Monday, December 08, 2008

Rebellion on Terra 5

Here's a story to you for Christmas. I was going through some of my old files and stumbled across this retelling of Mark 12:1-10. It was first published eight years ago this month and can now be found in my book Astonishing Tales. Merry Christmas. I pray this will be a season of hope and light for you and your family.

Rebellion on Terra 5

Ambassador Lansing gripped the throttle and jerked his ship back on course. The flight computers were off-line and he hadn’t flown manually since he was at the academy. To make matters worse, the ship had been heavily damaged in his escape.

C’mon! C’mon! You can make it!

Up ahead he saw Phoenix Station quickly approaching. It wouldn’t be long now.

C’mon, baby. Ease in there… Just a little further…

The rear thrusters finally disengaged and his pod began to slow down. He veered sharply toward the left side of Docking Bay 12-C7. He knew he was coming in way too fast, but he didn’t have a choice. Not this time.

No… It’s not right!… The trajectory is too steep!

Everything was getting foggy for the Ambassador. He’d lost too much blood. And he was so dizzy--dizziness was one of the symptoms of the Demarian Plague. He’d most certainly been infected. If only he could make it into the docking bay to deliver his message!

He heard the warning blaring from the com device near his ear, but it was too late. As the ship careened wildly to the side, everything seemed to blur together like a dream. Like a nightmare.

You’re not gonna make it! You’ve failed. The Emperor will lose the colonies…

The last thing he saw before his ship exploded in a flash of light was the metal exterior of the space station zooming toward him.


“Sir? Sir? Can you hear me?”

The man lying on the operating table blinked his eyes.

“Your majesty, I believe he’s coming to!” said Dr. Exeter, Phoenix Station’s chief physician. He leaned over Ambassador Lansing’s body, prodding gently at the artificial limbs he’d just attached.

The Emperor stepped forward. “Excellent. That’ll be all, doctor. You may leave us alone now.”

Dr. Exeter nodded, bowed twice, and quietly backed out of the room.

“What? Where am I?” mumbled the Ambassador. “What happened?”

“We pulled you from a nasty wreck, my friend. But the good doctor found enough of you to piece back together...” The Emperor smiled. “By the way, you dented my space station, Ambassador.”

The man on the table closed his eyes. “My life for my mistake, your majesty.”

“No, no. I forgive you...” The Emperor leaned close and lowered his voice to a whisper. “Now, tell me about those burns on your leg and how your right foot came to be severed from your body… It wasn’t from the wreck was it?”

There was a long and uncomfortable silence.


“No, sir. It wasn’t from the wreck. I was tortured. It was the rebels.”

The Emperor’s eyes narrowed. “The rebels did this to you? To my personal representative!”

“Yes, sir. They refused to listen to anything I had to say. And they wouldn’t hand over the antitoxin. They’re trying to keep it all to themselves, sir.”

“And what about the others--Ambassador Lege? Dr. Akersby? Sir Magel, the Honorable Envoy from Nebus?”

“Dead, sir. I was the only one to escape… I had to gnaw off my thumbs to twist my hands out of the shackles.”

The Emperor turned on his heels. “You serve me well and you will be rewarded for your loyalty. We’ll speak again soon. For now, rest. I have much to think about. I need to speak with my counselor.”

Ambassador Lansing bent his head slightly and glanced at his new thumbs. Better than the originals… he thought, as the dizziness returned. And then he was asleep again.


Four earth hours later he awoke in a hoverchair. Dr. Exeter was guiding him down the corridor toward the Emperor’s High Chamber. Counselor Pax and the Emperor’s son, Lucan, were already assembled in the council room. The Emperor motioned for them to sit down. Then he turned toward Ambassador Lansing. “Thank you for joining us on such short notice, Ambassador. Could you give us a status report of the rebellion on Terra 5?”

“Of course, sir,” he propped himself up with his arms and addressed the three dignitaries. “The rebels have taken control of the plantations that produce the antitoxin for Demarian Plague--” He glanced at Dr. Exeter.

The doctor looked grim as he added to the Ambassador’s report. “As you all know, it’s highly contagious and… quite fatal, I’m afraid. Everyone in the Terra System has been exposed.”

Ambassador Lansing swallowed hard. That “everyone” included him. He cleared his throat and continued. “They’ve refused to turn over the antitoxin. Every messenger that’s been sent has been killed or tortured... As I see it, your majesty, we have only one choice...” There really was only one option left--send in a squadron of Elite Force soldiers. Annihilate the rebels, seize the antitoxin, and then distribute it throughout the colonies.

But before he could propose this, Counselor Pax cleared his throat. “I suggest you send in Prince Lucan.”

“What?” roared the Emperor. “My son? My only son! You propose I send the one I love more than anyone else to those murderous rebels!”

Prince Lucan stepped forward. “I’m glad to go, Dad. The antitoxin can save whole worlds. Billions of people--your people. I’d gladly lay down my life for them–”

Counselor Pax spoke up again. “Certainly the rebels will respect your only son, sir. And then this entire incident can be resolved peacefully. They wouldn’t dare attack the son of their Emperor. Lucan will arrive in an unarmed ship. No weapons. Bringing only your undeserved offer of mercy.”

The Emperor gazed around the room. “What do you think, Ambassador?”

Ambassador Lansing shook his head. “Sir, I don’t see the wisdom in it. Knowing the rebels, they’ll try to assassinate your son. They’ll reason that if they can kill the heir to the throne, the entire galaxy will be theirs. I suggest an Elite Force offensive, instead.”

Everyone stared at the Emperor awaiting his command. A long moment passed. Then another. “Thank you Ambassador. Your suggestion is duly noted. But this time I must go with Counselor’ Pax’s proposal.” He drew a deep breath, and, despite himself, the Emperor clenched his fists in intensity. “But if they lay a hand on Lucan, I will bring them all to a wretched end. By peace or by force, the antitoxin will be taken from them and entrusted to those who’ll share it willingly with others, rather than keep it only to themselves.”

Ambassador Lansing couldn’t believe it. This is unheard of! Never has an Emperor allowed his only son to enter enemy territory in the middle of an uprising! He could be captured! Or even killed!

“When shall I leave father?”

“At once. Time is of the essence.”

“But, your majesty!” blurted the Ambassador. “It’s a suicide mission!”

“Perhaps,” said the Emperor. “But love will prevail in the end. It’s the only way to save the planet. It’s the only way to save… you.”

Prince Lucan turned toward the Ambassador. “I’ll be back,” he said, laying his hand on the Ambassador’s shoulder. “And I will bring you the antitoxin. I promise.”

Then Lucan nodded to his father and the others, removed his royal sash and robes, laid his weapons on the table, and left the room to save Terra 5.

From itself.


Michael Haney said...

Tell me what you think of my poetry...

I just found your book 'Story' and I just love it...

If you like, you can reach me at

By Michael Haney

The actors plan everything
The whole script
Even the play
They do their acting out
People come and watch
Sometimes they’re entertained
Sometimes they’re not
The actors aim for entertainment, to a certain degree
They’re just following the way of the American culture
Instead of the Way
If not entertained, the spectators, they leave
In search of another play
That’s the way of the market-minded
Find a product that you like
Either way, they miss the point
Possibly even misunderstanding everything
Always leaving unchanged and unchallenged
Never meeting the real Holy One face to face
Only the sellable version
Back to their selfish lives
Back to their practical atheism
It wasn’t meant to be this way
Jesus yells but nobody hears
All because everyone is lost in the play

Michael Haney said...

Sorry Steven...

The first line of the poem got cut off...

the first line is 'when church becomes theater'...

Michael Haney said...

by michael haney

when church
becomes theater
the actors plan everything
the whole script and play
then comes the acting
the audience
come and watch
sometimes they’re entertained
sometimes they’re not
the actors aim for amusement
following the way of the american culture
instead of The Way
if not entertained, the spectators, they leave
in search of another play
the way of the market-minded
searching for a product liked
missing the whole point
even misunderstanding everything
always leaving unchanged and unchallenged
never meeting the real Holy One face to face
only the sellable version
back to selfish living
back to practical atheism
it wasn’t meant to be this way
jesus yells but nobody hears
all because everyone is lost in the play