It was year 2016 when future of the planet Earth was almost destroyed because of alien invasion for our resources. They introduced them selves as Collectors of natural resources but we never met them. Human race was on the edge of extinction when they started building us three stations on which we can renew our life. New societies were created each on their own without interfering with each other. Our old habits are coming back and we're putting our societies in jeopardy.
Five hundred years ago Earth was invaded by alien race which now we know as Collectors. Reason of their arrival were our natural resources. When the gathering was in process almost 70% of human kind was destroyed so they decided to build us three stations in the atmosphere of Earth on which we can renew our life. Eighteen people were chosen to create and represent new societies and their descendants are now known as Grand Council. Each station was up to carry 140.000 people so that our survival is guaranteed. The only reason we're not destroyed is because of their law which states that no race can be completely erased. We never met them or saw them,they didn't consider us to be intelligent enough to comprehend their existence.
-Grand Council is in charge of three main stations: Elbys which main purpose is recruiting One Nation Army which has subgroup called Watchers who are sent to Earth to collect examples of adapted plants,animals and soil. Reaylin is in charge of learning and examination of collected examples and Aelham is platform for trading and visiting what we recovered of Old Earth art,knowledge and history. Each station has its own laws and they're not interfering with one another's business.
About hundred and fifty years ago we started gathering broken parts of ships and drones in hope to recover some data to find out more about Collectors. So far we have uncompleted informations in pieces which we're trying to put together and make sense of it. Consequence of our research and power for knowledge is newly created cult which worships Collectors,viewing them as Gods. Old habits are coming back and our society is in jeopardy.
CHAPTER ONE: As it comes so it goes
Bastien Dellor was standing on the top of tower glazing far in the distance into the horizon patiently waiting for Sun to rise up. Every morning he was standing there in silence watching the sun's rays hitting Elybis station then slowly reflecting onto the ocean beneath leaving dimmed traces of symbol of strength and power which was gracefully embracing entire station. Only thing that was bothering him was that moment didn't last for long.
He pulled his hand through his thick black hair suddenly feeling tired. He could feel heaviness on his shoulders like the whole weight of the world started crashing upon him. Those were the moments when dark memories were creeping into his mind. Six years went by since his mother accident happened and he still feels like the first day she died. He occupied himself with work leaving no place for sorrow except in these rare moments. Now he's twenty-three years old and at the top of his career as Watcher. He loved his job because of danger and excitement that came with it. These days adrenalin and innocent curiosity of his younger sister kept him going forward. He was proud of his sister Aurora, she was curious and eager for knowledge but child-like innocence surrounded her presence. She was tall with pale,soft skin and long blond hair looking like an angel, only her brown narrowed eyes weren't fitting in that angel-like look. That reminded him that he promised to help her with homework of Ancient Religions. He slowly got up and walked to the glass elevator pressing the button to get in. He was far up 455-th floor and he needed to go down on Deck One first to meet with his father so they can finish preparations for descending on Earth tomorrow. This time they were looking for unusual behaviors of animals that they tracked. He and his father didn't get along well, they were both tired and distanced from each other since his mother passed away. Only thing in common they have is their passion for job.
His thoughts were interrupted when elevator doors opened and mixed voices of people started rushing in. He started walking thorough round white corridor that stretched up in miles all the way around station. Deck One was the center of Elybis station where all technical work and planning was done. Glass doom was surrounding whole deck which stretched into wide circle divided in separated rooms. Walking toward the room he saw through glass wall his father and other generals gathered around wide black table discussing plans and strategy for tomorrows' operation.
-"I'm telling you we're not ready yet to stay on the ground for longer than eight days. It's ridiculous to assume that anybody would willingly put themselves in such danger just because of your theory." Zed angrily said pulling his hand through his hair and nervously tapping pencil on the desk.
-"Zed, I understand your concerns but we need to get out of safe zone and find out more about these animal behaviors. What we saw on screen never happened before,we need to know more." Alister said.
Bastien came cross-armed curiously listening of what they're speaking.
-"Bastien I'm glad you came, we discovered new kind of information that needs investigating. Wolves that we putted trackers on went to red zone of radiation, and their vital signs stayed same and healthy, this has never happened before, nothing lasted more than couple of hours in that zone and now data tells us that wolves had been there for last two days and nothing changed. This is remarkable, it could mean that after 95 years of hard work we managed to clean out that area." Alister said approaching him from the left side.
Zed stepped from the table coming to his son looking worried. -"This is just a theory, we don't know what happened. We can't know. It could be that trackers malfunctioned and that they're sending corrupted data. We just don't know for sure what happened."
Alister frowned-"We can't assume anything, investigation is needed. I'm sure we can find volunteers for this mission." He looked curiously into Bastien knowing that he won't refuse this offer.
Bastien looked intriguing on screen stretching on the wall , watching trackers blinking with green lights motioning all through radiation area.
-" I will volunteer and seek for more people on my team . Draco and Riley will be interested in this mission also." He thought of his very two best friends who were just like him, eager for danger and adrenalin.
Zed furiously looked his son but he knew this would happen. "Are you really capable of such ignorance? Putting yourself in danger just on a hunch of and old man-
-Bastien interrupted him starting to get angry-" Don't you understand that this is important and it can't be stopped just because of your fear. This could mean that possibly in the near future we could return to Earth, at least some parts of it. And we can't ignore it just because you're afraid."
Zed sighed shrugging his shoulders,knowing that he can't stop his son. He never could and he never will. For a moment he remembered Bastien when he was just a boy and now he's grown man who's creating his own path. His mother would be proud of him, he resembles her in so many ways. Zed himself was never brave, he was always questioning things deeply and along that way he lost his own son. They were close before Anita died and now they're just strangers.
-Bastien looked with vague expression wondering why his father isn't putting more effort in stopping him, like always. Maybe he gave up realizing that he can't accomplish much.
-"Alright then, we'll discuss our strategy after work hours. For now this must stay a secret until we find out more of what is happening. We don't want to create panic among people." Alister said determined. And other generals agreed with him.
Bastien nodded and started walking towards the corridors, he remembered that he promised to help Aurora with her homework. Now more than ever he was sure that he chose the right path to follow.
CHAPTER TWO: Untainted
Bastien entered their small,plain apartment. Light gray metal walls,black laminate floor,two bedrooms and small common area,you can barely call it like that. But it had glass-window-wall looking onto Earth. They were lucky ones to have such luxury, most apartments didn't have any windows. When Collectors started creating stations they didn't want to risk it with too much non-metallic elements because of exposure to Sun radiation and gases from the Earth,they knew we are fragile.
There she was, sitting on the floor in front of window like always, old yellow notebooks scattered around her. Most of the time she would sit there just watching the Earth, silently hopping that one day she would feel the pure air,sun on her skin, smell of fresh grass. She only knew about it because they're learning in school about Earth's history and what it was like before Collectors came.
-"I thought you'll never come." Aurora turned around and smiled at Bastian.
He laughed and spared her a smile-" You know that these days I'm busy with preparations for tomorrows mission."
-" Yeah I know, I'm too, in two weeks year of school is over and we'll have one month break. I think Mrs. Hathaway secretly wants to bury us with homework." She laughed.
-"I thought you loved History of Religion, at least until now." Bastian was always protective of his sister. She's just three years younger than him,but still. Now more than ever he was concerned, at the beginning of next year she's choosing path for her life. Not that she has many options, just three. Either she'll chose to be Watcher, Scientist or Professor. When she was little she wanted to be Watcher but over the years she developed passion for learning and examining collected data from Earth. If she chooses to be Scientist she'll be transported to other station and we won't see each other much more than once a year or two.
-" Yeah I do ,but I seriously need a break. They already started pressuring us of what career path we're supposed to choose." She sighed,looking worried.
-"Whatever you choose I'll support you, so will father. You're choosing for yourself and nobody else. Remember that."- Bastien smiled gently towards her. -" Now let's do that homework, what is confusing you?"
-" Well today we finished learning about Christianity and she gave us summary of whole religions teaching so we can prepare for final test. So now I don't understand how can I briefly explain what is Christianity about."
-" You can start by saying that Christianity is a monotheistic religion,that means they worshiped one God. Then put it in a time frame,when it began, that would be almost four thousand years ago, also you can talk about their teachings of love,respect,laws etc. When you finish give briefly your opinion about their teachings and that'll be it. But also remark that there is no religion in our present time."-
She punched him on the shoulder-" No religion,ha? Then what about those crazies that believe Collectors created us?" Aurora giggled.
Bastien laughed-" Well there is no religion except theirs."- " Listen, I have to go now we're making plans about tomorrows trip to the Earth. This is supposed to be a secret but I'll tell you anyways. Last time when we went down we put trackers on small pack of wolves, and two days ago they entered radiation zone,and they survived. Their vital signs remained same like before, there were no changes. It could mean that Red Zone finally cleansed from radiation."
Auroras' eyes widened looking suprised.-" But how? Shouldn't radiation linger around for like thousand years?"
" Yes it should, we started cleaning slowly last 90 years with cleansers that Collectors left us. But nobody expected for it to be cleaned in such a short time. Scientist presumed that it would take longer, not thousand years but not 90 years also. That's why we're going to investigate. Draco,Riley and me."
"How long will you stay? It's dangerous,please don't go,find someone else to replace you."- She pleaded with panic in her voice realizing that there's possibility that he wouldn't return. The very idea that her brother could die caused her heart to skip a beat or two.
" Everything will be fine, I promise. This could change our lives forever. We could finally descend to Earth." He told encouraging her to trust him.-"Now I have to go to the meeting, we'll talk more later."
"Fine, I'll be in my room." -She said feeling nervous and angry at the same time.
Bastien started walking toward Draco's and Riley's quarters to pick them up for meeting. They lived together down at the floor 153. Everyone understands why they live together, few years ago their parents died together when their shuttle malfunctioned on their way back to the station. One of the engine caught on fire due to heat in atmosphere,they crashed into the ocean but bodies were never found. Grand Council assumed animals from the ocean ate them.
Once again elevator's annoying sound disrupted Bastien thoughts.
He entered apartment without knocking, they were best friends since childhood so he didn't feel the need to announce himself. Both of them were siting on the couch passionately discussing comic books in which they're interested.
-" I'm telling you man, Thor would crush Hulk in second. Hulk is just an experiment that accidentally happened in lab. Our Scientist could probably design few of them now with not much effort."- Draco said amusingly, he liked to piss of Riley when it came to Hulk.
-" That's the point man, Hulk can be made. Your hero is just some made-up God who couldn't possibly exist like EVER.-" Riley said shaking his head.
Draco noticed that Bastien came, -" What do you think Bash, who's stronger Thor or Hulk?"-
" You seriously need to check out your priorities, you're in mid-twenties and discussing ancient comic books. I mean really?"- Bastien said teasing them both.
" I swear to Thor one day I'll get you up into liking this world. Once in a while one needs escape from this reality." Draco said frowningly while scratching his chin.
" So what's up ,why did you came, I thought we were meeting at canteen tonight?" Riley asked curiously.
Bastien walked up to them and sat across the couch on the floor.-" Yeah,well, change of plans. I was at Deck One this morning to see if plan for tomorrows mission was still on,and it is but in slightly different way. Tracked pack of wolves entered Red Zone two days ago,and they're still there alive and well. So do Scientist believe. Tomorrow instead of picking up examples like usual we should go check out that zone, I thought you two would be interested?"
Riley announced cheerfully -"Hell yeah" accompanied by Draco's laughter acting like he's the mature one. But Bastien could see excitement in his eyes. Three of them were together adrenalin junkies. There's no danger they'd put themselves into.