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Mother of the Stars
Calm, there is no other word to describe my ship right now. I can hear the engines below. Their hum is music. They are the bass in this silent symphony. Every now and then I hear a clang. The clangs are the percussion. They are slow due to their ancient age. The ship shows no signs of life except for me. My heartbeat is the only living thing here, even though my crew silently sleeps below me. They are silent in their quarters. It feels empty.
As I sit and look out upon Abell 2744, also called Pandora’s Cluster, I am reminded of the need. The need to explore, to reach out. Every sentient being I have met has had that need. It all begins the same way. They look up. They look up on a clear night and see the stars. Far away galaxies and solar systems and they wonder. They wonder what is out there. They see the lights in the sky and they begin to plan. Plan ships to sail the night sky as. They evolve from being seamen to spacemen and instead of waves, they ride solar storms. They explore.
This need is universal. There is no intelligent life that doesn’t want to explore. As they explore they meet other species. Fights usually occur but it always works out in the end. Peace is obtained.Whether it be a mutual understanding or the obliteration of an entire race. There is one species however, one species that can never achieve peace. They seem to be unstoppable in their resolve. Their determination never falters and their ways of life are violent.
The ship hum seems to grow louder. It hasn’t changed but my thoughts have. I remember when we had no ships to take us across the stars. I remember when it was only ourselves and the galaxy. I am one of the few Primordials left. In the beginning there was nothing. Darkness and no stars. Then the Great One gave light and with light came life. Life in the form of the Primordials. As life began to de-evolve and become simpler, we became more worshipped. Before the gods of Olympus and before the Titans, there was us. We created the rivers and streams, we created the world around us. Each of us had our own power. Mine has always been the power of space. I feel the pulse of everything. Energy flows throughout the universe. The tiniest atom has the biggest role because without it a balance would be upset. There is balance in everything. When that balance is upset then I am given the task to fix it.
When my brothers and sisters began to destroy one another I was given the task to fix the chaos. I slaughtered my fellow Primordials. They fell before my power like flies. Now only three Primordials remain, myself included. Since the slaying, I have traveled across the stars. I have traveled and made a home and I have acted as the destroyer of worlds. It is so simple. Send one meteor their way and I have won. The species I plan to eradicate today, they will be more difficult.
Humans. Humans have spread like a virus across the stars. They are found in almost every nebula, every galaxy, they lurk in every star system and they always seek for one thing, war. Within their DNA is the coding for war. There have been species who desire the need for war more but they do not come close to humanity. They are physically weak but whenever their back is against the wall they always manage to find a way. A way to live and thrive. They are an infection within the universe. They poison her. They destroy her bit by bit. There are star systems that flourished with life before them and after them they are destroyed. Harvested for minerals and left behind for dead. I have walked among them as well. An isolated colony in the Milky way galaxy called Earth.
I have spent much time on Earth. I research them there. Earth is still a fledgling colony that struggles to grow. Their history plays out like all human history. They fight and strive for equality and peace and are yet denied. When humans come together they do remarkable things but, when they continue to fight they destroy everything. I have watched as Earth has been ravaged by them. The beauty I had enjoyed there, replaced by human structure, by the human element. I have spent time there in many different incarnations. I was a scholar in Athens and a warrior in Sparta. I was male both times. I was a female in Egypt, I went by the name Cleopatra. I was a Native American shaman and I was a black slave. I was Abigail Williams. I was a part of the Jews running from the Nazis and I bore witness to the destruction the atomic bomb wrought. In recent times I was an African American woman who saw the fall of Martin Luther King Jr. I also was a gay man in the 21st century.
I can’t believe it. Humanity destroys what they do not understand. In each life I experimented and caused trouble or fixed messes and no matter what I seemed to do the outcome would always be the same, agony. As a shaman I was taken from my home and beaten until my son came and saved me but it was too late, the white man’s diseases had already begun to take me. As Abigail I got revenge and used a little of my cosmic powers to experiment. Again, I saw agony on my experiment’s faces. I had caused so much trouble that I fled. As the gay man I was socially abused. You see humanity has not gotten better. They have merely evolved their ways of torture. They went from violent stonings, crucifixions, and hangings to gossip, backstabbing, lies and deceit. I left Earth to begin my campaign to eradicate humanity across the stars. I should have began at Earth but, there is hope. In each life there was kindness amongst the cruelty. There were people with good hearts and good intentions, and since I have begun my campaign, I have learned that Earth is unique. Most pockets of civilization learn to bond fast to put their differences aside and explore and spread their plague but Earth, they have not learned how to live with themselves, which is a blessing and a curse. If given more time they may learn to grow. There may be the light within the darkness. I have seen compassion. I have felt their love. They are a race of cruel beings yet, there are some who prove that not all are cruel.
Within my view I see a planet materialize before me. It is my destination. Opalaga V, the fifth and last colony of the Opalaga people. I stand from my seat as the crew rush to their stations. My dress trails behind me as I walk to the outstretched nose of my ship. I stop when the universe surrounds me. The glass is nothing but protection for my crew. I look down below me as my ship climbs higher and we are above the planet’s north pole. I look down at the husk of this former world. It was beautiful too, at one point.
“Prepare me for drop. This one I am doing solo.” my voice sounds cold when it echoes back to me. A metal door drops behind me. I hear as they scramble to ensure their safety. The glass peels back and I am left standing in the emptiness of space. I push off from the deck and begin to float aimlessly in the deadness. I close my eyes. There has always been something comforting about the deadness of space. I open my hands and begin to descend to the planet below. I move through space with my “magic.” It is like sinking in a swimming pool. All around you is the water yet something pulls you down. Space is my water and gravity is pulling me down. I am able to use the gravity from the planet to reach out to me and bring me to it. I have no quarrel with the planet, only the inhabitants.
As I work my way into the atmosphere and the fire engulfs me, I begin to smell the air. Uninhabited worlds have a more fresh, untapped smell to them. The “new planet smell,” is a result of the fresh minerals still unharvested. This planet does not have that smell. Though it is hard to describe the smell of an uninhabited planet, the smell of an inhabited one is easy. It smells like death. The smoke, carbon dioxide, or whatever compound they decide to put in the air, and their smell stains it. Unnatural chemicals fill the air and make it, stale. These planets may take thousands of years to undo this damage.
The last 100 miles I begin to slow down. As I see the white ground grow below me I notice its texture. It is spotted with black dots and smaller dots running around them. In the air there are ships going to and fro across the busy landscape. As I get even closer I begin to see the people walking around these buildings and vehicles. It reminds me of ants, constantly moving and never stopping.
My dress touches the ground before my feet do and when my feet touch the ground I feel the snow. To anyone else it would feel like regular snow but, to me, I feel it on a molecular level. In it is not only water but other, unnatural, chemicals. Chemicals created in factories and by people. I am surrounded by tall buildings on all sides of me. They reach to the sky as if trying to see who can reach the highest. I feel the cold and it doesn’t bother me. I just don’t feel heat or cold since that is only a feeling used by lesser beings. I do feel eyes on me. As I finally notice what else is around me I begin to see people. They peer out around hiding spaces. They come out of hiding not because they are brave but because they are curious. They must have seen me as I descended and went for cover.Vehicles have stopped and smoke billows from a few of them. Despite making these horrid machines, people don’t really know how to use them. I hear the sirens coming from all around. Law enforcement without a doubt, come to arrest me. They have no idea of what awaits them.
I walk down the street as the law enforcement start to arrive. “Freeze! Put your hands up and we won’t think about killing you!” I look at where the voice originates. It comes from a man who is less than half my height. In earth feet I am 6’10. Using that measurement he must be at the most, 4’5. As other members of the enforcers show up I begin to see that they vary greatly in size. Some stand taller than me but most are around the 6’5 area. There are sizes of all kinds however.
“Freeze now! Or we will kill you!”
“Look at what I am wearing, don’t you think I am already freezing?” I look at my reflection in one of their glass buildings. I see my pale skin and glowing green eyes with my hair blowing behind me and my wide brimmed hat staying on through the wind. My strapless dress billows behind me as well and my slender frame is highlighted.
I hear a loud shot ring out and as I turn my head a bullet whizzes by me. I look at the direction the bullet originated and there stands and officer with a smoking gun. The look on his face is of utter horror. His mistake will cost him. As his commanding officer begins to yell insults at him I glare. Before my eyes he begins to disintegrate. The cells and atoms within him fall apart.
Shots fire from all around me. Before the bullets reach me they turn into ash of what they once were. It is like there is a screen around me that filters everything into smaller particles. They continue. There is no slowing they continue to shoot and fail. Above all else humanity is determined.
I raise my hands around me and the snow begins to rise. As I do this clouds begin to appear. The atmospheric pressure increases and a storm cell begins. I have destroyed worlds with fire and ice, and personally, I prefer ice. The ice storm begins to swirl around me and the temperature drops in a heartbeat. Immediately the lifeforms within 50 feet of me freeze. The water within them turns solid and they halt in their endeavors to kill me.
I rise into the air and perch myself on the tallest building in the heart of the city. The ice storm has tripled since its birth and continues to grow by the second. Ice freezes the buildings around me. As I watch people run I notice a mother and a child. They are of dark skin and the child is barely keeping up with the mother. A big wall of white clouds follow them. As they quickly climb aboard a shuttle they look back and the little boy makes eye contact with me. His deep blue eyes show brightly against his copper skin. The storm then engulfs the shuttle and he is gone.
I walk along the streets of the frozen city. The storm has continued onward through the atmosphere of the planet. Within a week all life will be frozen hear. Within 100 years the ice will melt and life will begin again. But, for now, there is nothing but the cold. I walk past the officers still with their guns raised. I find the one who first began to yell at me.
“Freeze,” I whisper in his frozen ear. I laugh a little. As i stride downtown through the tall buildings and people frozen in time I come across a shuttle. People are gathered all around here. I see men pushing women out of the way and several children. The children are in a group and they look like silent watch towers, looking for their mothers most likely. I see several different forms of animals, pets, running amongst the humans.
As I get near the shuttle I begin to see a familiar shape. In the door stands a mother holding her child. The child is gazing at the sky. Their dark skin replaced by a cold, empty, white. They are blank pages that I have wiped clean. I touch the child’s face. His round cheeks full of silence. There is no blood rushing through him. His cells are not reproducing. He will never grow. He will never find a lover, never find the pain that his mother has probably gone through. He will never experience the horrors life has to offer. And the joy. His life did not come to an end because of humans it came to an end because of me. I lean closer to him and begin to whisper in his ear.
“I am sorry little one. You had so much potential little seed. I am sorry I had to reap you before your time could begin. Know that I spared you from this world little one. Know that because of me you will experience no loss. You are bonded with your mother forever and may she watch over you as angels take you to the Great One. Oh little one, please forgive me. My duty is my destiny and I cannot stop for you or anyone. What must be done must be done by me. Little one, rest in peace and never know the pain of duty. Never know anymore loss. You are a child of a race that must be extinguished. If I ever meet you in another life know that I am sorry for what I have done in this one. Oh, little one, when you are reborn grow. Grow and be strong for me. I am your mother for I am mother of these stars and their inhabitants. When you are reborn in this universe know that I do not blame you. I blame humanity for the things they have done. You have done no wrong but be born and I will live with your death as my burden. Humanity reaped my daughter, and thus I must reap them. You will be reborn one day and when you are I hope it is not in human ranks. Oh little one, I am sorry.”
As I pull my face away his eyes still look to the sky. They always will be looking up to the heavens, as did his ancestors. My head drops as a waterfall of memory and sorrow begins to flow. I feel my knees buckle before me as my head drops to my hands. I have a duty to myself and to my daughter. Humanity must pay, no matter the cost.
The snow falls silently around me on this dead world. The only sound is my sobbing. It echoes around me. In an instant the echoes join with my own. They crescendo till nothing is left but pain. Pain, agony, and emptiness. Always emptiness.