Somewhere Else Part 1

Somewhere Else

Yesterday was the four hundredth anniversary of Twitter. It is well known for all it has achieved: stopping a coup d’etat in Canada; starting a revolution in China; and assisting the Valikins with their first contact in 2164. It is now a vast database of information. Have you ever searched back in their records for posts in the beginning – 2007?

My great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandpa was an avid Tweeter and through the generations his tweets have been kept. I was looking back over them the other day and found one which has proven to be prophetic.

Lama Norbu was asked: If nuclear weapons destroy the world, where does consciousness go?

Lama Norbu replied: Somewhere else.

You’d have to dig deep to find the story but that statement has been proven to be true. Of course you may have noticed that the world hasn’t ended but the statement isn’t any less true.
Until 2164 the idea of ‘somewhere else’ might have seemed like a fanciful dream. Of course the idea of life on other worlds had been around since at least the late nineteenth century and I would say it could be proved mathematically if nothing else.

Two weeks ago the twenty-fourth Dalai Lama died. She was know as a great inspiration to the world and was, arguably, the first female Dalai Lama accepted by all but the most fundamental of Buddhists. It seems however that she had a very interesting sense of humour as the Dalai Lama has now been reincarnated as a Valikin.

I will not pretend to understand the process by which the Dalai Lama is found but I was lucky enough the to accompany the monks to see the new incarnation. We boarded a transport to take us to the Valikin colony 25,000 light years from Earth. It was a trip of just under three years which was advantageous, as when we arrived the Dalai Lama – should it want to take on the mantle – would almost be of an age to understand our request.
For those of you who don’t know I use the term ‘it’ as the Valikins don’t decide on their gender until they reach maturity at about fourteen Earth years.

I won’t bore you with details of the three year journey. Fairly standard as these things go, some months were spent in stasis, with others active enjoying the grand facilities on the ship. No matter what happened we would be gone for a total of nine years.

The colony planet had some facilities for humans but while we were down there it soon came time to head out into the streets. It is a rather a strange sight to see a group of Tibetan monks changing into complex environmental suits – these people, who have maintained their traditions for centuries, now putting on sophisticated equipment to meet the new reincarnation of their leader.

With any other group of people I might have been embarrassed to be wearing a thing that showed off the precise shape of my body. If my mum had been there she might have said that I would be ‘testing their celibate resolve.’

A recent survey said that only 45% of Sol citizens have a passport, so describing this alien environment should prove interesting. The Valikins have buildings that are thousands of years old and this planet wasn’t even their progenitor.

It is a desolate planet with huge craggy structures – with many holes across them as if peppered with machine-gun fire. These stood all around the colony and acted as sentry positions for the warrior breeds. These tentacled creatures fly over head watching all who walk, crawl and swim below.

We approached a small village. The mud huts all around us looked like the most unlikely place to find a religious leader. There was almost no sign of technology – aside from our small troop in their environmental suits.

“There,” Dorje, one of the monks said, “it’s that one.”

He pointed at one of the mud huts. To me it looked the same as any other but perhaps he had some sort of second sight – or he had simply read it somewhere. We came close to the door when the leader turned round to us and pointed at me.

“We do not wish to overwhelm her,” Dorje refered to the Dalai Lama by her last known gender, “you and I will go.”

“But,” I protested – I don’t know why. “I am not a follower, just a journalist.”

Dorje’s look was one of kindly wrath.

“All right,” I said.

I approached the door and knocked. I could hear movement inside and soon the door was opened wide. A worker-Valikin stood in the threshold. Her legs were stocky and her body was sturdy. Her upper limbs had grown bones and she could easily have lifted all twelve of our party.

“Hello,” she said. The voice emanated from a translation module on her middle neck.

“Hello,” I said, “we’re here to see…”

“M… my child.”

“Yes,” Dorje said as he stepped forward. He kept his head bowed and his hands together. The woman returned the gesture placing her limb ends together in a similar formation. She stepped aside to show her child standing behind her.

To be continued…

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