This document has been recorded in Principle Chtautform data, with the aim that whomsoever picks up the transmission, they shall hear it in their own language and that languages foibles, so that the true essence of the information that follows shall be completely understood.
I, Dejane-Hoi do willingly admit the following information as a truthful and honest account. I wish that which occurred upon the planets of Phraen and Ghenoa to be clear, and for the facts to be blown by the cosmic winds to the forty two corners of the universe, so that all shall know my name and my deeds, and cause of them. – Dejane-Hoi
The statue stands three hundred feet high. I say ‘stands’ however The Autocrat is actually seated, one long elegant slim leg crossed over the other, almost casually, the perfectly manicured curved fingernails of his hands lightly grazing his kneecap as they rest, embracing, upon his thigh.
His intricate inexorable features sit on a narrow neck and broad, slightly hunched shoulders, upon which robes are draped as though made of the softest, finest silk and gossamer. They appear as if the slightest breeze may sway them at any moment, yet are as solid as the mountain his spine rests upon, unyielding to anything as whimsical as the wind. His tonsure – severe straight locks tied back into a neat knot at the nape of the neck – is balanced by a perfectly placed beard of which one feels as though every single hair is defined, no matter how far away the observer may stand. The Autocrat’s eyes are closed, unwilling to view the capacious ocean of sin his people wallow in before him.
So vast a structure is the effigy that all year round a new coat of paint is being applied, attentively, carefully, by a select team of artists, meticulous in their work. Every nook and cranny is deftly air brushed, no crevice nor crease overlooked, every two foot long eyelash on those sedately closed lids carefully treated, covered. How people marvel at the craftsmanship that went into carving this majestic monument, this almighty being.
The Autocrat is so highly revered, he is as a God to this land and no personage is permitted to touch his robes, his carved features, even the throne he is seated upon, in fact, none may come within fifty feet of him on pain of death. The only beings to get close enough to touch his visage are those previously spoken of artisans, (if even a bird lands upon the statue’s surface….it dies in a matter of seconds, for the paint itself contains incredibly high levels of various poisons, included in its manufacture for this very reason – to keep The Autocrat untouched, sacred), and the painters are under the strictest of orders; They must not at any point use anything other than the air wands to do their complex work. No slip of the hand, not even one fingerprint is allowed to make contact. Or the person is killed instantly. No questions, buts or excuses. Highly trained marksmen live on the opposing hillsides, each positioned day and night in shifts, having been assigned their own personal painter to focus in the sights of their high calibre gratonade guns.
Gratonade guns have a peculiarly specific cleverness to them which appeals to me; when deployed, the bullet explodes, but only once within the body, for it takes an exact speed and combination of bodily fluids for the detonation to occur. The effect of the explosion is perfectly measured so that when the shot enters the head of the target, his or her brain explodes. It is a very precise and miniature explosion. Just the brain is affected. The skull remains completely intact, and unlike most other types of head wound, there is absolutely no possibility of survival. Death is instant, but very clean as the cartridge contains 50mg of desiclone which solidifies the gruesome brain slop so fast that not a drop of blood is spilt, nor seen. To the innocent bystander, all one can observe is a neat hole 9mm in circumference somewhere on the skull. Followed by a frozen expression and a swift collapse of the legs into the steel hammock or platform they work from. We can’t have any blood and brains splashing about on The Autocrat now can we? No, we most certainly cannot.
The artists who wield the spray wands are workmen who are born into their role, generation after generation of painters have known their future from childhood – following each other through time – all occupying the same residence, performing the same rituals, back and beyond into the annals of history, forwards to this very day. There is no question of any one of them considering any other form of employment. Their die is cast at birth, or die they shall should any deviance from this conscripted path occur. Very occasionally a rebel appears in the ranks, this is usually when the firstborn dies prematurely and the second in line suddenly finds themselves no longer free in their career choice. The spare becomes the heir to carry on the family pride, regardless of willingness to the cause. The artisans are highly paid for their services, but sometimes this is not recompense enough, for the punishment meted out to those who rebel amputation. The first time an artist misses a days work one leg is removed. If the worker cannot then complete his daily task at the standard desired, he or she meets a rather gruesome end.
The remains of the last dissident still sway in the high boughs of the Fastorn tree that has been party to many thousands of cruel deaths in it’s eight hundred year life-span. I rest in its arms at present, enjoying the warm rays of the suns. A glance to my right reveals the sharp end of a grey bough, which protrudes through the open jaw of an almost picked clean skull. It entered the victim’s body from an entirely different orifice.
A Charon monkey sits close by, staring slyly as I observe the distant slings, pulleys and harnesses holding their focused occupants working diligently; it clutches a human thigh bone in its hands, and begins sucking the very last of the marrow out idly, then grins broadly at me showing off two rows of razor-sharp pearly whites. This would be enough to have the locals disappear quick smart. I am in no danger though, how could I be? This land and it’s base creatures are no more a threat to my being than the long slim leaves that sway indolently about my calves. I return the wide smile, barring my own molars and grab one of its wrists tightly. The monkey freezes for a beat. Then screams, I whisper just one word into its ear and release my grip. In an instant it is gone. Fleeing to supposed safety, but it is already too late, he is mine now, and will obey my word when called. I have a way with me you see. A gift you might say.
But it is not just the artists that are under such severe scrutiny. There are several limbless folk in the villages I live closest to, examples of those who do not adhere to the rules of the ‘book’ It is a hard life for these poor souls, and the rest of the villagers shun them for fear of association. I have no need to fear such wrath. I am on no censor, no official list exists with my name upon it, I have no birth certificate, no medical, working nor tax records. I can be completely invisible thanks to the pertinent skills I posses that are specific to my race. For one, I have the capabilities to blend into my surroundings at will. I can become foliage, man, beast or even the clouds themselves if I so wish to. The place from which I hail finds such behaviour commonplace, and it is also quite normal for us to detect another’s presence through sonar and communicate from mind to mind.
The effigy was named The Autocrat’ by the populace many, many centuries ago, back through time. The history scrolls in the palace vaults and ‘The Book of Vhinga’s Inarguable Truths’ states that the statue was found set into the side of the mountain, underneath the Palace of Gold over 600 years ago, an offering from the Gods of the sky. And in a way, that is perfectly true.
The story goes as follows; The Emperor Vhinga of the 4th dynasty was honoured with a visitation sent from the Heavenly Realms in the form of an archangel of immense fortune who presented him with the statue as a reward for his supreme piety and munificence, promising that as long as the statue was revered, honoured, cared for and protected on pain of death, so the Emperor, his people and his lands would prosper and live in peace. This tale is a curious one, because Emperor Vhinga was actually a vile, cruel, bilious moron who rarely honoured the Gods, was known to defile several of his own children and was such a glutton that he had to be transported everywhere upon a gold and jewel encrusted stretcher, supported by a throng of his starving subjects who shovelled a torrent of dead animals and rich cakes into his slavering maw constantly. (I know this to be true because I spent a great deal of time in his company).
Ghenoans who people this valley have not always inhabited it. They emigrated from the lowlands of a country many hundreds of miles away over the seas and mountains to the East. The place they originated from was ravaged by famine as the climates in the Southern Hemisphere altered, the heat drying out all farmland, disease and pestilence devastating both animal and layman, child and aristocracy as it draped itself like the shadow of despair laid softly over the plains. And so an exodus occurred and eventually they found this land, and The Autocrat, set into the mountain waiting for them.
I have something in common with these uncivilised animals. I too am a refugee.
My home is, or rather was, a planet many light years from this place. A planet named Phraen -ill fated….and doomed.
We Phraens are eternals. Not I might add, immortals. This means we can live for many thousands of years, (should we choose to), however, there are certain ways we can be damaged, weakened or killed. Hence the reason why we had to find sanctuary here on Ghenoa – our home planet was teeming with a noxious, deadly virus which had decimated vast swathes of the population over the span of two hundred years. To make matters considerably worse, another species, from the nearby Kepler system decided to take advantage of our misfortune by attacking the planet in an aim to invade and take our home for their own. They are a cruel inexorable race, capturing the weakest of us and using them as slaves, forcing them to work under the harshest of conditions and torturing those who refuse to obey. Our desperation has been utter.
So, we began to search the universe for sanctuary. Several of our kind had previously traversed the skies on scouting missions, seeking a planet which would be suitable habitat for our people, scouring thousands of galaxies over the period of one full century, in the knowledge that every second that passed was time running out for us as a species. A planet which, although teeming with other species, has not the suitable conditions for the deadly feared virus to flourish. Our sustenance is gained from light and energy, of which there is an abundance from the creatures here alone.
The first sign of the Carnox plague presented itself in the young of our kind. The newborns began to wither – massive dehydration occurred within the first two days, followed by a painfully slow decline of cognitive function as the hungry bacteria began to eat into our consciousness. The plague spread at a languorous pace, and was considered to be a genetic mutation for a while, then things became more serious, for the cases multiplied, and the youths too began to show the tell-tale symptoms, and, eventually, the adults also. They say the virus arrived from an outreach schooner that dumped a schooner of organic waste into the lower atmosphere and was gone again almost as fast as it arrived. The source matters not now, all we know for sure is that first night was the beginning of the end for Phraen. Our scientists were able to isolate the offending virus easily enough, but identification and a name – The Carnox Strain- were useless without a cure, without some protection from its ravages. It eats you from the inside out you see. Microscopic carnivores, forever famished, never sated.
Rabillius our beloved king, and his council, upon which I sat at the head of myself, became desperate. Not one of our scientists were able to find a cure, nor a vaccination to prevent the decimation. A sealed structure was eventually erected upon the largest island on the planet, and as many of the healthy children and adults who could be found were transported there. I shall never forget the faces of those left behind, the fear I felt from their souls as they leant upon the five foot thick glass of the refuge, beseeching us to let them in – especially the children. It was horrific. But it was already too late for them I’m afraid. My own children, Charis and Buin, were safely ensconced within the clean zone with myself and my parents. The experience changed our people though. Having spent so many years observing the natives here I see how much more we feel than they seem capable of. Our emotions are so strong that happiness is as though we were in the Ghenoans imaginary heavens, and sorrow takes us to such a void of blackness that some of us never return – all reason lost. When the last of the clean entered the refuge and the gates were sealed, we experienced grief on a scale unprecedented and lost almost all of the joyous element of our characters for good. Something within us died along with the infected masses.
As previously mentioned, one of the traits specific to our kind is that we can shape shift. It is par for the course to do so back at home, though by maturity most have settled with a favourite form and manner, changing only for special events and council assemblies. Also in times of danger we can morph into a form of stasis whereby no enemy can detect us. This is a most perilous state to assume however, as almost all our capabilities are in effect frozen. We remain conscious enough to read each other’s minds, but it takes many days for us to extricate ourselves out of such a deep state of hibernation, and even then we can only be freed with the help of one of our own who is fully conscious. And, if an enemy were to detect us at that point….we could be destroyed as easily as the Ghenoans kill the tiny winged insects which buzz about their sweaty red faces on hot summer days. Stasis is also how we end our lives if we so wish, for, if we remain inert in one shape for long enough, our consciousness slowly drains away, until we are no more. It is a peaceful death.
I arrived upon the small rock that is the planet of Ghenoa eight hundred years ago; stepping off a cabin liner filled with two hundred and forty-two of fellow travellers. I stood on the main deck of the Unicraft on the morning we departed, and held my children to me tight, feeling an overwhelming burst of love as their fragile frames clutched at me, begging me to stay – Charis, the happiest of souls, in shades of her favourite colour, blue, and Buin, with his father’s spirit, as fiery as the three suns in the western sky. But I knew it was their future that the voyage held in its hands and the venture could not possibly run smoothly without the high commander at its helm – a post I had held for several thousand years. Second only to the King himself.
Ghenoa was no more than prehistoric soup when the earliest scouting party found it. The life that existed was minimal, but the potential was enormous. We were in luck though because for every week that passes here on our home planet, several hundred pass on Ghenoa. So we went away and left it to simmer and grow, and a few weeks later, on our second landing we found a dominant species had risen above all others. The Ghenoans. And it was from observing their ways that our mission took shape.
They are a busy little lot the natives, with a somewhat annoying predilection for xenophobia. Many are foolish and mean of spirit, showing little in the way of logical though processes, (though personally I have also met and become close friends with a few who are quite wonderful – they are the exception that proves the rule mind you.) They were totally unaware of our presence of course – we can take the form of any animal or mineral we wish to, and observe that which is around us in peace.
Biology- wise we are talking bipeds with the same symmetry system of those on planet Kiol 8 and others within the Jumeter system; two eyes, ears, and two nostrils stuck in the middle of their heads on a varying sized proboscis. The Genoans stand upright however, rather than making the most of their physiometry so they always look a little unstable to me.
Their offspring are not created within eggs but simply slide out, exposed to the elements in a most disturbing, messy process, and the breeding habits are…. frankly comedic. The males have a fleshy member of varying lengths which becomes stiff when…….no, I’m laughing too much, I shall move on. sounds of laughter (*anyone who wishes to study further the biological data files on Ghenoans may access it upon request at Bibliohaous Central – Hadbolenz, sector 8910.)
One of the most curious patterns of behaviour we encountered as we studied their ways was their insistence on worshiping non-existent invisible entities, and basing the whole of their lives and morals upon crude writings which those in power many centuries ago wrote, and then others subsequently continued to ‘adapt’ in order to farther their own prosperity. The books contain ‘rules’ which the populace follow blindly, guided by the fierce dominance and yay and nay say of said powerful males and females, who wear some kind of uniform to distinguish themselves from the general public. ‘The Gods’ are universally deemed to be ‘good’ by those who worship them. Curious and baffling though this all appeared at first, it is now clear that the purpose of these ‘religions’ appears to be in aid of making monetary gain and to provide an excuse to deny any responsibility for a multitude of evil deeds, and the killing of others when one group say envies that which another other owns, like land for instance, conjoined with a kind of enormous comfort blanket wrapping the following concept; everything will be alright in the end if you say sorry to the imaginary idols and all your evil deeds shall be forgiven. It beggars belief, and turns belief into a beggar. That is not to say that there are no redeeming angles, for some of the people are kind and just, and wish for nothing but that all their kind would be just the same.
It was this particular facet of the Ghenoans behaviour that showed us how to infiltrate their world successfully in peace, for although we will kill without hesitation when deemed necessary, we have no taste for war on the whole. It is not a logical path to take.
The plan was to send our very brightest and best, the scientists, scholars, philosophers, teachers etc and have them take the form of other Ghenoans, influencing them socially in the aim of eventually raising them to a level of enlightenment whereby they would accept and love our kind, rather than be fearful and murderous (as is their want when the unknown enters their lives), at which point we would ship the rest of our colony to Ghenoa and finally reveal our true selves.
We knew this infiltration plan would take hundreds of years to come to fruition, but patience is not an issue for Phraens, and once the scheme was successful, we could return to our home planet knowing only a couple of weeks would have passed there, then emigrate completely, abandoning the whole plaugue-ridden planet to the cruel enemy and good riddance to it.
Our King, Rabillius the Benevolent, decreed that the natives religion clearly had such a powerful influence throughout the planet that he would set in motion a plan to enable our people to settle in harmony with the natives upon this pretty rock. Knowing their fervour for ‘Gods’, he set about creating a new religion for the Ghenoans. This God would be the one true God, all other previous deitys being false. Able as we are to assume any form, we would set ourselves up as prophets for this new religion, performing clear ‘miracles’ to gain believers, (simple tricks that are as easy for us to undertake as it is for Genoans to smile).
With this in mind we created The Autocrat on the other side of the world from the natives, and placed him on the face of the largest mountain in the world. A place as yet uninhabited. Then Rabillius orchestrated the emigration of Genoans from the fields of their home, which were not plentiful with food thanks to a fluctuating climate. He appeared to them as a wise man, a prophet, a man of great charisma, who could lead them to the ‘promised land’, a land plentiful with food and bounteous to the maximum.
It worked perfectly. The Genoans were presented with a whole new set of ‘rules’ from the one true God, brought to them by a glowing figure from the heavens (that was Haike, one of the biologists enjoying himself immensely in the role). Rules that would curb their natural instinct to kill and maim, to enslave and covet that which was not their own. The very first rule to be implemented stopped the Ghenoans from decimating the other creatures and barbarically eating them. That’s right, they actually murdered and killed many other species to sate their lust for consumption. They even wore their fellow sentient’s skins afterwards. Rabillius and the rest of our party showed them how to live in harmony with all species – how to live in harmony with each other too. He was the exact opposite of any of their previous Gods. (All the more so for being real, rather than imaginary.)
Then tragedy struck. Just before we were due to leave and collect the rest of our people, having manipulated the planet’s inhabitants to a level of perfect peace and understanding, Rabillius announced that he had received an alarming emergency message from our home planet. It informed us that the enemy had discovered the system we were in and were on their way to check all the planets in this sector, intending to capture or kill us. We needed to move and fast. The King decreed that we take forms of a mineral nature, in stasis, the terra firma should be our saviour.
Rabillius’ children had children of their own and as they had clamoured to see this new paradise we had found he allowed the whole of his family to travel to Ghenoa with the crew, so now he instructed them all to carve boulders from the mountains and stand them in circles upon rises all across the land, so that they could be distinguished easily. Distinguished by me. For I was nominated as ‘the waker’. One must stay conscious in order to awaken the rest remember. One Phraen is easy to hide on a planet the size of Ghenoa, two would give out signals that could be detected. I had served Rabillius all my life, and loved him dearly as my King. I was honoured to have been given the task.
Rabillius himself, having that which all kings seem to acquire – an enormous ego, decided to reside within The Autocrat, and take the shape and form of the stone giant upon the mountain. As King his powers exceeded all others, and so he would be able to awaken himself without my help, (albeit slowly), after two weeks to judge the safety of the situation. That should have been long enough for the Keplers to have scoured the planet’s surface for our ships (which were to be buried deep underground), and scan for our tell-tale sonar abilities.
And so it came to pass that I, Dejaine- Hoi found myself all alone on this new planet. I took my preferred shape here, a female ranger and headed for the hills to explore and pass the time.
It was two days later when the escape pod crashed into a long lake far from the villages. I heard the occupant in my mind before I saw the ship. He was in terrible pain and distressed highly. When I opened the pod doors I could see that my fellow Phraen was in the last stages of the plague and reeled back in horror. He threw a package out of the door, screamed to me mentally to get away, to RUN and then reached for the self-destruct button. I did not hesitate, yet barely got away before the ship blew disintegrated into pieces so tiny, there was no evidence that a ship had ever been there. None but the package.
Now I had a dilemma – do I read it and possibly contract the plague, or burn it to take no chances? How my mind reeled, and I sat and stared at the package from a distance for many, many hours. The pilot knew of our mission here, there is no way he would have jeopardised it by bringing the plague here without good reason, and I have been exposed to the sickness many times in the past and not taken sick so….I picked the package up and opened the catch.
That which I read next sealed the fate of our species, and my life forever. The enemy were not coming, and never had been. The documents stated that Rabillius’s plan all along had been to start again on Ghenoa, but only with those who had travelled with him on this mission. Those left behind would never see the new planet’s surface. Two days after we left Phraen eight Nutrixan bombs were detonated across the planet on the Kings orders blowing it, and all its inhabitants to atoms within minutes. Destroying (he hoped), all possible existence of the plague, and the vast amounts of Kepler troops upon the surface. Even those awaiting orders in the enemy ships that floated above the planet’s surface would perish. The documents stated that the King had undertaken these drastic measures in order to save his species, and felt that our losses would be worth it. To evacuate all our kin left on the island would have been impossible without alerting the enemy to our plans. He knew before we left that we would never return, and that is why every member of his family were here, now, safe from harm, whilst mine, my kin, my children were dead.
Dead. Gone. How could they be gone….my children, my children…..grief took hold of me first, wracking my soul with a pain so encompassing it consumed me, and I know not what I did in the following two days, but found myself again back at the crash site eventually as a fury as cold as the ice hills of the Ailon mountains filled my being. The emergency message had been lies, a ruse. His plan here was to say the enemy were coming, have everyone hide, fearful of discovery, and then, once awake again, he would break the news gently that the Keplers had destroyed Phraen, killing all who dwelled upon the surface, and we were all that was left of our people. We would grieve, but we would rally, hold each other up and start again, here, in a land that was free of the plague, and perfect for our needs.
My decision was not a snap one. It was clear to me what I had to do, for myself that is. I gathered my wounded heart and mind together and appeared before the Ghenoan Emperor as a heavenly being, in the shape of The Autocrat himself in fact. I told him that a plague of evil would befall his people unless he followed my orders to the letter. He, terrified, and honoured, assented instantly, and had all the necessary materials and workers gathered together within the hour.
They slaved tirelessly at their task for days. Carefully spraying The Autocrat with his first ever coat of noxious paint, and all the whilst I hovered nearby as an eagle, speaking telepathically to Rabillius, telling him that the paint was purely for show, a new affectation of the emperor – an attempt to make the statue look more life-like.
But it wasn’t. I specifically had certain lead compounds and deadly poisons mixed into the paint. It wouldn’t kill Rabillius – we are eternals after all – but it would render him incapable of escaping his present form under his own steam. When the job was finished, I flew again close up to the head of the statue and told Rabillius that I knew what he had done, his despicable evil plan. Well I had a plan now too, and it would bring my ‘kind’ King to his metaphorical knees. I explained that I intended for every standing stone in the land to be painted with the self-same deadly paint. Once dried I would start to awaken his subjects one by one. But the paint would mean they could not escape whilst their beings fought to get out. I would continue freeing them however. Their very essence would be slowly shredded as it forced its way through the tiniest of molecules in the paint. And I would not. Stop. Pulling.
The murders would take place over the span of two hundred years. A century for each of my children. As previously mentioned, we Phraens ‘feel’, and are on a par with the empaths of Junit 231 so far as emotions go. When we feel happy there is no limit to the heights of joy we can soar, consequently, when we feel anger or injustice….it does not bode well for those causing the pain shall we say. This is another reason we avoid wars at all cost, for when our emotions run high we cannot be stopped, and the carnage left behind is not something we are always proud of. It is as it is.
This is why I wished to avenge myself so slowly, to draw out the pain I would deliver to my King. Rabillius, the ruler who would move mountains to save his people, even to the extent of committing genocide, would now be powerless. Powerless, yet aware. Rabillius the Benevolent. Rabillius the Iniquitous. Rabillius the Slayer.
You see I had lost everything I cared for, and now, so would he. There are those who might say that the grief drove me mad, and perhaps they are right, for all sentient beings are capable of insanity. But for the records, I do not feel insane. I feel nothing but a cold empty void where once lived love. Those two small lives meant more than a whole damn species to me, and without them I am done.
And now my revenge is finally done too. It is now two hundred years since that fateful day the pod crashed, and I have spent that time keeping watch over my prisoner, making sure that the paint is always applied, each coat getting thicker and thicker, studying the wildlife and the Ghenoans along the way. I care little for the people of the land now, and often visited the Emperor in my angelic garb over the years, suggesting new commandments be implemented. The marksmen were one such idea I had idly one day, a day when the coldness inside me bloomed yet again, the punishments, resulting in the odd amputee another. The Ghenoans began to revert to their savage ways with none to guide them but my cold whim.
And every day for two hundred years I flew back to Rabillius in the guise of a bird, and whispered into his mind which of his crew I had murdered, the council members, the scientists, his wives…transmitting images of the deaths for him to see, and afterwards I would then inform him who was next on my list. He could hear, he could feel, but he was powerless. He shouted, roared, threatened, entreated…and eventually begged. All to no avail. And so he lived to understand my pain, and pay in part punishment for the innocents he himself slaughtered. I would tell him of my victims, their pleading, their screams, the beseeching and desperate cries for help, their horror and confusion…..all in intricate detail.
I left the children till last.
I did not contract the plague after all, it would seem my genes are immune, so had my children survived, and made it to Ghenoa, they would have strengthened our immunity. I told him that too.
And now it is time. I have nothing to live for, I have had my revenge. And so it is that I chose the shape of my death this bright sunny morning – a white dove. After I am gone Rabillius will live on – for how long? For as long as the layers of paint last. He could rival the immortals if he’s unlucky.
I fly slowly up the mountain until level with The Autocrat’s eyes, for one last time, one final message. I tell him of how his last granddaughter screamed in pain and blind terror as I slowly murdered her, and then I say goodbye.
Settling upon the edge of an eyelid I nestle against the sticky paint, allowing myself to fall slowly, all the while transmitting images to Rabillius The Autocrat. I hear the crowds below chanting for boons from their God and the very last thing I see before the paint suffocates me and oblivion takes over is one enormous tear running slowly from the edge of his eye down the track I have just made upon his immobile cheek.
*end of transmission.