Supernova: by Vanshika Gudipalli

Brilliant white light filled up her vision.
Was she dead?
“Again”, a cool, firm voice called out from somewhere outside.
Outside? Outside what? She questioned her own thoughts.
She shut her eyes as the light flared up.
“Scanning”, a robotic voice called out from what she could only call above, “Subject 003, please
remain completely still. Code word; Supernova”
And then it all came back in a flash.
With a groan, Nova shut her eyes, screwing up her mouth ever so slightly.
“Scanning”, the robotic voice called again, “Subject 003, please remain completely still”

Nova squeezed her eyes shut tighter still, trying to recall what mamà had taught her to evade
the pain of these ‘scannings’.
‘Tell yourself a story ‘, her mother had told her, eyes downcast but voice solemn, ‘Distract
yourself. Detach yourself. Do not feel. Only think’
Alright then. She’d tell herself the story of how she got here. Amuse herself. Pretend like she
was narrating to an audience, instead of to her own trapped, helpless self.
It had all started on earth, just like every other horror story.

The earthlings were facing large scale destruction. Not from her kind, the alien races, as their
conspiracy theorists had long insisted, but by their own hands.
A terrible combination of both the human capacity to hate and the human capacity to pollute had
killed off not only the more downtrodden parts of society, but also all their resources.
All of a sudden, there was no more cultivable land, no more clean water, no more fossil fuels….
There was a very predictable surge in the number of scientists in the field of space exploration
and research. With the stakes at an all time high, the bright young minds on earth set their
sights on a new planet to inhabit and subsequently destroy.

To the earthlings’ astonishment, there was life on Mars. Why they believed themselves to be the
only sentient beings in existence she didn’t know, but they extended an olive branch; asking for
Their planet’s leaders had agreed, full of giddy excitement at the chance of expanding their
influence and wisdom.
Unfortunately, they soon learnt that behind the pretty faces of the earthlings hid such ugly
hearts, they could have out-scorched the burning Sun.
The first ever meeting had been greatly publicized. As was the bloody coup that took place
shortly thereafter.

What else was left to recount in this ordeal of a tale? The earthlings were evidently in the mood
to enslave and torture a new race of beings, and even the relatively fierce Martians had stood
no chance against their sheer ruthlessness.
But of course, being the defiant creatures that they were, members of the two races had fallen
for one another. And birthed a race of hideously beautiful beings blessed with wile, brains and
gifts extraordinaire.

The price for this insubordination was the permanent ownership of these hybrids by the
What an ugly word. Fitting for an ugly life. She was pricked and prodded and poked in her free
time. Jabbed and stabbed on the best of days. And on the worst…she shuddered to remember.
That was why they had their memories wiped. To remember the experience but forget the pain.
It was an obvious attempt to make them toe the line.

So here she was. Her memory wiped over and over again. A million lab tests run over and over
again. The same voice instructing her over and over again.
She wondered if there was a breaking point. If her so called powers would explode out of her
like a self destructing star’s. Like a supernova.

The blinding white light seeped beyond her eyelids. She shrugged, not today, she supposed.
But someday. Someday very, very soon…

Written for Themed Monthly Contest in March 2021: Outer Space.

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