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The Haven Bringers
They said the world would end in 2012 and, in many ways, it did.
It was a Saturday morning when they arrived. The sun gently settled on all that was in its path. The grass swayed, as the calm wind encouraged it to flow in the same direction. A small bird landed in a clearing, chirping its morning song. It nested there for a little while than hopped this way and that, bouncing joyfully in the warm air. Trees surrounded the clearing, as though they were guarding it for some special purpose.
The bird’s movement became less frequent than it had once been and then, sensing danger, it shot off into the trees. A shadow appeared on the grass, making it turn a darker, more foreboding shade of green. The creator of the shadow descended and landed with a crash in the centre of the clearing. Earth flew out at different directions as the gigantic metal object pierced its way into the ground. Eventually, the body became still and the air fell silent once more.
Meanwhile, the headquarters of NASA was in chaos. The orbital awareness department had spotted a UFO on their radar and had sent the whole base into a blind panic. The room was filled with people in formal attire hurriedly running back and forth – some were bashing away at computer keyboards, whilst others ran around like headless chickens holding dozens of files.
NASA’s executive administrator, Mike I. Holgren, had been called back from a conference in the White House to attend to the urgent situation. He stood there arms akimbo waiting for an explanation to why he had been taken away from his very important meeting, to a base that never had anything interesting to report.
A man with short hair and big, thick glasses came charging into the room and shook Mike Holgren’s hand violently. “Hello, Sir. I’m John – John Beddington.”
“Hi”, replied Mike, impatiently.
“I imagine you’re eager to understand why you’ve been called here today. Well, I am the head of the orbital awareness department, and this morning my team spotted something we think you’re going to find most interesting.”
“Really?” Said Mike.
John ignored his superior’s sarcastic tone and continued to speak. “Yes, very interesting. Hilda, can you get this morning’s sighting up please.”
Suddenly, the screen to the right of them lit up and displayed what seemed to be a space ship. First, it showed a long shot of a big metal object falling into a field, and then a close-up of the same object ploughing into the grass in the centre of a large clearing.
Mike’s eyebrows rose; he was no longer annoyed to have been dragged out of his meeting. “And what, you think this is aliens?” he said.
“Well, yes. We’ve checked all aviation schedules for today and none of them match this description and, to be frank, sir, does this look human to you?”
Mike stared at the screen, his eyebrows still as high as they could get. An uncomfortable and concerned looking mouth turned to gleeful smile.
The place where the object had landed was not far from Washington – the state where NASA’s headquarters were situated – so Mike, John and an army of one-hundred were soon at the siting. All the world’s major administrators had been contacted and many of them were on their way. NASA only had roughly ten hours before they had to present their ‘alien spaceship’ to the world.
Tents and vehicles of all kinds surrounded the object, which was showing no signs of life. Staff rushed around trying to organise how to approach the situation. After hours of discussion amongst the heads of NASA and the US government, it was decided that they would wait until the other world leaders arrived before attempting to open the UFO.
Mike, John and a US government representative, named Carl, sat in the main tent drinking coffee and eating biscuits.
“So, what do you think is in there?” asked Carl, casually.
“Aliens”, announced John. Carl and Mike looked at each other and then at John, surprised by his fast response at answering the question. John, now a little embarrassed at his outburst of opinion, began to back up his point. “I mean, what else would be in there? It’s not like this UFO’s a meteor, it has been created by something.”
“I suppose so. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s people in it; somebody could have sent it here to act automatically”, said Mike.
“You mean, like a bomb?”
“Maybe, I don’t see why not. Who says ‘aliens’ are as friendly as us.”
“Friendly is the last word I would use to describe us”, said John, boldly.
After hours of waiting the heads of state began to arrive. One by one they were greeted, allocated a seat and then given refreshments. Most stared at the object in awe, whereas others barely noticed it.
When everyone was settled Mike got up to give a speech. All the important people in the world stared at him – something he was used to, being the head of NASA.
“Welcome, to what we, in many years, will look back at as first contact; our first step into the stars. A great man once said ‘I have a dream’ and like him, I too have a dream. A dream that one day our species can live amongst the others in our great universe.”
The people before him – world leaders, some of the smartest people on Earth – could barely look at him; for he was making such a fool of himself. There is no proof for aliens, even with this giant UFO in front of them, and he was speaking as though they were a matter of fact.
His foolishness was suddenly amplified as a loud bang was shot across the clearing. Mike was pushed forward from the sound and many others closed their eyes, as they were sure a bomb had been detonated. Soldiers leaped into action, every one of them had their guns and eyes fixated on the UFO. When the air became less tense everybody opened their eyes, relieved they were still alive. Shouts began to come from the crowd.
“What was that?”
“What did you do?”
“This is an outrage!”
“Look at that”.
Behind Mike, who was clearing is throat and fixing his hair, the body of the UFO began to open. Two sides, like saloon doors, slid open and revealed, what would be considered on Earth to be, a television screen. Presently it was blank but after a few seconds it shot into life and a humanoid figure was shown. The creature was new-paint white, with dark crimson eyes, no hair and no nose.
“Greetings, Earth”, the figure began. Eyes all around showed no emotion, just interest. “I am Hoolan leader of the Haven Bringers. Please, resist from firing, we mean you no harm”.
Nobody was sure what to make of the ‘haven bringers’ at first. They seemed very human; their English was good and they had the same appendages and similar features as humans, but something seemed very menacing about them. It was their staring eyes and gentle smile that seemed most sinister.
They soon explained that they wished nothing of the humans, except a home - theirs had been sucked into a black hole. They had since been traveling the universe in search of a planet that would suit them. Asylum was all they were after.
Discussions began between the two races – the Haven bringers and the humans – to decide whether or not having two similar species on one planet would work. In support of the haven bringers case they would work long hours without complaint, they don’t reproduce as fast as humans, so would take up less space, they don’t need many resources – in terms of food and creature comforts. They can provide great gifts like the cure to terminal diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Also, they could increase the Earth’s potential in space exploration and scientific knowledge.
On the contrary, there were a few arguments against the haven bringers’ case: the Earth’s population was already exceeding 10 billion. How would they fit into a normal community; do they have the same social customs as the humans? Also, once the humans let the haven bringers onto their planet, what if it didn’t work? Would they just leave? Or, what if they said they don’t want the haven bringers on Earth, will they destroy the human race and take the planet for themselves. It was indeed a colossal dilemma, one that nobody wanted to make.
When the public was informed many noticed that the positives outweighed the negatives by a great deal. However, some feared the haven bringers and said they could not be trusted. The question loomed for weeks, all the time the haven bringers sat patiently in their ship.
It soon came to light that there was not just one ship of the haven bringers. In fact they had a whole fleet of ships in orbit waiting for the command to land on Earth – 1 million haven bringers in total. This angered people, as it showed that they were a deceitful race. However, when the decision was put to a world vote, this seemed to be overlooked.
Six days it took to count the votes of almost every person in the world. Not everyone voted, some people didn’t want the future of the world upon their shoulders.
The night of the announcement the world leaders gathered once again in the clearing, around the ship. However, this time some of the haven bringers were outside, stood unwearyingly next to Mike, who was elected to announce Earth’s decision. Across the world people were fixated to their television sets, staring fearfully at the image before them. Mums, dads, grans, children, dogs, cats, everyone was watching; this would indeed affect them all, whatever the result.
The air fell silent, as Mike’s hand cradled the envelope that held Earth’s future inside. He stared at the yellow paper and then at the camera. Without thinking, because that is the only way to read such critical news, he ripped open the envelope and examined the piece of paper inside. His face did not move; no expression could be seen, he just glared at it blankly.
Broadcasting live, Mike spoke directly into the camera, as that’s where the majority of the audience were. “So, will the haven bringers be joining us on planet Earth? Your vote has decided the answer to that question to be” – everyone stared, not a sound could be heard across the entire planet – “yes, they will. Haven bringers, we welcome you to planet Earth with open arms.” Sound filled the air once more, some cheers, some boos. Mike walked over to Hoolan – the leader of the haven bringers - and shook his pale, white hand. “Welcome”.
In some areas of the world, there was chaos. People took to the streets angry and furious with their species’ decision. Thirty-five-year-old James Kennedy, Ufologist and science fiction fan, hanged himself after hearing the news, certain they would destroy the world.
Whilst some went about starting protest groups, others signed up to allow a haven bringer into their house, as a tenant. Not many people hated the haven bringers and they soon adapted to life on Earth.
Six months in, they all had jobs and were all housed accordingly. Some had even bought their own houses and lived as haven bringer families. Many of the jobs they had were manual labour or the jobs humans felt were beneath them – cleaning out the sewers and scraping chewing-gum of the floor.
With their friendliness and love for natural beauty, the Earth became a much more picturesque place to live. The landscape seemed more luscious and bright, and socialising seemed fun and easy. Nobody was stressed anymore; everyone began to adopt a happy-go-lucky attitude towards life. As promised, the haven bringers cured many illnesses that have plagued mankind for decades. It was impossible to point out a negative affect the haven bringers had on Earth.
After two years had passed, the haven bringers were accepted as people. The protest groups that had been set up were now non-existent. This wasn’t just because they were made illegal in many countries, when haven bringers became parts of government bodies, but because everybody loved them. Haven bringer babies had been born in the two years, and regarded Earth as their only home; the two species merged together so perfectly.
Jane stood up from the toilet seat, pulled her trousers up and zipped her fly to the top. It would be another few minutes before the test would show whether she was pregnant or not. She sat on the edge of the bath in anticipation. This was the biggest news she would ever find out in her life. If she was pregnant, she’d have to give up Art College, stop working in the local pub – a place she loved to work because it was so lively.
She walked over to the window and peered out. A bird fluttered by, its delicate wings fluttering up and down; so pure and care free. Why do you get it so easy? She thought. If all I had to do all day was flap about, I’d be so happy – no bills or rent to pay. No… baby. She averted her gaze to the plastic pregnancy test. Positive. What are they going to do to me? She thought.
A media circus whirled around number twenty-two Olive Drove. News-1 helicopters circled the house whilst journalist below hurried back and forth from their vans to their cameras, which were all fixated on the house.
“Hello, and welcome to News at six”, said one journalist. “You join me here, outside of number twenty-two olive drove, where one girl, Jane Travelle, and one haven bringer, Med Uxdon, have conceived the world’s first human/haven bringer baby. A doctor is currently inside the house running tests on the female. In just a few seconds, we should hear some news on whether or not such an embryo can grow inside the human. This is indeed a –“
The news reporter was cut off when her camera man turned from her to the door of number twenty two, where a human man, wearing a white coat and a stethoscope gingerly came out from the house. All cameras on him, he began to speak.
“I know you’ve all been waiting to know whether or not a haven bringer seed can be planted in a human female. Well, according to all medical results this is indeed possible. However, the nature of the birth, and the child, is unknown and likely to remain that way until labour.”
Five weeks later the human/haven bringer baby was born. It looked nothing like a human. In fact, it was completely haven bringer. After tests were performed, no traces of human DNA could be found in the baby. Haven bringer genes were discovered to be much more powerful than human genes. It was also learnt that when haven bringers mate the only gametes involved are from the father. No genes are taken from the mother, whatsoever. This was applied to Jane and Med’s baby, just as it would have with a haven bringer-only relationship. The new information scared people; nobody liked the idea that in a war of natural selection the haven bringers would win every time.
Protests against haven bringer and human relationships began instantly and soon got out of control. In many countries there were thousands of humans, angry over the superiority of the haven bringers’ genes, camping outside major government buildings demanding something to be done. As all the world-leaders were human who feared the extinction of their own race, it become illegal for anyone to have a human-haven relationship.
This separation of physical contact forced the two species apart. Communication between the two became rare and the little they did share was hostile. As the years went by the humans began to loath the haven bringers. The separation continued for decades with both sides becoming more bitter about the other. Life expectancy of a haven bringer was much greater than that of a human and they were increasing in numbers. Soon, the humans formed resistance groups, out of fear that the haven bringers were going to over throw them.
It was the dead of night. The streets were still damp and puddles reflected the moon light, making the tall buildings of the city visible. George walked down the silent, empty street at a pace that some would consider suspicious. He had is hood flung over his head and both hands in pockets, keeping his head to the floor at all times.
When he reached the end of the street he took a left and stopped outside a dilapidated looking pub. Staring at the mucky brown door he took a deep breath, and knocked twice. Silence was broken when the door opened with a lengthy creak. A long pointy nose and a pair of beady eyes peered out at him.
“What do you want?” Said the man behind the door.
“The penny is in the air,” murmured George. His voice was shy and croaky, as though he wasn’t sure of his words.
“Right, you better come in then”. The man opened the door completely and gestured that George should enter. Sound could now be heard, gentle chitter-chatter, coming from inside. “What’s your name then, son?”
George was offended by the man’s use of the informal noun, son. After all, George was 31; he may be a lot scrawnier and less confident than the burly man who let him in, but there was no need for such a patronising title. “George. You?” He asked, this time more confident with his words.
“I’m Jeremy, please to meet you”.
The two of them shook hands, exchanged a smile then walked down the stairs at the end of the hall way. The floor below was full of human men, women, children, all laughing and drinking. The establishment was just as it had appeared from the outside, a bar.
“Over here”, said Jeremy to George. “You look lonely so you can sit with the wife. I don’t think I’ll have any competition from you, eh?” George laughed politely at the joke and followed him to the table. “Tasha, this is George”
“Nice to meet you, Tasha”, said George. Tasha smiled civilly, confused as to why her husband had introduced them. She came to the conclusion he was just been friendly.
“Right, I’ll leave you two alone. It’s time I made this speech”, said Jeremy. He downed a half pint that was on the table, wiped his mouth with his sleeve and walked off behind the bar. Once there, he clasped the last-call bell with his grubby, fat hand and shook it violently.
The sound rang out beautifully, stopping all the talking in the entire establishment. “Hello everyone and welcome to the resistance,” he said. Not a sound could be heard apart from Jeremy’s voice; everyone was eager to hear what he had to say. “Since the dawn of mankind mistakes have happened”, he continued. “Everyone makes them. I make them, you make them. Hey, I’ll even say it, my wife makes them. Just last week I filled my diesel car with petrol. It’s not just the little people who make mistakes, oh no. In fact, Winston Churchill made many mistakes. So what we must not do is blame ourselves for the mistake our planet made almost thirty years ago. We let the haven bringers into our homes; or pubs; or work; our lives. I even voted for them myself – a mistake, I’ll add. But the great thing about mistakes is you can make amends for them. We can undo our mistake; give beauty to our world once more; take back our planet.
“You see, our ‘friends’ the haven bringers, admittedly, they are better than us. They are more powerful, their genes are stronger, and they’re more intelligent than us. If we were to go to war, they would win - take our planet for themselves. That is why we need to act now, before they increase in numbers. In the last twenty years alone the amount of haven bringers has tripled. Think what they could do in another twenty years, or thirty years, or forty, or fifty. I’ll tell you what they’ll do, they’ll kill us off. The human race will be extinct. Is that what you want, your children’s future demolished by these dirty, evil beings? I said, is that what you want?”
“No”, murmured the crowd.
“I can’t hear you. Is that what you want?”
“No!” they yelled in unison, angrier than before.
“What do you want? Do you want your planet back? Your home; your safe place?”
“Yes. Kill the haven bringers”, they chanted. “Kill the haven bringers, kill the haven bringers; kill them all!”
The resistance grew and grew until there were barely any humans who hadn’t signed up. Hoolan – the original leader of the haven bringers and now their main representative – was running in the election for the USA’s president. Humans tried to find many loop-holes that would mean a haven bringer could not run for president, however there wasn’t one. Due to the higher numbers of have bringers Hoolan won the majority’s vote.
He promised change for America and that the morale between the two species would improve – something the haven bringers encouraged, enormously. However, the humans knew it to be a scam. They knew he was going to wipe them out now he had power.
Morale did not improve in the slightest. Under the new laws of America haven-human neighbourhoods were enforced – there had to be so many humans and so many haven bringers in every neighbourhood. Humans saw this as an attempt to bring their enemy closer so the execution would be easier. On the contrary, news reports were suddenly full of reports of haven bringers being murdered. In one month two-hundred haven bringers had been lynched.
Hoolan retired to his quarters in the Whitehouse. It had been a long day, trying to pass a new law on human contraception. He knew that the humans feared the haven bringers because of their numbers and he wanted to repopulate the Earth with human babies. But, trying to pass any kind of law with humans in the government was impossible, they all despised him.
The latch on the door was released and in walked his wife, Memo. She looked at him sitting on the edge of their bed, his hands rubbing his tired eyes. “Are you
OK?” She asked sympathetically. “I know things aren’t great at the minute, but they’ll get better”.
“Will they?” He asked. He was sceptical.
“Of course they will. People can learn to live with each other”.
Hoolan looked deep into his wife’s eyes. He knew he could always count in her. Whenever things got bad he could just go to her and she would make him feel better. She didn’t always have the answers but just her comforting him could help ease the pain. He walked over to her and they hugged.
As they began to pull away from their warm embrace, a bang and then a squelch was heard as a bullet went through Memo’s head.
The days that followed the murder of Hoolan’s wife was silent. The humans knew that the US government had shot her and that it was a sign of ‘rebellion’ but they chose not to act.
Meanwhile, Hoolan was having a break down. He couldn’t believe that these filthy humans could do such a thing; haven bringers would never kill, or even associate with anyone who kills. Yet, there they were on a planet. A planet that isn’t even content with its own inhabitants – those who go to war with one another. It was at that moment – when he watched his wife’s brain splatter on his bedroom walls – which he realised what humans really are.
A global announcement was made that the law against murder is mandatory and that anyone who was to harm a haven bringer or a human would be put to death. The sub-text of the announcement was that the Earth had one last chance to be content, but that was ignored.
The resistance took arms and waged war on the haven bringers. It was a war that devastated the planet. Huge craters in the fields were left where missiles had struck. Buildings were left derelict, scorched black from the fires. Children were murdered in the streets, just because they happened to be born a haven bringer. Many haven bringers died from a virus called Brintheblood, which the humans had developed – making themselves immune to its flesh-eating affects.
In the eleven years that the war lasted, 10 million haven bringers had died, and four million humans were either killed, taken prisoner or missing in the huge no-man’s-land that separated the two opposing forces.
It was Hoolan who called for the nuclear bomb to be dropped on the southern hemisphere, where the humans had retreated. In his seventy years on planet Earth he had seen nothing good; just ugliness. He had seen his children drown in their own blood from the Brintheblood virus. He had seen a bullet go straight through his true-love’s head. He had seen his species fall to its knees in the hands of dirty, evil creatures. He saw nothing worthy of life.
Despite murder being the most corrupt thing a haven bringer could do, Hoolan saw that the world was indeed a better place without the humans he had encountered. All his species did was tried to help them – give them cures for their weaknesses and improve their planet – but, unfortunately, their paranoia came in abundance whereas their trust, did not.
Meetian ran into the living room where his granddad was resting.
“Look Granddad, look at my drawing”, he said enthusiastically.
“Well, aren’t you a clever boy”, said granddad examining the drawing, he let out a proud smile. The drawing was of Earth as viewed from space. Granddad was more impressed than he could have ever let on. Meetian’s use of colour was mesmerising; the bright blue of the sea was a contrast to the deep green of the crisp, clear land. Granddad exhaled, his eyes still on the delightfully decorated piece of paper.
He thought about how glad he was to have his children (and grandchildren, of course) grow up in such a beautiful environment; the luxuries entertainment they had; the friendliness of the neighbours.
There was no need for rules in such a world everybody knew what was right and what’s wrong. There was no murder, no wrong-doings.
He gazed down at Meetian again, who was now fast asleep on the sofa; his eyes shut tight, dreaming of the world that surrounded him. “Aren’t we lucky”, said granddad, softly.