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The World of Light
It was way back in the twenty-third century-back when I was still Space Admiral in the Inter-planetary Milky Way Galaxy Navy. I was young, intelligent, and handsome…and had just received a slew of shiny war medals from my service in the Anglo-Martian War. I was at the top of my game and it seemed like nothing could bring me down.
But it was at this time-probably around year 4070-that I lost it all. I had been assigned to Mission 20-34.5 Q-a search-and-rescue expedition into deep space. Word had reached Planet Earth that a small group of interplanetary explorers had disappeared near the edge of The Milky Way Galaxy (near Sector Six of the Inter-planetary Milky Way Galaxy Navy’s jurisdiction). Due to my recently acquired war accolades and fearless attitude, I was chosen to head the search and rescue party.
I was ecstatic. It was not every day that a twenty-six year old human was given such an honor. I was given a ship-The Lumière du Soleil, a crew, and all of the necessary equipment that would allow me to spend six months in the darkest, most restricted sector of the galaxy. I was given explicit instructions from the government to collect and record information about any new discoveries and uncharted planets in the area. I was so excited-hopeful that I would discover a new moon or planet and be immortalized in the history books! Thoughts of parades and celebrations in my honor spun through my mind as I set forth for my mission on November 7, 4005, but never had I dreamed that I would discover a whole other race of people.
“Space Admiral Zane Georges Fabrizio Isidore Floriano!” One of the crewmembers called into my communication unit from the main deck.
“Yes?” I answered quickly. We had been looming around the edge of the galaxy for about a month at that point, and the novelty of being a great space explorer was beginning to fade.
“We’ve found something,” the woman said. My heart leapt. What had the scanners picked up-was it the lost ship? A meteorite? A space monster? (The last of the three had become a real concern in the last century-the growing space monster population was the reason why Sector Six was so dangerous and restricted.) I ran to the main deck.
“What is it Marla!?” I called to my second-in-command-Officer Marla Raine. Marla was a small, beautiful woman from the Pacific Islands of Planet Earth. She was incredibly intelligent, extremely well spoken, and effortlessly beautiful.
“Our scanners picked up a large mass off to the right of the Sector.” She said, standing at sharp attention. Her light blue lipstick made her features look sharper than usual, and I took a half step back under her intimidating gaze. “The object of question is too big to be the missing ship…in fact, it’s too big to be anything but a planet.”
“A-a planet!?” I stuttered in disbelief. Some of the crewmembers looked up from their desks, surprised at my current lack of eloquence.
“Yes. A planet.” Marla said matter-of-factly, smoothing her hand over her perfectly smooth hairdo. “It’s at least twice the size of Earth…we sent out a small drone to gather information about it’s atmosphere and gravitational field. If we alter our course slightly, we can be prepped and ready to land an exploratory team within the next four hours.” She crossed her arms behind her back.
“Perfect. Um, carry on everyone!” I turned on my heel and walked out of the door, motioning for Marla to follow me.
“The planet has five small moons, a thick atmosphere containing bits of mineral, and an extremely strong gravitational pull. We just need to keep drifting and it will pull us right to it within the next hour.”
“Any sign of life?” I asked her, turning into the research corridor.
“Yes.” Marla answered quickly. “The drone landed in a desert of sorts…and was able to identify a humanoid creature with its scanners.”
“We’ll have to send down a research party immediately…”
I should have just turned that ship around while I still had the chance.
Several hours later, Marla and I were geared up in our space suits and streaking towards the planet in a tiny expedition spacecraft. We had a few crew members with us-each armed to the teeth with concealed weapons and ray guns in case the creatures here were hostile beings, or in the event that our peace mission went awry.
Because the planet’s atmosphere contained no oxygen, we were sure to wear spacesuits with artificial atmospheres. These suits would allow us to walk around the planet without huge oxygen tanks, which could be quite inhibiting. I shifted in my seat uncomfortably. Who were these creatures? How could we not have noticed their planet earlier via satellite? Were they peaceful?
We landed within a few minutes. As Space Admiral, it was my responsibility to exit the spacecraft first. I tripped over the threshold and quickly adjusted my suit’s artificial gravity as the planet pulled me down hard.
I looked out over the horizon-there was desert as far as the eye could see. Huge hills of glowing grey-blue sand surrounded us as the sun beat down mercilessly.
“Space Admiral, sir! Look!” Marla called out. I turned around to see what Marla was pointing at.
Coming towards us was a small group of beings-five in all. Their bodies were hidden from our view by thick synthetic cloaks to repel the sun’s harsh rays. They walked slowly, as if they had all the time in the world.
“Alright everyone…we are going to attempt to make peaceful contact. If anything goes wrong-we get back in the shuttle and we fly back to The Lumière du Soleil, everyone got that?” I called out to my crew as the creatures got closer. They all nodded, staring at the approaching individuals with a sense of foreboding. I motioned for them all to swallow their Translation Pills, which would allow us to communicate with any creature in the galaxy.
“Hello!” I called out as the cloaked creatures came to a stop several feet away from us. I hoped that my greeting would be acceptable.
The tallest of the group pulled off his chrysalis-like cloak to reveal a humanoid body of two arms and two legs. The creature had porcelain-white skin as pure as snow that sparkled in the sunlight. It pulled off its hood to reveal a breathtakingly beautiful heart-shaped face with grey luminous eyes. The creature smiled pleasantly as we took in its appearance. I could not tell if it was a male or female, young or old.
“Welcome.” It said, it’s voice gravely yet musical. “My name is G’Han. Welcome to H’GAfa G’Haerateas–The World of Light.”
I stepped forward a bit, entranced by this creature’s beauty. It simply radiated trustworthiness and I was instantly put at ease by its eloquent and kind words. I could feel the crew behind me putting down their weapons and eagerly moving forward as well.
“Thank you for your words of welcome. I am Official Space Admiral Zane Georges Fabrizio Isidore Floriano of The Lumière du Soleil.”
The creature smiled brilliantly at my introduction. “You have traveled for very long, have you not? Come, let us show you the city-it has been so long since we have last had visitors!” His friends moved eagerly to his side, motioning for us to move forward. We all followed them through the desert enthusiastically, excited to see what these aliens had to show us. Only Marla seemed a bit wary.
“Are you sure that we can trust them, Space Admiral?” She whispered to me as we climbed over one of the large sand hills, which overlooked a huge oasis city.
“Of course!” I said loudly. “They seem like nice people.” Marla remained unconvinced.
The city was an architectural marvel-everything was new and clean and bright. The desert ended at the edge of one side of the city, and a sea spread out from the other. All of the buildings were polished and metallic. Some were made of huge, mirror-like tiles that reflected colored light around the city. According to G’Han, there were many of these cities around the planet. The World of Light had twelve oceans and fourteen deserts (all smaller than the oceans and deserts that we had back on Earth). The atmosphere, as Marla had told me earlier, was thick with a grey haze to it. It was filled with minerals and pieces of metal, rendering it un-breathable. The people of The World of Light did not need to breathe, though. Their energy came from light itself, and so they did not need cellular respiration in order to sustain their life force. I gasped at the beauty of it all as G’Han began to explain the civilization’s culture and religious values.
“We live in a truly wonderful era filled with peace and prosperity.” G’Han said happily as we began to walk through the city’s gates. “The White Goddess has truly blessed us.”
“The White Goddess?” I asked uncertainly, admiring the way that one of the shiny buildings spiraled into the thick, grey atmosphere.
“Yes. We worship the White Goddess-she is the strongest of all of the deities, for it is White from which every other color is derived. She is mother to all of us, and protects us from The God of Black.” He shivered. “Her constant war against the absence of color is what keeps us alive. The God of Black seeks to blot out all color and light-he desires to snuff out our entire existence. The color black is the absence of light.”
I frowned at the worried tone of our guide.
“And just how many of you are there here?” I asked cautiously. “How many of your people does The White Goddess protect?”
“There are approximately three and a half billion of us living on The World of Light. We all follow the teachings of the White Goddess. The White Goddess teaches us to love all others, and to embrace our true colors. You see, each of us has an inner light. When we reach the age of five months old, our inner light becomes apparent. It shines out of our fingertips…” G’Han held up his hands, the edges of his fingers glittered like small emeralds.
“The color of each person’s inner light varies. Each color means something different. The people whose lights are red tend to be extremely passionate and filled with feelings. People whose lights are blue are very intellectual and thoughtful. Those with yellow lights are usually extremely calm and introspective…”
“And what does green mean?” Marla asked G’Han distrustfully.
“Ah…my inner light?” G’Han smiled good-naturedly at Marla. “Green is the color of those with the ability to lead and guide others.”
“That’s wonderful.” I said to G’Han, ignoring Marla’s glare.
“Thank you, but every person’s inner light is important. It makes us who we are-and each individual on this planet is extremely special. Families are arranged according to the color of our inner lights. When children are born, we keep them in our Birthing Hospital. When they all reach the age of five months and their inner light color is revealed, we group them together into families. Each family holds twelve children-each with a different inner light color. Since White is the combination of all colors-we believe that a harmonious family is the combination of people of all inner lights. The children grow up together in one of the various communities around the world and learn to accept and work with those different from them. Family is such a beautiful thing.” G’Han smiled.
“But what about the fathers and mothers!?” Marla asked quickly. “How do children grow without their parents?”
G’Han looked confused. “I’m sorry…but I’m afraid that I do not understand your question. Children grow with their families under the care of older families. I do not know what you mean by ‘parents.’”
“How do you create children without parents!? You need a man and a woman in order to have a child…you need two different genders in order to form a new being.” Marla said angrily to G’Han.
“I am not sure what you mean by “different” genders…here, we are all of the same gender…we procreate using science…in laboratories with the blessing of The White Goddess. That is how it has always been.” G’Han said to Marla. Marla did not even attempt to disguise her look of disbelief.
“You have no different genders here?” I asked, startled yet enraptured in the idea. “No men…no women…just…one thing? How do you fall in love?”
“Oh, that is not something that we have a problem with.” G’Han smiled, once again at ease as we continued to walk through the city. Brilliant white children in chrysalis-like cloaks ran by us laughing.
“Do you see those two-over there?” G’Han pointed at two people sitting on a bench, talking and laughing. “Do you see how they glow?”
I took a closer look at the two bald, androgynous creatures. Both of their bodies were emitting a soft pink glow.
“All of us fall in love at one point or another. We all love each other-but at some point in our lives we will meet our perfect person whose inner light is compatible with our own. This is why we have no jealousy on this planet-we accept that there is someone for everyone. Some people must wait until they are very old to find their love, while others find it at a very young age. When you meet the one person whose light is genetically and spiritually compatible with your own-you both will glow. This person will be your life-long best friend. When two loves first meet, their glow is the brightest, but it slowly fades as the years go by.”
“How do you maintain such a perfect world?” I gazed up at G’Han in wonder. “Surely there is competition for jobs, for food? Surely this cannot be a Utopia!”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, my friend, but we have discovered the essence of perfection many millennia ago.” G’Han laughed merrily. “As for jobs…the majority of us work in the light fields hidden under the desert.”
“Light fields?” Marla asked skeptically.
“Yes, light fields. We have hundreds of thousands of miles of light fields under the desert in which we accumulate large quantities of… “edible” light. The desert sand attracts and traps the rays of the sun, and we harvest it using special solar machines that we built many centuries ago. You see, we consume large quantities of sunlight in order to keep our inner lights glowing. Our bodies are 98% light, and two percent water and muscle. We grow plants in our gardens to provide sustenance to our physical bodies-but our main concern is in feeding our inner lights.
“Most of the people of our planet work short shifts harvesting light and vegetables from our gardens. The majority of our time, though, is spent recreationally with our families, our loves, and our children.”
“Recreation?” I asked.
“Yes, we hold ceremonies of light three times a month. Much of our free time is spent planning these ceremonies-they are so much fun!”
“And just what do you do during these ceremonies?” Marla asked, her voice filled with irritation. Her crossed arms and harsh voice revealed her distrust of G’Han and G’Han’s people, and her narrowed eyes seemed to scream “these people are crazy and evil and are going to hurt us!” But I ignored her. After all, I was the Space Admiral here! She was just a lowly assistant. What did her opinion of my new friend matter?
“Yes, we all gather in the center of the city and grasp hands. There are wonderfully skilled people whom we call “color dancers” that put on shows throughout the night. Using large magnets, they bend the metal and bits of mineral through our thick atmosphere, producing beautiful beams of dancing light! We then sing and embrace our love for one another. Once we do that-we feel all of our inner lights combine to form White Light. This is how we praise our Goddess-by combining all of our colors in harmony to form the White Light that triumphs over darkness, chaos and disorder!” G’Han was now so impassioned that he was crying tears of joy.
That was the point at which Marla snapped.
“Alright…I’m done with this happy perfect bullshit! When you’re ready to go back to the world of sanity, let me know Space Admiral. I’ll be in the ship.” Marla turned on her heel and stormed out of the city-back towards the desert.
“Is she alright?” G’Han asked innocently.
“Yeah, she’ll be fine.” I answered with a trivial wave of my hand. “We can keep going.”
“Wow. Just, wow! That was incredible!” I cried aloud as G’Han fed us some perfect-looking green vegetables in a small café after our tour of the city. “Thank you so much for hosting us in your beautiful world! Perhaps when I send my research report back to Earth we can bring more beings from around the galaxy to visit? I’m sure that they would love it here as much as we do!” I smiled broadly at G’Han and the other members of his family.
“I’m quite sorry, Space Admiral Zane Georges Fabrizio Isidore Floriano of The Lumière du Soleil, but I cannot allow you to send home a report about this planet…”
“What!? W-why not?” I frowned at the suddenly tense tone that G’Han was using.
“This is a place of peace and harmony…by connecting us with the rest of your civilization you will only destroy the utopia that we have worked so hard to craft these past three thousand years.” His face looked troubled. “Isn’t it sad? Change will only throw our world into chaos. I am sure that we could learn so much from your world-from the rest of the galaxy. But we must not bring the unknown into the domain of the White Goddess, it could only mean more chaos for her to battle. We owe her so much-how could we betray her now?”
I frowned sadly at the table. The words that G’Han spoke were true…if we told the galaxy about The World of Light, its perfection and harmony would simply cease to exist.
“Alright.” I said, “That sounds fair. But how will we keep others from discovering this wonderful place? What have you done with your other visitors?” I asked curiously.
“That…is a subject that I’d rather not discuss. But you deserve to know.” G’Han avoided my gaze. “You can only find this planet if you stumble upon it accidently or if you know what you’re looking for. The dense metal in our atmosphere messes with the scanners of satellites and makes our planet virtually undetectable. As for our other visitors…we had to force them to stay on our planet in order to maintain our current existence.”
“Y-you…you mean you don’t let them return to their home planets!?” I asked, suddenly startled out of the happy trance that G’Han had continuously cast on me throughout the day.
“I’m sorry, Space Admiral Zane Georges Fabrizio Isidore Floriano of The Lumière du Soleil. But now that you know of our existence, I’m afraid that you and your crew cannot be allowed to return to your Earth.”
“So this is where the missing space craft landed a few months ago! You’ve been keeping them here the whole time!” I yelled out angrily. G’Han had been keeping secrets from me this whole time! I had trusted him so much…Marla had been right. She had known all along that nothing was perfect. There were flaws in every civilization.
G’Han did not answer me, just gazed into my eyes sadly. “I’ll have special places of residence in our “Visitors” preserve prepared for you and your crew immediately.” A tear slid down G’Han’s soft, white cheek. “I am sorry that I must do this…but I assure you that you will come to love living in captivity…all of the others do.”
As I felt someone gently secure my arms behind my back, my world suddenly swirled into darkness. Though I had probably known all along, it became perfectly clear to me in that instant that the color black truly is the absence of light.