All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
written by SJ
Jennifer Dakota had found herself in an eerie, nightmarish, forest of dark, crooked, trees, strange, unearthly, sounds, and the impenetrable gloom of what seemed like eternal night. She had already tried a dozen times to find her way out of this realm of darkness, each time ending up the same: running into a wall of fog, and then transport right back to the spot she now stood.
She resisted the mounting fear of believing she was lost--lost forever. Even though she was a brave Marine, trying desperately to control, maintain discipline, she had to make herself believe--there WAS a way out; but, she was quickly reaching a breaking point.
Each time she had tried to find an exit, she tried to remember the path she took so she wouldn’t keep repeating herself. But she was running out of options. There seemed to be one more route she hadn’t tried.
As she made her way from crooked tree to crooked tree, she felt the branches of the trees rub against her, like bony fingers, reaching for her, as if to pull her back into the darkness, make per a permanent part of this horrible place; but, she continued walking, slowly and carefully, forcing herself to believe--this was it, she’d find her way out this time. Finally, she saw the fog. But, as she entered it, she found herself right back were she began...in the middle of this nightmare world of twisted trees. LOST...
Trembling, she slowly sat down, her hope fading. The thought of being really lost loomed over her head like a cloud of dark matter. She closed her eyes and tried to resist the fear. In doing so, she digressed, thinking back to a time in her childhood, when she was lost once before, the time she was with her Grandfather as a child on Olympia in the Beta Canum Venaticorum system....
He had taken her for a walk in the woods to show her nature when all of a sudden she found herself alone. She couldn’t see her Grandfather anywhere as she raced from tree to tree looking for him. Then she panicked, yelling for him.
When he suddenly appeared, she ran into his arms almost crying. He spoke, asking calmly. “What’s wrong, Little Feather?”
“I was lost.”
He laughed gently. “Oh...you weren't lost. I was here all the time.”
She looked at him, still sad.
He then spoke comforting words. “Little Feather, when you find your spirit guide, you will never be lost.”
She had heard him mention something about a spirit guide before. This time she asked. “It’ll be an animal, right?”
“Yes. And it will be there when you need it the most.”
“What kind of animal will it be?” She was now feeling much better. “One of the animals from Old Earth, right? A wolf? A bear? Where our tribal ancestors used to live.”
“There’s no telling what animal it will be. And it doesn’t have to be from Old Earth.” He looked up, spreading his arms outward. “And our tribal ancestors are always with us, around us, and part of us.” He smiled, explaining. “Ever since we colonized the stars, I came to realize.” He looked at her with wise sincerity. “We are all of the same tribe.”
“You mean us...Terrans.”
“Not only us, but everyone in the Universe.”
“You saw that in your vision, right.” She looked at him with bright eyes.
He nodded, yes.
Then she frowned. “Surely not the Orks. They can’t be the same tribe as us? And the Tyranids...they can’t be!”
He laughed, then pondered a second. “I don’t understand it, but, yes...even the Orks and the Tyranids.”
“Oh, Grandfather.” She thought he was joking.
He laughed again.
The little girl then returned to her previous thought. “I want my spirit guide to be an Old Earth eagle.”
“Oh, no, Little Feather. You don’t get to pick your spirit guide. It picks you.” He explained. “And size is of no meaning. It can be as large as bear, or as small as a snail.”
“A snail? Yuck!”
He laughed again....
Jennifer sat reminiscing about her Grandfather, wishing she could’ve visited him more often. As she grew up and eventually joined the Space Marines, science had replaced her belief in a spirit guide. However, as the eeriness of the realm of darkness began to return, she decided to reminisce again.
She remembered her Grandfather taking her to aviaries, and again, happy thoughts replaced her fear.
There were all kinds of birds, colorful, funny, small and large. There was even one place with butterflies. Some of them landed on her arm.
As she sat and thought, she remembered one aviary that intrigued her more than the others. She and her Grandfather had walked in and she began hearing the strangest sound...like a bird, but more mechanical. Then she looked at him, thinking he was tricking her this time. “These aren’t real birds. They’re synthetic.”
After a hearty laugh, her grandfather explained. “No, Little Feather. These are real live birds.
“No...listen to them.”
He laughed again. “They are Red-Wing Blackbirds. They are a bird that used to live on Old Earth. They’re DNA was preserved, and they were reproduced here until a home could be found for them.”
As Jennifer sat in the strange darkness alone, she could still remember the sound that bird had made. Even now, she could still hear it in her head.
But then she stopped reminiscing for a second. The sound--was it in her head, or did she just hear it?
No...it was just in her head.
But then she heard it again. Was it real? She stood up quickly, looking around. Then she spotted it...only 20 meters away, sitting on the thin branch of one of the crooked trees. It was a solid black bird with red on the upper part of both of its wings. She stared at it, still not sure if it was real. Then it made its call again, fluttering its wings. It called again, then flew to another tree a little further away as if to say...follow.
It was as if the eerie sounds of the nightmare forest realm seem to fade away. She moved closer to the bird, carefully, hoping not to frighten it away; but it remained unperturbed by her. It called again once she was close enough and flew to another tree.
She continued to follow the bird from crooked tree to crooked tree. The third time she followed it, she knew what it was--and was no longer afraid, no longer lost.
By the eleventh time, it flew to a tree next to the strange fog, a place that was a little lighter than the other parts of the fog. She KNEW this was the exit as the bird flew into the fog and disappeared.
As she walked to the exit, someone she recognized stepped out. It was Lana Lyu LaFong...or at least, her image. She spoke to Jennifer, waving for her to come. “Let’s go...we have a lot to do.”
Jennifer sat at one of the fancy tables in the cafeteria of the Emperor Corporation’s science ship. Several doctors, nurses, and research scientists sat with her and listened to her incredible story of the time she was in a coma. The only thing she left out was any reference to the term, spirit guide, not knowing how they would take it. So far, the Marine gunnery sergeant was the only person to come out of such a Chaos induced coma. But, now, they had a lead on the medical reason, why.
They showed her one of her many detailed brain scans. With new data coming in about the WARP all the time, they had used that data to scan carefully for WARP signatures, not expecting to find anything, until they narrowed the scan down to very small.
On one the scans, they pointed out something, an aura of a small creature that looked wormlike, short and stubby. They mentioned that the creature inside her brain couldn’t have been any longer than a millimeter.
Then Jennifer had to ask, looking at the aura. “It’s not there anymore? How did you remove it?”
“We didn’t.” One of the doctors admitted.
They each looked at each other, then one of them spoke up. “According to Librarian Marcellus, you did.”
“Me? Librarian Marcellus?”
Most everyone had some knowledge about Librarians, the full title actually being, WARP Librarian. They were scientists that had the job of studying and cataloging all the facets of WARP theory...not to use it, or enter it, but, prepare for it, understand it, in the case something from the WARP came out. Over the decades, there was only one active Librarian left: Librarian Luke Marcellus. And he was fairly elderly.
“He’s on his way here right now, from the General’s command ship. He wants to talk to you.”
Jennifer sighed. “Let me understand this. You found a worm in my brain--”
“No...only the aura of a worm...a worm that had to have come from the WARP.”
She sat back and thought, getting a little angry. “How did it get there?” She set her jaw firm, and frowned. “Boseman! I tried on that stupid helmet of his.”
“Really?” One of the research scientist was fascinated. “Do you still have that helmet?”
“Do you know here it is? Knowing how these worms get into people's brains will give us very valuable information.”
The Sergeant sighed again, still angry. “I don’t think I remember too much back then. I have no idea where the helmet could be.” She looked at the scientist. “How can that little worm control me like that?”
Another scientists explained. “Well, actually, the worm can’t control you at all. All we can figure out is that it feeds on neurotransmitter and produces a chemical that apparently renders the host very susceptible to suggestion.”
Jennifer sat frowning. “...in other words, it pees in your brain a chemical that saps you of your will.”
There was a weak chuckle, but the scientists agreed with her fully.
“Will there be any lasting effects?” Jennifer had to know.
The doctors assured her she would have no lasting effects from the limited time the creature was there. However, it did seem to them that long time exposure, especially with multiple worms, could very well have significant physiological and psychological effects.”
The Sergeant sat and thought. “...and Librarian Marcellus thinks I removed it--”
“Yes...I very much think you did.” She turned to see an elderly man in civilian clothes standing behind her, smiling. He was escorted by a Federal Marine captain, apparently the pilot of the shuttle that brought him here.
She looked at him, seeing some of the same wisdom she had seen in her Grandfather’s eyes, only in a different way...more scientific.
After kindly asking the others in the room to leave, so he could be alone with Jennifer, he sat down on the other side of the table, across from Jennifer. He asked the cafeteria attendant to bring him some coffee, then asked Jennifer if she wanted anything. She asked for some tea with honey. He formally introduced himself, and shared some amenities with Jennifer until their drinks came.
Then he started. “The person I talked to said you shared a story with them...from the time you were in a coma. Can you share that with me.”
She smiled, and didn’t mind telling the story a another time. He sat and listened intently until she was finished. At the end, she had to ask him. “Why do you think I removed the worm?”
He held up a correcting finger. “Banish is the better word.” He began to explain. “These creatures from the WARP...these demons, as we are calling them, do not belong here. The Universe imprisoned them in the WARP for a reason. And it had to take something extraordinary to bring them into our Universe.” He leaned closer to her. “You see, you’re thinking you DESTROYED the worm, caused it to cease to exist. But that’s not the case. These, demons, no matter how large or small need a kind of WARP energy field to keep them in our Universe. Without that energy field, they’d be sucked right back into the WARP from where they came.” He sat back. “All you did was to disrupt that field...and the Universe did the rest.”
She still wanted to ask, how she did it...even if it was just to disrupt the energy field. But, his explanation was very logical and precise, and she couldn’t not except it.
After taking a drink of his coffee, he seemed to look into her eyes and ask. “This bird...a Red Wing blackbird, was it?” He paused, smiled, then asked frankly. “What do you think it was?”
She sat thinking. Ever since waking up from the coma, she had wanted to tell someone--shout it to the Universe. She smiled back, looking him in the eye. “It was my spirit guide.”
He sat thinking a moment.
Jennifer had no idea how someone else, especially a scientist, would react to the term, spirit guide.
Then he smiled brightly. “Excellent. That’s excellent. You already have a focus point. These demons do not belong here; they are a scourge upon our Universe. General Parker’s Marines had a very tough time killing these demons with conventional weapons.” His eyes became bigger. “And I am not convinced we have seen the worst that will come.” He lean closer again. “That worm in your brain, you banished it because our brains already emit a small about electromagnetic energy...and the worm was very small. For larger demons we will need a weapon that will emit a burst of energy that has the direct opposite wave length of the demon’s WARP energy field. That will disrupt its means to stay here, and,” he clapped his hands, “the Universe will force it back to the WARP.”
Jennifer sat intrigued beyond belief.
After finishing his coffee, he continued, obviously excited. “All you will need is a weapon you can easily carry, one that will allow you to modulate the wave length of a burst of energy with relative ease. However, it will be you, and your focus point that will allow you to find the specific wave length of the WARP energy field containing the demon...something you will need to do quickly and efficiently.” He smiled proudly at her. “You already have a focus point--that’s excellent. That’s something that would’ve taken months for me to teach you, maybe longer. We are already on our way to having our first, Combat Librarian.”