The stars our legacy

Posted on August 12, 2016

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This is a tale of our first halting steps into the stars. A tale of when we were all one kind. A tale before we were deep ones, before we were belters, before we were airless. A tale of when we were all simply human.

It is said we rose from a one planet, one star. It’s hard to believe, I know. We are so varied but the essence of who we are, the code from which we are all made, its core is the for us all.

We rose slowly. Our first steps were cautious. Some faltered and failed. But we persevered. Soon enough, when measured against the span of a species, an age of the galaxy, we spread. Slowly at first, then with all the speed our understanding of the universe would allow. And for a time, it was good.

Equilibrium is difficult to maintain. A system can be unbalanced by the smallest of things. What we found between the stars was not the smallest of things.

The universe is vast, and cold, and full of nightmares. The old things, the cold thing. Life-eaters, sun-stealers, world-killers. We found them, or they noticed us, and the blood times began.

We never learned why they sought to destroy us. Perhaps they were so far above us our communications were like the droning of insects. Perhaps they were so far below as to be a virus.

No one knows how many perished. Only that it was many, perhaps most. But exterminators rarely kill all the insects. Viruses, all the hosts. And those that survive adapt and evolve.

We learned from the nightmares. We learned of the living ships, of the folded space. We learned to harness the stars themselves. And with the knowledge we did as humanity has always done when confronted with beings of nightmare.

We built demons of our own.

It is said we took from the nightmares and crafted women and men who could stride the stars without a vessel. Women and men who could absorb life-eaters, who could trade blows with the cold ones and stand triumphant.

Our demons won and in their victory they carried the rest of humanity to the far reaches of the galaxy.

Then the demons turned on one another, and the galaxy burned.

Stars guttered and went dark. Worlds broke. Our demons fought between the stars and between the folds in space and reality shattered in their wake.

Then they were gone. They were gone and humanity was left scattered across the galaxy.

We rebuilt, reunited. The nightmares and demons faded from memory and became stories to amuse children.

So it is said. But who is to know? It is one tale amongst many and surely we do not build demons of ourselves.

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