Apples & Something Burnt

Drafted by Vivien & Enoch

Drafter: Vivien Tu, Enoch Lee Art: Vivien Tu Publisher: Linda Jan Editor: Kevin Chang & Arthur Chuang Copy Editor: Beverly Chan & Kimberly Kuo

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Chapter 1 – Festival of the gods 2 Chapter 2 – Kai Chapter 3 - Kimya Chapter 4 - The gods 11 24 34

Chapter 5 - The clever and the wise 37 43

Chapter 6 – War

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Chapter 7 – Jubilation


Chapter 1 - Festival of the gods.

100...99...98... It was the festival of the gods, a day where they would bless us with their presence, during days like these the whole city would be coated in a thin golden layer of glory and gratitude. I looked over the roofs of marble buildings, tented markets and admired the temple that stood nobly across the square.

90...89…88... People rushed up and down, preparing food and trying to yell over the excitement. Adaya, the head of the kitchen came up to me. “If they keep

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this pace, we will never be ready for the gods!!” she said, but with a huge grin. No one can conceal their jubilation, not during the festival.

73...72...71... “The kitchen is no place for the President’s daughter,” a voice teased behind me, “Your father is looking for you.” It was Lazar, my father’s assistant. “I was just going to head back,” I lied quickly. Lazar follows me around too much. According to my father there would be a morally corrupted man standing in every corner, waiting to do me harm. There was no one, just the festival and citizens that are drowned in joy.

65...64...63... I climbed up the endless steps leading to the highest place of the city : The President’s Mansion. Looking down, the city was shining like the reflection of the sun on water. My mother came down, dressed up for the opening ceremony. Her blazing gold hair fell perfectly on her shoulders; the smile she wore made me smile.

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52...51...49... “I’m here to offer you a chance to slip to the market,” she whispered as she slipped a few coins into my hand, “and tell Benita that the apples last time were lovely.” Without hesitating I turned and fled down the stairs towards freedom.

34...33...32... I rushed down to find Lazar waiting for me at the end, I frowned, he ignored my expression and held out his hand “Shall we? Ms. Ali?”. Oh’s better than nothing “I’ve told you many times, just call me Galaxy,” I reminded him and trotted off to the most bustling place of town.

20...19...18... Everyone’s hair was glimmering gold, a sense of pride. We have always been proud of being who we are and the way we live life. I came up to Benita’s stool, leaned on the counter and rang the bell. “Slipping to the market again eh?” yelled a voice from the back, Benita stomped out
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carrying a whole basket of apples, grinning with the rest of the population. She was a chubby and strong-spoken woman.

10...9...8... I grinned back, “Don’t tell father”, and I placed the coins on her newly polished counter. “Mother really liked the apples you gave us last time.” Benita’s hair instantly shone even brighter. “Those were the best this season!” she declared, “the very best!!”. She handed me the basket of apples. “Okay Galaxy, time to head back. We can’t be late for the ceremony,” Lazar urged, “It’s going to be a good year this year”.

3...2...1. The last thing I saw was Lazar’s look of alarm. The sound of explosion deafened me and my sight darkened.

I woke up feeling the weight of something pressing down on was Lazar.

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“No...this is not happening” my hands trembled as I managed to roll his body off me, his hair was pale white, there’s nothing I can do. Finding it difficult to breath, I turned back to find Benita in the ruins of her stool, her hair showing the same deadly color of white. The city was silent except for occasional moans or cries. My heart was racing, next thing I knew, I was running up the endless stairs that led back to my home. My mind was blank, as if the explosion has shocked all thoughts out of it and halted it completely.

As I reached the top I cried out my mother’s name, my voice coming out more hoarse and shattered than I expected…...there was no answer. Alarmed, I took soft steps into the house, there was something about the wide open door that made me nervous. My home was wrecked, the proud decorations were now scattered on the floor as if they’ve been trampled on. I climb the stairs cautiously, trying to be as quiet as possible, trying to be as sane as possible. My bedroom remained untouched, still, the smoke outside declared the existence of ruination. Blurred dark figures circled in the sky. When they appeared to be a
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second fleet of crafts, panic overtook me. I screamed as someone took me by my shoulders.

“Galaxy!” my father shouted as he shook me back to my senses, “Galaxy..” he repeated it again as if he wasn’t sure that I was his daughter. He was still wearing his suit for the ceremony. It was already torn and did this happen? He felt my head, waving away hairs that stuck to my face, checking if I got hurt. His hair was deep red, he looked at me with a look that I did not understand…anger? sorrow? pain? The sound of the crafts grew louder. Without saying a word my father started leading me down the long corridor, his hand grasping on to my wrist so hard that it hurts. “Where are we going dad?” I asked. My father was a calm person, seeing him tense and stressed made me feel like the world was going to end. He wore the same incomprehensible expression “There’s going to be a second attack” he muttered as if speaking to himself. We took an urgent turn and I found myself in a room I’ve never seen before. The glassy iron walls contrasted with the wooden furniture. Before me was a mini life craft,
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with no delay my father keyed in something to the panel at the side, the door opened and he shoved me in.

There was only one seat. I turned back and stared at him. In his eyes I saw my own reflection; my hair was now ink black and I saw the most hopeless and accusing eyes a girl could ever have. My father smiled weakly. “Your mother would have done the same” he concluded. He pressed another button, the door closed. “Find the gods” he said, and the craft fired off. It was a matter of seconds till the words sank in : “would have…”, I pictured my mother lying lifelessly on the ground, her hair sharing the same haunting color as Lazar and Benita. Drowning in grief and drained out of strength I looked out of the life craft. It’s as if the entire city was covered in snow. The second wave of bombs rained down.

I forced myself to watch my city burn in flames, like it would lessen the guilt of leaving. When the enemy crafts that pursued me fired at the life

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craft, I was surprised that there was no fear in me. I got hit, the craft started to turn uncontrollably.

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Chapter 2 – Kai

Find the gods.

“What should we do with this girl?” a voice asked. I tried to open my eyes but my body won’t listen to me. “All alien findings should be reported to the government” the other said “any vital signs?”, I felt someone pressing two fingers on my neck. “Yes” the first voice reported, “she is still alive”.

I found myself in a large room, sitting on a steel chair, the room was entirely in the tone of grey, every surface was smooth and spotless, my dark purple hair seemed to be the only thing that had color. In front of me was a long table, there sat three men in their mid-forties, they wore robes that fitted perfectly and their faces showed no emotion. “What is your name, where are you from and why are you here?” the first man asked, though in his forties, his features were perfectly symmetrical, and had a nice edge to his face. “My name is Galaxy Ali, I’m from Bismuth,
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we are under attack and my life craft got hit”, the three men showed no surprise, “please” I implored “you have to save my planet”. The three men looked at each other but did not exchange any words, the second one spoke “that is most unlikely to happen, our technology surpasses those of your planet and your enemy, saving your planet would not bring any benefits to us, on the contrary it might cost us minor damages” the other two nodded in agreement, still emotionless. “So that’s it? you are just going to sit and watch us get enslaved?, until we are broken and have nothing left?” I could feel my anger building up, I bet the three men saw that too because they were now also on their feet. Finally the third man spoke, he was fairly thin and had a sense of gracefulness “That would be enough Bismuthian, We do not have the obligation nor the willingness to help you. We have heard about your emotions and your famous color-changing hair. Emotions will be annihilated before more damage is done”.

I didn’t even get the chance to ask where I was, all I know is that the prisons on this grey planet were just as spotless as what seemed to be
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the court room. The minutes that I spent here sitting while my planet was in war, they pressed on my chest making it difficult to breath, “how can I sit around like this” I choked, the iron bars look like they’re mocking me. I found myself a corner and curled up against the icy wall, “this whole planet appears cold” I thought to myself, I pictured my mother’s smile before she sent me to the market, seeing that here would be like witnessing a miracle. “Why are you crying?” someone asked, I lifted my head to find a boy about my age, he was looking at me with the same expressionless face, they have ordered an teenager to guard me. “Everyone I know is dead, my home is ruined, my craft crashed and now I’m on this cold blooded planet!!! why are you keeping me here?!” I said through gritted teeth, “why is everything here so dull!”, what is wrong with these people? The boy continues to stare at me, his face perfectly symmetrical too, he looks like he should belong to one of the paintings that we had in my house. Then to my surprise he looked at me with an expression that actually counted as an expression: confusion. “I don’t understand you” he said, as if explaining something to me, well...I am thinking the exact
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same thing. I made my way to the bars and looked at him straight in the eyes “I need to get out of here” I told him, a guy who feels confusion would surely feel sympathy too? He paused for a moment and seemed to actually consider what I just said. “Okay” he finally concluded, okay what? he’s going to let me go? “I’ll help you escape, but under one condition” he added quickly, at this point I don’t really have a choice, “what condition?”, this time he looked at me straight in the eyes, almost as if he was…is he pleading? “You take me with you”.

Our plan (actually the guard’s plan) was to escape before my trial tomorrow, in the meantime he handed me two pills. “To give you enough nutrition and keep you from dehydrating” he explained. “What happened to food?” “Not needed, now that we’ve developed a more efficient way.” I swallowed the pills, they were tasteless. Now to think of it, the air was scentless too.
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“I don’t get it” I said, after a few hours of waiting that felt like forever, I’ve tried to wrap my head around what the third man had said, “emotions are not tolerated...why? what happened?” The guard stood up, checked if anyone was nearby and sat down on the other side of the bars in front of me. “Society reformation” he said, “A famous Philosopher and government minister named Suran and his underground congregation issued philosophical arguments in “the court”. “Evil must die” he said, and several thousand pages followed that statement to defined what evil is and why it must be annihilated. The elders, (They are not people who are old, it is how we call the higher positions in the government.) approved this argument and quietly executed its idea. Slowly people who possessed “weak and corrupted” genes such as Criminals and disables were eliminated from society. Eventually emotions disappeared, because it is a restriction to reasoning rationally.” He smiled. “Generations after generations the requirement of living became harder and harder. The way of living and conscience were fundamentally changed. More and more people disappeared but the remaining are more intelligent, superior, and better”, I bit onto my lower
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lip, wondering which was worse: being attacked, or trapped in a bloody society genetic reform? Both disturbed me, I shook them out of my mind and said : “Just like that? No one stopped it?” “We Numrians were very violent,” he said, “there is always someone who is unhappy with the government, the government itself is always unhappy with other governments, war is an everyday life and so is death. People were devastated, they cannot and would not stand this tension and sorrow. We eagerly yearned for peace... or at least be on the winning side.” He thought for a moment, trying to pick the right words. “In this time of chaos and unstable governments, many philosophers and followers emerged. It is almost an inevitability that a genocide would occur somewhere against the cause of all these: emotions. But no one expected it to be so great and so perfectly done. This project… this religious zeal was coated and protected by the hope of peace and a better future.” I didn’t know what to say, it all made sense, and it’s awfully understandable, realistic...and cold. But I still have one question.
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“what about you?” I asked “what about me?” “you were smiling when you tell me all these.”

“we are taught to smile when we talk about the reformation.”

“But you have emotions” though I can hardly tell, but he does. “yes, I have emotions” “how come?” “A very lucky set of recessive genes.” “didn’t the government find out and...enforce their project?” “fortunately, I was clever enough not to show any” he then told me about how he survived the trials by acting, his “mutation” seemed to only affect the emotion part, which explains his perfect appearance. He has a calmness that reminds me of my father, which I told him a little bit about during our wait. He made no comments, perhaps scared that it’ll remind me of what happened, I didn’t care, I just needed someone who would listen. He then told me

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who the three men were, the third man was the President of this nation, The great elder. He is the one who is currently in charge of this project.

The sound of distant footsteps ended my anticipation and replaced it with nervousness, instantly my guard stood up and returned to his stonefaced self. “The prisoner is required for the trial” the two militarylooking men reported, they wore the same uniforms as my guard, all perfectly fitted, the color reminded me of the sky before a thunderstorm came. My guard nodded, opened the bars and dragged me pass the two soldiers without even looking at me or them. He dragged me down a long hallway with white lights, every wall, ceiling and floor was made out of some sort of metal, they were all so polished that I wondered if germs existed on this planet. We took a turn and came to what seems like a medical section, “where are the trial rooms?” I whispered, I didn’t see any on our way, “there aren’t any trial rooms in this building” he said, not looking back and hardly moving his lips, “they were planning to execute you immediately”, I gulped, we took another turn, I prayed to the gods secretly, hoping that the plan would work. Finally we arrived at
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the port, rows and rows of space crafts lined up on either sides of the runway. We came up to the nearest craft, my guard approached the panel of the craft and keyed in a password of some sort, the door opened and he sat me in. The gesture resembled so much of what my father did before that I started shivering. To my relief the craft had two seats, but as soon as realized that the guard was not coming in, I felt like he was going to repeat my father’s actions. “No.” I held on to his arm as hard as I can, breathing difficultly again, he looked at me with confusion and explained slowly “I am just going to open the gates, I said I’ll get you out, you can trust me.” cautiously he removed my hand from his arm, and headed out of sight. A cranking sound marked the opening of the gates and I saw my guard walking back from a distance...and two engineers coming from the entrance. The engineers were quick to realize what was taking place and immediately sent out an alarm, the white lights quickly turned into flashing reds, the gate was closing. “Stay were you are!” my guard shouted to me, as he dodged the bullets of the engineers, finally as they stopped to reload their guns, he shot back, I heard two thumps and my guard sat down next to me. He still
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had that calmness in him, without any hesitation he started pressing buttons on the panel of the space craft, the space craft turned to the runway and starting gaining speed. Directly in front of us, the gates were nearly closed. “We’re not going to make it” I gasped, we’ll crash right into the gate, “yes we are” my guard said without looking at me. The craft continued to gain speed, going faster and faster towards the gate, I closed my eyes and waited for the hit…nothing happened. I opened them again in time to see the gates close behind, we were soaring out to space. “We made it” I gasped, this time with amazement, “of course” my guard grinned...or I think that was a grin “my calculations are never wrong,” he replied.

So much for perfect genes.

I asked him which direction we were heading now, he told me he managed to find the coordinates that were programmed into my crashed life craft, that we were heading towards the exact same location. “Where is that?” he asked
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“the planet of the gods, they will help me save my planet” “you’re still planning to go back??” he eyes widened a bit, so I guess he is surprised “I have to save my people, and don’t give me the calculation talk” I warned him before he could start. “I don’t understand you” he concluded again.

So far we are just traveling through the never ending darkness, we took our pills (they turned out to be really efficient) and I realized one other thing : “What’s your name?” I found out I’ve called him ‘my guard’ ever since I got imprisoned, “I don’t have one” he replied “my planet uses codes and I am...” he showed me a small tag sewed inside his cloth. “number 1451632- district k- quarter 08”. His planet has a system not a society, I thought to myself. “Can I give you a name?” he thought about it for a while and finally said “it wouldn’t bother me if you did” “good” I had the perfect one in mind, “I’m naming you Kai”
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“Kai...what does that mean?” “I remember it means ‘open’ in an ancient civilization, they used pictures as words” I tried to remember what the books my father gave me said, about a planet with many languages that came close to reaching perfect peace, but ended up using all their resources and they destroyed themselves in nuclear war. Kai said nothing, but he seemed to be kind of smiling, or maybe it was just me.

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Chapter 3 - Kimya


fter Kai taught me the basic instructions of the spacecraft, we took turns making sure the craft was on track while the other rests. It was my turn and there was still nothing but

the darkness in space. Kai was sleeping beside me, he hardly moves in his sleep and his face showed no emotion. How did he manage to live like that for 16 years? Acting to the point where he continues to play his role even when he’s asleep. I stared at his face, it’s like a perfect sculpture, I jumped when he opened his eyes and stared back. “You’re not sleeping?” I asked him nervously, “no” he said, continuing to stare at me, “I don’t sleep much”. I feel extremely uneasy with his grey eyes fixed on me “is there something on my face?” I asked, and without even blinking he said “your hair…it’s different” I looked down at my hair, it was shadowy blue, meaning grief or sorrow. “Oh that” I waved it behind my shoulders and tried to explain in my calmest voice, “our hair color changes with our emotions”. He looked at me curiously, “what does purple mean?” he questioned, I really did try to answer him
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casually “erm..I believe it means sorrow and anger”. He asked no more questions, to prevent awkwardness I told him that I was tired, he nodded and turned to face the monitors as I closed my eyes.

I awoke to beeping sounds and Kai frowning at the monitors, “what’s wrong?” I checked the screen, our craft was heading out of path, it was moving too far to the right. Kai started pressing various buttons but nothing seemed to be working, he seemed to be very distressed by this. “It’s some sort of gravity force” he said “how much fuel do we have left?” I pushed the button that would switch the screen to the fuel status, he looked at it and instantly started hitting more buttons. Alarmed I asked him what happens now, “there’s a small planet nearby” he quickly explained “we don’t have enough fuel to escape its gravity, we’ll have to land”, he flicked a few switches and grey straps appeared next to our seats. Seeing my concerned face he comforted me with the same tone he used when I held on to his arm, “its fine” he said as he wrapped the strap from my right shoulder to my left waist, “we’re just delayed for now, I’ll get you to the planet of the gods, okay?”. I nodded
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obediently, maybe because of how much he resembles my father, I’m willing to believe everything he says. The craft shook as it broke through the atmosphere, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

All I saw was ruins, endless ruins, sometime in the past this planet was burnt to the ground. Red dust swept through the deserted buildings, Kai managed to find an empty square to land on. The air was hot, and with all the dusts in the air, I couldn’t see very far. Kai came out with a shoulder bag where he put cans of pills and a first aid box, “the ocean is not far from here” he pulled out a large container “If we can get enough algae, I can get us out of here.” I stared at him “algae?” since when did that become fuel? “algae has the highest energy content, and it is more stable and any other biofuel” he tapped the container, “our planet has been using it for many decades already.”

We pushed our way through the wind, I felt very worn out after all the tense moments, but each time we stop, I feel the whole population of my planet urging me to go on.
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Slowly the ocean came into view, it was brown and covered with a thick layer of orange algae. I wasted no time, I took the container from Kai and rushed towards the shore. “Galaxy no!” Kai shouted after me, but it was too late, as soon as I put my hand in the water I realized something was wrong. The water bit into my skin, it hurts but it was bearable, the faster I get enough algae, the faster we get to the planet of the gods, the faster I get to save my people. Kai grabbed my hand out of the acid water and stared at me “ARE YOU CRAZY?” he yelled, this was the first time I saw him angry. “I can hear them screaming” I sobbed, “you don’t understand”. Kai let go of my wrist, I can tell that I’ve harmed him, because he really could not understand, no one growing up on a planet like that can. “I’ll do it” Kai said as he took the container from my hand and walked towards the water, “Kai...I didn’t mean to…”. “SIT” he ordered and I watched as he walked to the shore to gather the orange algae. After 30 minutes he came back with a full container, I looked at his hand, it was bright red. I was my turn to order him, “sit” I said softly, he sat down and I took out the first aid kit.

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The sun was setting as we headed our way back, we walked quietly between the ruins, I stepped on something metallic. We both stopped, I bent down and brushed the dust off to find a trap door. With his uninjured hand, Kai opened the trap door to reveal a long flight of stairs leading down, there seemed to be a dim source of light at the end. Kai and I exchanged glances, he took out a flashlight and lead the way. We proceeded down the stairs, leaving the howling wind above us. We came upon a door at the end of the stairs, the light seems to be coming from the room behind it. Kai tried opening the door but it was stuck. Finally after a few attempts, he jerked the door open with a large squeaking sound. We saw Six people standing there shivering, they were all pale and thin. They had no eyes.

“They’ve found us!” the tall one cried, “we’re dead!”. “Not so fast Elof”, said the woman beside him she came up and sniffed at us “it’s not them” she declared, “they don’t have that smell of blood”. A third approached me, he seemed a bit older than me and Kai, “you’re
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lucky that the Violanthronians did not find you” he said. I was confused, I did not see any other living being while I was up there, “the Violanthronians?” I asked. “Yes, the Violanthronians” he replied, “I don’t know how you got pass their security, but they are extremely dangerous, they’ve been here ever since I had memory. They bombed our city and took away all our resources” his head flinched a bit and he continued, “we had an underground system, so our people fled to live under the feet of our enemy, but soon we ran out of food, the population decreased rapidly, and now there’s only the six of us”. I realized that they often flinched their heads, and stopped to sniff or to listen. “There are no Violanthronians up there” Kai said, “ha! that’s impossible!” Elof chuckled “I can still smell them” the rest of them nodded. “You are running out of food” I said, trying to sound as kind as possible, “ come with us, we’re going to the planet of the gods, our craft is not far away from here”. “That’s impossible” the women remarked “only in this place , we are safe, those who went up never came back”. Kai was not convinced “and when was the last time that one of you actually went up?” Kai questioned, the six people remained quiet, “exactly” he
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concluded. I pulled out the container of algae, “smell this, it’s algae, it’s enough to get us to the planet of the gods, I’m sure they will help you if you go with us, and there is really no one up on the ground, only ruins and sand”. None of them moved, just as we were turning to leave, a voice spoke. “Wait!” cried the one that was a bit older than me and Kai, “I will go with you” he said while flinching his head yet again. “Kimya!” the women exclaimed, “what are you thinking! you’re going to get yourself killed!”. Kimya walked to my side and announced “I’ll die if I stay here too, we are all going to die if we stay”. I waited for more to join us, but they stood there, shivering and sniffing.

We made it back to the spacecraft, Kai poured the algae in the tank while Kimya listened interestingly to the sounds of the monitors. “It’s so odd” Kimya commented as Kai walked in, “you and the spacecraft give off absolutely no scent”. “It’s a genetic thing” Kai replied, he was again occupied with buttons. Our spacecraft shuddered as we broke through the atmosphere once more, and returned to the never ending darkness.
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Chapter 4 - The gods


alfway through the journey Kimya finally lost interest in the monitors and fell asleep ( or at least I think he did, it’s hard to tell without eyes to look at.) I looked over to Kai

and his hand, “does it hurt a lot?”, he lifted his hand up, poked it a few times and smiled, “no, not that much”. He looked away from his hand and stared at me “your hair…”, I looked down at my hair, it was now sky blue, “hope, comfort and still a bit sad I guess” I explained, managing it way better that last time. Kai brushed my hair behind my shoulders, “after we see the gods, we need to go back to your planet as fast as we can”. I did not expect that, “why?” of course I wanted to go back as fast as I can, but when Kai mentions it, he must have realized something. “haven’t you noticed galaxy?” Kai asked “the same fighting patterns, attacking without warning and bombing cities, the people who attacked your planet are Violanthronians”, slowly I realized what he was trying to say “they don’t want to enslave us” I gasped, “no, they don’t need slaves” Kai continued “they are planning to take all the
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resources and blow up the whole planet, your people will end up like Kimya’s people”. My heart sank, but suddenly remembered something, “Kimya’s people...they are just going to starve?”, I looked at Kimya, he is so thin and pale. By living underground they have lost the need of eyesight, instead they have extremely sensitive hearing and smell. With the lack of sunlight, they’ve grown pale, and living under fear they shivered whenever any sound was detected from the surface. “I left them a can of pills, that’ll get them through for some time.” Kai said. There was nothing else that we could do, and I hated it.

Kimya turned out to be an extremely curious person, he spent a lot of time with Kai, wanting to know what each monitor does. He ended up more useful than I am, with his skilled hearing, he knew where everything was and what they did. I woke up once and found him really close to my face, I stopped breathing, he seemed to realize that and apologized. He sat back next to Kai and said “she smells like apples and something burnt.” Kai and I said nothing.
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Slowly what was a star in the distance grew closer. Kimya was the only one who did not find it difficult to see. As Kimya assisted Kai land the spacecraft, Kai leaned over to me, his tone reminds me so much of my father, “see” he said “we’ve found your gods”.

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Chapter 5 - The clever and the wise


verything shone in gold, the buildings, the streets, even the forests. Kai and I stared in awe. My heart leaped, I’m here, I’m finally here.

We got out of the space craft and looked up to the tall buildings, we could not see the end of them, they disappeared into the sky. A tall figure came towards us, it was the first time that I’ve seen a god this close. she had a slender long neck, her skin reminded me of yellow crystals, “Bismuthian” she nodded towards me, her voice sounded like clinking glass “don’t be frightened, my name is Zingi, I’m here to escort you”, I wanted to tell her everything right now but she stopped me, “everything will be explained in the courtroom” she said.

We found ourselves surrounded by gods, they all sat gracefully facing us, I felt a bit easier as I spotted Zingi there too, and she seemed very gentle and kind. “What brings you here Bismuthian?” said the god
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infront of me, with a voice like rustling rain. Kimya seemed to be excited about all the new sounds he was hearing, I cleared my throat and tried to sound as sincere and humble as I can, “my planet needs your help, our city is destroyed, the Violanthronians will take everything and kill us off”, instantly all the gods started discussing, but their sound frequency was so low that I could not catch anything that they were saying. Finally they turned to face me once again; the god sitting in the middle said “I’m afraid that would not be possible. It would be foolish to interfere with the chain of cause and affect like that. I understand your feelings and thoughts, but I am afraid with the information you perceive, you are not able to make the best decisions for the complete circumstance because of your flaws.” I could not believe what I was hearing, the gods that we worshiped all along are choosing to stand and watch. I stared at them furiously, “foolishness?” I repeated, my voice shaking with anger, Kimya backed away from me and Kai stared at my ink red hair, “we show our gratitude every year to you, you come to accept our offerings and praise, and then you turn around to call us foolish and ignorant?” the room was quite, “you are our gods!!” I
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yelled, “What do you call someone who receives but never gives? Holy and all-knowing?? My father died to save me!! Will you call that a flaw?”. “Bismuthian!” the god said loudly but calmly “We have surpassed all of the other civilization significantly, do you think we remain still because we are indolent? Because of our selfish needs toward tranquility? You do not understand what you are asking, and you do not know its consequence. You anger is just a reaction, a reaction toward the death of your parents, nothing more. We can take emotions away from you, we can let memories slip out of you mind, we can even kill you. Will anything matter then? Are you not doing all this just because you want to? What is the value of an emotion and an emotion only?”

I was speechless. I felt small and insignificant, why are my desires important? Was all I did just a selfish act to smooth my own emotions? No, it’s something more. It’s something more than me, it’s a connection, a common acknowledgement of my need, and my father’s, and my mother’s, and everyone I know.

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“If you refuse to help, at least give us some fuel, please. It would be very nice if I can go home and do my best to save whoever is left” I said in a very weak voice, but my eyes are firm and sincere.

“You are very determined, I wish you know what you are doing.” said the god in the middle. “We will help you.” I was relieved from my heavy burden, I breathed in, the pressure that has been choking me is finally gone. I can taste the scent of lilies and grass. The god smiled and waited for me, he then became more serious and solemn then he was before “Are you ready for whatever can happen?”

“Yes.” I answered quickly.

I was not sure.

Zingi came and put her hand around my shoulder as all the gods ended their discussions and was staring at me. She smiled at me and said “the gods want to talk to Kai and Kimya, if you would just come with me”. Kai, Kimya and I looked at her in confusion, but I followed her as she led me out the door and into the hall. We didn’t say anything, we simply
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smile and waited.

The gods looked curiously at Kai, “so it’s true” one of them said, Kai didn’t understand, “what is true?” he asked. Zingi spoke up “you are from the grey planet, and yet you have emotions,” Kai looked at them and wondered if he should speak, “would it be possible for you to help my planet too?” he asked, Zingi smiled at him, “that would not be necessary, now that we’ve seen you” she answered, “we had a visit from the great elder not long before, begging us to directly affect the genetic information, he was showing signs of emotion already”. Kai pictured the great elder showing emotion, thats something he did not expect to hear about, “seems like nature is curing itself” Zingi continued, “Emotion is a part of being alive, it is not that easy to simply take it away, if we stop the genocide, your civilization will be back to normal soon. Messengers are already sent to your planet to give serious warning toward your elders to stop the persecution.”. Kimya stepped forward and whispered “what about my people?”, “we will take them in, until

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we find another suitable planet” Zingi replied, “but now we help the Bismuthian”.

As golden war crafts took off, I watched Kai look at them in amazement, he never saw

technology that were more advanced than his planet’s. I turned to Kai and Kimya, “well I guess that’s it, thanks for getting me here”. Kai and Kimya stared at me, “are you kidding?” Kimya said “the Violanthronians destroyed my planet, I’m not letting them destroy yours too”, so I guess he was not sleeping when Kai and I had that conversation after all. I looked at Kai “well I’m not going back to my planet, might as well stay” he said. Zingi came and announce in her clinking voice:

“it’s time to go”

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Chapter 6 - War


s soon as we neared my planet, deafening sounds of war grew louder, the enemy ships were everywhere. “There’s so many of them” I said painfully to myself, and yet my

people managed to hold on all this time I was gone.

We managed to land in the square where there was less fighting going on, a women appeared to greet us. “Adaya!” I exclaimed, we put our arms around each other for a moment. Adaya smiled at me and turned back towards what remains of our army “Galaxy has brought the gods back!” she shouted, they cheered loudly as Zingi and the other gods walked down “let’s make it quick” Zingi said.

Our plan was for the golden war crafts to attack the main ship of the Violanthronians as the Bismuthian army attacked its base on the ground, which was now the temple. The war crafts took off towards the large ship lurking over our city. Kimya went to get special devices that would
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control volume so that the large sounds of explosives won’t damage his hearing. So I was left with Kai to prepare for the war. I was checking my knives when Kai stepped close to me, I stared at him. He ignored my glare, and mumbled “I want to say something”, I looked at his grey eyes “I think I know.” I said uncertainly. He was clinching to the edge of his clothes. “I think you do” he said “but I……” I stopped him. “We should go.” I said firmly. He reached out his hand to pull me up. My hair became bright red and then pink, the pink glow on my hair remained there even when he let go. I looked down at my hair and looked quickly back at him, “What does pink mean?” he asked as usual. I smiled. “You will never know.”

As the army approached the temple square, the air felt solid, Violanthronians stood right in front of us. With the first gun shot, the fighting began.

There was the sound of blades and guns everywhere, the air smelled heavily of dried blood and sweat. The Violanthronians had better weapons and we were suffering greatly. Kai called my name over the
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noises “we need to get to the temple!!” he yelled. He grabbed my hand and we dodged through the conflicts, trying to stay low and made our way towards our enemy’s base. To our surprise the base was empty, every one of them had gone out to fight. Amazed by the thoughtlessness of the Violanthronians, Kai hesitated for a minute and said “we should destroy communication devices first and then disable all major weapons”, I nodded in agreement and we both got started on our task, going through systems, checking monitor by monitor and turning off devices. I came upon the last screen, I could not understand the numbers on it, “Kai” I called “I don’t know how to turn off this one”. Kai came over and looked at the screen, he looked shocked for a split second and immediately showed no emotion. “What’s wrong?” I asked, my voice sounded more alarmed that I wanted it to be, “that’s why there is no one here” Kai said to himself, he looked at me “they’re destroying this place completely, they know they can’t win so they’re dragging as many of us down as they can with them”. I stared at the monitor “how much time do we have left?”, “not enough” Kai said as he started to go through boxes and
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rooms searching for something. Finally he turned to me, “I have a plan”, he pointed to a room nearby “can you please get me some wires from that room?”, I nodded and rushed to do what he said. I found the room, it had metallic walls, the room was so small that I barely could fit into it, there were no wires. The door slammed shut behind me, I turned around to find Kai looking at me, I couldn’t breathe again. Kai looked at me with the same expression that my father had when he put me in the life craft, “the metal will keep you safe” he said gently, his grey eyes staring into mine “I’m sorry”.

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Chapter 7 –Jubilation


o one predicted that they would destroy the temple, but after the attack came news that the main ship of the Violanthronians were shot down. The whole city cheered

as gold spread to every corner once again. People felt an even greater joy and relieve then what they were supposed to feel in the festival, because within this joy there is peace and life to celebrate.

No one noticed that in the ruins, a girl stumbled towards a body that was lying on the ground, her pink hair slightly burnt by the explosion. Kimya heard Galaxy whisper a word, but it is a slight sound of lips touching, no air came out. Adaya and the troops celebrated, their hair shining in gold, “we won!” they exclaimed.

Galaxy was sitting next to Kai, her white hair tangled in the wind.

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The world was filled with a jubilation that Galaxy and Kai could not feel.


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