Paulinna lost her faith after killing her mother. This is a story of how she got it back.
“Another Faith Day”
Paulinna talked out loud to herself as she finished getting ready. At least it appeared that was what she was doing. No one else spoke. And there wasn’t any indication, like movement, that someone else was there. There was also nothing to say she spoke into anything – like a Voice Box. Of course, she was only half dressed. So if there was something like a Voice Box it must had been invisible.
“Every inhabited planet in the known universe has a religious element on it. Usually it’s a very big part of that planet’s way of life. Sometimes it’s the only way to life. The planet I am on my way too right now is one of those planets. But it’s not just how they live. It’s what that faith has caused to happen for centuries.” Paulinna stopped dressing. And started pacing around those sleeping quarters. Mostly she checked out herself from different angles.
“Like most planets this one has multiple religious’ sectors. They may all believe in, and worship, different individuals. But they really believe in the same one though. That’s why they have been so much fighting and conflict over the years. Why Kaskonina has been at war with each other for over six thousand years.” Paulinna had a blank look on her face as she spoke. She suddenly stopped pacing – and speaking.
“It’s almost that time again.” A male sounding voice could be heard all over those sleeping quarters.
“Stop listening to me.” The lights in that room blinked twice. “I’ll resume this later. I have another Faith day to do.”
Paulinna walked over and pushed a button next to the entrance into/out of that room. “I’m almost ready. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Paulinna returned to her sleeper. She had to sit down to finish getting dressed.
It actually took almost fifteen minutes before Paulinna got there. Paulinna walked through the entrance into that Media Center when the entrance slid open. She walked down a short corridor with Control Central on either side of it. Each section within Control Central was manned by someone. Paulinna walked to a stage in the center of that room.
On that stage there was a desk with a chair behind it. And on both sides leading to that desk at a slight angle were six comfortable looking chairs. In front of that stage hovered face level four metal square boxes. Under those boxes was a Media monitor that had someone sitting in front of it. Paulinna sat in the chair behind that desk.
The reason why she was there started a few minutes later. “Welcome to Faith Day. My daily presentation that focuses on the religious believers of a planet. Today my focus is on Bellian. I have six representatives that represent the six religious factions on that planet. Let’s meet them now.”
“Losing Her Faith”
“In almost every presentation one of my guest ask me why I am doing this. It never gets seen by the universe that watches me every day, but I tell them the same thing. I do this because I am the reason why my mother is dead. I’m doing it to repent for killing her.”
Paulinna suddenly sat up in the semi darkness of her sleeping quarters. “Why do I keep having that dream? I know why. It’s because that’s when I lost my faith. I’ve never been that religious. But my mother was very, very religious. I killed her faith when I killed her.”
“I have been trying to find someone to talk to me about what’s going on here in Gainon. But there’s no one here – except me. And it doesn’t look like there has been anyone here in a very long time.” Paulinna spoke into a small cube floating a couple of inches in front of her mouth. It changed color with every word she said. One more slightly smaller cube hovered about an inch away from each one of her ears.
Just then a tiny red light appeared in front of Paulinna. A few seconds later a message in big letter displayed in front of her. Paulinna mumbled as she read it silently. Her head dropped after she finished mumbling. The message suddenly disappeared as though a lack of a voice triggered it.
“My mother is dying. I’m on the other side of Worrin. And I probably won’t get back home before she dies. The message didn’t say how long she had. But I don’t think it’s very long. Those kind of messages aren’t usually sent until toward the end. So that loved ones could get to them before it’s too late.”
Paulinna always talked to herself while on a News Hunt. It’s the News Hound in her. She did it so her thoughts could be remembered actuality. Paulinna continued talking that way while on her way to a MiniShuttle in a clearing within a wooded area just outside of that Community.
“It’s all my fault that my mother is about to die. I should be the one who is dying. I’m the one who brought back the disease that I gave to my mother – by accident. The worst part of all this is that I didn’t know about it until it was too late. And the downhill spiral happened so quickly. If I had known how soon she was going to die I would never had taken this assignment.”
When Paulinna got to her MiniShuttle she suddenly stopped. “Maybe I can get back to my mother in time after all.” Paulinna was wrong about that. She got back there about an hour too late.
Paulinna looked up toward the sky just after leaving the Medical Center where her mother died. “Why my mother – not me. It should have been me that died.” That’s when Paulinna lost her faith in Her.
“How She Got Her Faith Back?”
On her way back to Langith before her mother died Paulinna found out why she was sent to Gainon. It was to talk with an Insider who saw a murder of an assignment she did months ago. He was hidden in the Community. That island, and Community, was were The Law hide all their Insiders before the Day of Judgement.
For the next nineteen years Paulinna took every assignment that Global News gave her. She only had one rule that was an assignment breaker. It didn’t matter where on Worrin she went as long as the story didn’t involve faith. Paulinna didn’t want anything to do with that.
Paulinna started out as a News Hound. But for the last six years she had been a News Hunter. Which meant she got to go after her own assignments. She also took some from Global News too – like the one she was at now. If she had known what kind of an assignment it was, she wouldn’t have taken it. It had to do with faith.
A group of Peaceful Protestors were walking up and down in front of a large building. Paulinna pushed her way through them to grab hold of a Protestor. “I want to talk to you. My name is Paulinna.”
“We know who you are. And we also know why you are here.” Vaincint jerked himself away from her grasp on his shoulders.
“Really! I’m not even sure why I’m here. What are you protesting against? You are the leader of these protestors – aren’t you?”
“I’m not the leader. There isn’t one. But I am the Speaker for this protest.”
“Then you are the one I want to talk to. What is going on here.”
“We are protesting again the Temples of Casi. You do know who she is don’t you.”
“This is a story about faith?” Paulinna turned and started walking away from Vaincint.
“Where are you going? I thought you wanted to talk.”
“I’m leaving. This story is over. At least it is for me. I don’t do faith and religious stories.”
“This really isn’t about faith. It’s about the stealing of over a billion in Credits. Those Credits were supposed to go to the temples. But instead most of it went to Casi. We are here to protest against what she has done. You do know about what happened to Milicene?”
“No, I don’t. Who is Milicene?”
“She was the ten-year-old female who died when one of Casi’s Temples collapsed during a worshiping session. It’s all because of Casi. Casi’s Temples wouldn’t be falling down if it weren’t for her.”
“I do remember her passing. In fact, I did ask Her to help her.”
Vaincint smiled. “You do have faith after all.”
“No, I don’t. I just felt sorry for the Young One.”
“You’re just not ready to admit that you are. Someday you will.”
“We have arrived. You wanted to be contacted when we got here.” Another male voice could be heard all of the sleeping quarters Paulinna used.
Paulinna sat up in her sleeper. She pushed a button, next to her, on the frame of the sleeper. “Yes I did, thanks for contacting me. I’ll be up in Control in a few minutes. I want to go down to Kaskonina as soon as we establish orbit.”
“There’s a slight problem with that request. We are already there. But we aren’t in orbit.”
“Why not? Where are we?”
“We landed on one of the moons near Kaskonina. The one closest to them at the moment. After what happened to the only one who barely got off that planet alive we thought it best not to takes any chances.”
Paulinna got up still half asleep. And started getting dressed. “Why didn’t we go into orbit incognito mode. We can appear to be any satellite or space station they have.”
“Actually, we can’t do that. We are having problems with incognito mode.”
It took Paulinna almost fifteen minutes until she got to Control. Before the entrance slid shut she spoke. “Didn’t we send some probes here a few months ago? What were the results of those probes?”
“We did. And the results aren’t good.” Vonnan, the second male voice, never took his eyes off the main monitor in front of them.
Paulinna went to stand beside Vonnan. She was also staring at that monitor. “What are we looking at?”
On that monitor a big fight was going on. Explosions and laser bullet fire flashed around the screen. Each explosion resulted in a lot of destruction. Every laser bullet hit their subject. There was almost as many, if not more, damage because of the laser bullets than with the explosions. They just took longer to accomplish.
“That’s just one of eight fights going on at the moment. The other seven are as bad, probably worse, as this one is. All of them are about different religions who think there are the only true religion.”
“Are there any places on Kaskonina that isn’t fighting?” Paulinna looked at Vonnan with the eye in the back of her head. But she kept her front two eyes on the main monitor.
“There are about fifteen other smaller fights going on there. But there are a few places where there aren’t anyone dying. That could change at any time though. The same is true about the smaller fights becoming big ones too.”
“It sounds like I am really needed down there. When can I go down there? The sooner I talk to them the better chance I can hopefully help them.”
“I don’t see why you can’t still do your story. But I don’t think you should go down there. You can do it from here.”
Paulinna thought about that for a minute or two. “You know I don’t like to do that. Under the circumstances I have to agree with you on this one though.”
The Word Count, including this line – and the title, for this story is 1994.