This is part of what I was working on a few months ago; I plan to go back to working on it. The story is a bit long  for a blog, so I appreciate everyone who actually sticks with it to the end. 

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Three Wise Ones

  By Ronald Cypress

 

We all watched as much of the news that we could, absorbing and trying to comprehend as much of the incredible event as possible. If the experts were lost and dumbfounded on what had taken place, then us simple folk could only feign understanding the whole picture or come up with wild theories about what had really happened and what it all meant. The world had pretty much stopped on the day that the ship came crashing down to the earth. The few filmed shots of the landing played over and over again as the speculation about what it was and where it had come from built up.

The talk began with mentioning that the aircraft was likely one of ours. When it became clear that no agency could claim that the thing from space was one of theirs, talks about it being from a foreign country started up. We could only speculate until given more information by the government. The story was able to sustain twenty-four seven coverage, and the day after the aircraft landed in our country the public was told that three people had been found inside of it. They were regular human beings. We all saw the footage of the two men and woman who had been recovered from the aircraft, and that seemed to settle the debate about whether or not actual aliens had finally came to our world.

The three people from the aircraft were taken to a hospital not far from where they landed, and things began to quiet down, or there weren’t as many updates on the story as there had been when it first happened. We all wanted to know what was going on, but the government clearly wanted to keep a good deal of information away from us. With the way things are and how information travels, they could only do so much to stop us from finding out about where the three people had come from.

The first word that got to us was the ship and the three found inside had been part of an experiment. The three people were talking and giving plenty of information to whoever was interrogating them. Reports mentioned that they all seemed to be in fair health; that was all they would say but we all got the sense that something was going on with them. Then we found out that the ship was called Zeno and it had been designed to travel at warp speed.

Most of us figured that cleared up the picture a little more, though we still continued to superficially bicker about what it meant. Our government had created the ship, and it had been a top secret until its crash landing. But no one wanted to take responsibility for it. We heard that no such ship had ever been created by us, or anyone else for that matter. We also found out that the technology found on Zeno was absolutely unknown to us.

But the three found aboard the ship were insisting that they were one of us, had come from our country and operated the flight for it.

The people found aboard Zeno began to come out in public

We found out their names.

There was Raf Castle, the command pilot. He was a hard looking man, and many us decided that we didn’t really like him. He appeared to be the leader, and he was probably the most vocal member of the crew. He kept insisting that we were all mad, and he talked about some experiment to send a ship into warp speed for the first time. Castle insisted that he had flown for our space program and that we had been the ones to send him. Supposedly, there was man named Philip Lem who had designed Zeno and he was supposed to have overseen the entire project. This was Castle’s explanation, and the other two appeared to agree with his story though we didn’t hear as much from them.

The two other pilots that were aboard Zeno were Ren Stockland and Alisha Roy. They were both several years younger than Castle, and both seemed more hesitant to speak whenever they had their moment in front of cameras and reporters. But we knew they were in solidarity with Castle. All three were claiming that they had been part of a test flight to achieve warp speed for the first time. That is what they wanted us to believe.

If someone had lost interest in the Zeno story and the three pilots, they probably started paying attention to it again once reports started to come out about the three pilots. They were from this country, and the origins they had given to investigators turned out to be true to a certain degree. There had been an Alisha Roy with the same parents as the pilot, but she been killed in a car accident when she was seventeen. Ren Stockland, again with the same background, had been stabbed to death during a bar fight at the age of twenty-two, almost thirteen years younger than the Ren Stockland who had shown up on Zeno. Raf Castle, the one confirmed by our government, hadn’t even made it as far as the other two, dying from an aggressive form of cancer at the age of eight.

As for Philip Lem, the man who had supposedly been behind the creation of Zeno, we were told that the man who best fit the description given by the pilots was a scientist and engineer who had committed suicide nearly twenty years ago.

We realized that the pilots’ backgrounds seemed to check out, but they couldn’t be who they said they were, not if they died years ago. It was a simple thing to clear up. All they had to do was test their DNA. After the results came back, there was a breaking news announcement. Some woman from our government confirmed that the three pilots did have matching DNA to those who had perished long ago.

We all wanted to know what it meant.

No one had absolute answers, not even our greatest minds. There was just constant speculation and fears. This new truth proved to be a massive devastation for many of us. What did it all mean? How could these three be here?

The news began to withdrawal from the story. It was never said, but we all assumed that it would probably be best to just start pushing Zeno and it’s crews to the back of our minds. The proper people would study the whole situation, and eventually we would receive a resolved explanation for what had happened.

Until that time came, we would just pray and continue holding on to the same believes that had kept us safe for years.

 

 

Δ

 

 

“Are you sure there’s nothing I can get you?”

The nurse had tried to accommodate Command Pilot Raf Castle several times that day, but she couldn’t give him what he really wanted. No one he had met up to that point had been able to give him answers. All they had done was add more questions about the situation. Most of the people he met treated him with obvious suspicion. Castle could see the mistrust and hear the doubts when they spoke to him.

They kept him at a hospital, though every physical examination had proven that he was in good health.

“He’s absolutely human,” Castle had heard one of the doctor’s tell someone.

Initially, they were giving him physical examinations every day after recovering him from Zeno, giving the impression that they couldn’t be completely sure that Castle was a human. The physical exams were guaranteed to happen, as were the interrogations. They all wanted to know where Castle and the woman came from.

“Alisha and I are from Earth,” Castle insisted.

They had kept him from seeing Alisha, and all they would tell him was that she was in some type of coma.

They continuously asked about how the two and the ship had come to Earth.

Castle told them about the last moments that he could clearly remember. Zeno had just initiated the jump to warp speed. They were heading away from earth. The ship had lunged forward, and an iridescent circle formed around them. The next thing that came to mind was the ship hurtling towards Earth. Castle had heard Alisha cry out just before they went through Earth’s atmosphere. They crashed into a grassy field, and when Castle came to after briefly passing out it was just Alisha and him.

But there had been another pilot on Zeno. Ren Stockland had also been aboard the ship when they first left Earth but hadn’t been recovered inside Zeno after the ship came back down. At least that was what Castle had been told.

Castle was compliant with all the demands that were given to him after he was first recovered. He was ready to answer all their questions and explain as much as he possibly could. But they couldn’t seem to comprehend what he was telling them. The government and the space program hadn’t heard of Zeno. When Castle told them about Philip Lem the people interrogating him promised that they would look into the person. They were going to look into everything and everyone surrounding Zeno.

They moved Castle from the hospital to a nearby hotel, promising to take care of him until everything was straightened out. With a lawyer present, they allowed Castle to speak at a press conference. He had no problem with explaining his truth. He and the other two pilots had been assigned to pilot Zeno on its first flight to achieve warp speed. A man named Philip Lem developed Zeno and most of its technical aspects.

The press didn’t seem to know what to make of him, and Castle assumed that they all believed him to be lying.

Away from the public eye, they were quickly investigating Castle’s claims.

The results were crushing for him.

He had been married to a woman named Eileen Franks. Castle gave enough information to them so that they could find her. The two had three children: Raf Jr., Margarita, and Mary. They found his Eileen, and she was no longer his. Though she refused to meet him, they were able to confirm that Eileen Franks was married to another man and only had one child. After being shown a picture of her, Castle confirmed that they woman they showed him was his wife.

He had parents.

They were found and did confirm that they had a son name Raf who had been killed in a boating accident when he was twenty-five. Castle was forty-six. Raf pleaded for them to bring his parents to him, but because the man he had believed to be his father had passed away years ago the only person they could bring to him was his mom.

Raf saw her and broke down. They held him back when he rushed to hug her. The woman recoiled as the doubt and confusion remained clear in her eyes.

“Mama,” he called out to her.

“He looks like him,” the woman said. “Doesn’t he look like him? But it can’t be.”

The woman and Castle stared at each other until they both resigned to what appeared to be the facts.

“We’ll work this all out ma’am,” they promised her.

Castle had no doubt that the woman was his mom.

They moved as fast as they could. Soon, they had the DNA test results to prove that he was indeed related to the woman. They also had the results to prove that Alisha Roy hadn’t perished in a house fire fifteen years ago as her parents believed. Instead, she was lying in a hospital, still comatose after being found on Zeno.

“No one understands how this can be,” they told Castle.

He advised them to find Philip Lem as soon as possible. There was no record of him ever existing. They couldn’t find a single person that fit the description or a possible family member.

As for Ren Stockland, he was found in a bar, about one hundred miles away from where they were keeping Castle.

“The man definitely isn’t an astronaut,” they told Castle. “Just a man with a long rap sheet.”

They managed to cajole an intoxicated Ren into going to visit Castle for verification.

It was him and it wasn’t.

Finally, they began to sit down with Castle and talk to him about what they could for him the future. There was no doubt that a good deal of his story had been verified, but there didn’t seem to be much that they could offer him. Nothing like Zeno had ever been created in their world, and no one could comprehend how the ship and its crew he had come to be with them.

“If we could just find Lem,” Castle quietly said. “We need to find Lem.”

He would repeat Lem’s name numerous times, but the man didn’t exist, not in that time and space.

 

 

Δ

 

 

“Are you guys going to get Lem down here, or not?” Ren Stockland asked.

He was starting to grow impatient with the government and how he was being treated since landing back on Earth. It had become clear to him that they were never going to find the other two who had been with him when Zeno left Earth. They had brought him stand-ins for Raf Castle and Alisha Roy, but neither one of them had been the real person.

“Those were frauds,” Ren had told them. “That guy said he was preacher. I’m not bashing the guy, he was nice in his own way, but Castle would never be preacher. I don’t even think the guy believed in any god.”

The Raf Castle who had been brought to him had offered to pray for his soul.

The Alisha Roy whom they had introduced him to was pregnant with her fifth child.

“You don’t have any children,” Stockland had told her. “I don’t even think you want any.”

They had let him meet the two who were supposed to be his co-pilots before giving him the news about the Ren Stockland that had existed in their world. No such person had ever existed. They allowed Stockland to meet the people who were supposed to be his family. There was his mom, dad, and older sister. It had always been the three them and only the three.

“Lorraine, you have to remember me,” Ren Stockland pleaded. “I was at your house shortly before I left.”

He began going through memories he had of them together. The Stockland family just stared at him. He began giving them more intimate and personal details that only a close family member would know.

“I don’t know how he knows these things,” Mrs. Stockland said. “But we’ve never had a son. I’m sorry.”

The family stuck around to find out that Ren Stockland’s DNA proved that he was related to them. But they wouldn’t accept him.

It became clear to him that the only hope he had for having things set right was to find Philip Lem.

“The man is a genius,” Stockland told them. “One of the brightest scientist around. He understands how Zeno works, and he’ll know exactly what to do.

They found Philip Lem.

He was a scientist.

“Great,” Stockland said. “Have him come down here and work this whole thing out.”

They said that Lem had never heard of him or Zeno, and he didn’t want any part of the whole ordeal that had become very public.

Stockland had no choice but to wait while they tried to convince Philip Lem to at least come and evaluate the situation.

Months passed before Lem agreed to come see Stockland. During that time, they had begun to limit the public’s access to Stockland. His movements were quietly restricted, and they kept him from speaking out too much about his dilemma. Not being allowed to talk to the press wasn’t a problem for Stockland, but he was growing frustrated with the fact that no one was able to help him.

They took Stockland to meet Lem at the hangar where Zeno was being housed. Lem instantly pronounced that he didn’t know Stockland and had never seen the man before in his life. He seemed to have very little interest in the fallen pilot but was very curious about Zeno. The all black, triangular ship didn’t look too special on the outside. They allowed Lem to go inside, hoping that he would be able to understand how the ship operated. Stockland had offered to give them a succinct tutorial on Zeno, but they had refused to let him touch anything inside.

“This is all very interesting,” Lem said. “But it’s nothing that I’ve seen before, and I have no idea how all this would work.”

Stockland offered to refresh Lem’s memory, but they hushed him.

Both men were escorted away from Zeno.

“I wish I could help you,” Lem said after they were all away from the aircraft. “But it’s beyond my comprehension. It is very interesting, though. And it is possible that this young man was part of an attempt to achieve navigating such an aircraft to move faster than the speed of light. Maybe they did do it, and things just didn’t turn out to be the way they expected.”

Stockland began to talk about how he could remember the jump forward, the variety of bright colors around them and then crashing back onto the planet. But Lem wasn’t interested in it. He was certain that there was nothing he could do for Stockland. No one could help him at that time.

They promised to take care of Stockland, and to find the best accommodation for him. Eventually he would find his home, they promised Stockland. In the meantime, they wanted him to get as comfortable as possible with his new life. It was a simple goal.

The land wasn’t completely foreign after all.

 

 

 

Δ

 

 

 

Alisha Roy was shaken by the press conference that had just taken place a few hours before. The question that had kept coming up over and over again was how she had made it back. How had she survived when everyone had been absolutely certain that all three members aboard Zeno had perished?

“I can’t tell you what happened,” Alisha said. “I don’t really have any recollection of the events you’re describing, and that’s not what happened to me.”

The public was certain that Alisha Roy, Raf Castle, and Ren Stockland had all been killed shortly after Zeno had left the Earth’s atmosphere. The public had seen the explosion on their TV screens. Just about everyone in the world knew about the grave news. Zeno’s first flight had been a tragic failure. And there wasn’t much they could do to get an answer about what went wrong. The decimated ship was out of their reach, and even if parts were pulled back to Earth it seemed highly unlikely that they would be able to diagnose the issue that had caused the explosion.

“It didn’t explode,” Alisha Roy told them.

The only person that they could turn to in order to figure out what had happened to the inspiring Zeno was Dr. Philip Lem, and he didn’t have any resolute answers for why the ship had exploded. He insisted that everything, ever little detail, had been absolutely perfect. They had run all the necessary tests beyond requirement. Everything appeared to be perfect. The launch had gone smoothly, and all was well until it came time for Zeno to speed forward.

Some assumed that too much was being asked of the spacecraft and of mankind. There were groups that believed it was beyond the call of human duty to do such things as achieve travelling faster than light. And of course some claimed that it simply couldn’t be done. It was people from this group that called for Lem to be arrested after they saw Zeno explode. Some people insisted that there was no way Lem could truly believe his ship was anything but a death machine.

“But it didn’t explode,” Alisha said.

She would keep insisting that Zeno had managed to start the jump to warp speed. She described everything going quiet before the whole spacecraft was suddenly jerked forward. Then there was a bunch of bright colors around them. Alisha told the public that was the last thing she remembered before she awoke and found Zeno speeding towards Earth.

People asked about Castle and Stockland, but Alisha couldn’t explain what had happened to them. The ship was still intact when it landed, and everything inside of it appeared to be normal but the two men were gone. A search team was sent to see if they could possibly still be floating around up in space somewhere, but the two were never found.

They wanted to know if Zeno had managed to travel at warp speed, and the people hoped that the suddenly resurrected Alisha would be able to answer the question. She told them and the public that she didn’t believe the ship had successfully completed its goal but something had happened.

“I don’t know what it could be,” Lem said when he and Alisha sat down in private. “We were all certain you were gone, but somehow you are here.”

Alisha opened up more than she had when questioned by the press. There was more that she could remember after Zeno had made the jump. Alisha told him about how all the colors had started to engulf them. She had felt the ship stop moving forward as they got sucked into the lights. Alisha recalled the feeling of her and all that was around her being slowly pulled apart.

“But it didn’t hurt,” Alisha said. “There was no pain. It just felt weird.”

After the strange sensation was done, Alisha had black out. A whole new world was waiting for her when she came back.

They held Alisha for a short period of time before allowing her to return to her family. There were some concerns that Alisha would have to slowly work herself back into their lives. Five years had passed with them believing that she was deceased. She would have to let her love ones gradually adjust to having her back.

People continued to have questions. It couldn’t be avoided. Some wanted to know why she had been the one to come back and not the others. A few rumors about sinister deeds and cover-ups began. The government was hiding something, some people said. There were people who had questions about what Lem and Alisha would do next. Was there going to be another Zeno? What was the real fate of the first one?

Alisha began to think about what she could do after returning to what she mostly believed to be the world she had left. What she had always known was still the same as far as she could see. The only thing that disagreed with her mind was what many had believed to be her death. She was certain that Zeno had never exploded, and she and the other two had survived in some fashion. They should have been there with her but it wasn’t to be. It didn’t completely feel right, but Alisha could only argue so much with the reality.

She tried to talk to Lem about it, but his mind seemed focused on designing the next Zeno.

“This one will work,” he said. “It has to. Everything is perfect, all of it. I just have to give it another try.”

Alisha was done with mission. They probably wouldn’t allow her to go on another flight. She knew that they still viewed her with suspicion. They probably weren’t convinced that she was supposed to be there. Their Alisha had died along with the other two. The one who reappeared was some alien being, an intruder who had mistakenly plummeted into their world.

 

 

 

 

Δ

 

 

We all watched as much of the news reporting that we could, absorbing and trying to comprehend as much of the incredible event as possible. A strange ship from space had come crashing down to Earth, and no one seemed to have an explanation for it. The first images came, footage shot by a few witnesses, and we watched the ship slam into a grassy field. The news played the scene over and over again as conjecture began about what had happened.

The first guess that most of us had was that the ship had been one of ours and had happened to crash. The news began to move quickly. It didn’t belong to us, and it was soon revealed that no other country was claiming ownership of the aircraft. The news reported that officials were on the scene and the proper people were dealing with the thing from space. It looked like aircrafts that we had seen in the past, a triangular one that sort of looked like a jet.

But it wasn’t a jet.

And there wasn’t a pilot.

We found out that there was no one aboard the ship, and then we began to speculate that it was some type of weapon or spying device. People started to demand answers from our government. We wanted to know if we were under attack. They told us that we were going to be fine, assured us that we weren’t under attacked and encouraged us to go about our lives. It was hard. The circumstances were too bothersome and alluring.

Had we been visit by a real alien being?

The chatter about there being viable life out there beyond our planet became increasingly popular, and a good deal of the population seemed to start believing that we had made contact with something from another planet.

They told us that there was no proof that the thing came from anywhere other than Earth. In all likelihood, they said, the thing did come from another country, one that was too ashamed to admit it had failed at whatever it was trying to achieve with the spacecraft.

More of us began to demand answers. We wanted more details about the thing that had fallen from space.

Again, were we under attack?

They had a way with assuaging everyone’s fears and quieting the story.

The spacecraft was taken away by them and put somewhere that was probably highly classified. Very little information was given about it. Wherever it had come from, they were taking care of it. The best thing we could do was move on with our lives.

So we started to forget about the thing that had fallen from space. It occasionally appeared on TV, mostly on shows that dealt with conspiracies, particularly ones involving aliens, but the majority of us began to forget about what had happened. The threat that had been felt steadily dissipated. They had been right; there was nothing to worry about. We weren’t under attack. More than likely the ship had come from this planet. Many of us started to settle on the belief that it had come from us. They just didn’t want us to know about it. That was fine with us, just as long as we were safe and happy.

The thing from space became forgotten, mythicized and neglected. For most of us, it was too inconsequential to give much concern. The proper people who knew what to do with it would take care of whatever problem had occurred. They would eventually get it right and there would be no more crashes.

Overall, no real harm was done and we all ended up feeling safe.

It was the same world we had always known.