Fiction by Dennis Gilmour
Part 1 | Part 2
Valerie imagined her face must be pale; she was sweating and licking her lips. She hoped her physical appearance didn't give away her true feelings. After she paused for a moment, Valerie took a deep breath and tried to talk in a soothing voice, but it still sounded shaky. "It appears they are friendly."
It was the best she could do. She wanted to comfort her children but didn't want to lie either. When it looked as if Stephanie might ask some more difficult questions, Valerie said, "Khur-ak is going to talk now. Let's see what he has to say."
Stephanie reluctantly turned her head to see more. "It's about time," Nick blurted out. "I was beginning to wonder how much longer we had to listen to this stupid preamble."
The camera zoomed in on Khur-ak's face as reporters snapped photos. "People of earth, I bid you greetings in the name of the Balazon race."
"He speaks English!" Valerie said with amazement.
"I am communicating to you telepathically. My thoughts can travel the wavelengths of the transmission you are receiving and your mind can interpret them as verbal communication. My mouth movements will even appear to coincide with the words of your native tongue."
"Far out," Nick said.
"Quiet!" Valerie commanded. "I don't want to miss anything."
Nick defiantly huffed once and then made sure he kept silent.
"I come from a planet called Nerovan, many light years away. I am the leader of an innumerable multitude of beings like myself. We have many natural abilities humans do not possess. At will, we can selectively bend light rays and phase shift our bodies' molecules to become invisible and untouchable. We have an existence that never ceases--what you call immortality--and have been influential on earth in our wraith-like forms for millions of years: studying, observing, and guiding mankind's development as best we could."
Khur-ak took a deep breath as if he intended to ramble off a whole list of statistics but abruptly stopped short and closed his eyes for several seconds. "I am sensing a massive tide of thought-fear pulsating throughout my body. Please, we mean you no harm. Though we are highly evolved compared to yourselves, you need not fear us. Our minds are so advanced we could destroy this planet with a mere thought if we so desired, but we will not. Does this not demonstrate we are sincere? Why would a superior enemy come to you peacefully?"
Khur-ak closed his eyes again, took a deep breath, and held it, as if analyzing the aroma of some fine fragrance. Then he opened his eyes. "I can sense many are still suspicious. Let me tell you more about ourselves. Without need of mechanical devices, we travel the universe in search of life with the potential to evolve into higher forms such as ourselves. Once found, we help such life overcome the obstacles to their development so they can ultimately reach their objective--total freedom from physical constraints, what you call a spiritual existence or immortality. This is the highest form to which any race can evolve. With the attainment of such development comes freedom, peace, and joy I can't even begin to express."
Khur-ak stopped speaking and his face took on a contorted expression. "Oh, how I wish I could make you fully understand the joy we, too, experience helping other life-forms attain their awesome potential. You see, we discovered your planet millions of years ago, when the dinosaurs reigned supreme. Upon using our abilities to look into the future, we predicted a ninety-six percent chance the dinosaurs would continue to dominate the planet and cause the extinction of many species, including the rudimentary beginnings of man--the ape. But the dinosaurs had no evolutionary potential and wouldn't develop higher consciousness. So, we destroyed them by re-directing a large meteorite to hit the earth, which hurled dirt and debris into the upper atmosphere, blocking the sun, destroying plant and animal life, and lowering the global temperature. But as we predicted, numerous warm-blooded mammals, including the ape, survived the harsh climate. Many eons later, you evolved sentience and entered the dark stage."
Khur-ak turned his face violently to his left side as if some invisible foe had struck him. "I have just felt the pain of your rejection. In time, I hope to make you understand. The dark stage is that evolutionary period which we have found intelligent beings inevitably go through as they slowly evolve beyond their bestial natures and progress towards the fullness of virtual godhood. But they must battle against their animalistic tendencies during this time, a predisposition towards violence, selfishness, intolerance, and hatred. It is a time marked by wars, lying, stealing, cruelty, greed, and many other forms of what is generally termed 'evil.' The conduct of the evolving race becomes so reprehensible that in virtually all cases they eventually destroy themselves. My people, the Balazons, were a rare exception to survive."
Khur-ak stared into the camera and shifted his eyes back and forth as if searching for some understanding from his viewers. "One of the principal ways we helped you was to implant a conscience-bubble into every human born, a type of mind implant that tries to make one believe in 'God,' right and wrong, and life after death in a good place such as 'heaven' or a bad place such as 'hell,' based upon one's behavior in this present life. Many humans believe they have no religious tendencies whatsoever, as the implant exerts a very subtle effect on their minds; yet it is usually a sufficient hindrance, for most evolving beings, to inhibit unrestrained reprobate actions."
Khur-ak stopped talking and stared at the camera hopefully. Then he added softly, "Now do you understand? We chose not to openly reveal ourselves to mankind at large until humans had progressed intellectually to the point you have. Most will soon be ready to accept that there is no such thing as God. We are, in fact, the closest thing you will find in the universe to the Almighty."
Khur-ak gasped and jerked backwards in his chair. After a few seconds, he regained his composure. "Unfortunately, many people are presently unable to accept this. I sense many are hurt, confused, and feel betrayed by their belief systems. But I hope the majority will accept us in time. Please let us help you. We have prepared a way to make this possible."
Khur-ak leaned forward and, with as much earnestness as he could muster, said, "We are prepared to counsel privately each and every individual on the face of this planet. This is not difficult for us to do, for our kind count in the billions. If you are living in one of the poorer countries of the world, starving and diseased, we can help with that too. At this very moment, Balazon representatives are amongst all individuals on the face of the earth--cloaked and phased, of course."
Valerie slowly turned her head right and left but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. A cold shiver crawled up her spine, and her stomach started to ache. She didn't like the thought of one of them in her house.
"Neat, man," Nick said and jumped up. "Show yourself, spaceman! I want to get a better look at you!" He ran excitedly around the living room, as if hoping to get the first glimpse of the Balazon if he decided to show himself.
"Sit down!" Valerie commanded and grabbed her son.
"Don't you dare show yourself either," she said to the empty air. "I don't even want you in my house! Get out of here! Now!"
Nick, Stephanie, and Valerie froze, senses of sight and sound straining above the TV, searching for any sign of a Balazon. After a few minutes, Valerie looked at Nick. "Don't do that again."
"Aw, mom. Why can't we? We might as well talk to one. They're here anyway."
Valerie didn't care. She might not be able to make them leave her house, but she certainly didn't want to talk to one personally.
They took their places in front of the TV and continued to listen.
"Our representatives will not show themselves if you don't wish to see them. If you feel more comfortable with the TV, I will continue to inform you about us through this medium alone. However, I'm sure many of you have questions I may not think to answer. If you do, I encourage you to simply ask the Balazon to show himself and he can give you the individual attention you need. At any point in the discussion, you can ask him to leave and he will obey your request immediately." He continued to talk, explaining more about themselves and their reasons for unveiling to the world.
Valerie began to feel rather silly. Nick and Khur-ak were right. The Balazon was in their midst anyway, so she might as well talk to him. If the Balazon had wanted to do her family any harm, he certainly could have done it before now, and she had many questions she wanted answered; they still hadn't explained why so many people had disappeared. She couldn't totally shake the nagging fears from her mind, but after several more minutes of deep contemplation, she decided to do it. She was working up her nerve when Nick turned and pleadingly looked at her.
"Please can we talk to one, Mom?" he begged. "What harm could it do?"
"OK?" Nick said as he raised his eyebrows. He looked surprised but certainly didn't argue.
"I don't think I want to," Stephanie said. "I'm scared."
Valerie had to hold Nick's younger sister and comfort her. "It's going to be fine. I'll make sure nothing bad happens." They sat on the couch, Valerie in the middle, children on either side. Together, they held the remote control and pushed the "Off" button, a symbolic gesture of their unanimous decision to initiate personal communication. Then Valerie gave the invitation.
Chapter 1 from The Unveiling was published with permission from author Dennis Gilmour