Category: Golden Tree

Learning to Walk

“Dearest Kyra, should I wake Trev and escort him in?”

“Yes Goldie. Oh, and Goldie,” Kyra winked, “uhm, be gentle this time, will ya.”

Goldie batted her eyes in mock innocence just like grandma used to do. How papa had captured so many of grandma’s traits in a robot never ceased to amaze. Then again, papa himself was one of a kind. So much love, so much patience, so much understanding. Kyra hadn’t met 10 Hynerians that together could have matched the capacities of her grandfather.

Twirling papa’s blue onyx ring between her fingers, Kyra moved across the room as only she could. Her gait, remarked by so many, flowed effortlessly. Her tight and taut body spoke of strength beyond her slight frame, but her gait, oh that walk, both intoxicated and soothed simultaneously.

As with most things, Kyra learned to walk from papa. Not to walk, but to walk. “There’s a difference,” he would always say. “Kyra, few really walk. Most pound the ground with their busyness, their rush to be someplace other than where they are. They live their life in anticipation, forever thinking,” and with the word thinking his eyes would widen as if the word itself carried some special significance, “forever thinking that life would be better over there.” And with that papa would look all around him as if there really was a “there” and then would shrug his shoulders when “there” was nowhere to be found.

“Where is there Kyra?” papa asked. And she would point to some place down the beach. They walked to there and papa would ask again with a grin. “Are we there Kyra?

“Yes papa, we are . . . here.”

“But is here the same as there,” he asked.

She smiled, “No papa here is here and here is not there.”

“Look behind you child.” Kyra glanced down the beach from whence they had come. “Tell me what you see.”

“I see the sand and the water papa,” Kyra responded not at all certain anymore that her eyes saw what papa saw.

“Look again my sweet young jewel, look closely, and tell me what you see.”

Kyra looked again. A wrinkle formed between her eyebrows in determined concentration. Papa had taught her to break down a situation into its smallest parts. “We climb mountains the same way as stairs,” he preached, “one step at a time.”

She started with the ocean. Nothing unusual there. Her eyes moved to the sand. Again, looked perfectly normal. But there must be something she thought. Papa saw something she didn’t and she refused to miss the point. Kyra was nothing if not determined.

“Focus on the facts Kyra. Focus on what you know.”

She thought aloud, “We were there and now we are here.” And then a smile of wonder emerged. “We. Me and you papa! Me and you makes two. Yet I only see one set of prints in the sand and those prints are mine papa. How is that possible?”

“Kyra, my dear sweet child, walk with anticipation and the heaviness of those thoughts will not be forgotten by the lives you crush underfoot. Walk to be, to be here and only here and you walk with lightness and you walk with peace. Would you like to learn to walk my dear sweet Kyra?”

“Yes, papa. Please teach me to walk,” Kyra shouted as she jumped with delight into her papa’s arms.

The door to Kyra’s quarters swooshed open.

“Come in Trev, can I get you anything,” said Kyra.

“No time, take a look at this report on Kieran. It appears the Golden Tree soup is not working. If this data is accurate, he has less than forty-eight hours.”

Commentary Part 1:

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Commentary Part 2:

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“Beautiful sight isn’t it. Would you have ever thought we would be privy to such a magnificent view?” Kyra asked.

Standing in front of the picture window in Kyra’s quarters Rog couldn’t disagree. He had seen plenty on Hyneria, but had never gotten the chance to travel off planet. Views like this reminded him of looking out over the ocean. One felt both small and at peace all at the same time. Deep space, like the ocean, seemed to put everything into perspective. Little worries actually did seem little.

“Nice view pumpkin, but I ain’t figuring you brought me here to wax philosophical about the cosmos,” said Rog.

Kyra laughed. “Cut the crap Rog. That view blows you away, you know it, but ain’t got the balls to tell this little pumpkin that there might actually be a sentimental bone in that leather saddlebag of a body of yours. Speaking of which, how are you feeling, not that I really care,” Kyra quizzed with a sly smile knowing she had disarmed her navigator without ever lying a hand on him.

Rog cleared his throat. “I’m feeling just fine. Why do you ask?” he queried, trying to gain some sense of control of the conversation he had lost so quickly. Kyra saw right through him. The anti-charm shield seemed to be working both ways.

“Has Trev said anything to you this morning about his discovery in the lab?” Kyra’s piercing blue eyes boring a hole right through Rog’s forehead. She had a natural ability to read faces for truth. Papa always said she would have made one kickass interrogator. No one on board would have disagreed with that view, nonetheless Rog at this moment.

With Kyra looking at him that way, he couldn’t have lied if he wanted, such was the power of her look. “Uh, nada. Got no idea what you’re talkin ‘bout darlin’,” Rog replied kinda smugly, feeling like he had found his balance again. Besides, it was the truth, he had no idea what was going on.

“Rog, you know anything about the animus virus?”

“Only that you get it just one time. If not treated with the proper antiviral vox within forty-eight hours . . .” Rog stopped in mid sentence. His eyes locked on Kyra’s and her’s locked back on his.

“Damnit, what do you need me to do,” Rog shifted gears. He was in full serious mode now. Playful banter jettisoned like a bad date on the front porch. Their small ship was sharing space with the most hostile virus known to Hynerians. Death rate exceeded ninety percent.

“I need to know as much as you can about Neraj. Download everything the Metalunans told us. Prepare the pod for launch and pick two other mates for a journey to the surface,” Kyra barked like a hardened master sergeant. Times like this her natural leadership ability rose to the surface. Papa always said leaders were born not made. Kyra was proving the point.

“Oh, and Rog,” purred Kyra.

“Yes ma’am?”

“Make sure everyone has their Golden Tree soup. That’s the only thing buying us time.”

Commentary Part 1:

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Commentary Part 2:

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“Morning Kyra. Did you sleep well,” said Trev, his eyes quickly and self consciously breaking eye contact for fear she would see right through him. Surely she must know his feelings. Then again, who couldn’t look at her brilliant blue eyes, coal black hair, and high cheek bones and not be mesmerized. The thought of hiding in the crowd, of being another “deer in the highlights” gave him some nervous comfort of anonymity.

“Like a baby Trev,” cooed Kyra with a wink. She knew Trev had feelings for her and quite frankly had no patience for his inability to speak directly and speak from the heart. Then again, she had always been rather cool toward Trev and she could understand him not wanting to put his chin forward only to have it whacked back into reality. Perhaps we all need our little fantasies to ease the friction of daily life she thought.

“You mentioned to Goldie an urgent matter. What’s up,” said Kyra, her playful tone gone as quickly as the wink. She was not one to beat around the bush. Small talk was just a waste of time. Her Got something to say, then just say it, attitude earned her both respect and dislike in equal measure. No nonsense is how most would describe her style of interaction. She enjoyed philosophical conversation with someone who could match her passion and knowledge. Otherwise, her pragmatic side had a way of hitting you over the head when you weren’t looking.

“Come take a look at this and tell me what you see,” monotoned Trev, subconsciously matching Kyra’s change in tone. He stepped back from the microscope and motioned her to step in. The sight of her lithe body moving with the grace of a cat stalking its prey sent the customary shiver down his spine, not to mention the sudden spontaneous and audible intake of breathe she must have heard.

Kyra, heard, but had long since filtered out such responses from males. Bending over the scope, her long agile fingers found the focus knob. Slowing rotating the knob with precise pressure and application she could have swore she heard another spontaneous intake, which brought forth a wicked grin she hoped her position concealed. No sense in torturing the boy for no good reason she mused.

Ahh, there it was, focus. “Holy cow, Trev, how long have you been sitting on this?” her tone firm but without accusation or blame. Time was the question, not blame.

“I notified Goldie as soon as I saw it,” Trev responded like a like a bucket of cold water had just hit him in the face.

“Trev, do you know what we have here?” again her tone was flat, without emotion that betrayed her concern.

“Looks like the animus virus,” Trev shot back with a false sense of indignation. He had the medical background, why wouldn’t he know. “How it got on board, . . .”
Kyra cut him off. Time was not on their side. There would be time later to explore how, assuming they were still around that is.

“Prepare Golden Tree soup for everyone on board ASAP.”

“Rog, can you hear me,” Kyra spoke into her comm.

“Rog here darlin’.” No one could take the piss out of Kyra quite like Rog. He seemed to be the only male inoculated against her charms and he knew it.

“Meet me in my quarters, pronto.”

“Yes ma’am. One question darlin’.”

“What would that be Rog,” Kyra deadpanned with a slight roll of her eyes to Trev.

“What took you so long to ask,” Rog teased.

Commentary Part 1:

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Commentary Part 2:

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Red Clouds

Preparing for launch, the Hynerians gazed up and saw the most brilliant silk-like red clouds parting to reveal the deep blue Metaluna sky. Red clouds brought red rain, the rain of tears as the Metalunans called it, which signaled a time to reflect and give gratitude for peace, love and health.

Red rain occurred only a couple times a year and all work ceased in preparation for quiet celebrations of remembrance and thankfulness. Most Metalunans celebrated the day in silence to honor the heart, which they felt spoke with the eyes and with deeds, not with the tongue.

On this day, thousands gathered to say goodbye to their new friends and wish them all the best on their continued journey into parts unknown. To launch on a new adventure during a time of red rain was considered a sign of good fortune, a sign of a new beginning, a sign of cleansing. The mystical among them called it a blessing from the cosmos.

The Hynerians, likewise, shed tears of thankfulness for the kindnesses and largesse bestowed upon them by strangers, now considered friends. From the timely repair of their ship to the Golden Tree, the Metalunans had given more than the Hynerians could ever repay. Words were uttered but not heard, and more importantly, not required or needed. The look in the eyes and the tears on the cheeks spoke volumes and this simple gesture, as far the Metalunans were concerned, justified everything. The Hynerians were leaving with more than just a Golden Tree, they were leaving with love, a love created from love and given freely.

If Metalunans were anything, they were generous. Many, many years ago the great explorer MetaRaven brought back a single specimen of the mythical Golden Tree. Golden trees were thought to be nothing more than the stuff of wives tales and children’s bedtime stories. Allegedly, they had the power to cure any and all illnesses when taken in the right dose at the right time.

No one really believed such a tree existed until MetaRaven returned triumphantly with the holy grail of all discoveries. He had a Golden Tree, and the legend was true. Every single member of his crew had returned from the uncharted territories despite contracting a multitude of unknown foreign diseases that their own medicines could not cure.

If enough trees had been brought back or if enough could ever be cultivated, illness and disease on Metaluna would have effectively been conquered. MetaRaven, however, was only able to secure one tree and after centuries of effort, only a handful of the trees had been cultivated. Although the trees seemingly lived forever, no one had yet seen one die, they were very slow to grow and almost impossible to reproduce. To date, only the ruling family had access to the few trees in Metaluan possession. They were prized more than power, more than fame, more than wealth.

As the Hynerians boarded Bravo-Four-Zero, they took on board a gift of unimaginable proportions. They had a miniature Golden Tree, and little did they know the Metalunans had, in effect, saved their lives. Without their Golden Tree, not a single Hynerian would have survived the journey to earth. Metalunans knew, and so they gave.