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The last creator, p.2
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       The Last Creator, p.2

           Roger Laird
 
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  First Meeting

  The echo of the shouts Jeremiah had just heard still rang in his ears when the sensation of nothingness ceased. His stomach was heavy and he had a strange sense of vertigo. He looked around as he continued running through the changed alley. None of the buildings were this tall in his home town. The architecture was perverse to his eyes. The buildings seemed to follow an unnatural curve. They were all over ten stories high and the alley he was in was paved in a greenish concrete material. It reflected oddly off the red glass of the buildings set against the orange hue of the sky.

  Jeremiah was completely astonished. He had done something, traveled somehow, to a new place. Where, somewhere on Earth, a city that was bathed in the twilight just before sunset, or sunrise? He reached the end of the alley and ran out onto an empty sidewalk. He looked up at the open sky above the larger gap between buildings. To his amazement, he saw a sun that burned nearly purple. It was far fainter than the light of the yellow sun he was used to. He could look at it for quite some time without his eyes hurting. Finally, he decided that wherever he was, he was not on Earth anymore. He had learned enough second grade astronomy for that conclusion.

  But then he began to ask himself, If I am not on Earth anymore, where am I? His hunger pulled his mind from his circumstance. He walked back into the alley. He sat behind a large container that, from the putrid smell, he could only assume was a trash collection bin. He got his half sandwich and the apple that he had refused to eat earlier and ate both items with vigor. He didn’t let the nauseating smell of the trash bin nor his distaste for apples spoil his appetite.

  As he ate, his mind cleared and he began thinking of the strangeness of this place. He thought about the odd disappearances as an infant and wondered if he had come to this place before. If he had, what kind of encounters did he have then? Did he encounter strange alien creatures? If he had, how had they reacted to him? He resolved to himself then, that if such an encounter had occurred, he had not been harmed. If he was going to encounter an alien life form again, he would not act shocked or surprised no matter what the beings looked like because he was sure they were probably peaceful.

  When he finished his food, he put the trash back into the brown paper bag. He stood up and lifted the lid on the trash bin just enough to toss the crumpled bag in. The putrid smell punched him in the face and he stumbled backwards a few steps. A loud rumble started to echo through the alley and Jeremiah turned back to see a large pentagonal vehicle that had just turned into the alley. It rumbled along until it reached the first yellow trash bin. It lifted the bin up and dumped it into an opening. It moved to the next yellow receptacle, only twenty yards from where Jeremiah now stood, and repeated the process. He noticed, now that the vehicle was closer, that it seemed to levitate just above the ground. There were no wheels on the vehicle at all.

  Before he had a chance to move behind a bin that was a different color, the vehicle lurched and moved toward his hiding spot. He wasn’t sure how the trash bin was lifted, so he moved from behind the bin and looked up into the place where the trash trucks on earth would normally have a driver. There was no such spot. Instead there was a giant lens that Jeremiah assumed was a camera. Was the vehicle computer operated, he thought. The truck stopped in front of the trash bin Jeremiah had been hiding behind. The trash bin rose up and the top of the vehicle opened again. There was no visible mechanical arm that lifted the bin. It seemed to just float up into the air. The horrible smell pervaded the air again. The lid to the trash bin fell open. The paper bag that he had just thrown away was the only trash that fell from the bin toward the truck. Before it reached the truck, it burst into flame and quickly turned to ash. The vehicle set the bin back down.

  It moved along the alley to the next yellow bin and repeated the process. He didn’t feel any buffeting from fans that might cause the vehicle to levitate as it moved past him. The next bin didn’t contain any trash either. The first two bins had been too far away to see, but Jeremiah was certain that they had been empty as well. The vehicle set the bin down and moved to the end of the alley and turned right out onto the street. Jeremiah wondered at the purpose of operating a trash collection vehicle that didn’t have trash to collect.

  He followed the vehicle out of the alley, turned in the same direction the vehicle had gone, and walked along the sidewalk. The other buildings in the city were all the same as the ones lining the alley. There were no trees or plants of any kind planted along the sidewalk. This was different than the pictures Jeremiah had seen of large cities on Earth. The doorways into the buildings were oval shaped. He thought about entering one of the buildings, but something inside himself told him that he should stay outside. He walked down the street wondering why the city was so empty. Were the beings on this planet nocturnal? He didn’t think that was likely. Even if they had been, he was certain that some odd individuals in the race would be out during the daylight.

  Jeremiah passed an intersection and found that to the left, past three large buildings, the city seemed to abruptly end. He crossed the street and walked to the edge of the city. He stood on the sidewalk looking out over vast rolling hills of agricultural land. He did not recognize any of the plants as something he knew, but then why should he expect to? In a nearby field another large vehicle moved along. Behind it was left a line of cleared dirt. He now noticed another large white star that was also hanging in the sky toward his left. He could not be sure which direction was north. Jeremiah was so entranced with the beauty of the countryside that he did not notice as something came silently up and stood beside him.

  When Jeremiah gathered himself again and decided to return to the alley where he had first arrived, he noticed for the first time that he was not alone. He jumped, startled by the sudden appearance of, of what? Standing next to him now was a bi-pedal robot. It was slightly shorter than him and looked almost like a human. Jeremiah shouted in his fear, “Holy crap!”

  The robot returned the sound automatically. Jeremiah thought it was unlikely that it was programmed to speak his language. He thought it must be programmed to repeat whatever was first said to it and assume it was a normal greeting. Jeremiah’s fear began to recede. He wondered if the robot might be able to learn. The robot started to make noises that were unintelligible to Jeremiah. He shook his head to indicate that he did not understand and wondered if the robot would know what the gesture meant. He thought it did because it suddenly stopped making noises. Jeremiah pointed to himself and said, “Jeremiah.” The robot pointed to itself and phonetically repeated the sounds. Jeremiah shook his head again.

  The robot raised its arm and used one of the fingers to indicate the book in Jeremiah’s arm. For the second time that day Jeremiah proffered the book. The robot took the book and sat cross legged on the ground. Jeremiah sat next to the robot and pointed out each letter and made the sounds that each letter could represent in English. He was sure that he would not have to do this more than once. When he was done, he turned to each picture and named the items. He had to refer to the captions several times since he had just read the material for the first time earlier that day.

  The robot then read the entire book aloud word for word and Jeremiah corrected it on pronunciations. When it was done it said, “I comprehend biology and chemistry. These are concepts I know. Do you have any other material to read?” The result of the language was brief and scientific, but at least now Jeremiah could communicate with the robot. They spent hours going through every other book in Jeremiah’s backpack. By the end of the session the robot had a far better grasp on the English language.

  “I am MBS-ADR1. I was created by the race of this planet in response to events that started over six years ago. My bio-scans confirm that you are the same person who first visited our planet back then. Communication during the times you visited was impossible, but the Creators were able to take unobtrusive cellular samples and study your biology. They were on the brink of extinction upon your arrival. They created me in case you gr
ew to adulthood and returned. If that happened, I could communicate with you on their behalf.”

  Jeremiah contemplated what the robot had said. “So you are an ambassador? Well ambassador… May I call you ambassador? I am not an adult. I am a child still among my species. Because I am the only one here, you will have to converse with me. What happened to the beings that created you?”

  “Ambassador? What is Ambassador?”

  “It is someone who speaks on behalf of another person or group on my planet. Usually it is a government official of some sort, but you definitely fit this description for the race that created you.”

  “Yes, I am Ambassador.”

  “What happened to the Creators Ambassador? Did they all die?”

  “The atmosphere on this planet is far more volatile to the Creators’ species than it is for your species. They spent four years scanning the galaxy for other planets that fit their biological needs, but they were unsuccessful. They located seventeen planets that had atmospheres that could sustain your species, but fate did not allow a single one to suit the Creators’ needs. Currently there is only one of the Creators left on this planet. They are all forced to stay within the buildings of this city. They are very different from yourself, but they have agreed to meet with you in order to inform you of their plan. Will you agree to meet with them?”

  Jeremiah thought about it for a moment. As he did, his original fear from when Ambassador had first appeared redoubled. He half-heartedly agreed to meet with the Creator. “This way,” the robot led Jeremiah down the street. They walked for nearly fifteen minutes before Ambassador stopped in front of one of the buildings and indicated that Jeremiah should climb the steps. When Jeremiah reached the glass doors his fear increased again. As Ambassador caught up to him the doors parted and a blast of cold air rushed out. A shiver ran through Jeremiah’s entire body. He stepped forward reluctantly and no sooner than he crossed the threshold, Jeremiah’s fear overtook him and he passed out.

 

 
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