Alba Chapter 2

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Aurora lights up the planet like fairies dancing in space as Flight Engineer Aki maneuvers a small spacecraft through the earth-like atmosphere—smoothly and deftly slipping between the sea of rock debris forming the planet’s rings.

After so many wormhole travels, decades of space wandering, rejecting planets after planets, and watching the disappointment on the face of the remaining 10,000 earthlings aboard three spaceships, a forgotten feeling emerges. They choose to land on a crescent shaped harbor where one end is a peninsula cliff jutting up proudly and defiantly while the other is black land walking into the sea. As Aki sets the craft on the ebony shore, she glances at the captain beside her, his hair growing more grey over the years while his eyes remain sharp and alert. She sees his gaze softens as he surveys the planet.

This feels like it could be Home.

Two scientists exit first to test the planet’s air and water.

The water is clear as it ebbs over the black sand, causing the sound of a million pebbles racing back and forth. It is a sound Aki hasn’t heard since Earth. There are no other sound except the rhythmic rustling of leaves chased by the wind. Aki can see an endless green forest to one horizon while turquoise water spans the other horizon reaching clear blue skies marred only by the planet’s ring. It is almost a replica of Earth.

A scientist announces it is safe to breath and they all removed their helmet.

Now it is the captain and Aki’s turn to survey the land for safety.

Aki finds herself drifting towards the cliff as they enter the edge of the green kingdom. Large trees loom overhead like Earth’s mythical rainforests. Still they hear no sound except the crunching noise below their feet as they wind their way through the forest.

As they near the top, an impenetrable wall of branches and vines stops Aki. She puts her hand out and feels cold hardness. Not tree trunk because it feels too smooth. She pushes against the wall and a rumble echoes throughout the rainforest. Trees shake and leaves rain down on them. The captain rushes to her side just as a piece of the wall falls forward, landing with a thud on the soft ground. The captain examines the wall as Aki bends down to pick up the broken rock. She turns it around and realizes that the rock was actually a tome. Earth once had books and tomes before the last Great War. Now, everything is stored on a digital device already built into their brain from birth. Only the greatest novels throughout history were saved when they left Earth. She’s read through most of them already. But to feel a real book in her hand was something else.

Aki opens the tome slowly, the leaf of the pages are made of thin gray slate-like rock instead of paper. Edges are crumbling to sand but the margin of the book are thick enough to save most of the writings.

“Captain, it’s a book.” Aki holds it up to the older man, his white hair glistens in the stray sunlight that found its way through the thick canopy.

“So it is,” he agrees and pulls out a tiny handheld machine from his back holster. Turning it on, a low glow radiates in the forest. Aki closes the tome as the captain takes it from her and lays the machine on top to X-ray the content, data gathers and collects, scans and refines. As the tiny computer gathers this information, it sends backs a processing time for translation.

As the computer does its job, Aki looks into the hole where the book fell out of and pushes a little more and a door opens causing the branches and vines to suddenly snap up, revealing an opening into a cool darkness of an intelligently designed cavern.

“Captain, look!” Aki calls.

With book in hand, they slowly enter the cavernous room, the temperature cooler than in the rainforest. They realize that flashlights are not needed as light streams from the top where a large hole appears to open for the sky.

As they gaze around, they see a spiral staircase in the center that leads to the top where it seems to end abruptly. It is broken and covered in moss and brown leaves.

“It’s an abandoned lighthouse of sorts,” Aki realizes based on the architecture.

The computer suddenly beeps telling them the translation is complete.

“That was quick,” the captain muses aloud and starts to the play the translation.

“Book of Dawn.”

Chapters 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

Author’s Note

As you can gather, I was very much influenced and inspired by Interstellar and a bit of Battlestar Galactica writing the first portion of this chapter. It deviates a little bit towards a scene from Doctor Who. And much of the rainforest scene was inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark. The nerd in me just came out with all my favorite movies and meshed it into one world.

But most importantly, the “lighthouse” structure was inspired by my love of lighthouses, which has always been a sort of romantic figure. It’s a house but it’s meant to lure sailors to safety. It’s a house but isn’t exactly a home. It’s a place for a lonely person, someone who’ll stand and wait and reel in lost ships and sailors. There’s definitely a romance to that aspect of the lighthouse.


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