There exists in the vast reaches of the enormity of space a certain purple hued galaxy, named Arextra by its inhabitants, that takes its turn in the grand operatic stage of the unknown universe. Its proportions are vast and far overreach the typical measured distances of such spheres, stars, planets and orbits that generally comprise such an astronomical network. We watch it from a distance as it hovers silently in its designated place. But as our eyes and minds become accustomed to the deep, passionate intricacies thereof we seem to hear a slight hum emanating from within the complex web.
Faster than light our minds perceive its rotations, circumferences, and the nature of each working orb within. And deep within its inner workings, a solar system presents itself to view which center around a small and blue hot star. The star, Carinta by name, commands hundreds of tiny planets among which we find Darita, the smallest of all, leisurely coursing through the furthest possible path from its gravitational superior. It seems to say to the sun that gives it life “We are not concerned about you. We can do without your will, your way, your pull and your laws. We walk after our own manner.” And here it spins contentedly, aristocratically certain that its affairs prove more important than all those massive forces of nature that keep it from drifting into a cold and lifeless doom.
Darita boasts three moons. She considers this wealth her own treasure trove of glory; they are the jewels in her crown of arrogance. The inhabitants of this planet have termed them, from greatest to least, Orinto, Pavlati, and Jershack. Orinto and Pavlati undoubtedly know their places, for they circle the planet generally arm in arm, walking the same road together like two sovereigns foremost in a glittering parade of stars. Jershack, it is feared, proves rather the fairy step child of the lunar family and runs against the current, small, quick and showing himself when least expected.
Beneath this dance of sun and its bluish cast on the great and lesser moons we find indeed Darita herself. Dainty and self absorbed, this speck of life and water has proven over the years of her creation and existence rather a creature of internal struggle. Perhaps it is her hidden rivalry; she is indeed the smallest of her interplanetary siblings. Perhaps it is due to her distance from the sun. Certainly her pride might be injured by not having received an invitation for a closer relationship, though knowing her character she might have thrown such an invitation away, if indeed the sun ever noticed her sufficiently to send one, in hopes of a personal visit from the lord of her orbit. Whatever the case it is certain she has had a troubled inward existence, for her terrain is so far blemished by volcanic explosions and internal collapse that instead of round she appears at first glance rather sharp with jagged edges, almost like a well worn Rubik’s cube floating haughtily in space.
But here we leave our astronomical study to itself; let the social workings among them transpire as they may in our absences. We descend lightly through Darita’s colorful atmosphere toward its surface of water and rock. Let us, as we glide through the humid air, glance over her cities as we pass overhead. Her technology is vast and powerful. They have even at this point discovered that not all light must come from their own blue sun and moons. Indeed, they have found that light can come of their own making, through their own invention and controlled by their hands. Certainly they know a great deal. Men and women who look remarkably like us stroll proudly through the paved and decorated streets. Indeed, one might almost think to view them that they be our brethren and sisters rather than the obscure and strange aliens we assuredly know they are. They have machines for nearly everything – cloth making, food preparation, instruments to facilitate writing, communication and the like. Indeed, we cannot argue that this society is one of those intelligent and breathtaking kinds that rises above the bare rudimentary aims of survival.
Our descent brings us not to the cities but to a riverside. The water that courses through its rivulets appears astonishingly clear and blue. We must remember of course that everything in this world meets the eye with a slight hint of blue. But that aside, the water is refreshing enough. Let us tarry a moment on the river’s edge and drink in its sweet delight while we recover from that long and rather exhausting flight.
A young lady strolls through the open air and into the fadenta forest on our left. Climbing into the giant blossom of the gentle and ancient fadenta plant she pulls something out of the long skirt of her dress. It is not a miracle of newfound Daritan technology but rather something that if we were to see in our own planet we might term a notebook save that the cover is made from the bark of some orange tree or other and is secured together with tiny white and orange vines braided into a secure binding. She pulls out her utensil for writing – a long pink shell of some long deceased animal that carries a kind of inky residue – and is soon deep in literary thought.
Shall we peek over her shoulder? Impolite it may be, but necessity drives us to it. Perhaps we might term her impolite herself for the custom of this place is to voice all of one’s thoughts aloud that everyone might see and hear and judge. So engrossed in her own thoughts as she is, it would prove only too easy to glance at the writing. Very well then, let us read the text she has before her.
The first day of the 649th year of the star.
Ah! She writes in the old method of counting. Indeed, we have encountered quite the country bumpkin. You see, there exists in this quaint little planet some notion of a year of the star. The deranged and uneducated believe that once, long ago, 649 years by their time and about 1949 by ours that a star was seen in the midst of the sky. The legend tells that this star was the sign of some redemption that was to save people from their vices. Believers in this tale claim that 11 years after this year of the star by their time and 33 years by ours, the sky blackened, the planet went mad and most of the distortion of its face is due to the crashing storms, earthquakes and the like. Goodness, what a story! But people will believe as they wish. What else has this lovely young woman to say?
I tried to talk to Mavenka again. No use. I am coming to the conclusion that no one will hear me.
Well, if she shouted out her emotions and demanded attention like any well bred Daritan female, this might not prove so difficult. But back to the text.
It has been nearly a year since the impressions stopped. It was something I couldn’t prove to Mavenka or to Naribok either. They didn’t understand. They didn’t understand because they couldn’t see it. But it was real. I know it. I can’t prove it or measure it, but I know it.
Here she runs her slender fingers through the rich auburn hair and leans her head thoughtfully on her palm. The velvety petals of the fadenta bloom provide rather a comfortable seat and she leans back with a sigh. Gazing pensively at the cream colored petals above her she moves her full and blushing lips softly as though attempting to place into words what to write next.
I am learning to accept the fact that I can do nothing but pray. I pray God will remember those in so much anguish. And God give me peace since I can do nothing else about the situation. The memories of these terrible impressions wrench my heart whenever I think of them. I know I have written a thousand times over but I cannot help but relive the tenor of these ideas. Night after sacred night, when the Jershack wandered homelessly through the sky I knew and could almost hear the anguish and weeping as though millions of people were being daily tortured. Men, women, and innocent newborn babes wept under a power so rife with evil and hatred that none could immediately deliver. Oh God, I know this must be true. It was too real. I felt that blood had been shed, innocent blood under a banner that has haunted my dreams and troubled my waking thoughts. It is a banner of red with a white circle in its center. And in that white circle is the image of some kind of black four legged abomination. And there was a man. A man of vile bloodlust who embodied the power of evil itself and in whose veins coursed hatred almost instead of humanity sustaining life.
Behold how she wipes away the tears. What impressions are these? I think almost to believe the sincerity of this woman. Her hazel eyes are moist and reddened with soul rending sorrow. But here on Darita there has been no such slaughter of millions of innocent victims. It must be mere folly or vain imaginings of the brain.
And who comes here, scorn in his eyes and a sneer on his face? It is a handsome face, to be sure. This must be a gem of the greater Darita social order. Tall, broad shouldered and carrying a striking look of intelligence of the highest academic level. But kindness I see not in his manner.
“Crying about nothing again, are we?” he scoffs.
She looks at him silently.
“Look, all of this is pointless. No one has died. Look around you. What possible proof could you have? What logic and reason could you have for sitting here crying like a mindless lunatic? Come now.” He nearly spits out the two final words.
Tear streaked and pale but noble as an angel, our lady quietly replies “I just know. It is something from deep within and I just know. And I cannot deny it. I don’t know where. Somewhere far away, further than this world perhaps. I don’t expect you to believe me. But just leave me alone.”
Leaning against the edge of the bloom her antagonist continues, “So now you’re saying that there might be life somewhere outside Darita. Okay, well I am not saying there isn’t. Scientists aren’t saying that there isn’t. But you aren’t a scientist. You are a dreamer just like the rest of your ‘year of the star’ dreaming set. Dream all you want to, Feniru, but do us all a favor and keep your mouth shut. It’s embarrassing to an intelligent family to have people know that there is a lunatic who has wild dreams among us. For your own sake, so people don’t think you’re crazy, just don’t talk.” And off he strides.
Perhaps the time has come for us to leave as well. This conversation and this woman have become eerie. Back we sail to our own planetary home, leaving behind the discomfort of the Mavenkas of the world of Darita and giving one last salute to the mighty blue Carinta. Solemnly we pass out of far reaches and back into the known universe, sailing toward our own yellow sun and our water and rock planet. Let us glide into New York, where aurora has only just begun to shed its majestic light over the sleepy inhabitants. Only the paperboys are up at this hour. Let us see what we have missed in our travels and grant them a coin in return.
The front page of this May 1949 issue proclaims that the Soviet Union has finally lifted the Blockade of Berlin. Come and let us stroll through Central Park. Can it be? Perhaps this Daritan lunatic and the legendary year of the star are the answers we need in this maddening world. Perhaps there is more than what meets the eye. Perhaps the innocent prayers of this all seeing woman and so many just like her who believe in what we cannot prove are what actually sustain us. But here is the world of business open again and with it the trends, fashions, and profits. It is time to return to real life and the facts that really matter.