a short story
(going forward still but slowly. Sorry to be absent but still facing challenges. I Hope all of you are enjoying this very hot summer! Blessings!)
The View from Teegarden’s Star
No one actually remembered how the people reached Teegarden’s Star. It was so long ago that the original voyagers became synonymous with myth and those legendary races like the Tuatha de Danaan of Ireland, who arrived in a golden cloud, or the gods who fell from the Pleiades and taught their wisdom to the Hopi tribe of the Southwest. At any rate, so much time had gone by that the original histories were forgotten which was probably just as well.
The intrepid travelers had left a dying planet which some said was by natural catastrophes and others said by the error of the inhabitants. Whichever it was, life was no longer sustainable as it had once been.
It possibly was an accident that the Galactic Ark arrived at Teegarden’s Star, which is an insignificant little red dwarf on the cooler spectrum, far away in the Aries Constellation. The small planet orbiting the star was not as warm as their home, so giant biospheres had been built to make it more habitable. However, aeons later, no one any longer remembered how the domes got there or who exactly had built them unless of course it was the old gods. Each dome was large enough to house a few thousand people and was created to be totally self- sufficient, self sustaining and indestructible. It didn’t rain inside the structure, but only dripped moisture constantly keeping the atmosphere not only warm but humid. Those who lived in the farthest domes cultivated mycelium and fungi and had developed a rather spongy, hairless type of mottled skin indicative of shady damp abodes.
Those in the equatorial domes had grown a second set of eyelids that acted as a kind of added sunshade protecting them from the constant bombardment of light particles that streamed like a volley of solar arrows through the thin membrane of the planetary atmosphere. The skin of these more central people lost melanin and evolved an almost translucent light giving them a pale, ethereal appearance though they were every bit as healthy as the mycelium growers.
Most of the inhabitants were farmers who tirelessly tilled the soil of their vaulted gardens, but they also had craftsmen, maintainers, quarrymen and miners. There was a small guild of tradesmen who traveled between the domes but the unpredictable climate and rugged terrain limited much of their movements and opportunities . Because of these conditions most preferred to remain in the small insular communities and they lived simple lives. As a part of an ancient tradition of storytelling they often spoke of magical and powerful civilizations of long ago, but they, themselves, existed with little memory of the past and even less insight into the future. Still, they were content.
However, at certain times of the year just when the tedium of their lives and labour might become unbearable, the dome councils sent out exploration parties to search for a rare form of indigenous vegetation called Tee. Tee was a creeping vine that grew pods of tremendous size, and twice a year the pods would burst releasing oval shaped seeds the size of large, opalescent pearls. The seeds formed a filament of misty bioluminescence in the evening wind. It was a yearly quest to gather these strings in special nets at just the right time so they could boil them into a fragrant mash that caused taste buds to tingle and perceptions to flower.
Occasionally dense clouds would form inexplicably on the planet’s equator and from them diamonds would sometimes rain down. But the people of Teegarden’s Star had no use for diamonds. The underground metal was much more important. Copper kettle and coils provided the inhabitants with all they needed for an extraordinary and mystical elixir, they named Teegarden’s Hooch. After Tee was harvested and distilled, people from all the domes would gather and dance, tell stories and celebrate, while dreams of incredible worlds and mysteries flooded their senses in ecstatic vision.
Every year was the same. When they had eaten and drank their fill they ended the evening by gazing upward in prayerful homage. Thousands of voices chanting “Godspeed” swelled and echoed through the dome but what this mantra meant they had no idea. The context and significance had long been forgotten. Their eyes were fixed on a point of faint light at the far reaches of a galactic arm called The Orion Bridge. “That is the home of our old gods and our creation,” they told their children. “One day they will come to take us back to our beginning.” What they didn’t realize at their last celebration, was that the light they saw was actually the ending. Tomorrow it would be gone. It was the last echo of Godspeed, a traveling ghost, already slowly winking out over life times past and had finally sputtered into oblivion 12 light years ago, 12.59 to be exact.
The people were unaware of this and so after the festivities, life went on as usual. They returned to their toil, grateful for what they had but were eventually left wondering about what ever it was that they had lost.
Rejoice in the Sun