What the heck is a name like ‘Our Destiny’ supposed to mean? Is it a throwback to the hippy communes of the 1960’s, or is this the alternative to Hoth? At least the planet is green, not parched, and the man on the rock says I’ll find friends here.
Where Are the People?
As I approached the settlement, which lay on my left, the only buildings I could see were earth-colored, flat-topped one story adobe-style buildings that I guessed must be houses. Wide, short windows were located high on the walls.
That’s strange. If they’re houses, the people inside can’t see out. They’re about the right size for houses, but maybe they’re some sort of storage buildings.
The houses were surrounded by sparse, dry scrub brush. There were no lawns. The lush green grass I had seen along the highway outside the settlement had ended not far from the first row of houses.
If people lived in the houses, they were either all inside the houses or no one was home. I could see no cars, no lawn furniture, no toys or anything else that would indicate the houses, if indeed they were houses, were occupied.
Where is everyone? Maybe the place is abandoned.
I continued walking down the road looking for any sign that people were living there. I walked past perhaps eighteen or twenty houses, topped a small rise in the road and saw a larger, two story building ahead of me on the right. Tall, wide windows were visible on the second floor. As I approached the building I could see no indications that the building was occupied.
What’s that building? There’s no sign, no driveway, no people. So where’s the people the man on the rock said I would find? There must have been people around here not too long ago. Since there are fields of grass surrounding this town and only bare dirt and scrawny bushes around the buildings, maybe the dirt is polluted and everyone abandoned the place.
The man on the rock said to be careful, but that I would find people. Maybe further down the road. But I can see all the way to the mountains and I see nothing but grass. Maybe I need to walk between the houses on my left and see what I can find. Maybe everyone is hiding from me.
Beyond the houses next to the road I could see additional clusters of houses. There must have been a couple of hundred houses in the settlement. I turned and walked between the two nearest houses.
When I reached the other side of the two houses, I noticed a network of sidewalks winding between the houses, sidewalks that led up to what appeared to be doors on each house. The doors, however, had no handles or knobs, no keyholes and no windows. I decided not to try knocking on the flat, featureless panels. Perhaps they were not doors. Perhaps they were doors, but the people inside were not friendly.
If anyone is home, they’re not letting me see them. I think I’ll try going down the side of that house just ahead, sneak around the corner and see if I can catch anyone on the other side.
No luck. I snuck around the corner of four houses and still found only houses, sidewalks, scrawny bushes and hard dirt.
What a strange place.
When I was a little girl my grandmother told me “third time’s the charm”. In this case I got lucky on my fifth try. I slunk down the side of another house, almost touching its wall and stopped just short of the corner. I pressed my shoulder against the side of the house, paused for a moment and popped my head around the corner.
Across an open area that was surrounded by houses I saw a young woman. She was dressed in tan form-fitting clothes that appeared to be a uniform of some sort. She was not facing my direction and did not appear to see me. She scurried around the corner of one of the houses across from me.
I ran across the open space, trying to catch up with her before she disappeared. However, when I rounded the corner, she was gone.
She must have gone into that house through the door. Well, there are people here, but all of this feels off and kinda creepy. Why are they hiding? The man said to be careful.
I walked through most of the rest of the settlement and saw no one else, but found a building that did not look like a house. A wide curving sidewalk led away from the sidewalks between the houses, and continued between tall, dense bushes alongside a larger one story building that appeared to be constructed from poured concrete covered with small pebbles. The sidewalk led not to a door, but to a doorway, set into the wall of the building at an angle, which prevented me from seeing what lay inside the building without entering.
I walked as close to the doorway as I felt was safe. I could see that the interior appeared to be lit by the natural light that entered through the high windows that lined the walls. The small section of wall that I could see appeared to be made of the same material as the outside of the wall.
This is too weird. I’m not going in there. Maybe it’s a trap. What’s going on here?
A little spooked, I turned and hurriedly walked between the houses, back to the road, turning back in the direction from which I had come to Our Destiny.
When the road dipped and the settlement was behind me, I spotted a small grove of trees off to my left, set back from the road. I turned, walked through the deep grass and walked into the grove. The grass beneath the trees was short, like a thick, soft carpet. I sat down with my back next to a tree, facing the direction from which I had come and fell asleep.
I dreamed that Arn and I were walking, hand-in-hand through the lush fields of thick grass, laughing. When I awoke, I found myself lying in the grass next to the tree in the dim light of either twilight or dawn.
Guess I’ll lie here and wait to see if it’s getting darker or lighter. If it’s getting darker, maybe I’ll sleep some more. If it’s getting lighter, maybe I’ll walk back to the strange town and knock on a few doors. I don’t know what they’ll do to me, but the man on the rock said I’d be going back to him after I make some friends.
As the minutes passed, the sky grew brighter and soon I could see streaks of sunlight. A new day was beginning.
O.k. Time to get off my lazy butt and do something. I can’t believe I slept from afternoon ‘till dawn. I don’t remember ever doing that. There must be something strange in the air around this place.
I heard running water and soon found a small, clear stream nearby. Even though I wondered if the water might be polluted, I was extremely thirsty and needed a drink. I cupped my hands together, scooped up some water and cautiously tasted it. It was cool and almost sweet.
When did I have my last drink? Oh yeah, I had a huge drink after McKaren rescued Arn and me from the future of Hoth. How long ago was that?
After I’d had my fill of water, I headed back to the road and toward the settlement.
Is Anyone Home?
Let’s see if anyone is home today.
I walked past several houses, then turned and walked between two of them, heading toward the open space on the other side.
I don’t believe it. Yesterday I glimpsed one person. Now I see three at the same time, and they’re all dressed like the woman from yesterday.
Even though none of the three people, one woman and two men, acknowledged me, I was certain that all of them had seen me. I decided to follow one of the men. I followed as he walked along one of the winding sidewalks, then turned onto one of the sidewalks that led up to a house. He walked up to the door, laid his hand on it and it slid open. He stepped inside and the door immediately slid shut. It happened so fast that I never caught even a glimpse of what was inside.
The Men’s Bathroom
I decided not to try opening his door, but instead decided to follow another man I saw walking. That man was the fourth person I had seen in the space of a couple of minutes.
I followed the man to the building with the open doorway. As he approached the doorway, he turned, saw me behind him on the sidewalk, looked puzzled, then entered the doorway.
Should I follow him? Aw, what the heck, Tammy. Go for it.
I walked through the doorway, looked to the left and saw the man standing in front of a trough.
He’s peeing! I followed him into the men’s bathroom. How would I know? There were no signs or anything.
I turned and left as quickly as possible. I walked around the building to the other side, found a similar doorway and walked in. No one was inside, and there was no trough. There were two toilets, a shower, a drinking fountain and a sink.
This must be the women’s bathroom. But I still didn’t see any signs. Everyone who lives here must know which is which and doesn’t need a sign. Guess they don’t get many visitors.
As I exited the bathroom I spotted yet another man walking nearby.
“Excuse me sir. I’m looking for a friend and wondered if you could tell me which house is hers.”
The man stared at me for a few moments, giving me a look that clearly communicated “Who are you and what is a crazy person like you doing here?” then hurried away.
I found two more people, one woman and one man and said “Excuse me”. Before I could say more, they too turned and hurried away.
O.k. There are people. But they are very strange. Not exactly threatening, but strange. Maybe they don’t understand English. But even when I’ve been in countries where people didn’t understand my language they didn’t act like this. They said something.
Something is very odd in this place and I don’t think it’s me. I think I’ll check out that two story building with the big windows I saw yesterday on the other side of the road.
Who Are You?
I walked between the houses, found the road and walked toward the mountains until I reached the two story building. I walked around the side of the building, found a door and laid my hand on it. It immediately slid open and I stepped inside. I stood at the bottom of a wide stairwell that led to the upper level.
Well, this looks like my best chance to see what or who is in here. Maybe there are people in here who will talk to me. The man on the rock said I’d find friends. So far I haven’t found anyone who will even speak to me.
I climbed the stairway and reached a large landing at the top. On the opposite side of the landing was another door. I stepped up to the door, laid my hand on it, and it slid open to reveal a long, wide hallway flanked by doors. I stepped into the hallway.
I opened the first door on the right and found an empty room. I opened the second door on the right and found a large conference table surrounded by eight empty chairs. I stepped into the room and walked around the table. Hanging on the wall behind what appeared to be the head of the table was the photo of a man. Otherwise the room was empty.
“We’ve been watching you,” a voice announced. “Who are you?”
“Good. Finally I’ve found someone who talks. I’m Tammy. Who are you?”
“Where are you from, Tammy?”
“This is earth and we don’t know you.”
“You know everyone on the planet?”
“Yes, but we don’t know you.”
What the crap are they talking about? How can they know everyone on the planet? Alright, I’ll tell them where I’ve been.
“I’ve been in a stasis chamber, and emerged just yesterday. I’ve been trying to find someone who can direct me back to my laboratory. No one was present when my chamber opened.”
“Where is this stasis chamber?”
“Deep in a cave. I was confused when I woke up, but somehow I managed to get out of there and make my way to this town. I think it must be somewhere near here, but I don’t know exactly where it is.”
“How long were you in this cave, Tammy?”
“I don’t really know. It was an experiment to see if the stasis chamber really worked. I was supposed to be in there a few days. Someone was supposed to wake me up. Something must have gone wrong. When I woke up, no one was there. I don’t know what happened to them.”
The voice stopped talking. I stood in silence, waiting for it to say more, wondering if they’d bought my lie, or were preparing to take me prisoner or even kill me. They probably considered me a threat to whatever it was they did in this place.
A panel on the side wall slid open and eight men filed out and sat down in the eight chairs. I felt like a guilty person who had just met the eight judges who would decide my sentence.
“You need a chair, young lady,” said the man at the head of the table. “Take mine.”
He stood up and walked through the open doorway in the wall through which he had entered. I looked at the seven other men, all carefully, solemnly studying me, and decided to do as the eighth man had directed. A few moments later he returned to the room, carrying another chair, which he placed beside mine. He seated himself in the chair.
The Planet Will Eliminate You
“Now young lady, we want to hear your story. Where did you say you come from?”
“Sure, I’ll tell you anything you want to know. Where am I?”
“This is Our Destiny.”
“I wonder if it’s mine.”
“That’s what we’re trying to discover, young lady.”
“And if it isn’t?”
“That will be very bad for you.”
“Dead bad,” said the man sitting next to me at the head of the table. Everyone except me laughed, enjoying the apparent joke, the joke made at my expense.
“Why?” I asked.
My question was followed by peals of laughter.
They’re crazy. They’re the only people who talk and they’re crazy.
“If this is not your destiny, young lady, if you are number five hundred and eighty six, the planet will eliminate you, probably today or tomorrow.”