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The Stugett hovered over the East hills, sickly distributing it’s failing light over the reddish horizon as day began to fall. Shadows crawled along the edges of sharp rocks, distorting, dimming and contorting over every other object like a river of molasses. Stars, far and near, began to poke through the black sky, winking and sparkling fantastically. Animals crawled into caves. Birds flew into trees. Brightness bloomed in the distance, accompanied by inebriated shouts of joy and celebration. The party was into its second hour. Where Okmar and Solith’s house once stood, unmanned machinery continued to purr and hum in its auto state as the factory waited for the following day. Suddenly a new sound. A low rumble as the rock face of a cliff, west of the factory began to rise from the dusty ground, revealing a dark hollow. Ghostly shapes began to appear in this darkness. Ghostly faces hovering in deep dark. The day had come. Okmar’s smiling face bobbed into existence, followed by many others; these wearing blank expressions. They marched in single file, drawing a line in the dimming light across the horizon; each step in sync, thudding on the hard ground in a hypnotic, repetitive pattern. The line zigged and zagged its way west, in the direction of celebration. Okmar’s eye extended and bobbed with his movements. It rose ten feet into the air and turned to regard the line of Bicilites following, drawing a ghastly shadow in the red dirt. Okmar could feel his heart begin to accelerate in his chest. His smile began to hurt, but it would not dissipate. This was his day. He had risen from the dead with purpose. Nothing would stop him. Anything that tried would leave this world for the next. Judgment day had come for the residents of this dying planet and Okmar couldn’t hide his excitement.
There was a lengthy silence following his father’s words as he considered them carefully. His father sat at the foot of the bed and patiently awaited a response from his son. Okmar’s eye stretched out as he turned to face his father. “The torment would come from the knowing that these ignorant, useless creatures passed on by any natural occurrence regardless of its painful extent. The only way to quell these voices and move on to fresh pastures is to rid them. The only way to do so and maintain any form of sanity is to do it myself. I want to smell their burning flesh. I want to dance around the fire with my men and sing into the night sky one last time. I want to cut off Draxle’s wifes head and rub it in his face. I want to feel Draxles pulsing throat in the palm of my hands. I want to watch his eyes topple from their sockets as I squeeze. There is nothing else I can do to move on harboring any inkling of sanity. If they are to die anyway where does the real harm lie? There is no god father. I have been presented an opportunity I will not waste. I will not feel bad about it. In fact I may feel a whole lot better.” Solith regarded his son levelly for an entire minute and Okmar noticed the second of fear that glistened in those eyes before he turned away and silently floated back into the darkness from which he came. “Remember that I love you Okmar. Remember that I will always love you,” were the words that floated to Okmar as his father disappeared into the darkness. Okmar stared into the corner for a time. The voices stopped suddenly. A peace crept over his pale, tight skin. He lay back down and closed his eye. His other retracted and nestled into the socket. Okmar was asleep immediately, unconsciously wearing a smile.
When Solith spoke from the dark corner of the room Okmar lay awake in, his eye shot out and protruded defensively at full extension. Okmar followed his eye to a sitting position. “Hello father.” “Hello son.” A long silence followed in which the flesh from his eye slowly receded until it was a four inch protrusion, a predator in waiting. Solith broke the silence with words Okmar had not expected to hear. “I love you very much Okmar. Life has always been hard for us. I often wonder how much different it would have been had your mother not passed. I can’t help but believe it would have been much better. She would have leveled it out somehow. I may have made mistakes but I want you to know that my heart was always true. You were always my number one priority. I owed it to your mother. How I loved her Okmar. I am so very proud of you. I will stand behind your decisions whichever they may be for blood is blood, but I want you to know that violence is not the answer. I have witnessed too much proof of this for it not to be true. There is always more than one way to deal with uncomfortable situations. Killing Draxle will not bring me back or make you feel any better. Burning seven hundred Bicilites will do nothing but reduce your existence. The planet is dying on its own. God is taking care of it for you. I don’t imagine the Stungett will last much longer than ten more years. The surviving Bicilites will be lost in the darkness, freezing and starving to their death without your assistance. You could walk into town with your men and easily take control of it. Force them to understand their coming extinction and convince them that a move is the only way to survive. You can be the voice of reason. A future hero. Or you could just up and leave with your men. No one would know any different. You’ve been thought dead for ten years anyway. The universe is huge son. Even with your new capabilities and strengths, discovering all of it is near impossible. You would have many things to keep you occupied. You may even find love somewhere. You can do all of this without washing yourself in the blood of your people. In the end the choice is obviously yours. I am dead after all. There is nothing I could do either way. I am simply offering you choices. Any choice you make will have no effect on my love for you. I don’t want to witness a life of torment and pain for the only remaining blood left in the universe.”
Solith came to Okmar one final time before the cave, the planet and its occupants became a thing of the past. Okmar had trouble going to sleep that night. His heart rate wouldn’t level out. Blood flew through his veins fast enough to heat his arms and neck. He replayed scenarios of anticipated future events in a lazy attempt at burying the boring, over dramatic ramblings of those who found their way into his head. Draxle, the town’s religious minister found his way into these fantasies often. Over the past decade Okmar had been forced to hear a constant and relentless outpouring of degrading and insulting comments concerning his father from this Bicilite. Respected and often confided in, Draxle spent the time he had away from his religious practice helping those in need. He fed those who needed feeding. He housed those who could not do so themselves. He and Solith never seemed to see eye to eye. Solith’s science and insatiable love for new information stood against Draxle and the majority of the Bicilite populations beliefs. Solith had never officially been banished from the city itself but had been pushed out by a series of uncomfortable situations that continued to arise randomly. It seemed that Solith’s acceptance had pushed Draxle to another level of irritation. Instead of supplying relief, Solith’s ignorant abandonment of his people drove Draxle nuts for weeks. That had been the root of his hate for the man. The large majority of those residing within city limits contributed to its growth in some fashion or other. Solith’s contribution attempts were always outlandish and beyond most Bicilites ability to visualize. Mass ignorance slowly crept into Solith’s presentations of a new device, or a new method. Towards the end, Solith’s walks to the stage would be met with a deafening chorus of boo’s that continued through his words, drowning them out; wasting them. Okmar had to be removed from the education system. Solith was forced to home school him. He packed everything they owned and moved it to a small plot of land, beyond the east hills over a four day period where stood the house Solith’s parents had lived in when he was a young one. It turned out to be a great relief to both of them. Although Okmar was forced to spend a lot of time alone it did not seem to bother him at all. Solith was very proud of his son’s imagination. His son content presented Solith with plenty of free time to experiment further on the plethora of possibilities he planned on explaining before the day he moved on. And so had life been for a long time. Solith and Okmar. Now his father was dead. Ten years dead. His brilliance and devotion lost in a pointless accident caused by his own son. The idiots had won again. They continued to celebrate their made up holidays. They continued to pedal their pointless objects. They continued to promote their pointless religious views. They continued to break their backs, pointlessly. Nothing changed ever. Including Draxle’s hate for Solith. Almost daily he would think or speak something terribly insulting about Okmars father. These words became a drop of water on Okmar’s forehead, slowly driving him crazy for something savage.
Duplication was a simple process once one developed a rhythm. Hours turned into days into weeks into months into years. Okmar rarely slept. Instead he would fall into trance like states that would sometimes eat into two to four hours. In these states his mind would add pictures and scenarios to the constant bombardments of thoughts he received from random areas of the Universe. In wakeful states he was able to organize and control the direction he wished his mind to reach with terrifying exactness. In these states of un wakefulness it was as though he were being provided options. He would come out of these states slowly and with a perfect memory of said options. He would spend hours, while working, contemplating these options. They were obvious options for a being with a big heart and good intentions that had capabilities beyond the average Joe. Okmar considered these options heavily, recognizing the obvious warning against his true intentions. He was at a loss as to where these options came from or who/what provided them. He did not dwell on this however. Only God’s were left with no mystery and the ability to distribute it. Okmar did not consider himself a God. He simply considered himself lucky enough to have received a gift of such proportions at a time when his life achieved purpose. Almost ten years to the day Okmar began to administer the final antibodies and to remove the life support systems from each clone. Several broke into arrhythmia during this process. He was able to revive four of them but lost two to massive coronary failure. Six of them had developed lung problems, but none of them died. Two of them continued to display this breathing ailment but he was able to diffuse the problem with a careful balance of drugs provided by his expanded knowledge. The others simply absorbed the problem. In total, out of the hundred eggs he fertilized he stood, quite proud, before the ninety two perfectly healthy clones, rubbing his hands together and allowing his mind to wander to the party. The party was only six days away. That was the day Okmar would lead his army from the underground bunker and exact his revenge.
Beyond the large room containing the two levels of file cabinets was a vast empty warehouse type space filled with tools, medical machinery, vitamins and other useful gadgets one would require in building a new, more suited race to repair what surely was a dour universal impression. He worked quickly. The process was original and he operated with the precision of a veteran surgeon. Year five was the year he became father and master to one hundred of his new race. Using the information that continually poured into his brain he developed a cloning method that cut the growth time in half. One hundred rolling stretchers, organized and placed in a nearly perfect way housed the embryos as they developed into full grown soldier slaves during the final five years of Okmar’s assumed passing. You may wonder how Okmar was physically and psychologically capable of germinating, regulating and monitoring the cloning of one hundred Bicilites, while in a manic state, suffering from hallucinations, conversing with ghosts, often inebriated and your skepticism would be valid. The wealth of technology stored in the lab made the regulating and monitoring simple. The germinating was a different story however. Each egg had to be manually inseminated due to the fact that the egg sack was opaque and the egg was only located in the same place one out of every seven times. You may be wondering where Okmar managed to get his hands on one hundred unfertilized Bicilite eggs and this would also be a valid curiosity. Beyond the laboratory there was a giant walk in refrigerated chamber. Along the walls, catalogued to perfection were small drawers containing the DNA of every creature Solith had ever come in contact with. Okmar strolled with wide eyes in a dreamy state of disbelief. The soft blue haze that fell from the lights in the ceiling projected the names and codes from each drawer in an amazing 3D optical way. Okmar read each creature name with a growing, humble appreciation for his father. His entire life’s work was down here and the scope of that work was nothing short of unbelievable. He slowed his walk and halted at B 1240. He stared at the drawer for a very long time before slowly reaching up and pulling it from the wall. It came completely loose, much as a safety security box would, but was lit from the inside and it was made of glass. Okmar stared at its contents and his brain began to work. Next to a blood slide was a smaller capsule with an unfertilized egg inside. Okmar’s mothers unfertilized egg.
He soaked up the words from every page, eager for more, greedy for them. Equations and hypothesis danced in his brains. Compound concoctions. Farming solutions. Matter duplication operations. Language barriers. Psychological manipulation. Physical reanimation. War and art. Sounds. Musical manipulations. Telekinesis. When he reached any point of non understanding he quickly found it natural to close his eyes and reach out with his thoughts and lift understanding from some other, more educated brain. He never questioned this ability and never fell upon any information in the cabinets his father had directed him too concerning it. In the beginning it had been difficult, and at times would knock him into long states of unconsciousness. But over time the ability seemed to grow stronger and become easier to use as though Okmars body were adjusting to the weight of this new ability. Sometimes he would see his father. Solith never spoke much. It was Okmar who did most of the talking. Sometimes he would babble for hours and then look up to see the empty office and question his sanity. His left eye was his only friend during the ten years he remained under ground. It would extend and comfort him during emotional struggles, it would assist him when he was exhausted and it would listen when no one else was there. Okmar supposed he had gone a little insane but accepted this change and used it to his advantage. Seclusion, information, hallucinations, anger, sadness, alcohol and the ability to read random thoughts throughout the universe could certainly breed insanity in any creature but it can also breed many other things. It was year five that Okmar began to develop a plan to avenge his father’s death which he’d convinced himself in year three had been caused by all residents of Bicilite. They had passed off his father’s death as though it were nothing. Some were even joyous at the news. The government had seized their property, filled in the crater and developed a new plant for converting Bicilite to fuel. This had angered Okmar beyond belief. This was a dying race. Sometimes Okmar felt sorry for them and their small thoughts. What a waste of brain he would think. Dwelling on these unfortunates bred a layered loathing. His race should be leagues ahead of everything in the universe. If more had been like his father it would be.
When Onun appeared Z was unsure if he was really there. His head was swimming with delirium and his face hurt something awful. He actually attempted to move and ask for assistance even though the identity of the character was no secret to him, but it was a failed attempt. He watched the legendary Onun crouch down and inspect the impressions in the sand where Murphy had fallen. His head turned in the direction of footprints in the sand in a slow calculated way. Z watched as his mind continually battled with consciousness. His claws would extend and retract into the warm sand and his vision would wobble like television interference. He closed his eye against the terrible swimming in his head and slowly reopened it just as Onun blasted away in the direction of Murphy’s footprints. He moved away so fast that Z thought he had disappeared at first. Small dust tornados sprung up where Onun had been and a soft warm wind passed through Z’s clumpy fur. He dragged himself out from under the broken machinery and into the sun. He made it to the impression Murphy had made and noticed a Nicker weed sprouting from a small hole. Judging by these impressions in the sand, this was where Church had tumbled when Murphy fell. Z dragged himself into the hole and plucked the Nicker weed from the sand. As he began to use the weed his mind began to clear as the pain subsided. Following a few thankful moments his mind cleared enough to realize what was in the direction Murphy, Onun and Church had gone. An angry darkness spread through his face. He pushed all of this newly acquired information in the direction of Okmar’s thought sponge but received no response. Maybe they had gotten to him. Maybe they actually got to him. Z cringed at the first movement but found it easier each time he struggled forward. The hot Stungett beat down on him as he dragged his broken body, through the sand. When he crested the small rise he looked back at the smoking wreckage and the cluster of buildings in the distance. He pushed out one final thought before rolling over the peak of the hill. ‘The Pools.’
It took everything he had to remain still as Murphy contemplated crushing his head with the sole of a hovering foot. There was searing pain shooting through his head and one of his hind legs. He bit down hard and remained still for a very long time. Then the foot slowly slid aside and revealed Murphy’s lost expression. Z stiffened and hoped Murphy didn’t see it. Moments later, proof that he hadn’t seen it, as he turned and coughed his way through the heavily expanding smoke. Z continued to lie as he was until the fourth crash happened and the front window shattered. He couldn’t resist looking any longer. He slowly turned his head and watched Murphy run out the front window carrying Church over his shoulder. Through the smoke he watched Murphy fall to the desert sand and lose Church from his shoulder. Z struggled onto his belly and only moved more when Murphy picked Church up and disappeared from view. Z dragged his half burnt body across the littered floor of the shuttle, towards the exit Murphy had created with the pilot chair. When he was halfway through this painful struggle, Murphy had come back into view. He was nearing the top of the west valley side leaving a trail in the sand drifts. Z coughed and pulled his damaged body through the shattered glass that used to be the front window. When he fell the short distance from the ships floor to the sand, Murphy was long gone. Massive pain shot through his broken hind leg. He now realized that he was only seeing with one eye. This explained the headache and sharp pains ripping through his skull. He reached up with one shaky paw and lightly touched the area around the empty socket, cringing against the fresh pain. He laid that way for some time, beneath a fallen portion of the control panel, just inside the hot edge of the desert Stungett, sure he would die there. He went in and out of consciousness for a time, his mind working on both levels of consciousness in very conflicting ways. One moment he was envisioning a large pool of cool water in which he peacefully dipped his tongue and then next he envisioned words floating in the direction of Okmar’s busy thought sponge. Words with meaning. Important words.
“Sparks Alamnt!” Andelad Mot spit. There went every option except chancing the jump across to the other roof. They looked at each other for a moment and both saw that they had no other choice. Andelad Mot turned and jumped. He landed feet first a foot and a half clear of the edge and fell in a summersault, crashing heavily into an exhaust vent. Bohspox watched him lay still for a few anxious moments before he rose to a sitting position and gave a thumb up. The dog was joined by the other two now and the three of them barked crazily above. Bohspox said a silent word and ejected from the wall with everything he had. Unfortunately his pivot foot slipped slightly upon launch and he didn’t get everything into the jump he wanted too. His arms pin wheeled as he neared the edge of the roof, falling much faster down than he was across. His chest hit the edge of the roof hard enough to knock all the wind from his lungs. He desperately clawed at the smooth roof for any kind of purchase as his inability to breath swelled his wide open eyes. Andelad Mot slid across the surface on his belly and caught one of Bohspox’s flailing hands just as his weight carried him over the edge. The momentum of his fall dragged Andelad Mott a few feet before his much larger frame stuck enough to hold Bohspox. Bohspox looked up and kicked his legs at the smooth wall of the building. No tiny metal protrusions on this side. Andelad Mot let his balance settle before attempting to pull up the extra weight. His attempt was successful. Bohspox rolled onto the roof and coughed and choked in as much of every breath he could. Andelad Mot lay on his back and stared at the freaking dogs above. One of the dogs actually jerked back and forth as though it were considering a jump from that height. Andelad Mot hoped it tried.