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The First One Heard

By A.C. SweetPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
Photo by Tyler van der Hoeven on Unsplash


Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. I clenched my teeth at they and I muted my comms and purged myself of voice. The scream was not silenced by the space that surrounded me. The scream charged out of my diaphragm and reentered via my drums. Like cycling urine in a Fosmos. I could hear my scream!

Once my chest and middle settled I settled…forget about Caazcadia—forget about Dahlles!

Despite my own demands, I couldn’t let them all drift away. I couldn’t let myself be one of They. So, I would continue minding my way through the ten-leveled alleys and layered highways that stitched that old home of mine into odd quarters and alcoves of dense desperation where the walls cry right along with the abandoned unhearables. No matter the growing separation between me and them all.

I am Them not They, I am an unhearable…I always would be.

Is that what They thought too? When they abandoned, whenever it was, did they feel still among them? Or did they know they were no longer? That they were They?

Screaming again, I let my hair drape my melting eyes and my quivering lips and chin. I felt spit and drool. I wiped my face, and the voice came—

“Your approach is recognized zero-seven-one-two.”

“Nahla Sanderson. It’s Nahla Sanderson!” I yelled at the blackness of beyond.

“Zero-seven-one-two, you will be directed towards the oscillating arrows and dock in port three-seven-seven-six-seven.” That fake voice said.

I wanted to unmute, to tell all I knew. They already know. How couldn’t they? They are the abandoners! They left…and now they think I want to abandon?

I screamed and assumed my face showed fire and water. My throat hurt, my middle hurt…my center hurt. I rifled into my suit and found the pad. I waved my hand and was confronted by them. All those faces that screamed into those alleys, those who I would never abandon. Never.

But nobody could hear a scream in the alleys of Caazcadia—wouldn’t be any different here. Those screams were the whispers of emptying souls, drained by the sucking vacuum of the beyond opportunities. Caazcadia was their solution to an eternal dilemma. As always, it didn’t work. So, eventually their solution was only beyond, to forget and move on. Those who were stubborn or fanatical enough, or unlucky enough were left behind and coldly shouldered into the distant back of their collective mind. They were leaving, and they wouldn’t be back—not really at least. Of course, they would return for things they ran short of beyond: strains of seed lost to breaches mostly, or other materials original to Caazcadia and the home planet, or to retrieve those who would join the abandon.

I wiped my face again; my sleeve was damp, and my nose was slimy. I used the collar of my suit to wipe that away and sniffled.

The arrows appeared before I saw it. It was like Caazcadia bottled up, polished and sent drifting through up and beyond. The arrows were an uncomfortable blue. Their waves blurred their edges and convinced me they were specters of the first abandon, their destiny to roll through the clouds beyond and startle those who’d take those same paths they had.

The muted silver hull of the gargantuan frigate was still, silent in the ultimate silence. I leaned forward and consumed the hateful bends of its structure with my reddened eyes.

I unmuted myself, afraid I would forget later. “Hey.”

My gaze gently wandered up and around as I soaked in the entrance of this suspended metal metropolis. The doors split open across their horizontal meeting, and they closed behind my pod. I was paused in a large, empty chamber. I saw two other pods and two other faces searching around. We were like pebbles in a box made for boulders.

Lights that lined the space were an awful Dijon yellow and quickly turned to that queasy blue. The inner doors slid open vertically.

“Hey.” Respond! I cursed and jammed my arms around myself, “hey!”

“Zero-seven-one-two, proceed to port three-seven-seven-six-seven. ETA two minutes eighteen seconds.”

“I’m Nahla!”

“Zero-seven-one-two, proceed to port three-seven-seven-six-seven. ETA two minutes seven seconds.”

I fell quiet as I was transported from the doors into a vast, convincingly endlessly high and low canyon walled by bays of entering and resting ships; arrays of pods like neatly organized drops of paint limned by that off-blue hue of their favorite color. I saw the other pods that had entered with me, their eyes wide too, but soon they diverged from the course predesigned for me. I could see dots of figures moving about at different levels in the large hangers with the cargo ships and wondered if any of them remembered Caazcadia.

My pod slid into the port with a click behind my seat which was more like a cushioned floor with an adjustable support for my back than an actual seat. It felt a little like I did back in Crevice, or section zero-nine-four-one. I rolled my eyes at those numbers—only They used those things. We prided ourselves on words, names especially. Crevice wasn’t quite as original as my first home (the first home I was aware) Quenstydra. Crevice was much more descriptive; our thin wedge of building was a support structure for the highways that cut passed our windows. We were a bottomless crevice. Quenstydra was a word my great uncle, if that’s who he was, claims to have conjured up. He said he would take words out of the big list books and smash them into new ones and say them out loud to himself

“Zero-seven-one-two. Exit the pod and proceed to suite three-seven-seven-six-seven for Introductory Inspection and Instruction.”

I zipped my darkened pad back into my suit and obeyed that fake voice.

I stood up and turned about to see no one around anywhere. I paused and stretched where I was and reached for my bare feet. “Wait,” scrambling about in the pod I locked my boots back on, I took those off in the pod the moment I could.

“Zero-seven-one-two. Exit the pod and proceed to suite three-seven-seven-six-seven for Introductory Inspection and Instruction.”

“I get it,” I belted to the voice, I waited a moment, but all I heard was the light buzz of the other pods passing along.

Finally at three-seven-seven-six-seven, the doors pulled open, and I walked in slowly, looking at the corners above and below. Empty, except for the flush panels with lights, and reader boards that were all dark, and one floor-to-ceiling screen that held that same uncomfortable blue that was everywhere. After a few paces, the floor lit up, white arrows this time drew a path to foot templates in the middle of the space. “Remove footwear and place feet in indicated spaces completely, Zero-seven-one-two.”

I froze only a step into the suite…that was no fake voice, but the deep, bass of an older man’s voice.

Finding my bare feet in their ordered placement, I scanned the scanners and walls. I could feel that gaze of human eyes.

“Zero-seven-one-two, state your known birthdate and birth section.” The man’s voice said.

“It's Nahla!”


“I'm not zero-seven-whatever!”

The speakers powered down; I could hear the pitch of their power being revoked.

The large screen dropped seamlessly into the floor and out came four people in white suits with only some silver symbols in the upper portions of the chest and shoulders. “Zero-seven-one-two, your Caazcadian name is not officially recognized, but if you’d like us to refer to you by Nahla, we will oblige. Now, your known birthdate and birth section.” I could feel his voice in my feet, naked to the steely cold floor.

“Thank you…and it’s October seventh, twenty-eight-forty-one, section zero-six-eight-two.”

“Zero-seven-one-two, or Nahla Sanderson, those are recognized data, but please remember to refer to October as ten.” The deep-voiced man waved up from the floor, and a sphere with gray and green swirls in its atmosphere was displayed suspended three feet above the floor beside the deep-voiced man. “This, Nahla, zero-seven-one-two, is your destination.”

Sci FiAdventure

About the Creator

A.C. Sweet

Inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and fueled by stories of all kinds since childhood, one of my favorite passions and goals is to connect and understand through the written word.

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  • Dan D Sweet2 months ago

    Spectacular world you're creating. Can't wait to find out how it all develops... 👍👏

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