“Adam, our fuel is running short and soon we will need to restock on supplies. I am afraid we must crash-land on Aesop as soon as possible without sending probes to find an ideal home.” The soldier with the bobbed blonde hair said to her husband, a researcher looking for a new homeland for humanity. The scientist in his early forties turned to his wife and took off his reading glasses.
“Diana my love, please do not interrupt me in my research.” said the scientist. He looked into the single eye 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 do any research at all and we will have nowhere to go. 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 must leave for Aesop immediately. Aesop is the most Earth-like of the planets in this galaxy but I doubt that we will be able to settle on that planet. I fear that we will come across with Kang-Admi on both Aesop and the next closest planet. I have learned that they are not to kind towards humanity. As for an answer to your question, we have theses.” 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 games Adam.”
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?” Her voice was much akin to an ape’s gibber.
“If it is a joke, than I would not have told you while I am conducting important research. It 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 may end up in their land. They are not on good terms with humans so we will not get a nice welcome at all. 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 land 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 slaves of Xenomaster? That bastard will pay for what he has done to our galaxy and to my family. We are not trophies of his conquest.” Diana said in fury.
Adam nodded and said, “Calm down. You’re a soldier for the entire planet 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 but 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 said. The two kissed each other and Diana left the laboratory.
Lights out, treated as nighttime onboard Ark VII, came and Diana went to her cabin aboard the ark. She entered her daughter’s bedroom. “Good night Ursula. Mommy and daddy love you. Shall we pray before we go to bed?”
“Mommy, where’s daddy? I want him to pray too.”
“Daddy’s busy again. Why don’t you want to pray with just me?”
“Daddy’s very smart. Isaac said God doesn’t exist again and he’s for babies like me. I’m not a baby anymore. Daddy will prove my big brother wrong!”
“Ursula, you have to understand that daddy’s job is not about God or the Devil. It’s about finding a new home for us. It is like the story of Moses. Only Pharaoh is the big bad Xenomaster and you don’t need to worry because he’s going to be in Hell forever when the good guys win.” The child smiled at her mother and held her hand.
“Mommy, I’m scared of Xenomaster. Are we there yet? Is Xenomaster gone?”
“One day I pray we can go back home and live as a normal family. 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 after a brief prayer.
Before she left, the child said, “I love you too mommy. I hate daddy.” Diana made a false smile so she would not upset her child and a tear fell down her eye as she left her child’s bedroom.
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 Heaven.
Ark VII landed on the snowy mountains of Aesop. All the soldiers of Ark VII, including the commander, wore their Thermosuits and set out for the harsh new planet they assumed would be their new home. One however did not put on his suit. “Are you insane Acero? You’ll out us! Put on your Thermosuit!”
“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! Mr. Acero is very much a human! Now apologize. I want you to stay here and help your father out!”
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. As your father’s bodyguard, I would stay here but he’s going on the expedition too soon. He asked us to clear the way of any hostile creatures we would encounter on this planet. You should show respect for a veteran like me.”
Isaac apologized and hugged his mother. Ursula was with him and hugged her mother too. “Mommy, are you going to be alright?” The girl was crying 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 busy now. I promise I’ll be back. You know I am doing this to find you a new home, right? Stay with the caretakers on the ship once your father disembarks.” She turned to the former soldier Acero 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 Acero and felt uncomfortable seeing her mother wearing her Thermosuit. Diana and her soldiers marched out on the ship to the harsh mountains of the northern region 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.” Her soldiers descended down the mountain. Soon, they came across a nearby cave and heard a sound much like a wolf’s howling as it died. She looked on further and saw a large furry white creature wearing what appeared to be the armor of a Viking. Next, she heard deep sounds of rolling. She cursed under her breath, thinking, An avalanche now? The commander set her eyes towards a slope and saw a large snowball-like object rolling in her direction and dodged it. Several of her soldiers took out their guns and pointed it at the sphere. It opened up to be another one of the alien beings. It made an ape’s gibber. “Damn it. It’s the Kang-Admi!” Diana muttered. Two of her soldiers fired at the extraterrestrial creature, shouting, “Sasquatch!” The Kang-Admi’s armor was bulletproof, surprising the two soldiers. It roared and pounced at one of the two soldiers.
“Help! I’ve been found by Bigfoot!”
Diana yelled, “Shut your mouth unless you want us all to get killed!”
The other Kang-Admi in the cave came to assist its brother in arms. Diana’s soldiers retreated out of fear. 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. Sorry, I do not speak your tongue.
Diana used the radio in her Thermosuit to contact Adam. “Adam, the Kang-Admi have captured me. My cowards of a troop abandoned me in a cave. 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 spoke in its ape-like language, “What sorcery is this witch practicing! Bring her to the Gothar! Death awaits her along with the Serpent-Harlot.” He removed her suit’s helmet and then grabbed her. 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. In the center was the shrine of the Gothar and at the opposite end of the entrance stood the palace.
Three hours later, Adam and Acero found themselves surrounded by Aesopian 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 then skinned the animal’s pelt, cleaned it in the snow, and then wrapped it around his still organic body parts. Adam said, “You should have worn your Thermosuit. Now that blood might infect your cybernetic systems.”
“It would only get in my way. Besides I do not feel this cold normally so maybe Commander Homer was right about the suits. Still, they would prevent me from using my full potential,” the scientist’s bodyguard responded.
“We are short on fuel so do not exhaust your strength. Even with our soldiers’ technology, they are no match for your strength.”
“Don’t remind me. Let’s follow these footsteps down. They are the Commander’s men.” The two traveled down the mountains following the soldiers’ paths. They entered the cave and Acero picked up the commander’s helmet among the two gored soldiers killed by the Kang-Admi.
“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 going down a slope. Not only is it a convenient way of traveling but it is also deadly. I’d imagine it to be like a giant bowling ball with three pins. We must hurry! Who knows if they took her to the Gothar as a sacrifice?” Acero nodded.
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 put his own translator on. He asked the chief through the device, “We come in peace friend. We wonder if any Flesh-Apes have entered the village. We have come in search of a home.”
The Kang-Admi guard growled lightly. It heard Adam’s human voice but understood its language in its device. Through Adam’s ear piece he heard, “Your kind is not welcome, dog of the Xenomaster.”
“We are not servants of the Xenomaster but his victims. Our home has been taken by him and we are seeking a new home. so we must ask for your king’s assistance.”
“How are we to trust you Flesh-Apes? Is the dark Armor-Ape too a servant of the Xenomaster? We will meet the Gothar who will decide your fate. Truthfully I would kill you and the Armor-Ape here and now yet you speak our tongue. Is this sorcery? Is the Armor-Ape an abomination created by the Xenomaster?”
“No, he is a cyborg.”
“So you are a servant of the Xenomaster! I knew it all along.”
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 by the Xenomaster. I shall make your plea to the Gothar. We warn you of two witches- one a cyclops who too is a Flesh-Ape and the other of the Snake-Men from the Golden Sea to the south. “
“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.
“Come,” she instructed. She and the guard escorted Adam and Acero to the Gothar’s temple.
Both Diana and several snake-like alien life forms in clothing resembling that of an Ancient Egyptian’s were imprisoned at the temple. The Gothar shouted in front of his adherents, “We offer these witches to the All-Father! May all know his name and 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?”
The princess called out, “Release the Flesh-Ape. She too is a victim of the Xenomaster 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 and introduced her to the Kang-Admi princess.
“Thank you, Princess Reginleif.”
“Forgive our people. They know not of the fact that humans are also a victim of the conqueror. Even though he has been hailed as a god on our planet for countless generations, we no longer swear loyalty to him but instead to the All-Father?”
“Yes. He is who is known as the human God. Our people still believe you to be wicked creatures as taught by your people’s scripture and thus we have come to fear you as the Flesh-Apes. Forgive us our insults.”
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?”
Princess Reginleif answered, “We must learn to hold trust for your species. We too are descendants of the apes unlike the other species on Aesop. Many of our kind have set off for distant lands beyond Aesop that are too frigid for even your intellectual species. We will do our best to assist your kind. I shall gather the Dreki to return you to your Star-Dwelling.”
“You are not welcome amongst my people yet so I will send your kind supplies to help get you through the arctic temperatures. Your Star-Dwellings possess great technology but our kind frowns upon the use of weapons, especially your projectiles called guns. 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 exile Aesop. Once you provide us your assistance, we will grant you our Thorstone which shall provide fuel for your kind to leave this planet. The Snake-Men and us are not the one beings on the planet. Our world is full of creatures evolved from animals from the Cat-Men to the East to the Bird-Men of the west. We have had a history of warfare yet ideally we would unite against our common foe, the galactic conqueror known only as Xenomaster.”
“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, much like the creatures your kind would call dragons in your mythology, shall return you to your Ark. I know that your kind is capable of evil yet also capable of good. Guards, leave me to escort the humans, not Flesh-Apes, to their Star-Dwelling. Tell my father not to execute any humans until further notice,” Reginleif told the guard.
The Kang-Admi princess led the humans to their Dreki Ranch. 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 told the princess, “Farewell. May we be as companions. Forgive our species our trespasses against your kind. Us humans too are aliens.”
“You need not forgive us as we are like you as creatures capable of good and evil. May we be as allies in war. So long, Diana Homer.” Diana, Adam, and Acero mounted the Dreki directed by the Thorstone pendant to reach the peak of the mountain.
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. Any foe of the Xenomaster is a friend of the human race. Let us remember that.”
“I too have never seen such beauty. Perhaps these extraterrestrials are more majestic than our race. The Xenomaster too is a human or at least he was once a human. 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,” Adam responded. “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! Sargeant Jackson is already helping him against these snakes!” The Naja spit acid in his the soldier’s face. Diana, Adam, and Acero had no time to help out the others.
“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 Sargent Jackson holding Ursula close to him and had his gun pointed at Isaac. With intense fury she shouted, “Let her go you disgrace to the human race!”
“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 ran out of the room.
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 amongst the other species we have encountered.”
“Lucky you that you are a woman. Otherwise you’d be dead already.” Jackson tossed Ursula towards the back door and Diana ran towards the child.
Diana cried, “Ursula!” She shot the Sargeant and hurried towards Ursula. Suddenly, a robed and masked yet robotic looking figure appeared before her. “Xenomaster you bastard!” she cursed.
“Homer, I have no words. The girl is mine!” The Xenomaster taunted her and then disappeared.
Diana banged the floor in tears and cursing the villain’s name. Isaac came to her and asked, “Mom, I’m sorry?”
“Isaac honey, it’s not your fault. Our kind is cruel. This is why we have figures like Jesus and for some, the Buddha. No wonder our race was doomed.”
“Mom, I got this. He’s a lot like my old comic book villains and if there’s one thing I learned even though I’m pretty stupid, it’s that we’re still the good guys. The good guys always win.”
“Really? I just lost your sister. I’m ashamed to call myself Commander Diana Homer when I cannot even protect my own daughter!”
Isaac wiped his mother’s tears and hugged her. “Mom, we will win against the bad guy. I may not believe in your fairy tales but you’re a hero! You can do this!” She embraced him back and wiped another tear.
“I will take Ursula back!” Diana swore this. “Xenomaster, your ass is mine!”
Adam and Acero entered the library and saw Diana on the ground crying with Isaac. 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 my love.” He helped her get up. Diana embraced Adam and the two kissed one another. Isaac joined his parents’ embrace.
Adam told his wife, “Let’s do this for not just humanity, but all who have suffered because of the Xenomaster. We have cleared the ship of the Naja. Let us rest and see whatever supplies we can ration as well as whatever weaponry we have for our battle with both the snakes and our war against Xenomaster.” Diana made a genuine smile the first time in a long time.