The Monarchs: Carnivores! Space years 2420 - 2451 (The Monarchs Part 3)
by The Egg Party
Space Year 2420
After the failure they just kept on. What more was there to do? The planet of Eironeia was not far past the galactic border to the Federation. A relatively close planet. It was puzzling to Emma and a question that came to her a few times - why would such a close planet not have been inhabited prior to that point? She doubted whether the Earth based immigration organisation was as good as her superiors wanted her to believe. Did she even have superiors now? She certainly did not see monkey boy as anything close to a boss.
It was probably not empty. Maybe it was used as a start off point, a planet to shoot other crafts further into the universe. The chance of humanity already being there was high.
She prepared. The first task after cleaning themselves off, due to that damn fool and his fire, was to boot up the robots to mess about with the routine maintenance jobs. She sure as hell wasn't vacuuming shit. The list of things going wrong and things which needed to be fixed started to piling up. Checks were being put in place with the more capable robots.
If there were existing inhabitants at their destination then there were a range of possible outcomes that had to be contemplated by her and tested against the spectrum of her moods. Some provoked a danger response. Her fur prickled. Before they slipped into stasis for the last leg, Emma remained awake for a while longer. She went over and looked at Kong now completely inanimate. On closer inspection he appeared more dead than asleep. She went about setting the various robots to their tasks once the craft had landed:
She focused the majority of the robots to the 3rd and 4th task upon disembarkation. The situation was unpredictable. If there were a welcome party then the discovery of the loss of the crew might cause outrage. Also if there was to be inevitable guests to ship then this captain was going to make her girl look good. Whether Patriots, Diplomats, or Imegres, it didn’t matter. The population could very easily be angry and want justice for the loss of a whole generation of Monarchs. It could cause suspicion and anger. She hoped they were not other Monarchs. Please please.
After all what were the odds that of all the Monarchs on the ship that died just the infertile one and the hopeless other survived? It would just take one person to point out that perhaps the two were jealous of their kin’s ability to propagate the human species. Blame could be put on Astro but then they would have to justify taking him with them and not destroying him immediately after he killed the others. Vengeance is a universal reaction.
She set the shuttle on a course for Eironea, finished the last of her tasks, then curled into a ball in the her stasis pod. It was a dream filled journey. Her tail did not relax, remaining tense next to her form.
It would be an insignificant time for them travelling. To them it was probably an instant. But no one has ever truly known the scope of sleep. All that was left to see or remember were the edges of memories and dreams. How much time passed was important scientifically but pretty boring.
Space Year 2451
Kong and Emma woke whilst the ship was orbiting the planet. Shit. On reaching the brig the various alarms indicated that there was organic life on the planet. People.
Emma tapped the screen and uttered, 'Fuck, people are the worst'.
The surface told them a strange story of a scattered human civilisation. Many true cities existed on the planet. The other small settlements and roving bands of humans were varying levels of savage. Kong noticed the that the place looked bizarrely dystopian. How the fuck do you look like a dystopia on a brand new world?
Some dunce in the past of this shit hole of civilisation had messed progress right up.
Kong decided on naming the town they were to visit Decay. Peering at the screen of the terrain below, there was a distinct ring of a structure around the city. Perhaps a wall of some kind surrounding Decay. It was the biggest of all the cities on the main continent of the planet so it was the obvious choice for first contact.
'I think we should land near the ring then send all the sentry drones out to assess what the fuck is going on with this ass backward planet'
Kong agreed. He reflected the anxiety Emma had loaded into the sentence back at her.
The place looked ancient before it's time. Bits and pieces of the place looked normal. Normal from the perspective of a history book. It was reminiscent of life in the Second Golden Age, era of humanity on Earth around the turn of the second millennium. If he were to guess, much of the architecture and technology had regressed to some place resembling an Earth of early AD 2000. With a whole extra serve of crazy.
Kong thought of the old tale of the Imegres. Folklore dictated that the Monarch butterflies traveled back to Mexico to represent the returning spirits of the deceased. So where did this logic apply in this new future case? They were ghosts. Splintering off into the abyss, moving around the universe after Earth had died.
Floating around Eironea in the death soaked craft the metaphor seemed all the more pertinent. Without proper breeding capacities the planet would not have bloomed into a new haven of life with them. It would've become a desolate place. A place inhabited by two living ghosts and a multitude of robotic ghouls. What category Astro fell into was yet to be determined. There was still much mystery as to this new character. Now that there were humans already detected on the planet it was a whole new game.
The ship hovered and then put it's landing gear on the solid ground. First thing Kong saw as he stepped onto the planet was pretty-fucking-cool. There was a statue made of a preserved human skeleton. It was obvious that the skeleton was not a warning but a memorial. Glory flowed from the pose. Later he would find out these dispersed statues were the heroes of the town he liked to call Decay. They were the strongest ones of the population, who made it past the outer ring of mediocrity. Limping and crawling for miles. After their teeth were all gone. Kong pointed out the absence of teeth in the statue at the time but Emma didn't care.
One boney arm of the warrior was upraised, supported by a thin spear, the other propped into position holding a gun. The weapon wasn’t very impressive. Old 21st century type hardware. Used metal slugs for rounds. Kong cradled his gun, ole' Whomp Rat, and he delighted in it's electrical capabilities. He did not think he could ever get used to putting hunks of metal in the gun instead of plugging it safely next to his night stand. It was lovely. He rarely lost the gun these days now that he had to put it next to where he slept. He remembered,
'In the future everyone must carry a weapon'
A quote from Earth which made it to Mars. It originated from the leader of the Neo-Luddites of Djstopia, Gilligan Dreybread. Specifically it originated during opposition to the Automated Human Labour Movement in the late 21st century. It started as a radical cry: only you can protect yourself from the dangers of technology! It slowly became common law on many of the planets and colonies of the Federation.
On Kong's other hip he held a ridiculous looking pot plant. It contained one of the various cannabis plants from his locker. The tiny plant sat in a water jug he had nicked from the kitchen with ceramic pots being somewhat of a rarity in space. Eventually on this new planet they could get a few of the robots to sort out that minor detail. Wrapped around the rim of the jug was a strip of cloth from one of the dead passengers spare clothing. He had stuck some of his tail hair along the cloth. His mother always told him if you go somewhere new, bring a present, make it look good, and insure it has a personal touch.
They walked on. Kong had instructed Astro to stay on the ship. He was a menace at the best of times. Kong was slowly developing a fondness for the strange robot. Before they left the border he was worried about a lonely future. The bright lights of the big new planet were dulled by the fact that Kong was heading to another planet where the only possible sexual deviancy was focused on whether he should use a foot or a hand. A few extra sets of robot ears which he could complain to were welcomed. He sold the idea by using his a mechanical engineering play. Dr. Tennyman had done something quite unique to the operating system of the robot and it was worth investigating.
So it was Emma and him walking to the main town with the other robots scouting in the distance. They relished the chance to stretch their legs having missed terrestrial gravity. Emma regularly checked her uplink with the advance party but there was a strange level of electromagnetic static on the planet making everything difficult.
The two suns on the planet were now in full view. Emma watched as Kong regularly tried to wipe his sweaty brow by bumping his hand into the glass of his face shield. He would remember and swear. It was good to watch. Eventually they decided to take their helmets off. Information had been piped to their communication sets. The surface tests reported by this dweeb of a robot finally revealed that current planetary inhabitants had done extensive geo-forming to the planet. To a point where there was a breathable atmosphere. Enjoy your air humans, the robot told them. They agreed that there was a need to change the sound of the voice.
So annoying. Kong almost punched his own helmet ear piece in anger.
'Squash them nerds monkey boy', Emma instructed. Not wanting her mid walk entertainment to finish.
In the distance the white wall came into view. One of the two entrances to the ring was their destination. Kong found himself surprised again. Turned out the walls were made of pure human skeleton. Piled up in terrifying mounds. Kong picked up a skull and brought it to Emma.
'Strange thing this. No teeth in the skull. What the fuck?'
'Yeah that is particularly odd' and as she responded Kong noticed her hair slowly raising all over her head. He reached out and a small spark of static electricity shot to his finger. He giggled. She swatted his hand down.
'There are smells of living creatures amoungst this death. Everywhere. Let's keep going to find the source of it. Maybe we will find one of those damn lost robots.
Near the entrance to the wall was a large lake. It was shallow and Kong decided to test the waterproofing on his boots. Walking out into the water was pleasant. There were no equivalent lakes on Mars. His boots sunk into the soft sandy mud and he retreated to the shore. The bottom of the lake was a covered small stones but they did not provide enough traction to keep walking. He glanced at Emma who was busy messing about with her Uplink. With her eyes diverted he turned on the automated suit control. Now in just with his underwear(the current pair were pungent with space funk and were looking forward to a swim/wash), he took off his uplink and gun off and went for the first swim of his life.
He eventually found a sweet spot in far in the centre of the lake where he could try out a technique he had read about, floating. At the distance land Emma looked red with anger, making obscene gestures in his direction. He submerged to his ears and lit the joint in his mouth. Perfect. Paddling the arms around him, he felt a bliss previously unknown to him.
His arm brushed the bottom of the lake and he grabbed a handful of the small stones. He stood in the water and observed his collection: Four teeth of various types. A canine. A molar. A few incisors. Two of the teeth had been left in the water for so long they had gained a quartz type look. He groaned a phlegmy groan.
He was part monkey and he decided he wanted follow his nature quite badly at that point. Get the fuck as far away from this damn water as possible. His primal self wanted to be up a tree, eating a banana, and shaking in fright. His surrounding foliage would shudder with him in sympathetic fallacy. When he got out of water he realised he did not have Emma's attention. He got dressed and before he could tell her about the collection teeth she hissed,
'Prepare yourself fool'.
Both held their guns as a vehicle approached. There were two indistinct figures in the driver and passenger seats of the hulk. Upon the roof were two spikes. Two of their sentry robots were skewered and were now completely useless. The vehicle stopped. A man appeared from the driver's side. The tall figure emerged from the door and moved towards them. He was an older man and he was in no hurry. Thick white moustache. White hair slicked back. Had a spacesuit on but no helmet. The suit was dated. Emma's breathe receded back into her lungs instantly. The insignia was that of the first Monarch shuttle crew. The true members split up during Protocol 34. Holy shit.
'Welcome Monarchs. Praise be to the sacrifice you have given to God. Thought I would come meet you personally. My name is Reverend Jessie Michel Foucault and I cordially invite you to eat. Come and share the flesh of the land and the flesh of the lord. Let us welcome you to the glory that is Eironeia'.
Kong's eyes unfocused as he looked past the guy to the bonnet of the vehicle. Splashed across was a strange red, blue and white flag. If he studied history for the hundred years instead of the workings of a space shuttle, Kong would have been aware of the Confederate Flag. Unbeknownst to them the space ship had been flying south.
Kong let a nervous fart out in his spacesuit.