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New Worlds

by James Stacks 2 months ago in science fiction · updated about a month ago
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The Majesty and the End

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say. But I can promise you, that when your fighter is sent careening into the open void, metal warped from plasma weaponry and your body wrapped in flame as the ruined systems ignite your oxygen supply, you will hear your screams, as will the rest of your squad as your communications transmit to your last breath. I wonder how many heard such screams, all those years ago, when the Terran Domain fell to civil war and anarchy. The old stories say that a million cruisers burned in the Sol system alone. Not an impossible number of course, as in those days, humanity’s power covered a vast number of worlds, and though many have been lost, many have been taken as well by those kingdoms of the stars, born from the death of the greatest empire that mankind has ever built. Mind you, the New Terran Commonwealth, “Terran” in name only as that rock burned with its armies, is rising fast and poised to be the true successor; two hundred thousand worlds strong and growing fats, through conquest and diplomacy, reuniting the human race and rediscovering the god-engines of old.

That’s where I fit in. My position in the Commonwealth is as an aerospace reclamation engineer, affectionately dubbed Cosmogonic Foragemaster by the big wigs in an attempt to attract more people to a, in all honesty, difficult, dangerous, and isolated field of work and study, to fill the galaxy with our megastructures once again. Of course, the benefits are exceptional, the work is rewarding, and the greatest care is put towards our safety, though that is more for the difficulty in replacing us than anything, and, though the emptiness can feel bleak and cold, you aren’t alone out there, you still have your crew, working, eating, living along with you. Anyway, the work of an ARE is to locate and reestablish the old holdings of the Terran Domain. To find the star ports and reestablish communications in the systems where the planets no longer support any form of human life. That’s just the first step. Star-Skips make traveling between systems a few weeks of ease, and the ports help to map the routes we take, but the megastructures are the real goal. Many can be repaired reasonably easily once supplies have been shipped out to our location. Orbit farms can be sealed without much trouble, Mari-Vacs are often in one piece, and the various Synth-Worlds are almost completely undamaged, barring a few collision sites of course. Though other structures are lost for good. After hundreds or thousands of years of no maintenance, the Dyson arrays or Jupiternian Refineries are lost to solar flair and storms, respectively.

I wish I could say that there is a great host of races and diverse species in the many human successor states that rose and fell and rose again, but there aren’t. I’ve heard stories of distant worlds and systems where non-human intelligence exists, but not here. I can’t say I’m proud of it, but our ancestors didn’t like the idea of sharing the stars, and wiped out any civilization they came across. Sad sure, but the ones that did it are long since dead, so why bother concern ourselves. I’ll tell you why; because the weapons they used, the weapons that ignite atmospheres and scour planets, are still out there, and are the top priority for our profession, the real reason they sent us out here, to keep the God-Weapons out of the hands of other successor states, to bring them into the fold of our military, and if all else fails, destroy them. Push them into a star or detonate gamma charges until all that remains is charred metal that vaguely resembles what once was, and then detonate a few more just in case.

Then there are the truly titanic structures. The sort that you’d only a god could’ve made. Spheres build around stars to piloting them through the galaxy, systems capable of eradicating entire star systems, disk like structures as far across as the orbit of planets, computers that feeds off of stars like wood in a fire. The last reports of anything on that scale were dated from ten thousand years ago at the earliest. I didn’t think they were real. I didn’t want to think they were real. I had heard the stories of what they were used for in the fall of the Terran Domain; what the peak of humanity’s technology was capable of. But, as I would come to realize, reading about such things, sitting through lectures about such immense power, a re all too real.

science fiction

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James Stacks

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