Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time again for…
Earthian, one teen’s adventures in the weirdness of space. Hope everyone had a great weekend. My birthday was Sunday, and I have to say it was pretty cool… well, except that some jerk bunny left colored eggs hidden all over my backyard. Otherwise lovely, though.
Tonight’s episode of Earthian is called Here, and (like last week’s) it picks up directly where we left off. If you’ve missed anything, definitely check out the weekly Earthian Digest, which will point you toward all the previously released episodes.
Owijer walks stiffly across the room on tippy-tentacles, and then out through the archway where we entered. I’m watching him so closely that I don’t notice at first, but he’s just walked into a completely unfamiliar room… not the hangar we arrived in, but some other place. And now he’s wearing the most gleeful smile I’ve ever seen.
“Multi-dimensional space fold,” June says smugly.
Owijer nods. “Very good, Ms. Yun. How did you know?”
“It was simple really. With what my brother saw, the way the tech is confined to the archway, and these gravity readings on my…”
“Very, very impressive,” Owijer says. His smile is curious. Questioning.
Owijer motions for us to follow, and we all step through. We’re cautious this time, like we expect a big blade to chop us in two.
Michael Oxbow says, “So, like a wormhole or something?”
“Not really,” Owijer replies as the last of us are through. “We’re not tunneling through anything… just twisting things around until they touch. Here inside Valiant Base, we can connect any two archways at will.”
Did I pack any aspirin?
“My head hurts,” Michael says.
So, it’s not just me.
“Wait,” Victor says while running a hand through his blonde hair. It looks like someone professionally styled it this morning. “Is that how you… made those places in the game?”
“A related technology that uses some of the same principles. Our projectors in orbit around your planet create artificial places that branch out from the normal spatial dimensions. It’s like… like they exist beside your world. We call them instances.”
Even June looks amazed. Not that I understood half of it, but it sounded really impressive.
“I still don’t get it,” Adia says. “You made those places. Is it some kind of virtual reality?”
Owijer takes a second to think. “Not really,” he says. “It’s all solid and real. Our projectors construct the entire instance to our standards, and hide it out of the way where no one would notice.”
To their standards? Flash. I see Helena Moore’s fingers gripping concrete, turning white from the pressure. I see bubbling clouds drifting by beneath us, like a herd of long and skinny sheep. I see the deadly street waiting so far, far below.
“It was a level,” I mutter.
I look left and right, and see expressions like my own. Confusion, shock, anger.
“You… you could have killed someone,” Michael says. He’s gritting his teeth, and I can see broad muscles flexing on either side of his face. His voice is quiet while his eyes tell a different story.
“I understand your concerns,” Owijer says calmly, “but I assure you, it was all really quite safe.”
Cam is absolutely furious; her forehead looks like a crumple sheet of paper. “You could kill everyone on Earth,” she says. “No one would ever know it was happening.”
And then, much to all of our surprise, Michael Oxbow falls down a hole. I don’t know where it came from… it’s just there all of a sudden under his feet, and I hear his throaty cry shrinking into the distance.
“You monster!” I howl, taking a step toward the Seelio, but he’s already cowering in fear.
“Wait!” Owijer huffs. “Please, Jason! Just one second.”
Before I can make a decision, the hole in the floor becomes a swirl of blue lights, like a thousand glowing koi feeding in a tiny pond. It rumbles, bubbles, and…
In its place, Michael is sitting on the floor with his chest heaving, but otherwise no worse for wear. His eyes look like they’ve recently been placed back inside his head.
Owijer is still shrunken in on himself, guarding his body with several tentacles. “The instances,” he says with a shivering voice. “They’re soft and fragile. Unstable. This is how we Seelio entertain ourselves.”
Michael climbs up to his feet, and he has the most unbelievable smile on his face. “Holy wow!” he says.
Alejandra pats him on the shoulder. “How far did you fall?”
“A few hundred meters,” he says, still breathing like he’s just finished a sprint. “Right onto a big metal spike… and it bent and gently set me down on the floor. Just like a giant blade of grass.”
Owijer raises his arm-tentacles in surrender, their ends dangling in front of him like half-boiled spaghetti. “Perfectly safe,” he says pitifully. “See?”
Without warning, Michael Oxbow takes a long step forward while Owijer quakes with fear, and then he gives the small alien a quick hug. “This guy’s alright,” Michael says, patting Owijer lightly on the shoulder.
Everyone laughs. If there’d been a live-studio audience, they would’ve gone wild.
Then Michael says, “So, when do we start training?”
Coming in hot on Thursday, we’ll be reading the (quite a bit bigger) Chapter 09: Inspire. Hope to see you then!