26

Apr

by thefourpartland

So, this is the very first piece of writing I’ve ever done in a science fiction setting that’s been kicking around my head since I was, well… probably since I was in grade school. It’s changed and been tweaked a lot, but here’s the very first taste of what I think it might be like. And yes, I realize this does sound more like a trailer than a short story.

There was a strange solar system, nestled in a galaxy at the core of the universe, where five planets swung in tight arcs about the sun, and where each had produced their own form of life. Some would call this incredible, others impossible, and yet five distinct species had arisen. And when they first discovered the telescope, and looked out at other planets, they saw the light of other telescopes winking back at them. When they discovered radio, they learned to speak with strange alien beings. And when they discovered rocketry, they warred with strange alien beings, for none of the five could accept that the other four might have reason to exist.

Greed motivated the civilizations, and missiles flew through the dark of space, and stations and ships were built to conquer the asteroids and moons of the planets, and when they landed and created a civilization, they were destroyed by yet more attacks. Only a fear of being exterminated kept the five races from using truly destructive technology, but as they advanced, raids and precision strikes became the norm, and the atmosphere of the planets began to change, becoming foul and unpleasant for life. Only when the races were choking to death on the fumes of foetid anger did they speak to one another again, and this time, they proposed a truce, a moratorium on the use of weapons and raids.

Not one of the races trusted another, yet none would step out of line, lest they be struck by the other four. And so weapons were developed and stashed away, and secret plans and strange alliances made, and anger simmered underneath the surface for millennia. But then the Bukhed Rhud made a breakthrough in the art of genetics, and found the key that would turn back time and prevent ageing. Now those in charge of the stockpiles and the arsenals could see a life beyond the next few years, and with that change came a thawing in the relationships among the five races, for the Bukhed Rhud had shared their secret freely and widely, and although not of similar composition, the other four had discovered that they too preferred long and peaceful lives.

Thus began the Great Expansion, when each of the five contributed to the crew of spaceships that were flung far and wide, first finishing the crawl across the solar system and then tossed out into their neighbours. There was no means of communicating with these vessels over the great distances, for they had not yet discovered a technology that allowed them to overcome the speed of light, but it was hoped that one day that would be done, and those in the Great Expansion could link back to their homes.

In time, that technology was found, and the civilizations became what they are today, the hub of an empire that spans the galactic core. The Bukhed Rhud are parasites, bound to host creatures from their home planet and able to control their nervous system. The Mektarana are insectoid, barely, and have but a few brains amongst all the spawn on a planet, but the minds are so vast that others struggle to keep up. From a hot planet and a burning desert was born the Vescilith, small four legged creatures with too many fingers and a love for machinery. Barely there, the Draugur are ethereal wisps, thin and long and telepathic amongst their own kind. Last are the Tharian, who long ago gave up their humanity to become cyborgs, born in automated breeding tanks because adults cut away most of their bodies. Now these civilizations have begun to reach the boundaries of other empires, and once more the old tensions rise to the surface, and some of these will not quell. War has come to these people once more.