Phase Day: A Log of the Journalistic Career of Amaltua Obon by Kara Dennison

Age 7

Describe Phase Day from your own point of view. What was it like for you and your family? What do you think it would be like to be an Adam on Phase Day?

Phase Day was a very exciting day for Mommy and me. It was a little scary at first, but Mommy explained how the portal tech worked and that we would all be safe, even though it felt tingly and everything got dark for a little while. The new sun was very interesting. I have never seen a yellow sun before!

I met an Adam on the way to school. She said she had a headache and all the trees looked weird, that they were supposed to be green. I guess she was really excited like me! I was surprised because she didn’t have wings and she was surprised because I did. She asked if she was in Chevan (but she didn’t pronounce it right), and I said yes. Then she looked really surprised.

I asked Mommy why the Adams were all so confused. She said their planet went away, but now ours is right where theirs was and exactly the same size, and since we have lots of cities both underground and on top of the ground, we have plenty of room for them. Mommy also says the Adams will be better off now anyway, since our planet is cleaner and nicer than theirs. I’m glad we were able to make the Adams happy. Maybe someday I’ll get to be friends with one!

 

Age 16

Utter madness! I’ve just found I’m stuck with Mz. Wenceslas for Ancient Chevanian Sciences for the entirety of the semester, and not just for the first two weeks. She will forever drop her not-so-subtle “back in my day when we lived on Earth and you could drive from one end of the country to another in a metal death trap that ran on dinosaur gunk” rants into everything. I haven’t got a problem with Adams teaching Chevanian subject matter, not if they’re qualified, but we’re here to learn.

Well, most of us are here to learn. That Marty Dower – him of the eloquent “Earth Angel” speech you may remember from a month ago, Dear Diary – sits right behind me in every class we have together and tries to touch my wings. I finally had enough today in calculus, and stood right up in the middle of Prof. Khazgar’s lecture and shouted that I was not here for his tactile enjoyment. The rest of the students giggled and Prof. Khazgar wrote me up for being disruptive. And wouldn’t you guess, Marty Dower got off with a warning.

He tried to flirt with me after class, but I just looked him square in the eye and told him that even though I don’t believe the dirty rumors the Adams are spreading, I would totally have vaporized the Earth – and him on it – given the opportunity. That shut him up.

Going to the 3Ds with San and Misty later. I love Misty dearly, I do, but she needs to stop trying to make herself up to look Chevani. It’s awkward; I live in abject dread of the day she buys one of those utterly, utterly trashy backpacks with the wings on. I don’t know how I’ll cope, Diary. I just don’t.

 

Age 23

Thank you for considering me for your scholarship program. I am a 23-year-old south-maritime Chevani with a BA in journalism and extensive experience in both Earth-style blogging and Chevani data-matting. During my time in secondary education, I was especially focused on Earth history and journalism, especially tree-printing.

I believe that, by finding a happy medium between tangible Earth media and less tangible Chevani data conveyance, we may be able to bridge the gap that has formed between us in the 16 years since the Sol-ward Phase. My mother was one of the engineers behind the Phase, so I also believe that I can lend a unique perspective and set of experiences to this effort.

Attached, please find my essay on my experience in a mixed Chevani/Original school system, with data-mat transfer thumbprint on the obverse side. I look forward to your response, and hope that I will be able to participate in your program in the near future.

 

Age 28

Re: your publication’s Sunday piece in the data-mat feed:

First, let it be said that I have utmost respect for Ms. Wenceslas – despite the fact that, as a teenager, I did not necessarily demonstrate that. As those who are regular readers of my various columns may know, she was one of my teachers back in my primary education courses. While it is an inescapable fact that she and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a great many things, I am understanding of her position as an Original (like many others, I now find the use of the term “Adam” distasteful) and would never insinuate that her feelings concerning the events of Phase Day and forward are invalid.

However, she does speak from a place of misinformation. Again, as my regular readers may know, I am the daughter of one of the engineers behind the Sol-ward Phase, and thus I have a primary source when it comes to the procedures around the Phase itself. Ms. Wenceslas’s assertions that the Phase was a “hostile takeover” are spurious and ill-informed, and her comparison of the event to a “horrendous near-death experience” is more than a little disappointing, as it smacks of rather old-fashioned notions of the Chevani and our homeworld as avatars for Earth religions.

Much of the mission is still classified, even to my family, but as it stands: the phase from Chevan to Earth’s location in the Sol system came at a pivotal time in Earth’s development. The Chevani Space and Aeronautics Division has long possessed various methods of temporal data analysis, allowing us to study and target major events in the life cycles of our world and others. Armed with the unfortunate knowledge that our own star only had a short time left to live, Chevan had long been looking for another star around which to situate itself.

Our temporal data analysts discovered that a point was coming very soon at which Earth – a planet similar to ours orbiting a younger star – would suffer a catastrophic occurrence that would wipe it from the solar system. We were able to pinpoint that moment and, using the Phase technology we had prepared for our own eventual move, slip in right at the moment of said catastrophic event, rescuing two entire races from imminent destruction.

While the details of how this was accomplished are unknown to me, I can assert that the move was successful. I in no way maintain that it was not an off-putting, perhaps even frightening, experience (my own memories of the Phase are unremarkable, as we were all asked to enter special pods for the duration of the operation), but equating short-term unpleasantness with malice is shortsighted.

I welcome Ms. Wenceslas’s comments on this, and would be happy to have a discussion or interview with her at a later date.

 

Age 35

            Unsurprisingly, I have been asked for my thoughts and opinions on the recently-leaked information purported to originate from C-SAD. This is a piece I really hoped I’d never have to write, but it’s hard to sleep when your temple-port is blowing up with creatively-spelled behests to speak up. So in an effort to afford myself and my wife some peace in the evenings, behold: My Take on This.

First off, anything being “leaked” from C-SAD is highly unlikely, as their security is unprecedented. To give you an idea, it would require retinal scans from six separate individuals, three of whom are dead, as well as a barrage of other measures of identification and measures of intent – yes, “measures of intent.” One security method at C-SAD’s disposal is a scan that analyzes one’s brainwaves and subtle facial movements to, in short, check your “conscience.” So anyone looking to break a story, or to expose some degree of Chevani dirt, would be hard-pressed to do so unless they are master liars.

Then again, this is – forgive me – mass media we are talking about here.

I’ll address the claims one by one.

The destruction of Earth was actually engineered by the Chevani. It is true that we do (much to my chagrin) possess the technology necessary to destroy masses 2-3 times the size of Earth. However, Chevan uses these only for mining purposes, never as part of aggressive tactics.

The lives of the Originals were preserved so that the Chevani could manufacture a “working class” as a way to improve their own economy. This seems a bit, to borrow an Original phrase, “tinfoil hat,” even without any help. The Chevani have had a sound economy and a society free of class stratification for centuries. Beaming halfway across the universe to completely upend our entire way of life for an economic booster shot is both ineffective and unnecessary. (Never mind the fact that there are many, many working class Chevani and many, many wealthy Originals, so even if that was our plan, we’ve failed.)

The Chevani’s appearance as “winged humans” is a disguise mimicking angels to put Originals at ease. We do indeed possess the capacity for extreme modification of appearance, but we only employ it for medical or legal cases. To alter the appearance of our entire race in order to put the Originals at ease, much less to enslave them, would be a massive waste of resources. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was born looking like a “winged human” (though I might argue that Originals look like “wingless Chevani” – it’s perspective).

The downfall of the Originals is at hand. Really? Why change the appearance of our entire species, blow up your planet, and enslave you into a lower caste system for 30 years if we’re just going to end it by overthrowing you? If that’s the sort of people we are, shouldn’t we have just cut to the chase?

In short, this “leaked” information only sounds feasible if you subscribe to the idea, as did so many pre-Phase Original writers, that all non-Earth-born entities are inherently vengeful space invaders. I had to learn a great deal about Originals in my time living with them, and I have grown and altered my views in that time. It is disappointing that apparently we Chevani are not afforded the same courtesy.

 

Age 42

An Open Letter:

            The declassification of C-SAD’s records on the event of the death of the final Phase Day engineer has understandably resulted in many of you clamoring for a statement from me. At a future point, I will make an official statement concerning the nature of the data.

However, I would ask that you remember that said final Phase Day engineer happened to be my mother, and allow myself and my family space to grieve. I will address comments at a later date; at this point in time, however, I will not entertain any requests for interviews. Thank you for your understanding.

 

Age 57

            I was a bit stunned to be called upon for the 50th anniversary of Phase Day. For one thing, I truly believed it was no longer the “done” thing to look upon any aspect of Chevani intervention with anything even remotely approaching positive sentiment. Somewhere between the Pro-Humanist movement and the fact that I have to hide my wings under a trench coat to leave my own home, I figured we’d all just be pretending it never happened, that it was some inconvenient blip in history.

Then, of course, I realized: the “anniversary” was more an “observance.” And I was to be the only Chevani in attendance, likely because of my peculiar ties to the incident. Not only that, it was requested that I deliver a speech – this speech – to the gathered crowd.

What could I possibly say to them, I asked? What could I say to a room full of people who, thanks to conspiracy theories and the gullibility of news readers, believed I was one of a murderous alien race bent only on their subjugation and destruction? What could I say to a room full of people who would only call me “Fallen Angel” with no recollection of the time when they themselves took offense at being referred to collectively as Adams?

The declassification of my mother’s work fifteen years ago was as much a shock to me as it was to anyone. Too, it was an exercise in cultural dissonance. Originals, the people of the Earth, hear “impending disaster” and think of a meteor or a solar flare, of Hell raining down from above.

Whereas our engineers analyzed our temporal data and saw what to us appeared to be a doomed planet: one with too few resources, too much mechanization. To our eyes, you were living in a house on the verge of collapse, calmly patching your leaky roof and kicking your broken appliances until they worked. Your home would catch fire around you, and you wouldn’t notice because you’d learned to live with its quirks.

So, in the most basic of terms: did we destroy the planet Earth? The answer is, bluntly, yes.

[At this point, the reaction of the assembled crowd was so riotous that Ms. Obon was unable to finish her speech. The rest has been compiled from her notes.]

             … The answer is, bluntly, yes. However, from our viewpoint, Earth was moments – metaphorical moments, but still moments – from destruction. We saw an opportunity to save a fellow race, to give them another start. But the only way to save ourselves and them was to phase directly into place while phasing Earth out. It was a delicate operation, and one that required precision from our engineers. One twitch wrong and we could have embedded both planets through each other, potentially destroying billions of members of both races, as well as irreplaceable flora and fauna from both planets.

Earth was not, however, detonated out from under you, as you seem to think. That would be impossible. Instead, the two planets were swapped. Earth is now empty, circling our dying star, and will meet its end out of sight and out of mind.

I did learn, however, that despite all our best attempts to target and protect the living creatures of Earth during the phase, our long-distance life support was imperfect. To that end, many did indeed experience the PTSD they claimed to. For doubting that, I can only apologize.

All that said, one accurate conspiracy theory does not make the rest true. We are and have always been benevolent. We acted from a place of concern, of hope for mutual survival and betterment. The fact that it is not seen as such half a century later is, while understandable under the circumstances, also quite unfortunate.

Would I, in my mother’s position, have consented to be a part of the Sol-ward Phase? I cannot say. In truth, I cannot even say now. Both of our species have been spared destruction, both have learned from each other, and both can go further now than ever before. I do respect and understand the sentiments of the Originals. But I am also aware that, had C-SAD’s engineers possessed that same  sentimentality, both our races would be extinct now.

It is not a pleasant situation. It is not a “fair” one. And I am aware that the last thing you want to hear from one of those terrible Fallen Angels is that you should just be “all right” with what happened. However… we have an amazing, long future ahead of us. And we would only be hurting ourselves and each other if we were to tear our society in half over this.

I hope that, on this day of observance, we can all take some time to look forward, rather than back. And perhaps find some common ground in what we have lost and what we stand to gain. Thank you for your time.


Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, illustrator, and presenter from Newport News, Virginia. She works as blogger and interviewer for Onezumi Events, where she interviews celebrity guests and performs outreach for fans and attendees. Her work can be seen in “Associates of Sherlock Holmes” from Titan Books, various “Doctor Who” spinoffs from Obverse Books, and the light novel series “Owl’s Flower,” which she co-created with illustrator Ginger Hoesly. She works from a converted NASA lab, which she shares with four guinea pigs and a bass guitar.

Previous                                                                            Issue Eighteen                                                                            Next

Advertisements