The Pride Of The Runic
Wentworth Falls, New South Wales
Commodore Tajhonon W. Fist, commander in chief of the Grand Imperial Forces was very displeased. In fact he was extremely angry. He had finally convinced the High Council of The Runic to agree to his proposal to colonise and subjugate Heart, the third major planet from the sun; but his Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor—Banyan Bothtot was intent on thwarting him, or so he believed. ‘There will come a time when …’ was the phrase that seemed to Bothtot, to precede all of “The Fist’s” grandiose pronouncements.
Banyan Bothtot had been studying Heart and the Heathens for some millennia. He believed that the Heathens would be agreeable to negotiation, given that they were now in danger of causing serious ecological damage to their planet. Indeed, the population of The Runic had already exhausted all of the resources of their tiny world, which, was only five kilometres in size, heavily polluted and practically uninhabitable.
The Runic (known as Cruithne to Earth scientists) is actually an asteroid orbiting around the Sun in a 1:1 orbital resonance with Earth, making it a co-orbital object. At one time it was erroneously believed to be Earth’s second moon. It is actually a minor planet in the solar orbit that, relative to Earth, orbits in a bean-shaped trajectory that ultimately describes a horseshoe pattern, and which can transition into a quasi-satellite orbit. The Runic or Cruithne orbits the Sun in about one year but takes around seven hundred and seventy years to complete a horseshoe-shaped movement around the Earth. Runic mythology had it that the Heart, or Earth, and The Runic were formed at the same time as the birth of the Solar System. In fact they believe that The Runic was once a part of The Heart. Consequently, they considered that Heart/Earth was theirs by birthright.
‘There will come a time when we shall recover The Heart. It is appropriate that I, “The Fist” will lead the Runic to our glorious destiny and that time is now!’ Commodore Fist had secret aspirations to become the first President of The Runic-Heart. Banyan Bothtot realised this obviously, and confided privately to his colleagues that ‘the Fist’ was a pride-driven fool. Of course, Bothtot harboured his own secret ambitions, but they were tempered with an uneasiness that still not enough was known of The Heart’s actual size and gravity. Monitoring radio, television and internet activity was all very well but inconclusive. Every drone or unmanned craft sent to The Heart to obtain hard information on barometric pressure, temperature, etc. and collect soil, air and water samples, had completely disappeared without a trace as soon as they entered that planet’s stratosphere. Supposition that The Heart had the same potential for humanoid life was based purely on what could be gleaned from ‘eavesdropping.’ What was even more baffling was the fact that Heathen news services, made no mention of finding traces of alien craft.
The Runic’s closest approach to Heart/Earth is twelve million kilometres, about thirty times the separation between The Heart and its Moon. The Runic makes its annual closest approach to Heart/Earth in November (The Runic had long ago adopted the same standard of time/space measurement and curious names).
Banyan Bothtot and his team had finally found a way of breaching time/space. However, the system was still at the embryonic stage. Objects that entered the teleportation device were greatly reduced in size; then sent to their destination and reconstituted automatically at normal size—or that was the theory at least. Nevertheless, the plan of conquest was to cause The Runic Starfleet to appear suddenly on the surface of the planet in a strategically convenient place in a densely populated area. Times Square in New York was the favoured place. Capitulation of the Heathens would be swift …
‘Commodore Fist, there is no example of a realm profiting from protracted warfare,’ Bothtot had argued. ‘The teleportation system is not fully tested yet, there have been some serious anomalies; surely a few more …’
‘I agree with you Bothtot—just this once, but time is of the essence. The Runic is practically … a ruin! Hah!’ “The Fist” laughed at his joke. ‘In any event, the High Council has made its decision. It must be war. The pride of The Runic must be restored! I have seen the test results for myself; your machines have worked admirably with only minimal reduction. There will come a time when …’
But Chief Scientific Adviser Banyan Bothtot had stopped listening; and arguing his case. It was an exercise in futility. ‘Very well Commodore, I acquiesce—war it shall be and the teleportation system will be made ready in say … nine months?’
Fist smiled enigmatically, ‘Eight Bothtot, this is 2015 and you know full well that in nine months, The Heart begins to pull away from us once more. The next series of close approaches will not occur before the year 2292. Do not try to thwart my plans any further. It could be construed as treason.’
In the eight months allowed, Bothtot and his team worked feverishly and managed to have the entire Runic fleet of starships and personnel miniaturised on time; including his own laboratory that was housed in the mothership. At precisely the right moment, the fleet was dematerialised and sent out in a stream of energy across the time continuum towards The Heart. Target coordinates were sketchy and everyone was nervous, especially Fist and Bothtot. However, the fleet rematerialized in New York City, much to Fist’s relief and Bothtot’s astonishment and delight. Reduction effects were negligible, but there was some disquiet …
Commodore Fist sent a message for Chief Scientific Adviser Bothtot to report to the bridge. ‘Ah Bothtot, we appeared to have reconstituted or landed safely on a vast concrete plain that is relatively narrow. You will note that one side is bounded by a huge wall and the plain disappears off into the distance. No sign of The Heathens—surely they must know we are here! What do you make of it?’
‘Well Commodore, there was some temporal disturbance just as we left The Runic …’
Bothtot’s explanation was cut short by a cry from the helmsman, ‘Commodore look, on the horizon!!’
Everyone turned to the vast tele-monitor that took up an entire side of the bridge that gave them a view outside. A vast black shape with curious criss-crossed patterns was headed straight for them. In its path it had crushed virtually all the other ships in its wake. Escape was impossible.
In his anguish Fist cried out, ‘Bothnot this is your fault, now what do we do?’
‘We die, you pride-driven ignoramus, we die!’
In the year 1955 in New York City, Evelyn Gulliver stepped up to the gutter, holding the hand of her eight year old son Jackson. ‘Alright Jackson it’s safe to cross the street now, the truck has passed.’
Jackson stepped off the gutter and looked down, he slipped his hand out of his mother’s grip. He bent down and picked up several curious metallic and plastic-like objects—each was about the size and shape of a USB stick. One was slightly larger than the rest. All were irrecoverably crushed. ‘Look Mom, what do you think these are?’
Evelyn screwed up her face with disgust at the objects in her son’s hand. ‘Throw them away you dirty boy, how many times must I tell you not to pick up things in the street?’
Bio: James says this piece is based on a story that he read as a young boy in a comic annual. The current story has been updated with brand new characters and a few observations that are relevant to today. It is a science fiction fantasy. You can check out examples of James’ stuff at: http://biarcsemaj.blogspot.com.au/