The Norma Matthias (1st Series)
by Michael Spitzkoff
Sometime at the end of the twenty-third century, a massive black hole tore through a section of the Milky Way galaxy engulfing everything in its path, including our own solar system. Earth was a dead stick and humankind was in danger of extinction. Do to the advancements in aerospace technology, a group of scientists created a fleet of transports able to withstand the inhospitable environment we know as deep space. These ships were big enough to take just a select few while the rest of mankind was left to suffer their own fate. This forge into the cosmos would be eventually known as “The Great Refugee Separation,” which lasted for a period of several year.
The fleet traveled across the stars for many decades creating new generations of travelers. These new generations of people ended up seeking refuge on a cluster of Earthlike planets located within a binary star system called Mea Epsilon and Organes at the Norma Arm of our galaxy. Over the centuries, the people settled into their new home, forming colonies, cities and kingdoms.
A couple of light years away, in a system called Mu Carinae, another intelligent species took up residence. A close cousin to man in physiological make up, the Carinaes who came to be known as the Cosma, were very instrumental in helping their human visitors settle in. The Cosmas shared their system with another species known as the Drakons. Untamed and unpredictable by nature, the Drakons were not as friendly as their counterparts. This difference in mentality created a great tension between the two species, which led to a war that lasted for a millennium.
Throughout the many years of transition, there was a great deal of interstellar breeding among the many species. A hundred thousand years after the last refugee separation from planet Earth, a great warrior was born. Thaddeus Aeson, the son of a human nobleman and a Cosma garment maker, lived on the planet Bion in the outer regions of the Astroneon zone.
In the Mu Carinae system stood the planet Pyrales where the Drakons were ruled by Desdeamhorn, a half breed of the Epaphras and the Drakon. Desdeamhorn or Horn, as he was called by outsiders, was pure evil. His only purpose was to rule the cosmos by death and destruction. This power-thirsty being led the Drakons since before the great war between his species and the Cosmas. Horn's great life expectancy had hung like a black cloud over the Astroneon zone for a millennium.
Well before “The Great Refugee Separation,” there was hope for everlasting peace. The Matthias was an entity of two links that held the mysteries of the universe. With it, one would have great powers to create a utopia or a catastrophe. It was said that Horn had one link of the Matthias in his possession. With the first link of the Matthias, Horn created havoc. One link of the Matthias in the wrong hands was extremely dangerous but with both links would be cataclysmic. The missing link had eluded Horn for eons. The only hope of stopping him and recovering both links of the Matthias might lie in the hands of Thaddeus Aeson.
The Fedora (Clip 1)
Deep in the flatlands of the planet Bion, Evania gave birth to Thaddeus in the early morning hours in the small village of Gita. The home in which Evania and Kirke Aeson dwelt was modest but fulfilled all their needs.
Evania had been in labor for over thirteen hours inside the Retirus room. Considering the nearest medical care facility was roughly one thousand Pentics away, equivalent to ten thousand miles, Kirke and his brother Iason awaited the birth of his son inside the common room. There was moaning and grunting echoed throughout the house. Kirke paced while his brother knelt on the ground, praying.
Iason stood up “You must relax, Brother,” Iason said.
“How can I? They’ve been in there for hours and no word!” Kirke said.
“This is perfectly natural. It’s all a part of childbirth.” Iason tried to reassure him.
"I'm aware of this," Kirke responded.
"There is something else that worries you. I can feel it."
"Other than my baby being born?"
Iason puts his arm on Kirke's shoulder. "You will be a great father...There is nothing to worry about...Just wait, you’ll see."
Kirke looked up at Iason and put his hand on his brother’s hand. "Thank you brother. That means a lot, coming from you."
A day on Bion was thirty hours long; Thaddeus was born at 26:10 hours. There was a faint sound of a baby crying. Elated, the two brothers looked at each other. Moments later, the doctor walked in and greeted Kirke.
“It is a boy…Come see,” the doctor said.
Kirke walked into the Retrius room and met his wife’s eyes. He walked over to the bedside unable to keep his eyes off his baby boy, bundled in a blanket by Evania’s side.
“He is beautiful,” Kirke said.
“Yes he is,” Evania smiled as they gazed at their baby.
“We shall name him Thaddeus. He will be courageous and strong,” Kirke said.
“Like his father. And loving and nurturing,” Evania added.
“Like his mother,” Kirke said.
Thaddeus lifted his tiny head and gazed back at his parents, sporting a grin. Being that Thaddeus was a half breed of Cosmas and human, he benefited from the characteristics of both species, as well inheriting some of the disadvantages. A Cosmas had almost the exact same physiological makeup of humans and even looked like a man with several differences: six fingers, no earlobes and webbed feet. The heart and lungs were larger in diameter than those of a human and more durable, giving them a longer life span and tremendous lung capacity. Humans tended to be taller in stature and had more muscle which gave them the advantage in strength. The intelligence level of both species was about equal. The female of the Comas was able to reproduce in five month cycles and carry more children than humans which gave them the edge in the census. Thaddeus carried a mixture of these genes.
The Council of Gita which consisted of village noblemen and dignitaries met every week to discuss issues that arose within the village and those of the outer villages in the flatlands. One of the main topics of discussion was the potential of being overrun by a rogue army called the Phrixeas, a group of hired killers sent by the Drakons to search for the missing Matthias link, among other artifacts. While searching for these valuables, the Phrixeas left a path of mayhem throughout Astroneon. The larger cities and kingdoms were left alone by the Phrixeas due to their superior armies and firepower, but the smaller entities, like the village of Gita were crucified.
Kirke and the rest of the delegates of the council sat around a table in a room of the village hall, located in Gita’s center square. Argus Savean, the chief of the council and his two underlings Jocasta and Melatis, sat at the head of the table. Kirke the spokesmen of the delegates, sat on the side toward the middle.
“All those who are in favor of expansion of the public recreation center?” Argus Savean asked.
“Hay!” Seventy-five percent of the room shouted their assent.
“All those opposed?”
“Nay!” the rest of the room shouted.
“It’s settled then. We will begin planning next month.” The chief slammed his mallet on the table. “Next order of business is the formation of a fully equipped medical center.”
Garius, one of the delegates. raised his hand. “Yes Garius?” The chief asked.
“May I be frank here?” Garius asked.
“By all means. Speak freely”
“There won’t be a medical center or a public recreation center if we don’t beef up our defenses. I think we all know that an attack from the Phrixeas is imminent. Hell, Vegal got completely destroyed just days ago!” Garius glanced at the rest of them anxiously.
“I say we retreat and take our chances outside,” Hades Tysen, one of the delegates sitting across from Kirke put in.
“Are you crazy? We’re not equipped to survive outside. We have too many dependents to take care of. It doesn’t make sense,” Kirke pointed out.
“We are not equipped to stay and fight…The Phrix already devastated our village with just one of their probes. If they fully mobilize we will be slaughtered!” Hades shouted.
“We’ll be slaughtered on the outside, too. We have to stay and defend our land. It is all we have left,” Kirke said.
“You’re a damn fool for thinking that, Aeson. All of you…Fools!”
“I vote we organize, utilize what we have, stand our ground and fight till the end!” Io another one on the board put in.
“Utilize what? We have barely anything to fight with! There are two thousand and fifty residents here in this village. Just one of the Phrix brigades contains just over that. No, I’m taking my family and getting out while I can,” Hades said.
“If you want to leave, that’s your decision, Hades. And whoever else wants to follow Hades that’s your right, Jocasta, I want you to work on our security around the perimeter. Make sure we are prepared for an attack,” the chief said.
“Yes sir,” Jocasta answered.
“Let's move on, shall we?”
Back at their dwelling, Evania held Thad sitting in a rocking chair. Kirke walked through the door, appearing somewhat confused.
“I just got done feeding Thad,” she said to Kirke.
“That’s good. How’s he doing?”
“He’s teething, but other than that he is doing fantastic. Doctor Rimley says he is very strong for a child at this stage. Unusually strong. He also said his dexterity was far more advanced than most any baby he’s seen.
“See? I knew he was special.”
“How did your meeting go?”
“Oh, it went all right.”
“What’s the matter, Kirke?”
Kirke sighed. “There is a bit of a dilemma.”
“What are you talking about? What dilemma?”
“There is a strong possibility we might be attacked by the Phrixeas. If we are, Gita could be destroyed. There are already some who are talking about leaving while they can.”
Evania shifted in her chair, as the baby fussed. “Are you sure of this? We were already attacked by those riffraff. We got through it.”
“We were attacked by a very small fraction of their outfit. They nearly slaughtered us then. This time we would lose the village.”
“What do you suggest, Kirke? I’ve lived here in Gita all my life. I’m not leaving my home.”
“I feel the same way, Evania, but if we stay we could suffer the fate of my parents.” Kirke’s parents had been executed by a band of Phrix.
“Your parents made a conscious choice standing up for their people,” Evania said.
“I’m not suggesting we leave at all. I will give my life for this village and its people. But we have to figure out what we’re going to do about Thad. He is too valuable to let perish.
On top of a watchtower on the far end of the village, a guard looked through his enhanced range binoculars. In the far distance, approximately 550 Pentics away, the village Fealix was within his sights. The village was crawling with Phrix soldiers throughout the perimeter. The guard shifted his binos to one side and noticed a large mass of people caged inside a fence that extended for meters around a central tower. He then slowly combed the entire village perimeter and focused on a courtyard area. There, he saw that the Phrix were mobilizing their weapons and vehicles. Using a device attached to the binos, he photographed the events that were happening in Fealix.
Inside his office at the village hall, the chief council sat behind his desk reviewing blueprints for the public recreation center. There was a knock at the door.
The door opened and his receptionist announced: “Commander Reiff is here to see you, Sir.”
“Let him in.”
The commander entered the chief’s office. “One of my men took these photos about an hour ago,” he said, putting the photos on the desk.
The chief glanced at the pictures for a second. He tilted his head up at looked at the commander. Marcies!” the chief shouted to the next room.
The receptionist walked back into the room. “Yes sir?”
“I want all the members of the council gathered immediately!” the chief ordered. The councilmen were notified and went to the village hall to hear the chief out.
All the dignitaries gathered, packed inside the small board room as Chief Savean took his customary place at the head of the table.
“It has been brought to my attention that the rumors of the Phrix mobilizing an attack on our village are most likely true . They were spotted at the village of Fealix roughly 500 Pentics from here. If they stay on course, they will be here in just a couple of days,” the chief explained.
“How can you be sure they are coming for us?” one of the councilmen asked.
“Oh come on now, we’ve been attacked before. Those bandits are not interested in diplomacy. All they want is death and destruction. That is the nature of the Drakon,” Hades spoke out.
“That is your opinion, Hades. But is this is true , I’m going to stay and fight for my home. I’m not going to let some dirty Drakon chase me out of my own village,” another councilman said.
“I second that!” Some members of the crowd shouted out in unison.
“This is crazy. We must get out…We are not ready to fight the Phrix…I say we leave while we can!” Other factions of the crowd raised their voices.
“Well, I’m leaving tonight. The ones who want to live are welcome to come with me,” Hades added.
Kirke’s voice rose above the din. “We understand your position, Hades. And there is no shame in retreat. But personally, I can never leave Gita. My adopted parents came and settled this place after my biological parents were tortured and killed for trying to protect their own village from the very same Drakons. This has been my home since I was born and I will never turn my back on it. Gita may perish like so many others, but at least her spirit stays alive. If we desert her now it’s the same thing as destroying her ourselves…I stay!”
Back at his home, Evania was breastfeeding Thadd in the common room. Kirke walked in and greeting her with a kiss on her cheek.
“How did it go?” Evania asked.
“As expected, " Kirke replied. Most of the village will stay and fight. Some will retreat and take their chances out there in the wastelands. There is no viable alternative. At least here we can take a stand.”
“I can sense that something else is bothering you my love?” Evania asked.
“Yes…I question whether or not I’ve truly made the right decision. Leaving Thaddeus and all. The boy needs a father and I want be around,” Kirke sat down, burying his head in the palms of his hands.
“I have great faith that you have made the right choice.” Evania reached out a placed her hand on his shoulder. “Thaddeus will find a new family who will love him unconditionally; I know this in my heart.”
“Thank you my love,” Kirke looked lovingly up at his wife.
Later that night, Iason knocked on the door of Kirke's dwelling. Kirke opened up.
“Come in brother. Come,” Kirke said.
“Now, what is so urgent?” Iason asked.
“I’m going to be frank. I want you to take Thaddeus and retreat with the rest,” Kirke told his brother.
Iason stared at him. “I don’t know if I can do this, brother. I can’t just desert Gita. This is my home as well as yours. Think about what you’re asking,”
“I love you too, brother, but let's be realistic. If you stay here, you will die with the rest of us. If I don’t get my son out of this place he will die and I can’t let that happen,” Kirke said.
“I have a family too. but I’m willing to stay here with them and take my chances. Besides, we may prevail,” Iason insisted.
“We both know that isn’t true . Please reconsider Iason. Do it for my son. Allow me to continue my legacy. You’re the only person I trust with this great responsibility,” Kirke exclaimed.
Iason turned away. He stared at the wall, deep in thought. Seconds later he faced Kirke once more. “It would be my honor to watch over your son for you, brother.”
The two brothers embraced. “If you’re going to leave, it must be soon. The Phrix will be here within days," Kirke said.
“I understand. We will pack up our belongings and leave as soon as possible,” Iason said.
Kirke stayed up all night long, sitting in the corner watching his son asleep in his crib. He was terribly conflicted, but knew that having his brother take Thad was the only chance for his son’s survival. As two suns rose up from the horizon, so did Thad. Kirke carried the supplies for his son’s journey into the unknown. Evania held her son and, with Kirke at her side, they walked to the edge of the village to meet Iason and his family.
They carried Thad to a mechanized transport on wheels. Iason and two other men loaded supplies on to the rectangular vehicle which appeared much like a commercial bus from earth but had large wheels elevating it five to six feet off the surface. Evania and Kirke approached Iason.
“Everything set brother?” Kirke asked Iason.
“Almost…Here, let me take those from you,” Iason said, grabbing the pack of supplies Kirke made up for the journey.
The transport was ready to go. So were Iason and his family, and the two other men, Koios' and Nyx, noblemen from the village. Evania kissed Thad, and handed him to Kirke.
“Well this is it…I have to let you go now...Your uncle Iason will take care of you now,” Kirke told him with tears in his eyes. Evania broke down and cried.
“Kirke, we must go now,” Iason said.
“Okay,” Kirke said and kissed his son on the forehead. He handed him off to Charis, Iason‘s wife.
Kirke shook Iason's hand.
“Good luck my brother. Take great care of my son,” Kirke said.
“I’ll guard him with my life,” Iason said.
Iason hugged Evania goodbye. “I will take care of him as if he were my own. I promise you.”
Kirke grabbed hold of Evania and held her tight as everyone boarded the transport. Iason ignited the transport which ran on Magmasult fuel, derived from the iron and uranium found in the deep crust of Bion. Kirke and Evania waved as they drove away.
They stood there watching the transport disappear into the horizon of the wastelands.
“Good luck my son,” Kirke said.