One month later
Everywhere Alioth grows populated. Cities and villages are born on the whole inhabitable surface. The first guerillas were born, the first battles. The first madmen greedy for power and resources established their little empires, enslaved villages, attacked isolated communities with their ships to raid them for raw materials, energy and constructs. A resistance is organized, but it is weak. As for me, I already want to leave and explore other planets, other horizons. With the five loyal pioneers who have become my friends, we were finishing our ship when I went out alone to explore a swampy area outside the circle controlled by the Novark.
I knew I was taking a big risk, but we needed a very effective superfuel found nowhere but in this type of viscous yellow swamp that can be emptied with one shot from the morpher.
And there, I discovered something unimaginable… In setting out, I had left behind a small wooden sculpture, modest but beautiful, a form of land art at the edge of a swamp. When I came back two hours later, something had changed. Another work of land art stood facing mine, almost responded to it, in a style close to mine, but more beautiful perhaps, stranger also. I know full well I was the only human being in this area. My geolocator testified to it… So who could have made this?
I climbed a mound and, drawing from my stone kad, I shaped five monoliths five meters tall placed in an arc, facing the swamp. I don’t know why I did it. Perhaps to say: “I’m listening.” As if the arc was an ear, or an open hand ready to receive something. Then I left to siphon two swamps a bit further on. The organic liquid, close to a gold-colored opaque oil, already filled two kads; the area was not very safe, it was time to go home. Out of curiosity, I returned by way of the mound. And there came a shock. Facing my arc of monoliths, another arc matched mine, just as tall, just as smooth, of five amber monoliths, closing the whole like a circle – I was going to say, of menhirs.
Instinctively, I went to place myself at the center. And I realized that the mirror-monoliths that had sprouted, as it were, to match mine, were made of a substance close to the kyrium constituting the Novark. A kyrium of shifting gold – and not blue like the ship’s walls – but with the same fluidity, with the same effects of transparency and of discreet and blurry reflections in which you could see yourself age or grow younger, waver in a restless temporality, uncertain whether it was showing a memory or a future.
One by one, I observed the five monoliths, and in them I saw the forest quivering fleetingly and a beach, a swamp and some boulders, at first without understanding. Pointing the canon of my morpher at it, a note rose from the monolith, inviting, harmonic. An intelligence was there, palpable, but I didn’t know what to do. Take it? Suck it up? Make an offering? In the end, I pointed my canon and offered a jet of sand at the spot where I had seen a beach, wood where the forest had briefly undulated, and stones where the monolith vibrated like a boulder. A melody was released, the monoliths slowly vanished.
Before me, in their place, there was the schematics of a high-performance reactor. In kyrium! A blessing for finishing a ship and setting out to explore new planets. Something I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere in this world, so unreal was its elegance, something that evidently bore witness to a superior civilization. I had tears in my eyes. I had just communicated, with the help of matter, of my morpher, with actions, without words, with an intelligence well beyond anything I could imagine. And that intelligence had just given me a gift…
To be continued… by playing the game!
Written by Alain Damasio
Translated by Alexander Dickow