For a wrecked ship, Tincan was remarkably well preserved. Power cells can function for the next ten years. They will be able to produce clean air, water and good food for a decade at the push of a button. The amount of energy was the key. If the young men and women could get the ship to fly again, then power cells would be drastically depleted. The first decision was to remain within the long furrow the impact dug along the surface. We’re home.
But, where the hell are we?
The large portal that previously displayed beautiful stars now showed the explorers an utter wasteland. Brown, jagged topography was viewed more plainly once dust and debris cleared. Majestic mountains loomed in the far distance. Everywhere around them was a harsh, lifeless landscape untouched by rain. A yellow sun stood millions of miles away, yet scorched this barren land with a thin atmosphere. Another yellow sun, much smaller in the grey sky, hovered near the horizon and was about to set.
‘We’re not in Kansas, are we?’ Par spoke a joke.
Tor decided not to joke. He examined the onboard computer stats and informed the group like a good captain should do. He said, ‘air is breathable. Planet has no life; no water…is same size as Earth; same gravity…two yellow suns; there’s another one pretty far away; almost 4,000 Astronomical Units…’
Fon spoke. ‘Zeta 2 Reticuli is a yellow sun and has a companion binary, another yellow sun…approximately 3,750 Astronomical Units away from it.’
Sa turned to Ro and said, ‘you two are going to have some smart children.’
Ro was stunned; surprised; but, still went over to Fon and held his hand. Their eyes smiled at each other before their mouths. ‘Fon…I think you’re right, again. I think we’ve crashed into a planet going around Zeta 2.’
Jud wanted to join in with the revelation. ‘You know what that means, comrades? Have you figured it out? How many have figured it out? This is home, alright.’
A few hands went up. Very soon, everyone knew and the hands went down. The answer to the following question was clear as a bell. ‘What is the relationship between Zetas and Earthlings?’ They were only now fully aware of an amazing truth.
Zeta Reticulans 2 did not manufacture the human race. THEY WERE THE HUMAN RACE in the far, far future…a race that could no longer replicate themselves and were dying. The grey aliens, or much more evolved future-humans, broke time-barriers in attempts to save their world. They traveled into the distant past, which was our 20th Century; conducted ‘hybrid’ experiments in futile attempts to gain more life.
What none of the young people could quite conceive was their very own conception. They were specially created by beings that should not have even existed in their time. And, supposedly, what the Moon-punks have already achieved and will achieve…is going to save two worlds.
‘We’re where it all starts…at the beginning,’ Par said slowly.
‘More than that, brother,’ Jud interjected. ‘We’re the Zetas. You know that, don’t you?’
Tor smiled and spoke for everyone. ‘Now, we do.’
‘It’s a bit much to grasp. Questions are endless.’ Sa said. ‘Like a circle.’
Jud added, ‘out there, 5,000 miles away, is a rift in time/space. Our far future selves created it and it’s what we passed through.’
Par questioned, ‘we…could go back through it if we want to?’
‘NO!’ many of them yelled. ‘We can’t go back!’
‘We have to start everything…LIFE, right here. Here is where it begins, you said. There’s no going back,’ Tor insisted. ‘We can do it. First, we have to make it rain.’
‘No problem. Of course, we can do it,’ Sa echoed her future husband’s sentiments.
Ro examined the desolation through the portal and smiled with contentment. ‘It will be a big challenge.’ Her eyes met Fon’s eyes. ‘We can create a helluva Village of the Damned here.’
After some laughter, it was back to business. Each went off to do what they thought best given the circumstances. The guys prepared to leave the ship and investigate the land while the female Brainiacs extracted valuable data from the ship’s computer.
Cloud seeding made it rain for weeks. The craggy terrain was dotted with pockets of water. Lakes, streams and weird waterfalls were formed by the godlings. Replicators could fabricate any machine or plant contained in computer archives. What the boys and girls could engineer was almost limitless. In no time, entire weather patterns and topography had greatly changed in one small section of a planet fondly renamed ‘Tera.’
After materializing construction substances, a few elaborate habitats were built. Then, more tools were materialized. Land vehicles with wheels were also constructed. The New Earthers realized they had to stop using up precious energy. Power cells were down by 10%. They knew the day would come when the cells would be totally exhausted. By then, a large chunk of the continent should be terraformed. It will take future generations to change the entire planet into a livable environment.
An odd conversation happened between Tor and Par as they were alone and in the process of mountain climbing one of the peaks they viewed on First Day. The daring mountaineers climbed for hours under sunny skies. They programmed a wonderful day with lovely, cool breezes. Just above them was the goal, the highest peak.
‘It was a long time ago.’
‘When?’ Tor asked, although he thought he knew.
‘When we broke into Jones Beach?’
‘Yeah, not really too long ago. Just seems that way,’ Tor commented. ‘You alright?’
‘Sure. So, this is what it’s like to be a Grup.’
‘Ha!’ Tor yelled as he hammered another spike and fixed his line. ‘We were always in our own, tiny, grey cage. Now, look at us…worlds to conquer! The Moon was never like this.’ More steps were vertically taken by both test-tube babies.
Par asked seriously, ‘you miss everyone else? Any regrets leaving?’
The awkward moment happened more than 1500 feet above the surface of Tera. Tor meant to say ‘but, I have Sa’ and could not say it to his friend who had no one. The thrust of his thought was not missed by fellow telepath.
Tor stopped his ascent and looked directly at his buddy. ‘I’m sorry. But, but…YOU regret leaving?’
‘It’s not what you think; not just ‘cause I don’t have a partner. It’s… Don’t you want to know? Don’t you want to go back and see? One of us should…just to see! One of us should and it’s got to be ME!’
‘Say that again?’
Par continued, ‘look at what we’ve done in a month! You guys can spare a 40% reduction in cell power; that’s all it would take for a reverse trip! I calculated it. Don’t you want to know if our efforts changed anything? Is old world a better place? I WANT TO KNOW!’
‘Par. Who knows if a return trip is possible?’
‘I do…it IS. The rift is sitting up there waiting to be crossed. I flip a switch, and I’m back in the future; already punched in exact reverse trip coordinates. I’m ready.’
Tor went back to climbing. He had a lot to think about. Par also continued going up. In a few minutes, they would touch the top. Both young men reached their goal. They made it. They rested. Drinks and healthy smokes floated into gloved hands from the backpacks. Comrades drank Mead and celebrated a small victory. The air was exhilarating. Par broke the silence and asked an unlikely question.
‘Remember that Twilight Zone where the guy tried to stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln?’
‘Yep. Like how we tried to stop the JFK murder?’
‘And, what was the moral to the story?’
‘…Some things can be changed…and others…can’t,’ Tor recalled.
‘Don’t you want to know?’ Par gazed into Tor’s eyes and into his soul. ‘Not like you to ignore an adventure, brother.’ Par could sense a swelling of arguments inside Tor. He was going to fight and raise many points of contention.
‘I’m not needed here. Once I’m on the other side, I’ll communicate with you. I’ll tell ya what I see, ha. Like Houdini, ha, ha!’
Instead of blowing his cool…Tor, shockingly, gave in and went with the flow. He changed his mind. Maybe it would be better for his friend…and to know?
Par knew it. ‘Give me your blessing…brother.’
‘Ha, ha! I hope the others can understand why we’re giving up 40% of our power.’
‘YES! That’s the ticket. Good show, old man.’
‘Dude, one thing…if you send us mind-pictures of what you see…we’d be long dead. We’re in the primordial past, long dead to you on future-Earth; how we gonna hear ya?’
Par winked, smiled and thought to his friend, I’ll find a way.
The Moonmen and Moonwomen on primal Tera surrounded the original crash-point at the end of a very long gouge in the ground. Everywhere around the gash were architectures of fabulous beauty and color. Geodesic habitats mixed smoothly and in harmony with green vegetation. Colorful plants grew well in dark, rich (treated) soil. Almost a city rose around the head of the gash or crash-point.