In my travels through space and time, I often happen upon certain anomalies...odd cycles of events that seem suspiciously similar...frozen lessons woven into the fabric of time, each reflecting on the others in a seeming conspiracy of history to finally get it right.
The current situation on your planet reminds me of such a similar one, another story from a galaxy far and farther away than you can imagine...in a different time altogether, and on a separate plane of existence. But as an eyewitness to these events, I cannot allow them to fade into galactic history without a respectful retelling of the drama known in the ancient scrolls as the Quest for the Crystal Princess. It is the story of a man, a group of men, and an institution. The institution of Honor.
From the dust of eons prior, a telling or a tale, whichever you so wish. A story of war, an endless war, and an ongoing series of ceaseless battles between booty-hungry have-nots who craved to be kings of the galaxy, and booty-laden haves, who ascended to short reigns as kings of this nebula or kings of that globular cluster. It was the way of things when the multi-verse was young.
The planet of O (its ancient name was actually "OH", but modern man so liked his shortcuts) was ideally located in a mineral rich corner of the Meyer Nebula in the outer rim of the Midwestern Solar System, and had seen glorious days of prosperity throughout its existence. O's ugly twin planet of Mich (to the celestial north) had seen its day as well, but as of late, with the decaying orbit of Mich's tiny moonplanet of State, a collision was imminent in the next million or so solar cycles. O's single moon of Io had been stabilized long ago, but the greater problem for all concerned was the central suns of the Midwestern system itself...suns that were on the verge of going super nova. The devastation would level a dozen or more of the nearby solar systems, a disaster of immense proportion to locals...but cheered on by the likes of the Esseessee Cluster, the current king of the globulars. Destruction of the Big Ten or so systems in the area only made it easier for the more animalistic species inhabiting the Esseesee to retain the power they had recently put a stranglehold on. From one fighting clan to another within the cluster, power changed hands only to change hands again. And with the prestige came...the power of the Crystal.
The Crystal Princess.
She was not quite human, and well, not quite like any of those who pursued her. But she alone held the power to reverse and heal the Midwestern crisis. That was undisputed. It was already a proven fact that she could alter the very fabric of reality! Her origin was unknown and shrouded in mystery more ancient than the earliest tablets could tell. Her people were said to have been nomadic ghosts who dwelled in the dreams of dreamers. And that she was the lone survivor of the ancient ones. The legend had been passed down that the ancient ones were yet in search for the ultimate good in the multi-verse, and once coupled with her unique powers, would transform the entire multi-verse itself. This last Crystal Princess patiently waited to use those powers...powers that must be used only for good...and by the pure. For so long, the princess had dreamed of releasing that awesome power to simply one people...someone who would be worthy of the responsibility to lead the united multii-verse in benevelont authority. Alas, none of her captors had fully met those ideals...except one. The one called Buck...from the besieged planet of OH. The princess had once seen the valiant honor in the man, and his "peace through strength" philosophy. She had been able to peer inside the inner heart of the man, and then, quite unexpectedly, had fallen hopelessly in love with the dashing young commander from Oan.
But that was before. Before she had lost him. They had had such precious little time together, and now the princess was a perpetual prisoner, a captive for those powerful enough to take her for the promise of the outward things she brought...wealth, fame, success. And sometimes graduation...to the next plane of existence...the Nebular Fanticle Layer of consciousness...or the NFL...where warriors were richly rewarded for their prowess.
But her dreams...were filled with...Buck.
Where was he?
On Planet O...many a hero had marched forth under that unfurled Scarlet and Gray banner. Wealth had once been a given, and O's talented and happy inhabitants had enjoyed the pleasures, and also the notoriety, that sustained galactic success had brought. There had always been a target on the Oan's backs, and although the Oans were internally a peace loving people, the way of the galaxy was violence. O had maintained a healthy balance with all those in and near the Midwestern system, interspersed of course, with a necessary battle here and there simply to remind others who the boss must be.
But that had all changed with the invasion of the Sabanites of the Elephant Trunk Nebula from the southern Esseesee Cluster. Along with their fellow Esseeseeans, including the grossly ugly reptilian race known as the Ghaytors, the unholy creatures had captured and held the Crystal Princess, ensuring all those things she so effectively brought. They were the current masters of the galaxy. Their reign was cruel, their judgment swift.
The Oans had thus tumbled from the heights of acclaim in the galaxy, even though the wealth and living standards had seen hardly a drop-off. All the Esseessean races looked upon planet O with disdain, many claiming that if "the pathetic O" had been a part of the Esseesee collective, that they would've been seen as mid-tier citizens at best! There was a steady stream of ridicule and mockery aimed at the proud people of O. Some Oans were nevertheless content with the lessened prestige, and instead, reveled in their local victories among the other planets of the Midwestern system. But these were considered short-sighted, and most of the Oans were fully aware of the danger posed by the intergalactic invaders...a danger that would not go away without a fight.
These Oans were the ones who passionately hated the droning chant of the Cluster's clones: "Esseesee! Esseesee! Esseesee!" They detested the conspiracies created and sustained by the cluster's alliance, always on the alert for some new and sinister weapon of attack.
But for one hero on Planet O, there was more to it than that. Much, much more.
You see, that hero, the one they called Buck, had met the love of his life...the most stunningly beautiful princess in the seventy-three inhabited galaxies. Her name was Crystal, known to all as the Crystal Princess, and in beauty and character, she was virtually unmatched. And he had fallen in love with her at that long ago victory when he had rescued her from the Warriors of the Southern Tempest, semi-demons so fast they were called "hurricanes". But alas, she had been lost again, and Buck's mission in life was to find her and hold her in his arms once more.
And of course, he knew she held the only cure to the certain destruction of his own home system. The power to heal the Midwestern System. ]
Yes, she did at that.
But now, for two consecutive stellar cycles, she had been held captive by the evil Sabanites, who paraded her around as one would display some kind of trophy, flaunting their ability to keep her imprisoned in a location openly known to all. Sneering pride was the way of the Sabanites, and they gleefully dared any and all to come and take her. And some had tried...with distasterous results. Crystal's captors were heartless and cruel in their treatment of the princess, forcing her to watch the final battle in her cage, and when any warrior race opposed the cluster openly, and thought to embark on a quest to rescue her, the Sabanites were swift to destroy, and along with their fellow Esseeseean allies, often obliterating entire civilizations in their wake of destruction. The galaxies were sufficiently terrorized, and tribute continued to pour in from all corners.
So the breathtakingly radiant Crystal sat manacled behind a glass cage, the "pride of the Esseesee", dreaming of that brief taste of love in her life...the brave and heroic Buck from Planet O. All she could do was to look to the stars.
But Buck had not been idle. Nor had he been Billy. (ok, that was just silly)
For several cycles now, Buck had been gathering the strongest and the fastest of warriors together with the intention of taking the Sabanites down. He believed his time to strike was now. However, the Esseesee Cluster had spies everywhere, and Buck's plans had become known to the collective. They were not going to sit and watch as the former masters of the galaxy strengthened themselves for a run at the Sabanites. The Cluster was infamous for employing others, mercenaries, to fight many of their battles. The strategy was to weaken and discourage all opponets, so that by the time the strongest enemy had fought through the maze of battles leading to the final one, he would be a battered and weary adversary, and ripe for defeat.
Buck was painfully aware of that fact, as he had prostituted himself to the Cluster in his youth. But today's Cluster had even more. They enjoyed the support of the Galactic Media Coalition, which they had successfully implanted with a number of mindless automotons, tirelessly spewing out the party-line of the Cluster. The media clones were grown out back in the globular swamp constellation, and once mature, had successfully infiltrated the Coalition leadership. The only drawback of the cloning technique was that each clone lacked a developed lower torso, and consequentially became known as "talking heads". Occasionally, an immature clone was released unintentionally into the wild, but would be easily identifiable by the clone's inbred tendancy to incessantly wear the undergarments of the native female species (on extremely underdeveloped lower torsos, no less).
Buck and the Oans were mindful of the last attempts to dethrone the Sabanites. One upstart species, the Manziellians, had actually won an isolated battle, but were nearly destroyed in the aftermath brought on by the talking heads of the media coalition. It was an aftermath of...signature proportions. The Domers had come close enough to touch the princess, even glimpsing her on the sidelines of that last great, uh...not so epic...battle. And soon, they too were sent limping back to their home planet of Golden in disgrace, embarrassed by the humiliation of facing the full wrath of the Sabanites unleashed.
Buck had begun his plans quietly enough, but there was no amount of war-like activity that would escape the eyes of the Esseesee.
Once the plans of Buck and planet O were discovered, retaliation was certain. The Esseeseeans first tapped a hapless race in the nearby Buffalo Triangle, only several light years from Midwestern, and tasked them to be the initial spearhead of the campaign against the Oans. The attack was set for the 31st of the Augustian cycle.
And as we time travelers like to say... “the rest is, was, and will be...history.”
So if it be your pleasure, fellow Buckeyes, and the local collective wishes it, allow me to bring the untold story of those individual battles and the incredible Quest for the Crystal Princess to the forefront of your minds as your month-cycles move forward.
I will return with a Prequel and then the very first chapter within the next few Sat-cycles, as I must take my TTM-3000B in for scheduled maintenance.
The Time Traveler