I’m so exited to share this with you all, of course. This chapter is subject to change, but I hope you enjoy it, and want to read more, if you enjoy it – please tweet me or email me, I love hearing peoples responses and opinions, and feedback is always welcome! Enjoy guys!
Her name was Atlas Crow, at 19 years of age she had already accomplished a lot more than most of the Humans back on earth had achieved. She was one of the fortunate few, who managed to escape Planet Earth. Back in 2099, Earth’s failed attempts at Terraforming Mars as a savior planet had failed, and the world was in total and utter chaos.
Global warming had destroyed the ice caps, forests had begun burning down, water levels were rising, and infection levels were high. Successfulness was no longer measured on money and wealth. Intelligence and ability were now a key survival requirement, as the human race began desperately searching for ways of reversing the damage and escaping their doomed planet. As the life on Earth declined, people began looking back into the past, at the mistakes the human race had made, trying to ensure the future generations, if they did survive – did not make the same mistakes again.
It was just 6 years later, when a group of Peruvian’s monitoring the “Gate of the Gods” had started noticing strange activities. Reports spread across the world of Lake Titicaca emitting a frequency that was coming from outer space, at certain times during the day the Ancient gateway would begin to tremble and glow like it was being cooked slowly by the sun, steam would seep through the gaps, and scientists from all over the world made the pilgrimage to discover what was happening. The Peruvian community said it was the end of times, the God’s sending a message to Earth that we should prepare for judgement. It took the scientists 8 months to map the signals when they realized there was a correlation between the lake and the gate, and somehow, somewhere in outer space, someone was trying to communicate with Earth.
Teams of Divers dredged the lake, and found a round key, golden in colour, with perfectly measured markings, geometrically accurate, and matching the patterns that the international space station had documented for another galaxy, the Trappist System. When They removed the key from the lake, the activity in the water stopped. Taking this as confirmation that they were signals from another Galaxy, trying to help Earth, and show them how to open the Ancient Gate of the Gods. The struggle however, was far from over. They tried hundreds of times to put the key in the gate, which fitted perfectly, but nothing happened. New signals continued to be traced around the gateway, but as no one could understand the frequency or the code, hope began once again to fade away.
It wasn’t until 15 years later, on a special Peruvian cosmic event, called the Inti Raymi – June 14th, the Gate once again began to Glow, the key had been left in and it began reacting in unison with the gate, to the sun. The gold from the key melted into the gate, and trickles of sparkling veins span out from the key through the stone, and when it reached the steaming edges the gate began to twist, slightly leaving a gap. Only, through the gap wasn’t the other side of the wall, dry barren sand and a view of the mango flamed horizon of Peru, it was black, dead of sound and cold. The frequency was coming from the blackness, and was no longer just waves, it was a message.
The Gate was now known as a black hole gateway, it was closed off to the public, and after the celebration it didn’t close, so the Scientists began gathering again, and trying to hear the message and discover the frequency. Items and equipment used in the Mars project were recycled and made to form a capsule with recordings from Earth on. They passed it through the Gateway and tracked its path. In the meantime, the message was finally decoded, they had confirmation of life beyond the Milky way Galaxy. The message said:
RA 23h 6m 29s | Dec -5° 2′ 29″
Open the Gateway
We will meet
They confirmed the co-ordinates of a planet in the Trappist 1 system, the tracked objects passed through the gateway and it took 8 tireless years to reach them, and when it did another message was received, this time they recorded it, in English, but the accent was impeccable, almost too good, conspiracy theorists began spreading rumours of a hoax.
We can confirm life within your brother system, the Trappist System as you have called it.
We are on the planet Terra; our race are the Paxon’s. We are not hostile.
Do not send humans through the gateway.
Your planet is dying.
We are sending you advancement plans for your intergalactic travel technology.
The message was played all over the world, a sign of hope for the dying planet Earth, some people segregated and chose to ignore the messages as desperate last attempts from the Government to keep people from boycotting work, and to keep the doomed ship sailing.
By 2134, Trappist planet Terra had sent hundreds of plans, of how to build ships that could travel through black hole gateways, droid coding and build plans, how to make passenger ships that could accommodate up to 20,000 people and finally how to build ‘Hybersleep’ chambers, the plan confirmed, you could literally pause a humans life, whilst they floated through space for years, allowing them to travel between galaxies, barely aging a day.
The plans got people working together again, every effort was to build a ship that could be used to travel beyond the milky way, in Earths last attempt at getting Humans off the planet and saving the ancient human kind. The people of Terra continued communication, confirming that Earth was one of the newest planets in the universe to become habitable to life, when a small group of people from the Trappist system managed to travel through a gateway to Earth thousands of years ago, the humans at the time, thought they had been visited by a God. The people of Terra shared technology with them, but they were so primitive, they were unable to carry out the plans as instructed, and the use of the gateway was forgotten and mis-interpreted. The people that came from the planet Terra, got sick with the temperature of the Earth being a lot warmer than their own, and died before being able to complete the work with the humans to help them learn and advance.
The mission from Terra to Earth was considered a failure, and they decided to leave Earth alone, until now, when Terra decided to check in, and see if we had advanced, in which to their horror when they sent monitoring equipment to the Milky way’s atmosphere and realised, the planet Earth was dying. Without endangering anymore of their people, they decided in that moment to send the signals back through the black hole, to see if humans could understand the message, and re-open the gateway. Luckily for Earth, the message was received and understood, eventually. And so, began the advancement.
Recordings were sent of co-ordinates of other systems, gateways were all over earth, ancient monuments throughout the world were now being re-investigated, and messages were being received, using the new satellite technology, Earth was not alone. There were at least 6 other life forms within other universes. Hijacking technology was shared between Terra and Earth, a plan for a “Star-maker” was created, a machine that created a faux star, and could be hijacked with a ship, to enable traveling faster between galaxies.
It wasn’t until 2167, that Earth had it’s first recorded Extra terrestrial visitors, The Paxon’s, from the Planet Terra. Arriving on June 24th, a significant period of time within their galaxy, Video’s went viral of them landing in Peru. It showed a large white mirrored ship, in the shape of an Oval, it had 8 engines underneath, and could travel at the speed of light, The Paxon’s themselves were magnificent creatures. They looked the same as humans, only taller, the shortest one in the group was probably 6’3, all with dark deep chocolate hair, dark black eyes and incredibly pale glass like skin. Wearing light grey skin-tight suits, and long matching cloaks that attached at the shoulder with small golden clasps, they were clearly dressed for the cold. They could communicate with humans, but they themselves didn’t speak. Their language was called Psyrokenici pronounced “Piro-ken-isy” using radio frequencies in their minds to speak with each other, which made it very awkward, as they could hear your own inner dialogue. It didn’t take them long to learn how to speak, and they soon had a few Paxon’s attempting to speak broken English and Peruvian with the humans.
Before leaving for earth, they had developed a way of modifying their DNA so they were immune to disease and infection from Earth, and Earth Agreed, in order to progress and travel, CRISPR Editing needed to be made legal. Confirming the Earth was a dying planet, meant they needed the Paxon’s to help come up with a plan.
CRISPR Editing was made legal, humans could be “Boosted” people paid thousands to have modifications to themselves in preparation for leaving Earth, but over the next few years this became detrimental to those who couldn’t afford it. Long after the Paxon’s had left Earth, on 15th June 2379, news reports confirmed an outbreak of a virus in England, they named it the “Ticker” virus. Rumors that people who hadn’t been genetically modified were getting sick with mutated versions of diseases. The ticker virus somehow spread through water systems at first, like a parasite. The host (the human) became stronger, faster, reports of them being able to mimic sounds and noises perfectly to trick people. They killed people for no reason and began spreading the parasite by biting their victims. A tell of an infected human was their eyes, they began to fade and go grey, dramatic weight loss caused by the parasite within them meant that without constant eating they died, and the cycle from beginning to end was fast. The parasite spread, growing stronger, and Tickers managed to find ways of surviving, living in groups and trapping humans to use as slaves or occasionally as food.
When the Paxon’s were informed of the devastating Parasite they had no other option, they came up with a plan, for human’s to survive, they needed to forget about saving earth and leave. A plan for an off world – world was created. They needed to move the star maker into space and build a habitable world around it. The plan was devised and in the year 2381, The new floating world, to be placed at the other end of the Black Hole Gateway was confirmed and named – Austrini.
Terra and other planets from distant Galaxies agreed to help. Austrini would be known as the gateway between all Galaxies, it was to be built in unison with the other life forms, together. They agreed to build Austrini phase 1 and travel out with the star maker to the BHG, and meet the other lifeforms there, to complete the rest of the building work.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Tickers were now being caught and sent to Mars, they were advancing too fast, surviving for longer and even breeding. The government needed to hold off and save as many human’s as they could, so the military solely focused on rounding them up.The first passenger ship the Dell, was loaded up, the crew on-board were agents from the international space station – scientists and engineers with the best equipment were sent out to the BHG with the star maker, when they arrived, the met with the Paxons again, who had taught their planet how to speak English, The Garnals, and the Antheans.
The Antheans were from a galaxy called “The Greek republic of Athens” The planet they inhabited was called Hex, a strangely familiar community that spoke ancient Egyptian. The mixture of cultures was astounding, it created answers to thousands of questions from Earth’s ancient history. But unlike the Paxon’s they were not like human’s, they had long thin angular heads, with horns at each corner of their forehead. Every Antheans horns were slightly different, varying in shape and size. And instead of feet, they had hooves. They introduced the Garnals, as they shared the story of how they discovered them and tamed them. Garnals were discovered at a neighbouring galaxy called the Sculptor Galaxy, the planet was called Dollar and they looked like the result of combining a human with a dog. Only, they were human in form, walking on their back legs, having long bushy tails wisping behind them, their bodies covered in thick fur of all shades and patterns, and their faces were dog like, large pointed sharp ears and long noses, their teeth looked almost human like, with the exception of canine teeth, sharp and jagged, protruding from their mouths like shards of white glass. They were considered a hostile race, until the Antheans managed to tame a few, they communicated via howling but the ones that had travelled to Austrini could speak Egyptian. They shared the religious views with the Antheans, who had created the “path of the Sekra” and had an ancient worship place back on Hex called Tgora. On they went to continue to invite races onboard and build and complete the Austrini floating world.
Years later, the Austrini ship, which was now complete, and known in the universe as an off world stop for first timers of intergalactic travel. With the largest known stellar engine, that artificially propels ships into space – called the Star maker. The process of being propelled was named “Hijacking”. The star maker is the body of the Austrini Ship, directly in the centre, with a long train of moving docs and loading bays trailing behind it like a large sparkling chrome coloured tail. Austrini had 9 cities, each city was a long 10 story tear shape, joined to the star maker at the tip, surrounded by its own artificial atmosphere and gravity hood. They spread around the star maker like petals, but moved through space like wings, Austrini from a distance looked like a giant winged organism swimming through space. Each city could house up to 20,000 people, and each city had its own individual purpose.
Atlas Crow had begun her life on Earth, but at the dawn of her 19th birthday, she wasn’t on Earth anymore. She was onboard the Austrini ship, in her home city of Nelumbo. At the tender age of 13, her parents – Tishanne & Ethan Crow were offered the position of a lifetime, continuing their scientific research into DNA Conversion and Gene therapy onboard the Austrini ship. Having come from a lifetime of struggling against Ticker infestations, they welcomed the invitation and left the world as they knew it behind them, ready to start a new life. In deep space.
After a 3 years in Hybersleep, Atlas awoke onboard the Dell IV – Alone. Her parents had been delayed back on Earth and had insisted that she still go ahead without them,apparently, promising to follow on the next ship, The Ravonette. The details had been Vague, but each ship took 3 years to arrive at Austrini, and after Hybersleep – memory loss was common, so details escaped Atlas’s mind, as she tried to focus on each day passing, and the countdown to being reunited with her parents. Her daily routine involved working for the Higgins dock, recruited as a HIG, anyone under the age of 21 that lived onboard the Austrini worked there, until they reached the age, or were claimed by family members.
Atlas was smart, being the daughter of 2 of the world’s leading genetic engineers from Las Vegas, she inherited their ability to learn fast, and wasn’t on board Austrini long before being asked to work in the Transport department, flying the ships between Austrini’s 9 cities. Atlas enjoyed her job, she knew every inch of Austrini, each city, each dock, which race settled in which city, what clubs let minors in, and was continually fascinated with learning about all the races that had united onboard Austrini.
Atlas had been given her own ship, as a Higgs Pilot she needed it to pick up passengers that wanted to move between cities, as she was fairly new to piloting her own ship, she got the smallest one – they were called Tethys ships. They were long thin ships, with angular corners – in an elongated diamond shape, each Tethy’s carried the pilot at the front, and in the back, had two seats for passengers. As each city was 10 storeys high, and had its own atmosphere, ships needed the ability to leave the atmosphere and fly up and down between levels easily. As the Austrini was always moving, the quickest way to get from one side to the other was to leave the Cities atmosphere and fly across. This took around an hour and a half but was one of Atlas’s favourite things to do. She enjoyed leaving the bustling dark cities with the flashing fluorescent lights in the distance and floating through the blackness of space, across the horizon of the ship and viewing the distant stars and galaxies. Her Tethys ship was battered and old, she couldn’t wait until she was allowed to upgrade to the next size, a Vulture. They were similar but more powerful, they could carry up to 6 people, and could also travel between planets when required. The final size ship used on Austrini, the largest – was the Banshee’s. They carried 20 passengers, they were used by the Higg’s officers to collect people who had just arrived on the passenger ships from surrounding Galaxies. Atlas remembered her journey to Nelumbo on the Banshee, and how she felt like it was the equivalent of a space bus, large and un-delicate in appearance, basic inside and clumsy looking. She didn’t like the size of the Banshee, and prefered the Vulture. Atlas had seen other Higgs pilots who had been upgraded to a Vulture customize them, some of them looked incredible and had modifications to enhance them, some had cloaking devices to become reflective and appear transparent, some had bright magnificent paint work and elaborate bodywork. Her favourite was the ship of her best friend – Tidus.
Tidus also worked as a Higgs pilot, but as he had no family, and was no longer a minor, he didn’t need to stay here. But he chose too. He was born on Austrini – so he was Austronion. Unlike Atlas who arrived from earth and had to be genetically boosted to prevent infection and kill and repair any bad DNA in her genes, he was already born, genetically speaking – perfect. His parents didn’t realise that you couldn’t hijack again with a minor – never mind a baby. So, they left him in the care of the Higgins system, with enough credits to comfortably see him through – and a note, explaining they were sorry, that they had hijacked to another galaxy, and hopefully one day – would return for him.
Tidus didn’t act phased by his cruel beginnings, instead enjoyed his lavish lifestyle, and freedom. He had turned 21 six months ago and was upgraded to a Vulture. As soon as it was handed to him, he took it to be upgraded, it was now a deep shining chrome red, the glass triangles on the screen and the lights were deep grey, making it look like it had been calved from ice and the interior was a black leather like fabric, perfectly neat and smooth. Like Tidus.
Each ship could only be flown by the registered pilot. As everyone on Austrini was given a Pulse band on arrival – a sort of wearable wrist device that could call, track, find and pretty much do anything – this also acted as a key to the ships. Atlas’s Pulse only worked on her Banshee’s Pulse drive, but being as intelligent as she was, she worked with Tidus to adapt their Pulse bands, so they could fly each other’s ships – which had worked out quite well, as she regularly had to bail Tidus and his Vulture out of mischief.
Tidus had also paid to be modified or “Boosted” himself. In 2436, over 600 years previous, they had managed to extract DNA from Tickers on Mars, sending it to Austrini. They developed an injectable gene mutation or “Boost” process as it is now called, enabling people to become faster, stronger and even speak and understand other languages. As Atlas didn’t have many credits – only what she got paid for since she had worked onboard, she didn’t have enough credits to be boosted – and instead tortured herself watching Tidus and his extravagant lifestyle and his incredible abilities on a daily basis. She often watched him and tried to remind herself that he could boost himself as many times as he liked, he still had to ask her to hack his ship, and when it came to common sense, and intelligence, Atlas knew no amount of boosting would help him outsmart her.
Despite his naive mind letting him down, he was still extraordinary in every other sense. Standing at 5ft 10, his incredibly long body made him stand out in a crowd.Despite the fact he wasn’t the tallest. His shadow was intimidating as it gave off a burly muscular picture, but in person, he was gentle, delicate and incredibly clumsy. His hair was floppy and a little wavy, it hung forward down the middle and one side, the left side was shaven with intricate patterns, whatever was cool at the time, Tidus did it. He was popular – and not just with the girls. On Austrini Atlas had awoken age 16 to a totally different way of thinking, the mixtures of races, species and cultures was so diverse, nothing was out of the ordinary. There was no such thing as a preferred type, or gender. People loved who they loved – at that time, be it another species – or another boy, and no one even thought twice about it. If you woke up on Austrini – and wanted to wear makeup, dress like a drag queen or a Greek goddess – you did it. The world of Austrini was a wonderfully free place, no inhibitions and no worries, you could exist freely – there was too much going on, to be concerned with what people were wearing that day, or who they dated.
Some days Tidus would leave work, hang out with his other guy friends, wearing knee length ball shorts, high tops and baggy vests. He would sneak to the city of Alba in his ship, get drunk and party all night, calling Atlas in the early hours to go rescue him from some sketchy nightclub. Other days, she would find him passed out in drag bars, mixing with the Antheans, dressed in tight, glittery outfits, makeup smeared over his sharp features and hollow dark, green eyes. Some days he would tell her stories of how he had met the hottest guy, and begged Atlas to go out and party with them, other nights she would find him in the arms of a girl, bare faced and still. Every time she carried out the ritual of the Tidus rescue mission she was surprised, he was never alone, and never with the same person.
It didn’t bother Atlas, Tidus was her best friend, she had arrived on Austrini alone and was paired with him, he never made her feel uncomfortable or unequal to him once, he admired her “Get on with it” attitude, and the fact that even though she was alone, for now – continued her life, and didn’t get upset. What Tidus didn’t know, is that Atlas had him to thank for that. When she heard the story, of how his parents left him, she made a vow on that day, to never feel sorry for herself, and she would never let herself be sad in front of him again.
Unlike Atlas, his skin was olive and tan, she never asked where his parents were originally from, or his heritage, but she assumed Earth, as he felt homely too her, he felt human. He worked out religiously on a daily basis – reiterating to Atlas that being human, living in deep space would make her weak and feeble. He often would surprise her on days off forcing her already lean 5’6 frame out of bed to workout with him. She would glare as he towered over her as they sparred with each other or practiced climbing levels of the city – racing each other across rooftops and building bridgeways.
Atlas herself never skipped work, she loved her job on the Higgins dock – her uniform gave her a reason to get out of bed in the morning, it gave her an identity. At work, she had to wear a uniform, a dark grey jumpsuit, it was a temperature regulated fabric for when she was flying the Tethys. Down the side of the suit it had 2 red stripes. And on the back a large hood, it pulled forward over her head, and clipped in on her shoulders, covering her face. The fabric itself looked black but she could see through it, it was an oxygen hood, and had to be worn inside the ship should anything happen to the ship’s oxygen supply. The suit itself zipped up the front, and had a belt that went around the waist, and down to the thigh where another belt was secured around your leg. Atlas didn’t have to wear this – as she didn’t carry a weapon. Only Vulcan pilots were weapon trained in preparation for emergencies. Tidus carried a gun – there were other useful tools on the belt itself, but as she had never had one, she hadn’t bothered triggering her curiosity by researching it.
Today was a special day however, it was the day before her 19th Birthday, and the day before the Ravonette ship arrived at the Austrini, finally allowing Atlas to be re-united with her parents again.