Astral Fable *Updated*

“Adam, our fuel is running short and soon we will need to restock on supplies. I am afraid we must crash-land on Aesop ASAP regardless of wherever we would land. I don’t care if we must land on alien territory! You know my superiors will heed your advice.” The soldier with the bobbed red hair responded to her husband.

Adam responded, “Says commander of this ship.” His eyes were focused on the screen. He saw a green field by a forest he believed was free from the alien lifeforms. 

“Diana my love, please do not interrupt me in my research.” said the scientist. He looked into the eyes of his wife and returned his sight to the monitor, fascinated by his studies.

“This is important. If we run out of fuel then you cannot continue do any research at all and we will have nowhere to go You’ll just doom our Ark! Do you know the Kang-Admi language so that we can negotiate with the inhabitants for materials? Diana responded. She rubbed Adam’s back to relieve his stress.

Adam responded to his wife, “We will leave for Aesop immediately but I doubt that we will be able to settle on that planet. If we are to crash-land now, I fear that we will come acros the brutal Kang-Admi. I have gathered data on them and know that they are not to kind towards humanity. As for an answer to your question, we have these.” Adam opened the drawer at his desk and handed Diana an earpiece with a microphone attached.

Diana “What is this? Another one of your inventions for the kids? I don’t have time for toys Adam. Our lives could be in jeopardy.” 

Adam smiled and said, “Come on, just put it on and say something.”

Diana wore the device and spoke Adam’s name. She paused for a second and then angrily said, “Is this a joke?” Through the device, her voice was much akin to an ape’s gibber.

“If this is a joke, then I would have told you. This is the Kang-Admi language dear. I have programmed this device to speak their language. We better prepare for our crash landing as I fear that we will most likely end up in their land. They will most likely kill us on sight. It will also be too cold for us to step out, so make sure that all the Thermosuits are ready before we descend on Aesop. In the mean time I will try to find a solution that will provide us warmth should we have to enter Kang-Admi terretory and I will also come into contact with Prime Ambassador Tigranes for further support in our galaxy. 

“Is their distrust of humans also because they could be slaughtering their species? Those bastard will pay for making us look bad to the aliens. I know you want to be able to get along with them but you know that they will be hostile to us.” Diana said in fury.

Adam nodded and said, “Calm down. You’re a soldier for the United Nations and commander of Ark VII. Humanity does not just depend on me. You too are instrumental to our species’ survival. I know I am one of the smartest men remaining. Even though I do not have a strong belief in such matters, we must not lose hope. You are the one who said hope is humanity’s bulwark.” 

Diana sighed and said, “Adam…” 

“I will see you again at lights out,” he told his wife. The two kissed each other and Diana left the laboratory.

Diana looked out the window and saw that the galaxy she lived in was only faint and that the people of Ark VII grew nostalgic for the Earth they once loved. Many mourned for it as they believe that it really was the end for all life they knew. A tear fell from her eyes It was the year 2149 and it was clear that soon the Earth would become inhabitable. Civil War again broke between the United States and proved to be much bloodier. Many underdeveloped countries such as Cuba and those in the Middle East were gone. Popular religions of the past such as Christianity and Islam rapidly decreased leading to fundamentalists to claim these deceased lands and live without the restraints of their laws. The Koreas too were no more and were instead an urban battlefield. Japan and other island nations have been wrecked by tidal waves. Even Antarctica melted faster than before because of the effects of global warming increasing. Severe weather or draughts ravaged much of the world so that crops wouldn’t be able to grow.  Crime rates too grew exceeding as people did what they had to do in order to survive. Such things plaguing the world were only considered a nightmare more than a century ago. The few survivors of the last century however were shocked at what their known world has become. Never would they assume that the end of the Earth would come at humanity’s hands. Many were in denial but those who lived in this century were determined to find their own kind a new world free from disaster. Little did the people of Ark VII know that there was in fact only a few people left and they could not believe that it was humanity as a whole to bring forth its own destruction.

Doctor Adam Homer believed humanity needed a new home.  Even in his early forties, he already had grey hairs due to the stress of his studies. While known for his brilliance and expertise in military technology, he has always shown an interest in both sentient extraterrestrial life-forms and unidentified mysterious animals. As a child, he was even dubbed a mad scientist who watched too many old science fiction movies that others deemed to be fake. He always believed that there was life outside of Earth and that he could seek peace and stuck to this hope.  No merit was of value to him but rather his own romantic view that humanity could one day prosper free from the planet he believed was dying. Because of his passion to protect the survivors of Earth, Diana came to love this quality about him.

While he was considered an eccentric, he discovered that there was indeed another Earth-like planet in a very distant galaxy as told by his brother-in-law and bodyguard Pedro Acero, a former soldier of the United States turned cyborg with abilities that exceed a normal human’s capacity. While distrustful of the extraterrestrial life-forms he encountered, Acero also chose to fight for the scientist’s dream of humanity finding itself a new start in a new world along with his sister. These three were highly favored by those in the United Nations to guide the way to the new world and were even dubbed the Moses by the colonists aboard their Ark.

Lights out came that night and Diana went to her cabin and entered her daughter’s bedroom. She whispered to her  “Good night Ursula. Mommy and daddy love you. May I read you a bedtime story before we go to bed?”

The girl of only twelve years lifted her head and opened her eyes. She embraced her mother around and asked “Mommy, where’s daddy? I want him to read me a bedtime story too.”

“Daddy’s busy again. Why don’t you want me to read you a bedtime story?” Diana responded.

“I want to move to Aesop. Uncle Acero tells me that it’s a beautiful planet but I’m scared of the Bigfoots and the Snake-people. He said they might eat us. Daddy doesn’t think so though. I want daddy.” A tear fell down her eye and her mother wiped it off. She knew that even though her father was a very busy and stressed out man that he was going to be her hero.  

“Ursula, you have to understand that daddy’s job is not about a storybook. It’s about finding a new home for us and I wish I didn’t have to fight with the monsters. We will rebuild humanity on this planet. It is like the fairytale of Moses only Pharaoh is the big bad people that are destroying our planet and you don’t need to worry because they’re going to be in the great big fire forever when the good guys win.” The child held her mother’s hand.

“Mommy, I’m scared of Xenomaster. Are we there yet? Is Xenomaster gone?”

“One day we will live as a normal family again Sweetie. Go to bed. You will need to rest tomorrow.”

“Yay! Daddy found a new home!”

Diana told her child, “We think he did. Good night honey. I love you.” The commander tucked her child to bed and kissed her on the forehead.

Before she left, the child said, “I love you too mommy. I don’t like daddy right now.” Diana made a false smile so she would not upset her child. Diana knew she had to stay strong not just for her family, but for all of humanity that left the dying planet.

Diana went to her cabin aboard the Ark and stepped into the shower. Ursula, I will protect the human race. Please do not cry if one day I am never to return. Daddy will take care of you and I will watch you from somewhere else if it truly exists.

Hours as the people of Ark VII knew passed since they landed on the snowy mountains of Aesop. All of its soldiers put on their Thermosuits and set out for the harsh new planet they assumed would be their new home except for one. “Are you insane Acero? You’ll out us! Put on your Thermosuit! Just because you don’t consider yourself human doesn’t mean that you’re going to go out like that!” Diana scolded her brother. She was reminded of their youth before the world they knew slowly deteriorated and tried to avoid a sense of nostalgia in her voice but found she was unable to do so.

“It’s not like he’s human anyways,” a boy called out. He resembled his father both in personality and in appearances but he was overweight and lacked both his father’s intellect or his mother’s resolve, traits his younger sister had that made him feel left out by his family.

Diana scolded him. “Isaac! Your Uncle Acero is very much a human! Now apologize. I want you to stay here and help your father out. It’s too dangerous outside.” 

Isaac came out and said, “It’s not my fault he’s the Tin Man. Dad said that he’ll be leaving soon.” The overweight, listless boy did not listen to his mother.

Acero said to Isaac, “You better listen to your mother. You really should pay attention to your father’s lessons. It will do our race well. You should also consider yourself lucky that you don’t have the parts I have. War does a lot to you. I would stay here but he’s also going on the expedition. He asked us to clear the way of any danger we would encounter on this planet.”

Isaac apologized and hugged his mother with a look of worry in his eye. Ursula joined her brother and also hugged Diana. She asked, “Mommy, are you going to be alright?” The girl was shivering as she saw her mother armed and whimpered, “I’m afraid the Bigfoots are going to eat you!”

Diana hugged her children back and kissed them on their foreheads. “Mommy’s doing something very important. I promise I’ll be back soon. You both know I am doing this to find us a new home, right? We can’t go back home because everyone else is killing each other. Stay with the elders on the ship once your father disembarks and please pay attention to your lessons.” She turned to her brother and lost her caring tone. “Acero, we are ready to move out. I will report to you once we are clear of any danger.” Ursula approached Isaac because she was afraid of her uncle and felt unease around an armed person even if it was her mother. Diana and her soldiers marched out on the ship to the harsh mountains of Aesop.

All was quiet in the harsh field. “Before we set off to explore our surroundings, I will take half of you. Sergeant Jackson, you will take the other half of our crew. I will call for back-up if necessary. Move out!” the commander instructed. The soldiers saluted her firmly.

“Why is Commander Homer bossing us around again? What happened to the good old days where men were in charge.” Jackson asked.

“Jackson! I heard that!” Diana said, “Let’s go. We’re doing this for humanity!” Row by row, her soldiers descended down the mountain. Eventually, they came across a nearby cave and heard a sound much like a wolf’s howling as it died. Diana looked on further and saw a large furry white creature wearing what appeared to be the armor of a Viking. Listening deeply, she heard deep sounds of tumbling and cursed under her breath, thinking, An avalanche now? Is this the welcoming ceremony. Nice way to greet your settlers, Aesop. The commander set her eyes towards a slope and saw a large snowball-like yet furry object rolling down. Several of her soldiers aimed their guns at it, expecting it to be an alien lifeform. Their guess was proven true when it made an ape’s gibber and opened up, resembling what they understood was a sasquatch. “Damn it. It’s the Kang-Admi!” Diana muttered. 

Two of her soldiers fired at the extraterrestrial creature, shouting, “Sasquatch!” but barely did any harm. Even though they did not possess the technology of the humans, the bullets were useless against the Kang-Admi’s armor. In retaliation, one of them roared and charged at the two soldiers in a berserker’s fury. Seeing his comrade killed before his eyes by the alien, the other soldier screamed out to Diana, “Help! I’ve been found by Bigfoot!” 

Diana yelled, “Shut your mouth unless you want us all to get killed!” 

Another Kang-Admi arrived to assist his comrade. Many of Diana’s soldiers retreated out of fear as the two continued to overwhelm the remainder of her unit. Idiots, the commander thought to herself. She dropped her gun and raised her hands in the air. One of the yeti-like aliens gibbered at her angrily.

Diana, anticipating an attack by the extraterrestrial, used the radio in her Thermosuit to contact her husband. “Adam, the Kang-Admi have captured me. My cowards of a troop abandoned me in a cave and several others didn’t make it. I am requesting back-up immediately. The Ambassador of this ship will understand our pleas of assistance. If you don’t hear from me again, tell the kids that I love them. Adam, your help is needed.” 

One of the Kang-Admi stared at her in confusion and spoke in its ape-like language, “Which sorcery does this witch practice! Bring her to the Gothar! She and the Serpent-Harlot will be tried!” He removed her Thermosuit’s helmet and lifted her over his shoulders. The two Kang-Admi went deeper into the cave until they reached their underground home. The city of the Kang-Admi was extravagantly built from ice blocks that would never melt in the frigid caverns which would otherwise not be able to house many other living beings. In the center of the city was the shrine of the Gothar and at the opposite end of the entrance stood the palace.

Three hours passed Adam and Acero found themselves surrounded by the large wolf-like creatures as they set off on their own expedition. “These are not our planet’s wolves,” Adam snarked as Acero fought them off with only his steel hands. 

Acero remarked, “I needed that. It helped keep me warm.”

“You should have worn your Thermosuit,” Adam warmed.

“It would only get in my way. I’ll just have to man up.”

“We are short on fuel so please try not to exhaust yourself. Even with our soldiers’ technology, they are no match for your strength. If your cybernetics stop working, you’re practically dead. I can’t have you dying on me in this expedition now.”

“Don’t remind me. Let’s just find my sister,” remarked Acero.  The two traveled down the mountains, following the soldiers’ footsteps. They entered the cave and Acero found his sister’s helmet among the soldiers’ corpses. The cyborg took his sister’s helmet.

Adam looked on in horror and was saddened at not just his wife being taken, but also that the Kang-Admi were hostile to humans. He feared that his dream of making peace with aliens would never come true now that several soldiers were killed. “Diana’s been captured by the Kang-Admi. These are their tracks and that large trail is how they move quickly by rolling around. They are incapable of running with their short legs and their large bodies so they must gather speed by rolling down a hill. It a convenient way of traveling for them but it is also deadly. I’d imagine it to be like a giant bowling ball coming at human pins. We must hurry! Who knows if they took her to the Gothar as a sacrifice?” Acero nodded. The two noticed the large footprints left by the Kang-Admi.

They made their way to the subterranean city of the Kang-Admi. Adam handed Acero the translating device so that they could communicate with the alien species and then put his own translator on. He asked the guard through the device, “We come in peace friend. Have any Flesh-apes entered the village? We have come in search of a home and we will bring you offerings in return for your hospitality.” Acero sneered at the term “Flesh-ape.”

The Kang-Admi guard growled lightly. It heard Adam’s human voice but understood its language in its device. Through his translator’s earpiece he heard, “Your kind is not welcome, you who seek to steal our land.” 

“We did not seek to claim your land as our own but to share it. Our home has fallen and we are seeking a new home. We seek your leader’s assistance.”

“How are we to trust you Flesh-apes? Is the dark Armored-Ape too on your side? We will meet the Gothar who will decide your fate. Truthfully I would kill you and the Armored-Ape here and now yet you speak our tongue. Is this witchcraft? What about your companion?”

“He is a human as well enchanted by science, not magic.”

“So you are a warlock! I should have known.”

Another Kang-Admi rolled down the slope ascending to the city. The guard knelt before her and 

She gibbered to Adam. “I am Princess Reginleif. We too are a people oppressed. Do you know of the alien lifeform called only Xenomaster? I shall make your plea to the Gothar. We warn you of true witch however- one of the Snake-Men from the Golden Sea to the south who would fight for the Xenomaster.“

“Thank you my lady,” Adam said to the Kang-Admi’s princess. He knelt before her and gestured to Acero to do the same.

“Giant monkeys,” the bodyguard mumbled to himself. Reginleif growled slightly at him 

as his translator was still on. This sent a shiver down the cyborg’s spine.

“Come,” she instructed. She and the guard escorted Adam and Acero to the Gothar’s temple.

Both Diana and several snake-like aliens with human torsos were imprisoned at the temple. The Gothar shouted in front of his adherents, “We offer these witches to the All-Father! May he strike down the Xenomaster and all who serve him!” The ritual was interrupted by the princess and the two humans. “Who dares disturb this offering to our Gods? he asked and then kneeled once he know he spoke to his princess.

Reginleif called out, “Release the Flesh-ape. She too is a victim of the Xenomaster’s schemes along with the others that have arrived. They have technology that will be beneficial to our war with the Snake-Men. We both share a common cause- a fight against the conqueror!” The Gothar released Diana from her prison and Adam passed her a translating device, introduced her to the Kang-Admi princess, and Acero returned his sister’s helmet.

“Thank you, Princess Reginleif.”

“Forgive our people. They know not of the fact that humans are also a victim of the conqueror. While I can never forgive those who would kill us to live, I want to help your kind as long as you vow never to betray us.”

Diana answered, “No need to ask for forgiveness. We humans too have fought other humans. If we help you in your battle against the Snake-Men and the Xenomaster’s men, shall you give us resources so that we can find a home on planet Aesop? It will be too cold for us in this temperature. I will tell the others that you are our allies and not our foes.”

Princess Reginleif answered, “We must learn to hold trust for your species and not judge you based on the actions of others of your kind. We too are descendants of the apes unlike the other species on Aesop. We will do our best to assist you Flesh-apes or humans. I shall gather the Dreki to return you to your Star-Dwelling.”

“Star-Dwelling?”

“You humans ask many questions. No matter. The Kang-Admi will not welcome humans yet so I will send you and the others aboard your Star-Dwelling supplies to help get you through the arctic temperatures. Your Star-Dwellings possess great technology but we frown upon the use of weapons. We are a people of tremendous strength and I will pray that we can trust your kind. You must assist us in our war against the Xenomaster or we too will be forced to leave Aesop as you left your planet. We will help you mine the Thorstone which shall provide fuel for your kind to leave our lands. The Snake-Men and us are not the only beings on the planet. Our world is full of creatures evolved from animals of your planet. While we have a history of warfare yet ideally we would unite against our common foe.”

“How do you know so much of our kind?”

“You were not the only friendly humans we have encountered on this planet. We too saw them as an enemy at first but they have helped us fight the Xenomaster in the past.”

“You mean others have settled on Aesop led by Ark I?”

“Is that what your Star-Dwellings are called? They have left for other regions and I fear that some may be on the side of our sworn enemies your kind has called the Naja. Our Dreki shall return you to your Ark. I know that your kind is capable of evil yet also capable of good.” She turned to speak to her loyal soldiers. “Guards, leave me to escort the humans to the Dreki. Tell my father and the Gothar not to execute any humans until further notice,” she told them. 

The Kang-Admi princess led the humans to their Dreki Ranch. Diana and her two companions stared in wonder. Dragons? Diana asked herself. As a member of the royal family, she raised her pendant of Thorstone at the dragon-like alien. Before the three departed back to Ark VII, Diana bid Princess Reginleif farewell and apologized for her soldiers’ actions.

“You need not forgive us as we are also creatures capable of good and evil. May we be as allies in war against the Xenomaster. So long, Diana Homer.” Diana, Adam, and Acero mounted the Dreki. Soaring high above the northern mountains of Aesop on the Dreki, Diana and Adam looked down in awe. The commander told her husband, “Adam, I have never seen anything as beautiful. I pray we can make this land our home. Let us not make the mistake of our ancestors and take the Kang-Admi’s kindness for granted. I do not know who this Xenomaster is but if he is the cause of our planet’s chaos, then I will kill that bastard.

“Diana, I have never seen such beauty. Perhaps these extraterrestrials are more majestic than our race. Remember that I am no man of semantics but instead I am a scientist. My first job is to guarantee our survival. I was astounded by the kindness of the Kang-Admi princess and I dream that we can get all of us to get along. Kang-Admi, Naja, human, and whatever else on Aesop alike.” Adam responded. They were very high in the air“Look Ark VII is down below!” The Dreki descended to the front of the Ark and the three descended from their mount.

In the entrance of the ship were many of the Ark’s crewmen and the Naja fighting one another. One of the soldiers shouted, “Commander Homer! Please! Get to the Ambassador’s office! Sergeant Jackson is already helping him against these snakes!” The Naja proceeded to land the finishing blow and Acero stood behind to assist his fellow fighters.

“I’m coming Ursula and Isaac!” Diana shouted. She headed off for the library where the children were being kept and instructed Adam to find the Ambassador. As she got to the Ark’s library, she saw Sergeant Jackson holding Ursula close to him and had his gun pointed at Isaac. With intense fury she shouted, “Let her go!”

“Disgrace to the human race? That would be you Commander Homer,” Jackson responded. He fired his gun at Isaac.

“Duck!” the boy’s mother shouted. Isaac crawled out of the room in a hurry.

Diana punched the sergeant in the face as he gloated about shooting the child. “You disgust me. It is men like you that give us a bad reputation among the aliens! Do you really want us dead?

“Lucky you that you are a woman. Otherwise you’d be dead already. The aliens will just get in our way” Jackson tossed Ursula down the stairs.

Diana cried, “Ursula!” Jackson pointed his gun at her but before he could fire, the commander shot him on his lower chest. She heard her daughter cry and immediately came to her aid.

“Mommy, I’m hurt. I just want to go home already… Why did you shoot him?” Diana hugged her daughter and lifted her into her arms for an embrace. Surprisingly, Ursula was not in a panic because of her mother wearing the Thermosuit.

“I’m sorry Ursula, he would only be holding all of humanity back with his sudden betrayal. I shot him where he wouldn’t die.”

Isaac returned to the library along with his father. Diana broke into tears knowing that the rest of her family was alright and continued to tightly embrace her daughter. The scientist placed his hand on his wife’s soldier, saying, “This is important. If you lose hope than you cannot be a great leader and humanity will have no hope at all. You are our hope Diana. We need to catch up with the other Arks and communicate with them. I will see that the medics are able to help our daughter. We have cleared the ship of the Naja. Let us rest and see whatever supplies we can ration for the next few weeks until we recieve word from the other Arks on this planet. We need to rest since it’s been a tiring day.”  

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