Damian Drake is found in a capsule - his mind intact but his body destroyed. The Griffin’s med crew rebuild him. But who is he really? Is he good, or evil? Galaxy Awakening takes the reader on a 5000-year time-and-space journey to the heart of humanity!
Consciousness awoke within a dark shroud. A blackness that was void of light surrounded him, infinite silence within this dark realm, deafened. He felt as though he were floating inside an enclosed room, no light, no sound and – as he discovered – no feeling. He was numb, paralysed to all senses, and yet, he knew he was alive.
Slowly, the darkness gave way to a lighter shade of black, darker greys now flickered and merged, lighter greys swam within the mix, like sunlight clawing its way through a dark foggy dawn. Pale distant colours emerged from the greys. However, he felt nothing, just a spectator with no apparent emotion.
Sight was returning to him, a myriad of colours exploded silently before him, still, he could feel nothing, no fear, no panic, just … nothing.
He knew that his eyes were open, but he could not focus on the images in front of him, dark grey shapes mingled with pastel blues, yellows, greens and reds, a dark shadowy shape moved across the confusion of colours, it lurched from his right to the centre then seemed to turn towards him. It hesitated for a moment and then loomed nearer to him, it was close and seemed to sway one way then another before retreating into the now solid pastel colours.
The absence of sound, should, he thought, be un-nerving, but he felt relaxed and at ease with the situation unfolding in front of him. He let his mind wonder, far away from the dancing images. How did he get here? He could not remember, where was he. That, was also a mystery.
Who was he? For a second that panicked him, he had no idea who he was, or, where he had come from. He felt the panic swell into his being, it took a hold of him, he wanted to scream, then, as soon as the panic washed through him it was smoothed away and he felt calm and relaxed, floating within the constant blooming of colours and greys.
The dark shape he noticed, seemed to move quicker from one side of his vision to the other, it broke away from the myriad of pastel colours and once again loomed towards him. He watched unconcerned as it came closer.
It stayed longer this time, then he felt something, a touch, gentle and soothing, and then without warning, a noise, it came to him from far away, a mixture of soft sounds entered his hearing, in the distance, various pitches of humming, a melodic sound harmonising at the edge of his senses.
For a while he listened, and his mind followed its hypnotic throws as it moved from one melody to another. Above this were more sounds, more blocks of sound. One close by was deep, another further away higher pitched. Was this language? He wasn’t sure but he determined that there were three separate pitches of sound, the third far away. Of course, he thought, three separate people were in the room with him, talking. They were the dark shapes that moved from one side of his vision to the other. He concentrated on the noise, trying to break it down into words, but could not.
A shape loomed towards him again and a block of noise, deep and authoritative filled his hearing, but he could make no sense of it. Once more he felt the soothing touch on ears, forehead and temples and another block of sound entered his hearing, not just one noise this time but small particles of sound, some with inclined pitch. ‘Words’, he thought, ‘I can hear words. I don’t understand them, but they are definitely words.’
The dark grey shape moved away from him into the blurred regions of the pastel colours. Another shape moved to the same position and he heard the language being spoken again, one deep, almost guttural voice, the other softer, higher pitched. ‘Male and female’, he thought. One grey shape moved away and came back towards him. He felt the gentle touch upon his temples again, a shivering feeling washed through him, not unpleasant, not unpleasant at all. ‘Almost sexual’, he thought. He bathed in the sensation, feeling light and calm. Then he heard a noise. Not heard exactly, more sensed.
‘Barralama ka delim derom. ‘Words’, he thought. Separated from each other. ‘Syllables’, he exclaimed to himself. Definitely syllables, it was definitely a language, but the words held no meaning to him.
Again, a soothing sensation flowed through his mind, the shape moved slightly to one side.
‘Barralama to hear derom’, the deep voice whispered.
He concentrated. He had heard something that made some sort of sense. He tried to speak but could not. The shape moved back slightly and said something that again, he could not comprehend, a second grey shape appeared to his right side. They were both leaning over him, and again he was awash with a soothing, relaxing feeling.
‘Are you able to hear what I say, close your eyes if you do,’ he felt the relief cascade through his mind. ‘Yes’, he thought. ‘I can understand’. He closed his eyes.
‘Good …’ said the deeper voice, almost in triumph. The shape leaned over his field of vision to the shape at his left-hand side. A conversation in muted tones passed between them. He could not make out its content. The shape then turned to him.
‘Listen carefully, for now, you cannot move or talk. You are in need of a lot of,’ he paused, the smaller shape leant towards the larger, whispered voices were exchanged.
‘Restoration work,’ the deeper voice said hesitantly.
‘You are …, in a very bad …” the voice stopped. He then heard a deep sigh.
‘I am so sorry, but you are not in the best of shapes, I and my team are confident that we can bring you through this. I am Doctor Ghorbany, you are in my medical centre. We are on the Stella ship ‘Griffin’, we found you in a life pod canister. We are doing everything we can, but …’ his voice trailed away, and the sigh within the ‘but’ spoke volumes.
‘In the meantime, I am passing you over for psychiatric assessment: You will be linked with the Griffin’s Med-Comm system. Do you understand? Blink if you do.’ He had no idea what the Griffin was, a star ship, maybe, but what type of ship, a battle ship, a science ship, he didn’t know. ‘Am I crew, passenger or captive? Life pod canister’, he thought, but no recollection came to him. And what was a Med -Comm system? It all meant nothing to him. Again, he tried to talk but found he couldn’t. He closed his eyes, then reopened them.
He didn’t fully understand what psychiatric assessment meant either, but the fact was that he was obviously in no condition to argue.
The pastel colours around him swirled and converged back to various shades of grey, he noticed they were now spiralling around him creating a tunnel of dark and light. He felt no sensation of movement, although the vision before him gave him the impression of falling.
Then, without warning, the grey dissipated, all he could see now was unbroken blue, and warmth, he could feel warmth.
Isle in the Tropics
A warm breeze ruffled his hair and he could smell the sea salt within it. He looked out over a turquoise lagoon, the white breakers exploding onto the white fine sand that he lay upon. The sky above was an unbroken blue from horizon to horizon. Behind him, some hundred metres away, the shoreline swayed with green palms. Above these, towered a large volcano, its steep sides rising to a smoking plateau.
‘Hello.’ He turned in the direction of the voice. An elderly man in his seventies, maybe eighties was walking down the beach towards him. He wore a white floppy hat that covered his snow-white hair, which was long, pulled back and tied and hanging to his shoulders. He wore a faded blue shirt with sleeves rolled up to his elbows and white shorts. His feet were bare, his skin weathered and tanned.
‘I’m Comm,’ he said cheerfully, as he leant down and held out his hand.
From his laying position, he reached out and took the offered hand and was amazed at the strength held within it. With ease Comm pulled him to his feet.
‘I’m …’ he hesitated.
‘I’m not sure who I am,’ he said slowly. He delved into his memory, and found nothing. He was starting to feel anger and frustration, but the overriding feeling, was fear.
The old man gently put his arm around his shoulders and led him across the sand towards the palm trees.
‘That’s what we are here for, to find out all about you, and …’ he said with a smile on his weathered face. ‘Until we do, I’ll call you … Sandy,’
He turned to the older man puzzled.
The old man grinned, showing perfect white teeth.
‘Well, it’s pretty obvious really. You’re covered in it.’
The younger man stopped and looked down at himself, Comm chuckled as he walked on towards the palms. He was covered head to foot in a layer of fine white sand. He brushed it away as best he could, then ran to catch up to the old man.
At the tree line, he noticed a break in the palms, and in the shade a beach bar made of bamboo and wicker. In front, two wicker stools on which they each took a seat and considered each other. Comm seemed to have a permanent knowing smile, his face showing patience in abundance. He, on the other hand, although tall with long unkempt fair hair, wearing a white singlet and white shorts, looked nervous and unsure.
‘We seem to have a bar with no bartender,’ the younger man said, just to break the silence.
‘Oh, I’m sure one will be here soon,’ Comm said smoothly.
‘After all, you do have quite a vivid imagination,’ he said panning his hand across the vista. Sandy followed this indication, taking in the trees, the sand and the turquoise sea.
‘Me, oh no, this is your world, not mine.’
‘I can assure you, Sandy, if this was my virtual world, it would be completely empty. It may, however, be pale green or blue, and there would be two comfortable chairs facing each other, maybe a table between them. No distractions you see, but this, actually, I like it, and it’s all from your subconscious, not from me at all. The reason I like it, is, this is your inner being yelling out at you. All we have to do, is decipher it.’
A noise behind the bar made them both turn in their seats, a two-metre-tall praying mantis unfolded itself and began cleaning glasses.
‘Hm, a lot of deciphering.’ Comm said with a chuckle. He leant forward towards the mantis:
‘A large Callina, please.’ The mantis grabbed a hold of various bottles beneath the counter and with dextrous ease poured the drink and offered it to the smiling Comm.
He took a sip and held the liquid in his mouth before swallowing.
‘Oh yes, I like your world very much, far better than anything I could come up with.’ He put the glass on the bar top and leant back on his stool.
Sandy wasn’t sure of the mantis, but slowly asked for his drink.
‘Apple juice, please’. He watched the intricate dance of limbs and Fore-legs and soon, a glass of iced apple juice in a tall glass stood before him. His work done, the Mantis reverted his attention to cleaning glasses. Sandy looked at Comm’s drink with fascination: The liquid within had started clear, but now as he looked on, swirls of colour exploded within the glass.
‘What is that?’ he asked, transfixed on the glass.
‘A drink from a miner’s outpost, the fifth planet of Tau Ceti.’ Comm picked up the glass and took another sip.
‘The flavours explode onto your pallet,’ he continued.
‘It looks fantastic, I might try one next.’
Comm studied the young creature that sat before him, humanisque, definitely, he thought, but so different from the bi-pedal human creatures he had worked with on the Griffin. Something was different, a difference he could not quite define, but, early days, he had been given almost indefinite time, this young human was important.
He thought on that, why did the medical team think he was important, who had told them that he was? Curious, he thought. Smiling, Comm leant forward and said, ‘I have never seen a creature quite like that,’ moving his gaze to the creature cleaning a tall glass.
‘Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know I don’t get out much, being the ship’s Com-link, but I have looked in every historical file, not only the Griffin’s, but Command files too, nothing, absolutely nothing comes close to it, and this scenario, it’s very nice, but what is it, and your accent, I don’t think I’ve heard that accent before, in fact, the medical team did have a problem in getting you to understand our dialect, and I have quite a large data base,’ his eyes sparkled waiting for new information. Sandy sipped his juice, and gave a puzzled look.
‘It’s a praying mantis,’ he said watching the creature remove glasses from the back shelf, and then with the intricacies of its forelegs shine the glasses crystal clean.
He smiled, feeling no threat from such a large predator that stood less than a metre away.
‘It’s not meant to be that big, mostly they are about 5 to 10 centimetres long, and they certainly don’t do bar work … well, maybe they do here, they are known, or, the female is known to devour the male after mating.’ Comm’s eyebrows lifted, he turned to look at the mantis who was still busy cleaning glasses.
‘I think we will be quite safe; I can’t see us doing any of that’, Sandy said. He leant back on his stool and chuckled.
‘And this,’ the older man cast his arm wide, Sandy looked around at the tropical scene, he turned to Comm, and smiling, said.
‘Is a typical tropical island, complete with volcano, and you asked about my accent, I’m sorry, I can’t explain that, it’s just the way I talk’ Comm regarded the young man carefully. He was relaxed and open, it was now time to probe.
‘But, from where, what planet?’ he asked, and thought that that was a good opening. Sandy slumped down into his stool.
‘Well, erm, I, er. I don’t know, er, do you mean me, or the island, me, I have no idea, but the island seems familiar, in fact it’s so familiar I would say that it’s, stereotypical.’ Comm once again raised his eyebrows.
‘Stereotypical, you are very, very strange. You create a world that no one has ever seen, then use a word that I have never heard before, and I can assure you, I know billions of words.’ Sandy frowned, and then shrugged.
‘Having the qualities that you would expect a particular type of person or thing to have. This island is a tropical island. If you were to say to someone, think of a tropical island, this, is what they would think of. It is a stereotype, hence stereotypical,’ Sandy said, then sipped his apple juice.
‘But from where? Comm countered, leaning forward.
‘Well from …the tropics,’ Sandy said at last, shrugging his shoulders.
Comm drank the last of his drink.
‘The tropics … many planets that orbit the habitable region of a star have tropical regions, but I have never seen anything quite like this, and I have been the Com-link aboard this ship for forty-seven standard years, and in that time the Griffin has visited over ten thousand planets. Not once have I witnessed anything quite like this, so, be more specific, which planet, exactly?’ he demanded, the smile fading.
Sandy was taken aback by this sudden turn in the conversation. It was no longer jovial, more interrogational. He studied Comm, who was now sitting upright, his bright blue eyes boring into him.
‘You are after information that you know I have no access to. But I know whatever this planet is, this island is a part of it.’
Comm relaxed and leaned back from the young man, the smile returning.
‘Then let’s look at the evidence, an island, the mantis, oh, and the apple juice. The first two I know nothing about, but an apple, now this has come up in my findings of over ten thousand searches. It is indigenous to a planet called Earth. The early colonists on a multitude of planets tried to cultivate the apple, and many other fruits and vegetables, but they just could not get them to grow. Now, the strange thing is, how do you know about the apple? I found mention of it in a report whose author is now long gone, like the planet it came from, a planet that was destroyed over five thousand standard years ago. So, tell me, mystery man, how is it possible that you, a person that has no memory, can imagine this whole scenario, with reference to a fruit that you could not possibly know.’
Sandy sipped his apple juice and concentrated on the taste. It definitely was apple, he recognised it as the juice of an apple. If it were to be fermented it would turn into an alcoholic cider, he knew that. He knew that this was an island, although he had not walked its perimeter. The mantis however, was pure imagination, the creature shouldn’t be two meters tall, and would never be serving drinks, this was all imagination, with truths and fiction mingled together. But the revelation that Earth had been destroyed, unsettled him. He did not know why, he had never heard of the place, so why should it affect him? He leant back on his stool and studied the old man, a personification of a machine that collects data.
He replaced the glass on the counter. He had drunk two thirds of its contents. The Mantis dropped in two cubes of ice and refilled it with juice before returning to its glass cleaning.
‘I don’t know, how I know, I just know that it is. I have never heard of the planet Earth, and yet,’ he leaned forward.
‘Why should I feel somehow upset when you tell me it’s been destroyed?’
Comm’s seemed to be in a faraway place. His face was expressionless He had raised his right hand to his chin and his index finger tapped the side of his cheek.
‘Er … you okay Comm?’ Sandy asked with concern.
‘Yes, sorry, er, yes. I am just receiving information from the Med lab team: You have just had a massive emotional experience, in a mind that has no memories. You are a fascinating study and I am sure that some of the answers to a lot of our questions are to be found here, in this wonderful place that you have created for us. We still have quite some time left, so, let’s go and explore.’
Putting his empty glass on the bar, he stood and walked towards the white breakers. Sandy left the full glass of apple juice and followed him. ‘This Comm,’ he thought, ‘seems to blow hot and cold without hesitation.’ Something within him warned him to be wary, and yet, Comm, was here to help him … wasn’t he?
He picked up his speed and very soon he caught him up. Comm stood at the water’s edge, turned and looked down one side of the beach then turned to look down the other.
‘Any preference as to which way?’ he asked.
‘If this is an island that means, whichever way we go, we’ll end up back here. So I don’t think it really matters … so, let’s go that way,’ he said pointing. Comm shrugged and turned to walk down the white sandy beach. Sandy followed two paces behind. After twenty minutes Comm called to the younger man.