By ThisIsGonnaHurt 2 Comments
Keith Anderson, for lack of a better term, was a hoarder. He knew what he liked and collected tons of it. Newspaper clippings, electronic instruments, wind-up toys, antique clocks, vintage vinyl records, model kits, educational books... and that was just scratching the surface of everything he kept in storage. But there was something he always kept towards the front of his various stacks of plastic containers and sealed boxes.
A constellation book, more specifically with photographs taken of the Orion Nebula. Though it wasn't perfect, it was the closest thing he had to "baby pictures". With how light worked they were about 1,350 years off, so it wasn't too bad.
"You can take a vacation you know," Ray would chastise him for looking at the pages in the break room. "Hire a couple more goons, you'd be okay for a day or so,"
"It's not that. I just know that it wouldn't be 'home' you know?"
"I never thought a huge wad of space radiation could be anyone's 'home' but here we are,"
Keith often just laughed that off, but not today.
"It's not just space radiation, Ray, it's where I came from. I haven't been back in so long. Besides, if I try,"
"Oh. Right, it's different for you,"
Keith closed the book.
"There's customers coming," he muttered. Ray hurried out of the break room and back to the register, thirty seconds later and the door swung open with a robotic 'cling clang' sound.
Keith couldn't leave the store, not without walking out the front door, but he could enter into his own mind and try to meditate the empty feeling in his stomach away. He wasn't hungry. Celestials didn't have a concept of hunger, their energy came from the universe itself. It was more of a stabbing pain, like a fish hook caught in his would-be intestines that just kept tugging.
He folded his arms on the table and laid his head down. It was almost his version of 'sleep', and 'dreaming'.
A Nightmare of 5,000 Years
Keith, or rather, Anissar at this point in time could hear them. Even deep within the ethereal womb of his mother figure, he could hear them. See them. They were gathered around another of their ilk.
Jezham the Echo, Elibhel the Pioneer, and Xoghan the Treasurer. He knew their names just as his 'mother' did. She, Emiah the Watcher.
Caneg the Reviser was dead.
"The expiration/termination/death of Caneg has come to pass,"
Their voices shook the stars, but brought an eerie calmness to the infant Celestial.
"Natural causes, or has his fate been influenced?"
Jezham the Echo raised his arms first above the body, and then towards either side. Temporal auras shifted at his touch, and he could monitor and display the fate of the fallen giant.
"Readings conclude: Caneg suffered much against his fate. This was no failure on his part,"
"Concern," Xoghan commented, and the two others at his side repeated his remark in unison.
"The Pioneer shall find the cause," Elibhel claimed, though he was already gone.
"Find rest/peace/sanctuary, Caneg. Your star matter shall be recycled within the Nebula,"
"A honor," Emiah whispered.
It was his earliest memory, seeing the godlike beings around him of which he could become one all mourning the death of something conceivably immortal. He felt fear, an overwhelming amount of it. He didn't feel comfortable with staying in this memory for too long.
He could feel Caneg watching him even through his cold lifeless eyes.
Anissar coming to Earth was easily his best memory of early life. As best he could describe it, he was sent to Earth to prepare its species for the inevitable arrival of the Imperium or something possibly worse. This would be achieved through mass genetic manipulation, and altering the landscape on a planetary scale. He could easily remember the blueprints now, but as a young Celestial, his mission for all intents and purposes escaped him.
He had been surrounded by the coldness of space and the latent entropy of the others of his kind, mourning the death of Caneg even as they sent Anissar away to accomplish his great task. Finding a planet like Earth seemed ideal for something he would later call a 'vacation'. Instead of changing anything around him, he changed himself, adopting physical traits of the early humans he met and learning all he could about them.
Over time his disguise would change into 'Keith Anderson', a 'recorder' of sorts who owned a specialized library.
When he changed himself from a Celestial, he cut himself off from the others. There was a chance they could have just investigated why this happened, but perhaps they just assumed he had died like Caneg. Thus, the mystery of why their species was failing continued into the deeper parts of space. Thousands of years later, and they still never once came to Earth.
He found his sanctuary.
Keith suddenly shot straight up. He was awake, and felt the associated drowsiness of severe telepathic strain, even for a Celestial. He rubbed his eyes only to find a stinging sensation.
"S-Sweat?" he muttered.
His body couldn't produce sweat naturally, only through his shape-shifting properties in order to keep up humanoid appearances. He checked his armpits and the back of his neck. A cold rush swam through his body. He didn't like this at all.
His body, his shell, was betraying him and acting on its own according to the panic he felt in that last dream. That last vision.