The Last Shee on Albia

After years of working in isolation, and only straying from the task to have some tea and biscuits, the device was completed! The other Shee had laughed at the idea that one could literally jump across dimensions and get to the mysterious spherical world with no physical effort at all, but he had persisted and those long nights of twiddling with DNA had paid off. Finally, here was the device that would allow his race to explore the rest of their universe with ease, and it was all his own work. He just couldn't wait to see the look on the others faces...

But that was where the problems started.

Albia seemed to be deserted, there was not a single trace of a Shee anywhere. Sure, the Norns, Grendels and Ettins were still running around the place but there was no sign of proper life forms. Checking out the communal laboratories revealed that a gigantic space ship had been constructed at some point in the past and the planet had been evacuated. Just how long had he been working? He knew that when he was problem-solving he was pretty hard to get through to, but surely someone would have come and informed him that everyone was leaving!

Still, with the amount of dust that was lying around it looked like they'd been gone for years - real Shee years rather than the accelerated time scale they'd made all their creations live in. Well, he'd just have to follow them and show them his great device! Any fool could make a spaceship but only he had the vision to create holes in space or was it time? He had to admit he wasn't entirely sure what the device did exactly - that was evolution for you - but it did seem to make holes in something that allowed things to pass through to another place. A place that was very much like the place you were just in - but different. All his tests had confirmed this, and he'd even traveled through himself on many occasions. Come to think of it, he wasn't entirely sure that the here he was in now was the here he'd started in but he didn't consider that a great problem. It was close enough to his here to fool him and that was all that mattered.

So he'd begun growing a ship for the voyage; he could still detect the trail through space left by the others so actually tracking them down wasn't a problem. Catching them up, on the other hand, would require the kind of thinking that only he could do something so clever that they would all congratulate him on his original thinking and reward him with a nice cup of tea, maybe two.

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Pages from a long-lost Shee notebook.

It would be a long voyage though, judging by the trail left, and he would need to take some distractions with him something to work on something to improve something to keep him occupied. A quick pop to the surface to grab a Norn or two would be ok, they generally didn't like to interfere with the surface world and preferred instead to let it run it's own course, but no-one was around and no-one was here to tell him otherwise.

The launch day was pretty spectacular and using the old dormant volcano to provide the initial thrust for his space ship was a work of genius, even if he said so himself. Of course there were a few small side effects, (such as the whole top layer of Albia being ripped apart with the explosion and tonnes of ash and molten rock wiping out nearly every life form on the surface) but he was sure it would recover with time. Still, it was fantastic launch method and relatively cheap in terms of the energy required - he couldn't wait to tell the others! That was two great pieces of thinking now, he might even be able to get chocolate biscuits for this!

The Journey Begins

Editor's note: This is based on an old Albian myth. Recent digging on Albia, however, has uncovered records relating to the time period which give some credence to its historical accuracy. Some of these artifacts are included below for reference.

Late in the Albian night, so late as to be morning, a lone figure could be found hunched over a wooden table. The table's one short leg periodically threatened to upset the contents of the flasks and test tubes that covered its surface. The figure seemed to be talking to itself - a steady stream of chemical names and reactions, "Hmm, pyrovate, glucose... hmm, amino acid reacts with... no, it was glucose, wasn't it? Oh dear, oh dear... Maybe a cup of tea will help clear my head."

He stood and stretched; exchanging his hunched figure for that of a lanky Shee scientist. He had recently emerged from his private underground laboratory to find that the disk-shaped planet he inhabited was completely devoid of other Shee and he was left alone with a clutch of Norns, a few Grendels and his tools, flasks and test tubes.

The day before had been spent collecting clues of the other Shee's departure and a desperate search for hidden supplies of tea bags. As best he could tell, the Grendels had been making rather a mess of things and some sort of creature had been incubated in a very large test tube in the communal laboratories. He wasn't able to determine the thing's final size, but indications were it was large enough to hold a goodly number of Shee as well as a selection of plants and animals within itself. The Shee figured it had been a spaceship of some sort, based upon the genetic remnants strewn about some of the other underground laboratories. And since it wasn't anywhere about, it stood to reason that it was somewhere else entirely.

He wondered if they had taken the Ettins - they'd certainly come in handy now - but he hadn't seen any yet. They would have taken their precious Norns, but definitely would have left the Grendels behind. Frankly, he wasn't really that bothered by the lack of Shee company, but was somewhat upset to find the planet's supply of tea and biscuits was nearly non-existent. Impetus enough to find out where his companions had gone.

He soon decided that he needed his own transportation off the planet. There was plenty of spare genetic material around. He was sure he could improve on the other Shee's genetic tinkering so he set to work germinated a test tube with some of the extra genetic muck. "Goodness," he thought, "I'll certainly need a larger test tube."

Several artifacts of that lone Shee were revealed on Albia in years since. The following entries were extracted from a notebook recently uncovered:

Day 4 (Albian Year 1800) My transport creature is nearly half grown. I've decided to call her Capillata. I'm not sure it's actually female, but since ships are commonly named after the female of the species, I've decided to follow convention. I still need to figure out a way to escape the Albian atmosphere. I've not found many Norns on the planet, and only one Grendel so far, but I have found a couple of Ettins who I have pressed into my service. Still no tea to be found.

Day 8 (Albian Year 1800) Capillata is outgrowing her 10th test tube. She may need to be transferred to the Eastern Ocean soon to complete her growing cycle. I have begun to regret having taken on the two Ettins. I asked them to tidy my quarters and came back late one night to find that they had tidied every last piece of furniture out of the room. The room is certainly clean, but I've still not found a fresh shirt or a single pair of socks.

Day 14 (Albian Year 1800) I've gathered together a variety of plants and creatures for the voyage. Most importantly, I believe I have come up with a suitable alternative to tea. It's far too frothy and seems to taste best cold, but I think it will be acceptable once aged.

Day 28 (Albian Year 1800) Capillata is fully grown and seems anxious to be away. I've come up with a extremely clever (if I do say so myself) launch method. Now, if I could find a way of getting Capillata into the old volcano. Unfortunately, my launch method may increase the radioactivity down below, but I hardly think anyone will be around long enough to notice.

Day 42 (Albian Year 1800) The barbed docking protrusion on Capillata is fully formed and she's now been trasnferred to an are below the inactive volcano. I've designed food pods for the main living area and those are also nearly fully grown. I've decided not to take the Ettins but have left them explicit instructions as to what to do once I've left. I'm not hoping for much, but I can at least say I've done what I can. I'm taking Norn genomes, but won't take any from the planet. I do hope they will be alright...

No further records were found on Albia, however, some interesting cave paintings were found many years later.