Eyes slightly bulging, mouth hanging open, Dr. Grace Hamm stood on the cliff overlooking the valley of Kedere. However, the valley wasn’t what caused her such surprise. It was the mountain on the other side of the valley. That is, what was now in the place of the previous mountain.
Kedere Mountain hadn’t even been very big as mountains go. It was only 830 feet tall. It wasn’t volcanic, nor was it on a fault line. So, when the rumbling began, everyone was shocked and a bit freaked out. The entire mountain of granite rock had crumbled down into the valley leaving behind a monolithic stone structure.
The structure, in the shape of a square, was almost pulsing as it stood in place of the mountain. Scientists from all over the planet were called in. No one could decide its origin, decipher the runes on it, nor even date it. It looked like stone, but they hadn’t been able to chip anything off to take samples.
Now, Dr. Hamm, an authority in ancient studies, was the latest scientist called in to try to make sense of the new object. How was it buried under a mountain for hundreds of thousands of years? What was it and why had it come out now? Would it destroy the planet? But most importantly, who built it?
“I…I need to get, uhm, closer to it,” Dr. Hamm stammered to her guide.
“No one is allowed to get close to it now,” Devos replied. “The last geologists, who tried to take samples, were, well, electrocuted. The military is keeping everyone away now.”
“This mountain has been here forever. It was here when our ancestors colonized this planet and was considered old then. How is it that there is a structure hidden in it that no one knew about?” Dr. Hamm asked.
“From what we could determine, this area wasn’t heavily looked at when we first arrived from Earth 400 years ago. It was considered insignificant then. As time went on, the government turned it into a preserve because of the local species of trees, which only grow here. The mountain was named after the man who discovered the uniqueness of the trees,“ Devos said.
“So this place has been off-limits?”
“No. People can come and see it. It is a park. But nobody’s allowed down into the valley for fear they would cut down the trees. Anyone caught doing so is fined and jailed.”
“And you’re sure that this area isn’t on a fault line?”
Dr. Hamm looked across at the structure and said, “I can feel it.”
“Yes, that’s something that everyone is saying. It feels like it’s pulsing, almost like it’s trying to talk to us.”
“Have they called in a linguist?”
“Yes, and they can’t yet make heads or tails out of the pulses. The pulses actually have a pattern, but thus far, it is indecipherable.”
Dr. Hamm finally turned away from the giant stone square and headed back to the hover truck. She wasn’t going to get any answers standing here talking to Devos. As she reached for the door, a rumbling began in the ground and shot up through her body. Knocked against the vehicle, she turned around in time to see a small white light appear in the very center of the square. The light began to increase in size and strength. Dr. Hamm covered her eyes, but the light was still painfully blinding.
A loud ear-splitting high-pitched sound pierced the air causing her to fall to the ground clutching her hands to her ears. The rumbling intensified. Fear snaked through Dr. Hamm like a rushing river toward a waterfall. Taking deep breaths, Dr. Hamm tried to calm herself but, found she couldn’t. Something was very wrong. Risking her eyesight, she looked over toward the square only to see that stone was falling from the inside of the square to the ground. Dust kicked up, clouding her sight line.
Dr. Hamm felt something wet on her hands. Pulling her right hand down, she saw blood. Her eardrums had burst. Putting her hand back to her ear, she squeezed her eyes shut and began to scream. The noise and the rumbling felt as if they were conspiring to tear apart her insides.
Suddenly, all Dr. Hamm could hear was screaming. The sound and rumbling stopped. She tried to sit up; however, her equilibrium was gone. Deciding to lie down on her side, she opened her eyes and gasped. The stone was no longer one solid block. The middle was carved out. Now there was only the frame of the giant stone square.
The light started again, this time; however, no loud noise accompanied it. The light was softer, almost inviting. It enveloped the square and then shot out about 200 feet in front and behind.
Gasping for breath, Dr. Hamm watched as the entire light began to shimmer as if it were water. Still flowing out, the light reached the cliff where she lay. Something was pulling at her, calling her to the stone archway. Instinctively, Dr. Hamm knew she had to go through it. Finally, able to stand, she shuffled over to the side of the cliff and stepped down. The light caught her.
She could barely hear Devos behind her shouting. Warmth spread through her. Something was calling to her soul. Walking on the light she finally entered the stone arch. Her body stretched out before her, each atom pulling apart, yet staying in each other’s orbit. Her senses heightened as she felt, saw, heard, smelled and tasted the stars in the universe as they stretched out before her inviting her to their warmth.
The sensation seemed to last for eternity, yet ended abruptly as she found herself standing on a sand dune, a white-hot sun beating down upon her from above. Inhaling caused a coughing fit, which brought her to her knees. Unable to stand, tears flowing from her eyes, she started as a strange blue, six-fingered hand appeared in front of her.
Looking up, she was shocked to see a blue humanoid with four arms, six fingers on each hand, standing at least seven feet tall in front of her. Its legs looked as if they were on backward. Instead of the knees bending forward, they bent backward.
Dr. Hamm tried to crawl away from the being, but the coughing kept her on her hands and knees. She couldn’t breathe. The air was poison to her body. Tears continued to stream down her face, joined by mucus. She was dying. She needed oxygen.
The blue being seemed to sense what she needed and stepped closer to her. It was naked, with no genitalia. The only thing on its body was a brown satchel, from which it pulled a bubble. Ambling closer to her, it bent down and placed the bubble in front of her face. At once, it surrounded her, pulling her into its spherical shape.
Grace screamed, terrified that she definitely would die now. She kept screaming until she realized that she was actually taking breaths to scream. The blue being simply stood by and watched, its eyes blinking quickly, head tilted to the side.
Standing up, she realized she was on another planet, with an alien being. Looking around, she noticed other humans being helped by the strange creatures. That’s when she realized that the stone structure was a gateway to another world.
Turning to her savior, she said, “Who are you? Can you understand me?”
“Yes,” it seemed to say into her mind. “We understand you. We are Legioal. And we have saved you.”
“Saved me? From what?”
“Not from what. For what.”
“Then what have you saved us for?”
“For the future. Your planet is dying on the inside. You will be safe here. We will build you a habitat that you may live.”
“Buy why would you do that? You don’t know us?”
“Your planet will die. We have saved you.”
“But, I still don’t understand. How could you know our planet was dying? We didn’t even know.”
“We know because we are the ones who killed your planet.”
“Yes, we are killing your planet so that you will have to live here. We sent the gateway as you call it, many eons ago to many planets. This way, when we ran out of food on ours, we simply go to one of the planets for more food.”
“Wait, so we’re food? But you said you were saving us for the future.”
“Yes, we have saved you for future meals.”
Dr. Hamm stood eyes bulging, mouth hanging open and not for the first time, wished she had a different last name.