Patricia and The Zygorg
Written by Xavier Clayton
Twenty years ago, my planet was destroyed. I was the only survivor out of 14 billion 348 million inhabitants. I luckily escaped from the war on our last spaceship. It sat on the edge of the western landing field, and I ran to it as the red domes were being attacked all around me. When The Shagards started bombing our Icicle Towers, I knew. I had to get out immediately. Now all of our supplies were gone. There was no time to look for my wife, my family, or my friends. We were being massacred and I had mere seconds left before I too would have died.
For years, I floated in space with only the reserve supplies I had on board to sustain me. Not knowing where I was going or if I would be rescued, the food I had, I rationed. There was easily enough to last me for quite some time. Our eight-leveled ships were big enough to hold a crew of hundreds – and often our exploratory missions lasted several months.
But still, I missed companionship. I missed my friends. My wife and daughter. I missed my planet. On Thebsus, I would walk to the purple lakes and look at the sky. Sitting down beside them, I enjoyed watching the orange and green clouds float by. I remember how I would gaze up at our three moons – Kravar, Voltan, and Sa – and see flocks of silver Kleitrons fly across the horizon. In the red dome we lived in, I could see three mile-high Icicle towers in the distant blue desert. My life was simple and I was happy, until the war when The Shagards wanted our planet of tri-breeds annihilated.
The years I drifted in space were the loneliest of my life. I longed to speak to other Zygorgs again. Each empty, eventless day seemed eternally repetitive. Time was taking me into an infinite abyss of nothingness.
Since I am part-Android, I easily programmed the ship’s sensors to search for life in the vast Universal Void. Yet the silence they echoed back each day only made me feel lonelier and more desperate. I found myself spending all my time just looking for other – hopefully friendly – life forms. For years, I was an intergalactic nomad. A lonely part-alien, part-android, part-mortal wanderer with no home to return to. I learned how dark a place outer space is. The countless stars and constellations are beautiful to see, but the planets and moons containing life are extremely rare.
Then one day, my scanner beeped. One solitary beep sent instant shock and wonder throughout my entire ship. It meant that there was the promise of Life somewhere nearby.
The beeps were sparse at first. But as my ship flew on, they became more frequent and louder. I had forgotten how long it had been since I had programmed these numerous radars – and I had completely forgotten to expect something this exciting. I was thrilled and immediately reprogrammed the tracking system, so that beep would guide me to it. The beeping accelerated over the next days until I looked out into the vast darkness and, with my hopes extremely high, saw a little blue planet with a singular moon. I had homed in on something that was teaming with Life!
I flew closer. From my ship, I took a multitude of tests on its climate, temperature, and gravity. Its air was very close to the air Thebsus had. “I could breathe down there”, I thought. But more importantly, the dominant inhabitants looked like me, acted like me, and seemed to have friendships like I once had. I was surprised. Like Zygorgs, they all had two legs, two arms, two feet, two hands, and a body. I was hovering above an unknown sister planet.
Finding this unique place could not have come any sooner. My supplies were running short and I would have to soon go down there to find food. I calculated the hundreds of similarities our planets had, as well as their handful of differences. It had rivers but instead of purple — theirs were blue. It also had clouds, but instead of orange or green – theirs were white, gray, and sometimes pinkish. Yes, this place was beautiful – but it was different. The biggest worry I had was, I did not know if they would accept me. Days later, I could wait no longer – I had to go. The only other choice was starvation.
My food had completely run out and I was feeling very weak. So one night, I landed my ship outside of a city. There were few inhabitants out at this time. I walked into this large settlement, trying to avoid being seen. All I wanted to do was to get some food and get back to my ship. I had seen the inhabitants throw their food away in large green cubic containers behind their tall, rectangular, multi-tiered living units. So that was the first place I went.
I saw three of these green waste deposits at the end of an alley and rushed to them. I opened the first one and started digging through the garbage. I tore through the many black plastic bags, tasting everything I found. It all went in my mouth and I chewed as fast as I could. But nothing was good. Nothing satisfied my voracious hunger.
Suddenly, behind me I heard, “Give me your money!”. I turned and there was an inhabitant about my height and size pointing a black metal weapon of some kind right at me. He was wearing a black ski cap, black sunglasses, and a long black coat.
When I turned and looked at him, extreme shock immediately appeared across his face. He was horrified. Maybe it was my three yellow eyes that surprised him. I then tried telling him nicely that I was a visitor from Thebsus and that my planet was destroyed by Shagards. As friendly as I could, I said that I was just hungry and I wanted to look for some food. But when I began talking, he dropped his weapon, covered his ears, and screamed. It was like he was being tortured by the ear-piercing sounds coming out of my mouth. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared he might wake other inhabitants. So, to calm him down, I stepped up to him and I looked him in his eyes. Then the lower two of my three face opticals turned from yellow to orange and the thief fell unconscious. When he hit the pavement, one of the dark lenses on his sunglasses broke.
I then turned back to the large green boxes and found something called a “Snick”. It was in a half-torn wrapper and partially eaten. I put it in my mouth. It wasn’t until I ate THAT that I felt better. I was instantly reinvigorated. There was something in that Snick that tasted like the food on Thebsus. I needed to find more of it. What I ate would only last me a day, I thought.
I then looked at the man on the ground and took his ski cap, long black coat, and cracked sunglasses. It would be my disguise as I looked for more of this food.
I entered an all-night supply store. Many times, I saw the inhabitants go into these structures for provisions. Outside, I looked through its tall windows and saw that it had very few inhabitants there. The woman at the front looked at me suspiciously when I entered in my black disguise. But at least, she did not scream. My black ski cap was covering the yellow optical in the middle of my forehead. My cracked sunglasses were covering the other two. I glanced at her and she frowned.
I walked around the food supply lanes for more Snick and finally found them between other colorfully wrapped provisions: Kit, MMs, Mars, and Baby Ruths. I immediately grabbed every Snick there. “These should last me a few weeks”, I thought. I was relieved.
Then, trying to be inconspicuous, I headed to the big glass door. But the woman at the front saw me and said, “Excuse me. You’re gonna have to pay for that, Sir!”. I stopped and looked at her. I didn’t know what to say. I just wanted to get my food and leave. So, I turned again towards the door. “Sir, you have to pay for that or I will call the police!”, she said. I then saw her push a button under her cash register. So I tried explaining to her that I was a visitor… from Thebsus… and that all I wanted was some Snick. But when I did, the ear-piercing sounds of my voice shattered all the tall glass windows and doors. Everything came crashing down! She too covered her ears and screamed. Alarm bells and sirens rang out and inhabitants inside were hiding under the registers and in the food lanes. As I ran back to my ship, I saw a speeding black and white vehicle with red flashing lights approaching.
When I was safely back on board, I ate one of the Snicks – but not all of it. Only the part that was like Thebsus food. The brown, sticky paste reminded me of home and tasted just like the food my wife made. The rest of it I threw away.
Life on the sister planet was curious to me. I saw a different kind of suffering that we did not have back at home. One family, in particular, had a young child. Their baby girl was sick. I often saw the mother crying and the father consoling her.
Once, when I went back to the planet for more food, I stopped by their home. I went into the pink baby room with its stuffed animals, rainbow painted walls, and hanging unicorn mobile. The infant had amazing blue eyes. But I saw that she suffered. When I put my hand on her head, I felt a small, black growth in her brain. My left optical turned green as I got rid of it for her – dissolving it completely. I then saw a small puff of black smoke come out of her right ear and dissipate. I looked down at a pink pillow in her crib and saw “Patricia” stitched into it.
I’ve been up on my ship following her life for 15 years now. When Patricia learned how to speak, I learned how to speak. When she danced, I danced. To pass the time, I would practice these things alone up on my ship. I wanted to learn how to be less conspicuous on my food trips. I thought maybe it was how I spoke that made the inhabitants suspicious of me. I eventually learned to speak their language without the ear-piercing sounds. Learning was fun because, to me, Patricia was my schoolmate. I enjoyed watching how she always said “Hidee!” when she met her friends.
As she grew, I tried many times, and in many ways, to connect with her. When she was about ten, and starting grade school, I would come to her in her dreams. But she always woke when we landed on Thebsus. We’d walk to the purple lakes and I’d introduce her to my Zygorg family and friends. She’d wake up crying and screaming, telling her father something about a “nightmare” and having “dreamt of that man again”.
At twelve, she played soccer. I enjoyed sitting alone in the bleachers, watching her. I’d be in my disguise, so as not to attract attention. Trying my best to blend in. But soon, the black and white cars with red flashing lights would come and I knew that I had to leave. My years long experience with The Shagards has helped me sense danger.
There was even a time I waited for her in the shadows. I had practiced speaking her language for weeks and wanted to surprise her. So, I waited for her in her neighbor’s dark alleyway, wearing my cracked sunglasses, my black ski cap, and long black coat. I was excited when I saw her get off the bus. Then when she passed me by on her way home, I stepped onto the sidewalk and said “Hidee!” as she approached. It was the first word I’d ever spoken out loud, and it came out so slow – and so slurred and gurgled, “Hiiiyaydee!”. She jumped and looked so terrified when she saw me. She immediately screamed and ran home.
After that, I was devastated and did not come off my ship for months. I thought of never coming back down to this planet and just letting my rations run out.
It was during the time she met and then broke up with her boyfriend that I realized I had fallen in love with her. He was her age, but went to another school. By then, I had forgiven her for that alley incident and had started going to her soccer matches. I saw her meet Greg at one of them. For me, going to her matches was better than going to her practices. I could more easily blend in. I could watch her parents rooting for her from the back row. They had Snicks there too! I must admit, I sometimes used telepathy to help her score points. I wanted to help her more than just taking out that tumor in her brain.
When Greg would come over to talk to her, I was jealous. He could never do more for her than me. I could take her to different galaxies. I could show her how to levitate. I could make every one of her dreams on this simple, elementary, little blue planet come true. He was just a boy. But she liked him… So all I could do was just watch their relationship from a distance.
I saw their love blossom for a few months… But then, it ended for some reason. I’ll never know what happened between them – But I was glad. She had lost her love, Greg, and I had lost my family, Xantha and Viindi. We were both alone. Now I just had to find a way for me and her to help each other. Each time I looked down on her now poster-filled bedroom, her big blue eyes never failed to enrapture me. They always made me feel less lonely.
It was three years ago tonight that I noticed something about the inhabitants. Each year they have this peculiar, bizarre celebration. It is a tradition for them. A happy tradition where they come together and have fun. I call it “The Yearly Snick Party”. Lots of times I’ve seen Snicks served at these events and enjoyed by adults, teens, and children. All of them love it. And what is more, it’s given out free! In one night, I can easily stock up for a year on food.
Patricia also looks forward to this day. I’ve seen her planning for it with her friends and her parents. She is constantly talking to her classmates on the phone about what they are going to wear and where they are going to go. Dressing up is a big part of the occasion.
There is a dancehall that “Patty” and her friends always go to on this night. There is lots of music, food, and socializing. Everyone has a ball at “The Snick Parties”. Two years ago, I went and had the most fun I’d had in my entire life. I blend in better because I speak the inhabitant’s language fluently now. Watching the flat screen of moving images behind Patty and her parents has helped. Sometimes someone will ask me where my accent is from and I’ll say, “From another planet!”. They’ll laugh and I’ll laugh too. Laughter makes all three of my face opticals turn light blue.
Two years ago, when my princess walked in, I knew for sure I loved her. She looked so radiant. So beautiful! The two white-eyed creatures in this world seem to be growing on me! Patty and I danced. We laughed. We drank. And I ate enough Snick to be energized for two months. That night, I even discovered what Thebsus food is called here – Caramel. They even dip apples into it and sell it in individually wrapped packages.
On our last date, I was so anxious that night. I’d been waiting a year. Watching her life from afar only made me want to be closer to her. Having been away for so long, I couldn’t wait to see my princess again. I was so overcome at the sight of her when she walked into the dancehall… she was an angel. I almost cried when she waved at me. She remembered me! She knew who I was and I had the time of my life.
I’ve long thrown away that black ski cap, the long coat, and cracked sunglasses. As I prepared for our date tonight, I put on bright blue satin pants, a lemon-yellow satin shirt, a big, white bow tie and a curly red wig. The wig has a long white satin cap hanging down from it. There is a fuzzy blue ball on the end. Again, I’ve colored my face too.
I know I’m early. But tonight, she will be here again. I’ve waited another year and am constantly looking for her to come through the entrance. The moment she walks in, she sweetly waves at me like she has done these recent years. I wave back, and the optical in the middle of my forehead turns as red as a rose.
She walks over to me smiling. “Hidee Zeppo!”, she says. I smile back, “Hidee Patricia!”. She looks amazing. She’s my beautiful butterfly who has returned to me to melt my heart once more. We then laugh together, as we each say, “Happy Halloween!”.