The Summer Rain: A Precursor Novel
“Please, do not harm yourself…these fingers, the ones I have my hand on now, were meant to make music, not to take their owner’s life. There is much to be gained from living a long, happy life, but you need to find your own path, using what you have been given.”
“But what is life without anything to live for? As long as I have this curse, I will never live a full life, music is the only thing I have…I have become the most famous violinist in the Empire, but for no reason other than my own gain. I have nothing else to live for.”
“You have me, Alexander Vitosiev, and I think that you’re perfect.”
Gabriella Marisetti to Alexander Vitosiev
Prologue: What is a Youth?
“What is a youth, but impetuous fire?” So goes the famous lyric by Tchaikovsky, the famed Russian composer, and one of the most insightful men ever to have lived, in my opinion. I’m young, but I’ve seen enough in my 24 years to know that life, and youth, aren’t positive experiences at all, because of the nature of Imperial society. Emperor Arditi, being the Fascist that he is, sees conformity above all else as mandatory, loyalty to the law is absolute. However, his doctrine is flawed in the question of “legal non-conformity.” What if the individual is different and unpopular for a completely legal reason?What of the social contracts, the unwritten rules of society that are understood to be upheld by the common people without the watchful eyes of the Night Hammers and the mind-reading of the Pleiadean Archivists on Alcyone enforcing them? This is where my difficulties begin, because I violate almost every social contract by simply existing. I was born on Krakow II, a backwater planet in the Bird Galaxy Cluster, a galactic colony more than 650 million light years from Earth, under Lord Governor Duke Maxemilian Griff. It was clear from the start that I wasn’t normal, but in a good way, rather than a bad one. I found out that I could play violin extraordinarily well at a very young age, and by age 5 I was composing symphonies. My first one, “Hymn of a Summer Rain,” became amazingly popular amongst the Imperial nobility…however, I myself was never happy, because of something that happened every time I played my symphonies. My music would change the weather at random. No one knew why, perhaps it was a side-effect of the Solation Pharmaceuticals brain enhancements my mother took when she was pregnant with me, but as soon as I started playing, it would rain torrentially, most often, but occasionally I would cause a tornado or a hurricane to form as well. If it was cold enough, it would start snowing or sleeting, or even cause freezing rain. Because of this, my music and very existence violated a social contract, though not one that had to be enforced very often: “One should not change the weather at random, for it may inconvenience others.” The fact that it was such a bizarre problem simply added to the stigma already attached to my existence, anyone out of the ordinary in Imperial society was already seen as odd as it was, let alone with such a weird talent. The only way to prevent me from causing the weather disturbances was to ban me from ever playing my music in public, but the Emperor enjoyed my symphonies so much that he refused to uphold society’s wishes, so naturally, they took their collective frustrations out on me. I never had any friends at my private school for exceedingly gifted musicians on Lilliana V, Delta Dromius Conservatory, even though I played better than anyone there, my professors even said so. I always performed outside, but everyone hated me for ruining their expensive outfits with torrential rainstorms, calling me “Waterboy” and even suing me for compensation, because I ruined one girl’s extremely expensive formal dress. They did not succeed, so at least there is some justice in this Universe. Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy, why did you have to be so right? My name is Alexander Vitosiev, and this is the story of how one person changed my outlook on life…a tall, gorgeous blonde with pigtails, with an elaborate Jungsturm-Nordsterne dress, black, lacy gloves, platform shoes and striped stockings…Gabriella Marisetti.
- An Ancient Discovery
“So many millions of years ago…the Great Precursors. We now know so much about their society, except for what they looked like…perhaps they didn’t want us to know, for reasons forever unknown.” Imperial Chief Archaeologist Loli Marisetti sighed, looking at a digitized manuscript, recovered from an ancient Great Precursor archive on the planet Odin, written in their unique heiroglyphs. Gabriella was a true prodigy, she was reading by age 1 and writing by age 2, and by age 6 she had already completed primary school. She was sent to the Imperial School for the Gifted, and even amongst the other geniuses there, she stood out as smart. Her knowledge of almost every topic knew no bounds, and in subjects she didn’t know much about, she always made strides to learn them by heart. At age 17, she became an archaeologist for the Imperial Legions as a non-combat personnel, and by age 24, she was the top archeologist for the Empire and a permanent member on the Imperial Pantheon’s Ministry of Science, under Lords Silver Arronax and Shen Ryujin. Right now, however, Gabriella was standing in her bedroom, on the planet Arcana II, a pleasant, temperate world of high mountain peaks and breathtaking vistas. She was wearing her Imperial nobility outfit, the extremely elaborate Imperial Jungsturm-Nordsterne robes, dress and cape, with a white, frilly hat on her head that fit over her blonde pigtails and a black rune on her hat. Her long blonde hair flowed down the back of her dress, marked with arcane black crosses and symbols. She also carried the ceremonial scepter of the Ministry of Science, with the Whirling Electron emblem on it. This was not how she normally dressed, she preferred a simple outfit of pants and a plain shirt, but the Emperor demanded loyalty from his subjects, especially female ones; there really was no practical point to having the younger female government officials or Pleiadean Guard dress in the Jungsturm-Nordsterne outfits or the Ethereal Aristocracy, and having them being injected with Regenera Strain to keep them young and beautiful forever. Even in battle, the Guard wore a black version of the same dress with a white solar helix on it. Misogyny was rampant within the Imperial Pantheon Hall, women were always seen as inferior to men, even though Gabriella was smarter than half the men in government put together. Her home was in a penthouse at the top of Pierre Towers, a government-owned apartment complex used to house high-ranking members of the Imperial government, but Gabriella had just recently moved into the 25,000 square foot apartment and was still getting to know the neighbors. One of which, an Imperial Senator who only lived in the apartment during the summer on Arcana II, one of the most beautiful planets in the known Universe, along with Lilliana V and Valhalla, had a 13-year old son who liked to play pranks on Gabriella by stealing her underwear or putting glue on her doorknob, booby-trapping her door to blow an air horn loudly whenever she opened it; he had somehow found a way to sneak into her apartment from the next floor down and always took her black frilly panties, and also performed the other pranks too, Gabriella once caught him in the act and literally kicked his ass back down the stairs with her high-heeled shoes after coming home from a Ministry of Science meeting, but he returned the favor the next day by apologizing to her with a handshake…that happened to have a hand buzzer in it. How he was able to get inside her apartment or why he insisted on waging a prank war with her was beyond Gabriella’s comprehension, and that was really saying something. Gabriella changed out of her formal outfit and into her sweatpants and T-shirt, it was getting late, and Lord Arronax’s words to her still hung over her like a pall. “Science is a skill of the many, but mastered by only a few.” What he meant to say was that “You are too young to be a real scientist, little girl, not to mention, you are just a woman.” It angered Gabriella deeply, as to why the Empire and Imperial society was so rigid and so focused on roles in society. Emperor Arditi was the new God, he had replaced any other god or belief with his Pantheon Doctrine, and incorporated all other religions into his pseudoscientific-paganistic, racist doctrine of “Imperial Enlightenment” to appease the masses of Old Believers, as those who still followed Christ, Allah, Yaweh, or any other gods from any of the 135 Imperial Races. As such, Arditi’s will was absolute. He was a hateful pariah, but even thinking anything negative about him would result in criminal charges. The Night Hammers tended to be selective on who they prosecuted for treason charges, but it was not worth the risk. She was trapped in a role, and there was no way out. Just as Gabriella was about to turn on the holovision to watch the news, the communications console rang, with a message from Lord Arronax. “If this isn’t an apology, I’m not answering…” Gabriella sighed as she answered the message, knowing very well that she would not get one. Arronax sent a small file to Gabriella containing a report from a planet called Malalaklese II, about something that an Imperial commissar found while excavating a foundation for a new building in the Bird Galaxy Cluster. As Gabriella read the report, the final image was something that immediately made her forget all about the hate and disrespect of being a woman working for the government. It was a truly magnificent portrait of what could only be described as a Great Precursor couple in an elegant, humanoid form, clad in a completely foreign outfit style. One Great Precursor was flying through the air, its legs tucked in under its body, its arms outstretched, and its long hair flowing off of its head. They were utterly amazing; according to the portrait’s text, they could take multiple forms, having evolved beyond the need for conventional bodies, The Great Precursors could transform into any living thing, therefore they had no true form, and also permanently learn the abilities of any organism after they willingly transformed into one. Their ships were not just massive vessels on the scale of the Odin-class capital ships, but incredible works of art, each capital ship, having been termed a “Battle Dragon” by historians, was unique, reflecting the personality of its commander, presumably. Their literature was renowned as rivaling and exceeding that of any of the Imperial Races, and their hieroglyph temples, some the size of small cities in one building, remained testament to their long-lost splendor. The greatest wonder of them all was the thrill of a major discovery.