Author : Desmond Hussey, Staff Writer
When their explorers first arrived they were few; we’d no reason to fear them. We welcomed our brothers and sisters from another world with open arms. We traded with them, celebrated with them, showed them our ways and invited them into our homes. They were so like us, and yet, so very different. They departed with promises to return with wondrous gifts.
I’ll never forget the night they returned. Beneath a sky dark and clear, I lay studying the ancient constellations twinkling in their familiar geometries, slowly unraveling their secrets throughout the seasons. Starlore held practical knowledge; when to sow, when to reap, aided those at sea, but it also told legends of monsters, heroes and wisdom. The past and the future were written in the night sky.
That night, before my eyes, many new stars appeared and grew larger. Too many to count. The Great Archer, the Winged Serpent, the Virgin and others became obscured by our visitor’s arriving ships. My heart soared. That night I anticipated a great celebration, a union of cultures, a sharing of knowledge and the beginning of an age of peace.
For three days crates of their strange metal rained upon our communities and country sides. When they broke open revealing odd trinkets, exotic cloth, food and drink we took them as the promised gifts from our star family.
Our guests from across the cosmic ocean never came down to receive our thanks. They waited in their ships while we celebrated without them. They watched us from above as we danced in their strange, new clothes, became intoxicated on their potent elixirs and fell into drunken stupors. They watched as we fought amongst ourselves over their useless trinkets. They waited as my people became sick from their alien diseases. They watched and waited as we died in the billions.
Their gift to us was death.
We’d been betrayed, yet their sickness did not take us all. When they finally descended on their iron battle horses, we met them in open war, fighting as our ancestors had taught us, with bravery and honor. But these warriors from the skies were not brave, showed no honor. They murdered without thought, burning women and children, the sick and the old with their lightning sticks. They burned ancient forests to ash and boiled seas to salt deserts.
I killed five of their warriors as they brutally raped and beat two of my sisters. I have never seen such hatred of life. They laughed mockingly as Myrrah and Nevi cried for mercy, but they will laugh no more. I killed them quickly, which was more than they deserved. I wish I could have killed five thousand more.
We lost. We never really stood a chance. It wasn’t their superior technology that overwhelmed us – a single one of our warriors is worth ten of theirs in a fair battle – but their cunning and deception was unmatchable, their strategies lacked mercy and dignity. Before they came we were six billion strong. Now, what few remain are herded like animals into crowded reservations where we must live the rest of our days, clinging to the shreds of our culture, while, beyond the electric fence, our world is consumed by the Usurpers.
Tonight, I long to see the stars once more, but my eyes cannot pierce the thick veil of smoke rising from their mines.
I wonder if somewhere, hidden within the constellation’s legends there might have been some warning, some message I missed; that one day a race called “Human” would plunder my world and destroy all that I loved.
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