The Power of the Librarian

Since I can remember, books were my life. I read at night, I read after school. I always felt completely engrossed in the story. And now I am.

When I was about 10, I took my first journey into the story of a book and was forever changed. My superpower is I can experience the book from the inside out.

I don’t know how I do it, but I just think about the story and I get sucked into the book, able to move about at will and watch it unfold. That’s how my power works. I can’t interact, just watch and listen.

I locked up the library and looked around to ensure no one was there. I opened up this sci-fi book as wide as I could and waited for a second. It began to shake. Lights of stars and squiggly lines emanated from the pages sparkling in different hues of bright blues, yellows and greens reaching higher to the ceiling. The streams grew wider and wider into a blanket cone of white light encompassing by body creating an aura.

Glittering particles started to reduce my body slowly into a stream seeping into the book like a funnel. And I’m in.

I landed on the station platform, just as the cruisers were beginning their daily patrol.

I wanted to get into the action right away, so I thought hard and bam, I’m in the backseat of the red leader’s cruiser.

“Red leader to patrol Alpha.”

“Alpha ready to engage.”

“Red leader to base. Alpha patrol take off now.”

The takeoff was like being sucked into the book, a little disorienting but exciting.

“Red leader to Alpha. Assume perimeter search and report after every sector completion.”

“Acknowledge. Alpha out.”

It was a smooth run. The stars in space were mesmerizing. Each way you looked, they created different shapes. It’s an odd but freeing feeling to be floating in the air.

“Red leader. Red leader. Alarm in sector Delta 7. Pirates.”

“Understood Alpha. Wait until I arrive. Do not engage.”

Ooh, pirates. I love air pirates. Most of them are scavengers, pretty harmless, but the patrols have to board them and ensure they’re not committing crimes.

“Red leader to Alpha. Got your back. Commence board.”

“Roger.”

I need to think hard and I’ll be on the pirate ship. Here we go.

“There is nothing in our cargo hold,” the pirate pilot said.

“Open it so we can see,” Alpha said.

The pirate leaned down and opened the cargo door. Two armed men in blue uniforms burst out with blazing lasers and vaporized Alpha 1 and then the pirate pilot.

These weren’t like the pirates I’d ever seen before. They wore steel blue uniforms with dark masks obscuring their faces.

Then a woman came out of the back of the starship. She was dressed all in silver with a cape with snow white mane and a mask covering her eyes.

“Now take care of the two cruisers before they can alert anyone else,” she ordered.

I looked on with dread as they obliterated Red leader and Alpha’s cruiser with one laser shot each.

“Empress, we have less than an hour before they send a rescue patrol. Shall we commence Phase 1 of our mission?” the commander asked.

“Yes, but use the cloaking device to conceal the vessel to avoid any more interruptions,” she said and disappeared into the back of the vessel.

The blue uniforms got into position to steer the air pirate vessel and went to warp speed.

I wasn’t sure what happened to the other pirates, but it was clear they weren’t needed and whoever the blue uniforms were, they had a specific mission.

“Warp speed ready commander,” the blue uniform said.

“Engage,” the commander said.

Looking out the cockpit windshield, I see a small planet in the distance.

“Ready to launch the solution Commander,” the blue uniform said.

“Engage,” the commander said.

A red beam of light encircled the planet and a brilliant light briefly engulfed our vision. When it was done. The planet was gone.

“Phase 1 complete, Empress,” the commander said into the speaker.

“Excellent. Begin Phase 2,” her voice said.

One by one, the air pirate ship hopped around the sector of space attacking small planets. Each disappeared in the same burst of light.

I didn’t understand what was going on. Were they cloaking the planets or did they kill every form of life on each planet? If they vaporized them that quickly, the power of that weapon was tremendous and scary. But what was their mission and why? I needed to find out more, so I tried to think myself into the other part of the ship. Maybe this Empress had some answers.

When I reformed, I saw her with a star map showing all the planets in that sector. She was touching each of the smaller planets on the screen and they changed into a hollow circle. Did that mean they were still there?

The three larger planets in the inner ring of the galaxy were glowing on the map. Were those her mission? Were they going to disappear? And why?

The White Empress said very little, just sat out looking at the stars. She looked solemn but determined.

“Phase 2 complete,” the commander’s voice said.

The Empress touched the remaining planets on the map surrounding the three glowing planets reducing them to tiny blue circles.

“Now commence Phase 3,” the Empress told the speaker.

She walked over to the map and smiled. The three glowing planets were beginning to dim slightly.

If she eliminated all life in this galaxy, it would kill millions and millions of people instantly. I needed to go back to the cockpit to see the next phase with my own eyes. I thought hard and found myself in my former position, looking out the windshield as one of the larger planets came into view.

“Engage when ready,” the commander said.

A small surge of light came out of the ship, but this time it was a solid blue ray. The beam of blue light immersed the planet, but it didn’t disappear. It stayed between the planet and the ship and then moved slightly to the right.

“1 parcet, 2 parcet, 3 parcet, 4 parcet, 5 parcet,” the commander said into the speaker.

 “Stop at seven and repeat on the other planet,” the Empress’ voice said.

Wow, they were moving the big planets away from the middle planet, not destroying them. Given they moved into the path of the disappeared planets, it was clear they were gone. I felt bad, but hoped they were vacant planets with no life. But probably not. These blue uniforms and the Empress took over a pirate ship for a reason. They were up to no good.

I watched and waited as they moved the other planet out of the way, leaving the center planet with more room.

The Empress came back into the cockpit.

“And now it’s my turn,” she said.

She closed her eyes and billows of air filled her cape and hair lofting them into the air, then her feet rose slightly above the ground. She slowly levitated toward the windshield and moved her hands onto the screen. It filled with dazzling white and silver snowflakes until it was completely covered. The cabin began to get colder with ice forming everywhere. The commander and the two blue uniforms shivered with the drop in temperature while the Empress remained in a trance unaffected by the cold air. Then loud alarms rang and the ship started to shake uncontrollably.

“Commander, the ship is breaking apart. It can’t handle anymore,” the blue uniform said.

As the ship was rocking with electronic sparks shooting of every wall and panel, the Empress suddenly disappeared.

It was time to get out. I thought hard at space and found myself floating outside the ship, watching its destruction in an incredible ball of fire, which immediately extinguished.

I turned to look at the planet. Whisps of white clouds surrounded it and turned it white with silver specks, glistening like a diamond.

Was it frozen? And where did the Empress go? Is she in the planet?

Noooo! Suddenly I was thrust out of the book and placed back in the library. I was confused, since I only leave when the story was over. I looked at the front book cover. It’s a series. Part 1. I guess I’ll have to make another trip to find out what happens.

(c) Suzanne Rudd, 2022

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