What is this thing called life, anyways? - Plight of the Rose

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Teela recalls her days as a nun and how it all led to the abduction of her whole species.

_ Summary: _

Teela recalls her days as a nun and how it all led to the abduction of her whole species.

Artwork by BrownWolf for Plight of the Rose.

"...is this thing on? Are we ready to proceed, yet, Ted?"

"Yes, Miss Rose. I'm getting a green across the panel. You may proceed at any time." replies Ted as he pulls his eyes back towards the viewing screen upon the camera. A small Human male, only five foot, two, stood there with a compact camera in hand.

"This is so exciting. To think, I'll be able to look back upon these recordings, generations from now. Perhaps, Little Herc can even find something useful in these history logs. Anyhow, let us proceed."

Ted gives the OK signal and steadies the lens sights upon the female vixen standing before a scene of long reaching beaches as mild waves come to lash against the sand.

Slightly giggly with the whole notion of it all, she tries to put on a more serious face. "Good morn..." She pauses and deepens the tone of her voice, then retries. "Greetings. I am Teela Tyberious Rose. And, these are my memoirs. What I may have to say could be startling. And, yes, even horrifying. It must be said. Just in case the unthinkable should ever come to our happy little homestead. If you are viewing these recordings for the first time, then it would only make more sense for me to begin, accordingly. In light of the time line of our home planet, Katrina, I can announce the dating of this recording to preside at 5,238 of the honoring year of Queen Ronald and a tribute mention to her highness of my governing throne, Queen Ann. But, my actual scale of time has, as of yet, been unpronounced. For I was born on a date from long ago. My home world has forgotten it's name, it's people and it's heritage. What scant records do exist, tend to leave, conveniently enough, such details to fall into the sands of time. It is believed known that there were twelve planets in relatively close orbit to one another. And, they gained a relatively quick spurt of intelligent life, somewhere past the ten thousandth point past the creation of the Universe. Our Universe. There are so many abounding that a few heads might just explode, trying to count them all. So, it's not important. It's also not important to say that my people were ruthless warriors that fought some battle, lost and proceeded to exterminate themselves in shame, as the records try to poorly explain. We were no more warriors then a rock could be a fruit. Instead, we were Foxen, highly religious farmers and dedicated to a way of peace. It was only out of the necessity of rising conflicts that most of our population was given the proposition of ship armaments. I was the eighth in a litter of fifteen to The House of Rose. Raised in the traditions of my people, I could consider my early life to be pleasant and simple. Care for my allotted plot of ground to harvest in during the daylight and study in the evening.

It wasn't until my fifth year of celebrations that the war fleets came. I could only stare at my father, running towards the silo as the war sirens blared from afar. In our society, healthier males whom were old enough were often sworn and expected to protect the home planet from enemy invasion. In expectation of a quick response, all land owners held launch cannons somewhere upon the premises. These cannons were powerful launch tubes that shot a partial shell well into the flight clearance zone. Inside the shell was the aero fighter. On board was a telecommunications device that could give all the orders that the pilot was expected to need. Once fired, the shell would drag a long, thick wire behind it that would pull the shell casing off the fighter. Continued with forward motion, the fighter had mere seconds to extend the swivel wings out and ignite the propulsion. Failure of either meant a quick decision by the pilot to eject and ditch the lost craft before it fell towards a deadly descent. Once those metallic wings of silver extended outwards from it's launch shell, it was a beautiful sight to behold. All gleaming and shiny. Reflecting the light to create a glow of pure radiance. They might have been a nice luxury for exploring the skies with, had they not been deemed for military use with stiff penalties for use by any means other then civil defense. If I had looked beyond, I might have consciously realized that he was not alone. Dozens of such trails intermingled over our section of the skies, alone. Father's fighter went high into the air and met with the descending enemy's drop ships. The opposing forces fought with bravery and determination. Commanders from distant bunkers were giving instructions and handling negotiations. They didn't negotiate very well. The resulting conflict lit up the Heavens in multiple explosions. It would later be deemed that this was only a test assault by another planetary strike force and not a thoroughly complete threat. That day, our quick acting troops fought off their incoming waves. Our side was such an effective repellent that they,whomever they truly were, never came back. But, the price was too high. Father...didn't return to us. Which is what makes the price too high, at any cost. At least to me. Perhaps, that is the first, true tragedy to happen in my very long life span. Getting the word that father's name would be included in the local Hall of Memories as a war veteran, for having surrendered his life in the cause of keeping freedom available for all. I should feel so lucky that the enemy forces from any of the warring worlds weren't coming to our lands on a regular basis. Though ready, our military sect mindset was governing the notion of a defensive stance, whereas the religious sect had more interest in the hope of establishing a peaceful relationship through spiritual commonalities. Whatever the reasons being, we were, for the most part, kept in a neutral stature. We never had a physical body to present at the funeral. Something inside me snapped at that event. I felt a longing for vengeance. And, I set my mind forth to joining the local church branch of Our Light in order to achieve a ranking aboard their fledgling fleet of Super Star Craft. It would be many years before I was able to apply. And, it would take many more years of practice and ceremonies, just to gain the needed status. In this time, the war would only grow worse during every passing cycle.

There was a golden ray of hope that came our way. A race that went by the name of the Ack Maurwere actively seeking an alternative method to direct combat with neighboring planets. Those little mole-like people viewed our religious ways as a means to this goal. The sought out solution was for our people to go forth and convert enough of the aggressive races into finding some common ground from which to find peace upon. There were conditions. One of which meant introducing our society to new technological advances. It meant things like faster star drives, better construction materials and artificial minds that they gave the name, computers. There were also some psychological considerations to be argued over. One of which was the general positioning of males in their traditional roles. One thing the Ack Maur believed was that most of the alien races involved would take a female dominated society to be untrustworthy. Whereas, an equally regulated society could be better looked at in the eye at the negotiations table. This equalized society would be best cataloged aboard the Pristine Hope. She was, after all, the first of many planned flag ships for Katrina and her religious viewpoint to venture forth, under the truce flag of galactic peace. The results proved...interesting, to say the least.

Despite each race giving a minimum effort towards peace by forming The Council of The Twelve, death rates would add up into the billions on all sides. Somehow, it all was spared me. In the end, I proved myself worthy to my superiors. Figured that I might achieve an officer's ranking. The tests proved better then I had hoped. A new flag ship, the Pristine Hope, was just completed and I scored worthy of the position to helm her as captain. I bit at the opportunity upon the zenith of the galactic war. Records never stated whom made a deal with the Devil. It doesn't truly matter. All that does is that They came and started The Seven Days of Omega. With their powerful star bases, they came from shear nothingness. With hands of invisibility, they nabbed us with ease. The official records stated that the Gods came down and gave their wrath to the sinning races, leaving The Alliance of The Five intact for their so-called "purity of heart". What a one sided viewpoint these so-called winners wrote for themselves. I barely had a chance for the feel of the captain's chair when the dock launching orders came to investigate Orialia. The Orialians were good allies with the Foxens. I still remember hearing about all the confusing, broken up messages relayed from their ships on that day. They never stood any better chances then we did, really. So, we made our best speed for Orialia, which still came to nearly a day's travel. It was baffling to approach a planet with well over ten billion for a population and not hear a peep on any channels, nor scan any signs of destruction upon the surface. Ghost ships just floated around in orbit, not replying to our hails. Even remote posts were silent. They were the victims of what would come to be known as Omega Day One. We would learn our fate in mere minutes as being scheduled for Day Two. Hardly a fair investigation could be held before the same baffling messages of panic and confusion flooded in from our home world. It only took seconds for the relayed echoes from afar to become personal. Engine room chimed in with several personnel being pulled up into black vortexes that simply came from out of nowhere. My sensory officer voiced about this gigantic ship that wasn't there a second before. It measured over fifteen miles high and held position only thirty feet off our starboard bow. I still remember ordering "Battle stations!" and hearing the station capsule doors sealing around my key officer's stations. It was a concept design to help insure that all command terminals would remain in control of the crew, just in case of enemy infiltration. Instead, they wound up being more like tombs for bodies to be bounced off of as they were harvested by forces that held no physical bodies to be bound by such physical barriers. Tactical managed to launch several torpedoes into the massive vessel before being plucked from his station. I watched in horror as they exploded against an invisible barrier. I stood up from the chair, made a commandment to abandon ship and fled to the rocket sled, as quickly as I could. My quick logic being that if we were geese to be plucked, let's give them too many locations to work with. Grabbing a hold of the pivot bar, I effortlessly went horizontal upon the sled and ordered it to the escape bay. A projection viewer gave me visions from around the ship. It was nearly vacated and not through my intended method. Through the area of my eyesight came this pitch black hole, swirling with gas-like protrusions. The sled's tube may not have been well lit. But, that still gave enough contract to tell that this black hole was darker then dark. As if nothing could have possibly created light inside of it. I tensed my grip to the sled's holds. But, the force plucked me in mid-motion without any seeming effort at all. The sensation of entering it was extreme cold, effectively knocking me out through shear shock. The next memory I have is seeing the opposite of pure black, shining right down into my eyes. I couldn't move. Only hear and barely see. So, I chose to listen. Others were in the room. Many others. Moans, yelps and conversations overlapped one another from many locations, both near and far. It was hard to single out any one event. A bit of visual relief came in when a shadowy figure leaned over my eyes, absorbing the direct exposure to the blinding source. I couldn't see much. Just a dark figure, awash in a blinding halo. I tried to use my voice. It only came out as a soft wheeze. The shadow seemed to grow an arm. Which awakened another sense; touch. I hadn't immediately noticed how numb and cold my body was. Whatever was attached to that shadow suddenly touched me. Not a pleasant rub. Nor an annoying poke. More like a downright, flesh penetrating stab into my ribs. My desire to scream would only be recognized as an additional moan a midst the crowded room. A second shadow loomed, further blocking out the light source and speaking in Foxen. Clearly, I heard something about myself being special and to be saved. Another harsh jab occurred into my side before the spot light that bathed me, dimmed to barely a candle's flicker. It felt like an eternity, completely motionless like that. Then, without warning, I felt my body sit up and put it's feet upon the floor. It was obeying something...else. Something that was sharing my thoughts. My eyes. My body. My mind. It chose to gaze around and I was privy to the view. The room was full of spot lights...if, one could have called it a room at all. The dots of light seemed to go for as far as the eye could see. Each one held a private little viewing of a forced strip show. Males and females. Young and old. None moving. All pinned upon flat tables. Every one, baring the Light's divine shape. Shadowy shapes hovered around each one of these tables. It didn't strike me, at least not immediately, as I strolled amongst them, that I was sharing their same bit of fate. My body kept walking through the darkness until it came to rest over one particular male. I didn't know him. Perhaps, he was from a distant township. My eyes stayed wide open as shadowy hands pressed into his stomach and chest. A loud moan came from the male as he arched his back, supporting his body by head and feet, alone. The hands almost merged into his body and he began to shrink. In mere seconds, the Foxen's appearance became something along the lines of a wilderling. Small paws morphed over his hands and feet. A thicker coat sprung out, everywhere. He was suddenly so short. Once they pulled their hands away from him, his body found a better position; sprawled out across the middle of the table. The shadows proceeded to poke something that looked like a finger into his skull. The moaning sounds became a flurry of words. "Help me! Please! I don't want to die! Stop hurting me!" He was pleading with all he had available for his life. And, as the hand moved casually about his head and spine, I stood there in testament as the words went from constantly flowing to painfully labored. He literally shuddered on 'help' until it became unintelligible; a purely repeated yelp. My form lowered a hand and stroked over his exposed belly, rubbing as the shadow reached inside, restructuring his mind. It only took seconds. His fear; replaced with joy. He seemed to care no longer about the surrounding conditions. About the events from a minute, before. The light over him dimmed and my body picked him up. I felt the little guy cuddle into my remotely controlled arms as it gave him an endlessly simple joy of attention. I strolled without will to another table while stroking him some more. It was another one of those altered Foxens. She looped around the boundaries of the oval table without restraint on all fours, tail held high. My male squirmed until I set him down. The thing that was pleading for it's life only a moment ago was now nosing around her rump as it got an erection, then mounted repeatedly without care of strangers observing. The courting two were sucked up into a vortex in mid-hump. I became aware that surrounding tables had matching scenes of former Foxens, now mating. The split thoughts struck me in unison. A) 'Why wasn't I now happily experiencing a cock up the vagina?' and, B) 'Why was I so special to be spared this fate?' My body continued on it's merry way, without consulting me, first. I got to witness different procedures happening to different members of my species. At least, some of them weren't being turned towards wilderlings. But, I could witness it in their eyes. Life from their brains was being robbed. I recognized a brilliant scientist. He could have calculated complex formulas to anything, if challenged on any given day. Here, he was drooling over himself and that exceptional mind had been condemned. My heart just wanted to shatter into a million pieces. It wasn't my heart, anymore. Nor, was it my hands that were now reaching down and snatching another altered Foxen by the tail. No snuggling for this one, despite how I tried to willfully control my actions. My hands pulled it into the air and shook it violently until it was a snarling beast. I couldn't help myself and hauled it over to a device that I would later come to know as an Archway. I stepped through into a wonderful garden environment. It looked like nothing I had ever seen, before. The plants were so alive with brilliant color. Many going into the ultraviolet ranges. I stepped towards one with a very large bud and held out the snarling Foxen by it's tail. It lunged about, snapping and clawing at the air, grabbing the attention of the bud. The plant seemed to sway with the movements of the newly created animal before it lunged upwards. Small barbs flashed out between pedals as moved and surrounded the growling creature's head up to it's neck. Creeping vines were ensnaring it's wriggling body within seconds. It's struggling feet were looped around and secured. My hands released the creature's tail, allowing it to flop around as the flower bud started to puff smoke. The snarls and shutters of the vertically supported Foxen quickly died down as it breathed in the smoke by the lungful. The wiggling tail gave plenty of reports as it came to rest against the Foxen's backbone. My body observed how quickly this unusual plant went to work. While almost funny at first to see the back end of the former Katrinan blowing smoke rings, it would seem the smoke was actually some sort of potent bio-degrading agent. It pushed it's digestion through the animal's insides, liquefying them. In turn, the melting gunk would leak through the jaws and collect inside the pedals. As the puffing smoke changed angles, it would continue to hollow out the victim for as long as the funneling effect was possible. Little more then half a pelt and some bones were dropped by the flower after barely a minute's passing. Whatever part was controlling me had gotten some pleasure from inducing this. I just wanted to toss my lunch. It didn't obey and only continued to explore various realms through the Archway system. I must have sent over fifty Foxen's to their deaths through various forms of torture and vicious assaults before I came to rest upon one of those cold tables, back in that endless room. Surprisingly, the environment that I strolled through was still extremely busy with harvested Foxens. What was to come after that is something I still have yet to completely grasp. They wheeled this corpse of a species that I had never seen the likes of, before. I felt my hand grasp it's clammy skin. These images flashed through my mind. It was very harsh to appertain what many of the meanings were. Memories of this person's lifetime seems to make the most sense. An accidental space traveler from a remote planet that the natives called Earth. In my later journeys, I would encounter more of these Earthlings. Seems they couldn't surpass their wars, either. Such acts caused massive extinction by destroying their home world through repeated wars and reconstructing their environment too quickly and thoughtlessly. I'll go more about their lives at a later point in time. For now, it only serves a real purpose for a focal point. Because, for quite some time, my captors would utilize these memories and other such tricks to reformat me into someone completely different. Whom I was, where I came from, my causes and even my faith were all pushed into the furthest depths of my mind and replaced with a false identity. I became quite comatose upon that table surface. The next thing I can remember, came from a focal point of a different being. He had what my captors decided were safe versions of their early selves. A shape shifter. Powerful constructive and destructive properties, on call and at will. It's hard to think that any part of whom I was, could have remained over the radical alterations my captors had committed. Still, there I...or, rather he, was. We opened our eyes and gazed at the bleak room. Dim lighting without an apparent source. No furnishings to speak of. Just me...him and a woman. She must have been a member of my captor's species. Leaning over me, she spoke softly. 'Captain. Can you hear me, captain?' I could only lay upon the floor and gaze up into this dazzling face. She gave me a song-and-dance number about some sort of attack that had caused me injury. At the time, I had no reason to doubt her. The false memories were doing their job to fill in certain gaps. She took my hand and helped me up. She was incredibly strong for her shapely form. She led me a couple feet and laid me upon a rather comfortable bed. It wasn't there a second ago, I would have sworn. As I would later learn, I was aboard one of those gigantic ships they used during The Seven Day Omega. It was considered to be extremely outdated by the species. This one was called the TriCylian Ragnarok. A ship that was ten miles high, one full mile around and possessed enough power to obliterate a large sun and all it's neighboring planets without breaking a sweat...and sit in the middle of all that destructive chaos...without so much as getting a sun burn. Biological in nature. It even harnesses a micro star, folded in upon itself to draw a near infinite source of incredible power. If this was outdated, I wasn't so sure that I would be prepared to see what was their notion of modern was. What's even more scary is to learn that one of my mission motives was to locate other types of their discarded ships and bring them home. After all, any old species that just happened to wander across one could have harnessed some ultimate destructive properties at scavenger's rates. As I lay there, gazing up at the bland ceiling, it suddenly decides to choose to be something else; a star. My eyes gazed about at an entire former room that just up-and-decided to become a field of stars. I quite literally had to think about it for a few seconds on whether to hold my breath and hope the room didn't just flush itself out into space or if this was some sort of illusion. The woman hinted at the event. 'Exterior view activated, captain. Would you like to set a course or rest awhile longer?' I moved my head to stare down at the floor, hoping to get some sort of bearings. Even the floor was transparent with stars speckling upon it. The pedestal of the bed just seemed to grow out of nothingness and I couldn't help but feel like one misstep and it was all over. She seemed perfectly accustomed to just floating there. 'Ummm...' I finally said, gathering up the rest of the sentence at a slow pace. '...why don't...you...pick a...spot.' She merely star gazed before the entire world grew dark. I thought that she had simply turned off the massive display. Until the stars came back...in totally different locations. And...a massive planet hovered off to my left. Not sure what I was expecting. Maybe, the stars would dance about or fly by. Get a feel of actual propulsion being used. Something. Anything. Anything, besides the stars just blinking off and on like they were connected to a light switch. I would later learn that this was how the ship traveled great distances. Instead of speeding through space at any optional pace, this ship ripped holes between dimensions. It even considered the environment that we passed through, called Void Space, to be home. As gigantic a place as our Universe may be, Void Space followed a completely different set of rules. It can rip a hole anywhere between the two dimensions, bypassing both the extensive travel of space and even the theoretical capacity to fold space, thus joining two distant places together. No wonder they took the Pristine Hope by total surprise. But, it's very hostile to anything that consists of matter. Barrier shielding can't form in Void Space. A traditional ship would melt away as the immense forces would pull apart the construction, molecule by molecule, in a matter of seconds. Energy doesn't stand a chance. In fact, it's only because the Ragnarok consists of biological material with a rate of recovery that is so fast, it can rebuild itself a dozen times over every second that it can avoid destruction inside such an environment. One might say they've got this dimension all to themselves. I just laid there, looking at the planet...studying it. She gave an official sounding quick bit of information about it. 'Maza Kuujou. Primarily constructed element is iron ore. Most life present consists of a silicon based ecosystem. What isn't molten active is sturdy enough to reside as land based. A thin O-Zone layer is present, repelling the harsher elements of space.'And, she went on and on with technical facts that I could care less about. I was going to ask why she had a fascination with this place. I decided not to bother and just rest there, some more. Enjoy the light show. Take in a few sights. Perhaps, schmooze with the locals at a later point. It all kind of blended in as background noise. Guess she noticed, too. 'If there is anything else you would like, just call for menat anytime, captain.'I replied with something like 'This may sound blunt. But...call you what?'She looked like she was feigning surprise. 'Do you not remember? You were always fond of calling me Avi.'It sounded familiar and helped trigger a false memory or two about her. 'I will see about exploring this interesting planet a little later, Avatar.'Tidbits of information about her just poured into my conscious mind. She was the Avatar Ragnarok. A being of synthetic water, just like the whole ship was. Even like I was. She represented a sort of user interface to the intelligent mind of the living ship, and it's power. She also had one key weakness. An intentional flaw, designed by the species to keep their technology loyal to them. She needed a crew. Other living minds to interact with. Or, she would slip into a form of comatose. Ship's systems would slowly shut down until a bare matrix of functions could barely maintain stability in both physical form and the solar star, contained inside. Debate the notion that it takes nearly forty years to bring a ship of this magnitude to such a state hardly qualifies it as a weakness. Unless you're talking about ships set adrift for millions of years, helplessly fighting to continue existing when their crews had spontaneously evolved into a higher state of existence that opted to cast aside their physical presence. There is this one exception that we had found out through our many adventures. It was, of all things, a lonely Dronethat had figured out how to get around this limitation factor. If you wish to know, a Droneis sort of a lower classification of ship. They tend to range only three to four miles high and weren't very appreciated. The Drone Yenianand it's Avatar adapted a very unique cooperation with a society that was on the rise, named Cle'ietz'. The arrangement circumstances were simple enough. The Dronewould act as a delivery service for the Cle'ietz'products. Using Void Space, the Dronecould reach any given world in mere seconds. In return, the Cle'ietz'could import items from around the Universe via trade. And, the Dronewould take a sizable payment of Cle'ietz'liquors and food items. In turn, the Drone Yenianheld an endless party that drew an intense numbers of species from nearly every planet the Dronevisited. This mental interaction kept the Dronestrong for centuries upon centuries. Never mind the fact that he has adapted to near endless liquor guzzling, in the process. There were many times that the Drone Yeniancame in handy during my years aboard the Ragnarok. Especially during the few conflicts with a rogue band of TriCylian's, believed to come from the third or fourth UCgeneration. They held possession of three TC bases, named TriCylian Satan's Chariot,TriCylian Devil Dogsand TriCylian Lucifer's Throne. All three were Tier Fifteen and fully staffed, to boot. The Ragnarokwas only a Tier Eleven by that point and she never held a base level staff at the best of times during the days of James. She claims that reaching such a status could still bring her over sixty percent of functional capacity. It normally wouldn't matter. Most intergalactic ships of this time era could be dealt with at well under one percent. When it absolutely came down to destroying a ship, a Razer setting in the point-zero-something range would suffice. Problem was, any one of these ships could be considered functioning at well over ninety-eight percent. Any one of them could win against us in a firefight. The number of years required for one side to lose in such a fight was higher then many species had available for a lifetime. In essence, the ancient game of building offenses and defenses escalated so far between the TriCylians and TriZüülians that they reached the point of impossibly hard to defeat. Which, in turn, led to alternative means of wiping out one another. Thus, the race to evolve into beings of non-matter and the search for power greater then that of matter. Which is how both species learned how to escape the end of the Universe, or one UC, and just kept on evolving. A sort of hide and seek was required to deal with them. Three against one was just plain murder. Still, it seemed to matter having the Drone Yenianavailable, when we needed him. He may have been only a Tier Three,(MostDroneclass bases were Tier Three or Tier Four. A TriCylian star base could never be anything less then Three Tiers high, because of the general design. A select few had achieved Tier Five. The Droneprefix was used in a manner like Private. They were considered expendable in the order of things.)but the cooperation of two bases and a Droneat one hundred percent always made them hesitant to try anything. We've also had a few encounters with space fleets too numerous to count. At a million-to-one, their numbers make them brave enough to risk towards combat at the slightest notion. I've once had to cut such a figure down. The Ragnarokshined brightly that day. In under a minute of sweeping Razer Fire, thousands of ships were turned into burning embers. Though done, bothering to raise the shields was considerable overkill. Surviving commanders chose a hasty retreat and probably had quite the lot to talk about over an encounter with an eleven mile high star base. Other such encounters were usually resolved when a second base just came out of nowhere and we could bluff with the notion of having reinforcements at instant beck and call. Granted, with the number of contacts that the Yenian must have had, we probably could have put together a mismatched counter force without too much trouble. But, whatever would such a movement be needed for? There was an occasion where The Council granted me permission to enter the graveyard of derelict TriCylian star bases that had been gathered by other unknown roaming parties. It was almost too much for the senses to take in. Thousands of these super weapons, floating in states of various comatose. Avi actually showed some signs of emotion as we gazed outwards. What surprised me was when a fair portion of the room's walls began to accumulate with views of other avatars. Each base had a unique image and not all of them seemed to share the same species as Avi. It was my impression that such ships would be incapable of even performing a simple hail. After all, they should have been crew less for a multitude of millennium cycles. Which, by the rules, should mean sleeping ships. Yet...she was starting up multiple conversations in a tongue not familiar to me. I would only gaze upon this graveyard twice."