Stories always have a beginning. The
difficulty is in knowing where that beginning is, for stories
go on forever in both directions. Our purpose here only requires
that the story begin many years ago, on a remote planet that
no one had ever heard of before, in a part of space where few
ever visited. A planet surrounded by seven moons and inhabited
by a rather unique species that now watch the skies above them.....and
The planet Tetra, in the foothills of the Faldref Mountains
He was bored. Sitting out here
in the middle of nowhere, among these small steeply rolling hills
where one hill looked just the same as any other hill. The hills
reached out to the nearby mountains with bland repetition.
He had been told to watch, nothing
more, just watch. For how long, they did not say, so he sat and
watched. Sometimes north, sometimes south. The direction usually
was decided upon after taking into consideration whether the
sun bothered his eyes or the wind blew dust in his face. Then
he would turn away to watch in the more comfortable direction.
He was a Tetrite. Not an overly
large one, just a bit under a meter tall when he stood on his
eight black legs. His reddish fur gave him a distinctive look
among his species, the attractiveness of which was not lost on
the females of his species. How he wished he were back among
them now. Females always had ways of preventing him from getting
bored on such a warm afternoon.
Reaching into a small container,
the Tetrite pulled out a wad of Northundrun seaweed. Placing
his afternoon snack in his mouth, he was disappointed to discover
that the seaweed was drying out from the arid desert heat, but
it would have to do - it was all he had. His small jaw rotated
slowly as he calmly chewed. A long sigh signaled to anyone who
cared to notice his complete unhappiness with his task.
He was definitely bored as he
chewed ...and chewed.
Behind him, circling slowly out
of the base of a fair-weather cloud, a shiny metallic craft,
shaped like a teardrop turned on its side, silently soared lower,
the blunt end of the teardrop leading the way. There were no
windows, visible hatches, nor any markings. It was simply a highly
The breeze chose that moment to
shift, puffing a bit of dust into the face of now totally disgruntled
Tetrite. To avoid the discomfort, he slowly rotated around on
the rock he occupied and nearly fell off when he jumped at the
amazing sight of the drop so close behind him. He watched in
total amazement as the metallic craft slowly descended to the
crest of one of the nearby hills. Small puffs from unseen ports
kept the craft level as it settled majestically to the surface.
For a moment, the Tetrite could only stare, captured in the anticipation
to see what creature would emerge. His wait was brief.
A side hatch at the midpoint of
the drop appeared from what had been an smooth, uninterrupted
skin. Hinged at the bottom, the top popped open just a few inches
before making a loud screeching sound, as if some metal was binding
in the mechanism. From inside the craft, a muffled voice could
be heard jabbering away while something banged loudly on the
inside of the door. Still, the hatch would not budge any further.
While the hatch refused to move
further, the craft did not. Sitting precariously at the edge
of the steep hill, it slowly shifted as the sand beneath it gave
way under its weight. The puffer jets began firing faster and
faster, trying desperately to maintain an upright position, but
the craft finally had no choice but to roll. Tumbling like an
egg down the slope, the voice inside screamed with surprise at
the sudden upset. Reaching the bottom of the gully, the craft
finally settled, rolling lazily back and forth until, for no
apparent reason, the hatch simply fell open. Out tumbled a being
wearing a wrinkled blue suit, completely mixed up inside what
appeared to be a long red cape. The cape was so tangled over
the being's head and arms that the Tetrite wondered for a moment
whether the being had been tied up in it all for the passage.
Based on the long string of what the Tetrite judged to be cursing,
it was obvious that the being was not pleased about the present
condition of its wardrobe.
The Tetrite calmly watched, swallowing
his snack. He was no longer bored.
Pulling the red material off her
head, a young blonde humanoid female puffed the hair out of her
face through her lips and gave a disgusted look toward the craft.
Rising to her feet, she unleashed a string of unintelligible
expletives at the inanimate craft, kicking the hull once to accent
her point. The craft rolled slightly, making her jump back a
bit. When she did, her ill-fitting blue uniform nearly fell down
around her ankles. This also seemed to annoy her as a new string
of curses began. She laboriously reached down to pull up her
uniform, as if she had been doing it all day. It was then that
she noticed the small Tetrite staring silently at her.
Quickly slinging the straps of
her uniform back over her shoulders, her hands rapidly coiffured
her hair back into proper place. Sand was immediately brushed
away and the cape thrown behind her in time for her to take up
an impressive pose of feet apart, shoulders back, hands solidly
on her hips, and chin proudly out. This struck the Tetrite as
very official indeed and he sat up much more formally upon his
rock. Just as she was about to make an even more official pronouncement,
the craft rolled toward her a bit, making her jump with a shout.
Turning angrily back to the misbehaving teardrop, she yelled
something at it, cleared her throat, and resumed the very impressive
pose, this time, even better.
"Kai'l Lill'th'a Veloor!"
she announced proudly.
The Tetrite only stared. He had
no idea what she was saying. The young girl steadied herself
to try again.
"Kai'l Lill'th'a Veloor!"
she repeated, just in case this important announcement wasn't
heard the first time. "Kai'l dun'stre protresk'e."
The Tetrite blinked twice and
burped once. The young girl's shoulders slumped as she abandoned
her official pose. Trudging toward the Tetrite wearily, she slumped
on the ground next to him. She seemed to be asking him something.
"Lill'th'a Veloor? Sk'comst
The Tetrite had no idea what she
was asking him at the moment, so he didn't respond. He merely
stared at her with the greatest of curiosity as to what she might
do next. The young girl only sighed, her large blue eyes looking
back at him, displaying her wish to communicate. The fuzzy face
and beady eyes of the Tetrite impressed her as being rather cute.
On a whim, she extended her hand to the Tetrite and tickled him
under his chin.
"Teekoo, teekoo!" she
The Tetrite immediately lurched
back, snapping his head into a blur as his fur stood on end.
He obviously didn't like to be tickled. The girl rapidly pulled
her hand back and mumbled an obvious apology as she glanced despondently
to the ground. Another thought entered her mind, but just as
she was about to speak it, the Tetrite stood, turned, and scampered
away through the foothills, leaving the young visitor completely
alone. Her crystal-blue eyes took on a look of abandonment as
she mumbled quietly to herself with a newly found conviction
that no one cared why she had come so far or, for that matter,
who she was.
"Kai'l Lill'th'a Veloor,"
The loud screeching sound of her
craft rolling onto the hatch and bending it made her jump. Flinging
her hand at it in disgust with a aggravated grunt to accent her
displeasure with the bothersome craft, she dropped her chin on
her palms with a loud sigh of defeat, rolled her eyes left, then
right, then realized that she had no idea what to do next. She
exhaled another long sigh, letting it flutter her lips to emit
a long blurp sound.
An hour later
Pesto, pesto, dihn'tra speaci,
Cunst'la nor'va, unst'la dhoor.
Pesto, pesto, dihn'tra cont'si par,
The subtle voice of a young girl
sang a song familiar to her as she sat on the ground, drawing
in the sand. She was lost in thought as her song took her back
to her home.
Pesto, pesto, dihn'tra speaci,
Cunst'la nor'va, unst'la dhoor.
Pesto, pesto, dihn...
The booming voice suddenly behind
her startled the young girl so much that her glute muscles involuntarily
contracted, triggering her flying ability. She launched like
a bottle rocket straight up into the air, landing in a flurry
of arms and legs with a loud thud just a bit to the south. A
huge, gray Tetrite, nearly thirty meters across from leg tip
to leg tip, watched the ballistic mistake and shook his head
before speaking to the reddish Tetrite standing next to him.
"Would you mind fetching
the Protector, Fallustavilaus? She seems to have been displaced."
Fallustavilaus had only taken
two steps before it became obvious that he did not need to fetch
anyone; the Protector was angrily storming back toward them.
Her cape balled up and tucked under one arm while she held up
her loose fitting blue uniform, the young girl stomped rapidly
toward the Tetrites, cursing rapidly all along the way.
Walking right up to the large
gray Tetrite, she wagged a finger at him as her voice fired volley
after volley of rapid alien words. She was obviously scolding
him about something, but the large gray Tetrite had no idea what
she was scolding him about. Finally, he raised a leg high in
the air above her to silence her. She immediately stopped, her
mouth drawn back and her wide eyes looking up as if she were
suddenly in big trouble. At the sound of her silence, the leg
lowered peacefully to the ground. He turned slightly, speaking
"Would you be so kind as
to inquire upon the arrival of the Gateway?"
The Tetrite that he spoke to trundled
away and over the nearby hill. Within minutes, he returned with
another Tetrite, this one brown in color. The new Tetrite kept
stopping along the way to look at some item of interest only
to himself. Each time, the other Tetrite urged him along. When
they were close enough, the large gray Tetrite bellowed loudly.
At the sound of his commanding
voice, Philanthropithitatus almost snapped to attention before
scampering wildly toward the towering behemoth. At the last minute,
he saw the alien visitor and immediately changed course toward
Scuttling up onto a nearby boulder
to position himself at eye level with the alien, Philanthropithitatus
leaned forward as he peered curiously at the blonde woman. She
leaned forward an equal amount to peer back at him just as curiously.
A couple of light taps on her forehead with one of his legs resulted
in crossed eyes for the alien visitor and a confident nod for
the brown Tetrite. He made the report of his analysis.
"Yes." groaned the large
gray Tetrite, a bit annoyed at the obvious conclusion.
Philanthropithitatus then pulled
the front of the blue uniform outward a bit to peer down into
it. The alien visitor took immediate exception to this inspection,
lightly slapping the top of his head as she pulled her uniform
back to cover herself. Her eyebrows lowered disapprovingly. Philanthropithitatus
retreated back a step and shook his head rapidly, recovering
from the minor blow.
"And female, definitely female."
we know all that. Can you gateway for us? We must communicate
with her immediately."
looked at the innocent young face that now smiled sweetly back
at him - all was forgiven. Her blonde hair swept around her face,
framing it as if it were a portrait in an oval frame. He prepared
himself and nodded to the large gray Tetrite.
"You may proceed."
The gray Tetrite cleared his throat
and began speaking with a voice resonant with authority.
The young girl jumped with a gasp,
her eyes widened in amazement.
"You....you speak Velorian!"
"No, Mistress. Philanthropithitatus
is serving as our Gateway. Through him, you will hear my words
in a form suitable for your understanding and I will hear your
words in a manner suitable for my own comprehension. Thus, we
will converse. Do you understand?"
The young girl nodded quickly,
sneaking a glance at Philanthropithitatus as if he were strangely
magical. Philanthropithitatus only rotated his head slightly
out of curiosity with her look. The large gray Tetrite continued.
"Mistress, let us begin.
We have been expecting you for a number of weeks. Were you detained
for any reason?"
"Detained?" The sweep
upward of her eyes as she thought a moment made Philanthropithitatus
look up. "Oh, you mean why am I late? Well, a couple of
weeks ago I was supposed to come here but they weren't sure if
I was sequenced right, whatever that means, so they had to check
on that and Jo'N, that's my boyfriend, well he used to be my
boyfriend, sort of, anyway he didn't want me to go but I told
him I had to go `cause, you know, I had to GO, but his family
is big on the Council and they were going to do something to
keep me there because Jo'N wanted me to stay but I wanted to,
you know, GO, not sit around all day waiting for him all the
time and stuff so I told him forget it and that I didn't want
to see him anymore `cause I got Protector stuff to do and all
and he just kept thinking that we were gonna to be together so
I went to the Foundation and told them I gotta kinda sorta go
now so they said they would see what they could do and they did
so they got a dimension ship for me but it's kinda junky and
the door sticks and stuff but it got me here okay and .... and
.... I'm HERE." The happy announcement of the last word
was accompanied by a quick fan of her arms as she bounced blithely
to her toes. She smiled so brightly that she scrunched her nose
"Interesting," the large
gray Tetrite responded dryly.
They all stared at each for a
moment as her bright smile faded away. The large gray Tetrite
continued the conversation.
"May I inquire as to your
name?" This question seemed to remind the young girl of
her earlier official announcement, the one that she had been
told to be sure to make upon first contact with an intelligent
species after arrival. She immediately resumed her official pose,
cleared her voice, and began earnestly.
"I am Lillith of Velor. I
am here to protect the planet of Tetra and its indigenous species
from all alien..."
"Yes, Mistress Lillith. We
are aware of your mission. It is your training that we must attend
to. There is much to learn and little time to learn it all. Philanthropithitatus
will act as your guide, your Gateway, and at times your tutor."
Lillith nodded toward Philanthropithitatus
and smiled again.
"I hope we can become friends,
Philanthropithitatus." she said with a pleasant sincerity.
"Oh, I am sure we will find
much in each other to form a lasting friendship, Mistress."
Lillith's uniform slipped from
her shoulders, landing in a heap around her ankles. Muttering
under her breath, she stooped down to pull the oversized clothing
yet again into place when the large gray Tetrite stopped her.
"You body will acclimate
to the yellow sun within a few weeks, Mistress, then your uniform
will fit properly. Until that time, may I suggest that you merely
do without it? For the time we have from now until your body
acclimates, there is no need for its symbolism. All of our species
know you are the Protector."
Lillith shrugged and stepped out
of the troublesome heap gladly. The warm sun felt so good on
her body, a body of a Terran fourteen-year-old, but a body that
was undergoing amazing changes under the influence of the yellow
sun that burned brightly overhead.
Her skin felt stiff, taut, as
if it was stretched over too large a body, yet she didn't feel
any larger. Within a few days she would discover that she was
indeed getting larger, taller, stronger, more of everything that
she was. Her genetics included the Protector sequence, the engineered
genetic code that defined her as a Velorian Protector and gave
her great powers as one. The yellow sun was the catalyst that
released the full potential of those powers. Powers that would
make Lillith one of the most formidable beings in the Universe.
Eventually, her uniform would fit wonderfully.
"To begin our training, Mistress
Lillith," said the large gray Tetrite, "you may ask
your first question."
"Okay, um, what's you're
"I am afraid that my given
name would be rather confusing for you. One of a similar species
once referred to me as `Large Grey'. Would that suit you?"
"Sure!" chirped Lillith.
"Large Grey. That's not confusing at all."
"I am glad. Do you have any
other questions before we proceed to your habitat?"
Lillith thought a moment, remembering
her recent encounter with her first Tetrite.
"Are you guys ticklish?"
she asked seriously.
Large Grey wrapped two legs around
his midsection and drew back from her a bit.
"Why do you ask, Mistress?"