Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish. –Marcus Aurelius
Three hours into my new job, my eyes began to operate independently from my brain. I reached a state of self-transcendent zombieness and learned to see human anatomy as a collection of wet, pliant machine parts and so grade their interactions according to an official scale.
Humanity was weak. Physically. Mentally. Socially. Culturally. But we had been weak, so we knew what weakness could drive one to do.
We had been as weak as humans hiding on this backwater planet. Mingling with the natives, looking like them, eating their wretched food, chasing animals with their oh-so-weak legs and puny arms. Our internal facilities hidden, shut down, vestiges of themselves so we were never discovered. We allowed ourselves to die in accidents, by disease, impaled on bars of shaped metal, by smoky weapons in primitive wars fought over land, food, women, slaves, and for the sake of power itself.
When the enemy came to this world, they flew over humanity’s primitive hovels in their horrid little ships and they did not see us. Humans called them UFOs but we knew what they were. They were looking for us. They thought we would conquer humanity and build our cities, our technologies and transform their world into ours. And then they would destroy us for the last time; chased to the edge of the galaxy and hounded to a final and futile extinction. Instead, they found a primitive and warlike creature barely able to reach their own moon.
In their mechanized arrogance they flew away after probing a few humans and ignored Earth for another generation. And so we waited.
I gland zenotonin and dilated my pupils, increasing my visual acuity a thousand fold. My diagnostic organs fully expanded, fully realized, my physical prowess, the equal of any MRI machine on Earth. Cilia, a millionth of the width of a human hair, I binded genes structures in new and illegal ways. The human under my care writhed until I limited its neural signalling putting it into a coma until I completed my work. I recombined physical attributes long separated by religious doctrine.
Our religion forbade us to dominate these feeble creatures through force. They had to embrace the Way of their own free will. We were forbidden to use our physical abilities which clearly separated us from them. For us to make them ready, we had to be them, to understand them. Some didn’t listen. Some even rebelled. But even in rebellion, they served our purpose.
One of our kind shared with starving Cro-Magnon, our secret of fire and set them on a course of violence. A course we initiated. A course we promoted so we could show them our superiority. They looked at it as a boon, but we knew better. Oh, how many wars did we pursue or even initiate so we could engage the warlike nature coursing through our genes. We infected them with our love of battle and war. They were once so gentle, so different from what we made.
If it were in me to regret, and it is not, I would regret what we made. What would they have been like without us?
Our religion, our code of battle forced us to train them to fight, to win, to die, to raise themselves on ideas of honor, of bloodshed, on death and dismemberment. How many of them did we wade through in Troy, Sparta, Rome, the Crusades, the magnificent World Wars where they took their world to the brink of final destruction. We caused these wars so we could remember why we were here, how we came here and what we would do to leave here. These were our toys until we could return to the True War fought so far away.
Though our bodies were limited and we were without our glandular enhancements, our minds were unchanged. Our innate intelligence was constantly at war with our present weakness. Though our brains appeared the same, we had an advantage unable to be seen with human technology and which hid itself upon our death. Our brains possessed one thousand times the number of connections between each cell. Our brains absorbed data like a sponge took on water. Effortlessly. We learned languages, we learned mathematics, taught philosophy, both light and dark.
We polarized Humanity. We gave it the illusion of polarity, the idea of Dark and Light, Good and Evil. We would make them the most warlike species in the galaxy. And we would never tell them they were weapons.
I modified the cellular cocktail, ensuring the cleansing of human genetic diseases from their feeble frames. This would clear away their cancers, prevent their cells from such sloppy evolution-guided cellular replication, hardened their bones, replacing calcium with hardened carbon, sharpened their vision, replaced their feeble muscles with highly active white muscle tissue instead of their puny red muscle tissue. I smoothed their joints, toughened their cartilage, streamlined their circulatory system and hardened their immune system.
I stripped away much of their internal cellular flora, they would have no need for it. I replaced it with ours, a rich biome capable of rebuilding them in a matter of hours from any injury short of death. They could eat a raisin and live on it a week, they could live without water for a month, recycling everything with their new skin, black as night, smooth as glass. They would not recognize themselves. Nor should they. They were no longer just human. They were now ours. Though we had given them much, we would take much more from them on the field of battle. They were our shocktroops as we return to the Galaxy at large.
I returned my vision to normal and stabilized the serum. I looked at my handiwork, glistening in the flesh-chamber, floating in a protein-fluid which promoted the transformation into an organic weapon of war. I was pleased with this final work. I killed it and distilled its genetic essence. The cells in my body memorized the genetic mapping and created a transfer virus for the final airborne version of this improvement. The remaining mush was absorbed by my ship as food. We wasted nothing in these final days.
My brothers looked at me, their bodies restored to their true greatness, I saw nictitating membranes flickering in eyes capable of seeing in any environment short of true lightlessness, I saw iron-clawed hands and flexible cup-like ears. I saw mobile hair, waving about on heads, I saw prehensile tails, stretching out in idle luxuriousness. I saw each of us bringing out the nature we had hidden in fear of being ourselves for millennia. But no more. I retracted my cilia into my six fingered hand, and straightened my uniform. It was time. Each touched me and took away a sample of the transformed virus. Each would be able to apply it in whatever fashion they saw fit.
Our secret warehouses was filled with the technology we had waited to use. We shared it, a piece at a time until Humanity could understand more. Now, with the right motivation, they could build everything we needed to return to the stars. And they did. Now we had taken what they had learned and made it our own. Their mighty factories would churn out our weapons of war. Each hidden and prepared for the final step in the Plan. Our other agents had hidden on a thousand other worlds, among their people, shaping them, raising them for a war against an impossible enemy.
Our combined nervous systems resonated with the entangled signal of our distant brethren. They were almost ready. Twenty years at the most.
Our mechanized foe, unable to find us had begun exterminating all life in the galaxy. They knew we would not sit for this. We were the last threat to their supremacy.
We watched Humanity as they launched their thermonuclear missiles into the air. In thirty minutes those missiles would land and plunge them into their final war on Earth. From those who survived, we would cull them and make them our army, they shall be fierce, made tough and ruthless by the years of deprivation, living without the essentials, these would be the most creative, most adaptable, most ready to burn their way across the stars.
Our slumbering warships stood ready, hidden in pyramids all over the planet. Waiting for the day we took the best away from their world for the last time.
We had hidden for eleven thousand years until humanity had the tools to fight to reclaim their galaxy. Now armed with a violence which had destroyed billions of their own, we shall stride forth, no longer hidden, no longer pretending, no longer waiting, now ready to wage war with a creature bred for it. A creature unreasoning in its hatred, willing to kill its own members for any reason or no reason at all. We have harvested that capacity for violence and would use it to win back the Galaxy for species more deserving to rule.
If humanity didn’t survive, their sacrifice would be worth it. For us.
Moral Ground © Thaddeus Howze 2013, All Rights Reserved
Artwork: Battlesong © 2010-2013 *TavenerScholar