By Paul Chafer

Journeying towards the galaxy centre, I pass a blue pearl and become intrigued by the pulses of energy dotted around the dark surface. On descending towards these glowing power buds, I detect the thrumming buzz of life. More than this, I see it is both one amorphous mass, and a gathering of independent sentient creatures existing within the teeming hubbub of light. Curious, I descend further, discovering an arterial network strung with colour, white streaming one way, red another, with brief intermissions of winking amber where various strands intersect and cross. I realise my timeframe is mismatched and slow my temporal pace, realising as I do that these colourful streams are individual packages containing cells, rushing hither and dither within this webbed city at night.

I wonder if, like my own system, the cells are essential nutritional globules providing energy or defence, but on closer examination, I see there is no coordinated pattern to their movement. They act independently, doing their own thing for purposes that are currently unclear. I descend further, stunned by the complexity of this intermingled, stratified, irregular beast.

Between the weaving arterial veins, various structures stand, many much larger than even I, but most quite small. The tiniest appear to be artificial caves, dwellings for worker cells, along with medium size ones, climbing skyward. Some appear dirty, dilapidated, emitting unhygienic odours, whilst others present pleasing aesthetic facades. I begin to understand that there is a cell hierarchy, an inequality, lives governed by a corrupt monetary system, making this humdrum polluted agglomeration important. An invisible god rules here, a calamitous dishonest deity, which has so successfully instilled its presence deep inside the inhabitant’s brains that the worshipful enslaved happily imagine that they are the imperative successful cells. I smile inwardly at their simplistic, trusting ignorance.

The largest aspects of this city, stacked side by side, towers of steel, concrete and glass, are cathedrals to this base monetary god who, it seems, is an uncharitable, unforgiving monster. A deceitful beast that has infiltrated the financial structure and taken advantage of those it fraudulently alleges to serve. As I slip through myriad minds of cells, I learn that they all have different labels according to their function and purpose; bankers, brokers, lawyers, managers, and many other priests of this disproportionate, ravenous idol. I find its control is absolute. I am uncertain if I should respect something engineering such complete control. Should I fear it, destroy it, or seek it out and subjugate it to my own will?

On closer inspection, within the centre of lights that the cells lovingly call ‘their city’ – though derisive claims of ownership border on dubious to laughable – I see the despotism has been achieved by the simple trick of tawdry illusion. The offering of trinkets, gaudy glitz and glamour fuelled by wanton greed, like a fully evolved Star Kind shaking shiny baubles before the eyes of a naïve infant. These cells see themselves as superiors, but are completely mesmerised and totally captivated. To them, nothing is more important than the narcissistic preaching of their heartless monetary god, not even the wellbeing and continued existence of their own kind.

Disappointed in this discovery, this ‘city’, I consider swatting it from existence, even though the human cells, like everything else visible, hail from the hearts of stars, as do I. Then I notice substrata, deep down on the arterial level, in nooks and crannies, and even lower, an underclass of minor humanity living quite separate from the centrally focused uncaring creatures above. Here, at last, I find hope and salivation for this strange species. I find love and caring, sharing and giving, empathy and understanding. On analysis of further input, I find that these beings have conquered what they term the ‘rat race’ and are not fooled by the monetary god, but resist its fake allure. Poets, artists, thinkers, writers and their many menial worker companions are fighting for a more wholesome way of life. These are people whom, those who are worst affected by the all-seeing wealth god, call losers, wasters and plebs. To me, they are the true meaning of life on this bizarre blue world.

Oddly, many of these most worthy creatures inhabit the worst of the artificial caves. Some have no cave at all, living and sleeping in the open, but taking comfort from the fact that they are free. Many would rather live in the city gutter, gazing at the stars, rather than live on their knees in opulence entranced by large, flat, moving squares of colour churning out greed, avarice and gluttony; representations of the despicable god.

There is no doubt that, like my own species, going back countless generations, humanity once inhabited green forests, so I am wondering why they now clump together in this sprawling urban mass? What is the underlying attraction? This strange phenomenon requires further investigation, and so, I choose to stay, to explore the hidden recesses and undercurrents. I decide to cast down this callous, deceiving, monetary fiend sucking the lifeblood of this infantile society, by breaking the communications enabling it to thrive and rule. It answers to nothing and nobody, but it shall answer to me and I shall inform it, and its denizens, that its time here has ended. I will also raise those who have already freed themselves, who know that integrity is not negotiable and that they shall be my vanguard.

I sink beneath the city, far down, finding remnants of cultures that once blossomed and thrived amongst peace, serenity and beauty by the riverside. Traces of past lives, their emotional fingerprints stretching towards me, touching, showing me how they were. I inhale them, these beautiful naked priestesses and priests from long forgotten religions, dancing before firelight, skins glistening with scented oils. I taste happiness and excitement, a people alive as they greet the rising sun, the air threaded with birdsong as golden light bathes the scene. I assure them that, what once was will be again. Those seen as the least, by those in control, will become the most worthwhile, as they see hope in the future and are willing to fight for their species and their way of life. They will bring about a bountiful, beautiful city of grandeur of which they can be proud.

Rising, I determine to expose the autocratic, wealth hoarding oppressor, crack open the shackles and chains of limitless wealth, and if necessary, lay waste the blind clerics who do the bidding of their sham god. Should they think to resist, in this city, and all cities on this backwater world, I shall be envenomed and reveal my true strength, terrible to behold. Settling in, comfortably ensconced, I begin to thread myself through the labyrinthine infrastructure, awaiting the new dawn, preparing to create a better world where natural abundance thrives. As a starting point for the coming changes, I choose . . . YOU!