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Ghost Town: The Secrets of Remembrance

                                   Jonathon Pierce

The City of Remembrance stretched far off into the distance, its multifarious buildings and structures coalescing into the darkness of the cave walls. Iffley gazed at the splendor and wondered of its original inhabitants. He stepped lightly from the marble steps of the Museum. He had thouroughly searched its voluminous hallways, not finding the object of his quest.

Somewhere, in the myraid of reports on the city, lay a contradiction. He had read the triplicates many months ago, and their contents grew more and more muddled with time. He checked the Museum off of his mental list.

He continued down the cobblestone path, which, probably by sure chance, was named Remembrance Road. He passed by the Library of Remembrance, knowing that the incongruity could not possibly lie there. He turned the corner and stepped onto the sidewalk. An ivy-covered, majestic building stood impassively in front of him, the Hospital of Remembrance.

He entered the medical center, hoping to find the discrepancy. The entire Hospital was completely sanitary, not one speck of dust, nor one unsightly germ survived this area. Even the air tasted sweet and, most probably, was filtered to remove any harmful bacteria. He walked aimlessly down a corridor and reached a supply cabinet. He opened it effortlessly and scanned its contents. He rummaged through bottles and equipment he never would be able to understand. If only he had thought to bring the files on the city; but then, as the saying goes, hindsight is much more accurate than foresight.

His curosity sated, he left the sterile atmosphere to continue his search. He would have to return with Dr. Sharpe. The people in this city were even more advanced than the Academy's own medical program. He knew that Torque would certainly appreciate any aid to simplify his complicated field.

The roaring of the Waterfall seemed louder than normal; he must be getting closer to the waterworks. Yes, he would have to search that area next. Perhaps he would find the answers there.

*  * Skeletons *  *

Accardi-by-the-Sea, as well as most of the cities on T'mir, contained a very beautiful square. Many people took advantage of this square, which, in concordance with its name, was a perfect block situated in the center of the town. Dion was not one to overlook a free chance to exploit her hatred of Adena. She stood atop a statue and addressed a crowd on their lunch break:

"Friends, please listen to me! I have something very important to say to you!" She paused--several people stared at her--took a deep breath, and began her narrative, "Adena Ludit, as you will recall, I'm sure, is now in charge of the Alarius Space Fleet. How did she receive this great honor, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you: she stole it from Jonathon Pierce, your beloved leader. With Iffley away, it was an easy matter for her to take control of the fleet without Jonathon's assent.

"You may not consider this a terrible crime, but I do. It simply shows her avidity. She inherited her greed, you know, from her parents. And, while we're on the subject of relatives, perhaps you remember this fiend." She turned on a holographic projector, and an image of the Titan appeared beside her. A number of people gasped and mumbled to each other; more people turned and stared. "The Titan, yes, you remember him, tried to kill our beloved leader--and almost succeeded. This lunatic is a close relative to the greedy Adena Ludit. Do you want your fleet run by a stark-raving loony? Any moment she could break down...and then what would happen to Alarius, not to mention T'mir!"

The crowd seemed almost riotous. Dion had known that they would feel as strongly about this as she did. One nonconformist, however, shouted, "Where's your proof?"

"I'm glad you asked that," Dion replied--not that she was actually glad, "Adena's records are available to the public, one simply has to look them up." The questioner simply snorted and stalked off, apparently Dion's explanation was not good enough. The crowd stood up in disbelief. Dion frantically began to grab straws, "Listen to me! That lunatic is going to involve us in some war. Your children gone, destroyed in some unneccesary war..."

"The only thing unnccessary around here is you!" The nonconformist retorted. Dion had however made her point. She had planted the seed of doubt into the public's mind, knowing that it would soon spread and grow like weeds.

*  * Spirit *  *

The Fountain of Remembrance sparkled brightly in the lambent light. "On the left, ladies and gentlemen, you will notice the beloved Fountain of Remembrance," Iffley said in his best imitation of a tour guide. "To the right is the Canal of Remembrance. Far off to the right is the Another Canal of Remembrance. Off into the distance, is the Tall Building of Remembrance. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, directly ahead is the Giant Waterfall of Remembrance. In case you can't see it, it's next to the Sunbeam of Remembrance." Iffley laughed silently to himself, all these Remembrances were becoming monotonous.

He examined the Fountain. Its sparkling waters seemed to draw him in. He touched the water, sending a small ripple across the Fountain. The ripple reached the other side and returned. The water clouded, revealing Iffley's past:

Camille stood next to her hover car, a new, fire red sports model. Her red hair, brought to life by the wind, whipped around her face. Iffley stared quietly at the ground, not daring to meet her gaze.

"I have something to discuss with you, Camille. I'm sorry, but I can't see you anymore." His voice quivered, but he quashed his fear.

She looked as if she had been slapped, "It's another woman, isn't it? Tell me her name, Suralio. I want to meet the slut!"

"She's not a...Adena's not anything like that!"

"Adena?" She stressed the name painfully. "Adena? She's a mere child! Well you obviously have some growing up to do, Little Boy! I never want to see you again!" A tear streamed from her eye, and she angrily wiped from her cheek. She opened the door, entered, and slammed it shut. "Good-bye, Little Boy," she said and roared off into the distance.

The image cleared, but sound of the crash still rang in Iffley's mind. The argument had caused the crash; her death still tormented his conscious. He ripped away from the Fountain, seeking refuge in the noisy Waterfall. Almost magically, as he approached, the Waterfall vanished.

The discrepancy had been found. A Waterfall had existed, but where was its source, where did the runoff go? A hologram, he muttered to himself. Dion had explored this area, she would certainly have to explain her poor research. The last remnant of the hologram faded away, revealing a large mirror framed in silver.

"The Mirror of Remembrance," he mumbled to himself.

"Not quite," a small man replied, his white hair in concordance with his white robe." This is called the Portal of Remembrance. And you, if I recall correctly, are the Restorer. Allow me to introduce myself, I am the Caretaker of Remembrance, but you can call me Fred."

"How do you know that I am the...the Restorer?"

"Take a look for yourself," he replied curtiously. Iffley examined the silver frame. Various figures were carved into it. One image looked strikingly like himself, down to the Sceptre in his right hand. He followed the pictures, not comprehending their meaning.

"I don't understand. What exactly is it that I am supposed to restore?"

"Why the Universe, of course." Fred's eyes twinkled at him.

Iffley's radio beeped at him. He excused himself and stepped over to the Fountain. He inserted the antennae into his ear. "Captain Iffley, Adena is calling again. Its seems that the war has begun. She is requesting our return. Shall I reply this time, sir?"

"No, Mr. Thorpe, I'm on my way. Prepare to leave orbit. Captain Iffley, out."

He returned to the Caretaker and said, "I'm sorry, Fred, but I must go and save my little piece of the universe before I rescue all of it."

"Do not worry, my friend, the time is not yet right. Remember the frame and return when the time is right. To pass through the Portal at this time would result in the interloper's death." The hologram returned, leaving Iffley somewhat damp by the spray. Iffley wondered how the designers achieved a solid hologram. He shrugged his shoulders and teleported to the shuttle.

*  * Shadow *  *

The Scimitar sped off toward the scene of the battle. A look of worry spread across Iffley's face. 'Restorer of the Universe' rang through his ears. It was a great responsibility, being the universe's rescuer.

His thoughts turned to the war. He had left Adena all alone to fight his battle, he hoped that she would be strong enough. The ship lumbered slowly with the Rebellion in tow. He had been tempted to release her, but something inside told him that he would need her.

Two more hours until they reached the battlezone. Something did not feel right about the war. Despite his motives for winning, a dark shadow seemed to loom in the distance; this shadow, he knew fortold of disaster.

 © 1985, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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