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22 April 2011

Nightfall 7

by Kathleen A Staley

From book 7 , Tales from the Astral Plane, 2011

Denver, Colorado


The “Mile-high City Dome and Arena” was the gathering place for the largest rock concert with an expected attendance of 500,000 fans. Bands from around the globe, worked together to produce the event, designed to be peaceful and enjoyable. The world was in chaos after a number of violent uprising and terrorist threats. Bringing a large crowd together to celebrate love, music and hope for world peace was the goal of the concert managers. Music seemed to be the only common denominator of all cultures. The talented musicians invited to perform represented the best of humanity.

A retractable giant dome covered the many rows of seats and stage area. The enormous complex functioned as a city. Lodging, offices, warehouses and a large shopping mall occupied the lower levels and concerts or sporting events were held in the upper arenas. The entire structure was able to hold a crowd of one million or more.

Due to the polluted environment outside, Mile-High City became an enclosed fortress. No one left the complex once they entered. All amenities were offered and visitors usually chose to stay. Rockfest 2050 attracted the most wealthy and elite of society and the event was going to be televised around the globe. Every media agency sent their best teams to cover the significant story.  

The headline group was “Nightfall 7”. Seven members played a wide array of unique instruments. They wore wild and outrageous costumes and portrayed a multitude of characters. The most popular songs of theirs were “Alien Freaks” “Real Contact” and a remake of a vintage tune called “Wheel in the Sky”, by a group called Journey.

Band members took the personas of visitors from another world and performed a variety of Alien invasion scenarios, on stage. They were well known for portraying malevolent invaders and during the concert would reveal their true peaceful and benevolent nature. Scenarios appeared very realistic and made Nightfall 7 the most popular group in the world. Their songs incorporated styles, instruments and vocal arrangements from all cultures, which created unique and compelling music. Some groups, however, were envious of Nightfall7 and out of jealousy, plotted to sabotage their Rockfest 2050 performance.

Governments of all countries were suspicious of Nightfall 7 because of their effect on the minds of the masses. Band members were scrutinized and accused of brainwashing and manipulation of young minds. Various factions of power were threatened by the idea of World Peace. The concert was considered an anti-war protest and was carefully monitored.

All the members of Nightfall7 wore elaborate disguises and costumes. Their true identities were well hidden, behind makeup and masks. Their alter-egos covered ordinary people, musicians with great talent. The disguises made it easy to blend in with the crowd and avoid being recognized.

Alien (Allen) Gray, the lead singer and his talented musicians- Gray Matter (Greg Mattos), Luxe Lavender (Corrine Walsh), Cool Blue (Sally Hughes), Phil Landers (Joker), Steve (Space Kid) and Paul Lambert (Pink Prince), always performed, regardless of weather conditions. All profits from their concerts went fund charities for children and helped to provide food for the many homeless, outside the protective domes. All of them genuinely cared for the environment and were devoted to achieving World Peace through Music. Hope for the future was a precious commodity. In the volatile world the words of peace brought people together in love.

The production crews worked day and night for three weeks to prepare for opening night. The weather changed unexpectedly, from comfortably warm to frigid cold and the crystalline dome was closed.

Strange lenticular clouds formed the illusion of a space ship on the horizon and gave Luxe the idea to stage an Alien Invasion as part of the concert. The others of the band loved the idea and agreed that it had to appear absolutely real. It was amusing to Pink and Joker, when they planned to appear from a giant saucer-craft. Cool wanted to be dressed as frightening creatures from another galaxy and then slowly reveal their true identity. The stunt had been done before with variations.

Space Kid, Steve Kidowski, thought it was a terrible idea and complained that it was “An overdone gimmick.”  Out voted and ignored, the keyboard player, went to the wardrobe area of the arena to sulk, carrying his hand held electronic keyboard.

The band discussed various ways to set-up the elaborate production, while they applied their stage makeup. Other bands assembled and prepared for the event. Steve wandered through the rows of costume racks and equipment with no identification or pass to be backstage. At the end of the last row, he sat next to an amplifier and started to play his latest song, The Joining.

No one had heard the new composition and Steve felt reluctant to share with the others. He thought he would be ridiculed for straying from their usual style.

Lyrics of “The Joining” were taught to him during one of his many vivid dreams. While composing the song, Steve had a vision of a large gathering of tribes, joined together in the sacred Snake Dance ritual. Beings from a distant planet arrived on the scene and appeared as magical Kachinas- from Native American folklore. The lyrics of the song were imparted to his mind by a winged, angelic being of light and filled his soul with pure joy.

In the past, when Steve shared his visions with the rest of the group, he was mocked and the dreams were ridiculed. Unlike the others, Space Kid refrained from drinking and using drugs. Because of his outrageous ideas and strange manner, Steve was always accused of being a Druggie or an Alcoholic. He became withdrawn and somber in his waking hours and anxiously waited for time to sleep and dream.

The unusual keyboard was unlike anything that anyone had ever played. Each key sent out waves of pleasant notes that complimented the main melody. The resulting music was amazing and uplifting. He was reminded of an old movie called Masters of the Universe, about a group of travelers, whose mode of transportation was sound, created on a keyboard-like instrument. The film inspired the creation of the Keywiz.

Steve suddenly had a profound revelation.  He mumbled “Music and Sound is the key to the universe. I must be channeling energy through music, but where are these thoughts coming from?”

An idea for a new production entered his mind and he began to plan an elaborate set. Lost in thought, he sat on a long sofa and played “The Joining” on the strange instrument. His meditation was interrupted by “Hey, you! What are you doing here? Who the hell are you?”

Steve stammered “Uh, sorry, mate. No worries. I’m Space Kid, from Nightfall 7”

A voice in the dark said “Bloody Hell, you are! Get out of here now, before I call security.” A figure approached, holding a weapon.

Steve was face-to-face with a tall, lanky man, dressed as a Blue Kachina- a mythical being from the stars. His hair was styled in a blue Mohawk and had long, feathered braids around his bird-like face. The musician’s nose resembled the beak of a Thunderbird and he glared at Steve with the eyes of a hawk. The costume he wore was a feathered robe, with a cowl neck, covering a metallic, jewel encrusted body-suit. Large silver boots covered the enormous feet.

“Are you really Space Kid from Nightfall 7?  I love your music. It is the best music in the Cosmos. I’ve come a long, long way to see you in concert. My friends and I came from another galaxy to study Earth’s culture. Despite the violence of your perpetual wars, we see potential for mankind, through Music and Art”

Reluctantly, Steve put down the instrument and said “Uh, ooookkayy. Whatever, I’ll be going now.”  He took his Keywiz and started to walk away from what he thought was a lunatic.

The towering stranger replied “That tune you played was incredible! How did you get those outrageous notes?  I didn’t know a keyboard could sound like that! I found some old keyboards and put them together to see what I could come up with, but it is nothing like that awesome sound ”. He leaned over and introduced himself as Pleiades, from the group-Orion’s Belt. Steve relaxed and realized the guy was harmless and thought he was just a role-player, getting into character for the concert.

The two of them discussed technical data and music production, while being watched by sinister eyes. Cameras and monitors were installed in every area of the complex and recorded all interactions. The camera in the wardrobe room was turned off and an intruder listened intently to their conversation.

The intruder smiled as he or she conceived a devious plot to interrupt the concert. After a lengthy discussion, Steve said goodbye to “Pleiades” and headed back to join the other band members. He was disoriented, wandered down a dimly lit corridor and opened a heavy metal door. Just then, someone shoved him outside into the freezing cold, unprotected environment and the door slammed behind him.

After pounding on the door with no response, he walked the perimeter of the building, in search of another entrance. The only entry into the massive arena was at the main lobby and was heavily guarded. Ticket holders were required to show proper identification and passes with a special barcodes.

Steve searched his pockets for his ID and realized he left it with his costumes. He wondered how he was going to get inside and moved toward the entrance.

He was shocked to see the marquis sign had changed and it listed Pleiades and Orion’s Belt as the opening act. He was furious when he heard their new song “The Joining” playing on the speakers.

While contemplating the situation, the rest of Nightfall 7 were being held in custody. Rumors were spread that the band members were terrorists and they intended to attack the concert. Obviously planted weapons and drugs were found with their equipment, which led to their arrest. In full costume and stage makeup, the band members were detained in a remote area of the complex. They were forced to remove their makeup and exchange clothes with others.

Steve returned to the back door and followed a delivery truck into the receiving bay. He pretended to be a road crew member and helped unload equipment. Inside the loading dock, crates of weapons and toxic gas canisters were stacked and distributed to hundreds of uniformed guards.

The symbol on the uniforms was the mark of a sinister organization of terrorists called ORION- Organization of Revolution and Insurrection of Nations.

The main goals of the radical group were to create anarchy and perpetuate war. Leaders of ORION had immense wealth and unlimited resources, gained by fueling continuing violence and world war. Under orders from the leaders, guards were posted at every row of seats. The mission was to create panic and incite violence in the peaceful gathering.

The band Nightfall 7 was implicated in a scandal, to distract from the true plan. Steve overheard a few of the details, including the mass murder of the entire concert crowd. Band members were meant to take the blame for the incident. Evidence planted was staged to defer suspicion away from ORION and incriminate the popular musicians.

It was near the time to begin the opening show and Nightfall 7 had vanished from the dressing room. Back-up group, Orion’s Belt, was next and they prepared to perform their new hit The Joining”. The song was distorted and it had a faster tempo than Steve’s song. A huge ensemble of masked “Gray Alien Invaders” entered the arena. At first it appeared to be part of the show, but the weapons they wielded were real and extremely deadly. Instead of bullets, the rifles propelled toxic gas pellets. The guns were held by many guards stationed at every row of seats. The crowd was anxiously waited for the show to start.

Mercenary assassin and part time music technician, Pete Morgan, was pleased that events were unfolding as planned. ORION offered to pay Pete and his squadron of highly trained soldiers, to infiltrate and sabotage the concert. Pete and his men impersonated a rock band and planned to capture the crowd and hold all of the dignitaries and fans for ransom. If their demands were unmet, they were prepared to kill everyone in attendance.

When Steve heard of the heinous plot, he was panic-stricken and wondered what to do. From the back of the warehouse, he heard the familiar sound of his friend Allen barking orders and demanding to be set free.

The other six members of the band were in street clothes, void of makeup and accessories. Impersonators assumed their identities and intended to be decoys, since very few people knew what they actually looked like.

A loud male voice boomed “Shut up and sit down or you and your pathetic friends will die!”

Allen wasn’t accustomed to being ordered to be silent, but decided to oblige, for the sake of the others. Sally and Corrine were quietly crying, terrified of the dangerous situation. Greg, Phil and Paul felt helpless and they all awaited their fate. Allen was angry, but remained silent.

The last crate was unloaded and most of the workers went to their designated stations. Steve stayed behind and waited for a chance to release his friends. They were locked inside a small office at the mall, in back of a closed clothing store. A glass window was the only opening and was just large enough for a person to crawl through. By the time Steve broke into the office and freed the others, the concert was starting and the siege began. All of them searched for an exit, when they heard shots and screams on the monitors.

As the group moved carefully down the mall, they found a tall, blue haired musician, tied to a post, in a state of unconsciousness. Steve recognized him as Pleiades or the Blue Kachina. The unusual man was in a pool of florescent blue blood.  It was obvious that the features of his face were natural and not created with cosmetics and it startled Steve and the others. They all stared at his intricate costume, elongated limbs, pale blue skin and aquiline features and wondered what kind of creature Pleiades was.

Pleiades woke up and was afraid to see that he was surrounded by curious onlookers.

Steve released him from the bonds and asked “What happened? Who are you and what are you?”

The curious group listened carefully as Pleiades explained the events preceding the concert.

“My fellow travelers and I left our home planet, in the Orion star system, many eons ago. Our government leaders in the Council of Planets selected us to be the first from our world to visit Earth.  We have observed Earth from a distance for centuries. We have been waiting for the correct time and way to introduce ourselves. Music is our universal language and this concert was going to be our first contact with humans. Instead, my friends were killed and I was captured by the evil demons of ORION. They plan to unleash poisonous gas and kill thousands of innocent people. We must stop them! ”

Allen whispered “We had better hide. They’ll be back soon” Allen, Greg and Phil helped the Alien to stand upright .Steve led them to the backdoor exit, carrying his Keywiz. Another scene from Masters of the Universe flashed into his mind and gave him a brilliant idea.

Outside the dome, the sky turned crimson red as night fell over the stadium. Pleiades stretched out his wing-like arms and rose off the ground. He let out a shrill cry and summoned his space craft. The translucent silver ship was shaped like a Thunderbird, with outstretched wings and long, sharp talons. By telepathy, the ship called Blue Kachina was guided to land on the outskirts of the city, away from view.

The group was taken aboard the highly advanced vessel. With the help of his Keywiz and the ship’s computers, Steve devised a scenario to rid the world of ORION, once and for all.

Pleiades smiled and nodded in agreement as he read Steve’s mind and said “Brilliant, simply brilliant”.

The crowd was getting restless and demanding for the show to begin. In a plume of smoke, the musicians dressed as Nightfall 7 appeared, poised to perform. At the same time, the imposter Pleiades and his evil minions entered the stage and challenged them to a “Battle of the Bands”. The crowd went wild and cheered the beginning of Rockfest 2050.

A grand laser light show was presented on the dome ceiling and ended with the opening of the opaque screen. High above the crowd, the night sky displayed a celestial canopy of stars. Everyone was in awe of the spectacle and distracted, while the cameras were focused on selected important guests.

ORION members assumed their positions and awaited the signal to carry-out their orders. All rifles were loaded with gas pellets and each guard was supplied with grenades and other firearms. Pete and his men prepared to move in on the crowd with the element of surprise. The unsuspecting people continued to watch the show above, on the monitors and the front stage.

Onboard the Blue Kachina, Steve, Greg and Corinne helped to reprogram the controls, to enhance the visual and audio quality of the monitor images. All of the Nightfall 7 members were highly skilled in computer graphic design, virtual reality programs as well as talented musicians and performers. Sally, Allen, Phil and Paul designed the props and costumes for the production. With the help of Pleiades, the plan came to fruition.

Pleiades was also highly skilled in creating special effects, used to camouflage his ship and protect his identity. The shipmates were killed when their ship was shot out of the sky and they crashed on the surface. Without his ship mates, the Alien was stranded on Earth, alone. The key to their space travel was the collective mind they shared.

Steve’s Keywiz had an interface compatible with the Alien technology. He was astonished at the similarity of the images on the ship monitor, to his many vivid dreams. A series of musical tones powered the vessel with a living being operating the controls. Musical notes, created a protective shield around the ship and could be muted for invisibility. Pleiades adjusted the control panel and the tune to “The Joining” started playing.

Steve said “What’s going on?  That’s my song! What the…”

Pleiades replied “It is the primal, sacred song of the universe. All sounds combined make harmonic resonance and create peaceful thoughts within the mind of the listener. It is very complex, but basic to our existence. We were going to share it with the world at the concert, but my chorus and dear companions are dead”.

In the arena, the scene turned to chaos when the imposters of Nightfall 7 opened fire on the crowd. Several people were killed, in a show of power. Fans panicked and scrambled for the exits, but they were sealed inside.       

All of the equipment on the ship was ready for the production. Steve had described his vision in great detail and the others were thrilled to be part of the brilliant plan. Pleiades provided the costumes, the uniforms once worn by his chorus. The beautiful wardrobe was intricately designed to resemble bird-creatures or Kachinas.

In Native American lore, the Kachina was a being from the Cosmos, sent to Earth to enlighten and bring peace to the world. Traditional ceremonies of dancing Kachinas were held annually by tribal cultures around the world. The theme of Snake Dance was similar in all the rituals. The snake was a symbol of Unity and Peace, but the meaning was distorted over time. Very few humans knew the true purpose of the dance.

Pleiades described the ritual as “The Joining”. The ceremony was a representation of the Harvest and the Kachinas were the reapers. They came to plant the seeds of knowledge, to selected human counterparts, to impart universal wisdom. Certain participants of the dance were taken by a “Wheel in the Sky” and returned to Earth after a transformation. Evolution of the human mind was accelerated by the process.

The Kachinas were highly enlightened, peaceful beings and would not tolerate violence of any kind. When they arrived on Earth, ready to reveal themselves the travelers from Orion were horrified by the perpetual wars and hatred. Earth, once a flourishing garden of Paradise, was dying from the results of the blatant abuse of the planet. War and the evil it produced, was killing all life.

Pleiades and his companions were the last of their kind to come to Earth. It was their mission to bring peace to the world, through their Music. Each note of the chorus had specific functions and had effect on the brain. Peaceful thoughts replaced thoughts of violence and would, in essence, erase all negative energy. The ship Blue Kachina was damaged and Pleiades lacked the knowledge to restore the equipment. Originally, eight travelers arrived on Earth. Seven were killed, leaving Pleiades to fend for himself.

Steve helped to repair the ship’s computers and realized the importance and significance of his visions. As Pleiades told his story, Steve listened intently and understood the meaning of “The Joining” He picked up the Keywiz and played the basic melody of the song. The others were amazed at the harmonic resonance it created. Notes and chords reached every part of their being, on a cellular level.

Allen remarked “That’s incredible. Imagine what that would sound like on stage. It would soothe the savage nature of the crowd.”

Corrine added “Why don’t we use the sound to stop ORION? We could play the hypnotic music and they would all forget about the siege.”

Steve and Pleiades smiled. Steve said “That’s exactly what we have in mind. It’s time to put on our best show, ever. Go put your costumes on. Be ready in five minutes.”

Pete and his mercenaries moved in on the scene, shooting into the air with machine guns. People were screaming and shoving each other. Fights broke out in the crowd and it pleased Pete.

Over the loud speaker, a voice bellowed “Everyone sit down and be silent! You are all hostages, under siege and under our control. Notice the guards surrounding you. If any of you get the idea to resist, the men are under orders to disburse toxic, deadly gas into the arena.”

Most of the people thought it was part of the show and speculated about what was going to happen next. The crowd fell silent and all of the lights suddenly went out. In the pitch black, people started to feel uneasy and threatened.

The closed dome above slowly opened and revealed an incredible sight. Blue Kachina hovered above the arena and sent out waves of blissful sounds upon the audience.  While everyone, including the members of ORION, gaped at sky, a ramp extended from the ship to the ceiling. Pleiades was in control of the vessel and the Nightfall 7 emerged onto the platform, in a chariot. They appeared as ominous invaders from another galaxy.

Pete was in shock and believed they were under attack from real Aliens. He and the men opened fired on the dome, but the shots were deflected. Lights went back on and the band was positioned on stage. Music from the Keywiz, interfaced with Blue Kachina, enhanced the myriad of sounds.

All monitors displayed the scene around the world. The Joining was played by the band and the message of peace was transmitted to all minds and recorded by all networks.

Members of ORION were mesmerized by the pulsating rhythm and the turmoil in their minds ceased. Pete completely forgot about the siege and ordered all of his men to stand-down. They joined the rest of the audience and were engulfed in blissful euphoria, by the soothing sounds.

The concert continued and was the completion of the mission. Plieades was grateful to Steve and Nightfall 7 for their help.

 Soon after the concert, war and terrorism came to a halt, when weapons around the world were discarded and became obsolete. For the first time in Earth’s history, World Peace became a reality.

Pleiades invited Steve and the others to become his new chorus. The seeds were planted for long-lasting peace and the Kachinas would return in the distant future to reap the harvest.

The band Nightfall 7 mysteriously disappeared. They were to return to Earth after they were transformed into Kachinas


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