Arra of Astheria
The Great Purpose of Mutation

Arra She was an incredibly ancient being, queen of a people and world on the trembling edge of a new and final transmutation. For uncounted ages, planet Astheria and its people had evolved. Finally, leaving behind the things that concerned so many other intelligent beings on uncountable worlds, Arra and her people began preparing themselves for the next step in evolution.

Arra knew this was not to be some random, unpredicted change; instead, it was a mutation whose occurrence was foreseen, desired, planned for, and helped along. She was a seer whose stare into the future took in a complete and utter change of form and being, into something beyond what she and her people had been -- into a new and final form. Nor was it something they intended to be confined to just their own lifeforms, but their entire world.

It was a transformation that required uncounted planetary revolutions of smaller changes, mental and physical preparations. The completion of these preparations -- the ultimate transmutation itself -- required more than just small changes, Arra had long before seen. It required an event of unprecedented power -- something that was catastrophic in scale. Arra had seen exactly what that would be, and the long series of events leading up to it. It was time enough for Arra and all of Astheria to prepare.

Now, the long-awaited embodiment of those prophesied events was approaching, sent Arra's way by one small but vital sequence of events that had been catastrophic in their own right.

It was a body, previously a satellite of a planet smaller than her own world. It was a child, severed from its parent, sent sailing through the inky depths of space. It was a rudderless ship, on a predicted rendezvous with Arra's own world. It was a hammer, on an arc to deliver a blow that would remold Astheria and its people. It was the Moon, on a collision course.

Astheria had its own small satellites, each of which once had a name. Now, only one counted, and it was not of Astheria's at all. Blasted from another planet's influence by events Arra had foreseen, it was now plunging directly her world. Arra had no fear. That which would normally destroy Astheria would instead change it. She and her people had been long preparing for the Collision Course -- the now heralded Path of Arra's world.

Yet Arra saw another important fact: predestination did not imply passivity. This was not just about Arra's and all of Astheria's preparations for the final, important event. It implied Arra had to act to ensure the Course -- of her people and of the all-important Moon. For there were other influences at work, besides the Moon's path through space.

Arra saw living beings on the Moon, including a commanding presence that called himself John Koenig. A society which saw itself as trapped on a wild, unpredictable course. A people who failed to see how needed their little but vital world was to Arra. A people who would do anything in their power to avoid Astheria -- something Arra could not allow to happen.

Even now, as they approached, blind to Arra's still-distant world, they blasted away one of Astheria's small asteroidal satellites which had threatened the Moon. The would take similar steps to avoid collision with Astheria.

In their destroying the asteroid, however, a man named Alan Carter was left wounded within his damaged ship. Arra knew this was the time to act.

Her presence reached out, and touched his body and mind, stabilizing the former and helping mold the latter into an agent Arra would later need. She had foreseen John Koenig coming to retrieve Alan Carter and at the same time discovering the huge bulk of Astheria itself through the parting dust cloud that had obscured her approaching world from sight.

She held her hand, for John Koenig would soon come to her. When he did, she left the sphere of her own world. She came in a ship that harked of Astheria's ancient ages -- a ship whose size dwarfed John Koenig's ship just as Arra's world dwarfed his world. Her ship swallowed his, just as he feared her world would "swallow" -- destroy -- the Moon.

Koenig walked off his ship, within hers, and into Arra's presence. She was of the form of an ancient yet ageless woman, seated on a strange throne of sorts. The latter was simple yet complex, arching slightly as if protecting Arra, with a contracting design that appeared as if it were drawing vision and knowledge inward, ever tighter until it reached Arra. It had a perfect blackness, as if it were capable of absorbing anything that touched it. Simple seat back, or something more? Arra would not reveal that to Koenig. It was simply how Arra presented herself.

Arra's Eyes She sat there, dressed in a simple black dress, calm and at peace, foreseeing what her people's future would be and knowing what she must do to ensure that future came to be. While John Koenig's people continued their attempt to thwart the all-important Course of Collision, the man himself approached. Arra knew this man from his foreseen past and future, and that he would not be easy to convince.

Yet Arra intended no harm to any of them. Just as Arra had nothing to fear from the collision, neither did John Koenig and his people. Astheria was the world that would mutate, by design and destiny. The Moon was the all-important hammer, and the hammer would not be damaged -- though it would reverberate from the hit.

Arra also saw the Moon and its people were the hammer of transformation not just to her world; but to many others, in very different ways. These people belittled themselves as virtually powerless with their weak technology, yet Arra saw how much more they were -- and would continue to become.

They called themselves "Alphans" after their current home, whose name of "Moonbase Alpha" simply meant "first base on the moon" in their own languages. Yet in calling themselves "Alphans," they were unwittingly referring to themselves as "First Ones," and Arra had long foreseen them as being the first and foremost among all others in directly and visibly altering the fabric of the universe, as their world travelled, and as -- after some time -- they spread descendants far and wide into space.

Arra tried to explain, in his still-simple language of spoken words, how important their meeting was, to ease John Koenig's fears of Arra and her world, and correct some of his own misconceptions about himself and his people. In the end, she convinced him, and he asked what he must do.

"Nothing," Arra replied, indicating he and his people should not struggle against Astheria and their own destiny.

Achieving that, Arra foresaw, would be a struggle itself, the test of his command -- one which she could saw she could provide only minimal help in. Events were constraining her actions, and Arra's own participation, however necessary her "collision" with the willpower of John Koenig was, represented a dangerous point in events, a nexus of uncertainty, an affirmation that life was slippery to the point even prophesy could possibly derail.

Even now, events swirled around John Koenig as he returned to his people. As Arra had been constrained in her own way, John was constrained -- first by his own people's disbelief, then by an attempt to medically imprison him. Arra made her one final intervention, restoring John Koenig to consciousness and nudging Alan Carter into action on John Koenig's -- and Arra's -- behalf.

Now was the main test of their command on events -- and Arra's as well. From a distance, Arra could only observe their confrontation with the rest of their people, in an attempt not to fire off the radiative charges that would disrupt long-predicted events.

Unseen by anyone, Arra could see them try to convince their people, and hold them back until they could no longer act. Finally, and with satisfaction, Arra could turn the last of her attention away from those events and full to the last part, and make the final commitment to the transformation.

As the Moon approached, she, her people, and her planet stood on the edge of the precipice -- the end of their current form. When the mutation-causing Moon finally touched them, culminating a long series of prophesied events, the force propelled Arra and the whole world of Astheria into a new form of being, and they instantaneously vanished, to become something unseen, unrecognizable. Arra ceased to exist as she once was, to become what she would be until the end of time.

Character Studies
Zantor    Arra    Mentor    Being

A Character Study by David Welle, copyright 1997-2007.
Space: 1999 is copyright Granada/Carlton/ITC, see here for other details.
Introduction and 'metallic' titles/names by Marcy Kulic, who also provided the vidcaps.