A dark light of mixed purple and pink shone dimly through the planet as the sun put all its effort into a bright and light-filled dawn. It wasn’t doing very well, but that would change soon.
The planet would soon awaken.
Början cut through the jungle, running as fast as he could. He ducked, jumped, and sidestepped past the gnarled tree branches and green vines that had been corrupted with the evil power of the Shadows.
The jungle seemed to hiss at its intruder. Small wisps of evil murmurs came from all directions, Början continued his dash through the jungle completely unbothered. He noticed with buoyant hope as he sprung through the jungle that not all was lost. Some of the sun’s yellow light was sluggishly passing through slits in the overhanging leaves to form scattered patterns on the mossy ground.
He clenched his fists and doubled his pace. With beautiful and blasé grace he jumped over fallen and rotten tree branches, zigzagged past infested hanging vines that had lost their colorful hues, and past splotches of light on the ground where nature refused to give in to the evil metastasizing in it.
It had all been done before. Not this specific planet, not this specific jungle, but dozens of other planets and dozens of other jungles; the Shadows adored them. Jungles are naturally dark, with spots where the light never touches the floor. Shadows flourish in this environment, slowly suffocating it with darkness until everything is a twisted, wicked version of what it once was.
Början ran with hope in his heart. This jungle still had some color in it, it wasn’t so suffocated. True, he was still three hours away from the Third Base of Ond, where the biggest prison of the Shadows was. Perhaps this area simply hadn’t been reached yet, but as he ran, he dared to hope.
An hour in and the jungle was nearly pitch black. Hope had gone from a tentative possibility to a dangerous entertainment. His crystal staff lit the way, but to keep running as he was before was beyond reckless, his light barely pierced the darkness, what little shone through was jagged and disturbing. Början kept walking tentatively ahead, with his staff outstretched in front of him.
Then he stopped. The darkness of the jungle would not control him, the Shadows would not prevail. He placed his large hand on the delicate crystal sphere and focused all of his energy. His strength, his happiness, memories that were good and pure and that he was willing to give up all swirled into joyous colors inside the clear crystal sphere. They illuminated Början’s fascinated face and then burst through the jungle, ripping apart the corrupted canopy with a zigzag of brilliant light.
It had taken him half an hour, he’d lost a bit of time, but Början ran now with a renewed energy and with confidence reborn. He ran across the jungle, across a smattering of light on the darkened floor, and then across a dark blue teleporter.
There was darkness and a long sensation of falling, but finally he was inside Ond’s base.
It was the same as he remembered the other bases. Long, warren-like hallways, all lit by moody blue and purple lamps and blissfully free of strict security robots; after all, the Shadows roamed outside, nothing would escape those.
Början allowed a small amount of light to be emitted from his staff as he stealthily wound his way through the maze of corridors in search of the Factory. Nothing is lost in the dark, he thought as his will and body began to flag from exhaustion. He had to keep searching, eventually, he would cast his light on it.
Everything was turning dark. His vision clouded, and the hissing voices grew in volume and number. Början pushed up his wire framed glasses and when he looked up, he felt his heart nearly explode.
It beat fiercely in his chest, with renewed energy and vigor. There, in the dim light cast by the staff he was now dragging, were the words, “Fabriken.” All sense of stealth and secrecy were flung out the window as Början crashed mightily through the door to rescue the helpless, to bring them to what could be called a new dawn… to see what he had always imagined, but never witnessed.
Grey conveyor belts rolled with a professional and prim hum. On top of them sat frightened and bound people into a large machine with a square of swirling, evil purple, turning the once innocent jungle inhabitants into ruthless and soul-eating Shadows.
Början watched aghast as a woman screaming and desperately struggling to free herself fell into the machine, to the wails of the man next to her. Början stood paralyzed, watching as the man also fell into the machine, and to be spit out as a dark polygonal creature with red hot hate where eyes should be.
Quickly, he retrieved the control for his ship from his army green backpack and pressed the “summon” button in the center. He jammed the control in his pocket and then launched himself at the machine.
There were lines across the metal in the machine from when it had been constructed. With all the rage and frustration and horror Början felt, he took his staff in both hands and smashed at the machine’s only conceivable weak spot until a small crack formed.
Början saw the faces of the villagers, the hope and light now shining in their once darkened eyes. He heard their screams turn from ones of terror, to ones of frenzied encouragement. He took all that energy, and spiraled it down to the sphere, concentrating it into a bright and wonderful light.
His body began to vibrate, as did the entire room. The light streaming into the machine dented it and split it further, weakening it beyond repair. And then there was a loud boom.
Början shielded his eyes, then stood up straight to survey the damage done. He saw that the detestable machine was destroyed, the conveyor belts stopped, and that his faithful ship Ljus had taken advantage of the explosion to cause proprietary damage of her own. She had burst through the eastern wall of the compound, and now hovered peacefully outside, ready to be boarded.
Början knew there wasn’t a lot of time. Though security was lax at most of Ond’s compounds, there was bound to be a noticeable security breach now. And even though he had achieved his main objective of destroying the machine and halting the wild spread of Shadows across the planet, he couldn’t leave the villagers like this.
Quickly, he set to cutting the bonds of one villager, and then another, and then another. The freed villagers quickly got up and began scrambling over each other to help untie the rest. When all two of the visible conveyor belts were cleared, Början ran onto his ship and waved the villagers on.
Multiple guards came running into the room, guns at the ready just as Ljus’s boarding door began to close.
With incredibly triumphant maniacal laughter, Början flipped off the guards and blasted the ship away.
Raw screams of happiness and triumph arose from the villagers, and then from Början himself as his ship flew against the rising sun. It was a small victory, if it could be called that. It was a sliver of success, barely cracking the shell of the real problem.
The light still shines through.