Death Is Nothing, When Considered

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“We All Have Skeletons in Our Closet”

“There is no need to collect data. All that you seek educationally about this planet resides with me. When you awake, you may-may ask me any question you please. I need you to sleep though, because I need to extract all of the memories of your wife to transfer them and prepare them for insertion and programming. You are safe-safe here, Doctor.” Alice asserted.

Archibald still had hesitations, but he agreed. He slowly stepped into the coffin and the lid above him closed. A light gas filled the coffin leaving Archibald unconscious within seconds. A timer began to count down on the top of the encasing. The timer read, “175,200 HOURS” as it counted downward.

Alice displayed a genuine smile. Her shadow-state began to fade upon the one white wall she exhibited herself affixed to. Once her shadow had dissipated, the wall itself morphed to black, darkening the room. The only light sources that remained within the room came from the numbers on the coffin and a small glow underneath the Doctor’s shoulders and head.

Alice returned to her basic form on the adjacent side of the wall. In solid form, she was pale and appeared to hover above the ground silently, much like a human’s rendition of an apparition. In fact, her form resembled that of a human. The area around her illustrated itself with cave walls, but with no discernible exit. She had occupied this space for a long time. The area contained reading material of various sizes and languages. These reading materials were from all around the universe. The books were stacked high and to total the quantity of the literature would be compared to counting how many stars were in a galaxy; a futile endeavor indeed.

Every now and again, she would resume her place on the wall inside the room where Dr. Zeal lay abeyant, to watch him and extract memories and DNA in his comatose state. Over the passing years, she began to think of the Doctor as a friend, for she was more intimately connected to him than anyone had ever been before. She could see the potential for genius that had lied in the human race. This was laconic information that she could have never received from a piece of text or have figured out on her own.

During this period, she constructed an egg and artificially inseminated it. Alice made sure to tamper with the DNA and the semen sample beforehand, in order to best compliment the child’s outcome to be a success in consideration of her intelligence and normality. The process was contained inside of a large glass box with wires and tubes extending out of the sides – life contained in a glass box.

Once the child was born, she was moved to a coffin much like Dr. Zeal was contained in, though on a smaller scale and slightly different, architecturally speaking. As time passed, she grew. The coffin was built to sense her growth and accommodate automatically in proportion to the child in length and width. During this time, Alice implanted and sorted the memories inside of the young girls head while she lay unaware of her outward existence. After the young girl had been alive for thirteen years, Alice moved her coffin into her own room on the opposite side of the wall to keep a closer eye on the process. The procedure and plan were carefully carried out resulting in a smooth process, that is, until the young girl’s seventeenth birthday.

Three years away from Dr. Zeal’s awakening and reuniting with his wife’s clone, Alice could feel her cave-like chamber shake. Alice instantly knew something was wrong. She leaned in close to the glass that covered the top portion of the girl’s coffin and whispered softly.

“You are going to-to be fine. I will not-not let them hurt you.”

The cave structure began to violently shake. Items on the uneven walls gave up their presence and met the ground below. The once neatly stacked literature had now become a jumbled mess upon the floor. The bending metal and crashing gears above them were defiant in being heard. Alice continued to console the young girl throughout the ordeal, though even if Anna Bell’s recreation had been responsive, Alice’s voice would have been drowned out by the overbearing noise surrounding them.

The ceiling gave way to a bright light followed by a lowering platform. Two figures on top of the platform help break the light as well. When they came into clear view, Alice saw their true form. Their heads paralleled that of a human’s skull with an extending small appendage protruding from the top of the head. It looked like an antenna with a cloth over it. The body of the creature appeared to have eight tentacles and stood, in its entirety, at around nine feet tall.

The stand lowered down and met with the floor, crushing items underneath that had scattered across the room, due to the initial shake. Alice stood bravely in front of the coffin in defense of her subject.

“Leave my planet at once!” she yelled.

The creatures barely took note of her screams and approached her with a towering presence of authority. A small hum resonated from the Octoghost and quickly transformed into a buzzing sound. The buzz then formed words in a language that Alice could understand.

“We were here for your planet’s resources, but we will now be additionally taking the child.” The creature’s sound signature was abysmal in its depth.

Alice grabbed hold of the coffin and looked up toward the ominous creature as she said, “The only way you will be taking this child is after I have passed.” The last word slipped from her mouth as she pulled the coffin with her. The coffin and the child bonded with her body as they began permeating through the wall to the other side. The Octoghost extended its arm toward them and grappled onto them as one, pulling them back fully into the room. The creature did not see Archibald’s coffin, for all entrances had been closed to that room besides the wall that housed Alice’s conveyances.

“So be it.” The creature said. Without hesitation, two of its other tentacles clasped and constricted both ends of Alice’s body. The child and coffin detached and Alice was ripped horrifically into two pieces, and furthermore, was smashed into the ground with the Octoghost’s incredible strength. Alice was helpless to defend herself before being pummeled into the ground that she once kept so safe.

The creature grabbed onto the coffin and returned to its platform. It rose many feet until it passed the top soil into outside air revealing the planet’s terrible condition. Where once stood a beautiful demonstration of arched architecture now evinced a pile of rubble surrounded by more debris. The planet as a whole was destroyed beyond recognition. The Octoghost let out a small sigh, indicating a small bit of hesitation over what it had done to the planet.

The platform continued upward until it entered the ship that had lowered it down. Once on the ship, a group of Octoghost rushed toward the Coffin ascertaining it and moving away once again, leaving the creature who had retrieved the child, standing alone. After a moment, it moved slowly down the hall and into a room on its right. All of the flooring that it had moved on was a specialized tile that filled the entire ship, made to create an effortless environment for the creatures to move on top of.

Once in the room, the creature moved to a digital interactive display floating in the center of the room. The display reacted to its every movement like a lapdog. When it would move, the display would break into small symbols of code and string behind the Octoghost, re-assimilating each time it came to a stop. The projection of it came from a multi-colored neon strip of light lining the indention where the wall and ceiling met, spanning a three hundred and sixty degree circumference around the room. The ceiling furthermore, was arrayed in an exuberant amount of multi-colored neon strips that webbed from side to side, acting as a canopy over the room.

The creature seemed to be at odds with itself, for its demeanor was opposite now from how it acted before, when it took Archibald’s near-cloned wife. Its attitude now was based closer to what was the truth. The beings ghastly face revealed discontent and was riddled with guilt. What occurred next may have been for nostalgic purposes or to try and re-instill its faith in what its kind were trying to do, but in either case, the beast placed its tentacle straight forward and then into the holographic display. The computer-like system revealed a listing of symbols that were comprised into a descriptive history of the mortal’s race, which was written in the Xaphnu language. He began reading:

*Translation Closest to English*

“Life began as an anomaly...

Imagine darkness, and a line between nothing and nothing. Technically speaking, not even darkness is relevant. Then, in a fraction of a blink of an eye, existence spawned from a disturbance in an equilibrium that kept reality non-existent. This disturbance was so immense, that there will never be a measure of science that can explain it. This, however, did not chaotically disturb the equilibrium, but instead enhanced its capabilities.

This counterbalance had always lied dormant. Yet again though, the word "always" is relative to the timeline to which our universe functions. So, instead, it will be said, the equilibrium lied dormant.

Its capabilities jump started a process in the equilibrium, much like "thinking", but far more advanced than anything has, is, or will ever be. The Equilibrium identified itself as a "self" and remained in a stage of cogitation. At some point, which was not relevant to time yet, he thought, "Would it not be fantastic to create?"

This thought consumed him, so it took the form of what could only be described as a light, shaped similar to a rope or a string. At the edge of the string of light, a series of bright green and blue lights appeared. The exact point they appeared, they began blinking. Now by anyone else’s standards, had anyone been in existence at this time, would have viewed this act as nothing short of amazing, but the designer became distraught at the exact point the lights were created. For, it saw them for what they really were. It saw them deteriorating at a very, very slow pace, but deteriorating all the same. In this now, "moment", it realized that it had effectively created a second timeline around itself, the first being when the equilibrium was disturbed and began experiencing brainwork.

It saw that all things around itself could now age and wither away. However, It also noticed a certain beauty in it all, in the sense that if something has a beginning and an ending, the creation will be more inclined to appreciate it's time in existence.

Time flew by as the Equilibrium created things and watched them slowly pass away into the nothing from whence they came, until one day, it decided, "I will create a system so self-intelligent, that it will construct itself, and along the way, I will expand upon my creation's creations!"

As it set this system into motion, it watched from afar, as it expanded outwardly. In the system’s path, lay "nothing", but it plowed through the nothing, so to speak, and created space. Along the way, the system and the intelligent designer became close, relaying messages back and forth telepathically. This led to the idea of creating lesser beings than themselves, randomly throughout the space they had created.

While conversing telepathically, on the same day they had thought of creating beings like themselves, they decided the beings should not be made to function right away, but start as small organisms and work their way up to higher beings. (Days were now counted according to the binary pulsed clock the Equilibrium had previously created out of the blinking, bright green and blue lights.) Consequently, the organisms would fight for their survival, thus instating, a "survival of the fittest" rule.

This went on for an immaculate amount of time, until one ‘day’ something strange happened. The universe, at a point, closed in on itself appearing to have an ending. Time passed and eventually an explosion occurred, but in an unknown plain of existence. It had spawned a new universe.

Another multiple of the number, ‘one billion’, in years passed until it happened again…and again…and so on and so forth. This created what we call in the present: The Multiverse. Each universe gave life to billions upon billions of different evolved life forms. Some have advanced far enough along to have discovered what we have, which is, that there is a multiverse, though most have not. We discovered it by reaching the precipice and finding that at certain points in the ending of our universe, space was trickling through due to a gravitational pull from the contents on the other side. We found that by creating a controlled explosion (on a massive scale) we could rip the wall apart and conjoin the two universes. A multiverse still exists however, because of the infinite amount of universes that have sprung up out of their predecessors. Our universe is indeed expanding tremendously with each barrier broken.

The requirement for such travel through space has always taken a toll on advanced life forms and the first known civilization to take advantage of weaker beings and break the barriers, were a race known as Ardu. After the first barrier was broken, they renamed themselves to, Xaphnu, (after the word Xaph, which in their language meant ‘conquerors beyond’.)

The Xaphnu originated on a planet called, Ardu and were aptly named for it as a civilized whole. They evolved over a span of four billion years and eventually mastered space flight at extreme speeds, exceeding the speed of light through a tricking of physics. Their planet began to die as their atmosphere was dissipating at an alarming rate. Out of necessity, they built ships with long term living quarters inside and fled from the only home they had ever known. From then on, they travelled and usurped each planet they found along the way by stripping them of their resources and fleeing once more. From time to time the Xaphnu would settle upon worlds, but only if they felt luxuriated in the planet. If a civilization with original thought existed on the planet they planned to inhabit, they would remove that species with force so that they would not have to endure competition or resistance. They would achieve this by monitoring them until they knew everything there was to know and attack their weakest points. It was rare for them to find such a race though.

The Xaphnu over the years had always strived to not only be the most powerful physically, but also the most superior in knowledge. Eventually a time came where the Xaphnu grew bored, due to a lack of untouched knowledge flowing through. They decided to conduct an experiment with a planet they had previously abandoned, but had always adored.

They named the planet Xaphnu while living on it, hoping that at the time, they had found a permanent place to dwell for the foreseeable future. It was not until they found the creature at the center of this planet, that they decided to abandon it. When they departed, they left behind undetectable items on the planet to watch over it and keep an eye on the monster they could not seem to kill, but were convinced was present nonetheless. Also left behind, were the means to creating life, though whatever evolved would be purely up to its environment.

Accordingly, a strange phenomenon occurred. After millions of years had passed since they decamped from that galaxy as a whole, the part of the Xaphnu race put in charge of keeping a close watch on planet Xaphnu were stunned with their most recent results: A Civilization had evolved, rose from the seas, and now possessed original thought and communicated as individuals. Instead of feeling threatened as they did with other races, they responded happily. They felt as though this race was their children. It was relayed to the Xaphnu people that they had created a race and was similar to the original designer of the first universe, which they believed purely because their ancestors had told them of such things.

Sadly, the planet could not be saved from the ravenous creature that occupied its innards. It was then decided that the Xaphnu would return to the planet they loved so much, and would take the natural resources it had left and destroy it along with their adopted children, the humans, (or so they preferred to call themselves.) After they destroyed what the humans called ‘Earth’, they vowed to never take anchorage to any specific planet again, but would continue to obtain the needed resources from each sphere and move on.

Of course, as you know fellow Conquer, ‘They’ is ‘We’, as the Xaphnu civilization as a whole has now become known as the Kaseer, due to our great triumph over the monster at the center of the late Xaphnu planet. Stand strong as a proud member of the Kaseer race. May riches, power, and pleasant exploration befall upon you for the rest of your days.”

The display recognized its eye patterns and discerned that it was finished reading. The text fizzed into a random set of symbols and circled creating a hologramsaver as the Octoghost moved back and down into a square hole in the ground about 15 feet deep that housed a sleeping space at the bottom. The display did not follow, but stretched behind it until it was fully encompassed inside of the hole. The hologram bounced back with the physics of rubber and eventually came to a standstill in the center of the room.

On the opposite side of the ship, a group of the Octoghost was rushing the young, unconscious girl down a silver plated hallway with the same tiled floors as aforementioned. The hallway was tirelessly long and uncreative in designed. The only break the hallway got from the mundane as they traveled quickly down it was passing windows housing strange creatures that were no doubt beings held captive from past, devastated worlds.

At last, they reached the ending of the drab, elongated corridor. At the end, a door rose from the floor and into the ceiling allowing them access into the next room. Once they cleared the door, the space opened up into an enormous laboratory. The lab was the size of a high school gym back on Earth, but was shaped as a circular construct. Roughly four hundred Octoghost were scattered around working on various projects and experiments. The room was fully open appearing like a stadium when viewing it from the bottom. It had 4 different levels, all filled with the best and brightest of the Octoghost race.

The young girl was rolled onto a lift, and taken to the second floor. Suddenly the roof began to glow a bright green and instantaneously the laboratory grew silent. A large terrace held by thick steel wires lowered from the center of the glow and revealed an Octoghost larger than any of the others. He was draped with a black cloth around him and his face was more menacing and ghastly than any of the others like him. Accompanying him was a robot that stood four feet tall.

The platform came to a stop. The Giant creature and his robot inched slowly from the platform onto a smaller platform that extended with each few feet that he traveled. This was continuous until they reached the second floor. His eyes were nonexistent and yet it seemed that he knew where it was headed at all times. The brute deeply spoke to his fellow scientists that were near, but all who were present and even remotely close, could hear his fiery words.

*Translation Closest to English*

“Is it what we hoped for?”

“It is, my lord.” One of the Octoghost responded confidently.

The head Octoghost moved toward the unaware girl and placed one of his tentacles upon the glass overlooking her. He was outwardly pleased.

“Have you done tests to be sure it is one of our lost children?” The beast murmured.

“On the way in, we tested and confirmed it: however, the child did not originate from planet Xaphnu. She has artificial traces of DNA and structural design. She seems to have been created from an original donor though. That may have been what the alien, Alice, was doing underground when we found her and the child. This also leads us to believe that an original human has somehow kept himself alive, more than likely through artificial means.”

The head Octghost wrinkled his face and leaned in toward the scientist. “We did not find any trace of a second human? Have we interrogated Alice yet?”

“She is dead, my lord. Quan killed her when retrieving the child.” The Octoghost scientist responded.

Without hesitation the head Octoghost expelled orders.

“Go to the civilian quarters and kill Quan’s family. It takes what I care about, I take what it cares about; tentacle for tentacle; furthermore, go and find Quan and detain it. Despite Quans incompetence, it is still a good soldier. Quan will not find out for a while anyway, and until that day, he will continue being a loyal soldier to the Kaseer race. We will begin looking for the original human immediately. Place teleportation symbols as well throughout the planet so that if the human is still there, he will be teleported into one of our labs upon touching it. Go – relay my message to the soldiers.”

*Within translation, it is important to note that the Octoghost were not applicable to be placed into categories between male and female; since they reproduced A-sexually, no gender was ever specified. They were simply referred to as “It”. Oddly enough however, the leader or ‘head’ of the Octoghost was referred to as a ‘Him’ within the bounds of narration…

After all of his orders were expelled, he and his robot companion returned to the platform, returned to the larger terrace, and rose back into the roof to his private chambers. The orders were promptly delivered and the search for the unbeknownst Archibald Zeal was under way. Excitement filled the air of the ship when word spread that the possibility of an original mind from the human race still existed.

Although excitement filled the air, Albatrez (the head Octoghost) retreated to his chambers at the top of the Kaseer’s large space vessel. Upon entering his private residence, he removed his garments and set them neatly upon a shelf protruding from the wall. On the shelf, was a large, empty glass encasing.

Albatrez then moved from the shelf to a bizarre contraption with which he created his own music. As he played, the music that came forth was horrifying. The sounds from within were blends of terrifying musical notes and what appeared to be increments of human screams and in fact, they were. The box contained a flurry of misguided and torn apart remnants of the late-human’s energies and consciousness’s that came from Earth. He had somehow concocted a musical machine that took advantage of those energies and combined them with musical instruments unknown to the rest of the universe. The consciousness’s would have merely been disposed of, but Albatrez choose to torture the chopped up souls instead.

As he moved around the room dancing to his music, he threw his hands into the air similar to an over eccentric composer at his final symphony. His movements were strangely different than the other Octoghost. For instance he could dance, whereas the other Octoghost could not and lacked the necessary rhythm to do so. His robot watched him move closely.

As he approached a closet-like space inside of the room, a door automatically opened when sensing his presence near it. The room seemed to be designed in a different way than the rest of the ship. One might speculate that it felt almost ‘human-like’. Within the closet, laid specimens that would have confused anyone else on the ship, however it did not faze Albatrez in the slightest of ways…

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