The Other Side of the Story

The Other Side of the Story


My name is Oochirayamgringcholang – a rough approximation, but the best that can be done with your alphabet. Most of you know me as “the Dark Being”, a name given by my enemies. Some of you have taken to calling me DB. This is acceptable.

Until now, all you have heard about me is what my enemies said, and as I did not speak your language, I was unable to give my side of the story. Due to certain circumstances, that has changed. I do not ask that you take my word, only that you keep an open mind as you read my account, compare it to what others have said and what you have personally seen, and decide for yourself where the truth lies.

(Transcriber’s note: DB’s account does indeed differ in some respects from others. The transcriber believes DB has the right to put his case, but does not necessarily agree with it, and accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies.)

Like your Dr. Krick, I am a scientist and inventor, and like him, built a device to travel between universes. Being bolder – or less prudent – than the Doctor, I was on the other side when my portal unexpectedly collapsed, leaving me stranded on an alien world. To return home, I would need to build another such device on that world. The world was lightly populated, although there had once been an advanced people who had almost died out. One relic of that past civilization was a geothermal power station in an old volcano, which with a bit of work became a suitable base.

During one excursion, I found a tower inhabited by an old man, also an inventor. Though we neither spoke the other’s language, I hoped that the common languages of science and mathematics might allow some communication. Unfortunately, he was affiliated to a band of priests who maintained an iron rule over the people of this world by a combination of religion and absolute control of technology. They could tolerate no independent operation such as mine. By luck, I learned then that they had already been spying on me, and had dredged up plans of a weapon from the past to use against me. Seizing a brief opportunity, I reprogrammed the old man’s robotic bird-man to be my spy. (I did not intend for it to do harm! But you try re-programming an alien robot with little time and no manuals and see how far you get! The reprogramming was incomplete when I had to stop in order to avoid discovery.)

Now seems a good time to discuss those priests. They claimed to be protecting nature, and condemned me for polluting it. Hypocrites! My power source was heat from the bowels of the world itself, and any pollution from the volcano would have been emitted whether or not I was there. On the other hand, they had no qualms about burning fossil fuel in their iron warship, or in the foundry in their fortress. And you may wonder what they were doing with an ironclad and a fortress in the first place. And did you know they kept a young girl in their temple? Trapped in a machine, unable ever to see the light of day, able only to travel to those parts of the temple where they had seen fit to install rails to carry that machine. Now that’s cruelty.

Fortunately, they were as foolish as they were hypocritical. They built their weapon in sections, taking each section to be hidden as it was completed. Why? Did they think I could storm their temple and take it? And if I did, what would it benefit them to have the device scattered around the world? It suited me, though, because I found two parts and took them to my base, and got a third when I captured their fortress. Ha! Their much vaunted fortress, and I took it with just a rowing boat and a pet. That creature, incidentally, was quite intelligent, willing to do simple tasks in exchange for food and a home, which I gave him at the fortress. Mindful of the tragedy with the robotic birdman, I gave the pet specific instructions – he could use any means to obstruct any intruders to the fortress, but he must not harm them. (I hope the visitor who killed him reads this and is suitably ashamed.)

Returning from the tower, now resigned to having to build my device from raw materials and first principles, I was surprised to suddenly see a familiar glowing ovoid shape. Someone else had opened a portal! Had someone from my world come to rescue me? Unfortunately not; on the other side was another alien – Dr. Krick. He seemed friendly and invited me through. At last, perhaps I had found someone who could help me.

But again the language barrier proved insurmountable. In the end, I’m afraid I lost patience, and took some tools as well as a power modulator. He had plenty of spares, so the loss of one should not have troubled him, and as it was the single most difficult component to build, that one would help me a lot. In fact, he took this badly, apparently thinking I was stealing his design. (How foolish! As well you might watch someone tinkering with a television, and from those few observations learn enough to build one of your own from scratch.) But I must admit that his design was superior to mine in one respect. It could maintain the portal for longer. And he had even worked out the final modification needed to keep a portal open indefinitely. This was too good to miss, so having built my own crude device, I returned to his house and took the plans for that version. This he did not like at all. He followed me, obviously intending harm to my laboratory and possibly to me personally, and I had no choice but to restrain him.

This did, at least, make it possible for me to try out another device to enable more direct communication. I learned that he was concerned for his child, Amanda, and well he might be – without him there to feed her, Amanda would surely die. So I returned once again to his house to retrieve her. My base was never intended for child care, but I made her a pair of drums to play with. Amanda had a natural gift for rhythm, so I connected the drums to an ore-processing machine, whose operation she then synchronised perfectly even though to her it was a simple game which kept her amused.

But another person from your world had seen me take Amanda and followed me. This was too much – my base, originally intended only for me, was becoming crowded. I disabled the visitor and took the unconscious but still living body to a place of safety – the beach near the old man’s tower. Like Dr. Krick, the visitor seemed to be the same or a similar species as the old man, who perhaps could help or accomodate the visitor better.

I now turned my attention to my main project – the portal generator which I hoped would get me home. But like a bad coin, that visitor – for whom I had gone out of my way to take alive to a place of safety – returned, having assembled the priests’ weapon, and used it on me! I found myself trapped in a crystal bottle and taken back to Dr. Krick’s home. Fortunately, Krick made the mistake of suggesting that the bottle be thrown into the sea. It wasn’t long before the bottle was washed up. The person who picked it up opened it, releasing me, and said something like “Gee-knee” and “Three witches” – obviously deranged. I never did find out what he meant.

But I was free, though still trapped in another alien world – yours. It is more densely populated than the other, so finding a hidden base was harder. On the other hand, you make so much more chemical and electronic pollution that it is much easier for me to stay hidden. Getting help from you people is going to be tricky because many of you can’t stand the sight and sound of those who differ slightly, due to being from another part of this world – such people would go completely insane if they saw and heard me, even more different, and not even from this universe! And I’ve seen such documentaries as “E.T.”, and know that some of your governments would be even more hostile to me than the priests were.

But your planet is so wonderfully diverse and divided, and some smaller governments would undoubtedly help me in exchange for the technological assistance I could give them in their struggles against their rivals. Yes, this place definitely has possibilities…