Darkness, a Whole Lot of Darkness
Tony gripped the hand rails inside the elevator as it shifted directions and moved sideways. He looked up at the smooth progress panel above the door and studied it for a minute. The thing was flashing bright white and occasionally letters would pop up on its digital display screen. The words looked pretty basic and simple to understand.
Tony figured it was telling him the names of all the floors they were passing on the massive ship. He watched as Deck -F- passed by, then Deck -R-, then Deck -Y-. It was absolutely stunning to see how many levels there were. It was as if the academy were the size of a small planet.
I bet it took centuries to make this thing, thought Tony. He turned his attention to the big round speaker resting in the middle of the roof. Strange music was blaring from its steel casing. Tony had never really heard anything quite like it before, it sounded weird, and yet, enticing to listen to.
“Do you like our music?” asked the Detective. He had been watching Tony closely ever since they had left the S.O. Department.
Tony took his eyes off the speaker and looked at him. “I can honestly say I have never heard anything like it before. It almost sounds like a mixture between classical Beethoven and Modern Techno. It’s really weird….” he paused suddenly and cursed under his breath. I must choose my words more carefully. I don’t know what should be said and what shouldn’t. I could have just offended the detective.
“So, what you’re saying is that you don’t like it.” The Detective looked him up and down. “You hate it don’t you?”
Tony stiffened up suddenly. The detective had taken his comment negatively. “I didn’t say I hated it! I said it was different than what I’m used to hearing back on Earth. I am still new at everything and how it works. I guess I’ll have to learn to adapt to certain things you guys listen to. That’s all.”
Cuffers chuckled. “You are so full of it. It’s a good thing you didn’t have your hand in the Ewyu machine, your butt would have been fried right then. You don’t have to play polite with me, Tone’i, just be yourself.”
The detective looked up at the speaker above him. “I’ll tell you what I think of this modern music that playing; it’s CRAP with a capital ‘C’! They should have never mixed the classics with Biotechno. I love the classics, but some retarded kid from the frequency lab decided to mix things up. He called it ‘revolutionizing the music world’ but I call it madness. If something isn’t broken you don’t fix it, am I right?”
Tony shrugged. “I guess so. I don’t know.”
“Of course I’m right; I am always right about these things, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. What I’m getting at is that you are one of us now, a Tenatian man, and as a Tenatian man you will fall under the same law as our people, meaning that no one can hurt you without just cause. You’re above humanity! Isn’t that great?”
Tony didn’t know how to respond to the detective’s racist enthusiasm. He had enjoyed being a human before his metamorphoses. It hadn’t been so bad. He liked having short round ears and brown eyes. Being human didn’t make him a monster like everyone thought. He wasn’t even that different from what he looked like now, of course he looked greener than usual and his features were more exotic looking, but He was still himself on the inside, and that’s all that matters.
He turned to the detective. Tony was determined to make his stand. “You know, humans aren’t so bad if you think about it. We are a civilized and compassionate race, just like you. We think complex thoughts and we understand and invent things to make our way of life better. We are sentient creatures just like you guys!”
The detective smiled really big at this. Tony could tell that he found something amusing in what he had just said. It amazed him how naïve and biased some people could be when it came to racial profiling. The detective was closed-minded on this matter in every way possible.
“Whatever you say, Tone’i; I have seen the way your race treats each other. I have seen it on our ships’ holographic video displays. There’s no doubt in my mind that you are descendants of the apes on your worthless planet. We learned all about your bar-baric behaviors in grade school, and it appears to me that you never get along with each other. What with all the wars, killings and diseases you throw at each other. It’s amazing to me that you weren’t extinct when we found you eons ago!”
“With all due respect, Cuffers, everybody fights and not everyone has the same opinion when it comes down to it. Our race has had wars because of little things, like misunderstandings or disagreements. But we don’t kill each other because it’s fun! We don’t murder each other because we get bored! We have always tried to solve or resolve our problems diplomatically, but some things cannot be avoided. That’s just the way life is! I am sure your race has fought with each other at one point. Right?” asked Tony.
Detective Cuffers looked at him. His expression was flat. “Right you are, boy, but that was long ago before extinction plagued us. Now things are different. We have to learn to get along with each other. That is, until we solve our extinction problem, which I now believe the humans hold the key to. What Evila has done to you is amazing, Tone’i. No Tenatian has ever been able to do that. You’re living proof that our problems are all over. We can just change your race!”
Tony looked down at himself and examined his hands. It was amazing to think he had been a human once. His new body felt so different! It had more muscles than the old one had. It was taller and faster, and most of all it had claws that poked out slightly from where his fingernails had been. He was an actual alien.
“I guess you’re right. I am living proof of that. But I’m not entirely sure all the humans on the earth want to look this way! You might have controversy.”
“Of course they do!” interjected the Detective sharply. “Who wouldn’t want to go from ugly caveman to intelligent gentleman in an evening? If we merge our species it would prove to be only the best for the humans! You’ll probably thank us after. Oh, and do me a favor, would you, Tone’i?”
Tony looked at him. “What’s that?”
“Stop relating yourself to the humans. You’re a Tenatian man now with all the privileges of our race; start acting like it! It’s weird when you call the hairless monkeys your own! It doesn’t fit well with you! You’re one of us now!”
Tony was surprised at this. The Detective was actually speaking to him like a normal person. He loosened up. “I still have a lot to learn about our species, Detective Cuffers, especially when it comes to social gatherings. I don’t really know what to say, especially when I see Evila again. I don’t want to seem rude or impolite to her. What should I say? What should I do? Is there a certain way to court a female in your society? Would I be punished if I did something wrong?”
“You’re on your own with all that stuff, boy. Tenatian women are giant enigmas when it comes to courting in our culture. It’s impossible to know what they really want from you. I am still trying to figure out my own wife.” said the Detective reluctantly. He lifted a hand and scratched his head. “I mean she’s beautiful and all but some times she does things that I just don’t understand.”
Tony looked at the elevator doors in front of him for a second. His mind was racing with a thousand questions. He finally spoke up. “This is going to seem off topic, but why do you call the device I stuck my hand into an Ewyu machine? It sounds so weird; where did it come from?”
Cuffers smiled at his questions. “It was named after the man who invented it, Tone’i. His name was Professor Kinith Ewyu. The man was a genius. A little crazy, but a genius, still the same. He discovered a lot of things that have helped our race out. One of them was the Ewyu machine, which as you know detects lies. Another thing Professor Ewyu came up with was the Primitive Soul Theory that we use today in our cloning labs. The theory explains that inside some subspecies there is a gene called the GOG gene which enables a creature to take control of his life and search for higher purpose and direction. It’s that specific gene which separates us from the uncivil animals in the galaxy. I believe the humans call it the soul.”
Tony looked over to the Detective with a shocked expression. He had never thought of the human soul as being a genetic trait that existed only in certain species. He had grown up in a strong Anglican home with good values. He had always been told that the spirit was given to man by the God of heaven and earth. His mother had read exten-sively from the Bible about it. To think that creationism was not the way things were organized was absolutely absurd. The detective’s facts were all wrong. The human soul wasn’t genetically inherited. It was something given, “So, what you’re saying is what we call—” Tony paused and corrected himself. “What the humans call the soul is really just a gene that opens their minds to the world around them?”
The Detective could hear a defensive tone in his voice as he said this. Tony might look like a Tenati man on the outside but he was still a human on the inside. He still had a lot to learn about what actually went on in the universe. Many subspecies such as humans had invented Deities that they worshiped to give them comfort and metal safety. It was natural to do so with the GOG gene in their systems. It opened their eyes to a higher plane of existence. It gave them morality and most of all it gave them love, and the comprehension of it.
“Yes, that’s basically what I am saying, Tone’i, but the weird thing is the GOG gene cannot be created or made with anything organic. We have tried to evolve it several times in our cloning labs and find it impossible to do so. It’s as if there is something in the universe that decides who gets this special gene, and who doesn’t. We have only found it in a few species in our travels—Tenatians are one of them and well… humans are one as well. It’s amazing, really, to think about!”
“Why is the GOG gene so important? I mean, I know it’s like the soul, but why would you want to make it personally yourselves?” Tony asked.
Detectives Cuffers could hear a little uncertainty in his feeble words. He ignored the incredulousness and continued on with the discussion. “The reason it is so important to make one for ourselves, Tone’i, is because that gene is living proof that we do not have complete control over the universe. That there is something else out there directing our lives, but that’s crazy to even think about. As soon as we find out how to make the GOG gene we will have complete control over our individual destinies. I am banking that evolution has created it for us. It’s the only logical path.”
Tony could feel the blood rush to his cheeks as the detective said this. He felt like screaming at him. It’s not evolution making the GOG gene, it’s God doing it! He’s the one foreseeing all the matters in the known universe. He’s the one giving life and consciousness to everything and you’ll never come close to matching his power. There’s no lab on this ship that could do that. Well… at least that’s what his mom would have said if she were here and placed in this situation. Man cannot play God. It’s an abomina-tion to everything under the sun.
“What else have you discovered about the GOG gene?” asked Tony, he was trying to cover up his anxiety with more questions. “Is it really that important?”
“Well, yes, it’s very important. The GOG gene has the ability to store what we have learned in this physical existence into what we call its Cosmic Molecular Structure. It’s like RAM in a computer, only it flows through our whole body like a complex circuit in a mainframe. It connects you to the real world by enhancing your senses to the point where you can feel beyond an ordinary animal. Do you remember when you where eaten by the snake back when you were human? Do you remember how it felt when the creature devoured you alive?”
Tony shivered at the question. He thought back to the horrible nightmare he had had with the green snake. He could still see its thick ropey image clearly in his mind. Did it really happen, thought Tony, or was it just a terrible dream? How did the detective know about it? What is going on?
“How did you know about the green snake? I thought it was all a dream!”
“It wasn’t a dream, boy! It was real! It is because of the GOG gene that you were not a permanent snack in the arena hours ago. When Evila cloned you from your original blood, your GOG genes had stored your past information into its molecular matrix. You still have all your memories, don’t you? You can still remember your family and friends back on your home planet can’t you? You can still remember everything; you’re not a new creation or creature. When you were eaten by the snake, all your memories were stored in your blood back at the cloning lab. Therefore when you were cloned again, you came back as Tony Blair and not some other weird human. That’s what the GOG gene does! It makes you… well, you!”
Tony shrugged his shoulders. He was growing weary of the conversation and didn’t want to hear any more about genetic principles of the soul. He would be chewing on this crazy information for a long time. He could only imagine what his college biology teacher would have said if he told him the human soul was really just a part of the DNA code or something. Mr. Hall would have freaked out!
“There certainly is a lot to learn here, Detective Cuffers, and a lot of what we talked about confuses me!”
The detective shook his head. “Yes, there certainly is a lot to learn, and you must know what I have told you is still a theory, it hasn’t been proven yet. But I would say we are pretty close to proving it all. There are still some things we can’t explain. One of them is when the cloned creature dies. They can remember everything about their death, even when their bodies are separated from their blood in the cloning lab. It’s like there is a connection that we can’t explain, yet. The cloned creature can some how keep those memories.” He shook his head, “All I know is when you die, that’s it. There’s complete darkness! There is nothing but a whole lot of darkness! It’s scary to think about but true! We have to accept that.”
Tony felt agitated at Cuffers’ his pessimistic remark about death. He was going to ask another question when the elevator stopped suddenly. The silver doors opened revealing a long white hallway. At the far end were two other doors.
“This is our stop,” said the Detective. “Dean Redder is going to be pleased to see you, Tone’i, and I think Evila will as well.” He winked and started forward. Tony smiled really big at the gesture and followed him out of the elevator.
“So, what is the Dean like? Is there anything I should know before I see him? Like anything I should say or do? Should I kneel?”
Detective Cuffers laughed. Tony was sounding more human than ever. “This isn’t like seeing a King or an Emperor. He’s only the Dean of the academy; just be yourself; nothing fancy!”
Tony looked away and started breathing hard. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this, he thought nervously to himself. It’s just the Dean. If you stuff up then just blame it on the fact that you have been a Tenatian for only a few hours. I am sure everyone will understand.
When they got to the silver doors Detective Cuffers reached into his suit coat pocket and pulled out a little white key card. He ran it through the system and waited as it processed the data it was given. There was a buzz as the doors dropped away, revealing a dark room. The Detective and Tony walked slowly into the benighted office and stopped when they got to the middle. The dim light in the ceiling above them poured over their bodies like a photon shower; their tall frames seemed to cast long shadows in all directions on the industrial carpet.
Tony could see a steel desk at the far end of the office. It looked bent and misshapen, as if someone had dropped a five hundred pound bowling ball on top of it. Fear began to wash over his mind as he shifted his eyes to all the dark parts of the big room. He could hear whispering now and see sudden movement coming from the walls. The place looked completely creepy and dark. It felt like he had walked into a dragon’s den. It felt evil!
“Hello, Dean Redder, are you here? I brought up the human hybrid like you requested. He’s here with me!”
There was a slight pause. The detective’s words hung in the air like a bad smell. After a few seconds of silence Tony began to wonder whether there really was someone in the room to greet them. The place looked as dead as a cemetery. He was about to ask the detective if they had found the right room when a raspy voice spoke up from the far end. The sudden presence of it caught both of them off guard. Tony couldn’t see who was speaking but he knew it was coming from the other side of the desk. There was someone there watching them.
“Very good, Detective Cuffers, I knew I could count on you to complete your task on time. Did anyone else come with you? Did you bring any other space officers or any-thing? Does anyone else know about him?”
Detective Cuffers stepped forward a bit. “No, sir. I brought him up all by myself. He didn’t give me any trouble. He’s one-hundred percent Tenatian. The test we ran on him in the department told us this.”
“Is he drugged? Is that why he is so docile? We can’t leave these things to chance at all, detective!” said the Dean cautiously. His eyes were moving back and forth, “I don’t want him going crazy in my office. This academy isn’t liable for genetic projects gone wrong.”
The Detective shook his head. “No, he’s not drugged. He’s just naturally this calm. He’s one of us now. He’s civilized!”
There was a heavy sigh heard from the Dean. Then there came the raspy retort, “Detective Cuffers, I’ll be the one to decide whether he is one of us or not. You have no say in this matter. What has gone on here is an absolute abomination to our species. This thing…” he pointed to Tony sharply, “must never get out of this ship alive! What Evila has done has dishonored our race. We can’t mix blood!”
The detective was taken aback by the invective tone. He had never been yelled at by the Dean before. “What are you talking about, Dean Redder? The hybrid is going to be our ticket out of extinction. Evila did it and I would like to meet her. She did what others could not do. She is a great scientist!”
The Dean stood up from his desk and walked around it slowly. His shoes rubbed softly against the carpet as he headed to the center of the room. Tony could feel the evil radiating from him as he got closer and closer. This guy might not have been a dragon, but he certainly was a monster.
“Does anyone else know about this human hybrid? Did you tell anyone else about him at the S.O. Department? I need to know, Cuffers. This is very important.” The Dean’s voice was getting more intense and sinister. His weird face began to emerge from the darkness and into the soft light of the room. Tony’s jaw dropped as he watched him emerge. He stared into the ridged visage of the Dean. The man looked different from the other Tenatian people Tony had seen. He had pale green skin and bright red hair.
“No, sir, I questioned him personally. No one else knows about him except me. Why, is this a problem? I thought you, of all people, would be glad to hear this news.” Detective Cuffers looked around the room. “Where is the academy student, Evila? What have you done with her?”
“I have done nothing to her, yet, Cuffers! But I plan to take her and her walking abomination here down to Deck X, for extermination. No one can know the truth about what has gone on here. It would be disastrous!”
Tony could feel his hearts jump in his chest. He stepped back a bit. The conversation was getting a little heated. The Dean looked like he was going to go mad, “What are you talking about? You can’t kill me!” He looked over to the detective. “You said that I fall under the same rules as any other Tenatian citizen. I have done nothing wrong! I was taken from my home and placed in this situation.”
The Dean shot a hard glare at Tony. “So the creature can talk! How cute! Did you teach it how to speak our language, Cuffers, as a trick to impress me?”
The detective ignored the cynicism. He tried to reason with the man. “Tone’i is completely right about his citizenship, Dean, you can’t take him down to X-Lab and exterminate him, and you can’t do it with the girl either! They’re innocent. What you’re proposing is murder. I won’t stand for it, the Tenatian Embassy will hear about this. The whole universe will hear about this!”
“No, detective. What I am doing is noble!”
Dean Redder lunged forward and shoved a needle into the detective’s bicep. Cuffers pushed him away violently and looked down at his arm. A big syringe was stick-ing out of it now. He staggered backward as the toxin rushed into his veins and into his brain. He lifted a shaky hand and pulled it out of his arm. His head was beginning to get cloudy. His breathing became more labored and shallow.
“It was nice having you on the force, Detective Cuffers, but I don’t think you will be needed anymore, or missed for that matter!” said the Dean as he laughed out loud. His ugly voice began to echo off the walls of the office.
Detective Cuffers dropped suddenly to his knees. His pulse was racing as the poison filled his body. He knew that in seconds he would be dead. He knew what he faced now was what he had always dreaded in the past… darkness.
He turned to Tone’i and muttered one word.