Synopsis: In a futuristic universe dominated by a cruel race of beings only known as the Shi'. A young boy embedded with magical runes in his body, along with his only friend, a black robotic box left to him by a father he barely knew, escapes on a journey to find answers to the secret of the runes, his family and the struggle of the thousand year war with the Shi'.
Armn'gen Sector, Grid 19.
Carter. Ryan Carter. Special Robotics Infantry Division.
Yeah, that’s me. Robotics genius they said. If I had entered the academy I would have been top in class. Gramps would have been proud, Dad too probably, had I ever had a chance to show him, too bad the war with the Shi’ prevented all that. “Well to hell with the academy!” he said to himself, shaking at his own words not realizing he was talking out loud. “What am I doing on this dam planet?” he thought trying to calm himself from his rage. “Sir? Is everything okay?” said the rough female voice from the console in front of him. “Wha…Yes Delta everything is fine. Reroute to sector 7381 and give me more output to the lower thrust actuators.” He ordered. “In a rush today Ryan? That’s six units out of our assigned area, and 2.8 units..” “Yes, I know! Just do it Delta.” He said cutting off the voice he had grown accustomed to. “We’re doing something different today De.” He said, thinking to himself how silly he used to feel talking to a piece of farm equipment.
Delta One. My first robotic enhancement to Gramps crop walker. Ol’ wisker he called it. Named for the sound the spinning blades made as it worked up and down the fields. It looked like something out of the 20th Century history books Gramps had sitting in the study. He always said it was older than dirt, just like him, and his books. I don’t know why he kept them, as many as he had, they could have all been scanned onto a single holoplate. He always said they gave the study character, their faded intricate leather carved lines with titles you could barely make out but he always knew what each one was about and where on the shelves each one belonged. I also had to read every single one of them. Gramps made me read out loud to him and Gannie, everyday, sometimes hours at a time. It was the closest thing to school I could get, and Gramps said knowledge was a power no one could ever take from you. I used to believe that, until I experienced the cruelty of the Shi’.
“Grandpa! Grandpa!” Ryan said as he bent over hands on his knees catching his breath. “Oh! Hello Ryan.” He said, in a deep voice that seemed to want to echo at the end of every word. “Haha slow down young man, you’re going to burst a lung!” He said standing there with a smile on his face. Gramps always smiled, like nothing in the world could ever hurt him, with his dark hair and, large eyes etched in the corners with what Gannie called crows feet and wrinkles around his mouth. I always wondered if Dad was like that and if that’s what I would look like when I got that old, but I never asked about my Dad, not too much anyway. It was a sore spot for Gramps. I could tell early on. Sometimes he would just stop talking about him in the middle of our conversation. I could see it in his large gray eyes, like the skies during the fall storms at the end of every season. He never stopped smiling though. “Here Gannie said to bring you this.” as he tapped his chest to finish catching his breath. “O’boy!” he exclaimed. “What flavor is it this time Gramps?” I asked curiously. “Well, let’s see.” He said as he opened the small paper like box that Gannie always used to put Gramps sandwiches in. “Ahh Kal’iani bird meat!” he said as he took a bite and closed his eyes savoring the taste, not saying a word as if it was the last time he would get to enjoy the special meal. The Kal’iani bird, an off world animal, very rare to find in this part of the galaxy. Gramps described it as something between a large ostrich and a peacock, both animals’ centuries’ old extinct species. I only knew what they looked like from Gramps books in the study. Kal’iani meat, not something anyone can afford to have but Gramps said he had a friend that sent him a small amount every two years as a sort of birthday present. “Here son, you finish the rest.” He said handing it to me as if it were any normal sandwich Gannie would make for lunch every day. “Are you sure gramps? I know it’s your favorite and you only took one bite”. I said, feeling a little guilty at taking the sandwich. “Go ahead Ryan, Gannie is sure to have more in the kitchen.” Gannie was good at making food stretch, never letting us eat more than was necessary. She was an excellent cook. “So gramps.” I said with a mouth full of the succulent meat. “Are we going to go see the H’munculis today?” I said excitedly. One of the native creatures we gather at the beginning of every season that provides us with milk which is one of Grannies main ingredients to almost every meal she puts together, giving everything a silky delicious texture. And their fun to ride! “No, not today Ryan. There’s something else were going to do today.” He said in a slightly odd somber tone. “Grannie said we were going to do something special today and that I should come right out after my chores were done. I thought it was to gather the H’munculis?” I said wondering what else could have been so special that we weren’t going to go do our usual start of the season tasks. Which, in a way I was okay with because Gramps always made me collect the excrement from the H’munculis to help fertilize the crops. Not the most fun part of herding the animals to the farm. “What are we going to do today then Gramps?” I said in an excited but curious tone, mouth still full of the Kal’iani meat sandwich. I watched as Gramps looked at me as I took the last bite of the sandwich, licking my fingers of every last bit. He put his hand on my shoulder and I saw his furrowed brow. Something I ever rarely saw. He looked as if he wasn’t sure what he wanted to say to me as I waited patiently in anticipation for his next words. “Come with me Ryan, I’ve got something I have to show you. You’re at the right age now and it’s about time anyway.” Not knowing what he meant and feeling a bit confused with his seriousness. “Okay Gramps, let’s go.” Was all II could say.
We walked towards the back of the house, past the solar array used to power most of the farm and recharge the harvesting machines. Gramps walked closer to the equipment building where we kept all of the spare parts, tubes and chemicals used to make our living. I stopped short as Gramps unlocked the main door and looked back at me. “Don’t just stand there, come and help me with the doors.” He said as I slowly walked to him. The equipment shed was the one place on the farm I wasn’t allowed. Gannie always said it was too dangerous for me and they didn’t want me to get hurt fooling around in there. I loved Gannie so I always obeyed her requests. I also didn’t know how to shut off the field generator that kept the animals from wandering into it. Though I’m sure I could have figured it out if I had really wanted to. “Gannie always said I wasn’t allowed in there because I might get hurt.” I said, wondering why today might have been different. “Did you forget what today is Ryan?” he said with a half chuckle. “I guess Gannie didn’t spoil the surprise for you. Ah she’s good like that.” He said with a comfortable sigh, putting a smile back on his face, the kind of sigh that comes from feeling good like a warm blanket or a hug from someone you love, which eased my worries. “Ryan your fifteen today!” he exclaimed. My eyes widened with the realization. “Oh, that’s right! Ha-ha!” In my morning excitement and expectation of herding this seasons H’munculis, I had failed to remember my own birthday. “Ohh, that means Gannie is..” “Yup, that’s right.” quickly cutting me off. “Cooking up a storm in the kitchen for you, but worry about that later, she’ll be waiting for us at the end of the day and you can enjoy all the sweets you like so much.” My birthday, the one time of the cycle I could eat as much of Gannies sweets that I could fit in my stomach. Now I was really excited, almost shaking and I started jumping up and down. “Okay Ryan, relax son,” returning to his somber mood. “Help me with the door and I’ll show you how to power down the field generator so we can walk in and still keep the animals out.” I ran over making the attempt to calm down but still excited by the thought of Grannies sweets and help Gramps open the large outer door to the equipment shed. He made several intricate symbols with his finger just about the height that I could reach. “Did you see the symbols I made on the door Ryan?” “Yes” I replied, as the door left glowing blue trails where Gramps had moved his finger.”Good you’re going to have to remember them from now on, think you can do that for me?” “Of course” I replied, I was very good at remembering things.
The door clicked and I could hear a low humming sound for a few seconds then the glowing trails faded and the humming stopped. The door was solid and much heavier than I had thought. It made me realize how strong my grandfather was as he effortlessly slid the door silently into place. “Okay, there we go, the outer shed door is open now.” He said feeling satisfied the door was locked into place. “Gramps?” I began.” Why is this, the only door that we have to open by hand? All the rest of the doors on the farm are automatic or opened with a button, and they make a whooshing sound, whoosh, whoosh, and whoosh!” I said playfully laughing at my own silliness. “This one was quiet as a field rat.” “Well Ryan,” he paused as if in pain for a moment. ”This shed, was built by your father.” He said with a great sigh of relief, as if it took all the strength he had to get the words out. “He did?” I asked in awe, looking closer at the details of the shed noticing light traces of symbols that looked a lot like the ones Gramps used to open the door. I wondered why I hadn’t seen them before. I shook my head as if trying to shake away a mirage but the more I tried the more the symbols stood out to me. I felt a tug somewhere in the back of my head, it was a strange feeling. I felt connected to this shed somehow, well my father did build it Gramps said. The strange feeling in the back of my head began to give way to a slight lightheadedness, but not like being dizzy. It was like something was unlocking in inside. Then the feeling mellowed as Gramps said “You see them don’t you Ryan, the symbols?” with an expression that seemed to hope I didn’t but knowing that I did. “Yes.” I said. “I feel ...weird.” as I unconsciously rubbed my hands together. “What is this Gramps?” “It’s okay Ryan, the feeling will pass in a bit, and it’s nothing to worry about, alright?” “Alright Gramps.” I said still trying to shake the feeling away. “As I said Ryan, this shed was built by your father. He was very good, much better than I was at his age.” “You built things too Gramps?” “Well, I wasn’t as good at building things like your father, I was better at fixing and maintaining things that we already had. It’s how I keep a lot of our machines running here on the farm.” “Oh, like how you fixed the wisker when it broke down last cycle and you had to travel to Demog City for parts?” I asked “Yes, sort of like that. You father was exceptionally good at building things to keep things locked up and unlocking them too. I don’t think there was anything your father couldn’t open.” “Even Gannies baking closet?” laughing as I remembered the birthday sweets waiting for me. “Okay, listen Ryan, be serious this is very important.” ‘Okay,” I responded trying to be as serious as I could. “Your father left me something to give to you when you reached fifteen cycles, actually he left you several things.” I listened trying to hold in my excitement for birthday presents. ”One of them you already have.” “I do?” not understanding what Gramps meant. “Yes, you have the ability to see those symbols on the shed. Well it’s not really a shed.” He paused “It’s called a robotics station, in some parts of the galaxy they call it a mech bay.” “Mech bay? Wait, can’t you see the symbols too Gramps?” “No Ryan only you can see these symbols, your father created this system just for you.”
“Wow that’s so cool! So no one else can see these, just me?” I said, rubbing my hand over the faded symbols. “Well there are others who can read some of them but only you can read all of them. Your father created this particular set just for you.” He paused to let me take everything in so far. “Why, Gramps, what do they mean? I can’t read these like I can read your books in the study.” I said as I stared at the symbols on the shed. “If you can’t read them how did you open the shed door?” “I don’t know, your father told me he thought it was safer for me and your Gannie not to know and only showed me how to open the shed door. Your father was a very smart man Ryan, almost too smart for his own good but he was my son and I trusted him, so I never asked.” I was so intrigued by everything Gramps had been telling me I had just realized he didn’t stop in the middle of the conversation as he usually did. In fact he kept talking, as if he didn’t get it all out right now, he never would. His hands were trembling. “Are you alright Gramps, you hands are..” “I’m alright son, never mind my hands. It’s your hands we need to talk about. Come closer to the field generator.” I walked closer as he had asked. ”mmm..my hands?” Was I stuttering? I wasn’t sure. “ggg Gramps what are you talking about?” but as I got closer to the field generator my hands became very warm almost hot as I looked at them. I stared in amazement as a symbol appeared in the center of each one of my palms. They began glowing, getting brighter the closer I got to the field generator, a sort of white orange color. My hands were tingling, like when you sit on your hands for too long and they fall asleep. I tried shaking them to get the blood flowing again but it wasn’t working, I started to get scared then. My thoughts began to race, all on their own. I couldn’t control the flood of images of symbols and places I had never seen. All I could think of was that I wanted to run, I didn’t understand what was going on. I grabbed my head as if it were hurting but there wasn’t any pain. I took a step back, ready to turn and run as fast as I could but before I could move Gramps swiftly grabbed my arms and kneeled down, look me right in the eyes in a loud voice and said “Ryan do you trust me?” I couldn’t respond. I shut my eyes as hard as I could. “Ryan, Ryan! Snap out of it son!” he exclaimed. “Yes, Gramps Yes !I trust you.” I think I started to cry then, so over whelmed at what was happening. Then before Gramps could say anything more I heard Gannie.
“Harold! What are you doing scaring the boy like that!” she said angrily. “He’s fifteen cycles Gannie, he’s a man now and why are you so angry, you knew this would happen today!” he spat back at her. I had never heard either of them ever raise their voices at each other before, not even once. I stayed silent watching the two people I loved most, yell at each other I wasn’t even sure what they were saying, I almost thought it was a different language. “Harold? Is that your name Gramps?” I said to myself, I don’t think they were listening to me. Strange, I had never heard my grandfather being called by anything but Gramps. Even everyone in town called him Gramps. I looked at Gannie, and her lips stopped moving but I could still hear her in those strange sounding words. Apparently Gramps knew what she was saying. A few more moments went by. Whatever it was she said Gramps quickly became quiet. He looked very sad and angry at the same time. “Please don’t fight.” was all I could say. Gannie turned to me and said “We’re not fighting Ryan, Gramps is just being a silly old man and needed to be reminded that you maybe 15 cycles but you still have a journey to take before you can become the man your father wanted.” She gave me a loving hug and I felt better, Gannie always made me feel better when I got hurt or was feeling bad. "Now let’s show you what your father wanted you to have for your birthday shall we?” I smiled and said “Okay Gannie.” Then she knelled behind me. Gannie was very tall so she always had to kneel down to look me in the face. “Give me your hands Ryan.” I did. My palms were still glowing. “Hold them out in front of you facing the field generator.” I turned and looked at her and asked “Will my hands glow forever?” “No, it will go away soon. Now do as you’re told.” “Yes Gannie.” She walked with me holding my arms for support. We got closer to the field generator but this time I felt calm. I wasn’t scared. It was even peaceful. When I was almost touching the field generator Gannie let go. I heard her speak in my head. “Go on Ryan. This is an important step for you to take and you must do it on your own. Touch the field generator with the palms of your hands. Don’t be scared, it won’t hurt. I believed her. Gannie never lied to me and always made me feel better. I took one more step and touched the blue glowing field generator. It tingled warm and soothing, it felt...happy to see me. I don't understand why I felt that way but it did. Instantly my hands glowed brighter than I could look at. I squinted hard at the light. I didn't want to look away, I wasn't afraid. Then I heard a feint whisper somewhere far away like a breeze rustling the grass. "You are.. Ti'ohm's son." It startled me but I didn't move. My hands grew warmer, the glowing light faded to about half it's original brightness and I was able to look at my hands, still enveloped by the field generator. It's blue hues slowly being overtaken by the orange color from the symbols on my palms. Leaking into it's form like food coloring into a glass of water and then the world faded away. All I could see were my hands and the field generator wall, the last bit of blue disappearing under the conquering deep orange hue surrounding my hands. I could do nothing more than watch as the symbols on my palms replicated itself onto the wall. The symbols increased twice in size, hovered for a moment then broke into several pieces, fifteen to be exact. Every piece shaping it's own symbol. They vibrated. Disrupting the field around each of them. The symbols started moving closer to my hands and one by one they moved onto my hands, the first two traveling up my arms, stopping on my shoulders , the next crawling up and planting itself on my biceps. Next the inside of my elbow joint where the doctors would draw blood. The next two sets placed themselves on the inside of my forearms and two more on the opposite side. Two fit themselves onto my outer wrists. Finally finishing with one large symbol landing on my chest. Smoke appeared and evaporated from the etchings and I knew the symbols were engrained into my skin. After that I wasn't able to see them. The field generator wall disappeared and everything came back. I lowered my hands standing there still. I lowered my hands standing there feeling numb. The feeling subsided. I opened my eyes even though It felt like I had never closed them. Gannie was kneeling in front of me smiling. Never had I seen her so happy, tears dripping from the corner of her eyes. " You will experience much from this point on. Be good and listen to the whispers."
" Okay, Gannie" I said as I smiled. I looked over her shoulder and saw the floor of the shed lift up and there stood an ancient looking machine. Something that looked like it was Gramps wisker But there was more....