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      Ponk Vonsydow

        ponkvonsydow@gmail.com


PROLOGUE


For planet Earth, first contact with extraterrestrial life came in the United States six years after the supposed UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. The little grey Zetas from the Zeta Reticula star system arrived at the new top secret military research facility outside Groom Lake, Nevada.  Every human involved in the first contact was thankful the clever Zeta's elected to land their flying saucer in the most secret Area 51 location so that no other souls knew a damn thing about it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was, however, fully briefed as to the incredible new situation and he and his people flew out to Nevada to officially greet the so called alien ambassadors. Henceforth, negotiations between the human civilization and the Zetan civilization commenced, resulting in a treaty of non-hostility and an agreement to trade human and animal genetic material with the Zetas for their alien technology. It was never clearly understood what the Zetas wanted such genetic material for, but the researchers at Area 51 and elsewhere examining the Zetan technology they traded for did experience more than one leap forward, technologically speaking, with the invention and application of the microchip and other useful technologies adapted from the Zeta’s.


The Zetas were but the first aliens to eventually contact the other citizens of Earth. After everything the Zetas came to accomplish was completed, about 100 years after they first arrived, their taskmasters, the reptilian Draconians arrived, this time with 500 million Zetan clones and with over two billion of their own kind, claiming they sought refuge. They cited, an environmental disaster made their home-world uninhabitable. The Draconian's promised to share with humankind even more fantastic advanced technology. World leaders agreed to host the Draconians and their Zetan slaves since slavery was commonplace on Earth in 2054. Among the rich humans, they were eager to have a cute little grey Zetan slave of their own and to that end the Draconians promised to clone as many Zetan slaves as humanity required.


But the Draconians and Zetas were not the only aliens making an exodus to Earth. Soon after the Draconians and Zetas settled in to life on Earth, two billion insectoid Nagoths arrived in massive mother-ships. The Nagoths like the Draconians and Zetas sought refuge on Earth claiming a similar environmental disaster occurred where they came from, forcing them to evacuate their home-world. It meant the already overpopulated Earth would now be home to some five billion aliens!


While these major alien cultures did share a modicum of their technology with the human civilization, it was soon discovered by human scientists that these alien cultures were immensely old, on the order of millions of years and their indestructible and self-repairing technology was equally as old. It meant these people, while still in the habit of relying on their now ancient technology, had long since forgotten how to manufacture more of the same and likewise, none of them actually understood how their technology worked. By then the use of their own technology was boiled down to religious rituals which could convince the technology to operate well enough, but even at that, these people had little understanding as to what else some of their forgotten technology might accomplish.


While the Draconians and the Nagoths both arrived in highly advanced motherships filled with fantastic technology, for the most part the mother-ships traveled entirely automated, meaning little was gained by interviewing the so called pilots, whom, it turned out, were actually high priests who used rituals to convince the mother-ships to travel where they did. Nevertheless, both the Draconians and Nagoths invited the human scientists to remove and take elsewhere whatever alien technology they wanted. Thus some of the mother-ships were partly dismantled after the lot of mother-ships was placed in storage orbiting the moon.


There was, however, one item of alien technology the human scientists managed to figure out and replicate and that was the anti-gravity engines that ran the flying saucers the aliens used to shuttle their people from the mother-ships to the planet's surface. It was soon discovered the basic design of a flying saucer was necessary for the anti-gravity engines to operate efficiently. It meant everyone concerned benefitted from easy access to flying saucers for all forms of earthbound travel, as well as for technicians to travel back-and-forth to the moon to continue the reverse engineering of the alien's technology.


Some 75 years after the alien exodus, in the year 2125, human beings and aliens were fully integrated, only the planet was overpopulated and impoverished almost everywhere, while still being ruled by the same old rich bloodlines and career politicians who endlessly promised an end to global poverty while actually doing nothing about it at all.  The whole world continued to hold on to hope that something or someone would arrive to rescue them.       


I


The various alien refugees selected the Earth for immigration essentially because at that time planet Earth’s atmosphere wasn't completely polluted and toxic like the atmosphere on their home-worlds even though the polluted conditions therein were entirely self-created by them. These aliens didn't go into too much detail as to exactly what happened to their home-worlds. This left their human hosts unsuspecting of the use of alien technology which was equally dangerous on Earth as it was on the alien planets and would pollute the Earth to a great extent after the technology was in full operation some 49 years. Global leaders realized far too late that the degree of pollution and toxicity in the atmosphere meant that although the planet would continue being habitable possibly another 50 years, the environment was so damaged that all manner of life would die from disease, dehydration, and world famine.


Thus, life was difficult for Z-lop, an insectoid Nagoth child, as well as for his family. They, like most people on the very impoverished Earth, lived in abject poverty while dwelling in a homemade shack in a massive shantytown, since by the year 2174 slums were commonplace on a global scale. For Z-lop, it was highly improbable that when he matured into an adult he would manage to escape his poverty stricken condition due to the fact that the extremes of poverty was the average station in life, and within this overpopulated world, there were no longer enough slices of the proverbial pie to go around. In truth the old pie had already been completely consumed a good hundred years prior, meaning not even crumbs were leftover to uplift the poor and downtrodden!


On this day Z-lop and his sister Xena took their recycled plastic sack with them when they both paid a visit to the immense garbage dump that surrounded their shanty town. In most instances, the dump was already well picked over, but little Z-lop and Xena were clever and knew places in the dump that had been overlooked wherein they sometimes found objects of value that could be recycled, repaired, or simply cleaned. These things could then be bartered with, bartering being the normal method by which these poor people conducted business because any actual money they possessed had to be reserved for items that could not be scavenged from the dump. They bartered for primarily rations of Nutraloaf wafers and partially contaminated yet potable water, and enough of both to feed everyone in the family, if in fact, such families managed to stay together.


Most inhabitants of the Earth were single individuals because in this age of austerity, cohabitation with the opposite sex and legally having children was usually too cost prohibitive and too difficult to sustain. Overpopulation required strict controls over new births, meaning baby licenses were issued only sporadically. For Z-lop and Xena's parents, they produced two offspring illegally, so both parents ran the risk of being severely penalized if anyone caught them having two unlicensed children.


The Progeny Authority didn't actually have the resources to adequately police the situation, meaning millions of people formed small families and produced offspring illegally, living in forgotten places the authority didn't patrol or care very much about. After all, it was said: "one can't squeeze blood from turnips!" Penalizing people who would never be able to afford to pay off a heavy fine was a total waste of time and limited resources. Thus the Progeny Authority limited it's policing to middle and upper class neighborhoods wherein anyone caught in violation could afford to pay the stiff fines in order to legitimize their illegal offspring.  Nevertheless, there were raids in the slums so families were always looking over their shoulders in fear of being caught. 


As Z-lop dug through the refuse, he found something technologic in nature because it was obviously made from shiny metal and had what looked like plastic jewels and buttons festooning its surfaces. Z-lop pulled the device free and out of the rubbish and it was just the right size for him to conceal in his bag and carry back with him. Z-lop was excited because he already knew something like what he just found be worth something of higher value than the typical junk he or his sister usually came across. Z-lop knew his father might be able to determine exactly what the thing he found was supposed to be. Z-lop shoved the device inside his opaque plastic sack so none of the others would see what he found then he collected his sister and explained they both needed to hurry and run home. Xena was curious:


"Is it because of what you've got inside your sack? Did you find something good this time?"


Z-lop replied:


"Let's not talk about it here where the others might find out! We need to run home and show father what I found. Then you'll see what it looks like. Father can tell us what it's for!"


****


Z-lop and Xena's father, Xenon greeted the two children as they came inside into the room where he sat smoking ganjeet, a mildly intoxicating alien weed.


"Well, well...if you two came back so soon, am I to assume one of you found something good?"


Z-lop looked excited.


"Yes, father I did find something I think is good! I don't know what it's for but it's shiny and comes with plastic jewels!"


Xenon took Z-lop’s sack and pulled the thing out from inside it. The old insect was immediately impressed.


"My son, do my three eyes deceive me? This object isn't just shiny, but it is gilded in gold! And these plastic jewels I think may actually be precious gem stones! I can't believe one of my children found this object in the garbage dump! It is obviously a precious object someone unfortunate must have lost! No one would just discard something expensive and valuable like this!  You were lucky to have found this thing before one of the others did! We must hide the thing in another more durable sack then together we shall pay a visit to a vendor to allow him to appraise what you have found. Then we shall discover for ourselves exactly what its worth and then sell it to the vendor for a fair price and be rich! Come my children let us depart."


****


Xenon and his two children entered into the vendors abode. The vendor was a fat Nagoth too overweight to fly. Xenon saw the fat one's wings had atrophied and were so shriveled they were completely useless to him.  The children stood behind their father as the fat one spoke.


"Good interval, come in, come in. Then we'll see what you have brought me to barter over."


Xenon carefully put his sack on the counter top then methodically removed the shiny bejeweled object. The vendor was instantly amazed.


"Great Nagoth gods! I had yet to lay eyes upon something as splendid as this coming into my domain. What is this gilded and bejeweled object?"


Xenon was cautious.


"We do not know what it is for or what it might do. We hoped someone like you, who has bartered and sold so many different things, might have come across something like it in the past."


The vendor snorted.


"We may not know what it is for or what it does but one needn't know so much to tell whatever it is, it is made of gold and is festooned with precious gem stones.  I can then place value on the object based solely on the materials it is hewn from. First I'll analyze the amount of gold it has, to determine if it is merely plated in gold or is composed of solid gold."


The vendor placed the object inside his molecular scanner and let it measure the elements contained in the object.


"Holy, Malsuvious! The scanner reports this object is composed almost entirely from solid gold! Including its internal parts as the scan demonstrates this is not merely a gilded and bejeweled sculpture, but it is some kind of mechanism or device. Now let's have a closer look at these jewels."


The vendor placed the magnifying monocle in his center eye and squinted through it gauging if the gems were real of artificial.


"Dare I admit these gems are not only real but they are each perfectly flawless! There are emeralds, rubies, amethyst, amber, and diamonds! I can tell you this object is far too expensive for someone as lowly as me to purchase, but I must have it!  Please try to understand."


Xenon was shocked when the vendor produced a plasma-pistol and pointed it in his face.


"I see! It is your intention to rob us, is it not?"


The vendor laughed.


"Only a fool such as you would attempt to sell something priceless in a vendor’s shop so close to the slums and garbage dump! I am forced to deal in recycled trinkets. What this object will fetch me will buy my way out of this slum and into a palace fit for a king."


Xenon smiled.


"Unfortunately for you sir, your obesity prevented you from noticing my son has slipped up behind you! I armed him with a disruptor and he's got it in your back! Now just hand over your weapon and we'll be on our way and with our priceless object."


The fat insect indeed felt it when something poked him between the atrophied wings in the small of his back. He got scared for his life and handed over his weapon to Xenon.


"Damn all children!"


Xenon then leveled the fat one’s own weapon at him.


"You can come out from behind him now, Z-lop."


Z-lop obeyed his father and came out from behind the counter where the fat one stood to stand beside his father. Z-lop then brought his index finger and outstretched thumb to his mouth and blew his breath across it as though he was a gunslinger fresh from having slain an opponent blowing the smoke away from the barrel of his gun. The vendor realized then he had been taken for a fool. These Nagoth weren't armed and now he had foolishly handed over his own weapon!


"We'll be leaving now. I'll just hold onto this plasma-pistol for safekeeping and in case you are so overcome with greed you try to follow us. I'll advise you to stay put inside your shop until we are long gone from here. I do not intend to be relieved by force of our so called priceless object!"


The vendor helplessly stood by as the three insects left his shop. Xenon spoke to his children.


"Well, at least we now know how valuable the object is! I presume others might wish to steal it from us so that is why I took the fat one’s pistol! I'll be sure to demonstrate we came prepared to defend our possession when we show the object to the next vendor, but we know the ones nearest to us will never be able to afford to pay us for this thing. We must return home and pack some things because I understand now we three must make a journey as far from this slum as we can go to find a rich vendor that may be able to meet our price as soon as that one makes an offer we can accept.  Come, lets us return home and prepare ourselves for this trip."


II


The Nagoth father, Xenon took his two children, the boy Z-lop and the girl Xena with him on a journey.  They traveled outside the slums until the three walked into the city proper and ventured well into it until they came to the wealthy section. It was filled with fancy and expensive shops, five star restaurants and large mansion-like domiciles. Xenon offered comment.


"It was necessary for us to get as far as possible from the Nagoth slums. This part of the city is home to the rich Draconians. We'll find a Draconian vendor to barter with."


The three Nagoths walked until they came to stand before the storefront of a Draconian jeweler. Xenon and his children entered the foyer as Xenon thumbed the button to signal the Draconian vendor inside they wished to enter his shop. The vendor examined the three standing inside the chamber, and scanned them and found that the big one carried a weapon and some object in a bag.


"Place your weapon inside the adjacent box. It will be returned to you as you depart."


Xenon saw a little door slide open revealing a box he presumed was intended to collect customer's weapons. He took the Nagoth vendor's plasma-pistol and placed it inside the box. The box's door slid shut automatically. Then they heard a buzzing sound as the lock on the door was triggered clicked open remotely by the vendor inside and the Nagoth family could enter the shop. The Draconian vendor muttered under his breath.


"What could these filthy, broke Nagoths want?"


Then the vendor saw that the big one carried a sack he presumed was filled with whatever item these Nagoth wished to barter over. Xenon placed the sack on top of the counter and revealed its contents.  As soon as the Draconian vendor saw what Xenon offered, he was amazed and smitten. He didn't need to think about what to say next.


"I'll give you a million credits for this object, no questions asked!"


Xenon was impressed. After taxes, the credits that would be left would set him and his family up nicely. Such a sum meant they could all escape the slums and live in a proper house and in a decent neighborhood far from the shanty town. Xenon didn't wish to risk being turned away if he haggled for more than what was already offered.


"It's a deal!"


The vendor replied:


"Please present me with your debit chip and I'll adjust my wand to transfer the sum to your chip. Of course, as you well know, any transfer of monies beyond a thousand credits is automatically reported to Corporate and they will automatically tax the transfer the usual 75%."


Xenon placed his left arm on the countertop and upturned his wrist where the debit chip was implanted. After the transfer and taxation, Xenon used his own wand to verify there was the remainder where it belonged, a sum of some 250,000 credits!  Once Xenon saw he had the proper amount, he was well pleased. He thanked the Draconian vendor and the three departed going out the way they came in. Xenon retrieved the pistol he thought might be useful in the future and especially in the event someone tried to rob him and force a transfer off his debit chip now that he was loaded with credits.


Meanwhile, the Draconian vendor was left to marvel over the object he knew to be infinitely ancient as well as priceless. It was worth exponentially more than a mere million credits. That Nagoth he bartered with obviously had no idea whatsoever what he actually found. This was because the gilded and bejeweled object was recognizable by any knowledgeable Draconian familiar with his people's folklore and religion. The legend stated the Draconians and many other races of people elsewhere in the galaxy were all seeded by a fantastically advanced and equally ancient civilization of robots known as the Zebulons. It was said the Zebulons survived even into the modern age and they had on occasion rescued entire planets on the verge of destroying themselves. Prior to these rescues, the Zebulons sent forth to each planet a device that was a kind of interstellar transmitter meant to serve those people as a tool by which they could commence communication with the Zebulons millions of  light years distant. This vendor recognized the object the Nagoth brought in to sell as being one of the Zebulon's interstellar transmitters!


There was, however, a snag. The vendor knew the legend stated these devices were activated utilizing a special key, but with this one the vendor could see the key was missing. Without that key, the device could never be made to function and the key itself was impossible to fabricate because it was said to be composed of an element found only on Zebulon.  Still, the vendor knew the transmitter was priceless nonetheless and it was his intention to see to it the device was placed into the hands of proper authorities. He would leave it up to them to start a worldwide search to find the missing key. That was if the “Powers That Be” had intentions to communicate with the Zebulons.


The vendor knew well enough Earth was in dire straights and was likely on the verge of total environmental collapse. Why else would the Zebulons have sent forth the transmitter? It was just fortunate for him some Nagoths found it and failed recognize what it was. The vendor knew he would be paid a hundred times what he just spent to acquire the device by the beings he would soon barter with. As for finding the all-important key, this particular Draconian vendor wasn't very concerned.  He didn’t actually care if anyone found the key or not. He would merely pass forward the contact information concerning the Nagoths from whom he purchased the device. That Nagoth would soon discover for his money he was going to end up being descended upon by the authorities.  They would want to know where the device was first found so as to start their search for the missing key in the same location as well as to determine if these same Nagoths had already found the key and still possessed it. 


****


Draconian folklore was mostly unknown among the other races inhabiting the Earth in 2175.  Soon the news that a Zebulon interstellar transmitter was found began to circulate among official circles. The important news of the discovery was not disseminated to the general public on the basis that Corporate, in possession of the device, had not been able to cause it to function and they felt the public did not need to know about it, meaning while the device was still important and priceless, it was mostly as useless as it was beautiful to look upon. Thus, the Zebulon Device as it came to be called was secured inside an impregnable vault where all manner of treasures were hoarded and kept safe from pilfering souls.


In the interim the search for the key was quietly conducted starting in the same garbage dump where the Nagoth family said they found it, but the key was not produced from that location even after officials literally sifted through millions of tons of decomposing garbage accumulating in this dump over the past hundred years. Making matters more difficult was that the officials didn't actually know what the key looked like or what it was hewn from. It meant trying to find the missing key was like trying to find a needle in a haystack full of needles! Given this was true of the search being conducted, this one search continued the next fifty years, ultimately on an unprecedented scale as eventually tens of thousands of people, dozens of entities as well as robots were all employed in the search, still getting zero results.


At the same time, the environmental conditions on Earth, something the Zebulons meant to intervene, continued to grow exponentially worse. All natural resources were long since exhausted. Pollution, disease, thirst, and famine were rampant and commonplace worldwide resulting in mass death and a reduction in global populations by well over five billion, leaving six billion sick, tired, and hungry inhabitants. Life was brutal for everyone and for them there seemed to be little hope that anything would ever change. By then most of the population had long since given up on the idea that solutions could be found or that some other advanced civilization would come to rescue them.  Corporate continued the search for the long lost key in the hopes they could cause the antique Zebulon Device to function so they might make an appeal for help on a message they presumed would somehow travel as many light years as necessary to reach these Zebulons, a race of robots it was said were in the habit of rescuing worlds in trouble in the same manner as the Earth was at present.  All hope was gone and it seemed as though everyone alive was living on borrowed time and that time was running out!


III


By 2225, the Draconians were in such disarray and financial ruin they could no longer afford to keep their Zetas as slaves. The Zetans were thus forced to fend for themselves after being provided for by the Draconians for millions of years. They were hardly equipped to do that and for them it meant that in a world populated almost entirely by beings who were desperately poor, the Zetans were the poorest among them. They managed to survive by doing as they had always done and they offered themselves to the equally poor Nagoths to work as servants in return for a place to live and a ration of food and water enough to sustain them. The Nagoths treated these Zetas well enough so the Zetans were content with the arrangements.


The Zetans were put to work as scavengers rummaging through the immense piles of garbage in the massive garbage dumps surrounding the shanty-towns where the Nagoths dwelled, but these dumps had long since been completely picked clean of anything of value. It was then that an odd occurrence happened when Thesla, a little Zetan girl, found something pretty she dug out of the heap. It was small enough she knew she could hide it on her person and sneak it into her room where she could then hide it from the others as something that belonged only to her.  It was something shiny and pretty she could covet and keep secret.


Thesla noticed the object could be strung on a piece of twine to make a cute necklace. She wore her necklace only when she was well away from the rest and when no one was around to see her precious item of jewelry. It so happened on this day, Thesla forgot she wore the necklace and she went about her business wearing it openly while visiting a Draconian neighborhood where she intended to panhandle among the slightly better off reptiles. This was how it came to pass a particular Draconian vendor noticed Thesla's necklace and he became curious about it.


"Tell me child, where did you find this piece of jewelry hanging about your neck?"


Thesla placed her hand over her necklace.


"It's mine! You can't have it!"


The vendor replied:


"Ah, yes, I can see you are a smart little girl. Everything has a price, my dear. You are very poor are you not? I will gladly pay you a nice sum of money to purchase your necklace."


Thesla wanted to keep her prize, but her constant hunger told her differently.


"How much will you pay?"


The vendor replied:


""I'll give you 500 credits!"


Thesla knew 500 credits was half as much credit as her Nagoth hosts earned in a year! She could only imagine what kind of different food she might buy with that much credit. It was her empty stomach that foretold the sale of her beloved necklace. The vendor waved his wand over the girls implanted debit chip and sent her on her way after she turned over the necklace to him. He immediately took his prize back to his shop to better evaluate it.


Once he turned on his equipment to further examine the trinket, the machine could not determine the element the key was composed from! To the Draconian vendor, something like that could mean only one thing. This pendant was alien in origin as whatever it was hewn from did not originate on Earth or on any of the home-worlds the various races inhabiting the Earth came from.  Something vague came into the vendors mind. He recalled his father had once participated in an activity involving the search for something presumed lost. It was coming back to the vendor now.


"Yes, I remember! Father told me Corporate possessed an ancient device that could only be activated with a special key. It was said this key was composed of materials consisting of an element found only on a distant world millions of light years away from Earth. I wonder? Could this trinket be this long lost key? What else could it be? If what it's made from can't be determined by my equipment then it must not be from this planet. Who shall I take up this matter with? Does anyone care anymore about the missing key? Father died many mega-intervals past. He would have known whom to see. I have to try and find out who to talk to about this right away!"


****


Indeed the search for the missing key was all but abandoned by the previous generation after those searching for it failed to find it after looking some 50 years. This vendor soon discovered no one knew what he was talking about. That was until he encountered a very old Zetan janitor.


"I remember the quest for the key! You'll find what the key goes with in your own Draconian folklore. Do you not know of the Zebulons and their interstellar transmitters?"


The vendor was curious.


"Yes, my father did tell me about them. I almost forgot such a device is what this missing key was meant to activate. Do you mean they have such a device somewhere?"


The Zetan replied:


"It is in the possession of Corporate in a dust covered and locked vault no doubt! I guess they too have mostly forgotten they even have the damn thing! But, I remember the officials responsible for it worked in the Ministry of Antiquities. I suggest you seek them out and inform them of your discovery."


The vendor thanked the old Zetan and departed to search for the kiosk wherein the various branches of Corporate were located in that same gleaming glass and steel structure. He found the room number of the Ministry of Antiquities and its assigned floor located in the basement of the immense building. It wasn't much of a journey to arrive there. Inside the vendor found another old human being stationed behind an obnoxiously huge, cherry-wood desk.


"A visitor! My, my...we haven't had a visitor down here in as many months and the last person who arrived at my desk was merely lost in the process of trying to find the lavatory. Don't tell me you, too, got lost on your way to the restrooms?"


The vendor replied:


"I am called Vendica. I am here to make an inquiry if I may. It concerns a Zebulon Interstellar Transmitter. Is it true Corporate is in possession of such a device?"


The old man perked up.


"The Zebulon Device! Yes, indeed we do have it! It is quite beautiful to behold, but is practically useless otherwise as no one ever managed to find the special key that activates it."


Vendica replied:


"I may be able to help! See here what I have brought you. My scanners revealed this trinket is composed of materials that cannot originate on Earth or any of the other known home-worlds. I think it may actually be the long lost Zebulon key!"


The old man seemed visibly excited.


"Holy moly! I never thought I'd live to see the day the missing key was found! I almost forgot about it! You're in luck. I am the keeper of the vaults and it falls upon me to open them. I will take you to view the artifact and then we'll examine its keyhole and try your trinket to see if it fits. Come with me and I'll take you there."


Inside the vault, Vendica was amazed when he got his first look at the Zebulon Device. He hadn't expected it would be made of precious metal and festooned with precious gems stones.


"In case you're wondering, the device and its mechanisms are composed of solid gold and those gems are real! Look below the large diamond on its front. That's the keyhole. If you'll just hand over that trinket, I'll try her out!"


The old man took the trinket from Vendica and carefully inserted it into the keyhole to discover it fit inside the keyhole perfectly!


"It fits! I don't dare turn the key to activate the device! We know little about it and whatever it's meant to do might only occur once after the key is turned. We'll have to report this directly to the CEO and the Board of Directors! I suppose you're intention is to be handsomely rewarded for finding the Zebulon key, is it not? At one time there was a five-million credit reward posted for anyone who found this key to cash in. Can you live with five million credits? Or at least what's left of that much after they tax you to death! But, I must now inform you this key must be locked inside the same vault as the device and right now!


"Trust that I am an honest civil servant who will vouch that you are the Draconian who brought in the key! Don't worry yourself. You'll get what's coming to you! Now let us depart and go back to my desk so I can call in this discovery to properly inform Corporate and its CEO and board members. I suppose they will send in the experts and will secure the device elsewhere so there can be a host of witnesses to watch what it does as soon as the key gets turned. Are you familiar with the folklore surrounding the Zebulon transmitters? Legend has it the Zebulons are the saviors of worlds. If they left the device here on Earth for as long as it's been here, they may have wished to rescue the Earth as far back as 50 years ago.  Who knows how long the device was here before it was found. It could have been buried and lost where it was another hundred years even before that! Think of how much all of us have suffered all this time, living as we must in a totally ruined world with not enough to go around. Do you realize that you having found this Zebulon key may mean the salvation of the Earth? You'll be considered a hero of the people as well as you getting rich!"


Vendica liked the sound of that!



IV


Upon the discovery of the key that fit perfectly into the Zebulon Device, interest was renewed in exactly what the device was intended to do. Top officials from Corporate attended the event on the day when the key was to be turned and the device would presumable be activated. The job fell upon the same old man, Ted Cassidy who worked for the Ministry of Antiquities, who brought the discovery of the Zebulon Key to the attention of the proper authorities. Now as everyone eager anticipated the activation of the Zebulon Device, Ted Cassidy took hold of the key and twisted it clockwise.


Immediately the device could be heard making a low humming sound and the jewels festooning its surface became illuminated. Shortly after, everyone standing in that room began to hear a hallowed voice:


"Citizens of Earth. We are the Zebulons. We Zebulons never elected to attempt to destroy ourselves as so many other planets in our care sought to do and as your planet seeks to do. The reason why we have not is no mystery to us. We are apart from the races of people found everywhere else because we are not a race or species of organic life; rather we are a race of sentient robots, not prone to ruin our environment as so many organic races have done to themselves, but fear not, friends, for there is hope! Under Zebulon stewardship, your planet's environment can be restored, and your mostly impoverished people shall be uplifted as all inequity shall be vanquished and everyone shall enjoy the same standard of living. We ask that you use this device to negotiate with us, as there is no time to waste to rectify the damage already done to your world and to usher in the new utopia for all Earthlings!"


Ambassador Nelson was impressed by what the Zebulons recorded. It fell upon him to reply.


"Dear friends, we men of Earth are grateful to hear your kind words and to learn of this gracious offer the Zebulons have made us. We are desperate for your help. Please name your terms."


A moment of silence passed until the now familiar Zebulon voice replied:


"Greetings, Earthmen. Our terms, you may find agreeable. We Zebulons repair only that which we invest in. The terms are simple. We would like to purchase planet Earth, in trade for one million metric tons of gold, to be distributed among those who presently rule and who have the authority to make such a sale."


Nelson was amazed.


"I must say it never occurred to us the entire planet could be considered nothing more than a selection of real estate up for sale. One million metric tons of gold you say? We are aware the total amount of gold mined from the Earth since the dawn of time to date, is merely 175,000 metric tons! Your kind offer is nearly nine times as much gold as all of humanity ever acquired! I can attest this offer sounds more than fair! Allow me time to bring the matter before the Board of Directors and our CEO."


The Zebulons replied:


"There is no time limit other than how much time the people of Earth have left before their ruined environment becomes the death of them all. We shall await your answer."


Ambassador Nelson took the matter before the Board of Directors and before the CEO, Maximillian Rothschild, the richest man alive. Now Rothschild spoke:


"There can be no doubt the amount of gold the Zebulons offer us to purchase this worthless planet is far beyond a king's ransom and would be worth more money than ten times the total wealth on the entire planet! Money we can keep mostly for ourselves, as the Zebulons did not mention we would have to invest all that money into our planet to receive the benefits the Zebulons claim to offer us!  Therefore, I can see no reasons whatsoever why we should wait to go through with this sale. We shall let Ambassador Nelson contact the Zebulons to make the necessary arrangements. Mr. Nelson, will you be so kind, as to contact our good friends the Zebulons?"


Nelson replied:


"I'll get on it directly, but where shall I tell the Zebulons to deliver the gold?"


Rothschild answered.


"Have them deliver the gold to me personally as I can make room in my vaults to warehouse our treasure."


Nelson agreed and departed to make contact with the Zebulons. It was merely 24 hours after Nelson made the deal with the Zebulons that Rothschild stood in awe and amazement when suddenly in the space he provided, one million metric tons of gold materialized out of thin air to rest upon the concrete floor of his largest vault. The gold literally filled every square meter of the vault from floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall. Rothschild then realized his lifelong greed was finally satiated!


Soon the type of technology the Zebulons evidently possessed that allowed them to beam gold and themselves across the vast millions of light years between their star system and Sol System remained a mystery. Such fantastic technology was not the limit of what the Zebulons brought with them. In a mere matter of weeks their pollution and radiation eating nanotechnology scrubbed the entire surface of the Earth clean of contamination and left the world’s environments pristine and renewed!  Hoards of Zebulon robots descended upon the slums tearing down the shanty-towns and replacing the people's hovels with spacious elegant standard living quarters identical to each other.  More hoards of Zebulon robots went to work cleansing the fresh waterways, while desalinating salty ocean-water to provide abundant potable water, enough to hydrate the once thirsty population and with plenty of freshwater leftover to be utilized for anything it was needed for.


Likewise hoards of Zebulon robots cultivated the lands after the nanotechnology revitalized the soil making for bountiful harvests on a global scale and providing so much food there was always more than enough to go around and for anyone that hungered. The Zebulon robots attended to every other imaginable need the Earth’s population might have until every last detail, even down to minutia, was cared for and provided for. In less than a year it really was true that the Zebulons did exactly as they promised and transformed the entire planet into one gigantic and thriving utopia.


****


The Earths historical inequity was soon a thing of the past. Meanwhile, a handful of humans and Draconians benefiting from the sale of the planet, thought themselves to be fantastically rich individuals. These people had intentionally oppressed the always poor Nagoths and even more impoverished Zetans. Yet, after the Zebulon real estate deal was a thing of the past, and after the Zebulons transformed the whole Earth into the promised utopia, the extremely wealthy people discovered that within the Zebulon's reign and utopia, money and precious minerals such as gold had no value whatsoever! Ironically, for the world's traditionally wealthiest people, the compensation they agreed to accept to sell their power and control over to the Zebulons wasn't worth two cents in the end!  Of course the Zebulons knew that beforehand, but as the saying goes...a deal's, a deal!

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