Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Back Home (Book 4 of the Alien Encounters Series) by Kim Welsman Chapter 1

Back Home (Book 4 of the Alien Encounters Series) by Kim Welsman

Lyrissa, psychic investigator from the New Americas on Earth finds herself travelling to Sylax, an alien world with Peggy her Sylaxian friend. Lyrissa and Peggy follow the evil Tellons and Tannis, former aid to the Grand Councillor now turned traitor, back to Sylax. These foes are ready to take over the planet and enslave the Sylaxian populace once again, so Lyrissa and Peggy are compelled to act. Now both females must travel with their Sylaxian companions into the desert to the ancient Ruins of Jurel and face down their foes.

This fourth book in the Alien Encounters Series has been written in a new format, so you get to see and experience what Lyrissa does in this new world, while also getting Peggy’s point of view on her Sylaxian home. Written from two different view points challenges the reader, but provides more depth an insight into each both Lyrissa’s and Peggy’s psyche during their personal journeys on Sylax.

Chapter 1

From the moment I stepped through the portal, wind whipped by, tugging at my short hair, lifting it to almost its full extent; static energized my body. And so I fell, down and down. I could just make out Peggy’s image several metres in the distance. We both slid along a yellow-and-orange electrified tube of some kind. We appeared to be travelling downward, but when a giant star’s prominence flashed, it became clear we travelled in a straight line past it. Such celestial beauty ebbed in orange waves, licking at the tube for a few seconds then disappearing in the next instant. Waves undulated out into space and caused the death of a nearby speck in the sky, but nothing shook the electrified tube. I called to Peggy, but my voice hung in the air and became swallowed up by the tube’s emanations. I couldn’t ask questions of the diabolical miracle I’d just witnessed; she remained too far ahead of me. Unable to converse, I travelled in the tube’s cocooning silence. She’s always the same distance from me.
On we travelled past galaxies, so fast all I could make out were blurred stars. Then the tube narrowed, like we could be swallowed up at any moment. Without notice, Peggy winked out of existence. I panicked. I didn’t know what I’d do if we got separated. Her presence held some kind of reassurance for me; she knew what had happened to us and would get us through our problems because of her own experience in this alien world.
Without warning, something tugged hard at my feet. I attempted to pull away but remained helpless. Will I be ripped apart? Did Peggy disappear this same way? I watched in terror as my legs became longer and longer, every muscle and ligament stretching to some distant point of blackness, bringing with it excruciating pain. What will become of me? I wondered as my torso began to elongate, all the while the beautiful shifting yellows and oranges remained ever constant along the tube. Held spellbound for what seemed like eons, I watched as the black pinpoint remained the same distance from me, my body becoming more and more drawn out, stretched almost beyond recognition. Then a colossal rush of water sounded in my ears.
Time stopped, and a shower of particles flew at me from all directions, obliterating my surroundings. Then a spectre, an outline of the tube, came into view and almost immediately winked out of existence. I fell onto the hard surface of a cave floor. With blurred vision, I grasped the cave wall for assistance, leaning forward on shaky legs. Where the hell am I? My eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness, and cave walls with strange markings came into focus. Something touched my shoulder, and I recoiled.
Are you feeling okay, Lyrissa?” Peggy crouched toward me.
What?” I asked. The question rumbled in my throat. I swallowed and tried again. “What was that? Peggy—please explain.”
In the dim cave light, I could distinguish her skin’s faint blue brilliance. “We came through the portal,” she said. “Don’t you remember?”
Pegulatha, Earther talk so soon?” A giant creature said. She stood willowy tall, like some stately tree, but appeared humanoid like Peggy.
My eyes narrowed while I tried to get some perspective on this new world, but all it did was raise more questions. “What does she mean? Aren’t you allowed to speak like me?” I looked at Peggy in confusion.
The willowy female with silvery, bark-like skin winced, but remained silent.
Lyrissa, I want you to meet Mother. She is my creator, and I am of the CK-1 generation.”
I could feel my demeanour brighten in the gloomy cave. “I’m so pleased to meet you.” But what is a CK-1? I have to enquire further.
Coming out of my thoughts, I noticed the creature named Mother twitch. Her response to my salutation made this alien cave feel even more unsettling. The eerie lights on the walls proved to be bugs unlike any I’d ever seen before. They provided me with an otherworldly view of this new world, illuminating several metres into the gloom. I turned back to Peggy, and the creature named Mother extended her hand in a peculiar fashion, palm side down. What do I do? I don’t want to offend her.
I felt a strange sensation at the base of my neck, and the beginnings of a light headache formed at my temples. Peggy’s voice echoed in my mind. Extend your hand in kind. I glanced back at her, and she nodded at me. I did as instructed.
It is so good to finally meet an Earther. I did not mean to offend by my earlier comment. We are so glad you came with Pegulatha to Sylax,” Mother said.
A tingling sensation lingered. I did my best to endure this new feeling and only retracted my hand when Mother did, doing my best to discretely wipe the back of my hand, trying to alleviate the impression. Within seconds the cave appeared a bit brighter, the creatures a little more familiar.
Pegulatha, you must explain to Lyrissa how she got here so she understands the process. It will aid her when it’s time to return.”
Yes, Peggy. How did we leave the pond to get to the tube? It happened in a blur.”
Ralph’s energy mingled with yours. He was able to help you reach hyperawareness. Once you reached that state, the olistation tube opened at our call and moved us beyond space-time to the destination of our choosing.”
But I didn’t want to go anywhere.” I hesitated to consider my feelings right before we left Earth. In a way, I guess Ralph helped me.
I chose for us. We needed to come back to Sylax. I knew we got close when Gruvea and Guvaris appeared as twin pinpoints of light. When the rings of Sylax came into view, I was ready for a horizon jump. I made my symbiot ready for the co-ordinate transfer Mother required so she could boost the translation and the symbiot could convert our energy into dust, ready for Her to read, to bring us through.”
Who is Her?”
Why the Mother of all trees, the Genetic Life Giver, of course,” Mother said with her willowy arms outstretched toward a long dim tunnel.
I leaned on the wall to catch my breath and heard the glopping sound of several bugs ringing in my ear. My frame felt lighter than usual. I unhitched myself from the wall and stumbled forward with great force from such a slight movement.
What the hell?” I asked.
Peggy turned to Mother in astonished apprehension.
The mythologies implied their bone structure became denser than ours. It is a positive sign indeed.” Mother watched me as I righted myself.
I moved with measured steps toward Peggy. “What’s going on?”
“Your bone structure is similar to mine but not the same. Your bones are more solid, more dense. Your muscles are more powerful so they can propel you through Sylax’s weaker gravitational pull.”
How did you know that?”
Our mythology,” Mother said.
Myths that include Earthers?” I questioned.
Peggy put up her hand, and Mother gave her what I took to be an inquisitive look. “All in due time. I believe She awaits our arrival, does She not, Mother?”
Yes. We have some distance to travel still. If we leave now, we should get there by midday.”
Peggy and Mother began to walk off.
Hey, wait!”
They both turned and looked at me. I stood in a dim cave on an alien planet with no means of returning home with all the bravado that I, as a mere human, could muster.
Peggy, I need to know what happened to us up there, assuming it was up there.” I pointed toward the ceiling of the cave. “Why did you disappear in an instant? First you were several metres in front of me then it was like you winked out of existence. You just...disappeared. You were gone.”
I’d reached the event horizon on the tail end of the olistation tube.” Peggy hesitated when Mother winced. “So sorry, Mother. A habit once started is hard to break. I used them back on Earth, and Theaula became so enthralled with them I couldn’t—I mean, I could not stop.”
Mother shook her head.
What’s wrong? Why can’t you use contractions?” I paused. “Wait. I remember. It was so many years ago, but when you first came to Earth, you didn’t use them.”
Mother sighed. “Pegulatha, perhaps I should get used to these strange ways. Unusual forms of socialization are not so bad. We await the undiscovered, remember?”
Peggy bowed her head. “Yes, Mother. I will tell Lyrissa about it when you feel she is ready.”
Mother smiled. “You meant to say ‘Iyll’?”
Yes, Mother, I’ll tell her.”
I touched the cool wall of the cave and felt an overpowering presence. I fell to my knees.
I believe, my Earth sister, you have discovered the Genetic Life Giver. She is close and awaits your arrival.” Peggy held out a hand and pulled me to my feet.
Sister? What do you mean?”
Without the Genetic Life Giver’s assistance you would not have survived olistation tube travel.” Mother gestured toward the back of Peggy’s hand.
Yes, it’s how we were able to get pulled from the event horizon and through the other side of the portal.” Peggy tilted her head toward a faint orange-yellow light in the distance.
Did that just appear?” I hadn’t noticed until she drew my attention to it.
The signature has been there since we got back. Your ocular nerves need time to adjust to the tangulik’s light.” Peggy pointed to the small, glowing, blue bugs sprinkled along the cave’s walls.
Event Horizon. I’ve heard that term in relation to Ralph’s old 1990’s movie talk. What is it?”
“The area from which no light can escape. It lies at the terminus of the olistation tube—”
Wait a minute. Aren’t you talking about a black hole?”
Yes, I believe we received a transmission including this ‘black hole’ term. We call it the olistation tube terminus.”
You get transmissions from Earth?”
Yes, on a regular basis now. Your radio wave signals travel toward us but hadn’t reached us since they have to travel through the vastness of space. We sought them out after we discovered Earth, but we’ve since hyper-extended our array atop the Imperius in order to get current transmissions.” Peggy watched me with keen intent.
I felt my face drop. “You’re kidding. You can find out what’s happening on Earth?”
Not only that, we also have the ability to see the smallest details and can locate both Ralph and Cal. Of course, Theaula is also under constant surveillance,” Mother chimed in.
You can even break through the code to watch Ralph?”
Yes, of course. Our technology is quite advanced. I would never have allowed Theaula to stay unless I could monitor her,” Peggy said.
I paused a moment to consider the gravity of what she’d revealed to me. All of this and travelling through a black hole, too? I did my best to take in the strange surroundings. The small, blue, bioluminescent bugs on the wall reminded me of the specks of dust scattered throughout the tube. I shook my head and came back to the moment.
Peggy gazed at me wide-eyed. “You seem ill, Lyrissa. Can we do anything to help?”
No, I just need a moment to adjust.” I leaned against a barren section of the cave wall. The point of contact felt soothing, inviting, like my body wanted and needed whatever the wall transmitted. Then it came to me in a moment of inspiration. Could it have been the dust? I straightened. “So why wasn’t I torn apart in the black hole’s tremendous gravitational pull?”
The Genetic Life Giver’s dust,” Mother declared.
My nose wrinkled. “You’ve mentioned Her before. Who is the Genetic Life Giver?”
Mother extended a willowy arm and draped it over the strange red rock wall. “Feel her essence.”
In the rock?” So that’s what I felt earlier. It must have been something from the Genetic Life Giver creature.
Mother ran her hand along the seemingly smooth surface. “Yes. Durelenite carries her signature. She emits a strong essence within the stone. She has been waiting for you for such a long time.”
Me?” I felt the rock wall with exposed skin this time. The moment I touched its surface, a voice called: Lyrissa, your time has come. I recoiled and wiped my hand on my pants leg.
Peggy reached for my arm and gave it a light pat. “Not to worry, Lyrissa. She could never harm. The Genetic Life Giver is the Mother of all trees.” Peggy moved forward and ran her fingers across the glass-like, cleaved rock face. “She has the ability to harness the Dust of the Cosmos. It’s what caused the temporary space-time bubble to form in the terminus and enabled us to leave the black hole.”
Is that when the specks of dust came at me?”
Yes. The bubble slowed down the terminus’ gravitational pull long enough to create a vortex which pulled you through the portal.” Peggy peered down the long tunnel.
I squinted but remained unable to fully adjust to the bioluminescent gloom like my companions could. I was startled by a booming noise from Mother then it faded to sound like dry leaves passing by each other in fall. Is she laughing and giggling?
That and your ability to synthesize the dust with the aid of your symbiot. Your powers are growing, Pegulatha,” Mother said.
We wouldn’t have been able to escape the gravitational pull of the terminus, I mean the black hole, without this.”
I watched with a mixture of amazement and horror as a spike protruded from the back of Peggy’s hand. A small, slimy, green creature squirmed into her open palm.
I forced myself to lean closer and examined the amoeba-like organism. “What is that?”
A simple tech symbiot irradiated then fitted with wet-wired elon energizers that are linked into the Genetic Life Giver’s dust. It was the only way she could get a lock on us with Mother’s help.”
Mother held up a strange instrument the size of a reader that emanated a pale blue, diffused light from a five-centimetre-square screen.
She waits for our arrival,” Mother said, guiding us up the inclined path. We stopped for a brief moment.
             “The ancient Sylaxians used to travel through here on their way to the city. They stripped the forest, but it came back.” She touched the wall then rubbed her fingers together. “There is much water in the rock. It is not much further now.” She tapped on the hydropad then pointed. We took a passageway that veered off to the right. While we walked upward toward the dimmed portal entrance, the hydropad flickered out an unknown sequence, which brought a smile to Mother’s face.

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