Edelweiss Space Magic (1963)
by Simon Simmons
119 years ago, on Planet M, the unthinkable happened.
When young Edelweiss awoke on the first Tuesday of February, she had no idea that this day would change her deeply, forever.
Number 85, her mother-droid, had just finished making grey berry pancakes and had called her down for breakfast.
“Today. Is. Now.”, 85 announced.
Floating out of her silky pebble bed sheets, Edelweiss slowly made her way down the rocky stairs and into the gravel kitchen, her long, flowing white hair glistening softly in the low gravity like a sea nymph coming home for Christmas.
“85: give me syrup.”, she said.
85’s mouth opened, liquid flew out.
“85: stop syrup.”
85’s mouth closed, the syrup stopped.
Just as Edelweiss was about to take her first bite of 85’s pancakes, the Magenta Siren rang. It rang all over the house, all over the city, all over M.
They had returned.
They were the Magicians: strange beings from another world, from the skies, come to Planet M, no doubt, to enslave its people. That was the general belief, anyway. 6 years prior, a Magician ship crash-landed, its crew was lifeless, dead, but judging from the amount of artillery and technologically advanced death machines they had brought with them, their intentions seemed clear: destroy and colonize.
This time, the M-ians were ready.
On Planet M, different sirens meant different things: Cyan meant “GOOD”, Gold meant “HIDE” and Magenta meant “GATHER”. “Gather” called all the M-ians to rally together at a specific point on the planet surface and expunge a foreign, potentially harmful entity together.
The Magenta Siren had never rang.
The last time the Magicians had landed, they weren’t perceived to be a threat at first so Cyan rang. The M-ians hid on the other side of the globe and waited for further instructions. It was only later, when it was deemed safe to inspect the crashed ship that those instruments of death were found.
Edelweiss was almost there.
She was nervous but ready, whatever danger lay ahead, she would tackle it with all the might of a thousand Suns.
When she arrived at the meeting point, she saw nothing except her people and rows upon rows of father-droids, all aligned around a single vacant point.
Could this have been a false alarm?
Just then, she saw it: the enemy ship.
It was small, shiny and it was landing.
“Activate. Cloaking. Device.”, said the largest and most silver of all the father-droids.
All droids suddenly opened their mouths as transparent beams of transparent light blasted out converging into one single point high up but still far below the Magician ship. The cloaking device was a precautionary measure. As long as there was still a chance that the imminent threat at hand could turn out to be benign, the attack would wait.
Any sign of a weapon of any kind, on the Magicians’ side, would, of course, suggest antagonism and prompt instantaneous retaliation.
“Charge. Eye. Beams.”. the droid leader commanded.
Edelweiss and her M-ian brothers and sisters therefore began charging their eyeballs with pure energy. A simple blow from all these eye beams at the same time would annihilate any foreign object. The cloaking device had made the M-ians and their droids invisible to the Magicians.
Now there was only waiting.
The ship was close, very close, even closer now.
Edelweiss’ eyes were starting to hurt.
What felt like an eternity passed by before the doors of the ship shooed open. The first Magician to exit looked nothing like those before him: bulky, white, round.
It was like an oversized child.
Words were heard, in a strange language, but they were too faint for anyone to hear. No sign of a weapon as yet. They were floating but not like the M-ians, their steps were clumsy and pathetic.
Were these Magicians children?
Underdeveloped versions of their predecessors?
Or had their predecessors, in fact, travelled back through time from their own future?
After all, the original ship had looked much more advanced than this one which, come to think of it, certainly had a much more primitive, fragile structure to it.
The Magicians were holding something, it looked sharp.
The head droid raised his arm, readying us to release our beams should his arm come down in a single clunk.
But something seemed out of place.
These Magicians could barely walk, how could they possibly harm us with a weapon this visibly flimsy and inferior?
The item in question was soon planted onto the surface: it was a small pole with some sort of fabric attached to it.
Was it a bomb, a peace offering or some sort of random decoration?
This kind of odd behaviour continued until they finally picked up some rocks, returned to their ship and eventually disappeared into the skies near-silently.
The M-ians were signalled to stop charging their eye beams. Edelweiss closed her eyes and the intense pain she was feeling began to subside. When she opened them again, everyone had gathered around and over the object left by the Magicians.
It appeared to display stars.
Stripes and stars.
Whatever this meant, one thing was sure: they came twice and they would come again.
And when they do: we’ll be ready for them.
More from Simon Simmons soon.
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