Raza – Composition and Instrumentation, mixing, story and cover art
Fariha – Videography, story and editing, production guidance
THE COSMIC LIGHTHOUSE
This is an interstellar story, about a rebel, a young delinquent, whose destiny was to save the universe. Our story is set in a time, long, long, long after you are reading this. Hell, it’s so far into the future, I don’t even want to waste time pronouncing all those zeros and mega numbers.
The world the ancient human beings had built had crumbled long ago. A variety of threats had done their share in finishing out the human inhabitation on the planet Earth. Some say the meteor that started another ice age was the biggest factor. Others supported the pandemic theory of novel viruses. Irrespective of whether it was the moon collapse or the death of the sun that wiped out the ancients, the fact of the matter was that that world was no longer there.
The ancients had set forth several expeditions to various habitats in well meaning, endearing efforts to sustain the conscious bags of chemistry that was themselves. Several such efforts, in the shotgun approach for contingency planning, proved successful. A select group of humans with an established chain of command had been physiologically deactivated, corporeally preserved through physical and chemical means, and sent out onto potential planets to establish population.
These colonies, like seeds of humanity, took with them the technology and knowledge to continue the evolution of man and machine. Fast forwarding a few billion years and side stepping a few million light years, the successful seeds of humanity had flourished into highly technological and supremely evolved beings. A new breed of human, known as ‘Homo relicum’ walked the planetary surfaces as the night time sky showed the ongoing formation of the Milkdromeda galaxy, the Milky Way, colliding with its neighbor, the Andromeda, where home once was.
Homo relicum was a species much better suited to its new environment than the ancient strains of humans. Each having ample time to evolve to its host planet, the different varieties had developed adaptations though evolution that better allowed it to flourish and maintain its hold on the planet. Some had developed a higher tolerance to cosmic radiation through the development of a thick external keratinous layer, while others evolved to have external reproductive mechanisms such as expelling eggs which were then incubated. The different subtypes of Homo relicum, spread across the various planets however were still classified as one singular species, just different sub-types.
The one thing had they all did have in common, however, was a strict regime. Yes, this was your standard oppressive future dystopia. The once microscopic colonies of Homo sapiens, now having evolved into Homo relicum mega cities were a bastion of brutal looking dystopian architecture. Unwavering, unemotional, unforgiving, the greyscale squarish slums littered among futuristic complexes of the mega cities as far as the eye could see. Some short, some tall, some stocky, others slimmer, all equally ungiving in their brutal lines and sharp angles, juxtaposed sharply among rounded, hyper spherical buildings of modern times.
Emotions were frowned upon in this dystopian future. The experiences of good and bad were considered unnatural. The society, having started out with specific chains of commands, retained this division of labor and it reflected strongly in the type of work everyone did. Assessments and work assignments were a common feature when creatures reached a certain of maturity. Although by no means perfect, it seemed to work for the majority of the population, which had evolved into a subservient set of utilitarian robots.
Promoting this stance of mindless worker bots, was the ruling bodies. Chemical means of mental suppression and neutrality, although not mandatory, were highly encouraged and made available for free to anyone who wanted. “Neopills”, containing a cocktail of tranquilizers and antidepressants, were a state sponsored solution to staying sane and obedient. The only form of entertainment was state approved media, which was enduringly bland and devoid of any major emotional content or any conflicting messages. If this sounds very close to authoritarian space communism gone haywire, then that’s because it is.
One such brutalist dystopia, was the megacity of Argandia, a planetary size megacity composed of sectors and divisions. Argandians were perhaps the subtype of Homo relicum whose evolution was the least drastic from the ancient humans. One could argue that they almost looked exactly like the ancients. Argandia could be roughly divided into core districts, where much of the law and order were kept and the slums, where those that did not fit into the middle of the bell curve or society lived.
The redemption of the universe begins with the tale of the iconoclast mentioned at the start. The young lad in question, Vesper, lead a fairly non-conformist life in your standard oppressive future dystopian society. Here we see him going about his morally and legally ambiguous activities as fate ensnares him into its trap.
==================================Part 1: Syzygy=================================
Vesper was out again on one of his joyrides, having lifted a vehicle from one of the underground downtown parking spots, he was enjoying his latest adrenaline rush. Although too experienced to draw excessive attention to himself, he was a bit inebriated this afternoon. The intoxicants combined with the view of the 3-moon system conforming into an upcoming 3 body eclipse that the astrophysicists had predicted, had put him over the moon, pun intended.
He swerved on the roads and annoyed other drivers, played some loud music and smoked. He stuck his head out the window to enjoy the breeze as it went by and littered the roads with various packaging of preserved food items. He continued his joy ride from the one downtown core, where he had lifted the vehicle, towards another, each downtown core separated by slums as the districts changed. Reaching the outer limits of the core and approaching the slum suburbia, he eyed the digital gauges of the vehicle and realized he would soon need to get some biofuel. Not one to waste money on things like fuel, he decided to hold up another car and siphon over some purified biofuel. This was the slums district and the chances of getting caught were pretty slim.
He parked the vehicle in the middle of a small suburban slum road and waited to catch his prey. In about 15 minutes, another vehicle, having almost collided into his, stopped and the driver looked around angrily for an explanation to this inconvenience. Vesper pulled out his cellular dehydrator gun (also stolen) and stuck up the driver. As he ordered the driver to take a tube and transfer over some thick sludgy fuel, he didn’t realize what a stroke of bad luck he had just ran into.
The driver being held up was the son of a particular senator and known within the tabloid world to be a hot-headed mess, much to the chagrin of the senator. As the fuel started pumping, the influential son reached for a knife hidden within the waist of his clothes. With the corner of his eye, Vesper saw the driver approaching closer and his instincts took over as he reached for his hand. In the ensuing fight, Vesper being much more physically capable, the senator’s son was stabbed several times with his own blade.
Much more shockingly, sirens of law enforcers could be heard approaching the scene before Vesper even had a chance to catch his breath post-murder. What he didn’t know was that this was a route that led to, and was very close to, a secret harem of sorts that the senators sun and his crooked enforcer friends had kept in the slums. The son now murdered, in the middle of the street and enforcers approaching, Vesper was out of luck.
Long story short, a quick and vicious arrest led to jail, enforcer torture, beatings, a pre-decided trial and life incarceration. Many months went by in this (close to a year in fact). The daily enforcer beatings and torture was intermixed with a cold cell, starvation, deprivation and screams of other inmates. Every now and then a court hearing would take place where his own representative would speak against him. Vesper, remained quiet through all this. He was not aware of who or how to defend himself and neither did he have the means or resources to do so even if he had the knowledge. He resorted to quiet beatings, having forgotten what his own voice sounded like.
Ultimately, at the end of the trail, the judge offered the senator a favor. The senator did not want Vesper to get the easy way out by being sentenced to death. He wanted him to suffer like his deceased sons’ actions had made him suffer. He wanted to make a public spectacle out of it to gain as much sympathy support as he could from constituents and political pillars. In the benefit of all involved, it was decided to sentence Vesper to isolation. This had the effect of making the senator look humane while he maintained his support, all the while Vesper would be justly punished for his crimes.
This particular form of isolation within this society served a dual purpose. It fulfilled an essential job to the colonies that was otherwise not considered fit for law abiding citizens and the criminal served their time in the form of extreme isolation and desolation. Vesper was to be taken to one of the interdimensional lighthouses and left there for his sentence as he served as the lighthouse keeper.
===============================Part 2: Consternation==============================
Vesper recalled being in a vague dream like state as he was told what he was supposed to be doing at the lighthouse to atone for his sins against society. The lonesome job of maintaining the lighthouse equipment was explained to him. The schedule of the schedule of the argand lamp aero beacon fueling, the basics of interpreting the dial readouts of the Cosmo-nautical equipment, the labor of the general upkeep of paint, sanitation etc., all laid out for him. All this he agreed to perform as part of his sentence. He was going over the highlights of these memories as he sat at the back of the cold prisoner holding area of the transport ship.
Dumped in a little clearing near the lighthouse, he was so taken aback by his surroundings that his body did not even register the gust of wind from the transport ship’s thrusters. He had been thrown into a neon nightmare. The lighthouse was perched on top of a small grassy area with rocks around the side. The grassy area was circular in shape, connected to a larger circular area that was higher up and was topped by a dizzying diamond pattern of hexagonal grid lines. On the other end of the grassy area, was a staircase that led down to a small dock which had a long, narrow jetty going out all the way into nothingness. Viewed from above, the entire arrangement resembled a Mandelbrot fractal pattern.
This arrangement was fitting as this 3-circle island, was out all alone, floating among the cosmic sea. This isolated island was located in a very specific and particular fold of space and time. All the dimensions from all the multiple universes came together to meet one another at his point; one could say the fabric of space-time was folded and stitched in this place through all its layers and dimensions. This was a cosmic no-man’s land. Time stood still here and space collapsed in on itself like an infinitesimally large pancake. The lighthouse served as an aid to navigation for those travelling between dimensions (a quick way to traverse between the various Homo relicum colonies). It was essential to interstellar travel, preventing travelers and ships from ending up in the wrong dimension or an unwanted part of the universe. Without the lighthouse, an inexperienced traveler could easily lose their way around the space-time bend.
The space surrounding the Mandelbrot fractal-shaped lighthouse island was equally as impressive and queer. It had the surface texture of calm, soothing sea from a classical painting, but the body, color and contents underneath of deep space. Stars of varying brightness, cosmic clouds of variable densities and other space oddities were contained within the soothing waves of this cosmic ocean with its gentle undulating sloshing of tides.
As time stood still in this cosmic stitch, the world would not go by as Vesper served out his sentence. He would return to society, in fact, the same as he had left it and very little time would have passed between his coming and going. For him though, a lifetime would have been drained out of him upon return. Best he thought he should start making himself comfortable as he would be here a long time. As he approached the lighthouse, the eccentricities of the landmass he was on jumped out to him equally as strangely as the macro picture of this Cosmo-nautical niche.
The shrubbery around the lighthouse was strange and magical. It had a transparent quality to it but the outside skin was glowing neon, much like a jellyfish under light. The flowers seemed to be moving to the random rhythm of an invisible breeze with little colorful meteor like glowing circles with tiny tails instead of flowers. The entire scene looked like something out of a cartoon fueled subconscious dream. And it was about to get even weirder as Vesper approached and entered the lighthouse door.
The inside of the lighthouse was an Escherian fever dream. The inside was dark, dimly lit from the outside, and damp. Ropes of well-aged cobwebs were visible in the cosmic light. The inside walls, made of large, square stone bricks shone with a slick, velvety quality. The circular, somewhat suffocating landing immediately inside the entrance door drew the eye straight up towards the ceiling and the view was obstructed by countless staircases.
The heavy, medieval castle inspired staircases went every which way. Some running along the narrow walls, others running into each other, a few turned upside down, all crisscrossing, haphazardly placed in a spatial mockery of the geometric possibilities. The lighthouse itself was placed dead center of the space-time fold, giving the inside this fantastical puzzling appearance. This was, in technicality, one giant staircase, but as it traversed the various astral planes, sections of it were arranged according to the dimension they occupied. Ultimately, going up the stairs, felt about as normal as climbing any regular set of stairs, and led to the top of the lighthouse.
The cold eeriness inside the lighthouse, the dim lighting and the overall unkempt state, combined with its multidimensional awkwardness creeped Vesper. He felt a sudden panic rising in his chest as he reached for a nearby section of the wall and braced himself. The weight of this strange place and the eternity of his sentence came down upon him like a ton of bricks.
============================Part 3: Cassandra Complex============================
As Vesper grew into his lonely routine of maintaining the lighthouse, he grew familiar with the various Cosmo-nautical equipment located within the control room. He formed a routine to keep himself busy, learned the ways of the lighthouse and was slowly absorbing the hum and thrill of the electrical quantum equipment that he was responsible for cleaning.
The control room looked like a circular studio from hell. Large analogue panels plastered the circular walls. Dials of various colors and sizes were interspersed among a mosaic of meters and needles. Some meters seemed to jump up and down randomly, others refused to move from their steady value. Light and indicators completed the wall artwork that were placed carefully between the meters and dials. Small lights among large dials and large meters among smaller dials, this room was a quirky homage to analogue cosmological equipment, a museum of dated, state of the art equipment.
The various analogue modules that made up the measurement equipment were beyond his basic understanding of his orderly duties; however, his training did include the acute observation of one particular module. This particular module, called the ‘diaphone sidechain detector’, was an uncanny and unusual bit of hardware. Having the outward built of a large tape machine, it was a solid, sturdy, squarish machine. The face of it was covered in a variety of meters, some circular, some like distorted rectangles, and dials and knobs of varying sizes. A large dial in the middle with a meter on top seemed to control the most critical setting on this thing.
Of particular importance, as per his training and duties, was a small black module located atop of this brutish monstrosity. It had a pair of analogue voltage meters placed side by side, glowing in an ominous yellow back light with an assortment of black dials and knobs placed in a symmetrical pattern around them. The biggest dials being directly underneath the meters and getting progressively smaller as it went around the edges. It was Vesper’s job to keep an eye on the reading from those jaundiced meters and inform along the appropriate channels if the meters ever peaked into the red readings. This was critical.
The diaphone sidechain detector was an analogue piece of equipment made up of quantum parts. At the core of the operation, was a purified elemental substance, whose particles were in quantum entanglement to the particles of another sample of the same substance. Existing within the sidechain detector as waves, the sidechain detector continuously monitored the state of the particle-waves and then erased the measurements using a bastardized version of the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment. The output was displayed on those sickly yellow dials. Essentially, the detector had a counterpart (containing the other substance with its entangled particle-waves and opposite spins) and its sole job was to show that both detector units existed by displaying that the particles were continuing to exist as waves and that the spins were uncertain.
This served a sort of interstellar, long-distance fire alarm that sounded if one of the units ever got destroyed, forcing the other set of particles to conform to a certain spin and lose their particle-wave duality, solidifying as particles. This spooky action at a distance served as an alarm bell that ensured that the other unit was intact and functioning. The other unit in question was placed inside a similar cosmic lighthouse, at the polar opposite edge of space. The other lighthouse at the other side, served the same function as this one, but from the opposite end of the stellar fabric.
One particularly quiet and dreary night, Vesper lay sleepless in his beddings, staring out the port towards the endless black sea, asteroids running by. The hum and sub-sonic vibrations of the equipment above him was the only thing he could hear. His mind formed a natural rhythm to the waxing and waning purr of the transformers. Out of nowhere, like a shriek of a sine wave, he heard one of the equipment alarms go off. Glad for the distraction, he jumped out of bed, paraded naked into the control room and proceeded to see what went off. After a bit of confusion filled looking around, he observed the spools on top of the diaphone sidechain detector spinning wildly. He instantly realized some bad shit was about to go down. He picked up the nautilus phone and dialed the number he had been given incase this thing behaved like this.
Instead of earnest, momentous acknowledgement, the call resulted in mocked reprimand to be quiet and do his job. He was informed that his information had been noted and would be passed on. He was told to ignore the alarm for now and was told that they had also picked up on the alarm and it was a malfunction and not anything of significance. Growing up in the slums, Vesper had developed a strong gut feeling that he had learned to trust and listen to long ago and this gut feeling told him that something was amiss.
He pulled out a thick binder on a nearby shelf, which was to serve as a written version of his training manual, and started wildly running through it, looking for places and people to call that his nautilus phone would allow. He found and tried in earnest several numbers, with little to no results. Some refused to entertain his call, others gave him a halfhearted acknowledge with a promise to follow up on it. No matter what he did or who he talked to, the sinking feeling in his stomach refused to go away. Perhaps it was the alarming sound of the machine among the deathly still quietness, or perhaps it was the loneliness in his mind wanting to do something to prove he existed and mattered, he wasn’t quite sure.
Shortly, before this had ensued, a grave incident had taken place at the other end of the Homo relicum colonies, many million upon millions of light years away, where the other lighthouse was homed. Unbeknownst to the outer colonies, the entire Homo relicum habitation zone, millions of light years across, located near the Norma cluster of galaxies (also known as Abell 3627), had run into a massive stellar storm that engulfed groups of galaxies as it moved. The storm comprising of a massive blackhole at its core, surrounded by a hurricane of space debris that were the remnants of galaxies and star systems that had been shredded.
This giant space hurricane, was in fact the next birth point of the universe, the great attractor. The very central strut that held up the universe, around which everything had been spread out. This was the point where the next big bang would take place, the point where the universe would begin again, where the navel of space-time was in the form of a massive black hole umbilical cord. This point of universal insemination was also the very shredder that was going around engulfing everything in its path back into itself, preparing to implode into another cyclical big bang.
As it swallowed the little Mandelbrot shaped island on the other end, it destroyed the integrity of the diaphone sidechain detector and set in motion the alarm on the other entangled unit, across time and space, faster than the speed of light to warn the other end. The entire Norma cluster of galaxies was about to be sucked into the singularity.
============================Part 4: Insurgents Anthem============================
Vesper was not sure what to make of this. One of his top duties as the lighthouse keeper was to raise the alarm if something like this happened, yet his words fell on deaf ears. Perhaps it was his reputation as a felon, perhaps his way of talking, maybe he wasn’t clear enough in communicating what he was seeing. He felt he had done his job. All the while, he could not shake a feeling of deep uneasiness from the pit of his stomach. He wasn’t sure how to go about his duties after this and decided to ignore this for the moment and try again at a later time.
A few days of uneasiness had passed by which time he was able to put that incident behind him and train himself to ignore the flashing alarms and lights of the sidechain detector. If he could read the Cosmo-nautical equipment, a large dial in one of the corners would show him a gradual increase in ground vibrations as the literal space around him was increasing in quantum vibrations gradually from the approaching storm.
One stellar evening, as he sat at the edge of the lighthouse platform with his legs hanging off, enjoying some preserved food something immensely strange happened. For a very brief movement, all space around him was filled with intense white light, a light so blinding that nothing but pure white was visible to him. And as soon as the flash had happened, the light disappeared, but left in its wake an oddity.
A class 3 Galleon battlecruiser had apparently just crash landed next to the lighthouse. It was not extensively damaged and was fuming slightly, having the sudden alertness of a vehicle that had just swerved away from an accident. Vesper immediately got up and started staring at the thing. He was not quite sure how to feel about this. A mixture of alarm and concern filled him while the other half of his mind was wondering if it still worked and he could use it to escape this wretched island. Before anything else could be done, a door on the side of the solar vessel opened.
As the ship’s door opened, over the next minute or so, a strange assortment of creatures came out. It was a gang of relicum humans, different varieties, like a sampler pack, they assembled and took home on top of the platform. It appeared that a malfunction aboard the ship had caused them to make an emergency landing on this lighthouse island, however of much more interest was the crew who introduced themselves to Vesper. This was to be the turning point for our protagonist, this was where his destiny met him and showed him what he was in for.
Over the next few days, as Vesper helped the crew repair the ship, they got to know each other. The crew, as it turned out, was a ragtag team of scientific intellectuals, a rogue group of scientists that had picked up on the alarm of the approaching destruction that was about to wipe out the relicum colonies across the multiple galaxies. They also had been equally ridiculed and disregarded from their respective circles. At the moment, most readings were within range as the storm was far off and just at the edge of the outer colonies. The black hole storm absorbed all signals that were thrown towards it and the lack of reflection was taken as signals travelling out into deep space by the scientific community. These bright minds however were against the general consensus and had the keen intuition to pick up on micro patterns and deduce what was coming.
The team consisted of 6 individuals. Gaia, a slender purple skinned female with red cat like eyes and a background in astrochemistry and space architecture was the chief engineer abord the pirate ship. Her people had developed this particular form of coloring to survive against the cosmic radiation that bombarded their planet. Their vision was broader in the spectrum than any of the other relicums; they could see in parts of the spectrum no one could and were known to have x-ray like vision. They were used to surviving in harsh, hot climates, and hence had long lost the ability to sweat and loose moisture from their scaly skin.
TriAndromeda, a ghostly white female specimen was the ship captain. Trained in forensic astronomy and psychology, she was the leader of the pack. Her deep of the black of her jumpsuit was matched only by the blackness of her hair, stark in contrast to her pale white skin. With sharp, angular features, her kind was known to be the practitioners of mental arts. They had long since developed a collective consciousness and a central repository of all memories and knowledge. They were known to possess telekinetic abilities and have the ability to read minds.
Next up was Monoceros, the astrobiologist. A large, squat muscular male, Monoceros looked like he was made of rocks when seen from a distance. His people were known to be the people of the earth. They worshipped nature and its power, harnessed the power of plants, potions and extracts. They, in essence, were spiritual chemists.
Magellan was the chief scientific officer of these planetary pirates. Although by looks, he resembled Vesper and the ancients, Magellan’s people had developed powers that could only be compared to wizardry. Through the use of physical and chemical trickery, nano-quantum technology and who knows what else, Magellan was the wizard in house.
Leo, as his name suggested, was the bravest one among them all. King of the universe, Leo and his people were the guardians of the galaxy. They had evolved to obtain unnatural level of strength. They guarded the outer realms of the colonies and were the knights of their time. No one dared agitate them and their mighty roars-maintained order in the colonies.
Lastly, was hydra, a true freak of cosmic Darwinism. This sub-sect of species was ambiguous in their sex and not much was known about them. They tended to stay among themselves and communicated with each other through the use of touch. They were very cerebral creatures that preferred the solitude of their minds. Outwardly, they looked like a fish out of water, with grey scaly skin that was a direct result of the marshy swampy conditions of their home planet. Hydra, on account of his background as a theoretical physics and astronomy, was the navigator.
Vesper helped them repair the ship, having some skills with engines and craft repair. As different as these individuals were compared to him, they shared the common goal of stopping whatever it was that was coming for them. They also shared their rebellious personalities and a willingness to go against the majority vote. Before they left, the space pirates offered Vesper a spot aboard the ship as the mechanic. Vesper, eager to get off the island and do something about the feeling of unease in him, gladly accepted.
===============================Part 5: Arc (Outro)================================
The ship hurled through an ocean of nothingness towards the other end of the colony. It crossed space-time barriers through its use of sophisticated technology and took with it its cargo of rebels. The occupants sat tight and planned for what lay ahead. Everyone onboard realized that no matter what they did, this would have to be a suicide mission. They prepared themselves mentally, blocked out the things and people they once loved and knew. They knew they were headed for the great eternal darkness, a gallant sacrifice that had to be made for the survival of their race, before it was too late.
The stars stretched out into lines in their view from the ports. They found joy in the little things, among each other’s company, in small jokes and pranks as the ship sailed effortlessly through the sea of antimatter.
What to know what happens next? Stay tuned for the next album, where we will conclude this story in its second installment
Raza – Composition and Instrumentation, mixing, story and cover art
Fariha – Videography, story and editing, production guidance