He opened his eyes. There was a purple glow in the sky; it took him some time to gather his senses to recollect that he was at present lying in an unknown planet, light-years away from earth.
It’s been centuries since human beings have started to look outside earth for habitable planets. These days it was done more out of fun, adventurer spirit than necessity. Human beings have inhabited thousands of planets and most of them have not ever seen earth. All they know about earth is through stimulators.
He on the contrary was an earthman as per the definition of the galactic population. He has been born and brought up in earth till he was seventeen and his father gave him first shuttle as birthday gift. The next year he left for space. Utilizing the whole year for thorough training! Space traveling was easy like driving car in old days but the problem was landing, or landing in hostile terrains to be precise. That’s how most people vanished.
The landing in this planet was smooth, Helios his AI said the air was breathable. The climate was human friendly.
Something happened on his way down in the mini-shuttle; it unceremoniously ejected him out of the cockpit and promptly returned to the main ship waiting in the orbit.
He must have lost his consciousness for a while.
He gathered his senses and heard Helios’s voice on his wristband, “Are you okay?”
“Yes. Don’t worry. Check the mini why it threw me out please!”
“I already have, there is no sign of malfunction.”
“Are you lost earthling?” a voice startled him. He never even noticed her approaching him. Here she was, standing right beside him.
If she has not addressed him as “earthling” he might have thought that she was an earthling, because she looked exactly like one. A really beautiful one!
“No!” he answered. “I am a space traveler.”
“Oh! Venture cautiously in this planet. She does not appreciate hearts without love and respect for her much. Welcome to harmony- that’s what my planet’s name will translate to in your language.”
He looked around himself. He was sitting on white sand that ended in a jade green ocean, rolling gently. There was no sign of human life, or any life on the planet. On one side the ocean and on the other side the sand stretched till horizon.
“What’s your name?” she asked. “Mine is Swanii”
“Prabal.” He answered. “What does your name means?” he loved the musical way she pronounced her name. “Mine means coral; do you have coral in your sea?”
“We have everything in our planet that yours had before it became over polluted.” Swanii answered. “Swanii means song.”
“That’s a beautiful name!” he meant it.
“Thanks. You are my guest now. Will you like to have a short trip around my planet? I think that will be safe for you. I will tell you one thing though… don’t send any earthling here unless they come to visit… we are peace loving but very powerful species. We want our planet to stay the way it is now, that’s how it has been ever since we came to existence millions of years ago… you earthlings pollute every planet you step in. Sometimes the environment and sometimes the entire planet, by wiping out the local …”
“You knew about us before meeting me?” he asked.
“Yes. We observe all planets with life without interfering.” Swanii said. “Now get up and see how lovely my home is.”
He got up.
She was standing facing the ocean looking at something, he noticed it too, a small spec increasing in size in a tremendous speed.
It was a bird. A gorgeous looking bird with all colours of rainbow in its plumage!
It settled down on the beach. Swanii gently stroked its neck. “This is Melaka, a female, your ride for the lands.”
Another bird showed up and settled down besides Melaka. “This is Swaka, he is male, my ride.” Swanii climbed on his back with great ease and softly clasped a buckles around his neck, lose and comfortable, with two small straps to hold on to.
Melaka’s buckle was already in her neck.
“I was riding Melaka when you landed so ungracefully! I was waiting for you to regain your senses and see if you had any weapon…”
“I do have one very powerful…” he grinned.
“Then send it back to your ship. I know you can.”
He asked Helios to turn on the teleporter and beamed his gun up.
He climbed Melaka with great hesitation but she was as cool as cucumber and acted as if he has been riding her for ages.
“She is amazing!” Swanii smiled affectionately. “She bonded with me when I was three… I used to bother her a lot… you know how scary it is to fly in the initial stage… she never caused me a single trouble in return.”
Both birds started to fly. They flew together like a pair of ballet dancers, in absolute grace and harmony. He noticed Swanii did not make a single gesture, and he did not know what to do…the birds flew on their own notion.
The planet was gorgeous. The trees looked like autumn trees of earth, that is, the ones he has seen in pictures, these days only weed grow on earth surface, that too mildly poisonous, one will scratch for ten days if brushed by one.
The birds flew in a moderate speed; Swanii has asked him to wear his breathing cap to ease breathing. Breathing cap was a small cap that perfectly fitted on the nose and filtered, controlled the incoming flow of air. Most people wore it, even when they were out of home in their own planets.
“You don’t need one?” he asked her and she nodded in disagreement.
“Where are the people?” he asked after a while, unable to resist the question any more. They have travelled miles, but there was no sign of any house.
Swanii giggled, her beautiful face glowed with a pink flush. “We live inside the ocean! That keeps the ground clean and animals can have it freely.”
“Under the water?” he asked incredulously. “But …”
“Please be my guest for lunch.” She smiled. “Does your breather have water mode?”
“All the modes where human body will survive!” he laughed a bit.
“Then turn it on, we are going for a dive!” she smiled, “A big one.”
The birds started to land on ground, as if they could understand everything they were speaking.
“How did they guess that we are going to your home?” he asked.
“They can understand everything I am speaking.” She said. “That is what the bonding is… that is how we bond with our pets or companions…”
He closely inspected her nose when they came down from the birds, but could not see her breather. “Your breather can’t be seen! I wish I had one like them!” there was a tinge of envy and longing in his voice that made her smile again.
“My breather… I don’t have one, that’s why you can’t see it!” she said. “We can automatically breathe on ground, in water and space… that is we don’t breathe. We don’t have the respiratory system. The energy we need for movements and other body activities are generated by our hearts and brain. We have a very powerful brain my friend.”
There was a stirring in the water and a huge bubble popped up. Big enough for him to snuggle inside it, stand, sit may be stretch a bit too if the journey was too long. There was a seat inside it. It swam towards the beach and stood still at the edge of the water.
“Shall we?” she asked with a perfect bow and sweet, mischievous smile.
A door opened in the bubble and he entered it. She entered the ocean and started to swim beside the bubble as it slowly immersed deeper, he noted with envy that she was swimming as effortlessly as a fish.
The bubble stopped after reaching the ocean floor.
The door opened and he saw that it has attached itself to a passage; he walked out, Swanii entered from another opening.
“We discovered real soon that our ocean floors emanate their own light, like dusk or dawn, enough to lead a pleasant life down here, we can breathe in water but prefer living inside air bubbles. There are plants in our gardens that successfully transform the carbon dioxide into oxygen in a jiffy. Having three or four of those plants in a home is enough.” She gestured at a medium sized bush of deep orange colour. The plant was a beauty, a dazzler.
“Its flowers are fantastic too, so is the fruit and fragrance.” Swanii smiled at the expression of enchantment on his face.
“You can take some seeds and try them in your earth, they grow real fast. They not only absorb carbon dioxide but a lot of other toxic gases too, the more toxic gases it absorbs the more beautiful it becomes but sadly we don’t have too many toxic gases for it in our homes or towns. We have seen its magic by experimenting, by planting its seeds in various places like volcanoes, spilling with toxic fume, it survived and thrived. Remind me to show you when we are up on the surface again.”
The passage ended and they entered a small room, it looked like a drawing room with sitting arrangements, the enchanting world of ocean glowed like a magic world outside huge windows in the walls.
He could see shoals of fish like creatures or other animals swimming outside, in a golden light, clear and mellow.
“Those glasses… can they bear the pressure or attack?” he asked.
“Oh yes!” they are really hard. They are indestructible.” Swanii answered.
“Let me serve a Harmonian lunch?” Swanii asked, then added with a sweet smile, “It won’t bite or kill! I promise.”
He smiled. He was not fussy when it came to food, being born under the traveling star he has eaten the best and worst the universe could offer. He remembered trying a delicious looking fruit in one of the planets and becoming brain dead, then being rescued by locals who planned to have him for food.
Then there were those which were divine or unleashed hellish torment in the body. So, he could easily surrender to his charming host.
He noticed with great curiosity that the house had no doors, there were only curtains for privacy.
“You don’t need doors? You mean that there are no intruders or burglars?” he asked.
“No, the main door is enough to keep wild creatures away and people of Harmony respect each other.” She answered.
“I wish we could learn the trick.” He tried hard but just could not imagine a earth woman acting like Swanii did, picking up an alien, she has never seen before, taking him to a trip, inviting him inside her home with nowhere to run…his mind failed.
“Come, let me show you my little kitchen.” She walked towards one of the doors and he followed. There was a beautiful garden inside that small room, filled with plants laden with flowers and fruits; the room was filled with their fragrance.
“I could not smell a thing from outside, even when we were right on the other side of that curtain…” he said.
“Those curtains stop light, air from leaking out. If we want the fragrance of any specific fruit, flower we just make a vase or fill up a fruit bowl with them.” She said.
The more he was seeing his host the more he was getting charmed by her, she was beautiful, there was no doubt about that, but it was not perfection of limbs, it was perfection of her being, she was as free as a wisp of wind or a wave in ocean. She had the same seductive charm of them in every little gesture, smile, walk, talk… watching her was a delight beyond words. She held herself with a great poise, ease and dignity. Confidence glowed like an aura from her being, as if she was not afraid of anything or anyone.
She smiled a lot, and it lit up her face like a flower. Her soft hair, close cropped looked like a halo around her face, glowing like red wires in light, her eyes talked more than her lips, her face was soft, sensuous and she did not even tried to chain her sensuality, it spilled out of her like fire, glowing, burning.
When she was not talking she was humming, her voice was very sweet like the call of a songbird just out of sleep. A little incoherent a little clear… once in a while she sang out a line or two in an unknown language. She was walking around the room, touching one plant, tilling the ground under the other, apparently oblivious of the man who was staring at her.
“So what do you want to have?” she asked, breaking his trance, looking at him with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. He blushed a bit after being caught by her- staring!
“I don’t eat non vegetarian much, I prefer fruits and vegetables. If you want non vegetarian I will take you to my sister’s for dinner, you will love her cooking.” She said.
“I will eat anything you will serve. Your choice please…” he smiled.
She picked up some of the fruits and they made for the next room.
“It is time for me to take leave…” he said after eating.
“Where are you heading to?” she asked.
“Nowhere in specific… just roaming around, watching as much as I can, there is so much to see in this endless universe… may be one day I will reach the end ha ha…”
“You can never say.” Swanii smiled with him.
“Do visit me sometime… ” she tied a small watch on his wrist. “Keep it with you traveler, in case you are lost, in danger or want to meet me again… or simply talk with me…press this button and it will connect you to me, wherever we may be!”
She gave him a warm hug and a gentle kiss on cheek.
He was roaming in a new planet when his watch beeped, Swanii’s lovely face appeared, without a smile…”We have to talk…can you come here? Please…”
“How far are we?” he asked.
“That is irrelevant, if you want to come up here I will get you here in one minute and will send you back there in another.” she said.
“In that case… your wish is my command my sweet friend.” he smiled.
“Press that tiny pink lever.”
He pressed it, a portal appeared in front of him, he stepped into her planet.
She was standing on the same beach, with a very grim expression on her face.
“Did you tell anyone about harmony?” She asked.
“No…” then he recollected the distress signal and told her so.
“This fellow is from your planet… he showed up right after you left. I was not here at that time, I am much smarter, he met the sweetest girl of our planet, Melishia, she is a child of spirit, innocent, gorgeous and pure of heart… knows nothing about impure intentions.”
“This creature befriended her by his sweet talks, she took him under her wings and started to show him around the planet. Then, when they were tired, she fed him and they fell asleep, in the middle of the night he woke up and thought it was easy to abuse a woman from Harmony… he tried to grab her, as she was sleeping right beside him and instantly went into a coma…”
“Now, nature has given us some powers to fend ourselves, one of them is individual shield, which automatically guards us when we are vulnerable, and, only we allow who can touch us during those moments, this stupid creature lead by animal instinct never even knew what struck him…”
“We dont want any such creatures here… so… please ensure that this was the only one who got that distress signal and ask Melishia if she will revoke her punishing spell.”
“I think this idiot was the only one who got that signal, or else, they would have showed up by now… but he will remember harmony… wont he?” he asked.
“No…” Swanii said. “…and I know you wont remind him.”
“I wont” he said, “I can assure you that!”
His breath stopped when he saw Melishia- can a woman be so beautiful. He felt pity for the man lying on ground, how could he have the urge to insult such a creature.
“Please forgive that beast.” the words came automatically to his lip, he felt he was asking an angel for forgiveness.
Melishia giggled, her innocent laughter brought smile to both Swanii and his lips. “It is not your fault…I think he got his due… here, feed him this liquid after you are back to that planet. Please dont tell him about harmony, we dont like such creatures who are guided by ulterior passions.”
“Come again…as soon as you can..” They both stood watching him as he carried the unconscious man and walked into the portal.
He understood what Melishia meant after pouring the liquid in the mouth of the man. For twelve agonizing hours he writhed in pain, like a fish out of water.
“Where am I?” he asked feebly.
“In Astra89672, you were lying here unconscious when I reached here.” He answered.
“I was attending a distress signal…” he said before drifting away to sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED….