Friday, July 29, 2022

Emerald of Earth – EPISODE 28 Emerald and Daniel...and Inamma

THE STORY SO FAR: Emerald Marcillon’s parents excavated artifacts in the Chicxilub Crater that point to a long-ago alien war that spilled over to Earth. Inamma, an alien AI survived the war and will kill to retrieve the artifacts. When assembled, the AI intends to create a weapon that will destroy all of Humanity – thinking we are descendants of its ancient enemies. It murders her parents, but Emerald escapes and is taken to the SOLAR EXPLORER. The crew, aware of the origin of the artifacts, plan to protect her from Inamma. Emerald who is a preteen who lives with autism. She holds the key to the artifacts and has made a few friends…and Inamma has also found her…

(If you like what you see, share this link with a friend! This is where the story starts -- Season 1, Episode 1 is at the bottom:

Emerald called Ayaka and Izegbe on her ipik and told them to meet them. They were waiting near the family units on Level Three when she and Søren got there, half-holding, half dragging Daniel. She half-expected security or Bridge to have sent someone, but it was only the five of them. The three of them were all still suited up, so the girls stepped back in alarm when the bolus opened.

“What’s going on? You smell like smoke,” Ayaka exclaimed, waving her hand in front of her face.

Emerald said, “Can we go to one of your units? We have to get Daniel out of his suit.”

Ayaka and Izegbe looked at each other. Ayaka said, “My place. Mom and Dad are at the lab.” She led the way half a kilometer down the corridor, stopped and opened a unit, standing back.

They moved Daniel into a wide living room ringed with a couch and scattered low, square, red chairs and sat him down. Søren and Emerald went out into the corridor, stripped out of their spacesuits then came back in to Daniel to help him out of his. He let them, not really helping – but not struggling, either. Still dressed in brown long johns soaked with sweat, Emerald and Søren sat on either side of Daniel, who stared straight ahead at the muted 3V which was scrolling news.

Eyes wide, Izegbe said, “What’s wrong?”

Søren said, “He was trying to start a firestorm in the cane fields! It was like he was a zombie...”

“Inamma,” Daniel whispered.

“What?” Izegbe asked, leaning forward.

“Inamma,” Daniel breathed then slowly fell backward until he was slumped in the chair. He started snoring immediately, the other four staring at him.

Emerald felt cold inside, as if something with a temperature lower than ice had slithered up her spine and wrapped around her neck and wrists and ankles, chilling her blood. She whispered, “Inamma.”

“What’s that mean?” Ayaka asked. Søren and Izegbe shrugged. She glanced at Emerald, who stared through her, rigidly up. Emerald said loudly, “House? Define ‘inamma’.”

“The word does not translate into English from any of the common lexicon of four hundred twelve Earth languages.”

Ayaka said, “House, this is Ayaka Kobayashi. Check my mother’s etymological database and cross-reference.”

Søren raised his eyebrows and said, “I thought your mom was a physicist?”

Ayaka rolled her eyes. “She’s a closet linguist. Does word origins in her spare time, for fun.”

“She plays with words for fun?” Søren said.

“Shut up,” she snapped. “What happened? I thought you were just flaming the cane today?”

Emerald and Søren started to talk at the same time. Søren stopped and held his hand out, palm up. Emerald started, passing the narrative to him until they’d got it all out.

“Wasn’t Bridge monitoring?”

Emerald and Søren looked at each other then at Daniel. Søren said, “They talked to us before we started, but we never heard from them after Daniel tried to start the firestorm.”

“Colonel Berg didn’t show up?” Izegbe asked.

“No, him neither,” Emerald said. “He was there at the beginning...”

House interrupted, “The word has its roots in Indo-European, a phylum of languages which in prehistoric times, on Earth, was spoken by a hypothetical people whose language forms the basis for several hundred languages found on most of western Eurasia. The word ‘amma’ is root for several words such as ‘mother’ and ‘amateur’. In this case, it is also the root word of the Latin, ‘amicus’ which has the dual meaning of both friend and with the prefix, ‘in’ means...”

“‘enemy’,” Emerald said.

“What?” Izegbe said.

Emerald shook her head but couldn’t bear to say what she was thinking. What if the sound she’d heard on Level Twelve really HAD been the knife-footed monster that had killed her parents at the Chicxilub excavation…she stopped herself, then thought, HOME? What if it wanted something from Mom and Dad? Something like the boxes of artifacts? Why would it want them? What if it was out to kill her? The thought was too terrible, too frightening to consider. She stood up and started for the door.

Søren stood up, “Emerald? What’s wrong?”

“Everything’s wrong!” she cried. “It can’t be here!” She backed away and the door opened. She stumbled, spun and sprinted out of the unit and into the corridor.

Izegbe ran after her, a few paces behind, saying, “Emerald? What can’t be here?”

Emerald ran around the curve of the hall, stopping at a metal door in the wall rather than going all the way to the bolus. The door was stenciled with the word “INTERDECK”. Izegbe was a few steps behind her and cried out as Emerald touched the lit panel. It slid aside, revealing a ladder where she shinnied down from Level Three to Level Two, came out in Yangtze and ran through Mississippi into Nile and to her unit.

She was trembling as she said, “GADI, lock the room, turn on full wall 3V to a jump game, play loud music, turn on all the lights, increase temperature to thirty-five and don’t ask any questions. Respond affirmative or negative.”

“Affirmative,” said GADI. Sound, light, image and heat flooded the unit. Tears turned to sobs as Emerald fell onto her bed, rolling over on her back, sobbing for her dead parents, her loneliness, great aunt Ruby’s busyness, the strange boxes locked away somewhere in Dr. Viahakis’ laboratory. Then she wept for leaving Earth behind, falling in the manure pit, Daniel’s handsome helplessness, the humiliation of her trip up the Beanstalk, Søren’s kindness and finally the possibility that Ayaka and Izegbe might be her friends.

It wasn’t long before the others followed after her. They pounded on her door, keeping it up for almost half an hour. It took everything she had in herself to ignore them. But she did after saying, “Increase volume of music.”

It was easy to call in sick the next day.

And the next.

When one of the paramedics called over the 3V, she didn’t have to fake being sick. She had a fever of just under thirty-eight and she had thrown up twice. GADI confirmed it. The paramedic nodded, confined her to quarters but sent several pain relievers – and a really, really sweet drink. Emerald didn’t mind chugging that but she skipped the pain relievers. For a second her heart raced remembering that the knife-footed robot was on Level Twelve, hiding.

“No, it’s not. That’s impossible.”

GADI said, “What is impossible, Emerald?”

“Nothing,” she said. Her door was locked. GADI maintained a low-level scan inside the room, so she should be safe from the robot – Inamma, she thought.

“Name your fear to destroy it,” was what Mom used to say.

Even so, she couldn’t sleep. She stayed up late watching a regular jump tournament. Then she got an ipik call. She recognized the caller.

“What?” she asked.

“This is Izegbe. Tune the 3V to 901.3.” She hung up. What would be on that channel? She knew the usual ones by now. Scowling, Emerald ordered GADI to do it, shocked when the image formed. It was inside something large but definitely potato-shaped. Its rocky walls were randomly plastered with squarish, metallic grids that glowed brightly or dimly.

Pryzhok!” she whispered. It was the banned, teen Jump tournament Izegbe wanted to do. She realized she’d seen kids dressed for it. She’d discovered the thing up on Level 12. Bodies dressed only in skin-tight ship suits in neon colors – four people on a team -- leaped and reached out to touch the glowing grids. Sometimes their feet or hands came down hard on the grids, sometimes they were deflected by them. “Gravity grids.” Each player carried a pole with a net on the end and they all chased four small, glowing pucks that they flung back and forth, repeatedly aiming for one of four black holes rimmed with a thin white light. While each team was trying to capture its sprite and youfoh and fire it down the hole, the other teams were also trying to capture their sprite and keep the other three teams from scoring.

It was fast and dangerous. She heard five screams, two wails, and an uncounted number of curses watching for twenty minutes. It was over too soon and she was stunned to realize she’d enjoyed it. She’d even forgotten about the robot stalking her. She sent an ipik message to Izegbe that said, “Thanks! Green rules!”

Izegbe sent a text-only message back, “Bwahaha.”

Guy Stewart is a retired teacher and counselor, with science fiction for young people and adults published in ANALOG Science Fiction and Fact; podcast at CAST OF WONDERS; and in CRICKET the Magazine for Children. For links to his other online works, go to For an interview with me about EMERALD OF EARTH, try this: