David Cygnus, an intergalactic criminal, sits detained in a transport ship as The Cell Block awaits his arrival. The Cell Block is an isolated planet used as a prison. After all of these years of doing as he pleased, David thought he was different than the others who were sent to The Cell Block. As far as his society was concerned, David was no different than any other criminal, a degenerate who rejected the values of their way of life. At this point, even he began to believe that. In a way they were right, he did reject their values, but what neither he nor anyone else yet knew, is that he is far different than anyone in The Cell Block or his home planet of Extravaga.
As David sat alone, he realized this was the first time in a long time, that he felt much of anything. His life of criminality hardened him and somewhere along his descent he lost touch of his true self. David began to wonder where it all went wrong. Deep down, David knew this was not where he was supposed to be, but it was too late…. BOOM, BANG, CRASH.
Sirens were now blaring and lights were flashing, complete chaos on the transport ship. Until the roboguards stumbled into David’s cell, he was completely unaware of what happened.
“We’ve been struck,” they said.
“An asteroid took off the front of the ship” exclaimed the head guard.
David thought things could not get any worse for him, but now things rose to a new level. Unlike anything David has ever done, he tried to be a hero. David knew that survival was unlikely as they were now free falling in a damaged ship, but he figured he would attempt to end his life on a good note.
“Everyone get to the back of the ship!” shouted David.
As he predicted, the guards followed his lead, they scrambled to the furthest chamber of the ship. Now the robots were completely bewildered, they were not programmed for this. In an effort to settle them down by giving them some type of instruction, David said “All we can do now is pray.”.
Although quite pessimistic, this was true. There was nothing they could do. After a few minutes of free fall, all electricity was lost, David was now alone as this had caused the robots to power off. What he failed to realize was that the loss of power would also cause the ventilation system to shut down. This meant no oxygen, and he did not have much time. David’s life began to flash before his eyes and then he was out, completely unconscious.
As David was unconscious, he began to flash back to his childhood. David later identified this as an outer body experience. All of David’s memories were being displayed to him like a slideshow and he had no control.
It began when David was six years old. This was a particularly bad memory for him. His first year of schooling was rough. He was used to communicating by word with his parents, but that was not the case in the school system of Extravaga. In this system, they were taught to be technologically proficient. David struggled with this as he preferred hands on activities and face-to-face communication. Although his time in school was a struggle, he tried his best for his parent’s sake. As he grew older, he became increasingly frustrated with his society, but he also grew wiser and began to absorb the knowledge presented to him at school.
By the time David was thirteen, he was at the breaking point. It was the summer before he entered the seventh grade when he finally snapped. His parents, who were always very supportive and loving, sat him down one day.
“David, we have something important to talk to you about”, said his father.
His mother then said, “Now don’t get upset, we’re only doing what’s best for your future”.
His father chimed in, “We have decided to send you to a special school, where you can work on your abilities. You have always struggled with schooling and we just want to set you up for a good future”.
Almost immediately, he rushed out the door and hopped in his cruiser. At just thirteen years old David ran away and never looked back. He thought that his parents were the only ones that understood his difficulties. This is where David’s descent into a life of crime began.
He started off small. Afterall, he was only doing it to survive, but eventually David began to enjoy what he was doing. To him, this was his way to get back at the society that rejected him. He began to use what he learned from school to commit bigger crimes. In one instance he completely shut down the operating system of his elementary school. Countless crimes later, David grew bored of what he was doing. It was time for the big one. After weeks of planning, he flew to the capital of Extravaga and hacked the system to shut down the Internet. David almost got away with it too, as he was sneaking out of the capitol building, he noticed something. It was his dad sitting in a control room David tried to resist the urge, but he couldn’t. “Dad?”, said David. His father quickly spun around from his chair and asked what he was doing there. It was the human connection that David so desperately craved that got him caught. His conversation with his dad gave the guards enough time to find him.
In the blink of an eye it all came rushing back to David, his breath that is. He was no longer in this weird outer body experience that overviewed his life. He must have fallen out of the broken ship while he was unconscious. He was now dangling from a tree by his shackles in a place unknown to him. He caught his breath then quickly dismounted from the tree. A rush of emotions overcame David. He wondered if they had thought he escaped and would give him harsher punishments when he was found.
After David settled down a bit, he began to observe his surroundings. He quickly decided that it’d be best if he looked for those who live in this strange place. After what seemed like an eternity of walking, he finally found something. It was a street sign, this pointed him in the direction of the nearest town. So, he followed the road, unsure of what he would find. As he came closer and closer, he could see buildings in the distance but they did not look like anything from Extravaga.
To David’s surprise, those who lived there were human as well. As he walked up the main street of town, he could not help but admire that the town was glowing with purity. There were absolutely no space ships or robots in sight and people were actually talking to one another.
As David stood there, just admiring the town and enjoying the unfamiliar scenery, a woman approached him.
“You look lost, can I help you find something?” she said.
“Yea, I’m not from here. You know Extravaga though right?” said David.
“Extravaga? What’s that?” replied the woman.
“You’ve never heard of Extravaga? That’s my home planet” he said.
With a strange look on her face, she asked “Well how did you get here?”.
“As strange as it sounds, I actually don’t know” he replied. He could tell by her facial expression that she was confused, but he thought maybe they actually didn’t know of his home planet or his life of crime. He thought he could have a fresh start.
“Hmm, well is there anywhere I could take you or do you know anybody here?” she asked.
Unsure of what to say David responded, “Where can I use the internet?”. David asked this to avoid looking suspicious, but he also wanted to see what they were saying online about the crash.
“The internet? “asked the woman.
“You know, like a computer.” responded David.
“Oh, yeah! I have a computer in my office at home.” said the woman.
David and the woman talked the entire way to her house. He found out her name was Jane. This was the first time he had a conversation in many years. It seemed too good to be true. He thought there was a real possibility that he might stay here, especially if no one knew about his past. Here he could live a different life and be a better person.
David and Jane finally reached her house. As she showed him around, he was amazed by how different it was compared to his house growing up. Then she took him to the computer. It was not what he expected. It was called the Altair 8800. It was at this point that David knew this society was much more primitive than what he was accustomed to. This computer didn’t even have a screen.
“Well here it is. What did you want to use it for anyway?” asked Jane.
David avoided the question after he seen what it looked like. He knew he would make a fool of himself if he tried to use it. Eventually, he convinced Jane to use the Altair and let him watch. It turns out it was operated by switches on the front panel. Compared to the computers of his home planet, its functions were minimal, but there was a game you could play on it.
During his time spent here, David already fell in love with its simplistic way of life. He enjoyed the interaction. It was what he was always looking for. David decided that he would do whatever it takes to stay here. Here, he would be able to enjoy the remainder of his life and maybe even do some good.
At first, Jane helped David get adjusted to this new way of life. It was awkward for her as she had never met someone from a different planet, but she let him stay with her until he was able to become a functioning member of society.
After a few weeks of living with Jane, David felt that he could trust her, but he didn’t want to be a burden. He decided it was time to get a job and live on his own. The only problem was he had no working experience or identification on this planet. After conversing with Jane about this, they decided to meet with the Mayor to see if he could help.
Much like Jane at first, the Mayor was very puzzled by David’s situation, but if what he told him was true, he could be a great asset. After some consideration of David’s predicament, the Mayor decided that he could be a great advisor. David accepted this position without second thoughts. He was ecstatic, he never thought things would work so well. After being granted this opportunity, he vowed to protect this planet from the things that caused Extravaga’s current state.
Over the next few years, David was an advisor to the Mayor and contributed to great progression in the town. He and the Mayor put emphasis on communication and writing skills in the school system, unlike his home planet. Together they were able to make this town a great place. It housed unique, friendly, and intelligent people that were never reliant on technology.
Eventually, the Mayor felt it was time that David took over. He knew that he could never know as much as David and felt that society deserved his knowledge. David stepped up and in a huge way, he really made a difference.
For the rest of his life, David held political positions across the planet. He took pride in his job and was forever grateful for the opportunity the Mayor granted him. He really turned his life around and just to think that David Cygnus was once a notorious criminal.
Deramp5113. “Altair 8800 – Video #1 – Front Panel Introduction”. Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 27 Apr. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2020.
Les Misérables. Directed by Billie August, Mandalay Entertainment, 1 May. 1998.Planet of the Apes. Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, APJAC Productions, 8 Feb. 1968.