Our world is a silent one. Not by choice, but by necessity. There can be no waste, not a breath, not a sound, not an echo. We communicate with sound but our walls recollect that sonic energy, our clothing absorbs that energy and storing it for future use. Contemplation before speech; no rushing to communicate our thoughts. Telepathy is preferred.
Our world is a darkened one. Not by choice, but by necessity. We use no light we do not need, so our eyes and ears are adapted to darkness. Tiny, light emitting matrices dot the walls of our living ships, providing light only while we pass and only when necessary. Every erg is cultivated from our environment. The long rays of dying stars, the short waves from our only source of nearby light, Sindin, red dwarf, last star for five thousand light years and from where we sit, the last living star we know of.
Our world is a nearly motionless one. Not by choice but by necessity. We are trained as children, that all of our lives will be filled with activity, energy and movement and not to waste it. Silent and still concentration drills are a fact of life for children, being trained to harness all of our bodies energy.
First we control the mental energy, marshalling our minds, our very thoughts, ordering them, structuring them into a crystalline lattice of logic and reason. Then our bodies, first in the physio-chambers that toned our muscles, enhanced our hearts, challenged our lungs, tempered our carbon-hardened skeletons, tightened our muscles until we were like polished onyx, smooth, cool and without flaw. We learned to control our very internal energy, raising and lowering it at will, our organs under our mental command, generating biles and fluids to regulate our life-force.
We are then injected with sehrwinzig that allow us to manipulate the very molecular energies at the very threshold of existence. We can harness those energies for limited feats of physical strength, speed or endurance far beyond our primitive ancestors of our distant homeworld. In homage to them, we have not changed our outer appearance, but our inner appearance would completely belie our origins. We had no choice.
We are grown in labs, without contact, and almost all aspects of our being has been changed to maximize our use, creation and dispersal of energy. Our skin is a photo-absorptive mesh, dark in hue, blue, purple, burgundy, black, dark brown are the choices that ensure maximum absorption from our wan sun.
We no longer have the luxury of gestation. We are now fully functioning and able to exist outside of the birthing chamber in less than three months. We are able to mature to the size of a five year old in three to six months. During that time, knowledge is encoded into our brains with programming that will allow us to develop our personality.
We develop that personality in simulacra, living virtual lives at a timescale that allows us to experience all the things we could as children in a world more conducive to happiness. Yes, it is virtual happiness, but it will likely be the only happiness we know.
There was a time when we did not allow this childhood period. Some deemed it an unnecessary expense in energy and resources. We lost far more than we saved for our efforts. More of our people choose death, far sooner than ever in our history. Childhood was reintroduced when too many quality minds were lost.
When the childhood phase of our lives ends, and we are aged toward puberty, that is the time of the first physical changing and linking that teach us how to harness our life-force both as a resource and as a weapon. We begin to live without the benefit of our simulated worlds of light and life and are acculturated to our real world. Our births are regulated, so no one is born unless someone chooses to die. Even in a community of near-immortals, the choice of death occurs more often than one would think.
The burden of living becomes more than even the most resolute spirits can carry. Some of us, who are weary but not to death, choose the rest chambers where we sleep a century or two until something new or interesting happens that meets our criteria before we entered sleep. Then we rise from our rest and carry on the search.
Our world recycles all of the energy that is created within it. There is no excess. There are no stars save the tiny red dwarf we circle. It is estimated that sixty trillion souls surround this tiny beacon of light. Sixty trillion beings huddled against the dying of the light in our Universe. We harvest and store every second of this light. We are so desperate, that we harvest even the cooling husks of no longer lit stars, beaming long wave energy to receptors scattered throughout the galaxy. Storing that energy, it is periodically collected through the slow-motion gate system allowing for objects to be moved with the minimum amount of energy lost between gathering and movement.
In our way, we are returned to our primitive arboreal ancestors, gathering energy, everyday, hoping to have enough to feed everyone at the end of the day. Even with all our solar arrays, long-wave gathering, planetary compression systems (planets of immense size are crushed together using gravity and the resultant heat is absorbed) Magnetic field manipulations, kinetic draining systems, there is only one inescapable truth. Our universe is dying. And we are dying with it. From where we sit, our Universe is dark, no stars remain, one trillion years after the birth of our Universe, it is ending; not with a bang but with a whisper.
The ruddy light of Sindin Prime was home to sixty trillion lives. Circling in a variety of close orbits, mega-constructions with superconductive surfaces struggled to pull in the vital energy from this, one of the last dying stars in the galaxy. As the stars have waned, multiple intelligent races have come together to harvest what energies remain from the Last Suns of our galaxy. Around Sindin Prime, there have been over three hundred separate species sharing space above the worlds. Several factions of the government are losing control of their people. Predation from the Outer Dark has increased as Entities, life forms who have adapted to the darkness, but still hunger for light have begun to circle Sindin Prime, in ever closing orbits.
They once attacked every few centuries, now decades separate their stronger and stronger attacks. They destroyed an orbital construction above Sindin Prime, killing two billion sentients. There is very little energy to spare on defensive technology because we are so energy poor. Recent computations indicate they will be making another pass in a decade or two, so plans to slowly accelerate asteroids toward their likely entry points to the system should kill an estimated thirty to forty-two percent of the approaching attackers and hopefully low energy point defense systems will do the rest.
I am Judira Corm Hex-aka and I am charged with creating a technology that will likely murder fifty trillion sentients, eighty percent of all the known life left in our galaxy for a chance for ten trillion to have a life in a statistical possibility, a parallel universe. This technology is called a dimensional emission array. My fathers and mothers have spent hundreds of standard years working on this project with the permission of some of the collective governments.
Time is growing short. Sindin Prime’s energy output is diminishing and we will need to utilize it as the primary power source for the dimensional bridging array. This will exhaust the last of the nuclear potential of the red dwarf leaving only an burning cinder when we are finished. If we fail, we will all die. Not quickly. No we will struggle against the coming darkness. We will expand our technology to harvest the dark stars final wavelengths of energy, extending our reach and our lives, such as they are, for another two hundred millennia. A last gasp after the lights go out.
Excerpt from Insurrection: Thaddeus Howze © 2011
About the Artist: The art element is called Red by Ashmantle. I found this amazing artist on deviantArt and was inspired by the painting. I was writing about a universe where almost all the stars had gone out and this piece spoke to that story.