The Archives of the Heroes: Series One - Foundation.

This is the story of two brothers growing up in our Universe. They manage to find themselves all kinds of trouble and adventures while travelling from galaxy to galaxy with their father.
Or, in some cases, by themselves.

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6. Episode Five: The Scatorian Encyclopaedia Britannica.

 

They soon reached the Silver Way Galaxy, which contained one solitary life-sustaining planet: RaJuno. Of course, the name itself raised a million and one questions from Liart, which Jaliq tried hard to answer.

RaJuno was the biggest planet in the Scatorian Universe, and - being such a large planet - was neutral. By neutral, Jaliq explained that he did not mean they did not take sides in wars - like Switzerland on earth, which was an unhelpful comparison for Liart - but that - like earth as a whole (which was another unhelpful comparison) they had good countries, bad countries, and neutral countries. Therefore, it would be possible to have a war with RaJuno on either side, or on neither side.

Jaliq explained that the name 'RaJuno' was a combination of the names 'Ra' and 'Juno' - which were apparently two head deities in Ancient Egyptian and Roman culture. This confused Liart even more, until he eventually asked why it was that - even though Earth was such an exclusive, boring planet - everyone constantly referred to it. This had brought Jaliq to distraught, and so he handed his son a big, heavy book.

It was called an encyclopaedia, and was titled Britannica. This, of course, rose a question within itself, and Jaliq had to briefly explain that the title was English - and England was once the centre of a great Earthling empire. Liart read the encyclopaedia religiously, and did not seem to understand that it was like a dictionary. Then again, he read the dictionary in the same way.

Soon he had devoured the entire multi-volume series, and received the answer to many of his most basic questions. He knew now that Earth was considered an especially important planet because that was where everyone had come from. Therefore, the history of Earth - up until the fall of the Roman Empire, which theoretically fell because of Caesar's lavish spending on space expeditions (a theory Liart thought a little far-fetched) - was the history of every planet in the Scatorian Universe - and any other universes that existed with life also.

Liart had learned why it was that the Ai (to name one geneticism - the politically correct term for 'breed', used exclusively for humans) looked different from the Earthlings, considered to be the Standard Geneticism (or S.G.) of the human race. It was because -according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica - the settlers of various planets attempted to adapt themselves to their environment through genetic modification. The Ai as a race were a failure, as their modification did not benefit them in anyway, and was not even particularly attractive. However, Liart also learned that the modification was undoable, as the scientists had carefully added Mutant cells to every reproductive cell in the original experiments. That meant that each Ai carried the genes for a normal human being, as well as the gene that mutated them so they looked like the rest of their race. This explained to Liart why sometimes - very rarely, but not at all impossible - there was born on various planets a human being of the Standard Geneticism. The mutation gene had not been passed on.

He learned that - for the most part - the experiments had been successful, and each race either looked different or had different abilities to the S.G. of humans. He was dismayed when he realised the encyclopaedia did not go on to explain what these various abilities were.  

Finally, after reading the entire series, Liart was left with one unanswered question: if the encyclopaedia was from Earth, how was it that the planet was perfectly clueless as to the enormity of the universe around them? Jaliq had explained this somewhat botheredly.

'It's not from Earth. It's named after the one from Earth. See? You can tell the difference because it says 'The Scatorian Encyclopaedia Britannica.'

Ah. So it did. Liart loved it when the answer to his question was simple.

RaJuno was a very red planet, with ten large countries: New Australia, Ayer, New Kalgoori, New Perth, New Melbourne, New Sydney, New Cairns, New Adelaide, New Darwin, New Brisbane, New Newcastle, and New New New South Wales (apparently named so because the New New South Wales had been destroyed by a fire in the eighteen hundreds).

Of course, upon moving to New New New South Wales, Liart had instantly asked why it had so many News before its name. His answer had been fascinating. Apparently - as RaJuno was such a dry planet, with dark green and grey shrubbery, and red soil - it had reminded its settlers of the (at the time) newly discovered country of Australia. Seeing as the two had been discovered at nearly the exact same time, the settlers had named each planet after various Australian places and states (such as Ayer, for Ayers Rock). This caused a little difficulty for places that were originally named after English places, such as the Australian New South Wales, but the RaJuno didn't mind. In fact, they enjoyed saying the three news before South Wales.

Jaliq withheld nothing from his sons, and paid as much as he had to to afford them a good education. They were taught by tutors, and tutors only. The boys were not often allowed to mix with other children, and, while Jaliq never told them why, they knew it was because (for whatever reason) they were in hiding and could not be found.

Liart's six birthday soon came, followed at the end of the year by Strongh's. By this point the small family had been living in New Albury, New New New South Wales for ten months, and Strongh was tired of being alone.

'Liart.' He whispered one morning, waking his brother from his sleep. 'Wake up! Come on, let's go outside and play!'

Liart groaned. 'Won't our tutors be coming?'

'Not today, silly - it's Saturday!'

'Then father will be home.'

'Not today - I heard him say so. He's got to work today.'

'Then we'll have a babysitter.'

Strongh chuckled. 'No. He said he could trust me.'

Liart frowned. 'Then perhaps you ought to be trustworthy. Besides, we can't even speak RaJuno. How would we talk to anyone?'

Strongh shrugged. 'Zraiatormmaein is as widespread as English is on Earth. We'll be fine.'

'I'd like to learn English one day. It's widespread here too.'

'Yes, as is Latin, which is amusing, because it's a dead language on Earth.'

'Really? That's a shame. I'm good at Latin.'

'Well, they're meant to have many languages that are drawn from Latin - maybe you'd find them easy.'

Liart shrugged. 'Maybe. But going back to the previous topic, I don't think we should sneak out. Remember what happened last time?'

Strongh did remember. They had been re-located, though they didn't really know why.

'It'll be all right this time.' He said, quite convincingly. 'Besides, you can't stay at home all by yourself. What if you were kidnapped?'

Strongh had cunningly played with his brother's insecurities. Being rejected, left behind, or taken was one of his biggest fears. So, sighing, the child gave in.

'All right. But if we get in trouble I'm blaming you.'

'Of course. It would be my fault.'

And so the boys set out.

The RaJuno were a rugged race, tall, muscular, and outgoing. The males were stereotypically tanned with sun-bleached hair and eyes shining not with intelligence, but health. The women were stereotypically the same, only they prided themselves on being tall and strong while being slender and delicate. Liart had read in his encyclopaedia that no-one was sure how they achieved this, but most accepted that they did.

'You know,' Liart said to the deaf-ears of his older brother, 'apparently RaJuno look just like the stereo-typical Australians. From Earth.' He added as an afterthought.

'Apparently their accent is similar.' Strongh put in, surprising Liart that he had been listening at all. 'Though I guess only when they speak English.'

RaJuno were outgoing people, and very egalitarian. Supposedly this was just one more similarity they shared with Australians. They were fiercely patriotic at heart, but their outward attitude was one of carelessness and disrespect. Liart attributed this to their great love of freedom, and their fear of being tied down by responsibility or respect. They were free souls, the RaJuno... and Liart loved them. Strongh, too, was right at home with these people, and could have actually been RaJuno. He shared their nature that was prone to arrogancy.

Liart had been surprised to learn that the Quixaseux were descended from the same races as the RaJuno and Australians, though they were also prominently French. This supposedly made them more arrogant, patriotic, proud, and domineering - but Liart could not say that for himself, as he had never met either a Quixaseu or a Frenchman.

The boys did not find anyone in their area that spoke Zraiatormmaein, but they did find a small group of children that spoke Latin. They also met some children that spoke Greek (that is, Classical Greek, or the Greek that was spoken around the fall of the Roman Empire), which was handy, as they had just started learning this language.

Liart had also learned in his encyclopaedia that certain primitive planets still spoke - for example - old, old English. Apparently a modern-day English speaker would not stand a chance understanding these people. He had found it interesting to note that - for the most part - the planets of the Scatorian Universe, if they spoke and Earthling language, kept as up to date with it as possible. So while Classical Greek and Latin were still alive and well in their universe, all the influential and developed planets knew modern English, modern French, modern Chinese, and other modern languages.

The children played a game with had apparently be stolen right from Australia, and the name did suggest that. It was called football, and they played 'Aussie' rules. Liart did not enjoy this game at all - it was too violent for his taste or his size - but Strongh enjoyed it very much. Liart was not too surprised by this. It was very similar to warfare, really.

Eventually, one of the boys offered to teach the brothers RaJuno. Strongh was not particularly interested in languages, but - seeing as he was on the planet RaJuno - he accepted anyway. Liart, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

Strongh smiled at his brother's enthusiasm for learning the new language. In the past couple of hours he had grown very fond of his new friends, and hoped he could see them again soon. His only concern had been convincing Liart to sneak out with him on numerous occasions, but now that was taken care of. If the boys taught him RaJuno, Liart would not hesitate to come. In fact, he would be able to justify it.

Jaliq soon began working on Saturdays regularly, and (seeing as his children never got into any trouble while he was gone) the boys were regularly left alone. Consequently, they saw their friends on a weekly basis, learning their language quickly. Strongh did not pick it up as easily as Liart, but what he did pick up was very colloquial. Liart somehow managed to learn the language well enough to speak formally and casually.

And so, by Liart's 7th birthday in March, four months after having met their new friends, the two boys were arguably fluent in RaJuno... and Jaliq didn't have a clue.

 

The boys were taught many things during their first year in RaJuno, and it was during this time that Jaliq was forced to treat his sons differently. Liart wanted to learn languages - many languages - and Strongh wanted to learn many different arts of war. Still, the man did not feel right withholding such lessons from either son, and so Strongh learned the basics of several languages, and Liart learned the basics of many different battle strategies. In the end, though, the tutors insisted upon exclusively tutoring one without the other, and Jaliq caved in.

Liart learned French, English, German, Quixaseu - any language that took his fancy he could pick up in a matter of weeks, provided he heard it, read it, and spoke it. Jaliq was worried the boy would forget all he had learned, as were his many tutors, but Liart was determined to prove them wrong. He listened to stories in the different languages, and read books in every language he had learned. And sometimes, while he was playing, he would speak in those languages. Jaliq had heard him on more than one occasion read a story aloud in one language, though it was printed in another.

Strongh did not envy his brother's skill, however. He applied his efforts towards sword-fighting, archery, wrestling, and other such 'sports'. He excelled in every field, whereas Liart could hardly even hold a sword.

Liart did not want to learn about weapons and the like any more than Strongh wanted to learn about language and literature, but Jaliq consistently forced them to learn at least the basics. When the tutors requested exclusive lessons he always allowed it, but that did not mean he stopped teaching the other altogether. He was adamant that each son should have the same opportunities.

Perhaps he was paranoid, Jaliq thought, because Strongh's name meant favoured one, and Liart's meant rejection. And - upon learning English - it had not taken the latter long to work out that Strongh sounded like strong and Liart sounded like Liart. Even in Quixaseu, Strongh's name meant protector and Liart's meant destroyer.

This disturbed Jaliq. He often thought about what he had been told: that his children were destined - or doomed, as he preferred - to either protect or destroy the universe. Though there was no telling as to whether or not one went for one and not the other or one went for both, Strongh's name made his case look a whole lot better than Liart's.

As he was on his way home from work one Saturday afternoon, Jaliq pondered this disturbing matter. He was coming home early today, in an effort to surprise his children. He enjoyed spending time with them, though he never spent much.

He entered the house as quietly as possible, and was disconcerted by how silent it was. After briefly checking every room in the house he gave up on subtlety and cried out, 'Strongh!? Liart!?'

When no reply came, a surge of horror swept through him, and his heart rate increased dramatically. He dropped his brief case and tore out of the house.

He had feared this would happen. Oh, why had he left them alone!? They were probably miles away by now, in a different galaxy even. As the minutes turned to hours, Jaliq shamelessly began to cry, his terror taking over completely.

He circled the house for the millionth time, when he heard a small cry of fear.

He froze.

The bush rustled ever so slightly, and Jaliq's worried brow slowly smoothed. Then, at lightning speed, he reached into the shrub and pulled out Strongh and Liart.

'Where were you?' He asked, trying to sniff subtly. 'I've been looking for you for hours.'

Liart turned desperately to Strongh; this obviously hadn't been his idea. Strongh's face had turned white as a sheet, and was nearly terrified as Jaliq's face had been only a moment ago.

'W-...' he began, cutting himself off. Then, after a glare, he finished, 'were outside.'

Jaliq's eyes widened, and anger surged through his body, mixing with all the worry and terror he had felt before.

'What language is that?' He asked.

Strongh froze, as he realised what he had done.

He couldn't say it was French - Jaliq knew French. And he recognised most Earthling languages. Jaliq was fluent in Zraiatormmaein, Latin, English, and Classical Greek, as were most well-educated people in the Scatorian Universe. Where could he turn? Strongh did not know as many languages as Liart; he was not meant to know any language Jaliq couldn't speak.

'Strongh.' Jaliq pushed, seeing his son's hesitation. 'What language is that?'

Liart sighed, seeing that Strongh had already given himself away. Jaliq clearly knew what language his son had spoken.

'Tell me!' He cried when Strongh still refused to answer.

Strongh flinched. Then, finally, he replied, 'it's RaJuno.'

Jaliq's intelligent eyes flickered with rage for a brief moment. Then, calmly, he asked, 'how did you learn that language?'

Strongh seemed to relax a little, thinking he would not be in trouble, and Liart sighed. To him it was perfectly obvious that their father was outrageously angry.

'Our friends taught it to us.'

Jaliq raised an eyebrow, and his eyes flashed with a very subtle anger. 'Your friends? What friends?'

'Our friends on the street.'

'And how long have you known these friends?'

Strongh thought for a moment. 'Since November.'

Jaliq's eyes widened. 'Four months!?'

Strongh seemed to finally work out something was wrong, and he nodded hesitantly.

'That's it,' Jaliq snapped, venting his anger a little more. 'Inside.'

Liart led the way, followed closely by Strongh.

Jaliq stood outside for a while, staring at the two children. He couldn't believe how easily they had deceived him for the past four months - four months! A deep sadness set in, and he tried to shake it off. He was meant to be angry. He was angry. But he doubted the boys would understand if he was just upset. Liart might - but Strongh never would. He had to be angry. For Strongh's sake he had to be firm, frightening even. He sighed deeply, and rubbed his eyes. He was crazy. Absolutely insane and foolish.

Then he went inside.

His hesitation had confused Strongh and worried Liart.

'He must be making up punishments for us.' Liart reasoned, shaking a little. 'Strongh, I told you this was a bad idea!'

Strongh frowned, though he knew he was guilty. 'Don't blame me! Once that boy offered to teach you RaJuno you were dragging me out!'

'Stop that please.' Jaliq interrupted, his tone threatening, angry, and yet controlled. There was a touch of warmth and sadness, Liart thought, but Strongh did not pick up on this. That was all right though - he did not respect kindness like his brother.

 The boys obediently stopped bickering, and their father eyed them sternly.

'Thank you.' He began, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. 'But that's not actually what I meant. I don't want you speaking RaJuno behind my back. If you're talking while I'm around I'm to understand it, hear me?'

The boys nodded, their eyes wide with a fearful suspense.

Jaliq walked round the table where they sat several times before shaking his head. Then, eyeing them singularly, he asked, 'what do you think I should do with you?'

The boys winced.

'What do you mean?' Strongh asked, speaking bravely.

'What do you think I should do with you?' Jaliq repeated himself. 'Strongh, if you were me, how would you punish you?'

Strongh hesitated. 'I'd... forgive me.'

Jaliq nodded, his eyes looking calm again. 'Fair enough. Liart, if you were me, what would you do?'

'The same as Strongh.' Liart replied quickly, hopefully.

Jaliq nodded again. Then, 'Strongh, how should I punish Liart?'

Strongh eyed his brother carefully. 'You should... take away Leo.'

Liart's face filled with anger and bitter disappointment, for he felt he had just been betrayed. 'This was all your idea!' He cried. 'I hate you!'

Jaliq clicked his tongue. 'Hate is a very strong word, Liart. Don't use it so quickly. Besides, you get to tell me how you would punish Strongh.'

'I'd stop his fighting lessons!' Liart cried, his eyes a little watery.

Strongh's face filled with anger and disappointment too now - he obviously hadn't been counting on Liart turning against him. 'That's not fair!' He cried. 'You followed me!'

Jaliq watched as the two fought for a while before silencing them. 'Enough.' He said sternly. 'I don't like either of your ideas. As far as I can see, it's perfectly obvious that neither of you can be trusted. And so, you need to be watched. But that would not really be a punishment, would it? So I have a brilliant idea: I'll send you to some-one's house, and you can work there all Saturday.'

The boys' faces fell immediately - especially Strongh's.

'Are you serious?' Strongh eventually asked, in complete shock.

Jaliq nodded, finally looking a little happier, though Liart could tell he was not. He smiled his sarcastic smile as he replied, 'why wouldn’t I be serious!? Working all day sounds a lot more fun than staying at home all day - oh wait! You weren't! Tsk, tsk. Looks like you'll be more than a little disappointed.'

He leaned forward on the table and gazed down on Strongh menacingly. Then, after a while, he straightened up.

'I'm very disappointed in both of you. I thought you'd understand by now that when I say something it is for a good reason.' His eyes flitted away disappointedly, tiredly, sadly. Even Strongh could pick up on these emotions, and he looked downwards, ashamed. Jaliq turned to leave, but was soon handicapped by his own grief. Without even realising, he muttered under his breath, 'a very good reason.' Then, exhaustedly, he left the room, closing the door softly behind him.

 

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