Another Way of Doing It
by Bertil Falk
A ball rolled across the red grassy space. The green vault above the ground glowed. Beyond it, the perpetual roar of the outside world was heard. Marvs and peladers bathed in the clay pits. On the slopes leading down to the lilac-gray heat of the dazzling lake, heavy klausters sauntered. They puffed and hissed concurrently with each other’s bumps.
Boiling, a streak of wet metal flowed like a spring brook towards the edge, where the thick forest of vallpumptrond scourged itself like a masochistic flagellant, rising up to more and more enormous heights.
Indolently, Klorbsor rested its grul-equipped extremities against the thick lines of a waving adult liana.
Klorbsor had harvested its gryling for the day and satisfied its thirst with liquid lead from the babbling brook.
Klorbsor grofted and cremated an extremity, which soon would be replaced with a less accomplished one.
Klorbsor was the dean of all of those that built and resided in the ruddy sector of the gray section.
Klorbsor was the eldest one.
Klorbsor was the most equal of equals. Since it was old, it was permitted to cremate extremities and let new ones grow out without being forced to surround their activity by all kinds of nonsensical actions.
Secretly, Klorbsor sympathized with the young radical reformers that called for the right for each and everyone to cremate extremities any time, anywhere and anyhow. Even so, the elder grunted about mischief and hissed: “In our days there was nope cremating extremities, and we never suffered from it.”
But Klorbsor had always hated the custom, though it had never dared to be cheeky. The new generation was — and it delighted Klorbsor — not impressed by manners and customs.
Another ball rolled across the red grass. Someone hailed Lart Hörj beyond the bridge, where the outsiders used to berth at. They came from some other planet. There were two kinds of them. The two kinds sort of merged into each other in order to breed. How different from Klorbsor’s and its kin’s way of doing it.
Klorbsor had many times participated in breeding in the Shed of Propagation.
In order to get a result, at least fifteen beings had to be linked up. Out of these living batteries originated and focused a mental conception in the air where a new being was shaped. It was a swift process and intrinsically delightful.
Would the two-of-a-kind beings return?
Above the ground the verdant vault glow. Behind it the incessant thunder of the crematorium of the crematories roared.
In the clay pits marvs splashed about together with peladers and in the brook that sloped gently down to the splendid mere of lilac heat, fat klausters plodded and reeked and hissed tjongingly.
There the floating brook of hot lead wound along the fringe of the wood of self-contempting vallpumtrond that aimed higher and higher.
Klorbsor forwarded small balls across the red grassy field. It entered deeply into the cheerful thoughts of the mighty mysteries.
Klorbsor redistributed itself in a neat wish to experience a little physical variation of restfulness.
Klorbsor sat there picking its gryling.
Elegantly, Klorbsor cremated an extremity. It went up in smoke with a light puff.
Klorbsor lost itself in forgetful itch.
Klorbsor was pleasure-seeking in the autumn of its life.
Klorbsor wallowed in the web of diversified thoughts. The weft of the web was alien ways of thinking, so foreign that he sometimes shuddered of fear and voluptuousness in a not far from youthful way in the presence of the frightening dreaming.
Blasphemously, Klorbsor dreamt of revolution to overthrow old and foolish morals.
Klorbsor felt very well.
What Klorbsor did not know was that a catastrophe was imminent.
Sensually, a pelader rolled over in its clay pit.
* * *
The spacecraft was on its way through the green inferno that covered the world of Klorbsor. It penetrated the thin film-like membrane that prevented the burning inferno of green fire from destroying the world. It was not the first time that a shuttle from the outside had come to visit Klorbsor and his kin. Every time the craft cut open the membrane, which however and fortunately usually had a self-healing capacity. Unfortunately, the incision caused by the craft this time was much bigger than usual.
They came from another world, far away. They were three plus one of them. Carola Lermontova and her mates Charlie Sunshine and Lavari Brown, all three from a prospering solar system, plus Kasarobrasaro, a mutant from another world.
Instinctively, they all liked Klorbsor. Sometimes it sent little balls across the red grassy space under the emerald sky.
Sometimes Klorbsor surprised them by cremating one or two extremities in their presence. It liked them, and it felt that it was liked as well.
But they had not expected that the rift in the sky would create a catastrophe. The seal cracked, the green fire belched out. Emerald blood poured down. There was only one place to seek protection, inside the craft. Klorbsor called his kinsfolk. A few of them came, almost soaring on their rotating gruls.
The emerald vault was bleeding fire in a stream that became denser and denser. They were crowding inside the craft, the three plus one and twelve of the natives, including Klorbsor.
After a long period of wait, the rift healed up and they could leave the craft. Everything seemed to be as before the deluge with one important exception. There were no survivors. The worst tragedy in the history of Klorbsor’s world was a fact.
The tribe of Klorbsor was doomed to become extinct.
Fifteen beings were required in order to breed, at least fifteen.
It was with a lurking feeling of discomfort that Kasarobrasaro, the mutant, realized that their penetrating of this world had disturbed the ecological balance and caused the destruction. He perceived a gentle, almost religious feeling of guilt, and he wanted to make up for the disaster they had caused.
But he could not think of one single act or method that could provide the twelve survivors an opportunity to reproduce and secure the continued existence of their race
And was it possible to have a worse deed on one’s conscience than to cause extinction of a species?
Kasarobrasaro wept in his heart.
It was touching to see the desperate efforts of the twelve beings inside the Shed of Reproduction.
They formed a circle, as if they were to perform an ancient cult ceremony.
They linked up together using their grul-equipped extremities. They concentrated their minds on a spot in the air in the middle of the circle they formed, without success.
The beings were not interested in anything but survival.
But they were too few to breed.
They spent hours inside the Shed of Reproduction.
A spark of hope was ignited when for a short moment of collective concentration they succeeded in getting the spot in the air to vibrate, but the suggestion faded.
Klorbsor reviewed its memories. Once upon a time, very long ago, ten strong minds, according to the legends, had succeeded in propagating the race. Now they were twelve. Theoretically, there ought to be a chance for them to breed. But the ten minds had been young, strong ones. The twelve that now were left constituted a mixture of old, worn-out minds and young, inexperienced beings.
Kasarobraso understood the profound tragedy of the situation. He experienced it all as a fiasco, his own failure.
He pondered in order to find a solution. Could he possibly in any way hit on an applicable theory to amplify their mental powers?
Kasarobraso was lost in his own thoughts. It struck him that what the twelve beings needed was rest. The spark they had created had come after a short break. Now they were doing their utmost incessantly. They ought to take a break for a longer period of time and develop new energy and strength. If so, they should be able to succeed.
Carola Lermontova interrupted his thoughts. She came running to see him, jumping across the clay pits.
“Kasarobrasaro!” she called out. “Kasarobraso!”
Panting, she threw herself by his side in the red grass. She shut her eyes.
“Take it easy,” he said. “What is it?”
“Charlie, Lavari, and I took part in their efforts. We took our stand in their ring, four of them, one of us, another four of them, one of us, four of them and one of us. Then we were fifteen individuals, you see?
Kasarobraso caught a glimpse of understanding when he heard Carola Lermontova.
“What happened?” he asked patiently.
“We influenced the very air in the middle of the circle. Something happened there as if ectoplasm were being shaped in a mental mold. It went wrong. The process was interrupted and a whitish blob fell to the ground. Klorbsor said that it was an embryo of a real child of their kind.”
Could it possibly be that they, who belonged to another species from another world, could participate in their process of creation?
“Come!” Kasarobrasaro almost gave an order.
If fifteen beings were not enough, maybe sixteen would do it.
Once more a ring was formed in the Shed of Reproduction.
They stood there and focused their minds, all their intentions and their glowing hot desire of life on the spot in the air that was selected. To begin with, nothing happened. Then a clearly discernible vibration originated from the point of intersection of the minds. Out of thin air slightly whitish flesh grew out, became bigger and bigger, an extremity sprouted, a grul was formed.
Then creation stopped. The fetus fell to the ground. Dead.
Kasarobraso felt a collective shudder that passed over them all. They tried again — over and over. Aborted fetuses were all they brought about. But the process went better as compared with the former endeavors.
Kasarobrasaro thought. He was not like the other beings of his species. In appearance there was no big difference, but all the same he was a mutant, even though he did not at all times of the day give full rein to his mutant characteristics. Was there a mental distinction between him and them, too?
He thought that he knew the answer: yes!
His friends per se signified a mental reinforcement of the creative ring, but at the same time they lacked the ability to concentrate as well as Klorbsor and its race and Kasarobrasaro himself could.
When the other three relaxed the process was interrupted. At the same time it was obvious that the pure mental force of Kasarobrasaro was many times greater than that of Charlie, Lavaria and Carola.
When Kasarobrasaro realized that, he told Klorbsor.
They rested for a long time. And then...
Once again they formed a circle.
Sixteen beings, three humans and one of them a humanlike mutant from a continent injured by radiation on a far-away planet.
They centered the brew of their souls on the fixed spot, they raised their thoughts towards the same goal, they strained themselves as if they were ruthless bows of mental intensity filled with a colossal desire for the salvation of this species.
Once again the air reacted in the spot they had selected. Once more the juicy blob grew out of nothingness.
Formless tranglers and blengsers hissed, here extremities with flashing gruls protruded, there pecking flanses and smuck trangors heaved. In a haze of love and providence emanating from the concentrated pregnancy of the collective thoughts, a being of Klorbsor’s tribe burst forth out of the abysmal spring of emptiness.
Like a flourishing daybreak the living blob came to life, and one of the loneliest species in the universe again got on to its gruls, straightening itself up, stretching itself out and raised its survival into a cacophony of certainty.
Carefully, they lowered the newborn life to the spot on the ground inside the Shed of Reproduction that was the traditional receiver of life, but that now had seen so many desperately conceived pregnancies end in miscarriages.
And once more they formed with the support of their thoughts that womb of nothingness wherefrom the species recovered its position. When they quietly withdrew to their pits and food, seven small, beautiful beings of Klorbsor’s family were growing inside the blue abode of the Shed of Growth.
“They formed the biological functions of their progeny,” Kasarobraso said, “but they needed more mental power to accomplish the effort. And we possessed that mental power. The beings are of their species. I don’t think that they have taken on the taste of us because of our participation.”
Charlie Sunshine smiled. “It was an interesting experience to participate in a kind of reproduction that is totally different from what we’re accustomed to... But...”
“But what, Charlie?” Carola Lermontova asked.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but if we really must have an orgy, I’d prefer the human way. Klorbsor’s way of doing it has given me a splitting headache.”
Copyright © 2007 by Bertil Falk