Blackness, and stars spread across the velvet like a sweep of diamond dust. Silence lies all around, sucked away by the vacuum.
And then, just on the edge of hearing, comes a simple melody, a haunting children's rhyme. Something about it is distorted, and the words are lost.
Over it rises a rumble, increasing in volume like the immanence of a behemoth star ship. With a sweep of motion, it is upon us, not a ship, but a planet, icy and blue, mostly in shadow but lit on the edge by an unseen sun. The planet curves away, and from its motion it is evident that we, too, are moving, but at a tangent, deeper into its orbit.
Another planet appears and passes us, a green orb, brushed with clouds. Beyond it lies a yellow dot, growing as we swing towards it. The sun of this system appears, and it is clear that it is our destination.
The desert planet vanishes underneath our path, and the sun grows ever more quickly until the scene is white and hot.
The universe fades, the sun with it, until all is black. The music drifts on like an echo, but it, too, fades quickly away.
It is only when we see movement that we realise that the darkness has an organic, bone-like texture. Eyes, dull and sickly, but glowing none the less, swing around and narrow. A growl sounds from beneath them, hollow and alien. Teeth part brightly, glistening wetly. There is a flash, and all is black and silent. In the darkness comes a voice, very human, and worried.
...a small rural town, peaceful and prosperous, but walled. People go about their daily affairs cheerfully. The sky is blue and the grass is green.
...beasts, monsters, too fast to see clearly, burst from undergrowth in a forest, loping through the dappled shadows.
...a man in a watchtower, calling out in alarm. Panic in the streets below. Women hiding the children, the men seizing any weapon that comes to hand.
...the monsters charging across the grass, a myriad of beasts, all intent with one purpose.
...battle, the mud spraying through the melee, the air swirled with smoke. Villages armed with rifles, swords, and farming implements scream and hack and shoot against the lightning fast shadows of the beasts.
Black. A voice can be heard, toned to report news.
"...latest monster attack, this time on Bortevo. The creatures, which have now been seen on every landmass, were soundly defeated by Kingdom Robotcops. Rescue teams and volunteers..."
The town again, Bortevo, smashed and smouldering, utterly destroyed. We draw back from the fires and bodies, and there is a man, clenching a sword, his whole frame expressing disbelief.
A city, white and green, a utopia. The same man stands in amongst the colourful milling crowd as if he cannot believe what he sees.
"The King has urged all citizens to stay within the city walls but stresses that the Robotcops have the incursions under control."
The man turns, looking around as if he is in another world. The sun lights around his head like a halo.
"The Bortevo citizenry have praised King Las-"
"Can't you see it's all a LIE?" The man screams the words to the crowd, but those who hear him are sceptical at best. Armoured soldiers push their way through the crowd.
"I've been there," the man yells. "I've seen Bortevo. It's been -"
The soldiers reach him, falling upon him mercilessly, beating him with rifle butts and kicking him. His world, and ours, fades to black.
In silence, we see a teenage girl, holding the head of the man and crying heavenward. Tears cover her face as blood does the man's.
Blackness, and we hear what could only be the man's last words. The voice is rough and barely audible.
"Alis... It's too late for me... Be strong..."
...a line of light, vertically bisecting the darkness it lies against...
The girl again, but hardened, dressed in leather armour and carrying a short sword. She is in another city, the ocean visible between the buildings.
...her face, in close up. "My brother saw something," she says. "I want to know what."
...A woman, young and beautiful. "I can help you, if you'll let me."
The wise face of an old man. "Your brother saw the truth."
...Alis, standing in a dilapidated city surrounded by forest. The old man's voice continues...
"...and you will not know it until you see for yourself."
...A citizen of the utopian town. "Lassic has done so much for us. We couldn't fight back the monsters without him."
...the line of light thickens, becomes chrome under light, turning its edge away...
A scarred warrior. "You haven't seen them attack. They move as one, united by purpose..."
The monsters he describes, a rapid montage of insects and mythology. Claws, teeth, fur and chitin...
"These are animals, and yet they move as if under the command of a man."
The old man again. "The towns are dying. One at a time. Lassic leaves us when we have nothing more for him."
The warrior's voice, as we see Alis fighting giant flies in the grasslands. "That man is Lassic."
...the chrome light turns further, and our view swings upwards. It is a blade...
Alis, again, sounding frustrated. "Something must be done, Suelo."
A pause, and the young woman we saw before looks at her.
"Everyone says that," she says sagely. "Everyone waits for a hero."
Alis standing in the grasslands, our view spiralling around her. We hear her reply to her friend.
"I would follow such a hero. I would give my life to such a cause."
Suelo's face, waiting for Alis to understand. "Then there is no hope for us."
Alis: "I can't do this. I need help."
...The hilt of the sword is golden, ornate. The grip is red leather and worn. The sword stands alone in the darkness. It, or our view, swings sideways until the sword is laid flat for us to regard. It is ancient, magical, iconic, legendary...
A flash of brilliant light.
"Then you will have to find some help," says Suelo calmly.
And she smiles.
A scaled face, turning to us. Reptilian eyes, narrowing. A voice from somewhere else as the eyes flash with grey beams of power...
"Odin set off to kill the Medusa."
Alis, walking cautiously towards a stone man, standing forgotten in the pool of a large cave. Then a feline, larger than a cat, twisting to snatch a giant fly from the air...
"He went with an animal that can speak..."
A silvery bottle, turned thoughtfully over in feminine hands...
"The animal had a bottle of medicine hanging from its neck."
The statue of a man, reaching forwards as if to stop a deathstroke... the hand, flexing, stone flaking away like paint ...Eyes opening...
Alis, dodging a whip-like sting, lunging with her sword... Odin, grabbing a claw of a bat-like beast as it tries to slash him, and then bringing his axe around one handed... Myau, rolling in the grass in bloody battle with a lion-like creature...
...the three of them, panting but confident, grouped to defend from all sides. They are a team against the monsters...
A cape swishes through the gloom as an armoured man spins in anger. His head is covered in a horned helmet, but the dim light shines off of his sneer.
"The girl," someone says to him. "She is becoming a problem."
A sandstone city in a desert, a man sitting on a throne at its centre, a voice, strangely modulated, almost silent, and very alien...
...The Governor helps them... You are losing control...
The three stand before the ruler of the sandstone city, and he speaks to them as the scene changes to a wasteland of sand bordered by mountains.
"In the Maharu cave lives an Esper named Noah..."
A man in blue and white, his hands cupped protectively around a living blue fire.
"He can help you."
Odin's face, distrustful. "You're one of them aren't you?"
The wizard, smiling. "An Esper? Oh yes."
The horned man's voice, raised in fury.
"The Espers must not interfere! I will not allow them to interfere!"
Alis, panting, fresh from a fight, holding the door of a prison.
"I need to get off-planet."
A white-haired man, slowly shaking his head. "I cannot help you."
"But only you can help me."
A ship against the stars, burning forwards on twin fires. A voice...
"They have their own ship. They could be... anywhere."
The four, standing before a crowd of uncertain people. Nothing moves, but the voice continues...
"The truth goes with them where ever they go."
The alien, its voice subtle and suggestive...
...They poison the world against you...
The four, sweeping away the clumsy robotic troops of their enemy. Beyond the battle, a town cheers.
Noah's face, at the front of a crowd.
"You're a hero now. You stand before the tyrant. They all want to see you, to feel your presence."
Alis stabbing the legendary sword skywards where the sun sets it alight. A town cheers below her.
"Don't deny them, Alis."
The gauntleted fist of the horned king.
...Your armies can stop them...
We move past the fist to his arm... his chest... his face...
"Stop them!" he snarls, sweeping his desk clear. "Find them! Bring me their hearts."
Noah, his hand on Alis' shoulder.
"Be a hero, and they will follow."
The horned king, almost screaming.
"Kill them. All of them. Now."
Silence. Silence and darkness. It stays for a moment, and then, like before, the darkness moves.
...It is time you realised that you are nothing, Lassic...
Eyes flick open, burning with feverish light.
...No more than... my herald...
Beat and montage...
Alis, turning, sword ready... Odin, sweeping monsters aside with his axe.... A winged feline, crouched and hissing.... Noah, before a campfire... Odin again, his face lit by the flames... Lines of Robotic troops... Monsters moving with purpose... Noah, wind driving his hair and cloak back, a gale force driving forth from his hands... Dead men walking... The voice of the King... "I want them found."
Silver arcs left by a sword... falling pieces of monsters... Strange magicians, their faces covered by tubed masks... a dragon, rearing up, flame boiling at its lips... snakes around red lit eyes... the sandstone city, walls cracking from an earthquake... living slimes rippling forward across the uneven floor of a cave... Alis' voice crying out for her friends as she runs down a dark passage...
Monsters falling upon a village of blue furred people... worms bursting from the sand... the group, walking in an endless desert... a thin green skinned person... Noah firing lightning from his hands... an armoured centaur falling back beneath the crawling power... a black twisted tower rising from the snow... Alis, forced back by gun fire... a castle, sitting amongst the clouds on an island of rock... a sweep of an axe, and Odin dances back as blood ichor flies... Alis standing before a massive mountain...
...Darkness shifting, turning and rising, glistening with reflections from a midnight shell.
The view pulls back, past the legendary sword, past an arm, and it is Alis, facing down the white eyes of the dark creature as they rise above her, the half glimpsed shapes of a torso speeding past in the black air...
...Darkness cannot die...
Alis wakes, with a scream and a convulsive gasp.
The star, the sun, the three planets visible as they turn around it. Words form, flaring brightly and fading even as they fall backwards into the light of the sun...
The horned man, standing tall, a staff in his hand that licks the floors and walls with vivid lightning. His voice is assured, and mocking.
"Do you... really wish to kill an old man?"
Fade to black, and laughter.
And then it is merely words which I do not read. My heart is still playing the beat of the music. My mind still cannot accept despite all that was shown.
With an effort, I let go of the cinema seat armrests.