A Wish and a Prayer

By Alexandra Webb

My name is Jonathan Berke. I'm just your average 39-year-old American, except for the minor detail that I"m the richest and most powerful being in the known universe. This is the year 2483, but this story isn't about now, it's about a time 12 years ago, before I became rich, when my life was turned around......

I was working as a technician on board the spacecraft Starguider. My girlfriend Liza was a commander. In my spare time I was inventing a special light that was supposed to help determine the atoms that any given metal was made up of, but all it seemed to do was put my lab partners to sleep.

Now, ever since I was a little kid and my dad brought me to work with him (he was a metal analyst), I was interested in metals and their uses. I wished that when I grew up I would find a new metal and enough money to buy my own spacecraft. I suppose I'm a disappointment to myself since I probably couldn't fine a new metal if it smacked me in the face. But I could find the right one to dig up. At least that's what I thought until I tried it.

Then came what Liza calls my "mid-life crisis". There wasn't enough information. It was all lost when the Earth exploded about 50 years ago. I fell into a depression. Liza did the best she could to help, but it was no use. They tried everything from old time loony doctors to the most modern spectro-therapy. Nothing worked. Liza was desperate. There was only one thing left that she could think of: to call upon the gods. That night Liza set up an alter and prayed to the gods.

I went to bed and immediately fell into a deep sleep. After a time that could have been 10 seconds or 10 hours, a bright light appeared in the darkness. It was as if all the stars in the heavens had come together to form one giant light in my mind. Out of that light came a voice, it was like the voice of thunder, of many voices young and old, but neither male or female.

"Your friend has asked us to help you, and we have seen you worthy. Nine metals will come to you in a dream and tell you everything you need to know about them. You will choose and seek one out, in the mortal world."

At this point the light dimmed and nine figures appeared. The first one came forward and spoke:

"I am the ancient metal Gold. I am yellow in color with a soft metallic glow. Many other planets have a large percentage of me, such as Squeegion, *&^&@^, and )*)&)^%#%.

Gold stepped back and the next figure advanced. It said:

"I'm Silver. I'm a light color of gray or white. You can find me on the planets Mexico, USA, Russia, Bolivia, and in great abundance on a;wedgynnhbaeija.

The next figure stepped forward:

"I am lead. I am a soft gray metal. I am abundantly available in various planets, such as Australia, Russia, the United States, China, Canada, rx*jikl, and Marok."

Lead stepped back and the next forward:

"I am Zinc. I'm a bright silver-blue when casted. I am found in many planets previously near Earth, especially Canada, Russia, Australia, Peru, and China, and other planets such as Noreenel and +ar^kkie(w).

The next figure stepped forward and spoke:

"I am Tin. I'm a soft whitish metal. I can be found in abundance on the planet Apricon in the Andromeda Galaxy and #!$#!&^(*&^(*(+(."

The next figure advanced:

"I am Iron. I am on almost every planet and can be mined everywhere. Everyone needs me."

She/he fell back into the shadows and the next figure appeared.

"I am aluminum. My color is shining silver. Of the elements in the Universe I am the most plentiful, and the third most common. So I am very easy to come by. My major sources are on Australia, Guinea, Jamaica, Brazil, and tomCor in the Orion sector 591, but there are at least 4,000 planets that produce me."

The next and last figure took its place, and began to speak:

"Hi, my name is Mercury but you can just call me "Quicksilver." You can find me in the ore called 'cinnabar' which can be found on Russia, Algeria, China, Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, the USA, and gri^Dnaa in @SREFDaf376."

I lay in bed, mulling it over in my mind. I knew I had to choose one, but which one? I decided to consult Liza. She would know.

I quickly got ready and went to find Liza. She listened attentively while I told her about my dream. When I was finished, she asked what the name of the gold planet was again. I told her Squeegion, and she mumbled "Yes, I think so, wait a minute." She hurried over to the computer and typed something in.

"Yes!" she said. "Perfect, just as I thought. Squeegion is about five days shuttle trip from our next stop. We can be there within a week. We'll be rich!"

She was right. We could do it. Rich within a week! My mind reeled at the thought. We had just enough money to buy the planet if we combined our life savings. This was legal because there were no intelligent life forms on the planet.

When we arrived on Squeegion, we discovered a barren planet, barely capable of sustaining life. Peach and rose colored: jagged cliffs staggered their way nearly to the horizon. Where they met up with a brilliant blue sea. The landscape was stark yet strikingly beautiful. As the light yellow chrysanthemum sun, set behind the great violet pillars of stone to the south. I set up my computer to determine the resources of this forgotten planet. To both mine and Liza's great surprise, the computer concluded that there were no materials of any value to be found on this planet. Good thing we decided to check it out before buying it. In shock and disappointment, we returned with the shuttle to a nearby starbase in the Andromeda Sector.

"I'm so sorry this gold thing didn't work out," I whispered to Liza on the shuttle. "But my dream was so real...."

"That's okay," she replied. "I have a better idea anyway."

When we got to the base, Liza led me to another shuttle. We arrived a couple days later on the forest planet Apricon. At first I was confused. Why would she want to go to an uninhabited planet?

I was surprised but agreeable when I heard her plot. She would take our savings, buy most of the planet, and a carrier starship. I could modify my invention to make a spectro-lite that would change every intelligent being's cell-pattern so we could control them at will. This I discovered would be fairly simple. I was trying to dispel its pacifying effects. It would be easy to enhance them. Especially with the surprising abundance of tin, which is necessary for building the Spectro-lites. Liza would transport these to every planet and base. A brilliant plan, and yes we could pull it off.

A few months later we were testing it on neighboring planets. Soon entire solar systems were under our control. Our empire has grown to encompass the whole of the known universe. Liza and I rule in complete peace and harmony , as will our posterity for all eternity. Thanks simply to a wish and a prayer.

"A Wish and a Prayer" belongs purely to Alexandra Webb © 1996

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