By: Adam Katcher
The war did not feel moral, the laws did not seem just, the language tasted foreign, and tongues were muted.
Everywhere Dylan walked, he knew he was being watched. The lampposts were recording everyone’s each and every move, though Dylan was the only one who seemed to be on edge.
He was nearly, but not completely, alone on the sidewalk during his first night on Unitopia. Dylan had never traveled to the civilization until now, even though the planet had been colonized by humans less than 15 Earth years prior. By the time Dylan and his squadron touched down in Unitopia, humans had already inhabited 7 different planets spanning across 6 galaxies. Dylan’s recent drafting was the only reason he hadn’t already been to all multiple times.
On the first night on the planet, the soldiers were allowed to roam around on their own, as was tradition for galactic soldiers during Refueling Periods (equivalent to one Earth week). Since Dylan struggled to make any true comrades during combat, he was left on his own. So he wandered solo.
Whenever Dylan would come across a citizen of Unitopia, they would stop to examine him. Their eyes were bright, yet colorless. The whites of their eyes seemed to have flames behind them, and their pupils covered where their iris’ should be. They were all more than one foot shorter than Dylan, but besides their eyes and height, they were still identifiable as humans. Albeit, perhaps not Homo sapiens. Though not too far off in terms of relativity to give them a new non-scientific name.
During the examinations, Dylan would try and read the signs on the buildings around him. Some of the words were remotely similar to his native language, Espanenglese. But there were also letters that he had never seen before.
Between examinations, Dylan would walk with purpose. He had overheard some of his colleagues talking about the Red Lake which lay in the center of Unitopia’s capital city, which they had landed on the outskirts of. He used the street signs, which had red arrows, to guide himself. The lake was supposedly “special” to all those who visited.
The roads were empty until a HovCar whipped by Dylan, nearly making him lift off of the ground. After all, he was a quarter of his normal weight. However, the gust of wind still felt as strong as an intense breeze on Earth.
By the time Dylan swiveled his head around to try to catch the exact design of the car, the vehicle was just a blur in the distance. As he moved his head back around, he saw a group of three Earth Humans in the distance. Whenever the lampposts flashed their cameras, a glint of light came from each of their right hands. Dylan grew curious.
The three-story, blue-brick buildings on either side of Dylan seemed to fade away as he dashed forward to meet the rest of the group. While suspended in the air between strides, he looked below him to see the blue sand which was starting to seep through the pavement.
“How long must this society have been around for its infrastructure to be deteriorating already?” wondered Dylan.
Indeed, the once perfect city which, when far enough inside, seemed to belong on Earth, was starting to quake more frequently. The planet’s plates were becoming more unpredictable. A large scale quake wasn’t due for a few more Earth months, though that did not mean that many of Unitopia’s civilians weren’t trying to escape. Rather, most would flock to spaceships, such as the one Dylan arrived on, whenever possible, to seek a way out.
The Unitopian government had started to grow rogue from the rest of the Human’s Confederation. Their sole reason for complying with the treaties and allowing for military activity on their planet was because they knew they would not be protected from the TronBorgs, as well as not have enough food, without the alliance.
When Dylan had just about caught up with the group, the curfew bells rang. The alarm did not apply for the galactic soldiers, meaning Dylan and the rest of his squadron had the entire planet for themselves. The people of Unitopia had been subject to such strict regulations for years. Well, news of such did not reach the Human’s Confederation headquarters on Earth until after Dylan’s mission had departed.
Translated to English, Dylan overhead his colleagues chatting.
“What are you going to get from the lake?”
“Yeah, it’s never failed for me.”
“Let’s make sure the newbie forgets to turn the key.”
“What key?” Dylan asked, which was responded to by no one. He only received startled looks and shunning.
When the posse turned their attention away from him, Dylan had even more to ponder about. He kept a few feet behind the rest of the group, knowing his presence was unwanted.
The bubble-like helmet on his head started to fog up. His suit grew damp. The rest of the soldiers experienced the same sensations.
They trudged forward, until the fogginess fully obstructed their vision, and their suits became too heavy to bear. Dylan tried to wipe away the condensation on the outside, but his attempts were to no avail. The moisture was coming entirely from within.
Unitopia had broken their allegiance to the Confederacy. The TronBorgs had seized control of the ship, and in turn, the human’s spacesuits.
The keys floated to the ground from the soldiers’ hands as their grips loosened.
Such a catastrophe is what happens when humans forget about their safe sphere and start to play with wrinkles in time.