(Personal Story/Galan, Advent Colony World)
Part Twenty of Teir -
The Beginnings of the War –
Grace like rain... -
A pulse of white light flared in the garden.
In the center of the garden,
White eyes gazing out over the soft and wet grass that pressed underneath her, against her feet .
Not through the Arch or the mirrored light behind doors that were now closed.
And all there saw her and fell to their knees and bowed their heads.
She half smiled, but then felt…
She raised her eyes to the blue sky and felt them, the black ships coming into orbit, when Sere came through the doorway into the garden.
"There are ships coming into orbit! -"
Then she saw Teir.
She started to fall to her knees when Teir waved her hand to stop her, the woman regained herself and stood waiting in the doorway to the garden.
"Sere, take my mother and sister to safety, to the platform, we will try to distract the black fleet, but get out system as quickly as you can."
Sere nodded once and then sprinted away.
In her mind she could feel Teir's touch, she wanted to both stagger and to run as fast as she could, she was of the 'unseen', she had never felt the touch of another mind, nor could she touch any other. She had always been 'blind' and not fully Advent because of that. But that was now suddenly all different. She 'felt' and knew that all 'unseen' were now part of the whole in the new Empress. She ran as fast as she could down the corridors of the Convent. The hallways were deserted, all of the Advent were in the garden with Teir. Finally she came to a small room off the hallways on the east side where the quarters for guests to the Convent were gathered, she stepped into the doorway of the small room and Kindra looked up and smiled, Teal the sister sat on the end of the bed holding a coil of yarn that the mother was rolling evenly into a ball beside her.
"Teir's mother," Sere said and went to her knees, "Teir has requested you come with me, now. Please." She tried to smile, but she was afraid, she had seen the ships of the black fleet in the projection screens in the Transceiver room.
Kindra tried to smile but sensed something in Sere's expression, but she turned to her daughter and took the coil of yarn from her gently, "We must go now Teal," she said, and the young daughter smiled turning her sightless eyes toward her mother.
In the garden Teir watched as Sere sprinted away into the Hallway and was gone.
"God go with you..." she whispered.
Then Teir turned to her gathered children and wanted to smile inside for the love of them, and cry for she was afraid she would lose them to the black fleet coming into orbit.
She did smile then, a small smile, to reassure them and spread her hands and gathered them in her mind to her, close.
“My children…” She began, she had wanted some time to be with them, to simply feel and be with them. Machines began to drop from the Trawlers in space, slowly moving from high orbit to drop through the clouds on their way to the surface.
Her children knelt around her, and above her ships dropped from orbit.
It would take approximately 6 minutes to complete the drop before they touched the surface.
There was no time.
A thousand years ago on another world, she remembered lying in bed and waking, the city burning around her. And she had screamed and cried and had been afraid.
And so she had done nothing.
And her world and her people died because she was afraid.
“Stand,” She said softly and reached out her mind and touched them, although they could already feel her in their minds, across the planet, across the depths, where ever any Advent stood, or sat or slept, she could feel them, and they her.
“We have no time. I wish we had time to speak, to reminisce or simply to sit in gentle company. But we do not have time. The Vaa’ Sar are come to Galan, and I cannot wait, or I shall lose you… I will never again lose you as I once did because I was afraid. We will always be together I promise… always, neither one apart from the other, or without the other, for as long as any of us shall abide. Come and fight with me to defend our world. And always remember me, if you will, with love, as I have loved you…”
And she began to cry, feeling the tears fall down her face as she raised her hands and turned her face to the sky and became brighter, the light around her swelling.
“Turn away…”she said. “Go to the ships now and I will lead you.”
She grew brighter, the light swelling until she was too bright to look upon, and her children swelled out of the garden for the ships.
Toward a single old support Capital ship in orbit at the Port platform, with elevator cables that dropped to the surface. And two hundred frigates on the field beyond the Convent.
It was all that she had to fight with.
They ran. And the light around Teir grew brighter.
A circle of light that swelled out in a bubble to encompass the garden, the Convent,
Out over the green and the trees and the city beyond and the hills which stretched beyond the streets and the streams, wandering between earthen banks across the undulating landscape, to the ocean’s and those lands beyond the ocean’s.
Until the light encompassed the world and the sky,
“I will not make the same mistake…” she whispered.
Brighter, the white light swelling as bright as a star, and all within it, became slivers of shadows, then slivers of those slivers, until they too were lost in the light and were made of light and thought of light and lived of light, and the light was all things on the world and between the world and the sky.
She screamed into the white.
And she raised her white eyes to the sky and spoke,
Her voice booming out across the white light …
across the space to where the black ships hung in the void, in the airless void and silent.
On those Vaa’ Sar ships, those alien crews fell to their knees onto the plated decking of their ships, clutching at their heads as the sound moved through them, threatening to break their skins and spill their blood on the decking around them, in their dim lit ships, their dark and silent ships sitting in orbit with their smirks and smiles and boastful words now gone, with only pain and the voice in their heads.
The crawlers turned in the white light in orbit
With the fire of their descent flaring against their black skins,
Toward the surface of the world beneath them,
Teir reached out her hand then, bringing her fingers together in a line and thrust her hand into the sky.
“I said Hold!!”
And the ships held.
The crawlers ceased.
In midair they stopped falling, simply hanging in the blue sky above the blue and green world beneath.
Her children moved, over white ground, toward a white field beyond the white Convent, which was only a thought in the light. Her children moved, thoughts in the light around them, the light that was them, toward the white field and the white ships which lay beyond.
In the white city beyond, people ran, ran toward the white field, or else moved out from their white homes and white buildings into white streets and carried what they could with them. White knives gleamed, or white wrenches or white sticks picked up from the white ground. Moving through the white light toward the white field to board ships, or to stand in the light and await black shapes that would fall from the white sky.
Teir gritted her teeth and reached out through the white to the black ships beyond.
On the bridges of the hundred ships she appeared on their bridges half bent in a crouch snarling like a mother animal gone mad and turned in a sweep of white robe swirling around her, her hood fell back over dark hair and her white eyes flaring flame and lightening, and she snarled turning to the aliens in their ships on their bridges and screamed at them.
“Move away! Or I will destroy you!!”
And the aliens regarded her with snarls of their own, pressed across their alien lips, screaming in their pain as her voice moved through them.
The Captains of those ships stood, their faces disfigured in their pain, as their crew knelt and lay about them, their faces twisted in pain and holding their heads, but the Captains did not kneel or fall to the decking, and their cold and strange eyes regarded her coolly.
One of the Captains began to move stiffly, slow step by slow step to a thin spire jutting from the plating and moved his hand over it.
The alien fleet shimmered and then doubled in size, and he moved his hand again, and again the soft shimmer and the fleet doubled again.
Then Teir’s eyes narrowed at his movement, her nostrils flaring and she reached into his mind then quickly, savagely and snarled.
“You… I will take for my own!”
Her white eyes flared white hot and flame and she crushed him, the scales of his skin compressing in and bending, he grimaced as his skin broke and blood spilled out, as bone wrenched and was snapped, as the tissues tore and ripped open, his mouth opening and his face twisting, and he screamed in a bellowing voice that rattled in his chest as blood spilled over his lips, a look of horror coming over those complacent alien eyes, as his armor bent and cracked and the flesh beneath it twisted in a bloody mass underneath. And he kept screaming!
His legs snapped then, the bone breaking and tearing through the soft tissue and cloth and he fell to his knees, blood pooling, spreading out from where he sat in his own excrement, his mouth twisting down into agony as his face began to tear, the jaw bone shattering as his cheeks caved in. And his screaming stopped.
“You… are mine!”
Teir snarled and her eyes flared and the Captain before her started to burn, a flame that licked out in red that flared into yellow and white and became so bright that none of the other crew could look upon him and turned away, white light, brighter and brighter and brighter…
Until in a burst of light he was gone.
And nothing remained except the blood on the decking where he has fallen.
“You will move your ships away, or I will kill you all!!”
And she snarled and turned away from them and in a flash of light, was gone.
Below on the white ground, white ships began to rise in the white sky toward orbit.
Elder Sister stood in the center of one ship, Herriette at one of the consoles, Sere at the others, novices, acolytes and unseen.
A Sister to each ship, to command the crews of inexperienced and young and untested younglings, a line of ships holding as each would reach the end of the taxi field and power down their engines and then in a shimmering shower of blue mixing with the white light all around them, jump to orbit. Disappearing and gone.
Lines of ships, and lines more and more lines lined the field, moving in the white and then powering down and then shimmering and then jumping into the once blue, now white, white sky.
“Get us lined up Herriette,” The Elder Sister said and regarded the girl through the white light. Herriette nodded and moved her hands over the crystals on the console in front of her, reaching out with her mind until she could feel the engines pulsing in her consciousness like a warm fire between her eyes.
Three ships still were ahead of them, and as each jumped Herriette moved the small frigate forward slowly.
Other novices worked aboard the small ships, but many could not yet even touch a mind, or see a link, and so they helped with moving equipment, or making the beds and securing loose items for jump. Some felt fear move in them, down deep in their stomachs and wanted to run, to run away and hide, afraid.
But then they would feel Teir in their minds, realize that she had been there, but they had been so afraid they had not paid attention, and she would ease their minds and smile.
“It will be all right…” She told them, “It will be all right… I promise… I am here, and I will never go away, you need never be afraid again…”
The girl’s would wipe at their tears then, and go about helping to get everything secured, helping to move blankets and then to stand and hold hands with the other girls as the ships nudged forward in the lines.
Until the last ship in front of the Elder Sister jumped and was gone.
The Elder Sister tried to smile, was afraid, but felt Teir in her mind, and was eased, she motioned to Herriette.
“Bring the ship up and cut the engines, prepare for jump.”
Herriette nodded again and moved the ship up slowly, it jerked for a moment, but then settled into a smooth push, the engines dying, the sprinkle of blue light against the white ships nose pulling down in spirals of energy building up, and up, and up… until the jump engines were screaming, then the Elder Sister nodded and Herriette passed her hand over the crystal embedded in the console and in her mind reached out to that screaming engine and in her mind it “clicked” and the ship suddenly jumped forward, away from the ground and into orbit in a blink.
The ship appeared in orbit, a blue splash of light against the white sky below and the black of open space around them, filled with hundreds of ships.
A frigate rushed over their nose silently and on fire.
Elder Sister reached out her mind and yelled, shifting the ship at the same time, taking control from Herriette.
“Hard over!” she yelled into the white light of the cabin.
The ship turned hard on its side and dropped as two alien black ships came over the top of them.
“Salima!” Elder Sister screamed, and Salima standing on the bridge was already reaching out with her mind as she nodded. Reaching out and wrenching the wing edges of the black ship. The wing bent back in silent grinding and the ship fell off to their right toward the deeper clouds below, it was quicker than trying to reach into the crews minds.
It was faster to simply tear and rip the metal of the ship itself.
As another screamed over she could feel the pulse of its alien engine, and moved her mind into it, she ripped at the mounting framework that held it, and they bent and snapped and fell away the engine tearing out of its mooring and falling out and back tearing through the bulkhead wall as it came out from the black ship and the black ship fell into the white sky below.
The Elder Sister rolled the white ship in a loop and brought the ship back up underneath two to the black ships. Salima reached out…
“Corene!” Elder Sister screamed into the still white air.
Two girls stepped forward, one older, perhaps twelve, the other seven clutching the older’s hand. Corene held Erin’s hand and moved up to stand next to Salima as the black ships wings bent, but the ship still turned. The black ship fired, a burst of red rimmed lines that appeared for an instant and then gone, then again, the red rimmed lines appeared and then gone.
Salima grimaced as the forward hull shattered, breaking away.
T’el, standing against the console at the forward window rose up then on the fingers of air, her blond hair streaming in long tangles as her face turned toward the bridge, her eyes wide and open, and fell out the broken frame, over the side of the small white ship and gone.
“Herriette!!” Elder Sister screamed into the screaming metal wrenching, tearing air.
Herriette reached out and a bubble pushed out quickly to the edge of the bridge, the sound of escaping air and screaming metal stopped.
Corene stood next to Salima and reached out, leaving the wings and grabbing the control bubble at the nose of the black ship and closed her hand into a fist at her side, holding onto Erin’s hand with the other.
The control cabin of the black ship collapsed in broken metal and the ship started to slip back then, falling backwards tail first below the level of the small Advent ships forward windows.
The second ship turned.
Corene’s eyes burned with the smoke and she coughed, but she jerked her hand into a fist at her side,
And the control cabin of the second ship bent and folded in on itself, fire flared and sparks of electrical mechanisms spurted blue flickering light into the white light and the black of open space beyond them, then it fell forward, nosing into a fall.
Elder Sister rolled the small ship again, this time left, in a tight loop that brought them back up into open white sky.
“Get your bearings; it looks like we have a moment …”
Below them another small white ship appeared in a blue splash, only to shatter in a burst of red rimmed light, the white ship rolling back into the space it had just appeared from, and then another white ship appeared and smashed into the first and exploded.
The white sky was fire and red rimmed death.
Waves of yellow arced spars of energy lanced out in the deep white and other ships fell. Fell from the skies like screaming birds in a battle with machines.
Tender white wings folding, as their heads bowed and stilled,
Falling out of the sky in the dozens,
Dozens of dozens,
“God help us!” Elder Sister whispered and turned the ship again, rolling under a line of red fire that lanced out from somewhere they couldn’t see.
“Find it and kill it!” She yelled into the smoke and the sweat that poured down her face.
Corene, still holding Erin’s hand turned left and Salima right reached out with their minds.
Her ships fell.
She screamed and cried with each one that fluttered and stalled, exploded in red rimmed light, or smoking simply fell out of the sky.
There was no time.
There was no time, she had to…
But could she?
Could she bring herself to it? When they would all die?
She tightened her eyes against the white sky and the crawlers that hung in midair in orbit shattered and were crushed. A dozen of them,
But a dozen more dropped from the black ship Trawler’s bellies.
She crushed those as well.
But still more dropped from the black under doors of those ships,
Teir snarled and reached out a hand in the air and crushed the Trawlers as they sat in space still and black and silent. Bending the metal in on itself, and ripping the engines from their carriages, crushing the mechanisms of the engines themselves.
The first two to the Trawlers exploded in red rimmed light, green radiation of it engines spilling out into open space.
The third turned away, slowly.
She reached out with her mind, when a shimmer overlay the black fleet for a hazy suspended moment, and then the black fleet doubled its size yet again.
Teir screamed into the still white air as she stood in the grove of the white trees below the line of stone headstones where those she had taken lay.
“You will not have us!!”
She screamed into the screaming air.
She moved her hands out and blue lightening flashed from the edges of her fingertips, she screamed and reached out, blue light shattering through the deep white sky and striking ship after ship of the black fleet. Again and again and again, screaming at the top of her voice, blue light lancing out and striking, again and again. And the black ships that were struck simply ceased to exist. They did not explode or tear or rent or break.
But simply vanished,
They will bring in the larger ships now, the Capitals and begin to bombard the planet
Came the voice of the Vaa’ Sar Captain she had taken.
“They will not succeed!” She snarled at the unvoiced words in her head.
They would all die if she if she couldn’t find the strength to make a choice, the Capitals would obliterate the world and they would all die.
And then she screamed again,
Clawing out with her hands and her mind,
In space rents tore into the black skins of the black Capitals, shearing long torn metal furrows into the deep metal, splitting skin and conduits carrying red rimmed pulses of energy down their length. Severing them in ripped fragments that waved in the dark, spilling red, white and blue green flickers of sparks blinking, pouring out into the deep.
Ship after ship she clawed at, ripped, smashed and screamed in the dark above the white world.
Tearing and pounding at their control cabins, smashing their engines and tearing open their skins to the cold, cold black space.
She destroyed hundreds.
Screaming into the white, the light pulsing like a living thing,
Screaming! Her face twisted into rage and hate and agony.
The white sky bled red and ran with it down the length of the horizon, dripping in drops down the heighth of it.
Dripping and falling down out of the sky toward the white world below.
Hundreds burned, rent and drifting, falling like red burning leaves in a summer nights dark.
Or rolled over on their sides and drifted in the dark, listing.
Or fell back and hung like a hanged man from a dark tree.
The sky burned.
But a shimmer came then, a pulsing blue across the black ships,
The fleet doubling yet again,
Half bent, her fingers claws in front of her, she bent back her head and screamed at the burning sky.
Then she started to cry, tears falling down her face.
“Forgive me…” she whispered,
“Please forgive me.”
And she reached out with her mind and touched all those of the Unity, and of the Advent, whether they believed or not, and the “Unseen” that saw nothing beyond their own minds, but they all felt her and heard her words.
She drew them to her and drew on their strength. Slowly pulling it into her, from across a thousand worlds and hundreds of systems she could feel them.
“Help me to do this…” she whispered to them, “I cannot do this without you…”
Slowly she raised her arms, her hands shaking, though she did not stop, but raised them into the light and bending back her face to the warm light of the star above the white, nestled in the deep, deep black, she whispered,
“Forgive me for what I am about to do…” Teir said into the soft white air.
Smoke filled the Port platform and the corridors shook, the Te’Eth’Es’En drifted in her moorings, the front binding cables severed, only the rear ones still holding.
Red rimmed light fell out of the black and the white sky beneath the Port trembled.
People ran, some screaming.
One of the corridors flashed red, brilliant and pulsed, then half of it simply vanished. Air rushed out in escaping jets screaming.
Metal debris and bodies floated above the white sky.
Te’En ran ahead of her group, turning back and slamming a hand against a wall pad as the corridor disappeared. The gust of escaping jet pulling at her until the emergency door slid across the space and sealed.
“Other way!” she yelled at them, turning about and heading for the inner hallway that led back through the Port to the far side, where from there, provided any still were intact, would lead out to the Te’Eth’Es’En, floating in her moorings, tipping down as Port grav systems began to fail and the structure of glass and steel and cabling tipped up and out away from the ship.
“Run!” she screamed at them, and moved ahead of them.
She could outrun each of them, all of the Advent Marines could, but there were civilians, refugees just come in that had not gone down to the surface when the aliens had come into orbit. Crew that were not Marines, the engineers, or the comm crew or navigators, medical support personnel and ship security with their masks pulled down as they ran.
The corridor shook again,
And shook again,
Smoke and debris littered the hallways.
Still white figures, some curled into small rings, or twisted into horrid caricatures lay on the floors, ripped white tunics or some not seemingly touched at all, but all lay still and did not move and their minds did not flicker at all.
Te’En moved through the second lock and waited as her crew moved through the doors, there were seventy of them. Could you run a Capital on a crew of seventy? They streamed through into the port lobby and rooms, cutting across the wide circular center of the large glassed dome above for the second corridor beyond it.
The corridor shook again.
The lights blinked,
Dipping down into red and black,
The ripped sky beyond the windows,
Then came back up at half,
The crew kept running, not slowing down in the dim light, through the lock and across the lobby and through the second lock and the corridor beyond that led to the old ship.
The corridor shook again and then shattered.
Elle running with her mouth tight was still a hundred yards from the lock when the frame of the corridor shattered around her. The thirty people still running fell as the corridor snapped and fell back. She was a navigator. She could guide a ship, any ship in her sleep, as easily as she moved her hand. The woman in front of Elle fell back against her and the woman screamed.
It was one of the security she didn’t know, her mask gone
The woman stifled the scream and gritted her teeth and pushed the woman ahead of her forward, as if she alone could overcome gravity and the snapped plating of the corridor floor, the cabling that had supported it and now wavered in long arcing sweeps far above the broken canopy of the glass and steel windowed corridor that now began to fall back and away from the lock.
Te’En stood in the doorway of the lock and reached into her mind, a switch closed and a synapse buried in the soft strand filmy tissue of her brain blinked blue and she converted. Her flesh fell away and she stood a tall thin film of a blue light spire at the lockway, then blinked and she was at the end of the group of falling figures. The light wound about them, or merely hooked into their clothing, a snag of cloth then she blinked again and they were at the lockway. She blinked and was gone down among them again.
Other blue lights flared in the group,
Marines that had been running with them, shifting blue light that flared and blurred and blinked back and forth across the collapsing corridor to the door of the lock and back to the shifting, falling figures in the shattered corridor, beams and glass tearing and floating out into the dark and cold black, falling down into the clouds hanging below in the white sky.
Other’s shifted their minds and pushed other’s, without virtue of blue light, they picked up those they could grab and pushed them forward as they themselves fell back.
Other’s fell out from the group as; the blue light flickered back and forth, back and forth, and others were pushed forward and up, fell out and away from the others and out from the shattered and falling glass, the bent and broken steel beams leaning out and away from the Port.
Out in to the white.
The red and burning white sky,
That lay below.
The security woman turned then, pulling at Elle, her older face trying to quickly smile as she grabbed Elle at the waist and spun, moving Elle in a quick circle around and in front of her, pushing her toward the lock that was almost completely vertical now.
A blue light blinked and snagged at Elle as the security woman fell away. Then she was standing in the lock, smoke and fire in the broken rents burning and falling.
The security woman went over the edge of the last torn fragment of the corridor then and out into the white.
Elle stood transfixed watching as the woman fell away, her hands pressed into her face as if to deny reality.
Te’En converted as the last blue lights blinked around her, then slammed her fist against the wall pad that slid the door shut in front of them.
Then they ran for the lobby and the second corridor beyond.
The dome gleamed red and glowed.
The Port shifted further, over on to its side and Elle fell away from Te’En, sliding out onto the long floor toward the glass windows when the dome shattered.
Te’En reached into her mind…
But the dome glowed red, brighter… brighter…
Before she could close the switch in her mind,
Before the synapse could fire blue,
Red, red light enveloped all those beyond the second corridor lock, which slid shut. White door gleaming in the red light,
As the dome shimmered red,
Elle bathed in red light tried to push up off the floor, her mouth opening,
Te’En still stumbling forward, trying to catch her balance against the tipping floor,
As the dome glowed red,
Bright, bright red,
And then the dome and everything in it began to simply fade,
From bright, bright red light,
Down the spectrum into a wisp of lingering dull red brown light that faded...
And thinner, until it was no more.
S’el moved the the last of the passengers and crew through the last lock and into the old ship, turning to two marines at her side,
“Cut the moorings now!” she hissed and slapped the wall pad with her palm, the door closing, before it slid shut two blue lights were two hundred spans beyond the door, the blue burning light cutting through the cables as easily as one might move your hand through warm water, then back as the door shut and sealed.
S’el blinked and was gone, straight up seven floors to the bridge, blue lights winked and five of her other’s stood at stations.
“We need a navigator.” S’el said, though she threw the switches forward, unlocking the engine locks and powering up the jump engines. One of her Marines nodded and blinked away in a blue flash of light.
Showers of blue light fell against the nose of the old, old carrier.
Below her holds were empty, no strike craft waited, no weapons lined her hulls or outside wing sweeps. They didn’t believe in war, had rejected war long ago.
Yet here they were,
Standing with war’s torn black face and fire eyes, staring into theirs.
Blue showers fell against the nose of the old, old ship
As the Port behind them burned and fell further over on its side, metal screaming in the escaping jets of air, the broken corridors and smashed domes.
Long seconds passed.
Metal screaming and the fire burning,
As the Port fell over farther, cables to the elevators that went down to the surface snapping like severed muscles that no longer worked.
Then began to explode,
Out in white light and yellow, mixed with fire and sparking blue electrical wiring weaving in the grav breeaze.
As black ships flew overhead raining red rimmed lined death, glowing for an instant and then gone.
Caught in the explosion of fiery gas and flying and swirling debris as the Port exploded out raining destruction on the black ships that had caused it.
As the blue light shimmered and showered about the nose of the old, old ship.
Then a burst of white, white, white brilliant and screaming light blossomed in the center of the Port as the engines screamed and ripped themselves to shreds. A white, white screaming tearing of ripping metal and glass shearing open, the light blossoming out.
The light touching the side of the old, old ship, and where it touched metal melted and fell away, and fire sprouted and air screamed.
As the Port exploded,
And the old, old ship jumped,
Into the black, and gone.
Teir closed her eyes, her raised hands trembling, reaching out her mind to the sun, its warm sunlight falling on her face as she gave a sad frown,
What must be, must be,
Had to be,
She would not be afraid,
She turned her fingers, reaching out.
To the warm sun that glittered and shown and burned in the white, white sky above.
Then white haze soft and slow settled around her,
Until she stood a sun on the surface of the white and silent world and embraced the star above in the sky, and she began to burn, her skin blackening as her robe and hair caught fire. She bent at the pain as the flames swept over her, but straightened.
A smile pressed into her black and burning face.
“Come to me, my love and we shall make a child…” She whispered on cracked blackened lips into the still air.
The star trembled.
Then wavered for an instant,
Blue spires of fire lashing out into the deep and dark of the space between the star and the world, between the star and other stars that blinked in the deep space.
Shivered and trembled,
And began to scream!
As its surface cracked in shallow lines and spread out.
Brighter and brighter Teir stood, lost in flame and light,
And she began to scream, the sound of her echoing screams mixed with those of the star, filling the white air and the deep black above.
As she pulled the strength of all of her people into her and focused it and sent it out a pillar, a mile wide, of light reaching from where she stood out into the heavens.
Light burning and shattering the white sky, reaching out, reaching out…
Into the deep black and the star beyond,
To the star,
That shifted and quaked and roiled in the white light that spread out from the fissures of the cracks that spread and widened on its surface.
Trembled and shivered in the light.
As the cracks widened and the surface began to fracture and gas and liquid molten mass swelled out, and flames lanced out in agony at the deep, deep heavens.
Again and again, more spirals of flame jetted out reaching, reaching…
Then the star exploded.
Into a billion fragments of gas and light and molten mass and fine grained streams of lingering dust that spread out away from where the star still blossomed in shattering remains, out and out…
“Yes, my love.” Teir said and swayed, her black lips stiffly and barely moving, her black face cracking and peeling back and blood spilling through the cracks.
Above the star still burned and shattered,
The gas and the light and the dust of the star still spreading out,
Falling out and away,
Into space, and farther,
Into deeper space and over other worlds and other systems and other stars, a film of shimmering light that fell down into the spectrum until it was almost unseen, but still it moved out, further and farther.
To yet other systems and other worlds and others beyond even those,
And beyond even those.
Light fell out of the heavens, a shimmering light that spread across the sky in a thin film of white that settled down out of the sky and down to the surface of T’Lan, and Teir, and Temu that circled the star T’imo. And those things that had once been human, and those that were still animal, or those things that crawled or slithered, or flew in the air, or swam in the seas, or hopped on legs that moved them hop to hop, stopped in the fall of late afternoon to watch the sky as the light fell.
Settling over the world and then down.
Into the trees and grasses,
And over the once were people and the animals as they stood unknowing, watching only the light, but not understanding why or what it was, or what it meant, or why it had come.
The light and dust and gas moved out from the exploding star, out over the distances and shifted even into the pulse of the nebulae that still lingered at the edge of those planets and systems at the edge of it.
The light settled down and the dust and mixed with that star dust and ancient dust that had not yet formed suns, or planets or systems and grew dim as they settled, but their light did not diminish completely, even when it could no longer be seen.
But settled there and lingered and abided in the depths of all those worlds it had spread to in its deep throes.
Working as Teir had intended.
As it was supposed to,
And a soft voice came up then,
Not from the nebulae where no world yet spun in its orbit about a larger star, for there were not yet planets and stars there. But one long day, perhaps a million years from now, or several, or even many, there would be.
But on those worlds where life lifted up its head and gazed at the light that fell out of the sky, grace, like rain falling down... there settled into them a feeling that was slow at first, but grew.
And the Serand, crouching in the tall grass its long green tail lashing in anticipation could not understand when the mind of the yelt touched it.
Nor could the yelt,
Though the yelt did touch the mind of the Serand, none the less,
And to all those others that had not stood in the open air and gazed at the falling light out of the sky, or lingered in the doorways of their dens, or in the branches of twisted and brown green trees. But had hunkered in caverns, or in their pits, or in the half dozen small grass huts that lined the edge of the tall trees along the edge of the grass plain, that had sat inside and had no use of sights or wonders,
Still they breathed the dust that had fallen out of the thin air,
Or they blinked in the sun light that fell now and was somehow different than it had been.
And their minds touched one another and did not understand.
The yelt looked up and bounded away into the brush, the Serand gave a halfhearted chase, but the yelt bolted right when the Serand moved left, and left when the Serand moved right.
Though neither understood why,
In space the black fleet still struck at the world. White ships still flew, but fewer and fewer. The white sky burned red and the black fleet shimmered as it doubled again.
Teir fell to her knees in the white dirt and hung her head. Her robe and skin and hair burned away, her eyes blind, her hands stumps that rested in her lap, blood spilled from her rent skin and pooled around her on the white ground about her.
As a blackness moved over her,
Her children would survive.
Even if this world did not.
Death and ruin and obliteration in the black void,
But still, her children would survive, spread as far as she was able to cast those fine grained seeds.
And they would live.
As long as each life on those worlds lived,
As long as those stars burned in the heavens,
And those planets and stars and systems that were not yet born, were birthed in the nebulae that held them.
Long enough, Teir thought as her mind moved down into darkness and the black.
As her blind eyes closed and death came down on her and she fell back into the white dirt and lay there, unmoving,
And the white dimmed,
Until it was gone, and nothing remained between the blue green world and the black space above, except clear sky.
And the shock wave from the shattered star moved out in a rolling wave of flame, and power and death, out through the deep black and over the once white world.
When the fleets that had hoped to help arrived, they found nothing left except collapsing phase lanes, a shattered sun and a planet reduced to burnt and molten rubble. No invading fleet of Vaa' Sar, no defending Advent ships, no survivors. Only dust and fading light in the deep black, and silence, and the cold of open space...
The ships took their readings quickly, then jumped out, away from the destroyed system, back the way they had come.
* * *