At the End...
The sky was beautiful that day. That is one thing I remember very well, through all the horror and sadness that followed, sometimes it is that one small detail, that one infinitesimal memory of that day, before everything went so wrong, so terrible, that gets me through the day.
It was so vivid. The colour, the vast expanse of that bright shade, which unfairly only occurs on this single planet, out of hundreds of thousands of others in the universe. That colour, which we named blura*, casting its length across the sky’s ceiling, unbroken in its magnificence.
I remember looking up at that sky, only having vague memories of Auron’s sky, the ceiling of my original home, and thinking that this planet must be the most beautiful to have ever been created.
Then, I remember looking at that sky, and seeing something start to appear. It was black, as dark as this planet’s dark sky, without the light of shæn* and the lunar*.
At first, they were only tiny, tiny little specks on that vast blura blanket, which I blithely ignored. But as they grew larger, and larger still, little prickles went up my spine, and feeling a growing apprehension in my stomach, I headed back through the automatic doors into my family’s loft.
“Matem*, there is something in the sky. It’s scaring me.” Matem and Deman* looked up from what they were doing, and Matem smiled at me.
“Chealdi*, there is nothing in the sky that can hurt you. Do not be afraid.”
“But Matem-“ A sharp beeping at our main com screen interrupted my complaints, and they turned their attention to it as Andreat, my sierra*, came in from our bedroom.
“What is going on?” she asked me, to which I rolled my eyes. Reading my mind, she slowly frowned, and we both looked over at our pataani’s* backs.
The message, whatever it was, must have been private, because we did not hear a thing. So when they suddenly turned around again, the absolute terror on their faces caused me to instinctively reach for Andreat’s hand. She met me halfway.
“Matem, Deman, what is it?” we asked in unison.
The answer, which came from our Deman’s horrified lips, was even worse than we could have ever imagined.
“The Cyriens are coming.”
Then, all over the colony, the warning siren began to wail.
Other things from that day are just blurs. Rushing colours, shouting, crying, crashing, shattering glass, and over top of it all, that roaring, insistent siren, drowning out everything else.
The rest, images that just pop up, frozen in my mind. Images of people running past us, holding the remnants of their lives in wrapped bundles, images of jagged holes in the walls, flying metal, and a windblown image of my Matem’s face, twisted in frozen terror.
Then, Andreat and I were being pushed into a tall, cylindrical pod.
“Matem!, Deman!” we cried, grabbing their hands when they attempted to leave. “Stay! Do not leave us!”
Seeing our terrified faces, they rushed forward and embraced us tightly, their voices trying to sooth over the noises and panic around us.
“You both must stay here! You will be safe here. Carleon will protect you until we return.” Carleon nodded at us, her smile doing next to nothing to reassure Andreat and I.
“But where are you going?!” Andreat babbled, her violet eyes that I shared, brimming with new tears.
“We must keep those djimi* from getting to this facility. We will keep them away from you.”
“Why can’t you stay here?!” My voice broke as I clutched at their arms, as desperate as Andreat, as our linked minds began to leak into each other, doubling our fright.
Suddenly, they both came in close, and Matem clamped our hands in between hers.
“Do not worry. Nothing will happen to us. And even if that happens, you will always have each other.”
We fell silent, staring at them, our fear diminishing, but only a little. Deman smiled down at us, his eyes holding love and devotion, but also the hint of a terrible truth.
“Now, look after one-another. Anahkra, Andreat, keep each other safe, and remember, the only people I care about other than your matem, is you.”
Suddenly, they stepped back, and Deman pushed a large panel to the side of the cramped cubicle.
“Hai ache okkida yd!*"Andreat and I yelled, rushing to the clear shield that had dropped down the moment the panel had been pushed. We pressed up against it, crying as they pressed their own hands to ours, on the other side of the panel.
Misty gas suddenly filled the cubicle, and as we futilely tried to resist the sedative, the only thing we saw as we both slid to the ground, were the tearful faces of our pataani.
Then, all we knew was oblivion.
The first thing I remember after waking up, was that they knew that they weren’t going to survive.
They had lied. And they knew it. That was why they hid Andreat and I.
We can’t help but hate them for that, and yet, we know why they wanted to keep us safe.
It has been many, many years since the day Elder Kael found us; Andreat, me, and the other fledglings hidden beneath the half destroyed and buried city of Auraea. Since the Cyrien attack, it had taken us many years to build up our civilization again. Fortunately for us, those nakreedi(bastards, arseholes etc) believe that they had destroyed our entire race, and returned to their own galaxy to fight amongst themselves once more.
Elder Kael Maelstrom, the only elder to survive the destruction of Auron, our home planet, which had been targeted just before Auraea, had managed to bring one of our last ship cities with him when he had fled Auron, along with thousands of other survivors. Atlanta, the city he had saved, became our home after that. Elder Kael placed the city in the middle of one of the vast oceans on the planet, once it began to heal itself, and life again appeared on its surface.
At first, Altanta remained shielded, our lingering fears of the Cyriens returning and attempting to destroy us again. But as the many years went by, it came to our knowledge that the Cyriens believed us to be completely wiped out, and saw no reason to return.
So, we began to explore the planet again. And found, to our surprise, that life forms not unlike in appearance to our own had started to evolve. After watching them for some years, we realised that they might eventually become advanced enough, and curious enough, to venture out into the world.
In about 5,000 BC, according to our later understanding of the native creatures’ timeline, we were discovered by accident by several of the creatures. But we had long since taken their semblance, so they simply believed us to be their own kind. Most of whom we met were simple seafarers, who traded food and supplies to us in exchange for advice and suggestions on how to better navigate the planet. But some who eventually came to us were what we came to know as ‘philosophers’, whose way of thinking surprised us. If these humans this early were capable of such thought, what could they be capable of in the future?
As some years went by, however, we came to fear something else.
The humans were a complex race. Some could be of a gentle, curious nature, while others seemed to want to possess everything they laid their eyes upon. What they saw, they wanted.
And some came to want Atlanta.
To avoid destroying such a promising, but primitive creature, such as man, we moved the city to another location, and buried ourselves deep beneath the earth.
Some of us believed that humans were too destructive for their own good. But others, including Elder Kael, recognised their potential.
We were not much different, when we were just starting out. As we aged as a race, our lessons, as hard and as painful as they had been, taught us that even the most violent of beginnings could calm to gentleness.
We would no longer interfere with the humans, only watch and wait, for a time when an opportunity could present itself.
But, we should have known that even peace could not last forever.
Our ancient enemy is back. And this time, they are not after us...
blura - blue
shæn - stars
lunar - moon
Matem - Mother
Deman - Father
Chealdi - child
sierra - sister
pataani(s) - parents
djimi - horrors
"Hai ache okkida yd!" - "We love you too!"
nakreedi - bastards, arseholes etc