Star Song's Lesson
Eddy shuddered when he once again felt the cold nightmare of Doom Cloud surround him. He knew the enemy as a huge, life-consuming parasite able to devour entire planets and rapidly age every living being directly to death. It sucked the life out humans, birds, trees and tiny bugs under the ground. Nothing survived, not even the planet. Infinite growth forever was the profit from destruction of all he held dear. Doom Cloud consumed life and happiness to earn the ugliest immortality imaginable.
“I feel your coldness, young human. Listen for the melody I sing with your battle song, it will help keep you warm.”
Eddy felt Star Song’s warm hand grasp his as he attempted to relive the first battle with Doom Cloud as vividly as possible. He closed his eyes and remembered rocketing into the awful unknown. He visualized hugging close to their cruisers’ twin Joy beams as they burned a deep tunnel into the darkness. Eddy poured his memory into melodian song as he witnessed every minute detail his mind had recorded. He hadn’t consciously remembered so much until this moment.
He watched the other three fighters’ joy beams gouging the tunnel sidewalls in companion with his and again saw the swirling dark cloud yank back with a jerk like a hand involuntarily pulling away from disgusting touch; Doom Cloud was clearly the opposite of joy. He once again watched the fighters raking the tunnel wall with their weapons aimed outward at a slight angle. Eddy realized for the first time how well this part of their plan to hold open a tunnel had worked.
Then, when the crushing burden of old age suddenly slammed his youthful strength with ice cold death, he once again felt unbearable pain of movement. He watched the cruiser joy beams disappear and knew as if from a detached dream that the time had come to turn around.
Eddy saw the other fighters turn their joy beams straight ahead and knew consciously for the first time that it was they who had carved a deeper space for him to complete his turn and escape. His body struggled to work the controls and a cold nightmare reached out to hold him immobile. He watched his companions as they at first slowly moved from next to him and then zoom deeper into the darkness while at the same time he fought to turn away from the icy grip. A crescendo of overlapping images exploded into syncopated visions. The three fighters left him behind, following their own tunnel they bored straight toward Doom Cloud’s heart and he felt their diversion give him a moment of relief.
“Is this now?” he cried, throwing his arms out for Star Song but finding himself instead holding fighter ship controls. Eddy relived the warm glow of joy playing like dancing fire over his arms and giving them strength to turn the ship. He glimpsed inside Doom Cloud and clearly saw trapped planets bound in a tangling filigree of ink-black smog. Then he not only saw but also heard the singing light that guided his aged body to the tasks of flight.
“It was you, Star Song! It was you who kept the other three fighters going! It was you who saved my life!” Eddy’s battle song ended with a long sigh and he collapsed to the ground.
Softly, into the silent void of grief relived there came a gentle, prodding lullaby, “All songs are in the now, young human. All songs are newly sung. Are you able to move? Oh, young human, can you hear me? Did I ask too much?”
Eddy opened his eyes and looked at Star Song, who was kneeling with his ear on Eddy’s chest listening for heartbeat. “I’m alive, Star Song. It felt like we were inside Doom Cloud again. Now I know it was your song that helped the first time. Others heard it, too.”
“It was not my song alone, my friend. There are quite a few of us in this floating city, we all joined in. I was only part of the melody. Now, thanks to you, all Melodians have seen that there were others who sang with us. Melodian suspicions are true, others helped, it…”
Eddy’s eyes moved to their surroundings. Interrupting Star Song he sat up, startled, “We’re not in the meadow!” he said with his voice almost shouting. “How did we get into this auditorium?” He looked up at a high arching ceiling. “Is this a church? A cathedral? What is this place? How did we get here?”
“Your battle song took us far, young human. And you have learned much in a very short time. You have learned much more than all of us here thought possible. We looked into Doom Cloud’s heart and blindly fled that awful power. This is where we came, it is my home. We are in the center of what you have called our floating city, though to us it is an observatory and musical instrument for singing with the stars. Can you walk? We must hurry even more now. Doom Cloud knows what we have done and exactly where we are.”
Eddy reached upward, Star Song helped him stand then led him on still unsteady feet to the side of the grand hall. Opening a large glass door, Star Song showed him onto a small balcony overlooking a park. They looked over a central garden with a fountain. The fountain statue was a life-sized hunting bird with wings open wide. It was carved crystal frozen at the moment of splashing impact with its prey, a large fish. One Melodian sat at the fountain edge reading from a book, another was just leaving. Otherwise the vista was quiet.
Beyond the low buildings surrounding the park, Eddy could see grand shining spires topped by glistening faceted spheres reaching high above the city skyline. The spires had looked large from the ship and a closer view revealed them to be as large as Earth’s tallest skyscrapers. “What are those huge buildings with the bronze colored spheres on top?” Eddy asked in wonder.
“They are doors to the stars, Eddy. They are the voice and ears of Melodian song.” Turning back to the observatory, Star Song said, “We do not have enough time for you to see every time and place the instruments can reveal. Come inside and we will play our music here and now.”
As he and Star Song approached the center of the room, Eddy realized the ceiling was a perfect, seamless dome. It seemed to him large enough to cover a small town. The entire building was constructed from the same shining metal as the pier. “You are the first sentient specie other than Melodian to ever be here.” Star Song said as they approached a central, round stone platform. “Welcome, Young Human.” The greeting rang in Eddy’s mind—he felt serenely humble.
“Although your beautiful planet is well known to us, so many of mother Earth’s teachers have been rejected or isolated into worship that we do not often visit her any more. It is a wonderful surprise that an offspring of humanity has become the first to realize the practical strength of Joy.”
Star Song placed one large hand on top of Eddy’s head and closed his eyes. “The dark forces of greed and lust for ownership are so strong on earth that she, the mother herself, has been terribly scarred and made unclean. Yet, through all this, your mother planet has kept hope alive in her song. Young human, you and your friends have rewarded her far beyond what her faithful song foretold.”
Star Song removed his hand from Eddy’s head, opened his eyes and smiled, “Your kind was born to witness the beauty of creation, to see and experience Cosmos. Success at that alone would have placed you among honored beings like Delfinians. Instead you have gone farther than anyone imagined possible. You have reached for the stars, grasped the joy of life and learned to turn it against the darkest forces. Humankind has leapt into the unending struggle between good and evil with passion. That is why in this face-to-face struggle with Doom Cloud, I name you Young Human Warrior.”
Eddy wondered in awe at the finality of Star Song’s story echoing into the distant yet following reaches of his own expanding mind. “I’m afraid I may be too young and not smart enough to remember everything after your song stops,” Eddy said without using his voice.
“You are doing well, my new friend. What is coming remains unknown to everyone. Perhaps this new beginning on planet Pacifica is where a human branch will grow and forever leave behind those who consume creation with insatiable want and turn beauty to pollution, wealth, and dominion. Perhaps the old human ways will continue to serve the same satanic force sending Doom Cloud against us. These things we will know better after the coming battles.”
Star Song’s larger thoughts changed as he pointed to a round, stone platform. “Lay there in the center looking up at the observatory ceiling. Now you will experience and know Melodian song as one small part in the music of the singing spheres.”
Eddy climbed onto the stone, Star Song placed his hands into ancient, highly polished indentations before joining him. The shining seamless dome gradually turned black. Stars appeared and the room became a cathedral filled with their music. Star Song’s melodic trills moved the platform through the great voids between stars and then galaxies. They listened to the joyous songs of young stars being born and the explosive finale of those who died. The galaxies and stars gradually became more than mere projections on the surface of the dome, they actually began filling the room and spinning in harmony with a creation song. He and Star Song zoomed among the stars and left the platform far behind.
Eddy heard Star Song’s melodies as playful expressions woven through the underlying music of the spheres, it became clear to him that melodic appreciation was how the cosmos felt itself. Star Song was a conscious living being who perceived creation and was content to be a mirror reflecting the beauty of being. Everywhere that Star Song’s melodies took them, the music of the spinning spheres swelled with joy. Star Song’s reward was love itself. Eddy felt his own inner confidence grow as his own life and tentative melody joined in.
The song of the cosmos abruptly softened and gave Eddy freedom to sing and be heard. Star Song turned to him when his song had become strong and clear, “Now you know life’s purpose directly, young human. You are cosmic powered biology born to see and be free with Cosmos. Now it is time to return, but first we must go back and revisit that aweful Doom Cloud.”
Eddy felt sudden raw terror well up and replace the wonders he had just experienced.
“Do not be frightened to stand before ugliness that consumes beauty and destroys freedom with insatiable greed and unending war. Behold the darkness of Doom Cloud, the coward who enslaves the golden spheres of joy and even now twists them to its own purposes.”
Eddy and Star Song watched the human battle fleet tear and harry the massive cloud of doom.
“This is personal,” Star Song grumbled. “That thing sucks the joy from life until it is dead.”
“The fleet would win if it had enough time!” Eddy exclaimed. “Doom Cloud is no longer smooth and round!” He said, pointing to where the fleet had burned away a huge planet-sized chunk. Plumes of doom streamed outward and were left behind to dissipate like smoke. The battle was now close enough to home for the sun to help evaporate the ugly residue.
“Doom Cloud is not fighting back,” Star Song observed, “it is rushing for final victory at the planet. We should return home now and bring the big Delfinian ship into battle position. There is no time to evacuate humans to the inner world. Doom Cloud has accelerated and must be stopped before it smothers the planet itself. It is up to us to save the world.”
Before Eddy had time to agree, he saw Doom Cloud recede to nothing and they were suddenly standing one step from the Delfinian ship gangplank. Star Song knelt and embraced Eddy. His physical touch made all that had happened undoubtedly real.
“I’m not afraid to die now, Star Song. The planet itself must be saved.”
“You will not die in this struggle, young friend. Your small ship will stay out of harm’s way and leave for Earth immediately after the battle, no matter what happens.”
“But my ship has more firepower and is faster than a light cruiser. I’m a good pilot, too.”
Star Song hugged Eddy again and changed the subject, “I wish we had more time. Now you should go, Cecric is waiting.”
Eddy bounced down the gangplank making it jump to the cosmic cadence of youthful energy. He turned and waved to Star Song.
“How do you change from one place to another like this?” he asked without using words.
“Each song is newly sung, my new friend. The beginning is not the end, and each ending is a new place to begin. Sing your song, young human, you have learned more than you know. Your melody was heard by Cosmos.”
“How far can one travel like that?” Eddy persisted.
Star Song waved goodbye, “As far as a song can go,” then he laughed out loud and used his voice with a concluding wink and a smile, “and no further.”
continue to Chapter 19