Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stewart is King

Caveat: This is a sci-fi piece I wrote after a dream on 2/28/08. I have no idea what some of the symbols mean, suffice to say it was a combination of experiences: German class, losing friends, dealing with death (a human, and a dog.), Star Wars/Trek, and a lonely cramped dorm with people always shouting at me about doing things, and how not to be so "introverted" and grief-stricken. Also, I should explain, this is before Avatar, and the attack on Mur is totally based on the Rebel attack on Endor. So there! Maybe a bit of Starcraft is in there, too.

Stewart is King:
My name is Jake. For six days, I served as a royal translator to the evil galactic emperor Stewart. I’m not even sure if that’s his name. No one knows. No one wants to know. All we can know is that he is Emperor of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and he will kill anyone who refuses to kneel to him. If it is a him. To illustrate the emperor for you, I have to relive those six horrible days.
Stewart’s chamber was a magnificent marble and plastic niche through which the light shone so brightly that the clouds looked purple and the sky red. I remember the first time they took me to him. The guards led me down a black tube-shaped structure after coming down an elevator that looked like a small burning steel cigarette. No sense of hope as the shadow soldiers poked me down the dark hallway that ate my soul and spat out only an evil black hole. Whoosh! The scary iron door opened.
There he was. The owl-wolf demon. He looked like a wicked tree stump covered in white mangled fur. He had blade-pointed dog ears and a pair of fiery eyes. Below that he had a set of rotten yellow human teeth, and he ended with a long row of slithering, slurping tentacles that he used to get around. I approach his pedestal sticking out in front of the purple clouds with caution because his disturbing form scares me. Then, I hear his voice. That horrible loud demonic murmur of arrogance and power that sent even the toughest of human slaves screaming in a fit. I ducked and covered my ears as the alien continued to talk. That, I was told later, was why I was needed. To translate its evil orders into a non-fatal form, non-earthquaking, understandable. For this, one of the best in Stewart’s court is to assist me. Adler, the chief of engineers. He had no choice, or the Emperor would suck his brains out through his tentacles, or make him explode just by thinking it; but over time, Adler and I became close friends.
I hopped in his ship and he took me to another dark cigarette tube niche, that he called his garage. Putting our brains together, we were to make a translating device. Before Stewart came to power in the Milky Way, I was a translator of various Earth languages. Adler was from Earth too, and spoke one of these. His tribe was German. A slender man with an enormous cranium and a bobbing mass of tall black hair and eyebrows. He looked like the old bride of Frankenstein. We were all the brides of Stewart. Soft jazz played in the garage, and together, amid blinking lights and bottles of cheap wine,we made a translating mask. It looked like half of Darth Vader’s mask with a long tubular snout, through which brain waves were transmitted, the latter being the brain wave receiver. It was a neural gas mask, protecting me from the emperor’s toxic rumbling. End of day one.
Day two; I was again summoned to Stewart and the shadow guards came and snatched us up forcibly. Not much we could do to resist, since they poked and tasered us with their dark laser rifles. Drones. What else could they (or we) do? We are lead back to Stewart’s chamber. The black wave of evil eats you up before you step foot inside the elevator tube. Stewart is king. He is waiting.
“Jacob!” He grumbles. “I will see you alone!” All sense of intoxicated security...I had leaves me. His translated voice is deep and scary, but his real voice scares me out of my brains and sinks in like a hook. That horrible grumbling was at least now translated into words. He told me, as I trembled, that he was to be known as Stewart. “The destroyer!” I broke out in sweat because I see that the walls are alive, with growling mouths. Did Stewart the Destroyer do that? I looked away and bowed, going away feeling like a helpless abused puppy. I take off the mask and hear the ear-shattering psychotic chortle. “HUH HUH HUH HUH!” Stewart the Destroyer reverberated with red demonic chatter. I put on the mask. From now on, for my own sanity, I decided I would always wear the mask. Sleep with it on if I had to. I went home to my honeycomb and sank into the sleeping casket, reflecting on the horror of my existence.
The blinking lights flickered on and off like my thoughts. Was this all my life was? Serving evil Stewart and then going back to bed in my casket like everyone else? Had humanity become Stewart’s bees, all crammed into honeycombs in the clouds? No. There was too much fear in it. Someone would revolt. But, not me! I thought. Maybe Dr. Adler. I hope I’m allowed to see him again. Maybe someday. I called up a hologram of my old dog by pressing one of the blinking green lights on the ceiling. These days, Earthlings did everything lying on their backs, because there wasn’t enough room to sit up or stand up in a honeycomb. The old yellow lab projected itself. Her name was Jessie. In fact, she kind of looked like Stewart, if compressed, twisted, and given teeth and tentacles. Stewart is Evil Jessie, I decide. Feeding time. A green pill was dispensed from the ceiling light. Uh oh. I think. I’m thinking too much. That was always when he fed you. And then, they’d close the casket. Darkness.
Day three; summoned to Stewart earlier than usual. This time the vertigo and fear was almost before I got out of my honeycomb. I must be in trouble, I think. Stewart is king. I nervously approach the marble pedestal where the all-powerful stump of white fur and tentacles, Stewart, sat.
“Jake!” He reverberated angrily. “Have you been having personal thoughts?
“Uh...” I started.
“Do not tell me! For I already know! Ha, ha, ha, ha!” Stewart the Destroyer chuckled. “In light of your recent views, I have a new mission for you! Ha, ha!”
“Y-yes Stewart?” I said.
“I will allow you to see Dr. Adler. You two are to work on a special project together. Access code D-S-G.”
“Oh,” I sighed. “Thank you, your majesty.” I bowed and started to creep away, as slowly as one often did in the presence of all-powerful Stewart.
“And then, I want you to kill him! Mwhahaha!” This shocked me. I turned around as if forced to by some body-contorting wind.
“N-No!” I stammered, half-unwittingly. I winced in preparation of the Emperor’s wrath.
“No?” said Stewart disappointedly, his tentacles lazily floating about to console me. “You see, Jake, you’ve become very valuable to me. And you will only stay alive so long as you are valuable to me. So little does humanity comprehend its new fate...” He seemed to sigh, then he took off in flight, revealing his evil white owl wings. He perched close to me on an elevated glass plane, blocking my view of the spaceships and purple clouds. He began. “Humans are entirely my subjects. You are my subject. I control humans so much as it suits my will. This you do not understand. You humans are ants for Stewart. As such, be glad I am allowing you this task, ant. I would not want to see revolutionary ideas in your head.” He stared at me with owl-wolf demon eyes. Slowly, I crept out of the palace and hopped back into my spaceship. I met Adler in the garage, since there was little sense in meeting in a honeycomb. I knocked, entered the access code, and identified myself. The door whooshed open vertically, and beeped. Presumably, this let my guest know he had been summoned, and was allowed temporary free will. The garage was filthy as always. The only pieces of furniture were two little wooden cabinets with tools spread on them. Adler appeared startled, but nonetheless, came to the entrance, as was the neighborly thing to do.
“Oh...Jake.” He said. “I had no idea you’d been summoned.” He lied. Poor old soul. Did he not hear the bell?
“Stewart has a new project for us.” I said.
“Does he?” said Dr. Adler. “Did he say what it was?”
“No.” I said.
“Well then...” he cleared his throat, apparently knowing his fate. “Whatever it is, I’m...sure it’s of the utmost importance. Let’s get to work.” He turned around and reached for the tools. Spasmodically, I reached for my laser pistol on the belt of my tunic, and lasered him in the back of the skull. A quick little zap! like a bee sting. I watched him die. Watched the steaming hole in his head. Watched him slouch lifelessly down to the ground. I mourn, and wonder if there is comradeship on other planets.
Day four; I’d had enough. Stewart had made me kill my best friend, and made me his ant. I am not an ant. When I was next summoned, I decided, I would kill him. I don’t care what happens. Maybe he’ll kill me, and I won’t have to work for him. The shadow guards came early as usual, and roused me from my casket to the spaceship. Evidently, the emperor had a big order coming. That’s why I was becoming more valuable to him. I was led down through the elevator, through the dark cigarette tube with blinking lights, and finally to the king’s chamber. The light was an assault on my barely opened eyes. Then it was pleasing, until Stewart’s evil aura filled the room and penetrated my being. This time we did not meet in private and the shadow guards surrounded him. But, I was going to do it. I was going to kill him. Translate for a little bit, I told myself. Never mind the screams. That would be the perfect disguise. Stewart grunted thus as I translated to the mass: “People! We are in a position to attack creatures most dangerous to us! You know them, for they are the forest creatures of Mur!” Mur was in fact a peaceful forest planet, and a great exporter of natural resources. They posed absolutely no threat. “For centuries they have kept their natural resources from us. But, victory is at hand! Tomorrow, we will attack the forest planet of Mur!” It was after the shrieking and crying that I pulled out my laser pistol. A fake applause came. I neared my hand to my holster.
“Now!” Stewart commanded. A lightening wall of stunning blue plasma smacked against my back. WHUMP! After the electrocution, Stewart forced back up me to my knees with a slimy adhesive tentacle.
“You see, you do not escape me so easily.” he grumbled. “I knew you would pull such a move. You’re hoping I’ll kill you; but I have something better planned for your insolence. Return to me tomorrow.” And I would, for the last time, return. I am led to Stewart for the last time. He appoints me as a squad leader for the attack force on Mur. The shadow guards lead me, in my breaches, from the chamber to a segmented hallway full of purple light, which turns out to be a shower. I get cleaned and dried and pick up a shadow guard uniform, still wearing my trusty mask so as to avoid Stewart’s full wrath. When I come back to his chamber for the briefing on the attack plan, he is less than cordial.
“The attack plan is this...” He said. “You will attack as I tell you!” He laughed. I quivered and leaned in on the pedestal. “No...” I said, then looked down at my shadow guard uniform as if I’d been marked. “The people of Mur are innocent; you know it!”
“Innocent?” He chuckled. “You are my soldier! You will do as you are told!” He yelled. With this, a big white tentacle knocked me in the head, and my mask fell to the floor. Stewart crouched and then leapt up from his seat and sat himself down with a horrible squish on top of my head. And there he stayed until his entire body started to spill over my head like hardened clay glue. My brain was on fire. This is what happens when he takes over your mind. “HUH HUH HUH HUH!” He jabbered on and on evilly. The sounding was cracking my skull, and I could only run around in panic and horror as he began to influence my thoughts and jabber away. I clawed at my face and finally sank down to my knees. Finally, I was loaded up into a spaceship, and the shadow guards caught their first sight of Mur. An untamed, peaceful wilderness.
Day 5: Spaceship landed in tall rich forests of Mur. Dragonflies buzzing. Birds singing. Small brown troll-like creatures played in the lush green grass made vibrant by the golden sunlight through the canopy. From the canopy, a plantling stretched out its neck to drink sunshine. Then, came the laser bomb that blew it all to bits. The shadow guards rolled out of the ship and gunned down the Murites. They ran and scattered in terror. It was my job to call in the heavy armor, but we didn’t need any. I did so only because Stewart, owl wings stretched out, was flying overhead of us all in his imperial robe, screaming as always. It was enough to make me kill even what was innocent and running away. Soon there came the thunder of laser tanks to join our rifles, and where there had been rich forests; only burning craters, fallen trees, exploding earth, and ghastly charred bodies. As we gain a foothold, I lie trembling in a crater, with only a tarp as bedding.
Day 6: From behind the trees, the trolls threw a net on me. Several missed and I blew them away. Finally, I stumbled back, and struggled to break free of the net. The trolls ran away, whooping in success, and from the trees, a plantling took aim at me with a mechanical crossbow. Thwack! the crossbow bolt struck me in the knee and I buckled over backwards, falling into a crater, entangled by the net. The trolls rushed in and tried to finish the job with their knives. One by one, their heads splattered onto the ground by laser fire. I was still unable to reach my gun, and I picked up the last troll in my fist, squished its face with my thumbs, and bit off its wild black hair through to its skull. Finally, I dropped it and stomped on its face. Stewart flies overhead, telling me to get up and kill everything, or at least, that’s what his growling makes me want to do. For a split second, I looked down at the squished face of the troll. A laser bomb hits the ground.
The force of the bomb knocked me into a nearby crater, sprawled out like a helpless kitten. And I looked into its bright eyes a long time; before they rolled back, and became blank. As I look back I think, “Was it worth it?” and take off my mask to breathe one last natural, oxygen-rich, Earth-like breath: I lost Earth, I lost my friends, I destroyed my surroundings, but I would no longer serve the Destroyer. With one pure breath, I closed my eyes, and left my wounded body to heal in the bombed out crater. End of day 6.
Day seven: Rest, and no noise. I will not translate hate, and Stewart's army cannot go forward. With no hold over them, and his demonic muttering now lost, the brownies tear him to shreds, and we leave the atmosphere in peace. One day, the brownies will travel with us. I can only hope, as I bow to the tribal leader and give a departing hand gesture, that they forgive us. And the leader looked back and smiled. Humanity was free again; but could I live without the Destroyer who hated me, and yet gave me the power of words...?