The Janusian Way

The People’s Broadcast is airing as we eat our dinner. They are currently live broadcasting Queen Solar’s craft landing on our planet. It’s only been a few cycles since we sent our distress signal but she promptly responded to it.
“Queen Majel was a great queen,” my great-great-great-great grandmother (I call her Grandma Ahn) begins. She’s still full of fire as if she’s not many centu-eons old. “She takes care of us. Doesn’t go around telling other planets about our Fountain. For one day she’s out of the picture…” she clicks her tongue, “… and her daughter ruins everything.”
“Queen Solar didn’t let the space pirates escape with the Water at least,” I say after chewing my food.
“But she destroyed the Fountain, Qi. Are you not going to have your Christening? Nobody has aged past 21 eons. Do you want your generation to die?”
I flatten my food against the plate. Grandma Ahn and I are always on opposite sides of many spectrums. Her generation always thinks their way is the correct one just because they found the Fountain.
At my lack of answer, Grandma Ahn shakes her head. “You kids know nothing.”
My fist clenches at that, but I stay silent throughout the remainder of the dinner.
***
With the Christening in four deca-cycles, my schoolmates are all talking about how we would be the first generation in milleneons to turn 22. I usually spend my cycles alone, but one cycle, a classmate—Flora—invited me to a gathering at her family’s unit.
I only attended at first to find out more about Queen Solar’s efforts to rectify her mistakes. I learn she’s gone to geographers to search for another Fountain; to historians and spiritual leaders to figure out how to enchant water sources; to her team of scientists to scientifically re-create the Water’s properties…
“What do you think about the whole thing, Qi?” Flora asked at one point. I didn’t know we’re supposed to share, so I froze. Thankfully, Flora understood. She had a warm smile. “It’s okay. Talk to us when you want to. It doesn’t have to be now. Just remember this is a safe space. We’re all going through the same thing and nobody is going to judge.”
***
Little Hal became a hero by accident. Literally.
The young boy was playing around in the field when a small Pyrolian attacked him. Pyrolians are not dangerous. They’re defensive creatures who primarily guard the Fountain. However, now that the Fountain is destroyed, it’s probably lost and purposeless.
By the time the toddler’s parents found him and rushed him to the healing centre, he was half-conscious losing consciousness. My mom who works there told me the Pyrolian gave Hal a deep cut spanning from his wrist to his shoulders.
Getting hurt is a rare occurrence for Janusians. Everybody holds off their reckless desires until they’re 21. After the Christening, everyone can be as impulsive as they want. They can’t die, so there’s no consequences.
“Thank god Queen Solar was there,” mom says as she types up her report.
“Don’t say that to Grandma Ahn, she hates her,” I interject.
My mom nudges me as her eyes dart to the door with high alert. “Don’t say that. She might hear you.” We both chuckle. “Anyway, Hal lost a lot of blood and the Queen suggested this procedure called a ‘blood transfusion’. We got Hal’s grandmother to do it and he’s good as new.”
But he’s better than new. During a full body exam, Queen Solar’s scientist found traces of the Water in Hal’s blood. The royal advisor, Rigel, announces the findings on the Broadcast.
“Because of Little Hal, now we know that the Water can be transferred from one Janusian to another, but it has to be done through blood transfusion.”
“Are you saying…” the host’s eyebrows knit.
“The Christening can go on.”
“No, no. I mean… some of us will have to give up our immortality?”
“Well, we’re searching for a way so that won’t be necessary.”
My holo-comm buzzes with messages from my share group. Grandma Ahn sees it and tosses the device to the ground.
***
Four cycles before the Christening and Advisor Rigel comes on another broadcast. Grandma Ahn watches nervously, hoping the advisor bears good news. But from Rigel’s sullen expression, that doesn’t seem to be the case. “We have done extensive research, but… we’re afraid the only way to do the Christening is through blood transfusions.”
I feel Grandma Ahn tensing next to me.
“The Queen, the advisor, everyone have tried their best,” Elder Banyan, another guest, chimes in. “Nothing lasts forever, but I think this is a good thing. We’ve become blinded by the Fountain of Youth and the pleasures of being immortal. We forget the importance of being good examples for our next generation. Just yester-cycle a fight broke out between two Janusians in front of the Consulate. That’s not who we are. I know this is not easy for you, my fellow Janusians, but I implore everyone to consider th—”
The holo-vision cuts off.
“This is a bunch of nonsense!” Grandma Ahn’s voice thunders in the room. Everybody freezes. “This is the best they can come up with?”
“What’s wrong with it, Grandma Ahn? The Queen tried finding a solution and she did.”
“But that’s not the solution we need. Giving up our immortality? You can’t make us do that. We need to carry on our legacy. ” She huffs in anger.
“What do you mean you need to carry on your legacy?” I furrow my eyebrows. “Don’t you trust my generation?”
Grandma Ahn raises her hand to slap my face, but I back myself away.
I scoff, “You’re afraid kids my age don’t understand the Janusian values, but we’re more Janusian than you are. Being Janusian is about community. We want our community to grow, we want to share and pass on knowledge—that’s why you all became immortals in the first place. Now, the Christening becomes nothing but compulsory ritual, you forget the real reason why you do it in the first place. And you have the audacity to mock my generation instead of educating us.”
My next words are venomous.
“If immortality will turn me into a mindless zealot like you, then I’d rather die.”
I storm out of the house and make my way to Flora’s. I’m ready to share.
But I never reached her unit.
As I cross the road, a weight of tonnes of force was suddenly slammed against my side and not a second later, everything turned black.
***
I wake up with an excruciating pain to my head. Our dual sunlight leak through the blinds, making the sterile white room even brighter than it has any right to be. I blink a few times as I slowly rise up from my bed and realise that I’m at the health centre. I look around and find my mother and father rising from their seats to go to my sides.
“What happened?”
“You got hit by a loading transpod. You were in a coma for the whole deca-cycle.”
“I told you to look both ways before you cross. You could’ve died! That thing was carrying neo-nucleo sludge,” my mom chimes in.
I see a tube connecting my wrist and a bag of blue liquid. “I got a blood transfusion?”
They both look at each other; Mom’s eyebrows knitting, and Dad’s eyes brimming with tears.
“Yes,” they answer.
“Who’s the donor?”
My mom passes me a book. On top of it is a note that reads: Share to the world my mistakes, so there will be no other me.