Ness opened his eyes and looked around. He cursed. He
had warped during his sleep again. Why he did that and why he couldn't warp
during the day was still a mystery for him. A very frustrating mystery.
Ness got up and turned. The red light he was seeing all around him came from
a huge clouded sun, hanging only inches above the planet. The ground he was
standing on was sand. Not very hot, but dry, like dust or ashes. The air was
breathable, though slightly acid. Ness didn't care, he hadn't warped to a
place that couldn't sustain him yet.
Ness was an Aratvin, a winged human. He wasn't really one of a kind, but he
hadn't heard of one that could warp like him. He had left his human creators
behind him many years ago. Sometimes he stayed for weeks on a planet,
sometimes not even one day. Sometimes the planets had been inhabited,
others, like this one had been abandoned. Ness knew this planet would never
be suited for human living. He smiled. He hoped he could stay here for a
couple of days. But he didn't count on it.
Ness started walking. Old habits die hard... Ness had
been an explorer from the start. The humans had seen his potential and
placed him in the toughest company of Aratvins. The Dead Crew, they were
called, for they were most likely to be killed. Radiation, worlds without
oxygen, heat... The causes of possible dead were countless.
Ness noticed a mountain range on the horizon. He flew up and proceeded
towards it, going a lot faster than silly humans. As the mountain range
slowly became more visible he went over his escape again.
Ness had always known which missions would turn out to be failures. He had
made sure he stayed on the ship at those times. But Aratvins weren't stupid.
His mates had soon figured out what it meant when Ness didn't want to go
out. And then that one day had come. The planet they were closing in to was
dark from space. As dark as it's surface would be. Ness had a very bad
feeling and asked to remain on the ship. But his crewleader had denied him.
Of course as crewleader he had to go too... and he was well aware of the risk. That
night Ness tossed and turned. And when he finally had fallen
asleep he dreamed. A danger, black as nothingness had wrapped itself around
him, trying to choke him. Ness had screamed. When he awoke he wasn't in the
ship anymore, but on a foresty planet, unclaimed on the edge of the
Two years had passed since his escape and he was still alive.
"Take that!" he yelled to no-one in particular.
The mountain range now reached high above him, the sun to Ness' west. It
hadn't moved since he had awoken which suggested an eternal twilight. A
black opening in the face of the cliff appeared. Ness dived in.
It was quiet in the cave, like it was quiet on the entire planet. But Ness
felt a tingle in the back of his neck. The soft feathers of his wings
stirred and he knew he was heading for danger. But he couldn't stop now.
Further in the cave a sudden call erupted, followed by a thousand scratching
paws. Ness waited. He was too intrigued to fly away. Below him a beige river
started to flow. But it wasn't water that flowed, it were beetles. Beetle as
big as his arms, glowing softly in the dark like velvet. The scream sounded
again and all beetles stopped. They looked up.
Ness felt a sudden burst of fear when those thousands eyes looked up at him.
Their heads turned as one. Suddenly they turned back their heads, looking in
the direction they came from. Ness swallowed, knowing he was going to see something
no other men (or Aratvin) had ever seen.
The thing that came was big, so big it could almost fit through the
cave-tunnel. It was black unlike it's smaller cousins. The big bug screamed
and some of the smaller beetles started to climb the walls. Ness had seen
enough. He raced toward the entrance.
Ness screamed. Something held him back.
'The queen.' he suddenly thought.
His instincts had kicked in and he knew that the big black creature was a
queen, a mother and that she was hungry. She pulled him closer with a power
Ness couldn't understand. To be telekinetic you had to be intelligent and he
couldn't transport that thought to insects.
Ness turned and looked. He grabbed the first stone he could see and flung it at the queen. Her children suddenly all diverted, trying to protect her.
The rock wouldn't have hurt her, but the thousands of minds coming between
them did. Ness broke free and flew out. He waited.
One bug was ordered out and immediately burned, leaving only a pile of sand.
Again a titbit of info came loose in Ness' brain. He had been been walking
on ashes. So close to the edge of the universe a new sun had formed, and
although the light was almost like night to him, it had been too bright for
the insects. Another two tried, but they too died.
"On second thought", he told himself, "I don't want to spend a few days
Ness flew as far away from the cave as he could. The little rendezvous had
exhausted him so he lay down and hoped the bugs wouldn't find a way to get
out. Within minutes he was asleep.
The voice called again. In his
dreams Ness knew the truth. He stood on the ash plains of the planet and
heard it calling. The voice. All of a sudden he was looking through the eyes
of someone else. Whoever was inhabitating him, or was it the other way
around? liked the place. The clouds, the endless plains, even the bugs
seemed to sound good to it.
This voice had called him on that first night too. This voice had kept him
safe and guided him to all the planets and at last it had found it. The
planet of it's dreams. It had always known it was out there. Ness felt a
sudden urge. The urge he had felt many nights.
A planet appeared in the air above him. A planet too light and friendly for
the creature. Blood suddenly flowed over the image and when it hit Ness it
was almost like flames, eating him up alive.
"Come." the voice only said.
And Ness did. He came.
Ness woke up. He looked around. He
had warped again. Why and How was still a mystery for him. He flew up and
looked down on this new world from above. Suddenly a glowing got his
attention. Eggs, glistering in the moonlight. Ness was drawn to them and
followed their pull...
When he closed in he saw other people waiting. But they couldn't fly like
him. Ness got closest to the eggs and noticed they were rocking violently.
They would soon hatch. He sat down in front of one and shooed away anyone
who even dared getting close to it. This was his egg.
When at last the eggs did hatch, Ness was at a loss. The creature that came
outside the egg wanted something from him, but Ness had never cared for
anything before in his life. To his surprise someone of the other lucky
people shoved some meat into his hands and gestured to the dragon.
Ness stood a while, wondering if he should feed the meat in one piece or
make it smaller when his dragon solved the problem. It ran towards him,
ripped the meat from his hand and devoured it whole.
"Ok, " Ness said, "Do you want a name?"
The dragon looked at him, it's eyes flashing. Apparently it did want a name.
"Total Destruction?" it asked.
"Hmmm, maybe not, how about Corona? The outer layer of the sun that's only
visible during an eclipse?"
"I still think Total Destruction is better."
"That will be your pet name then." Ness said and grinned.