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Colonial Authority: Chapter 6 – Necessities

**Note: Although the following is part of a previously self-published eBook, portions have been modified. However, it has not been professionally edited and likely contains typos and other errors. It is offered as an example of raw science fiction storytelling.** 

Despite their conversation, Cristina responded to the time interval. “I have to leave really…that is, I have to leave soon, like about now.”

“I’ll have Dom convey you to the venue.”

“You have a coach?”

“I don’t use it anymore, but yes, I have one. Dom will get you there, well ahead of your need.”

“I can’t take any chances. We have a sound check and then a show I need to dress for. We have always been on time. We are professionals. That is one of the things we never do, make our fans wait for a performance.”

“I know that. I know a lot about you and your band, Cristina.”

“You do?”

“Of course. I am also a fan, but for very different reasons.”

“Well, I need to perform. It is like an experience I cannot get away from. Early on, it was a few people that liked what we did, but then it started to grow. Now we draw thousands.”

“People can become addicted to the rush of adrenaline.”

“I don’t care. I need to perform.”

Raven smiled. “Yes you do.”

“You are not going to tell me.”

“Tell you what?”

“You are avoiding telling me and doing it very well, I might add.”

“I have my ways, I guess.”

“Why are you doing this to me?”

“I’m not doing anything to you. Mostly you do it to yourself. What I am restricting is something I’m afraid you would not understand, not yet anyway.”

“I’m good with human history but only as far back as the late colonization period. From what I recall, if you were born on Earth you must be…”

“Many have asked how it is possible that I was born on Earth?” Raven chuckled as he leaned against the mock fireplace enjoying the dry radiant warmth. “This is a quality-of-life feature,” he said trying to change the subject, but doubting Cristina would let him off so easily yet again. “I have always loved an open hearth and fire in a fireplace. Alas there are no trees here except for the ones we have planted beneath our domes and they are protected by Colonial Authority edict.”

“I’m still waiting for your answer.”

“I apologize for that digression. What were we discussing before?”

“You were born on Earth.”

“Yes, that.”

“You at least lived on Earth long enough to be able to evaluate the quality of this fireplace’s simulation,” Cristina said.

Raven said nothing in immediate response. Then finally he turned toward her. “Do you read a lot?”

“You are changing the subject again, but yes, I do read a lot, mainly in Italian.”

“It’s your heritage.”

“Yes, I’m proud of my heritage.”

“At this point everyone alive should be proud of his or her heritage. When faced with self-extermination, some banded together almost as a single race and culture to save one another from the seeming inevitability of our extinction. Perhaps you understand the gravity of that accomplishment. I don’t think many who were born here or on other colonial worlds are ever taught just how close mankind came to committing suicide on a global scale. The men and women who survived the devastation of the Earth were forward-thinking people. They could see beyond the emotionally driven, cultural and ethnic divisions responsible for the world’s strife. They had a shared vision, for a world of one human race where differences were not just tolerated but welcome and appreciated. They were truly remarkable people that could see beyond our violent past and imagine a future where we could become one people. They were visionaries.”

“You were one of them.”

Raven smiled. “I may be visionary, but I was not one of them. At that time I had long since given up on mankind’s ability to ascend from the quagmire of seemingly endless oppression and war.” He sat down in the vacant rocking chair. “I left before the series of final wars began. I almost stayed too long.”

“So, you were on Earth in the latter days.”

Raven slowly nodded. “I saw the signs of impending doom.”

“I knew it,” Cristina nearly celebrated until the reality of the confirmation struck her. “You are…”

“I am two-hundred seventy-two years old, this past May fourth, born in the year…”

“1936,” she said.

“You are very good with math, I see.”

“It’s not complicated.”

“Well, it is for the conversion factors, matching Earth’s year to our local year that is five and one quarter days shorter. And yet that sort of thing baffles and befuddles some. You are very sharp.”

“You don’t look…”

“I don’t look that old? No, I don’t and it’s not the result of cosmetic surgery, organ transplants or any of the means of modern science entering into the province of an All Mighty being or whatever forces of nature were responsible for our even being in the first place.”

“Then how have you lived for so long?”

“The complicated magnetic field structure of this world has helped a bit – or at least that is what I have concluded. The effects on me appear to operate in the reverse to how they appear to be affecting everyone else.”


“If I knew why I would tell everyone and a lot of terraform engineers and Colonial Authority bureaucrats would immediately heave a collectively huge sigh of relief.”

“Because of the dipping fertility rates.”

“Not only here but also every other colonial worlds we’ve established. Within the ensuing generation there’ll be nearly no births at all. Through attrition, eventually mankind as we know it will cease to exist.”

“But they say within fifty years they will have that problem fixed.”

“Maybe they will, but I have never had all that much faith in scientists’ abilities to tamper with our internal plumbing. The scientists are good with things like making this fireplace look real and this castle-like estate with the aged stone and the moss and ivy but they are also the same sort of people who contributed to the gradual decline and eventual destruction Earth’s environment. “

“Point well taken.”

“The others who share your differences may survive. They are yet a minority, but their numbers will grow.”

“Who are they…we?”

“Some of those who know say they are mutants, but that is not the truth. There was clearly evolution in the changes. Although the modification for the genes could be termed mutations, each of them was purposeful, not really a spontaneous abnormality. In the previous generation the alternation was carried in the female’s DNA but only of some women, those who were descendants of those exposed to ‘the tragedy’ as the media at that time decided to euphemize it.”

“Those women who had shortened life spans,” Cristina said with sober realization and piqued interest. “Like my mother.”

“Yes, her and the eleven others. It makes sense in terms of the balance of all things.”

“Does it?”

“Don’t you see? Everything changed for you and others like you. Your mothers died giving birth, sacrificing their abbreviated lives to bring a heartier race of humanity into being. You needed to be different to endure the demands of alien environments. Mankind has been adaptable all along. As odd as it is, man created the very means of creating a new species to sustain its heritage across time.”

He watched as she stood and paced the floor. Then he looked directly at her. “I never met your mother, but like every one of those very brave women you need to know that she chose for you to live.”

Cristina looked down. “And because of that, I never knew her.”

“But you know people who knew her. They have told you the stories that celebrate her life.”

“It is not the same thing as knowing her.”

“No, it’s not,” Raven said as he rocked forward and stood again to float across the floor in a pacing motion front of her as he continued to speak. “You may think that I could never appreciate what you feel inside. Having lost a parent, you are different than me, but you and I are very much alike. My parents died when I was 5 years old, or at least that was what I was told. Then a very wealthy man adopted me.”

“You said earlier that your natural father was very wealthy.”

“Yes, he was, but I did not learn until after his death that he was my natural father. I believed all along that I was adopted and I sought details and information about the other parents. It was not until I was an adult that I met the man I believed was my father. It was a shock learning that he had not died at all and that my mother was dead but she had not died when I was five. They had been offered a deal, something that they could not refuse because of the power of the man who would become my adopted father. The ironic truth was that my natural father adopted me. I understand what it feels like to lose a parent.”

Cristina silently contemplating what Raven was revealing to her about his personal life, but even so she found many, many differences where her direct experience contrasted.

“Your mother was one of the first in this world to exhibit the attributes, I think,” Raven continued. “There have been many since, but there was only one before her to give birth that I know of. Her offspring like the few others that have been identified so far do not have a shortened lifespan at all. In fact it is completely the opposite,” Raven paused to stare into her eyes, their eyes locked for several moments before he turned away. “So it is exactly as I have thought.”

“It is news to me that there are some others. But how is it possible that you have the gift, curse or whatever…”

“You will name it from your own perspective,” Raven stretched his arm out and when he opened his hand there appeared in his palm a small ball. “Those of us who are like me were intended to become the Couriers. I came as one of the first in the process though I am not the eldest.”


“Here, take this. You are the one who I should possess this. You will soon need its gifts of training and understanding of the odd powers you will come to master.”

“I can’t…”

“You must,” he countered her protest, pressing it into the palm of her hand then clinching her fist tightly around it.

“What is it?”

“All that you will need to know is accessible through it. It will instruct you. It is of vital necessity that you learn from it. It will prove important to you in ways we dare not speculate.”

“What am I supposed to do to make it work?”

“You will find others who are like you. You will find now you will be drawn to them as they are drawn to you. Those who do not have orbs you will direct to other Couriers that they will receive their own gifts. Then, eventually you may contribute your orb to the collection to be passed on to the next generation, the children of a new future.”

“How will I know when and where to find others?”

“You will know.”

“Like it is now, like you know to give it to me?”

“You are more astute than I anticipated. Chase warned me of two things, your intelligence and your beauty, but I never imagined the strength of your intuition,” Raven said with a smile.

“You use the words of a younger man.”

“It’s only chronology. You will one day understand that you are old the precise day that you wake up and decide to be old and never a moment before that.”

Cristina looked down at the shiny surface of the apparently perfect sphere that seemed to be made of alabaster. She hefted its weight in her hand. “It is deceivingly heavy.”

“As has become the burden of all life about it,” Raven said as he walked over to his desk. “So this is how it is completed, the cycle of delivering the orb.”

“Where did you get the orb?”

“Like you I received it from someone I had never before met. He was an old man on Earth who, at the time, I thought was at least as crazy as you must think I am. It was a few weeks before the political structures of the Earth descended into a near wartime state from which they would never again emerge. Despite the scholarly discussions of expert opponents in protest to the war preparations, those of us who were there understood that the latter days were already begun. That is the official beginning – if the real truth was known the latter days began decades before, well before I was born. From the ashes of previous, unresolved wars, like phoenixes new wars arose. The old man who gave me this would not tell me his name, but assured me that if he did I would immediately know him.”

“Just as it is for us now.”

“It is a strikingly similar situation, isn’t it?”

“Do you know who he was?”

Raven smiled. “I thought I knew and yet he knew things that only a few could possibly know. By process of elimination, yes, I believed I knew his name. I never speculated until I was here, safe in my haven of retreat. Then I delved into my own past and found him just so that I could exact a confession of his identity.”

“You can go back into your past.”

“The Couriers are unbounded. You could not understand at this point but accept it on faith for now. It is something that both he and I could do. In the latter days, there were a few important people left in the world people and some shared the attributes that you now possess. He was one of them.”

“He had an extended life.”

“All of them had. And yet except for a few of them, they all decided to remain on Earth and they died in the same moment that he died.”

Cristina looked down at the orb again. “How could someone decide to…I mean, they had to know the overall purpose was beyond their trivial problems?”

“I was promised that it was relatively painless. All except for the three that survived lived near the largest cities. They made certain they were there. They were vaporized in the first blasts of the inevitable war. You see – mankind has rarely made a weapon that was not used in battle against an enemy. There was pent up desire to fight one last time, to toss every weapon at one another. The worst imaginable horrors borne of man’s imagination transpired in the latter days.”

“But why did so many decide to die with the lunatics that wanted to end the world?”

“Some of those who knew suggested that the attributes were not fully evolved in them. Most of them suffered the pains of old age and endured the process for the over-extended period of their lives. It is not easy to live beyond the spans of friends and loved ones.”

Cristina looked away. “You are telling me I will live to be very old.”

“No one has guessed how long the your life will be. You will not be alone, though.”

“What if I don’t like any of this?”

“I don’t have an answer, no one does. You have a responsibility to yourself and maybe the others of your kind.”

As Cristina sensed their session was concluding, she stared at Raven. “Will I see you again?”

“It really is a pretty small world, isn’t it?”

“How can I reach you?”

“We are connected. You’ll find you already know. No one else will contact me and receive my help.”

“I feel special, then.”

“Honestly you are. I have been waiting to meet you for most of my life.”

“I’m not sure why I feel this way but…” she reached out to him as she walked toward him. He stepped back at the offer of embrace but then after several awkward moments he acquiesced.

“I personally think we are very old souls returned to reestablish mankind on another world. This is our second chance,” he said. “Privately I believe man did not earn this chance.”

“What if you’re wrong?”

“I’ve been known to be a time or two.”

“I’m not comforted by that.”

“Then, tell me what you believe, pretty lady?”

“I am too young and too greatly influenced by what other people believe.”

“That’s a damned good answer!” Raven smiled. “Keep your mind open, clear and untainted. There might be hope for not only your survival but everyone’s as well.”

“I am not going to save the world,” Cristina expressed doubt. “Look at me.”

“You have the attributes that will save you,” Raven said. “I didn’t want to be here either but the alternative for me was unacceptable. I decided that neither did I want to be left alone where I was. Imagine living for a very long time and having no one to talk to.”

“That’s why they killed themselves, the ones who stayed behind?”

“When living further becomes more than the imaginable pain of death, it isn’t difficult to understand.”

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