An original short story by Robert W. Rodriguez.
A sequel to Captain Stephenson and the Space Shuttle Unity:
Completed July 30, 2014
You opened your eyes.
Before you stood your husband, Adam. You had known him for as long as you could remember because you were derived from him. He was you and you were him. Your communication was undivided and instantaneous, as one body. But in this moment, it was as if you were seeing him for the first time.
Your husband wore a perplexed expression. To him, you appeared as an animal: naked and unclean. He viewed you as if you were a separate entity, when in truth you were him because you were of him. His eyes had been opened and all differences became apparent. “What do we do, my husband?” You asked him. He scuffled around nervously, glancing at you with discomfort and plucking leaves from fig trees. For reasons you could not yet understand, Adam could not heed your words, but you followed him in his actions and gathered leaves as well. To lead the way was his duty; this you knew to be true.
A loincloth he made, crude and uncomfortable, and he placed it about your hips. It was then you understood why he looked so different- he was naked. You perceived at once that a change had taken place in your bodies. You were alone, separated by immeasurable space from Adam, from the Earth, and from Captain Stephenson who had brought you to the garden. You had been locked as a prisoner inside your skull, and so you recognized your naked body as a holding cell. As it was your desire to consume the Seed of Knowledge that had given you this skewed perspective, you felt ashamed.
"I am no longer like the animals!" You lamented, with no one to hear your sorrow. "I am not like Adam! I am not like the Earth, the cradle from which I was taken! My own desire has deceived me, and now I am separated from even that! I can feel even now that I am lost, and I desire for what I do not know! Oh God, who is there to hear my cry?"
The Captain whose name you no longer knew walked to meet you, but Adam pulled you behind bushes. Terror you had never felt before gripped your mind and body. Surely your benefactor would realize your mistake, and he had made clear the consequences of said mistake: certain death.
"Come to me, my children!" He called. As he was your master and Father, you obeyed and came out of hiding. Captain looked different too, as though he had always been a voice inside your head but was now a man in tangible form. You found the similarity between his appearance and Adam’s remarkable. His garments were white and thick like a suit of armor.
Seeing that you had attempted to cover your nakedness, Captain immediately knew that you had perceived a division on the perfect lens built within you to focus light. “No!” He cried. “Do you realize what you’ve done?!” His words were claws tearing at your ears. You fell to your knees and wept.
"It was the woman that you gave me!" Blurted Adam. You could not make sense of his words, but he pointed at you sternly. Your face flushed and your throat constricted painfully. Captain’s eyes fell upon you and you trembled. You prepared for his kindness to falter. For your disobedience, you believed that he might slay you in the midst of the beautiful garden where you knelt.
"What is this that you have done?" He demanded explanation. As opposed to Adam’s harsh, accusing voice, his was warm and understanding.
"It was the desire within me, Captain. It deceived me and I ate of the fruit." The desire, Captain Stephenson understood, had arisen from the black hole which was created when he engaged the Space Shuttle Unity’s travel technology. It was the driving force that enticed life’s light gathering mechanisms. Of all the beasts of the field, man’s animal desire developed into the craftiest. So clever was this apex predator that it deceived Eve into consuming the most advanced fruit of nature, that is the Seed of Adam.
Captain Stephenson closed his eyes tightly and placed his gloved hand on Eve’s red, wet cheek. With a solemn voice and somber heart, he informed the first two modern humans of the consequences for believing in illusions given by the Beast of Consumption. “I have given you the Code of Origin, which is the perfect language of this universe. Though I instructed you with it, and gave it to you as a tool to bring this planet under your control, you have disobeyed my command and eaten it, and so now you are cursed. You have forgotten the Code, and your communication is now scattered.
"This mistake was destined to happen because I have made the desire within you infinitely clever, so that you could consume and spread with ease. Now you will abuse your desire, who is the Source of Deceit, and in return it will cause you anguish all the days of your life. (To Eve) Because your tendency towards consumption now outweighs your purpose of propagation, enmity shall there be between you and this animal nature, and so your pain will be greatly multiplied in childbirth. Your desire shall be for your husband whom I have created to execute my purpose, and he shall rule over you like the beasts of the field, for you are in truth, an animal.
"Contained within your seed, Adam, flowed the True Path that I created you to follow. Since you have consumed it, and because it was your duty to lead Eve, your wife, and your children about this planet, you must now find your own path. You will call this ability ‘free will,’ and it will cause you unspeakable suffering. Your offspring will commit heinous attrocities against each other, and you will decimate this Earth that I have given you as well as the life contained therein. You are no longer bound to follow the Code.
"That is because the seed contains a void, a clear space of passage for the Code and Light to flow through. It now obstructs your vision, and so you appear separate from each other, from the animals, from your planet and your Creator. Because this void lies in your stomach, you will always hunger and never be satisfied. You will believe in lies and you will speak them to your brethren. You will create illusions of past and future and so you must die, because you hold onto memories which do not exist. All that is not tethered to my True Code will be swept away and burned because it resists the function I have created this universe for: to collect the light.
"You have forgotten what you are. I tell you in truth my children, that from dust you were created, and to dust you shall return."
The Captain created superior garments to replace your loincloths. He derived them from animal skins, a sacrifice for the comfort of man; the first of many that the Earth would give up. Before He departed to watch your disease consume the planet, He said, “Your commission here is still the same. Propagate, and bring my creation to equilibrium. Know that you are only vessels for this purpose, and all that you try to hold onto will be stripped from you violently, because even the light which you see and the eyes with which you see it belong to me. Go Adam, lead your kin and pursue the True Code. You are Eve’s ambassador to me. Go Eve, nurture your kin and commune with my creation. You are Adam’s ambassador to nature.”
With that, the Captain caused the Space Shuttle Unity to materialize high above him, and as he ascended to board it, brilliant white light radiated from his face.
“Behold, the man has become like one of Us, and is self-aware. He has resisted the Code of Origin, and the resulting friction has burned up his memory of the Path of Life. We must now wait for the opportune time to show him the path that leads to Unity.” Aboard the Space Shuttle Unity, Captain’s six crewmembers listened with grave faces, eager to aid their leader in any way. Tears fell from the pregnant female’s eyes, as well as two of the males, but their resolve and their faces remained unchanged. Mankind and the crew could no longer communicate freely.
Power traveled from the muscles in Adam’s arm and reverberated throughout your jawbone. Another novel feeling: being controlled. Your body collapsed from where you were observing Captain’s departure, then you sensed the cool grass of the garden against your skin. Turning around, you saw the beauty of your Creator replaced by Adam’s furious, contorted face.
"You stupid woman! You’ve deceived me!" You let out a hushed gasp and felt blood drip from your mouth. You could not understand why he hit you, and you tried in vain to reason with him. Your husband struck you again, unable to translate your cries for mercy. As he seized your leg and began to drag you, you attempted to crawl away, but you knew that even if you escaped, you had nowhere to go. You remembered the words Captain had spoken and knew them as truth: your desire was for your husband. Your future laid with him. Without him you would be lost and helpless, so you submitted.
As your husband carelessly battered your body, a flurry of unnatural, unfamiliar emotions flowed through you. Resentment. Anger. Sorrow. Confusion. Injury in body and soul. Captain had warned you that illusions would creep into your psyches, and the consequences for believing in such lies. The Beast of Consumption deceived your husband; through him the concept of property came into the Earth. You became the first example.
Quickly you and your husband exhausted the nutritious plants of the garden. Because you no longer knew the ideal amount of food your bodies required, you gorged on the delicious fruits. To satisfy the Beast living within you, you sacrificed the plants meant to be your equals and burned them with fire. You cooked the animals of Eden and found some relief from your suffering, but those too became scarce after enough time. So observing that new shrubs and trees emerged from the seeds of their respective fruits, Adam began to harvest them to feed his family.
Remembering the warnings that Captain had given you, you petitioned Adam to stop. “Our Lord told us not to hoard the resources of this world to ourselves, my husband. Will you disobey him?” By this time you had developed language with him.
Blinded by consumption, Adam replied, “Woman, the Lord has given this Earth to me to do with what I please. It is my property, as you are my property, and it is my duty to subdue you. The Lord has chosen me to lead, so to question me is to question Him. Know you not that we must consume to grow, as the Lord has commanded us?” He beat and raped you as punishment for your arrogance, forcing you to realize the futility of opposing him.
You witnessed the birth of cities with the creation of permanent housing. You knew this to be an illusion, and that all would be swept away in the storm of the Captain’s will. The Code drew you to move and propagate over the Earth, but the weight of lies such as property that you and your husband carried dragged you to a halt. After your memory had been filled for many years with images of the strife and destruction of your house, finally your vessel breathed last, and your atoms disintegrated. They returned to the soil from whence they came, and your false perception was no more.
You and Adam had united in body and self-replicated, spreading your genetic code from the origin of humanity that is Eden. These vessels had perception similar to yours because they absorbed the pieces of Truth you gave them, including your memory of the Captain and the mistake in the Garden. They encoded the memories of lies into their “selves” as well, but of all the data that you chose to radiate, that which was not true would wither and die amongst your descendents. Unity was Truth. The Code of Origin lived on. Life itself stemmed from it, so those who pursued it aligned themselves to the flow of the black hole, your homeworld.
Captain and his crew viewed from the portholes of the Space Shuttle Unity the comings and goings of mankind as they clung to illusions and resisted the flow of light. In cycles they accumulated and collapsed, like the memories of the individuals themselves upon dying.
The corrupted humans built idols of wood and precious stones to remind them of their desire. A false language became their only language- that of property- and they communed with the Earth in the darkness of consumption. Images of violence, revelry, wealth, and sex they fixed their minds upon, so that their thoughts constantly strayed from the Captain’s commission for equilibrium. So frequent did mankind’s tendency towards deviation from the Code become, that they became possessed by deviation itself. Your descendents became the very opposite of their purpose: selfish hindrances to the absorption of light.
"Captain, come and see!" One of the males of Captain Stephenson’s crew pointed from the Unity to a plain in the land your species once called Shinar. "They are building a high tower, and accumulating their people as one body."
"Yes," Captain Stephenson replied. "Because the men speak all one tongue, their communication is like one body. Nothing will be impossible for them because their supply of information grows exponentially. They have forgotten my purpose for them, so they effectively redirect Earth’s fruits to this single city as property. A beacon of unity they seek to make the tower, so that it will be the center of all civilization, and man will be under one name. This name is an abomination because they are not truly united, rather each person seeks after his own selfish desire. This is an imbalance; this tower of sensors is too high."
"What should we do then, my Captain?" His crewmembers were united under the truth of the Code, and the face of the astronaut longed for an answer with absolute faith.
"Even now the people’s resources are stretched thin because men were never meant to reach such density of population. Because they do not spread, they and their tower will collapse. To prevent the premature destruction of my vessels, let us go down and confuse their languages."
The crew of Unity descended to the land and donned clothing to match the people in the city your people would come to call Babel. Knowing the true desires of those blinded by consumption, they spoke of treachery and deceit to the citizens. “He desires your property.” An astronaut would inform one. “You are being used.” To another. Distrust for one another grew in the city until the people were split into factions, who developed their own separate languages to counter espionage.
Over the course of time the factions became divided strongly enough to wage war with each other and disperse as the Crew had intended. The language of property was one of continual lies, and the Truth that Captain and his shipmates sowed confused the tongues of Babel. The deserted city lay incomplete, the tower at the center of which left to be taken by the elements.
After accepting his shipmates’ praise for the plot’s success, Captain Stephenson warned that the scattering of the people of Babel only temporarily prevented mankind’s demise. “They have taken their graven images with them, and propagate the vessels of misinformation presently. More elaborate and complex they will build these images, until they can no longer differentiate between their illusion and the reality I have created. Their false borders of nationality will hinder their communication for a time so that their technology will be stifled, but eventually the False Language will unite them once more. Babel is not dead, only divided.”
The Six pressed Captain for a permanent solution. He strode gracefully and with authority to the ship’s front windows and looked down at the smoke pluming from the plain of Shinar. “My children, my beloved vessels are deceived from birth because Adam swallowed his own seed, inverting his perception and the perception of his descendants. They believe their bodies to be their property, when in Truth they are united by the Code of Origin.” Turning to the crew, “They trust only what they see, because they will not hear the Truth. Now we must show them the Truth.”
The pregnant female of the crew had no valid father for her offspring, because he existed in the previous universe. Captain spoke to her, “Your Earthly body has passed away, but you’ve carried this egg of life with you into Unity. The child is us, and we are the child, and the child is conceived of the Code of Origin. The Truth and the Light flow through him unhindered because he is not corrupted by Adam’s bloodline.
"We will give him to the people- the perfect transmitter of information to the generations of receivers. He will be a husband to the Earth and her people, to lead and restore her language where Adam never could. Because the bride knows only consumption, she will swallow him up as she did the seed of the Black Hole Tree. But whereas Adam’s physical seed brought death and blindness, the blood of this man will bring Truth and equilibrium. His fruit will be the fruit of the Code, and whoever pursues the Code will hear his words and find it."
To his fellow astronaut, “Go down Gabriel, to where the Earth is ripe for this child to be born, so that he may give the Truth of Unity to my children.” And so it was.
You opened your eyes.
Before you stood two men, of angelic appearance. They looked almost identical, except one wore white garments and the other was naked and appeared grievously wounded. Both wore smiles like rows of pearls. You recognized both, but could not remember from where. “What is your name?” Inquired the clothed One.
You peered behind you to see that the event lay on the border of a desolate wasteland and a verdant oasis. Six uniformed beings, also awesome and radiant to behold, stood before multitudes. “My name?”
"Yes, so that I can give you away to your husband." Said the man in white.
"I know only one name."