The planet turned slowly in the golden light of his sun. It was a silent and peaceful planet; only the wild animals were roaming across its various landscapes, covered by lush greenery and deep, dark forests. The crimson sea was moving on and off leisurely, kissing the untouched sand of the shores.
During the last 500 years the civilization of the Angels slowly died out. Their cities crumbled to the ground and Nature reclaimed every piece of land that has been taken away from her. The planet became a paradise for the archeologists and tourists. The supposed place of the long lost capital of the planet teemed with life. The ANTARES4004 was a scientific starship and hosted a large number of young and enthusiastic researchers. Human race has successfully stepped into the Galactic Era and a large number of intelligent creatures worked together to unravel the mystery of the planet of the Angels. The team was lead by Commander Soren and Dr. Gillian.
Shawn and Gavin were childhood friends and they were inseparable. The playful and boisterous Gavin and the idealistic Shawn got very well together. They shared the same passion for search and discovery. They were struggling to free their way through the thick bushes grown over one of the remote research sites when Shawn suddenly exclaimed:
-Hey, Gavin! Come over quickly! I think there’s passageway hidden under this growth.
Before stepping inside the dark hole they’ve sent a message to the base with their coordinates and then proceeded with the descending. At first the way proved to be difficult because the corridor has crumbled on many sections; but as they went deeper inside they found intact walls decorated with intricate signs and symbols. They ended up in front of a huge door that had no doorknob. After a moment of hesitation, Shawn placed his palm on the surface and pushed the door a little. Much to their surprise the door opened, leading them into a large, round room, dimly lit by a bluish light.
The room was filled with numerous tanks covered by thick glass lids. The tanks were connected to a web of instruments and it looked that some of them were still functioning. A thick dust covered everything. In the middle of the room there was a promontory with an entirely separate tank.
Shawn stepped up and cleared the glass lid from the gathered dust, peering curiously inside the tank. He almost fell off from the surprise. Gavin caught him from behind.
-Hey! Hey! What’s wrong, man? Have you seen a ghost?
-Look it for yourself-said Shawn in a husky voice.
Gavin leaned over the tank and he gazed inside. He whistled.
-Man, this is beginner’s luck! They’ve spent years on searching for the inhabitants of this planet and here comes you-a rookie-and stumbles upon a whole bunch of them. I’ll send a message to the base!
Shawn looked in awe to the special tank. The glass lid was covered with unknown signs but there was a star shape that repeated itself on and on. Inside the tank there was a young man, deeply sleeping. His eyes were closed and the handsome face looked calm and serene. He had shoulder long rebellious black hair and a pair of big, pearly white wings.
The thorough study of the circle room added up more than one hundred tanks, most of them badly damaged. Those that looked almost intact or better preserved were taken out and transported to the basis for further analysis. The one containing the sleeping young man was almost pristine and offered the biggest surprise at all.
One of the most sensitive and accurate instruments used to detect life forms blinked while the tank was passing under the detecting rays. The scientist watched in disbelief and decided to give another try. The blinking repeated itself. It showed a faint but definite sign of life inside the cryogenic tank. However this raised a whole new range of questions.
What if they can bring him back to life? How would he cope with the fact that he would be the sole survivor of his race? How would he integrate in a whole new world that didn’t exist 500 years before? His revival for scientific purposes wouldn’t be an act cruelty towards him? Can they afford to lose the chance to speak to the last living member of a great race?
All these questions were in debate for many days in a row. Scientific reasons clashed with issues of moral and ethics. Finally they all agreed that if there was a chance to give back life to an intelligent being it was worth to try. Many weeks were spent in the careful study of the intricate mechanism that allowed the person to be kept in such a good condition. The medical team built up a system that connected to the existing system and supported the reviving of the body functions. The first audible heartbeat was the biggest step taken towards the full success.
It took another full week until they were confident that the body is functioning properly by itself. The MRT showed no damages inside the body or the brain. The awakening was getting close.
Shawn and Gavin visited their “discovery” almost every day. Shawn was particularly interested in him although he couldn’t point out why. Maybe it was the fact that the face behind the glass looked somehow familiar. He decided to leave this to the future and to wait for further developments.
That specific day the entire base was in a state of excitement. Everybody wanted to witness the waking up. So many of them watched the process recorded by the video cameras. Shawn and Gavin were next to the open tank, along with medical staff. They were looking for slightest movement when the young man’s eyelashes trembled and he opened his eyes. A pair of deep set blue-grey eyes looked intently right in Shawn’s eyes then turned around with undisclosed curiosity. He sat up, stretched his neck and his back and slightly tilted his head questioningly towards the people around him.
Dr. Gillian approached and asked him tentatively:
-How do you feel? Can you understand me?
Kian listened attentively; the language seemed familiar but a little distorted. He took a deep breath and asked in a husky voice:
The people around him were taken aback and were arguing excitedly. Shawn put an end to the noisy excitement:
-I speak English. Our family kept the knowledge as a tradition. I just hope it’s the same English that he asks about. Does this sound familiar to you, sir?-he asked turning to the young man.
-Close enough, thank you. Could you please help me out of here?-he said, pointing to the tank. I think we all need some debriefing.
The following weeks were really busy ones. After a thorough medical check run by her team Dr, Gillian declared Kian perfectly healthy and released him from her custody. With Shawn’s help he learned Standard Galactic easily removing all the communication difficulties.
Kian’s memory was slowly coming back. He had his first reality check learning that he was the last survivor of his race. All his relatives, friends, the entire population of Angels had vanished in the meanders of history leaving behind more questions than answers. The fact that he couldn’t recall anything from his personal history troubled him but Dr. Gillian reassured him that in time he would get it back. She strongly advised him to be patient and find himself something interesting to do around the base. The friendship he developed with Shawn and Gavin proved to be support he needed to adjust to this new reality.
The trio decided to take a jet plane and fly down to the seaside. They landed near a rocky section of the shore and climbed on the top of a higher cliff right above the calmly undulating sea. The sight was pleasant and peaceful. They decided to descend to the shore. Shawn and Gavin suggested that they swim in this harmless looking water. On his side, Kian expressed his wish to take a flight before his wings get rusty so each of them took another pace to the sandy shore.
The first contact with the sight of the sea moved something inside the young angel’s mind the flash back was too short and blurry for the moment. It was more a bit of heartache… He flapped his wings and flew down, next to his friends. Shawn and Gavin were already in the water, laughing and splashing each other. Kian smiled and sat on the sand to watch them. Their happiness was contagious and he laughed wholeheartedly for the first time since his awakening. He undressed and walked into the water, trying not to wet his wings. The water was warm and crystal clear and he could see the bottom of it. Smooth, rounded rocks and various shells were pilling up in the sand under his feet. He caught a glimpse of a silky white shell and he bent to pick it up.
But the edge of that white shell proved to be razor sharp, cutting his hand. The red droplets fell quickly, coloring the water. Kian took a sharp step back, eyes wide open. He watched his bleeding hand and the memory of blood reddened waves came back nauseatingly. He took a few staggering steps, getting out of the water and fell to the sand, shaking. He wasn’t able to stop the shivering. The worried Shawn and Gavin helped him up, carried him back to the jet plane and took him back to the base. They were speechless. Who would’ve thought this could end so badly?
Dr. Gillian tended Kian’s wound and sedated him. Then she turned to the two very unhappy young men.
-It’s not your fault. Things like that will happen in the future. Not all the memories are happy ones; he has to face them all and he’s still at the beginning. Let me show you something. I’ve noticed it the first time I saw him closely.
She took the sleeping angel’s hands and turned them up, revealing the deep scars on each wrist. The boys were taken aback.
-There was a tragedy somewhere in his life and I’m sure it has something to do with that spot on the shore. Slowly but steadily the memories will come back. Now, you two take a break and leave him to sleep. He’ll be fine tomorrow.
Dr. Gillian was right. The next morning Kian was as good as new.
He washed, dressed up and decided to shorten his hair. Gavin had short, funny copper hair while Shawn’s chestnut was cropped short on his neck. Kian was about ready when his friends knocked on his door.
-Hey!-exclaimed Gavin. What have you done to your hair?
-I’ve decided to fit in the gang-smiled Kian.
-You know, now the two of you look almost the same-said Gavin with a large grin. You even have the same color of the eyes-he added.
Shawn and Kian exchanged puzzled looks.
-You’re right-mumbled Shawn. That’s very odd.
-Now let’s leave philosophy for some other time-pushed them Gavin. We still have some assignments left.
They took another flight to a ragged area covered by lush greenery. Kian had a distinct feeling that this was once an inhabited zone so he pointed out a few spots on the map. They sent the coordinates to the base and went farther. Late in the afternoon they got back with more then a dozen new sites taken into evidence. During the excavations the archeological team found the long lost cities of Angels’ right where Kian indicated them.
That evening they were sitting under the night sky, watching the stars and leisurely talking when Kian said:
-I have a nagging feeling about this sky. In my mind there’s the memory of a bright satellite and a pattern of 7 stars that I cannot find here.
-Could you draw them?-asked Gavin.
-I guess I could-answered Kian. Just lend me your notepad.
With a steady hand he sketched the spotted face of the Moon and the 7 stars of the Ursa Major. He handed the drawing to his friends. They looked at it with astonishment.
-Are you sure this comes from your memory and not from one of our books?-asked Shawn.
-Are these somewhere in your books?
-Well…this is our Earth’s satellite, the Moon and those are the stars from the Ursa Major, a constellation that can be seen only from the Earth.
-That means…That means that in the past I’ve seen your sky with my own eyes…
-And this is how you learned English…
The three young men looked at each other.
-Let’s keep it secret for the moment-suggested Gavin. I’m sure that everything will come out in the end. Patience, my friend. There’s no need to hurry.
They sat in silence for the rest of the evening. A few days later the discussion seemed forgotten. They went on with their everyday routine and Kian was genuinely happy being useful. One day Gavin called them to show some of the things that he received from his family. Kian was fascinated by a translucent cube containing the vivid image of two small boys running up and down, laughing and jumping. They were Gavin’s little brothers and he was very proud of them.
Those happy images triggered Kian’s hidden memories. He saw with the minds eye a happy and numerous family and the two boisterous little angels pestering him…He covered his face to hide the tears building up in his eyes.
-What’s wrong, man?-asked Gavin worriedly. Did you remember something?
-I saw my family-whispered Kian. My mom, my father, my brothers and my sisters…It was long, long ago…They’re gone…Please, forgive me. I need some fresh air.
He jumped to his feet and ran out. He took a flight to the edge of the forest neighboring the base. He leaned against a huge tree and closed his eyes. For a moment he wished to die. But he couldn’t. He was the sole survivor and the only one who could remember them, all of them. So, no matter how much it hurt, he had to go on.
He felt a hand touching him gently. He opened his eyes. Shawn stood in front of him with a concerned gaze. He embraced his troubled friend. Kian sighed.
-Thank you-he said in a low voice. Let’s go back.
Dr. Gillian noticed the special relationship building up between Kian and Shawn. She also noticed that they shared some features like the remarkable deep set blue-grey eyes. She took Gavin aside and talked him into giving some extra time to his two friends. Gavin was very perceptive and he also noticed that there’s an extra connection between his childhood friend and the young angel. He agreed to take some assignment for himself only and leave the two of them together.
At Shawn’s advice Kian started a drawing-diary and in relatively short time he gathered a whole data base containing drawings about places, signs and symbols, portraits of peoples he remembered. Lately, these drawings proved to be very helpful for the researchers.
There was a small “white spot” left unearthed uphill the sea shore. Commander Soren asked for Kian’s help. He was studying the map along with Dr. Gillian when Shawn and Kian arrived. They leaned over the maps trying to figure out some details when Shawn’s silver necklace fell on the table in front of them with a sharp “cling”. The opalescent blue stone swirled on the surface of the table.
Kian was thunderstruck. He watched the necklace with eyes wide open. He was shaking.
He held out a hand and took the blue stone, then turned to Shawn:
-Where did you get this?-he asked and his voice cracked.
-From my father. It belongs to my family…
Kian cupped his trembling hand around the gem and warmed it up. The others watched him silently. He opened his hands and gave the glowing stone to Shawn.
-Look closer-he whispered and turned away.
His body was shaking convulsively and he burst into tears.
-Oh, Goddess! Maya, my love…my child…Oh, Goddess! I’ve lost them all!
He bent in deep pain over the table and then collapsed. Commander Soren and Dr. Gillian rushed to help him up while Shawn was looking in bewilderment into the stone: from the top of the rock above the crimson sea a young angel was looking back at him. It was Kian.
He was in deep shock when they took him to the medical section and for days the doctors fought for his life. Shawn never leaved his side. He was worried sick that Kian might not survive, leaving him before he can understand anything. But he was 100% sure that their connection ran deeper than anybody expected. On his side Gavin worried about both of them.
Kian was still unconscious and Shawn was watching by when Dr. Gillian visited them.
-You should try to talk to him-she said to Shawn. He can hear you but he doesn’t want to wake up. He’s lost his will to live. Give him a reason to change his mind. She then left and closed the door.
Shawn leaned over Kian. He watched the pain spread over his handsome features and the imperceptible tremor of the long eyelashes.
-Kian-he said pleadingly-please, don’t die. Look at me, please.
Kian shifted and slowly opened his eyes, looking at Shawn.
-I’m sorry-he whispered-I have no wish to live. I’ve lost so much…I can’t bear it…Everybody I loved…they’re gone…
-No! Look at me! I’m still here! I am family! You’re my ancestor, isn’t it?
Kian sat up silently. For a moment he gazed into nothingness and then he turned to Shawn.
-I guess I am and I’m thankful for it…But it hurts so much…I need time…
Shawn grabbed his shoulders, forcing him to look in his eyes.
-Don’t you dare to leave me! I have unearthed your tank and brought you back to life. I don’t want to loose you again. You are my friend.