Author : Phil Rejmer
Humanity and its lost tribe met, finally, in between the stars. We faced each other, the representatives of each clan, standing in the metal halls of each others’ vessels.
It had been so long since humanity had abandoned Earth. Almost as long since the Schisms split our family in two. At the time, we had been glad to continue without them. But, after our wrath had bled into the darkness, we began looking for our brethren, once again.
We drained gas giants of their nectar, and bathed in the life of alien suns. We shattered frozen asteroids and farmed their dirty ice. But the last of humanity did not stop searching for our lost kin.
After years, the halls and galleries of our vessels lost their light, and so our gene-alchemists adjusted our bodies to survive the Dark. The Emptiness leaked into us and gnawed our thoughts, so our psycho-surgeons adjusted our minds to survive that as well.
And then, as if by chance, we stumbled upon our wayward siblings, following a herd of asteroids in the Emptiness between the stars.
We hailed each other. We boarded each others’ vessels. There was silence.
What else could there have been? They were so strange, so different from us. They had changed so much. We wanted to welcome them, but did not know how. There were no rituals to follow, no instinct to grant us wisdom.
Finally, they said, “We have been looking for you.”
What shock! To learn that they had been on the same quest as we!
Overjoyed, we told them that we too were looking for them. We said that they could rejoin us now, that they were no longer lost.
After some silence they said, “It is you who were lost. We have come to bring you back to us.”
What disrespect! What lunacy! For them to suggest that we had strayed! To be ungrateful of our outstretched hands! We could not ignore such a slight upon our pride. We went to war. What else could there have been? How could we not strike them when they were so blind?
Blood was thrown across the Emptiness. Riven vessels were sent careening into suns and dead planets. We hunted each other along the same paths we once had searched. We warred with guile honed by the Emptiness and with strength honed by the Dark.
In the end, after all the death, there was peace. But even so, after all that had passed, they never let us forget who had spoken first.