Here we go. Another journey is about to begin. The same excitement, the same rush but still a familiarity of the paths that lay ahead. As I sit here in the waiting area, waiting for the gates to open, the memories of my last trip come rushing through my head. I have often described that experience as a big life changing event. There was a me before that trip and there was another me after it. Who knows what experiences await me this time around. Memories, memories are tricky, we remember what we want to, often we remember things different than the actuality of the events. I wonder if my memories are but a fairy tale, concocted by my mind, to ease the events that followed. Maybe that’s how I want things to be remembered, remember the good and forget the bad. But does it matter? Does it matter if my memories are true or false? Does it really matter?
I don’t think it matters. In this short life, why dwell on the bad. Why not remember things as you would have wanted things to go. Reality is overrated, so why not create your own fairy tale in your head. Why not live in fantasies of your own creation. Why not just remember the good parts.
I think it matter. The bad experiences are lessons taught by life. By forgetting them, you could forget the lesson and make same mistakes. Reality is not overrated, because in fantasies you’re always the winner, always the hero. The White Knight of your own stories, your own creation. Why forget what hurt you.
Contradictions, conflicting thoughts, the battle of ideas, the war between the two sides. Thus is my life and always has been, sometimes naive, living in fantasy, sometimes a realist, trying to make sense of it all. I guess I fall in the middle road because I understand the appeal of both sides. I can’t blame someone or myself for remember the fantastical version of my experiences, but I just can’t forget the reality of the events that shaped my life and the lessons learnt, my trials by fire, which moulded the person I am today.
So here’s to another adventure, another journey, a new experience, to new memories. Cheers!
“We had always suspected their was other life in the multiverse, we didn’t expect that it would find us like this. Sorry for all the trouble we have out you through but it was necessary to make sure if the safety of our planet and avoid any outbreak. But we have some questions for you that need answers”, the probe finished. Horror struk Jensen tried to hide his expressions but in vain, fortunate for him, the Ubashi understood not the human body language and facial expressions. He was counting on the language barrier to hide their identity but it seemed impossible now. Gathering his thoughts and using his wits he spoke to the Ubashi chief commander, “thank you kind beings for welcoming us to your planet”, choosing his word carefully, “We will answer any questions you have but we have some of questions of our own regarding this wonderful planet and it’s inhabitants”.
They looked at the commander while the message was translated and sent to him by the probe.
The probe spoke again, “very well, we shall meet in the evening for meal and we will ask and answer each others questions. Till then you are free to go outside and see our planet in company of this probe”.
“thank you for your kindness and hospitality”, Jensen replied, extending his hand out. The Ubashi looked at him and then to each other, not knowing what he expected. Jensen withdrew his hand, “sorry, this custom of my people. We shake hands when we arrive to a deal or when we conclude a meeting”. The commander noted his head after the probe sent him the translation and without another word, turned and left the room along with the two officers.
“He didn’t tell his name and I forgot to ask it!”, he turned to face his companions, Jane, Mac, Eugene, Ahmed, Faiza, Claire, Marco, Svetlana, Dilema, Xiao, Eva, Ana, Beth, Lin, Lee, Lisa, Sarah, Ali, Jerry, Farah, Jamal, Magdalene, Monica, Anna and Sara.
But before speaking he looked once more at the flying probe. He couldn’t communicate openly with his companions with the probe hovering right next to them. This translating probe created a big problem for their plan and so did this easy communication with the Ubashi. They seemed very nice but his gut gave a different feeling, he could not trust them, he cannot trust them, they must not trust them. He rubbed his hand on his head and began to think.
“So what is your name, probe?”, Sara asked.
“I am called Jaheshid Khik and may I enquire your name?”, probe replied.
“I am Sara, nice meeting you Jaheshid Khik”
“Pleasure is mine, Sara, I had never thought I would ever get to learn a new language and speak with aliens”
Sara smiled as Jensen looked at her.
“I bet you never thought you would ever be called an alien”, he said.
“I had never thought I would land on an alien planet either, but life is not always what we expect it to be”, she replied.
Jensen had to find a way to talk to his companions alone, but with this probe hovering about, it made it impossible. “So can we go outside?”, he asked the probe.
“You certainly can”, Jaheshid Khik answered.
It was bright outside and it took their eyes some minutes before they could see well, the the white sky, the two suns, the flying probes of different sizes. They looked in amazement at the endless shinning spread as far as the eye could see. They realized that they were in an isolated environment, away from the general population, if there was any, of this planet, like a military scientific complex of some sort.
“What are those below on the ground reflecting the light?”, Sara asked.
“Those are panels to harvest the energy of our two stars. Below them is the sector of mathi-22, where families of our officers live. Do you have such pannels on your planet?”
“No we do not”, answered Jensen, before Sara could reply.
He looked at her and she understood. They had to protect the information they had about their home planet. Despite their hospitality, Jensen had a bad feeling about the Ubashi.
“How many suns does your planet have?”, asked Jeheshid.
“Its a binary star system”, lied Jensen.
“So can we go meet the people of your planet?”, Jensen asked before the probe could ask him more questions about his home planet.
“Soon! Tonight our leader would make the annoucement to the general population about the alien visit. It will be a huge moment in the history of our planet.”
“You all have one leader?”, asked Sara. Jensen gave her a look of disapproval on her question but she ignored him. She was curious to learn about this planet and its inhabitants.
“Yes! His name is Kakhanuk Ghunsah and he is from the First Tribe. How many leaders do you have on your planet?”, Jaheshid asked.
Jensen gave her an uncomfortable look but she still ignored him and answered, “Our planet is divided into different countries and every country has a different leader.”
Before she could say more, Jensen lost his patience and interupted, “What are you doing, Sara?”
“What do you mean? I am trying to have a conversation with our hosts.”
Jensen didnt want the Ubashi to doubt him so he tried to change the argument.
“Can we go back inside, I feel tired.”
“Certainly! Follow me”, Jahedhis told them and they all followed it back inside. As they approached the door, it disappeared again to let them in. As they were entering, Jensen grabed Sara by the arm and pulled her closer, “what do you think you are doing? I thought I told you to not tell them anything about our planet and lie if they ask anything”
“Oh yeah? and who gave you the right to tell me what to do?”, she replied.
“You are not understanding! We do not know what their intentions are! Or what they want to do with the information they collect! They already figured out our languages! These are highly inteligent beings and I will not risk the fate of our planet for your stupid childish curiosities, so stop it!”
Sara freed her arm, “Ok! I will be more careful, happy?”
Jensen didnt say anything. They came in last and took seats around the table while Jaheshid hovered in the middle, telling Jamal something in Arabic.
“What are you talking about, Jamal?”, Jensen asked.
“Jaheshid was just asking me why are there so many languages on our home planet.”
“Oh what did you tell it?”
“I told it thats what God intended to happen. He willed that human beings have different languages and cultures.”
“Oh great! so you are one of those people?”, Jensen couldnt help himself.
But before Jamal could reply, Sara asked angrily, “What people, Jensen?”
“No, nothing. If thats who you believe in. Its all good.” Seeling the look on some of the faces in the room, he added, “Meant no offence”.
Jaheshid observed it all in silence and understood. These aliens have different beliefs it seemed to him. That is why they have different countries and languages and leaders. They are a divided planet. But maybe not for long.
They busied themselves with different things. Sara really wanted to learn about this planet so Jaheshid had some history books translated for her in English while Jamal was interested in sight seeing and beautiful areas of the planet so Jaheshid displayed the live videos of some breathtaking areas on the wall. They all sat and looked in amazement at the beauty of this planet.
It was meal time again and food was set on the table for them, vegetables and fruits and leaves of different colours and sizes, some sweet as honey and others sour. After they were done eating, Jaheshid informed them that they should get ready for the announcement of the leader and the formal welcome.
They washed themselves with the jelly like substance and sat on the chairs in front of a camera probe. Sara got excited that she would be meeting the leader of the Unaghi, thats what they call themselves in their history books, but she was sad to find out that he wasnt going to visit them in person but it would rather be an annoucement on the live video stream, which will be broadcast everywhere on the plannet. Jensen on the other hand was content about not meeting the leader.
Jaheshid told them that the speech of the leader would be translated in Engilsh for them.
The leader of Karaqh from the First Tribe appeared on the screen in front of them, he had the same features as rest of the Ubashi but was much more evolved and muscular. He started his speech in his native language while Jensen and the others heard it in English.
“Hello people of Karaqh! Our multiverse is full of amazing phenomenon and amazing creatures. Our elders had always told us that we are not alone in the verses and we should go beyond our solarsystem and beyond our galaxy and beyond our cluster to look for other worlds, other beings. So we began our search and sent our space crafts with AI to different regions of our universe, maping and trying to find sign of life. But as luck would have it, instead of finding other life, other life found us. An alien space craft appeared near our planets surface and was escorted to our military base near Mathi-22. It had 26 aliens, our scientists quarantined them and checked them for any virus or any other danger that they might present to us. We found them to be harmless and they came in peace. We first thought that they had come to find us but we soon learned that they ended up here by accident through a wormhole that briefly openned near our plannet. I welcome you all to our planet as a quest, as a rappresentative of your people. You may live here in peace for however long you desire. We are glad to have you amongt us, so that we can learn from you and teach you about us and have a cultural exchange between our people.”
Sara smiled. He continued.
“Despite some misinformation, we are pleased to inform you that through our research we have pin pointed the location of your home planet and we will be sending our space ships to give the happy news and we would appreciate if some of you can accompany us.”
“Ubashi haqh tash shanaqht”, they heard one of them say as hehe alien approached them. He was covered in armor of green color and a mask. Others who were dressed the same followed him as he repeated again in a louder commanding voice, “Ubashi haqh tash shanaqht”.
“We are from Earth, we were on our plane to China but I don’t know what happened but somehow we ended up here on your planet, through a wormhole maybe”, he replied. “We come in peace”.
The commander looked around and Jensen knew he didn’t understand a word of what he said. He heard them talk amongst themselves, seemed to discussing what to do. After having some heavy discussions, they pointed a tiny device at each of them as metal ropes appeared out of it to bind their hands and legs and each of them fell to the ground. They were then picked up and thrown in the back of a hovering truck, or something that looked pike a truck. Their mouths were shut so they couldn’t communicate with one another. Jensen saw the looks of horror on the lady who was sitting next to him. In beginning he didn’t even want to talk to her in plane, but now he would give anything to tell her to calm down, to not be afraid, that it is all going to be ok. But that would be a lie, it is not ok. They have traveled through space, through wormhole of some kind, and landed on another planet, a planet with life, with technology far superior then theirs, speaking a language they didn’t understand. It was not ok. Then they were transported to a cubical structure. Five people covered in a different suit and mask came, they stripped them naked and threw them in the water tub which came out from the floor. As Jensen entered the water, he felt a cold chill go through all his body. It was like water, yet not water. It was like a gel, and seemed to have a sense of its own. It covered him from head to toe, and then threw him back out on the floor. When he tried to get up and catch a breath, he has again bound by the metal rope and taken to a different room. One by one other passengers joined him. Women were being dragged and helpless, crying. He closed his eyes and two tears fell down his cheeks. And then he saw them, for the first time since he came to their planet, the natives, the ‘Ubashi’ as he called them in his head. Darker of skin, some kind of leathery green skin, eyes with large pupils and round shape, not too fat, nor too thin, two were tall, three were smaller, their heads were of a strange shape, mouths hanging vertically while the upper part was long horizontally while their noses were flat with one nostril. Jensen saw them in amazement while the other passengers screamed in fear at their sight.
They seemed to be scientists the way they started examining their bodies, noting different measurements on a probe that followed them. One by one they measured them and took samples of their DNA.
Jensen tried talking again when they came to examine him, asking them who they were, knowing full well that they couldn’t understand him.
They locked them up again after they finished the examination. He closed his eyes and the face of his sweetheart came into his mind, he smiled and cried, she would be still waiting for him and how heartbroken and sad she would be when she would hear the news of the disappearance of the plane. What he had hoped and what had happened. All he wanted other then love..
All he wanted other then love in his life was to go on an adventure. Now he would give anything to be back to his boring life, to be with his girl, on his home. But he was far from home, literally and figuratively. Losing all sense of time, he closed his eyes and tried to free his mind of all questions. He didn’t know what they wanted from them or what they would do to them. But he knew what humans would do if they found a bunch of aliens on earth and he was afraid. Hours passed as he lay there asleep and then he heard the door disappear as the Ubashi came to take him. He was brought to the room where rest of his company were sitting in the ground, still naked. They there him inside as the door appeared again. They looked at him in hope that he can help them in some way, that he might have some solution. But he had none. Being fascinated with astrophysics didn’t mean that he knew what to do when they were trapped in an alien prison. But he told them to stay calm and that it’s all going to be OK and that maybe these aliens are not like humans, maybe they have better values, better laws, better humanity then earthlings. Soon after the door disappeared as an Ubashi brought a bag to the room and left it there. Jensen went to check what it was and his heart skipped a beat to find their clothes in it. He handed the women their clothes first and said “there seems to be some hope after all”. When they all were dressed up, the door discovered again as another Ubashi came with what looked like food. A mix of different kinds of leaves and stems and fruits and vegetables. They hadn’t realized how hungry they were until they started eating. After they were done, Jensen spoke to the others, “ok so we seem to be on another planet, I don’t know if it’s in our galaxy or another. We were sacked into some wormhole, which brought us here. Initially u feared that these natives will do us harm but seems that they are better humans then the ones we have left behind on earth. I don’t know if or when we can go back”, he paused, Thinking of his girl, awaiting him on airport and hearing the sad news. “I don’t know if they will even try to send us back home, but here is the thing”, finally coming to the reason of his talk, “we cannot tell them in any way where earth is or where we come from! I believe in goodness and they are treating us good, but I cannot risk the safety of our planet on mere hope of goodness. This is a superior specie, their tech is more advanced then us, who know what their true motives are. We have loved ones on earth, families and friends. For their sake, we should stop any hope or desire to return and accept this as our fate, our sacrifice, for them, for the home we know and love, so promise me everyone, you will not tell anyone where we come from”, he extended his hand, one by one the others put their hand on his and exclaimed “we promise”, their eyes wet, for when hope leaves, tears arrive to fill the void left behind. For sale of their loved ones, for their families and their friends, they accepted this unforeseen fate. He closed his eyes and the face of his girl came in front of them again and he smiled. He knew this was the right decision, that they should be cautious dealing with the Ubashi.
The door disappeared again as a price flew in followed by three Ubashi, not armored like before but in their natural skin. And the probe spoke, “Greetings aliens! Welcome to our planet Karaqh!”
The alarm sounded, as he opened his eyes. It was a big day for him, he was going to meet the girl he had been dating online. He had never thought that he could do anything like that, but often in life things happen which we cannot predict and sometimes we end up surprising ourselves. He had always been shy, timid, not very much confident among girls. But this online dating had given him an opportunity to meet someone, to connect with someone. Laying in bed, he checked his tablet for Facebook messages. He had gotten many since all his friends knew what a big day it was for him. Many had sent him well wishes. It had been 6 months since she ‘met’ Ming. In The burning they were awkward on cam chat, he was still shy and she wasn’t much into him. But they talked and started to know and love each other. She liked how sweet he was and he liked how she made him feel. Often a little attention, a little affection is all we need. He was happy.
He got up and went for a shower. He knew exactly what he wanted to wear, the top he was wearing the first she saw him on cam. He remember it like it was yesterday, they had been talking for an hour and she asked if he wanted to do video chat. He had hesitated but said yes. As the call connected, and he saw her live for the first time, her black and red traditional dress, and the smile she had on her face. He smiled. They looked at each other for many minutes, or hours. Time stop still. Now they video chat every day and have gotten used to it. He took out his green Munich hard rock top and his black jeans, packed his bag and got his documents and plane ticket. He was so excited and humming ‘My heart will go on’. It was her favorite song and his too.
It was sunny day, spring was in the air, the lush green trees and flowers. Before getting into cab, he sent a message to Ming, telling her that soon they are going to meet.
All his life he lived with a hole in his heart, a void in his life. He had everything, good loving parents, a nice childhood, good education, a nice paying job, but still something was missing. He had always sensed it, felt it. He Lived his friends and enjoyed hanging out with them, but he felt empty inside when he looked at a couple holding hands, or kissing. He had never had a girl friend in his life before Ming. Finally all is good got change, finally he will have a special someone, finally that void will be filled. He was going to his Eternal happiness, his destiny. He knew with all his heart that she was the one. His one true love. He arrived at air port, got in line, waiting to board his plane.
He has reserved the seat near the window. He didn’t travel much on plane’s but whenever he did, he always say near the window. He loved seeing the world get small as he ascended towards heaven. When he sat down after putting his hand bag in the cabin, he put the audio ear buds in his ear to avoid making small talk with the lady sitting next to him. He want comfortable with that. Soon the plane started moving and before he knew it, they were flying. He gazed out the window, saw the people, saw his city, saw the central park, saw it all get smaller and smaller as he flew up and away.
He was lost in his thoughts, staring at the endless ocean, as the plane soared through the clouds, Thinking of his sweetheart, Thinking of what his first words are going to be, preparing a monologue in his head and then, the bright blue light startled him as he came out of his fantasy, back into real world, into the gasps, shock and screams of people around him. The plane was shaking, trembling. The ocean was gone and so were the clouds, and a blue light surrounded them from every side. And as fast as it started, it was over, silence. The plane got stable again as everyone took a breath of peace, strangers holding hands, hugging. To his own surprise he had put his arms around the lady next to him. “we just survived the lightning storm”, announced the pilot happily, quite proud of his job. He looked out the window again, the sun was shinning red as the floated over the sea of clouds bellow. Another announcement informed them that the autopilot and navigation systems were damaged but they need not worry, because the pilot knew this route well. He unbuckled his seat belt and got up to use the toilet. As he was passing through the lane, looking out the window on other side, he noticed the small blue ball of light. He stopped and looked again rubbing his eyes and it was gone. Covered mostly in clouds, it became visible again. His mind filed with all questions and doubts, he called attention of other people on this odd blue dot of light. People gasped at this wonder of nature, the red sun on one side and this mysterious blue one on the other. Speculations ran wilds, some said it was an alien flying sorcerer, while others called it Nasa’s secret project. People started taking pictures and making videos, but he got afraid. Ever since the turbulence, he had a few in the back of his mind but he suppressed it, hoping it might never come true.
He returned to his seat, looking out the window again. It was getting dark, he gazed at the Stars, trying to recognize them. He had always been fascinated with astronomy and Neil DeGrass Tyson was one of his idols. He saw and recognized none of them, as thee plane descended below the clouds, the bright lights of the illuminated planet, a planet that wasn’t theirs, startled his eyes, with flashes of lights moving around, fast. In a blink of an eyes they went and came. And then suddenly four flying ships appeared around them, and a voice echoed through the sky, speaking a language they couldn’t comprehend. The pilot lost control of his shop as the plane came to a halt in mid air, like an invisible hand had grabbed it in its palm, descending down towards the ground. Everyone was quiet, not saying a word, horrified on the turn of events, while others still didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew. His fears had come true. He sat in his seat, looking out the alien planet as they landed on the elevated platform. He tried to see the pilots of the alien ships but tainted windows made it difficult. He got up as he heard the plane door open, he told everyone to stay calm and surrender, that they were on a different planet. The voice spoke again, probably instructing them to come out of the plane. Using whatever common sense was left in them after this ordeal, he led them out the plane, walking slowly, with his hands up in the air. A sign of surrender, at least on his home planet……..