AGORA ONE - A SPACE ADVENTURE - SLICE 7
Will Meago and Evol leave Earth and go to Agora One?
Meago and Evol looked at each other. It was apparent that they were open to the idea, especially considering the alternative.
Raw’s face ballooned and he grabbed Tequi by the arm, “Could I have a word with you, please?”
“I didn’t bring any soundproofing.”
“Can Turbo do it remotely?”
“Piece of junk.”
“I heard that!”
Raw looked at Meago and Evol, “Excuse us for just one moment.”
Tequi and Raw walked a few paces away. Raw whispered, “Are you sure bringing them is a good idea?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“They come from an extremely immoral and evil culture and way of life. They most certainly don’t know the difference between right and wrong.”
“That much is certain, but they can learn, ya know.”
“And where will we take them, anyway?”
“We’re going back to Agora One. They can stay there for a while, if they want.”
“You’re gonna foot the bill?”
“If I have to, for a bit, until they get situated. We’re getting ahead of ourselves. If it’ll make you feel better, go ahead and ask them to tell us the difference between right and wrong. Worst case scenario, we get some comic relief.”
“Ignorance is not comic.”
“Then how do you explain your line of work, Raw? Get a grip.”
They went back to the group. Tequi asked, “So what do ya say? Wanna get off this battered rock?”
“What would we do out there?”
“Anything you want that’s moral.”
This drew blank expressions from Evol and Meago. Recognizing this, Tequi decided to test their moral compass with a simple question. “Could either of you please tell me what external government is?”
Evol crossed his arms and gave a strange look at the visitors. “That’s very simple. Government is the ruling class, those who make decisions on how to organize society.”
Meago said, “Why such a question? I don’t understand. What does this have to do with us leaving with you or not?”
Tequi and Raw looked at each other uncomfortably. It was far from the answer and reaction they were hoping for. Then again, what could they honestly expect from two humans that had known nothing but authoritarian hell all their lives? Still, it was the general custom of all those in the greater Space Agora to only interact with those who knew what Natural Law was and lived in harmony with it. Taking these two to Agora One would gain some especially unwanted attention and criticism from a multitude of people. What if they were brought on board Agora One and wrecked havoc? Of course, on the flip side of that, how much harm could two primitives like these, who had literally been using rocks as weapons within the past hour, actually cause? Finally, they would have at least 3 months travel before they would encounter Agora One, plenty of time to help educate their guests.
“The answer we were looking for,” Tequi began, “was ‘slavery’ or ‘mind control’. That’s what external government is.”
Suddenly, another tremor jolted them and jagged debris fell from above. A couple of bubble dwellings in the hive fractured as well. Then the artificial cavern once again became eerily silent as the dust settled.
Masher informed them urgently, “I’ve been doing some analysis in conjunction with Turbo. The structure we’re in is not sound and there are signs that seismic activity will increase within the coming hours. We should leave immediately.”
“Time to move on,” Tequi said. Raw and Tabe agreed. Tequi looked at Meago and Evol. “Are you coming?”
Before they could answer, the cavern started trembling violently again. This time it was far more powerful, and larger fragments came showering down. Tequi and Raw were shielded from harm by their force field armor, as was Masher. Tabe was naturally impervious to most hard objects. Meago and Evol, however, were in their naturally fragile human state. A small jagged stone caught Meago in the head, knocking her to the ground. Two other fragments caught her in the back. Evol rushed to cover her. Just as he did, the chaos stopped.
Tequi and Raw came to their side. Raw started digging quickly through his bag, searching for his med kit. Tequi pulled his med kit out from a well-organized black bag of his own. Masher hovered nearby and analyzed the injuries. “She’ll be fine. Mild concussion and some bruises on her back.”
Tequi pulled out a little silver device that vaguely resembled a pistol. He pressed a little green button and various holo-controls popped out of the device. His thin fingers flew over the controls, and then they disappeared in a flash. A blue beam shot out of the device and onto the back of Meago’s head, shining almost effervescently off her thick mane of hair.
“What are you doing?” Evol said, almost in a panic.
“Healing her head and waking her up. We gotta move. Well, ya don’t have to, but do you really want to stay here and wait to get knocked off by nature?”
Meago slowly opened her hazelnut eyes and unleashed a heart-melting smile. Tequi turned off the beam and said, “There, that smile says it all. Good as new.”
“What happened?” she said groggily.
“We’ll explain on the way,” Raw said as he and Evol helped her to her feet. “Masher, are you powerful enough to shield both of them?”
“Yes, of course. I’m not that old, ya know.”
Meago scowled sharply, “I don’t want that thing touching me!”
Raw shrugged, “If you want to risk your life, that’s your business.”
They headed back the way they came. Tequi called for Turbo, “Hey, can you send two more pods down to our location?”
“I’m busy playing Pong right now, but I’ll get to it shortly.”
“Now’s not a good time for ancient video game jokes.”
“Is it ever?”
As they crossed through the slowly crumbling stadium of sadism, Raw and Tequi were both tempted to ask about the details of what occurred there, but thought better of it, considering the circumstances. Broken glass littered the premises, fresh from more mirrors shattering.
They reached the chute that they’d come through earlier, so there was nowhere to go but up. Tabe went up first, gracefully floating his way. Tequi and Raw pulled anti-gravity discs from their bags and stuck them on their shoes, while Meago and Evol started pulling loose stones apart a few meters away, as if looking for something.
“Digging for gold?” Raw quipped.
Evol pulled a jumble of lines and hooks from under the rocks. “We keep our climbing gear hidden.”
Tequi and Raw tried not to laugh. Tequi pulled his backup anti-g discs from his bag and tossed them down to them. “Stick those on the bottom of your feet, and I’ll set them to sync your pace with us.”
“What are these?”
“Anti-gravity gadgets. They’ll float you up to the top a lot easier than climbing a rope will.”
They stuck the discs to the bottoms of their feet and instantly started floating up the chute, towards Tequi and Raw, who shot upwards once again as well. Meago and Evol gasped and screamed a little, but much less than expected.
Just as they were about to reach the top of the chute, the strongest quake of the day struck mercilessly. Masher was in front of Tequi and Raw, and quickly darted down to safeguard Meago and Evol from the impending rock cluster that was coming their way. Masher put a protective invisible shielding around them. Tequi shifted the function of the discs so they would float a few inches above ground, but be able to run. Basically, it enabled them to run on air.
Meago and Evol screamed with dissatisfaction at being in contact with Masher. Raw stopped, looked back, and yelled, “It’s saving your life! Now shutup and run!”
The tunnel was crumpling and giving way quickly to the forces from below. Metal and rock came from an impossible number of directions as things collapsed. Dozens of pieces bounced off of the force fields. Tabe came to the double metal doors at the end of the tunnel and smashed through them, revealing a hazy and faint light of sunset from outside. The others came to the light just in time, and dove into it, just as the tunnel finally collapsed onto itself. A few seconds later, and they would have been trapped, force fields be damned.
The quaking stopped. Tequi gave a quick warning and deactivated the anti-g discs. Their feet dropped to the rocky terrain. On the horizon, lightning flashed and popped. Masher analyzed their immediate perimeter to make sure their were no rogue boulders coming their way. Once assured that they were in relative safety for a moment, it deactivated the force field surrounding the two natives. Fost swooped down from behind them, startling Meago and Evol.
Tequi asked, “What, you’ve never seen a six-eyed, flying furball before?”
Raw said, “If you’re coming with us, I suggest you get used to A.I. and aliens, cuz they’re the vast majority where we’re going.”
The pods came to meet them, surrounding them on the ridge. Tequi looked at them hurriedly, “You coming or not? Your choice.”
Meago and Evol looked at the pods uneasily.
“If you wanna go, just hop in. Our ship in orbit will fly them up, and we’ll be on our way.”
The natives nodded to each other, gulped air, and hopped into their escape pods. The pods closed automatically and ascended slowly at first, then progressively accelerated itself through the changing atmosphere. The others did the same, and within minutes they were landed safely in the away bay of Tequi’s ship.
Here are some key and entertaining events that happened on the trek back towards Agora One.......
Tequi lamented the fact that he hadn’t been able to get any original source agave plants or seeds from Earth. A week into the journey, Turbo showed Tequi an agave plant that had miraculously survived the tumult. Turbo had sent a drone down to retrieve it, had cared for it, and made sure it was nearly certain that the plant would survive before revealing the surprise to its longtime partner and pilot, Tequi. Tequi was shocked, cried, and thanked Turbo profusely, while also expressing surprise at such a caring endeavor, for he thought that Turbo wasn’t overly fond of him, to say the least.
Tabe had a clumsy accident, knocking out one of the water generators. He fixed it with Fost’s help and hoped that Tequi wouldn’t find out. Turbo informed Tequi and he teased Tabe mercilessly for two days about his inherent clumsiness.
There were multiple rounds of target practice at Tabe, who took pride in withstanding regular onslaughts of firepower. Sometimes he would demonstrate some aerial shiftiness and dodge many of the shots, much to the chagrin of the shooters.
They introduced the newcomers to the wonders of things that didn’t exist on Earth, such as tequila, coffee, 5-tier blackjack, and a wondrous assortment of gadgets and gizmos. They were not shown too many technical aspects of space travel or higher technology in general, so as not to overwhelm them.
Raw spoke weekly with Zay and, on one of those occasions, Tequi joined them and related his plan of bringing the two Earth survivors aboard Agora One. Zay wasn’t pleased with the prospect, but considering she could do nothing to prevent it, didn’t protest. The only way to keep them off the ship was if all property owners decided not to rent to them. As Tequi was staking his reputation on these two strangers, it was an impossibility that every property owner on Agora One would reject them. Not even the Board of Directors could deny someone entry. All they could do would be to offer information saying that all property owners beware of a prospective client, and for what reasons, and recommend that it would be in their interest not to associate with them. This only happened in cases of known criminals, and this was rare, as most species with a high degree of criminality (immorality) among their population rarely made it off planet, let alone intergalactic. The bottom line reason for this was that those who live in opposition to Natural Law make very little progress and often die off while robbing and fighting each other. Actions and consequences, ad infinitum.
Meago and Evol also related to them how life was on Earth. They were brother and sister, and had been produced in a laboratory, as all humans had been on Earth for over one hundred years. It was a more efficient, more logical, and therefore better way to live, according to the machines.
Each person’s daily routine was dependent on their function for the machines. The majority of their functions were artistic in nature, things which the machines could not do. A.I. could not create spontaneously or invent. So the machines bred humans to do these things for them. Each human was trained by their predecessors in the basics of their trade. There were musicians, writers, painters, holo-sculptors, gladiators, and digital matrix game designers. Then there were those especially bred for the sensual arts. Others were kept as instruments of what Meago referred to as “the sadistic arts”. People were beaten and tortured in a variety of unthinkable ways, all for the sadistic pleasure of the machines. This was one of the functions of some of the cages that had been hanging in the stadium, for displays of physical encounters, both the grotesque barbarity of sadistic torture, and also bizarre sex shows.
Meago had been involved in the “sadistic arts”, while her brother had been a holo-sculptor. The A.I. on Earth were all addicted to synthetic emotions, called “EMOS”. Meago and Evol didn’t know exactly how they were produced, but they did know that each human had tissue samples taken daily from every body part. They also witnessed, openly, how A.I. would “inject” themselves with their synthetic pleasure.
Masher had been present on Earth when EMOS were first created and gave some details about them. These were made by taking nanoparticles of various human electrochemical compounds that were produced during a variety of emotions. The particles, having an electrical component in nature, were modified to be synthesized with the nanoparticles that made up the physical constitution of A.I.
They told about how their daily needs were provided for, according to the calculations of the machines. A certain physical specimen, with a particular function, would be given a carefully calculated amount and type of food, synthetic nutritional supplements, exercise regimens, sunlight and sleep hours, size of dwelling, as well as its aesthetics. It was all meant to produce the ideal composer, or writer, or actor, or sex slave, based on the cold demands of the madness of the machines and whatever fried conclusions their EMO-infected intellects came up with.
Meago and Evol had known of other human colonies around the world, but had never met them. They were kept in their own hive, inside the mountain. They assumed the other colonies were like this as well. The A.I. made it well known that they controlled the weather, food supplies, engineering and production of goods, and maintenance of all housing and infrastructure. All the humans had to do was follow their orders and perform their functions. And that’s what Meago and Evol had done. That’s all any human they’d ever known had done.
Tequi and Raw also attempted to do some educating of their own to Meago and Evol regarding Natural Law, non-aggression, and how this was the foundation of how the Space Agora functioned. They told of how, for hundreds of years, many species had lived in relative harmony with one another, and largely enjoyed peace and an extremely high degree of well-being. And it was all based on something so simple, and yet so powerful, as the Natural Moral Law of the Universe, of Creation itself.
It all boiled down to this: Don’t Harm Others. That was it. Obey that simple Law, and enjoy the fruits of freedom. Don’t obey it, and suffer chaotic consequences.
Consequences like the ones suffered by Meago and Evol in the hyper-aggressive culture they had endured on Earth.
Meago and Evol tried to understand, but from where they were coming from, it was a vastly difficult transition. They mouthed the words, but would their actions correlate?
And one final occurrence of importance during their trek back to Agora One…..
Slice 8 Coming Soon!
Thanks for your time and attention!
Just say "NO" to slavery!
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Please note: While Agora One can be read as a standalone, I recommend finishing the James Bong series first, and reading SeAgora second, as Agora One is the final installment of a loosely interlocking trilogy.