As we walked through the bus terminal, I took Carl’s hand. There weren’t very many people around. But those that were, were staring off into space. It was late, so it didn’t seem very odd. However, no one looked like they would be very helpful at giving us directions to the stop for bus number 29.

We found the information booth. The man behind the desk looked at us with glazed eyes; then he pointed off to his left. We walked to where he was pointing and waited for the bus to arrive.

We boarded when the bus came. After a while, I looked out the window and saw that we were going the wrong way. I looked at Carl and asked, “It said 29 on it, right?”

“Yeah. I don’t get it.” He shrugged.

We got off the bus, but neither of us knew where we were. There was a church near the stop with beautiful gardens. Before we continued on to find someone to give us directions, we decided to check it out.

We wandered around the property for a while. On one side of the property, there was a flagstone path leading towards an archway. Beyond the archway, there was a wooded area. We decided to go explore it.

Not far from the archway, there was a stream with a small waterfall. We stopped to take a drink. As we were doing so, we heard leaves rustling behind us, in the woods. We looked toward the sound and a demon-like creature emerged.

The creature was a metallic red and looked as if he was made of armor. By its ears, it had a white horn on each side of its head. It also had similar ones going down its spine.

As I stood in astonishment, the creature grabbed my arm with sharp claws. Carl grabbed both of our arms and tried to pull them apart, but the creature was much stronger than Carl was. It was no use.

Carl then started punching the creature, but it was well protected with that armor. It merely swatted him away, like I would swat a fly. Carl went stumbling backwards.

As Carl regained his balance and started to come in for another attempt, the creature put its hand in its mouth and pulled out a smaller, worm-like creature. When Carl got close again, the creature let go of me. He grabbed Carl and stuffed the worm thing down the back of Carl’s throat. I should have run, but I stood there in shock at what was going on. After letting go of Carl’s head, the creature easily grabbed my arm again.

I still stood staring in horror at the sight. Carl just stood in place, seemingly lifeless. If anyone had been watching, they probably would have observed the same about me. But, we were still for different reasons. Where my reason was fear, Carl’s was not. He was staring off into space, just like the people at the bus terminal had been.

The creature tugged on my arm and I returned my attention to it. Not knowing if the creature would even understand me (or be able to respond), I started yelling, “What have you done to him?”

It ignored my question. Instead it said, “I need you to bring as many human beings to the forest, as you can.” The voice was masculine.

I asked him why. He ignored me again. I thought this odd because he could clearly speak English. So, I knew he was ignoring me, rather than not understanding me.

Instead of answering my question, he said, “Those creatures are a way of controlling people; they are called ‘The Dominion’. I select who I need to help me, and I have The Dominion enter their body. When I command it, The Dominion will bring everyone to the forest. Everyone, that is, except your clergy. I possess the clergy for the single purpose of keeping them from interfering with my mission to save the human race.”

He paused and I thought, “Ok. So he answered both questions . . . in his own way.” And then I tried asking another question, “If you are trying to save the human race, why are you using mind control on everyone?”

“Unfortunately, I must. Your people tend to react to me, just as your friend here did. Most people will not listen to me. I need an open human being to help me show them the truth. You are that person.”

I stood silently for a moment in disbelief, and then slowly said, “You want me to help you . . . do what?”

“I need you to convince people of my plan to save them. They will not trust me, but they will trust you.”

“Why don’t you just put a Dominion in me and make me do it?” I said defiantly.

“They will be more likely to trust you, if you are of your own mind.”

“That’s for sure,” I rolled my eyes and shook my head.

He let go of my arm. “I need you to bring those who are intelligent and not corrupt by the Church. Your planet is dying from the corruption of your society. I will be bringing the select people to a new planet, so that the human race may start over.”

To my surprise, it was beginning to make sense. The Earth was dying. We have destroyed our environment and our chances for a sustainable life. Although I knew that the Church used their dogma to control the population in the Middle Ages, I didn’t understand how the Church came into the destruction of the planet. It was strange. Then again, I was talking to some sort of creature that looked like a demon. I shrugged to myself. Since I was talking to a demon-like creature, anything may be possible.

I looked at Carl and then back to the creature, “If I were to help you, would you give him his mind back?”

“I plan on giving everyone their mind back.”

“Let me rephrase. Will you give him his mind back, at the time that I agree to help you?”

“If I took The Dominion out, I wouldn’t be able to trust that you’d still help.”

“And if you don’t take it out, once I’ve helped you, I won’t be able to trust that you will.”

He nodded, “I see your point. It goes both ways.” He paused, “I will remove The Dominion. If your friend does not start fighting again, I will keep it out. But if he returns to his previous violent state, I am putting The Dominion back in.”

I agreed, hoping that somehow I’d be able to calm Carl down if he started swinging again. Unfortunately, he immediately went on the attack and he wasn’t hearing my pleas for him to stop. The creature grabbed Carl and reinserted The Dominion.

“He will have to remain in this state until the mission is complete.” I frowned.

He added with a smile, “While he’s like this, I can tell him to do anything that you desire.”

I raised my eyebrows at the thought of making Carl do something really embarrassing and taking a photo of it, but I dismissed the impulse. “That’s ok.” I paused. “Can you tell me more about who you are and what your plan is? What’s your name?”

“I’m called Raidogh. Follow me. I’ll show you.” I took Carl’s hand and we followed Raidogh further into the woods.

It wasn’t long before we came to a larger waterfall. This one was surrounded by a deep, rocky gorge. Raidogh disappeared into a cave that was under a large overhang. I paused for a moment. I gulped, got up my nerve, and led Carl into the cave.

Once inside the cave, I discovered that it was actually a room. The room was hi-tech and full of strange machinery. Raidogh told me that once we passed under the archway, we went from the woods of Earth to the woods within his space ship; this was the control room. I stood a bit dumbfounded. Raidogh went on to say that the ship could travel through both space and time; then he told me why he was on Earth.

Raidogh told me that in his time, Earth no longer exists. Its resources had been exhausted by its inhabitants. Since his people understood that human beings don’t currently use their brains to their full capacity, Raidogh’s people wanted to teach them to use it all and live sustainable lives. They thought this was the key to saving Earth, so Raidogh was sent to bring environment friendly Earthlings back to their planet.

Unfortunately, the people of Earth did not trust Raidogh’s crew. He had sent them all out to find the chosen human beings; they had either been killed or had disappeared. So now, he must find someone to help him recruit the chosen Earthlings. He wrapped up his explanation with, “You are the first. I need you to convince the others.”

“That won’t work. They’ll all think I’m crazy.”

“No. Your people were carefully chosen for their knowledge and beliefs. In fact, most of them are considered a bit crazy by others of your species.”

“If these people already believe, why do I need to gain their trust?”

“You must get them to trust the situation. They must want to leave Earth. They must want to learn from my people and not just about them. Most importantly, they must be willing to become part of the situation, and not try to control it.”

I nodded and said that I understood, but then I added, “That’s not easy for most of us.”

“I know, but for the sake of your species, we have to try.” He paused and added, “With each new recruit you get, it will get easier.” I agreed and started on my search.

The first person I found from my list was an aerospace engineer named Zach. He was doubtful, but he did seem very excited about the possibility. Before I tried to recruit more, I decided I should rid him of his doubt. I brought Zach to meet Raidogh.

Raidogh told Zach everything and brought him to the control area. At first, Zack was overwhelmed, just as I had been. But as Raidogh started showing him some of the technology, Zach fell in love with learning how it was made and how to use it. At that point, he agreed to help me find and convince the others.

Once we had found the other ten people on Raidogh’s list, we brought them to the ship. Some of the recruits were impressed, but one woman asked, “If we are such awful beings as to destroy our own home, why do your people want to help us?”

“Because we understand that it is not your fault,” began Raidogh. “From the beginning, your religious leaders have kept everyone in ignorance. They never taught Man all they needed to know. In order to keep you under their power, they purposely kept knowledge from you. Then, when your people started rebelling, the Church gave away a little more knowledge. Unfortunately, the knowledge that was given, was that of Greed. Man was so delighted with the little bit that was given to him, he wanted more and more.” Raidogh paused and bowed his head for effect; then added, “Until it was used up.”

He continued, “At this point in time, it has not gotten that far. But in my time, Earth no longer exists. My people are sad that a species must die so young, and we wish to keep it from extinction. When I bring you to my home planet and time, we shall teach you all you can learn.”

The same woman gestured towards Carl and asked, “If you detest the power that the Church had to hold us in ignorance, then why do you keep the others under your control?”

This question gave me a feeling of déjà vu, as Zach and I had both asked this question earlier. I wondered if Raidogh was getting tired of it; and he gave her the same answer he gave us, “I am very sorry about that. I wish I didn’t needed to, but they aren’t as open as you chosen ones are. The Dominions will be removed, when we arrive at my home.” He motioned for me to bring Carl over to him; then continued, “I will show you what happens when I release them, at this stage.”

Raidogh removed The Dominion from Carl’s mouth. Once again, Carl lunged at Raidogh with his arms swinging and curses spewing from his lips. Raidogh grabbed Carl’s head, forced his mouth open, and reinserted The Dominion.

“You see. They are dangerous at this stage. The Dominion does not hurt them, either physically or mentally. Those not chosen are merely a danger to themselves. They fight regardless of the fact that they could not possibly triumph over me.”

No more questions were asked. Raidogh began teaching his newly formed crew; each member had a specific task to learn. As soon as the crew was ready, Raidogh told The Dominion to bring the rest of the Earthlings onto the ship. The rest, that is, except for the local clergy. The clergy were condemned to life under the control of The Dominion. Raidogh said it was punishment for their power hungry ways. When all of the others had boarded, the ship set of for Raidogh’s home.

As soon as they arrived, one of the crew asked Raidogh to stop controlling the others. He said that would not. Raidogh told them that he changed his mind. “I’m sorry. But I now think it best that they became acquainted with the new planet and its people first.”

At this point, he had us exit the ship. We were greeted by a green world and many otherworldly beings. The inhabitants of this new world were, for the most part, similar to Raidogh. They all had the armor-like skin, but each one had their own personal characteristics.

Our welcome was not, however, a friendly one. Raidogh’s people were shouting; they wanted to know where the original crew went; they wanted to know why the earthlings were there. It seems they hadn’t “sent” Raidogh to Earth after all. They had no knowledge of his plan.

Zach tried to help out and shouted to the gathered crowd, “He means to educate us to your level of intelligence; then return us home, to save our planet.”

This statement caused immediate alarm in Raidogh’s people. There was a loud whispering among them. It died down and the unsettled mob began moving closer towards us. When they reached us, the battle began. As Raidogh had pointed out earlier, a fight between someone of his race and a human being was an unfair one. We lost; they tied up Raidogh, myself, and the eleven other crew members.

Raidogh was seen as a traitor by his people for bringing the destructive Earthlings to their planet. He was sentenced to the appropriate punishment by their law: death. The Earthlings were turned into slaves and divided among the citizens. Those who had not been trained as crew, were never removed from the influence of The Dominion; I never saw Carl again. Those of us who were Raidogh’s crew, were put to work. So that we could not communicate with each other, we were split up onto twelve separate ships.

A few hours ago, the ship I was assigned to left for Earth. It is my hope that we are going back to before Carl and I ever arrived at that bus terminal. As much as it would be nice to explain where we all went, I’d rather have the opportunity to warn everyone of what is coming . . . Raidogh.

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