Tales of the Nineteen Galaxies #32


So, another Tale in the series, although this one comes from the Sci-Fi Ideas website (if you’re a science fiction writer, you NEED to check it out).  This particular site has started a new series of articles called Starting Points, where they provide a picture, start the story off with a couple of paragraphs, and then let others carry on with the story.  I should do this myself really, but oh well.

Anyway, I decided to wade in and try finishing (or at least carrying it on) the story stared by them.

Here’s the original article: Starting Point: Crystal Gods

This is the picture involved:

Alex_Pascenko

Credit to Alex Pascenko

And the starting point itself:

Jayvin approached the crystalline plant structure with curious eyes.

It was old. Centuries old. And it had grown to enormous proportions. Little wonder the villagers revered it so deeply; it must have been here for countless generations, and the way it glowed was… Jayvin wanted to think of it as magical. He tried to see it through the villagers’ eyes, he really did, but to him it was actually kind of eerie.

At the base of the crystal, the villagers had carved a series of shallow stone steps, and a deep fissure cut right to its glowing heart. This must be what the villagers called ‘the alter’. Jayvin could believe that their offerings affected the crystal in some way – or rather the lifeforms living inside it. Perhaps it – or they – could even be reliant on them in some way. But the miraculous powers Yin’Hal had described… No, that was impossible.

“Hey, Jayvin. Come look at this.”

And my continuation:

Jayvin removed his helmet and strode over to the pilot, who was crouched down underneath the central crystalline plant that towered over them all.  There were little votives around the base and the steps where it had sprouted from the rock, left by the villagers.  The strange trees around them twisted and turned around it, taking on the shapes of monsters of old.  Smaller crystals were buried in the moss, itself a glittering emerald green.

Jayvin had seen the pictures, but being here…. It was inspiring.  He could stare at it for hours and not feel tired.  He felt refreshed around them.  The canyon they were in was part of a network, almost like veins on the world.  The village nearby acted, quite rightly, as caretakers of this place.

‘Crystal Gods’ was what they called these things.

“This entire region is incredible,” Jayvin called out.

“And it all seems to spread from this structure,” said Yin’Hal.  He wore, as was his wont, the dark overalls of his trade, and a pack on his back.

“Remind me again how you found this?”

Yin’Hal recounted the story, despite having told Jayvin several times.  The others of the team, a small group from the Terran Science Council, were unshipping their limited equipment.  The villagers had been quite specific: only bring what you can carry.

Jayvin didn’t understand why, but it was a welcome challenge.

“My fighter was part of a patrol off the HMS Temmington; when we dropped down towards the atmosphere, my Rhino was hit by some sort of energy stream.  I couldn’t see it, but my systems shut down, and I was caught in the gravity well before the ship or my squadron could assist.”  He stood up, his legs cramping, rubbing the thighs where his injuries were.  “My fighter crashed on the lip of the canyon up there.”  He pointed to a point far above them where the edge of the canyon was dented and burned.  There were even pieces of metal visible, sunlight glinting off it.

“The villagers found me,” he said, carrying on, his alien features glowing in the light of the crystals.  “They carried me down here, and put me down in front of the alter.”

Jayvin frowned at Yin’hal’s use of the word alter.

“Alter?  Not an altar?”

Yin’hal shook his head.  “No, the villagers were quite specific.”

“Doctor Jayvin?” one of the others called.  “Flight Lieutenant Yin’hal?  We’ve found something.”

They joined the others, who were crouched by the base, where Yin’hal had indicated he had been left by the villagers.

“We’re getting some strange readings, Doctor.  A twin-pulse of something not unlike chronaton particles, but it’s irradiating from the crystal itself, like…”

“Like what?” Jayvin asked.

The scientist looked hesitant to say.

“Out with it, we’re way past weird.”

“It’s like a heartbeat.”

Jayvin looked up at the crystals.

“How old are these things?”

“According to our carbon dating scans, around the twenty-thousand-year mark.”

Jayvin gave a loud whistle.

“What?”  Yin’Hal was a fighter pilot, not a scientist.

“Evolution,” Jayvin replied.  “Twenty thousand years is a long time to be sat here growing, especially if it already has some sort of primitive life-form living inside it.”

“It’s sentient,” nodded the other scientist.

“What did the villagers refer to it as besides the alter?”

“Crystal gods,” answered Yin’Hal, looking at the chief scientist.  “You’re not serious.”

Jayvin looked up at the entire crystalline structure with wonder in his face and in his heart.  “Maybe.  Not all life is humanoid-based.  Just because we’ve never encountered a species like this, doesn’t mean it’s not impossible.  Explains a lot about how they healed you, Lieutenant.”

“Sentient crystalline.”

Yin’Hal shook his head, looking up at the villagers that were gathered by the lakeside, watching the Terrans worriedly.  He nodded.

“Crystal gods indeed.”

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