Chapter Thirty-Six: Time
Time was a delirium. It had no beginning, no end, and no substance. While her body lay in a timeless state of dormancy, her mind was vividly active. The visions had returned again, but it was different this time. Time. She stood in front of an old door. A door that she’d never seen before, but whose location was very familiar to her. It wasn’t in a room, or a building. It was the arboretum at Cambridge: her favorite place on Earth.
But this wasn’t Earth.
The door stood unconnected, alone, inviting. Basked in golden sunlight, filtering through those magnificent trees, it beckoned to her. Nadya stood at its threshold, wanting to enter, but there was no doorknob. No way to open it. She pushed with her hands, but it held fast. Then she noticed something in her hand: the family medallion. But how did it get there? It was securely packed with her few personal effects in her cabin on the starship. And yet, here it was.
Reaching out, Nadya touched the medallion to its weathered surface. The door creaked open. Beyond its rough-hewn frame stood the Universe. She stepped through.
It had never been like this before.
Infinity was now open to her. Everything was there—the past, the present, and the future. She could go where she wanted. When she wanted. Time held no barriers. The only barrier was the limit of her will. Somehow she understood her Path and her will were irreversibly connected.
Her first inclination was to go back to Earth. She wanted to see her children, wanted to know they were safe. These were children she would never meet, but the maternal instinct was strong—so very strong.
Her only boundary was fear. Did she really want to see everything, or was it better to leave some knowledge alone? She understood that seeing—knowing everything would bring pain. But still, she had to see her children. She knew that they weren’t even borne yet, not in her time, but she wanted to see them as they grew. What would they be like? How would she feel about never being able to hold them, nurture them, or raise them?
She decided it would be best if she were to see them as when they were ten years old. Seeing them, as vulnerable infants would create a longing she knew she wasn’t prepared for. A small room appeared. It was poorly lit, and the walls were made of cold stone. Then it hit her—they were underground, and would spend the rest of their lives knowing nothing but this subterranean existence. She moved slowly towards them, a boy, and a girl. They were studying by the light of a small bulb-hanging overhead. And they were pale, so ghostly pale. Soon her sister came into the room and gently sat between them. She went over their studies with them, made motherly corrections, and showed them the right way. They listened to her. She was just as pale, and when they spoke to her they called her mama. It was all Nadya could take. She left the mines, and fled back out into space. She had no body, no substance, but somehow was crying.
She knew exactly what had driven them underground, and wanted—needed to see for herself. What she saw was more devastating than any vision. She was, in no way, prepared for what she saw.
The stark reality of what had befallen Earth crushed her very soul. Everywhere mushroom clouds blossomed, as powerful beams of destruction blasted down from orbiting weapons systems. The atmosphere turned white-hot engulfing the face of the planet. Nothing on the surface escaped the burning. Mankind had destroyed itself. No, that wasn’t entirely true—her family had influenced that destruction.
Again she wept.
Nadya was physically safe, but her soul would forever be imprisoned by the guilt of complicity. It was the raging fires that disturbed her most, because she’d seen them coming for years. The planet wide inferno that would last months, and those small pockets of humanity, those who’d escaped the surface, would take hundreds of years to re-emerge. Her children would never see the light of day. Billions of other children had turned to ash, and she’d done nothing.
Knowledge was the curse of her birthright.
She’d been given glimpses before, but never fully understood the absolute totality of it. Now she did. Did Mother Olga understand the violence she unleashed? Was this what the Matriarch had worked so hard to achieve—wiping the slate clean—a new planet—a new human race? Nadya was sickened by the thought of it. This wasn’t cleansing. This was speciocide on a planetary scale.
It was evil incarnate.
As the images of what had consumed her home world broke her spirit, she wanted—needed to end the pain. But there was no leaving this state of consciousness. She tried to find the door again, and close it behind her, but it was nowhere to be found. She had to get away.
She fled the horror.
Only one Path could counter the fire. Water. It took her a moment of reflection to understand where, and when all that water was. Like before, it hit her all at once. It was their destination—their new planet—their new home.
She found herself floating over a watery world. An ocean covered everything, but that couldn’t be. There had to be land, or this whole argosy would be for nothing, and now, there was no home to return to. She pictured land, and was instantly hovering over a large bay, at the end of a giant peninsula. It looked like paradise.
Hope now filtered the despair that had consumed her earlier.
This was a continent sitting directly at the northern end of the planet. Unlike the oceans this landmass was completely covered by cloud cover. These clouds veiled every square meter of land. She thought it strange, but gave it little more thought.
After following the peninsula for thousands of kilometers, she reached the mainland. It was a wild place, carpeted by beautiful forests, rings of gigantic mountains ranges topped with snow encrusted crystal peaks. Sitting directly at the top of the planet was the largest mountain of all. A parabolic cone that towered above all the others. On closer inspection she saw that some sort of flying reptile covered the entire mountain. Like the clouds over the landmass, these dragon creatures completely covered the mountain. It was if they were protecting it.
She made a closer inspection of the rest of the land was inhabited as well. Millions of animals lived on this continent. Reptiles. Then it hit her: these were like the dinosaurs that had populated the Earth for millions of years, long before the destructive nature of man arrived.
Mankind was about to arrive again.
But this time it would be different. This time man would build and assimilate into the natural order of this planet. She would make sure of that. This was the reason Mother Olga had seen to it that she had been selected. The salvation of mankind was now in her hands, and the hands of her descendents. The full realization of just what her role was began to seep into her. She was to be the catalyst that her descendants would benefit from. It could never be atonement for Earth, but it was a second chance.
Nadya decided it was time she explored the rest of this new planet. She thought of more landmasses, and found a second continent at the opposite polar region. It was completely different from the northern one. This landmass was smaller, and even though it was heavily forested it had no mountains, except for one. A conical mountain that was identical to the one she found at the exact opposite end of the planet, and it was protected by the same type of flying creatures that the northern one had.
Reptiles lived here as well, but these were much different. These reptiles were bipedal, and lived in huge cities with populations of hundreds of millions. It was obvious that they were intelligent. It suddenly dawned on her that had just discovered the first sentient being that humans had ever encountered before. But something was not quite right with this species.
She spent days wandering among their cities, and what she learned made her believe that humans and these reptilians could never be compatible. These creatures were overtly violent, and what repulsed her even more is that they were inherently cannibalistic. They bred at an alarming rate, but kept their population controlled by eating not only their elderly, but also most of their young.
She knew that any contact between this species, and humanity would be confrontational. She went back to the northern continent and after a careful search she found that none of these intelligent reptiles lived there. This is where the human colony must be established.
An ocean would separate the two intelligent species on the planet.
Carefully looking over the big bay she decided that this was the best place for establishing the colony when the Magellan II finally arrived.
But would the southern reptilians eventually find them?
What she saw sent a chill down her celestial spine; war after war between the two species. Each one an invasion attempt by the reptiles trying to destroy the humans. She went forward in time and saw that two human colonies would eventually be established. There would be one at the bay, and one high up in the northern most mountains. The mountain colony would be built into the giant crystal cliffs, and be an almost impregnable fortress city. She was shocked to see that this northern colony could fly. But these weren’t aircraft they were flying. Somehow, they had captured, and tamed the dragons that were protecting the northern conical mountain.
The northern colony had become an army of dragon riders.
The more she explored the future of this planet the more she realized how much influence she would have on its development. The knowledge gained by these visions would prompt her to write a series of books.
Nadya now fully realized what she had been sent here to do: instructing the future generations of what was going to transpire. Not only that, but it became apparent that it would specifically be her descendents that these books would be written for.
The responsibility of this task almost overwhelmed her, and she wondered if she was up to it. How could her written words influence a civilization generations after her death? There was only one answer—she would have to become a leader. The type of leader those subsequent generations would follow long after she was gone. But again the questioned begged—how? She struggled with this dilemma for some time before she decided to will herself ahead and try and find the end game. The final point where her influence would run it course. What she found was a thousand year gap between her arrival, and some sort of final conflict with the reptiles from the south.
It was so shocking that at first she wasn’t sure if this could possibly be. She saw a man, a man of her direct bloodline from Earth.
Her family had survived.
He would be from Koryak, and would be the most powerful seventh generation male her family would ever produce. He was her direct descendant. How did Mother Olga know this?
Somehow he’d arrive and lead the humans in the final battle that would decide the fate of humanity on this planet, and what was more unsettling was that he would need the help of a giant dragon—a dragon of a type that didn’t exist on this planet. After observing them for a while her shock only grew more unsettling, because she finally realized that this dragon was the one she had seen since she was a little girl.
The dragon was her.
Nadya spent the next several years in her visionary state studying the events that would take place before that final battle. Frustratingly, she couldn’t see past that battle. Almost everything before it was open to her, but sometime during the last war her vision went dark, and she could do nothing to change that.
She didn’t know how long she had spent in this visionary state. By the time she knew her freedom to roam was at an end she knew exactly what she must do, but would she have enough time to do it. Her moment in time felt like minutes. It felt like centuries. Time was a fickle destination. A destination with no boundaries, but finally she felt that she had all the knowledge that time would allow her, and she returned to her body aboard a starship on its way to reconcile the time she had spent roaming the universe.
Time was such a delirium.