"Computer," Stanley said, "boot the archive systems."
An entire section of the walls lit up near them.
"Systems loaded, Colonel Rogers," The auto-voice announced, "What would you like to search for?"
"Load briefing presentation 6A9" The colonel said, his voice steady, but Zade could sense a lot of uneasiness rolling off of him. He wanted to learn about Blue Moon,and already had a thousand different questions in his mind, but he decided to keep it to himself, as Zade thought he would have his questions answered in the briefing he was about to receive.
"Presentation loaded. Voice authentication required for starting." The auto-voice said monotonously.
"Valhalla" Stanley said.
"Authenticated, please proceed." Instantly, a hologram projected itself, and displayed right in front of them. Several screens came floating next to it, and the hologram divided itself into the various screens. Then, on one screen, a video started playing.
In that video, a bespectacled man stood behind a podium, with various officials seated behind him. In comparison to the technology Zade saw in Valhalla, the surroundings on the screen looked ancient.
"We have the solution." He was saying, "We will repopulate the citizens on the new planet called Blue Moon." And then, the sound of applause filled the screen.
"Zade," Colonel said, "The current year is 1001 PED. But before PED, or Post Earth Desolation, the last year that was marked was 2120 AD. Almost half a century back, Earth's scientists working in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had discovered that the star present in the Solar System, the "Sun" as they called it, had unexpectedly started giving out less and less heat and light energy. There had been a global change in temperature. The project was sealed-off, with only the top government officials all over the world being informed of the matter. The ordinary people took little notice of it, blaming it on various other factors."
One of the screens lit up with various reports all packed onto it in a congesting manner. I had trouble reading all of them, but I could make out a few catch phrases like 'Earth gets "Cold Feet"'.
"For the next several years, several plans were made for saving the human race from extinction." Colonel said. "One of the scientists working on it was Dr. Aaron Schmidt. He proposed the construction of an artificial planet for evacuation, which would have an artificial atmosphere that provided the necessary warmth and environmental conditions needed for life to thrive. The plan got approved, and for the rest of their time, they transported construction materials from Earth to the needed destination, which, with achieving speed beyond that of light, made it easy. Finally, in 2110 AD, the constructions were completed. They began revealing the information in public, and that's when all hell broke loose."
A new screen, wider screen appeared, showing various reports, and soundless video clippings of riots breaking out in many areas.
"The International Government decided to evacuate only .001% of the entire population of Earth, which was only a million people. They were divided into two groups of five hundred thousand each. One group were supposed to consist of those people whose genetic structure had been modified for the purpose of achieving the ability to manipulate various reactions and states of matter to get control over substances like water, ice, air, fire and the ground. This was an experiment carried out to ensure that there would be those who could manipulate the surroundings to protect their fellow beings from any harm they could face in the adverse climate of the new planet, should anything go wrong."
"So the Valdorians we saw earlier today-"
"Yes, they were part of the first group. They were trained to be unbeatable when it came to combat arts for the preservation of human history and the various cultural skills. They were trained to fight with swords, scythes, daggers, spears, and any possible forms of bladed weapons. They also used their kinetic abilities to compliment their combat. The second group comprised of scientists, engineers, pilots, soldiers, and the portion of the population which was considered to be adept at technological and scientific skills. They were launched to Blue Moon, as the planet was then named, in several hundred space shuttles. However, that was when catastrophe struck and the climate of the planet became severely unstable. Earth's atmosphere became ravaged by savage winds, so lethal that the humans were forced to delay their departure. But the planet was heading closer to being torn apart, so the scientists had no choice. They approved the departure."
On Zade's right, one of the bigger screens lit up. It played a video, and he watched it closely. It was showing the spacecrafts launching into the sky. Then, out of nowhere, an extremely strong wind, accompanied by lightning and strong raind started flowing in the stratosphere, and several of the crafts fell apart under the sheer force of the gale. Zade watched with shock how more than half of them fell towards the surface, while many of them exploded in midair.
“The only ships that survived consisted of only the second group. Only a dozen odd ships remained, and they wasted no time, for, as soon as they exited the exosphere, they went into hyper speed.” Stanley said.
“They reached Blue Moon several days later, and landed at the base camp, which was the foundation of Valhalla, named after the legendary hall of Odin, the Norse God of Lightning, and king of Asgardian gods. It marked the beginning of 1 PED.” Stanley said, and then, the images reeled, showing construction going on.
“After half a decade, the city was completely built, and the residents started living in peace, for the next hundred years, where the population of Valhalla grew. The adjustable climate was better than the sun. For ease, it was modified to resemble the conditions on Earth, with three hundred and sixty five days to make a year, and seasons like summer, winter and so on. It was beyond perfect, beyond what the people on earth hoped to achieve.”
“Then, the unthinkable happened.” Stanley muttered.
On the main screen, a clip started to play. It should several small objects approaching Blue Moon. Then, the images magnified, and Zade felt a chill go up his spine. The objects were none other than the spacecrafts that had been destroyed a century ago. But here they were, heading at full speed towards the planetoid. While they were entering Blue Moon, one of the ships collided into something on the way in. After the object was fried, the whole color of Blue Moon disoriented. It became from a sparkling blue to a dark blue with black.
“The object that was hit,” Stanley said, “was one of the three main atmospheric stabilizers. The destruction of the stabilizer resulted in drastic changes in the climate of Blue Moon. What was once a utopia had now become an icy land of death. The people of the ships, ancestors of the Valdorians of today adapted pretty quickly, thanks to their genetic modifications. They landed at the present location of Valdore, and set up their camp over their by raising icy boulders and melt them according to their will. The Valhallans, however, decreased in number when the cold became too unbearable. Only the strong survived. Then, we modified the city to start generating heat from all buildings, roads. The clothes were made to be light and warm. Slowly, Valhalla adjusted, but still had to address the issue of the Valdorians.”
Stanley paused for a second, and then started again. The images rolled on, showing a contingent of Valhallans meeting the Valdorians.
“Valhalla sent our strongest battalion of soldiers, accompanied by the chief officers to negotiate a meeting with the head of the Valdorians. They agreed to meet the Valhallans only if the meeting was held in Valdore. The officers, seeking knowledge about the bizarre miracle, agreed.”
The images changed, and now, it showed all of the Blue Moon representatives seated in large room, around a round table.
“The Valdorians said that they remembered falling towards the surface of Earth, but the next thing they knew, they were on route to Blue Moon, as though nothing had happened. Many people tried to come up with a suitable explanation, but none succeeded. The Valhallans and Valdorians agreed to help each other out, as they were the remainder of the human race. For the next 400 years, the citizens of both cities helped each other out, though the stabilizers couldn't be fixed, nor could they rebuild it, for the original coding of the whole planet’s program was deep in its core, which was now encased within a sphere of ice several hundred kilometers in diameter.”
“But then why were they-“
“Patience, Zade.” Stanley said.
“The root of the war we are in,” he said with an edgy voice, “is because of this.” He motioned him towards the bigger screen.
Another clip played. This time, a smaller, much faster object was heading towards the planet. As it entered, the object was magnified, and it seemed like a comet, but upon closer inspection, Zade realized it was a….a person. A man, by the looks of it, encased within an icy aura. It impacted the planet with such a force that a crater was made.
“We didn't know what that was, Zade” Stanley said, and I could detect some nervousness in his voice. “To both the Valdorians and us, it was a mystery. Pretty soon, the person, as we thought him to be, attacked Valhalla. He had the same capabilities as the Valdorians, Zade. He wielded a sword, black as night, and single-handedly, brought down destruction upon Valhalla. He also had a peculiar characteristic, Zade.” He looked at me, and I could have sworn I saw fear in his eyes.
“Unlike most Valdorians, who were blessed with geokinesis, he had the ability to manipulate ice and shadows. Our records state that he didn't have a face, that it was wrapped in shadows, and that those who saw it, went mad instantly.”
“The man didn't stop. He attacked Valdore next, annihilating the entire city. His control over ice was what made him unstoppable. Pretty soon, both Valdorians and Valhallans decided to join forces to fight him."
"They named him Thanatos, after the Greek god, for he was as cruel as death. Thanatos was attacked from everywhere."
Stanley sat down on one of the chairs. He sighed, but Zade motioned him to continue.
"But all of a sudden, the Valdorians turned on us, and killed many of us," He said, a bit fazed."Thanatos escaped, never to be seen again, while Valhalla attacked Valdore with missiles, and killed a large portion of its inhabitants.”
The images on the screens changed continuously, showing photos of the ruined city of Valdore.
“Since then, we have been at war with Valdorians. Over the next 540 years, there was a long struggle between both cities.”
“Then, about 20 years ago, Thanatos appeared again.” At this point of time, Stanley’s voice brimmed with nervousness.
“What happened?” Zade asked, his curiosity at its peak.
“He attacked Valhalla yet again, but this time, we blasted him with our most powerful weapons. He was seriously injured, but that did not stop him from killing so many of our soldiers. My own son, he was…”
Stanley stopped, and Zade finally understood why the Colonel had become so morose. It must have been difficult for him to talk about this.
“His face was still wrapped in shadows, but for a split second, I saw him smile. An evil smile that leaked with malice. Then he did something he never did before. He talked.” Colonel Stanley looked at me, his expression unnerved. “I will return, once I heal. When I do, you will wish you were never born. You will pay...for your crime."
“For the next twenty years, we secured Valhalla, and waited for someone with cryokinetic powers to appear. Five years ago, four children came to Valhalla. They said that they sought shelter, that they were Valdorians, and that they ran away from Valdore because of cruelty. Their names were-“
“Cameron, Gia, Tyson and Elizabeth.” Zade cut in, remembering the names that Stanley had said to Ray, the leader of the Valdorian fighters.
“Yes. Ray, the man you saw today, wanted them to come back, but all of them were much happier here, and Ray found that unacceptable, so he started yet another fight. All four of the youngster fought against him, and drove him back. And he never appeared again, until today.”
Stanley stopped, and looked at Zade. “How did you fight so well with the sword?”
“I don’t know.” he said.
“I have every reason,” Stanley said, “to believe that you are a Valdorian. You definitely fight like one. But if you don’t remember, then I suggest that you train with Cameron and the rest.” He snapped his fingers, and all of the screens went back to their original positions.
Train? Zade had barely been there for two days, and he was being recruited into some kind of special team.
But he didn't want to refuse. Zade had gotten shelter here, and had fought for this city. Until he regained his memories, he thought it was the most logical thing to do.
“Okay.” Zade said, exhaling deeply. “Where do we begin?”
“First, I must introduce you to some people. Follow me.” Stanley walked towards the staircase, and Zade followed. He punched a few commands, and the door lights went out, leaving the room in darkness.