This is the only thing that can save them. And it may not be doing it for too much longer.
Malicant smiles as he watches on a large monitor about a hundred Metal Individuals come out of some trees. They stop just after they step out of these trees. For several minutes, they just stand there like they are frozen or have been turned off.
Suddenly, One of the Metal Individuals leaves the others. As soon as he steps onto a glowing orange and green bump, he starts shaking wildly. His arms and legs are out of control. He also starts to shoot small electrical sparks from all around his metal body.
Two more Metal Individuals step forward. Each one places a hand on the single Individual’s shoulders. When they do, they start shaking and sparking too. The single Individual turns his hands into fists. Then he backhands the other two in their faces to break their hold on him.
Malicant smile gets even bigger as he starts looking at the three small monitors on each side of the large one. What he is smiling about is something similar is happening on the other sides of where he’s at. “Another failure. When are they going to realize they can’t get past my Fhalinit.”
About forty Young Ones come out of the trees that surround Malicant. Their ages appear to be between eight and thirteen. Most of them are females. But there are about twelve males too. They don’t stop as they continue toward the Fhalinit circle in a single line.
The first six Young Ones go past the Fhalinit without any problems. But the seventh one does. As she starts to go across the Fhalinit, she stops. She also starts shaking a little. Not as bad as the recent Metal Individuals, but it’s still bad. The other Young Ones push her beyond the Fhalinit by bumping into her.
Just then Malicant leaves his residence. When he sees the Young One about eleven starts to fall, he runs over to stop her from falling. But he’s too late to do that. “Are you okay?”
“I will be okay,” says Rivia. She gets up with a lot of help from Malicant. “I’m still a little scared. There are a lot of Metal Individuals around here.”
Malicant smiles. “I know all about them. There is no need to be worried. They can’t get past the Fhalinit I have all around me.”
After Malicant leads the Young Ones into a large room full of electronic equipment. There is very little room for the Young Ones to stand in front of Malicant. But they are doing it. “What do you about Hastan’s past?” Malicant asks.
“Other than what the Metal Individuals have been telling you,” continues Malicant. “Because what they have been saying isn’t true. It’s what they want you to know.”
“That’s why you are here. Every week I ask forty to fifty of you Young Ones to come here from all over Hastan. To tell you the truth about our past. Before we let the Metal Individuals take us over.”
In the front row with several other Young Ones, Rivia steps forward once. “Why do you do that?”
“Because I’m the only one who can do it,” answers Malicant. “Our past isn’t all I’m going to tell you about, though. I’m also going to show you, our future.”
As Malicant is talking to the forty Young Ones
there, images of what he is talking about appear on the large monitor behind him. The smaller ones are showing it too. “Every inhabited planet in the universe is the same.”
“What happens on Hastan will also happen on all of them too. The time frame may be a little different or a lot. But it does happen. For us, it all began almost three thousand years ago.”
“The first thousand years, it was very hard to live here. A lot of fighting and killing. Death by several different kinds of illnesses. It was so bad that most Hastans didn’t believe they would survive it. And most of them didn’t.”
Malicant stops talking to look at the forty Young Ones standing in front of him. “The next thousand years got a whole lot better. Especially, the last five hundred years. That’s when the technology phase of our lives began.”
“It was during the third thousand of our years that everything started going bad for us. The first six hundred wasn’t too bad. But the next three were.”
“That’s when we started creating the Metal Individuals. We let them do almost everything for us from helping around our residences, helping our Young Ones with their learning, becoming healthcare professionals, doing dangerous tasks that we couldn’t do, things like that.”
Malicant sighs. “The last hundred years have been the worse. That’s when the Metal Individuals took over Hastan.”
Now Malicant is standing next to Young Ones. He is also looking at the large monitor. The one that’s showing the Metal Individuals as they destroy a very big community. Killing anyone with their red death balls that come out of their fingers. Two to ten balls, depending on how many there are to kill.
Some of the Hastans are fighting back. But the Metal Individuals are killing them too. So far, none of the Metal Individuals have been killed. That’s not all they are doing, though. They are also using larger red death balls that come out of their mouths to destroy buildings. Within only a few minutes that community is almost completely destroyed.
After that one is destroyed the large monitor starts showing the destruction of another big community. When that is destroyed too, it starts showing another one. The smaller monitors are showing the same thing. Only those communities aren’t as big as the ones on the large monitor.
Malicant is now looking at the Young Ones and their reaction to what’s happening on those monitors. “I know this is very scary and frightening. But you must see everything that led up to the Metal Individuals taking over Hastan.”
Suddenly, the monitors that they are still all staring at changes to the outside of a very big community. Malicant turns and faces the Young Ones there. “This is where most of us Hastans live now. I know that it doesn’t look that bad.”
“It is almost back to where it used to be,” continues Malicant. “But it’s not as good as it looks, though. The Metal Individuals are still in control of our lives. We can’t do anything unless they let us do it.”
Malicant starts pacing in front of the Young Ones. But he’s still looking at them as he continues to speak. “That’s the other reason why you are here today.”
“I can’t go into too much detail,” continues Malicant. “But there is a better place for you to live where you are in control of your own lives. And not the Metal Individuals above you.”
“That’s right, I said ‘most of us’ and ‘above you’ too.” Malicant faces his monitors again. Then he clicks his small thick finger with his middle long one on both of his hands. The monitors now show a very big, beautiful community on them.
Malicant is now standing behind the Young Ones. They have moved up to take a better look at his monitors. The large one is showing the beautiful community from above. On the small ones, it shows a closer view of that community. And the Hastans who live there. Most of the Young Ones are looking at the small monitors.
“This is the real reason why I have asked you to come here today,” says Malicant. “Of course, I wanted to tell you about your past. But only because it concerned your future.”
“As I said a little bit ago, I can’t tell you where this community is at or how to get there. But it is the reason why the Metal Individuals are always nearby. And why they keep trying to get in here.”
Malicant starts walking through the Young One toward the large monitor. They part to let him through. But they don’t take their eyes off the monitors they are looking at. “I want to take you to this community. But I can’t do that. What I can show you is where you will be living if you decide to live there.”
The first one to walk into the small monitor to the left of the large one is Malicant. Now he’s standing in a clearing surrounded by trees in that beautiful community. He looks back at the forty young ones. They look like they are in a metal frame. Malicant gestures them to come on through. At first, they are reluctant to do it. But once a few do, all of them join Malicant.
Once all the Young Ones have joined Malicant, he looks at that metal frame. By the time that the Young Ones look too, that frame isn’t there anymore. “Have you just decided that we are going to be living here whether we want to or not?” Rivia asks.
“Of course, I haven’t done that. We are only here so that I can show you what it’s going to be like if you do decide to live here. When we are done looking within this part of the community, the monitor will re-appear so that we can return to my residence.”
A little tired-looking, Malicant and the Young Ones have returned to his residence. Only they have done it from the third small monitor on the right side of the large one. “So, how do you feel about this community? Is it a place that you want to live in?”
“Do we have to make our decision about whether we do or not right now?” Rivia asks. “And if we decided not to what will happen to us?”
“No, of course not. And I’m not going to do anything if you don’t want to do it. All that I ask is that you tell your family what you have seen here. Then you can all decide if you want to live here or not.”
Rivia looks puzzled. “I’m a little bit confused. I thought that you just wanted us here.”
“I’m sorry. After thirty years of doing this, I still have trouble explaining myself.”
“Thirty years? Is that how long you have been doing this?” Rivia asks.
Malicant smiles. “It is.”
“That explains how many Hastans are living down there. How many are there?” Rivia asks.
“About twenty million now,” Malicant answers. “Why do you ask me that?”
Rivia opens her ten fingertips. “Because I am a Metal Individuals.”
Malicant smile gets even bigger. “Yes, I know. I have known it ever since you stepped onto the Fhalinit.”
“Then you know why I’m here?” Rivia asks.
“Yes, I do. You’re here to kill me. Probably the rest of these Young Ones. Then you will go to the only free human community on Hastin and kill them.”
Malicant starts walking toward Rivia. “But that’s not going to happen.”
Now it’s Rivia who is smiling. “Yes, it will. You have already shown me the way in there.”
“No, I haven’t. You think these monitors are the way in. But they aren’t. They are just moving images that I have created to show you Young Ones what it will be like living there with your families.”
“The only way into this community is through about a hundred very thick layers of Fhalinit. And you will be dead long before you get there.”
Malicant clicks his fingers together like he has done before after stopping. The level beneath her opens up and she starts sinking into it. As she does, she starts to shake wildly. And sparks start coming out of her body.
“Being a young one was a nice touch. You, controlling your shaking and sparking earlier helped you a lot too. But once again, you Metal Individuals have failed.”
Word Count = 1,978