Chapter 7: Heroes Summoned
Rynah stood in the transporter room, waiting for her guests, if one could call them that. She watched as the room filled with the yellow and orange light that usually accompanied teleportation. Secretly, Rynah was amazed that Solaris had managed to pull off such a feat. Each person materialized before her until they had solidified and the light dissipated.
“They are here,” said Solaris.
“Who are you?” roared Alfric as he pointed his sharpened sword at Brie, who shrieked and fell to her knees.
“Back off!” Tom shoved Alfric away from the frightened Brie.
“You dare touch the son of Erik?” roared Alfric.
“Yeah, I dare,” said Tom. Though he had no idea what had happened or where he was, he immediately disliked this muscular man who wore fur, wielded a deadly weapon, and smelled as though he hadn’t bathed in over a year.
“What is going on here?” asked Brie, still watching Alfric with frightened eyes.
Solon remained still, observing the entire proceeding with a pensive look on his olive complexioned face.
“I demand to know where I am,” roared Alfric, swinging his blade until it smashed into a computer console, sending shards of glass tinkling to the floor.
“STOP!” Solaris’ voice rang throughout the transporter room, causing everyone to cease their fighting. “Flinging your sword all over the place. Look what you’ve done!” Solaris referred to the shattered console. “You could injure someone with such reckless actions. Now, we have a proposal.”
Taking her cue, Rynah stepped forward. “My name is Rynah and this is my ship.”
“Ship?” asked Brie. “Like a spaceship?”
“Yes,” replied Rynah, “We are in the Lanyran sector, my home, and this is my ship. I have brought you here because I need your help.”
“What in Odin’s name is all this?” demanded Alfric. “Ships do not fly in the skies.”
“Actually they do,” said Tom. “We have many—”
“Enough!” yelled Rynah, growing impatient. “You are all from a different time on your world, and I have brought you here because I need your help. But first, introductions. This is Solon, from your year of 751 B.C. Alfric, from your year of 1163; Brie Reynolds, from your year of 2014; and Tom Sanderson, from your year of 2099.”
The four new arrivals looked around at each other, (Alfric, a fearsome man who was over 40 years old; Tom, a man with black skin and only 20; Solon, a scrawny boy of 17, who, in Alfric’s opinion, needed to eat more meat; and Brie, a girl of 16, too frightened to move) all with expressions bearing a mixture of astonishment and trepidation, still not believing they were on a spaceship.
“As I’ve said, my name is Rynah, from the planet Lanyr. Now, if you’ll please follow me.”
The four unlikely, and still very confused, heroes followed Rynah down a slew of burnished corridors (that harbored the fresh scents of citrus, marigold, and holly, thus surprising the new arrivals) that twisted and turned until opening to the medical bay. Unable to contain his curiosity, Tom pushed and tapped every button and switch he saw, forcing Rynah to seize his hands and steer him away from his fascination.
“Why are you taking us to the clinic?” asked Brie, pinching herself so that maybe she would wake up.
“This is the medical bay,” answered Rynah. “Since none of you have ever been in space, I am going to inject you with some nanobots.”
The four arrivals’ faces twisted in a mixture of confusion and disgust.
“It’s quite harmless,” soothed Rynah. “The nanobots are meant to help you function in an artificial gravity atmosphere. They will also allow you to speak to one another so that Solaris will not have to use her translators. I assure you that you have nothing to fear.”
“Function in an artificial gravity atmosphere?” asked Alfric, the words sounded foreign on his tongue.
“In other words, these nanobots”—Rynah held up a vial of miniscule bots—“will prevent you from becoming ill.” She glanced at Solon, whose normally olive toned skin had turned a pale shade of green. Knowing that he was already experiencing space sickness, she put a vial of nanobots in the shotgun (as she called it) and injected them in his neck. Within moments, Solon’s color returned to normal and his stomach quit mimicking a ride on a rollercoaster.
No one moved.
“Or are you all afraid?” challenged Rynah.
Alfric stepped forward with a stern expression. “I fear nothing.” He tipped his head to the side so that Rynah could inject the nanobots.
Tom went next. Nanobots were familiar to him, even if they were still a bit new for his day. “Why not?” he said as he allowed Rynah to inject him.
“Next,” said Rynah, looking at Brie.
Still unsure of everything, Brie traipsed forward and sat in the chair, lifting up her mousy brown hair. Rynah reached back without looking, snatched the purple vial from its shelf, and rammed it in the gun. With a robotic movement, she placed it on Brie’s neck and injected the nanobots, tossing the empty vial in the trash. The sharp prick stung a moment, but faded as Brie rubbed the tiny red mark on her skin.
“I will take you to the briefing room,” said Rynah, closing the cabinet with the vials of nanobots.
“How big is this ship?” asked Tom, enthusiasm filling his voice.
“There are three decks, a kitchen, storage area, the bridge, and a cargo bay. And you will each have your own room,” replied Rynah, as she set a vigorous pace through the ship. “In short, this ship is big enough to hold about 50 people.”
“Like an apartment complex,” said Brie.
“I suppose,” said Rynah, “to put it in your terms.”
A door swooshed open, allowing them inside a well-lit room with an elongated table in its center, surrounded by chairs that tipped to the side and squeaked with each movement. Tom pivoted one, inspecting it and noticing a small speck of rust (something Solaris had inadvertently missed in her effort to maintain a tidy environment), his curiosity always getting the better of him. “I take it this ship isn’t very advanced.”
“This is the most advanced ship of the Lanyran fleet,” boomed Solaris’ voice from the intercom. “Though I have been out of commission for 50 years, I am highly functional and much more capable than many of my newer, and inexperienced, counterparts.”
All eyes, except Rynah’s, searched for the source of the voice, still not used to a ship that spoke freely.
“Be careful of what you say,” Rynah told Tom. “Solaris is a bit sensitive. She has not had the pleasure of company since my grandfather parked her in that hangar. Unfortunately, neglect has rendered her in this condition, but I assure you that Solaris is reliable and she will not let us down in our mission.”
“Mission?” said Tom.
“Our?” added Solon.
Rynah sighed. “I come from the planet Lanyr in the Lanyran Sector. Yesterday, my entire planet was destroyed by a man named Klanor. He broke into the Geological Institute, which ran the Geothermic Lab, of my planet. I was part of security. ”
“A rent-a-cop?” asked Brie.
Rynah’s eyes narrowed. She did not like that reference and took it to be an insult. “Security. Klanor stole a crystal from the underground lab. This crystal controlled the magnetic fields of my planet for the last 1,500 years. Without it, the fields become misaligned and cause massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, weather disruptions—”
“Global warming,” interrupted Brie.
“Actually,” said Tom, “it’s global cooling. You see, the ice caps have been increasing in size and scientists are afraid of another ice age.”
“No, the ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. We’ve had a 1 degree increase in the earth’s temperatures,” argued Brie.
“In actuality, it was a 2 degree drop in global temperatures,” Tom refuted. “In fact, last year—”
“Enough!” Alfric’s voice bellowed across the room, drowning everything. Brie and Tom shrank back in their chairs. “You will release us at once.”
“I most certainly will not,” said Solaris.
“I’ll not be your prisoner,” Alfric’s normally cream colored face had turned plum red.
“I cannot send you back,” replied Solaris. “Not now, anyway. Bringing all of you here drained most of my power reserves. They will have to recharge before I can send anyone home, though I had hoped you would at least listen to Rynah’s story first. Besides, transporting a person too often can result in death, so I urge you to listen.”
“Continue,” said Alfric. He noticed Solon fumbling with his pomegranate in an effort to open it.
Alfric sliced the fruit open with his sword, spraying pink juice onto the table, much to Solaris’ annoyance as she detested spills, spots, and any sort of uncleanliness.
“Thank you,” mumbled Solon.
“Without that crystal,” continued Rynah, “my planet will remain a dead rock.”
“So you need a magic rock to save your planet?” asked Tom.
“It doesn’t work like that,” said Rynah. “The crystal is more of a data core that was inserted into a giant computer. It kept the magnetic fields intact, which allowed life to flourish. If I can restore it quickly, I might be able to prevent any permanent damage to my home world. However, the longer it takes, the less likely the chances of saving my planet become.”
“But, there’s more, isn’t there?” asked Tom.
Rynah chewed her lower lip. “Yes. There is more than one crystal. If all of them were to be united, they could create a most deadly weapon. Solaris… I intend to stop such a thing from happening, but need your help.”
“Why us, specifically?” asked Tom, willing to go along for the moment.
“Solaris believes that you four meet certain requirements.”
“A prophecy speaks about four people from a distant planet none have ever been to who come and save us. Of course, I never thought that you all would be descended from the vermin that resided in that sew—” Rynah cut herself off. She glanced around the room, realizing that she had said too much.
“Vermin?” asked Brie. “We’re vermin to you?”
“I didn’t mean…” began Rynah.
“Yes, you did,” said Brie. “You’ve been looking down your nose at us since we got here.”
“Prophecy?” laughed Tom. “You brought us here because of some prophecy?”
“I want to go home,” muttered Brie.
Rynah’s cheeks reddened.
“Prophecy is just a glimpse into the future given to the past so as to help the present,” said Solon, speaking for the first time since they entered the room. His quiet voice calmed everyone.
“Perhaps you should start from the beginning,” suggested Tom.
Rynah opened her mouth to speak, but Solaris cut her off. “There is an ancient legend on the planet of Lanyr about a man who wielded a weapon of terrible power. It destroyed entire planets and star systems. According to that legend, a small group of warriors, each with distinct gifts, destroyed the weapon. They split it into six pieces and hid them. It is believed that they are somewhere within the 12 sectors. The guardians warned that such a power could be wielded again so they left a prophecy, if you will, to be used when the time came.”
“And you think it refers to us?” asked Brie.
“Your planet is in the 13th sector, untouched, ignored, and thought primitive. It fit the legend. And according to my calculations, Klanor doesn’t know of your world, so your being here would be an element of surprise. And you each fit the qualities. The philosopher, the warrior, the lover, and the inventor.”
“Lover?” questioned Brie. “I’m no lover.”
“The translation may not be entirely correct,” said Solaris. “Love has many different forms and meanings.”
Brie frowned, still not liking the idea of being called “the lover”.
“The crystals”—Solaris turned on the holoscreen to show what she talked about—“are all data crystals. Each one serves a purpose, or can be made for a specific purpose. The one on Lanyr was discovered almost 1,500 years ago. Once the Lanyrans learned that it was really a data crystal and developed the technology to access it, they created an entire computer system that would utilize the crystal’s stored data and maintain stability of the magnetic field. It was because of this that the planet was not destroyed the moment the fields became unstable.
“Since then, we have used this technology to stabilize other planets and control their climate and atmospheres, and even protect them from solar flares or radiation. Your planet is the only one I know of where it naturally regulates all of those. However, there are many crystals, and not all are the ones we are looking for.”
“How did this Klanor know the difference?” asked Alfric.
“The crystals we are looking for have a specific encoding,” answered Solaris.
Alfric’s face scrunched up in confusion.
“Think of it as a symbol, or mark, etched on the crystal itself,” said Rynah. “Klanor must have learned about it somehow. Though I never dreamed…”
Rynah cut herself off, choking back the tears that formed in the back of her throat. Now wasn’t the time to get into personal relationships.
“What is that symbol?” asked Alfric, referring to an insignia on the screen.
“That,” said Rynah, “is the mark of the Lunyra Movement. They believe that the use of the crystal to keep the magnetic fields aligned was a violation against the laws of the universe.”
“But he is not part of the Lunyra Movement,” said Solaris.
“What do you mean?” asked Rynah.
Solaris zoomed in on the man’s neck, searching for a distinct mark of two crescent moons with their backs touching. “There is no tattoo. Every member of the Lunyra Movement have the same insignia tattooed on their neck. They would not have worn an armband.”
“So then this Klanor was trying to frame them,” said Tom.
“The mind of a warrior,” said Alfric, with a note of admiration; he always respected his foes, something that allowed him to be victorious in every battle. “Deception and misdirection can be useful allies.”
“Why don’t you enlist the help of your own people?” asked Solon. “Surely, not all of them agree with this Klanor.”
“Solaris and I are alone and the only known survivors of my planet. We have no way of knowing how many people Klanor has on his side, nor how many escaped the devastation wrought on Lanyr. I need help to stop him. Yours is the only one I can count on.”
“Do it for your own planet,” said Solaris.
“What?” asked Tom.
“Once Klanor has seized control of this part of space, he will go to the Terra Sector, your Earth, and destroy it as well. If he succeeds in building this weapon, no system will be safe, including yours.”
“So what you are saying is,” said Brie, “you need the help of a bunch of vermin to save your world and, in doing so, we might save ours.”
“Yes,” answered Solaris. “Though I do not consider you vermin. Despite the few setbacks you have suffered in your vast history, your race is remarkably resilient and advanced. It’s your resolve that will save us, not your technology.”
“How do we find these crystals?” demanded Alfric. For one where talk of space travel was a foreign and unthinkable concept, he had followed the conversation with little difficulty.
“That is the problem,” said Rynah, “We have no idea where they all are. All we have are stories and legends.”
“Then you have a map,” said Alfric.
“Your legends will tell you where they are,” said Alfric. “Let them guide you.”
Tom snorted at such an outlandish statement.
“Ridicule is unnecessary,” said Solon.
“What are the first lines of your legend?” asked Alfric.
Solaris recited them.
Gather now and listen well
To this tale that I must tell.
Of magic crystals young and old
A lost crystal too deadly to behold.
The beginning is always the best.
Do not sneer, laugh, or jest.
Think of where it’s been.
Think of where it was last seen.
“But my files are incomplete when it comes to the ancient tales,” said Solaris when she finished.
“It is enough,” said Alfric. “It has told you where to start in your search. I am certain that your legends will guide you in this venture like a map.”
“We should start where the poem says, at the beginning,” said Solon. “Whenever you are lost, start at the beginning.”
“I can set a course for Lanyr,” said Solaris. “We should be there by morning.”
“You are for this?” Brie asked Solon.
“It is obvious that none of us will be allowed to return home until we give them what they want,” answered Solon, “and if this Klanor wants to destroy my home, I would prefer to see his demise first.”
“A wise plan,” said Alfric. “You have the makings of a great warrior.”
“My father did not think so,” answered Solon.
“Then we are in agreement?” asked Rynah.
“For honor and glory,” said Alfric, raising his sword. If assisting Rynah meant protecting his people, then he would do as she asked. “But if you betray me, nothing will save you from my blade.”
Rynah’s face remained impassive.
“Are you kidding?” said Tom, “I’d jump at a chance to explore a new world. Of course I’m in.”
“Yes,” answered Solon.
All eyes turned to Brie. She still had misgivings about the entire affair and wished to return home. Confrontation was not in her DNA, and she didn’t like the idea of being used, but she knew she could not leave. “Sure,” she mumbled.
“Then it is settled,” said Rynah. “I will show you each to your quarters where you may rest.”