Feb 5
Minotaur, or new kind of sentience

I wake up just long enough to see the wall that had the silent conversant silhouettes yesterday dissipate into black and white bands like unraveled ribbon and one of the giants standing beckoning for me to follow. I forget all about yesterday’s events, but then again the knot in my heart didn’t loosen all night long. I get up, sucking all of the water from my clothes and dumping it out at one end of the cell. I step through the open wall and follow closely behind the giant. I hear shuffling behind me. Amanda must just be waking as well. 
    “I hope they don't kill you!" Amanda halfscreams.
    It's just a hope, anyway. 
    I don’t know how to act. I haven’t seen the inside of the ship nor know how many giants they are. I walk carefully knowing full well I can’t fight my way out of this. He leads me out into the hall and then down the right hallway. 
    Just like the cell wall, the surfaces are all made up of black and white strands like some molecular tapestry. It is a stark contrast to my escort’s brightly colored uniform. It’s a jumpsuit made of colored patches that are only vaguely symmetrical. 
    “T’I’m toe see va cattun,” he grumbles.
    His voice, low and steady, catches me off guard. I try not to slow my pace just because he spoke.
    “You speak English?!” I ask.
    “Kite! Yo wannu d’I bofol meetig va cattun?”
    He turns his head towards me while maintaining his fluid steps and smiles at me, audaciously friendly.
    “Va cattun is vaily n’ice. We are vaily solly fol yo people,” he sniffles.
    He begins to cry uncontrollably as he leads me down the two tone hallways and anterooms. It was awkward enough him speaking English and all . . . what’s with the crying? Is this docile captive lamentation? Is this supposed to make me more comfortable being captured by giants and carried to the outreaches of space?
    He stops in front of a colorful doorlock with a sheen like oil on water, slowly rippling with every color of the rainbow, and waves me in. He covers his face in his other arm because he’s still crying when the door unlocks.
    I enter carefully but erect, ready to die in a moment's notice. I see only that breathing, circular wall composed in elongated black and white forms until I see out of the corner of my eye the furniture sitting to my right in the suprematist tube. I turn to face another giant, standing inquisitive, having just sat up from his bowlike chair. He's a fair man with wavy light brown hair asymmetrically trimmed. His face is in a loose frown and his eyes are a bright cool purple. He fills a thick polyester jacket in safety orange and what looks like light brown ski pants in the same material. 
    As I'm about to spit accusations at his presumptuous frown, my head fills with voices. So many voices fill my brain that it is utter nonsense. I stop and place a hand on my forehead. One voice is distinct from all the others, but only like a thin graffito placed quickly over a wall dripping with many tags. I kneel on the ground so that I don't fall, my senses are being taken over. 
    In an act of desperation I wave gravitons in front of me, hoping that it may remove the voices. Miraculously the conversations refract like a hand refracts water falling over a cliff. I compound my efforts, finding that the voices do not come from the giant standing before me, but from invisible tunnels surrounding me, precisely the area where I can fine tune my diversion of this bedlam. Eventually that voice, that feeling which superseded the rest, hits like a ton of bricks. 
    “Do you pledge allegiance to the Great Reign, Jess?"
    It's uncanny what these aliens know: English, my name. This was calculated murder: take the boy and kill everyone. Then why Amanda? Why learn English?
    “Great Reign?" I repeat aloud, "No!"
    The giant turns his ear as if he has to weigh my words carefully. He hardly looks stunned by my outburst, but my escort was hard to read too. This isn't going to go anywhere; I'm being interrogated by a psychopath.
    “Will you help me then?" 
    I purposefully shake my head in disbelief. Help?
    “Why don't you take a seat," the voice pours in like a peaceful stream. 
    His gargantuan hand motions me to the highbacked chair before him. I realize I am still kneeling so I get up and take mincing steps towards the chair. The seat is smooth and warm, but the back looms over me like the blade of a guillotine. 
    “Jess . . . ” 
    “What do you want from me?! If I am some specimen, I beg you kill me now," I hide my head in my hands. 
    “I need you to trust me, Jess," like a smothering blanket, or a comforting branch on the shoulder. 
    I pull my hands from my face and yell, as red in the face as one can be. I rise from the guillotinelike chair and stand erect.
    “May the whole universe smite you! I — I — I would do it for them you maniacal demon!”
    He contorts his face like he’s comically sad and then his brow furrows.
    “We are alone. I have ordered my guard to not interfere with this meeting, no matter what. You could kill me right now; I know you can, and no one would stop you. We both know I deserve it for what I’ve done. Kill me,” he concedes.
    I daren’t look him in the eyes, but I want to hurt him so badly. I succumb to my anger. My thoughts cease in a tumult of emotion and hot blood. I levitate off of the ground without realizing, so that I am level with him. I strike with all the force of my being, punching him in the face. My fist is dwarfed by his stout cheek even as I thrust it in heavily. I feel my knuckles crack but I feel no pain. They remain intact — the gravitons absorb all the impact. I kick him in the stomach like I trained with dad, throwing him back onto his behind. I drift back to the floor as the monolith passively places his arms on his knees. Now he’s my height — I glance into his guileless purple eyes. Without a sour expression he spits the red blood pooling in his mouth onto the floor. I want to scream, but the man valve in my throat quells it before it escapes. None the less I stand there mouth agape and shaking. My vision blurs and sways, but then it returns back into clear focus on him, a giant come from another planet trying to convince me of what?
    “You destroyed it all, and now you want my trust? How inhuman do you think I am?” I demand.
    He tosses glowing grey matter from his hand, applying it onto the floor. The globules of matter and blood attract together like magnets. Then they disappear. The blood negates along with the matter, leaving the floor intact. Then, still seated on the ground, he turns up towards to me delicately, somber. 
    “The correct term is destruct, not destroy. To destroy has no end purpose, no precise structure to attack. To destroy is mindless. Some would even call it deconstruct what we do, the way we surgically remove the pieces with antimatter. But that would mean the pieces are worth removing, full of blight, cancerous, unwanted, or at least useless. Even the blood I just destructed has a specific medicinal purpose outside my body and is therefore not entirely useless. What I am trying to say is: we destructed your home, what are you going to do about it?” the officer asks. 
    “Why me?” I finally cry, sitting back down.
    I initially want it to come out like a stab at dad . . . but with him not here and everything . . . it comes out quietly, with all the gravity I can muster. The man opens his eyes wide and puts his hand on his head as if it helps him think. He’s unpracticed in the expression so it comes off as if he’s a little crazy. Yet I am intrigued by it because he is strangely sincere.
    “That is a hard question, Jess, for both you and for me. Try to believe what I’m about to say, Jess. You were different from all the others on that planet. We have sensitive sensors for detecting any anomalies. We check to see if anything, or in your case anyone, could thwart the use of our tools. Only hidden black holes, large quantities of gamma radiation, or ripples in time can create enough disturbance to be picked up by our sensors. When something so specific as a boy came up, I vied for your capture. You, I argued, were a necessary object of research, an anomaly we could take home and analyze. That’s what we’re doing now — we would have continued destructing if I had not stressed that you are essential to the advancement of antimatter technology. Never mind that another, larger fleet is headed for the rest of your colonies, only a day or two behind us . . . I don’t know if it is luck or providence, but you are on this ship because you can disrupt space time continuum,” he responds.
    I can't take anyone at face value these days. Not even myself, it seems. 
    “Who are you?" I ask.
    “I am Captain," pushes in, "and I need your help."
    “What makes you think I can help you, if I wanted to?"
    “Our research says as much. I had hoped . . . but I see it was a silly hope after all," his voice feels deflated.
    “Spit it out. What did you hope?" I'm intrigued now. 
    “We are a faltering civilization, a lost generation. Most have become consumed with the thought of destruct. It has become our galactic quest. I can see the end of everyone I know and yet they are already mentally dead. They seek artificial catastrophes, diseases and wars. These thoughts are not natural, surely you see," he implores. 
    “Go on," I insist.
    He gets back into his minimalist chair. 
    “I have a friend, just one. I worry about even him at times, but he has been a good friend all these years. He commands the ships in this fleet. Not that we have much influence as the leading officers in this armada. This movement, this ideology knows no true leaders, only peons. I wish I knew exactly who plans all of this. That is why I was glad to find you. That is why I had to leverage the little power I have in my possession to retrieve you from annihilation . . .
    “I know I deserve no thanks for that. And I know I can never be forgiven for my involvement with your planet’s destruction . . . consider this a damned man's last attempt at salvation."