, what were you doing with that man in your room?” She shook her head slowly. “I feel like I don’t even know who you are anymore. It used to be that all you needed to get by and be happy, was just a plasma burner and some genetic material. This isn’t like you.”
Fri’a leaned forward and put her hands under her chin. She thought about the words that Evila had spoken to her before the officers had taken her to the Dean. She had said a lot of weird things. She had told her everything that had happened in her room was a big misunderstanding that her and that man were innocent.
Yeah, it most certainly looked innocent enough, thought Fri’a sarcastically. I bet there’s more to that Tone’i than meets the eye. I bet he had something to do with you going crazy and stealing that human specimen. I bet he placed those criminal thoughts in your mind. I bet he seduced you!
Fri’a shivered at the sensual thought, it didn’t feel right. Evila was a smart girl. She wouldn’t let any man ruin her education with lascivious seduction. She rejected all the guys who tried to put a move on her.
“Why?” said Fri’a. “That’s the question.” Her mind reflected on something else Evila had said. She had also said she had taken the human from the cloning lab for the benefit of their people. What does that mean? Was she trying to prove the super species theory, which everyone failed at? Was she trying to help us out that way? That doesn’t make any sense—why would she succeed where others had not?
Fri’a’s frustration peaked. She quickly stood up and started pacing the room slowly. “Every question I think of leads to more questions. I need Evila here. She needs to answer these questions for me. I won’t be left in the dark on this one.” Fri’a looked over to the door and hesitated for a bit. “I’ll go see if I can get some information about where she went. I’ll see if I can help her in any way I can. Maybe everything was a big misunderstanding. Maybe she’s just down at the station clearing things up.”
Fri’a went to her room and grabbed her coat out of the little closet. She put it on quickly and headed for the front door. She was about to open it when there came a loud knock. The sudden sound caused her to jump.
“Who could that be?”
She reached out and opened the door. Standing in front of her now was Rie the alien boy from Evila’s calc class. He looked unhappy and lonely.
“Hey, Fri’a. Is Evila home? I want to talk to her about something important.”
Fri’a shook her head, “No, she’s… umm… out right now. Why do you need her? Is something wrong?”
“No. Everything’s okay with me. I just want to talk to her about something important, about her new… umm,” Rie drifted off reluctantly. He lifted a hand and rubbed the back of his neck. Fri’a could see the distress forming in his handsome features as he tried to organize his thoughts. He looked down the hall a few times for anyone that might be witnessing the whole door scene. The last thing he wanted to do was look like a fool in front of his friends.
Fri’a was growing impatient. She felt like smacking the infatuated man with the back of her hand. “Well, what is it, spit it out. I don’t have all day, Rie! I need to be somewhere right now!”
“Yeah, I know Fri’a, and I don’t mean to keep you here. It’s just hard to say what I am thinking about. I have known Evila for a while and I think the world of her. I saw her in the elevator a few hours ago with someone, she called him a friend but I think that there might have been a little more to it, and well…”
“Yep, I can see that you’re in love, Rie.” Fri’a nudged him out of the way and exited the dorm room. The silver door shut quickly behind her and locked, “But I need to go right now. If you have something to say, say it.”
Rie stiffened up, his face became more hot. “I… I want to know who she was with in the elevator a few hours ago. I want to know whether she and that guy were serious about each other. Although….” He got quieter and looked down at the floor. He could feel the blood rushing to his cheeks, “I wasn’t quite expecting to say it like that, Fri’a. I don’t want to sound like a crazy person. I wanted it to be more casual. Can you help me out? Do you know what was going on with Evila and this mystery guy? Please don’t tell me it’s something serious.”
Fri’a looked at Rie with hard, suspicious eyes. The man looked like one of those ‘players’ that would toy with women’s hearts until he got what he wanted. She had seen him chatting with multiple girls in the halls of -A- Deck. The guy was a jock to the days, not to mention completely girl crazy.
“Weren’t you already with another chick… you know the one from gym class? What happened to her?” asked Fri’a.
“What? Oh, you mean Clivo’a? We broke up,” said Rie abruptly. “She was just too wild and crazy for my liking. I just couldn’t satisfy her in any way; she always want-ed more from me. I want a smart girl, I want Evila. I think she’s the one for me. I think we were meant for each other!”
“I can see that. You’re practically—”
Rie cut her off in the middle of her sentence. He stepped closer, his lips burning with passion. “Evila is absolutely amazing. I think she might be the one for me. I have been giving it a lot of thought and I think this is the right thing.” He let out a contented sigh, and smiled real big. Fri’a could tell he was thinking about Evila.
“Okay, well, I’ll leave you to it.”
Rie came out of his blissful reverie. He didn’t want Evila’s roommate to walk off just yet. He still had to ask her a few things about Evila, “Wait, before you go, can you tell me anything about the guy she was with? Because it’s driving me insane. Is he just a friend, and only a friend to her? Is he a cousin, brother, relative, stranger? What is he? Do you know?”
“Okay, Rie, you need to settle down. I think your letting your hormones take over to much. That is a bad thing.”
“I can’t calm down, Fri’a, I feel like something is being taken from me right now, and there’s nothing I can do about it! I feel like I’ve been working on a masterpiece for decades and someone is standing at the door ready to steal it away from me. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever been in love?”
Fri’a rolled her eyes at the stupid drama unfolding before her. Rie was acting strange and out of character, but then again, most Tenatian men acted this way when they fell in love with a woman. They would do crazy things for the one they loved, “No, I don’t know what you mean, but I can tell you this, Evila and that guy were pretty close to each other. I don’t think they where related in any way. If they where related then…” Fri’a shook with disgust.
Rie looked thunderstruck at the news. “How close were they to each other? Were they touching? What happened?”
“Well, let’s just say I walked in on them doing something kinky.”
Rie’s jaw dropped suddenly; he felt like punching a hole in something. He felt like tearing somebody apart, but most of all, he felt the bitter sickness of heartbreak. He had been crushed and defeated in just a few words. He felt like someone had taken a blowtorch to his fragile hearts and melted them while they were still beating. He reached out and grabbed Fri’a by the arm. He was almost shaking, “What kind of kinky stuff were they doing? Was it bad? Should I be concerned?”
“Let go of me!” demanded Fri’a as she stepped back.
Rie released his grip quickly. “I‘m sorry, I’m sorry. It’s just I don’t want Evila to get hurt. Some guys can do that to a woman, believe me I know.” He clinched his fists in frustration and shook his head shamefully, “I’m sorry Fri’a. I was not acting like myself right then, but can you tell me anything else about him… please!”
“Yeah, I could, but I am not sure Evila would approve. There have been a few things that have taken place around here, and I want answers for myself. Evila has been an entirely different person. I think that it might have something to do with that guy. I think the he might have done something to her.”
“What has the man done to her?” barked Rie as he extended his claws. “Should I pound him? Where is he?”
“Calm down, I am sure everything is all right. I was just on my way to—”
Fri’a was cut off when a loud bell started ringing through the hallway. Yellow lights sprang out from the smooth walls and started flashing rapidly. A robotic voice came on over the intercom system. It sounded urgent.
“All academy personnel must meet on Deck -D- by the sun fountain to receive academic instruction. The Dean will be addressing us, everyone is to be there. No excep-tions, failure to comply will result in detention on -G- Deck….”
The message kept repeating itself.
“What’s going on?” asked Rie. He looked around at the ceiling. “Why are we having a conference now? I didn’t get a message.”
Fri’a cursed under her breath; this would only slow her down in finding things out about Tone’i and Evila. She was getting more frustrated by the minute, “I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s already messing with my plans to go find Evila. It seems I can’t catch a break at all today.”
“Well, it would have to be important if they’re announcing it now. I didn’t even see a memo on the cyber board when I woke up with morning,” said Rie as he watched the hallway burst into excitement. Students were now pouring from their dorm rooms and heading to Deck -D- for the instructions and education conference.
Rie turned to Fri’a. “Do you want to go with me to the educational meeting? I mean, walk with me to the meeting?”
“Yeah, sure, whatever.” Fri’a turned and started walking down the hall. Rie caught up with her and continued to ask her questions about Tone’i and the incident that took place in their dorm room. He wanted to know everything.
-He wanted to be ready-