Main Library Forum Guestbook

The Post-War Galaxy

When replenishing lost worlds, the Asteromorph gods also took measures to ensure the continued safety of their creations. The abrupt rise of the Machines had shown that unless carefully regulated, the wealth of the stars could always host a race of pan-galactic usurpers.

The Asteromorphs, watchful but ever transparent, did not want to interfere directly. Instead, they produced terrestrial versions of their own kind to regulate the galaxy. They adapted their delicate, ethereal fingers into spidery limbs, and shrunk their brains considerably to re-adjust to the rigors of gravity. The resulting sideline was stunted by Asteromorph standards, but still it produced demigods in every sense of the word.

These beings, known often as the Terrestrial Spacers or simply the Terrestrials, nurtured and controlled the development of the post-war civilizations on many planets. They acted as caretakers, prophets, kings and emperors, but also as grim reapers as the occasion dictated.

The endeavor did not always proceed as smoothly as planned, of course. Most of the time the newborn races refused to heed their mentors and in several cases even rebelled against them. Needless to say, this crime was always punished with a swift extinction. Furthermore, even the Terrestrials grew corrupted. Instead of offering guidance, Terrestrials on many planets simply played god, weaving contrived religions around themselves to shamelessly exploit their subjects. It was not ethical or even productive, but this method seemed to guarantee more stability than actually trying to bring up the new races.

This way or another, organic sentience reclaimed its dominance in the galaxy. The New Empire; managed by Terrestrials, populated by a myriad descendants of the Subjects, and overseen ultimately by the omniscient Asteromorphs, achieved greater progress and a longer-lasting calm in the galaxy than all of its predecessors combined.

A nude Terrestrial shows the highly divergent, yet still bizarrely human anatomy that is the characteristic of this species. These particular Terrestrials maintain a religious hegemony over their clueless subjects; dressing up in elaborate veils and headgear to assert their divine inheritance.


The New Machines

Long after their fall from grace, the Machines still clung on to existence. During the initial aftermath of the war, the Asteromorphs had planned to exterminate every last one of them, only to discover that the Machines were simply too useful to destroy. For millions of years they had perfected the interface between mind and machine to such an extent that they could live and operate in the most inhospitable conditions. Such beings, deprived of their galaxy-straddling power, would make invaluable contributions to research and exploration in the New Empire.

There was a sense of poetic justice in all of this. The Machines, who once distorted biological life forms to their whim, were finally treated to a similar fate. To begin with, the Asteromorphs completely scrapped their ability of self-contained gravitational manipulation; the very force that had rendered them invulnerable in the first place. They were given finite life spans and slightly numbed imaginations, so that history would not repeat itself. The degradatory nature of these changes, however, did not imply an overall regression.

Unlike their ancestors, the New Machines were endowed with nanotechnological bodies that could remodel themselves continuously, which meant that they could come in every shape and size imaginable, and then some that could not. A machine citizen could live for some time in the void of the space, conducting research, and then transform into a completely different body plan for a holiday on a cometary halo, tropical jungle or a methane ocean. He or she would also make the trip personally by growing temporary hyperdrives and ramjet engines!

Despite their breathtaking versatility, the Machines were never as common or prominent, even after completely accepting their role as lowly citizens of the New Empire. The greatest wars in conceivable history had ingrained the organics with too deep a mistrust of their mechanical neighbors, and the New Machines were always treated with a degree of discrimination. The sins of their fathers had come to shackle this most splendorous of all human species.

A machine citizen of the New Empire. She sports a dazzling pair of branching arms that suit both the latest fashion trends and her job as an artisan. Machines following fashion might seem unusual to a reader of this era, but never forget that these beings are human intelligences, only in different bodies.


Second Contact

With successive waves of machine-aided discovery and colonization, the New Empire grew exponentially. Such was the growth of wealth and progress that its description would need the use of concepts that remain unexplored today. To talk with a man of today about the comings and goings of the New Empire would be akin to giving lectures of 20th century geopolitics to a huntergatherer.

This magnificent entity was not blind to the universe around it. It tuned in its eyes, ears and sensors, and probed the events of the surrounding galaxies. The New Galactics suspected that the surrounding nebulae might also have their indigenous folk, and it was wise to contact them before a misunderstanding, or conflict could occur. On a darker side, these observations also served as lookouts for potential invaders. Even then, the memory of the Qu was not forgotten.

The discovery was eventually made. One of the neighboring galaxies was showing patterns of activity that were the unmistakable signs of a sentient organization. Some thinkers reviled in the discovery of a new civilization, while others feared a return of the Qu. Fortunately, this second encounter with an alien species proved to be a peaceful one. Perhaps the intelligences of both galaxies were finally mature enough to meet without quarreling.

The other Galaxy was dominated by connected unions of different beings, presided over by various kinds of Amphicephali; bizarre creatures that resembled giant snakes with heads on both ends, one of which bore a secondary, retractile body that they would use to interact with the world. Apparently, they had undergone alternating series of regressions, evolutionary radiations and selfimposed genetic makeovers, just as humanity had.

With all of their wild difference, the Amphicephali were welcome. They were the first, but surely not the last.

An Amphicephalus ambassador with spaceships typical of their kind. Her strange body plan betrays an evolutionary history as complicated as that of humanity.


Earth Rediscovered

The purpose of this work is not to describe the limitless progress that followed the crossgalactic contact. One could go indefinitely, chronicling how the united galaxies re-encountered and subdued the Qu, how they cradled their suns with artificial shells, multiplying their inhabitable zones a billion-fold, how they criss-crossed interstellar space with wormholes and made travel a thing of the past. Ultimately, descendants of those beings even conquered Time itself, prolonging the existence of their minds indefinitely via rejuvenating technologies.

For a time, all men were gods.

But from (y)our vantage point, one discovery truly stood out in this orgy of advance. Compared with gargantuan achievements like the taming of space and the construction of the starshells, it was a mere blip, a revelation of long-forgotten trivia. This was the re-discovery of Earth; the birthplace of humanity, where the omnipresent Asteromorph, the star-gliding Machine, and the millions of humble resident races could all trace their origins.

It was made quietly, by a singular researcher combing the vestiges of forgotten history, decade after decade. Millions of years of wars, invasions and extinctions had buried the evidence thoroughly and comprehensively. When she finally came across irrefutable evidence, nobody was around to celebrate. That would come later.

By the time of Earths rediscovery, humans have diverged considerably from their ancestral forms.


Return

The discovery sparked a certain amount of interest, though nowhere as much as other breakthroughs had. To most humans of the cosmos, their ancestral birthplace was simply an interesting piece of information, a piece of trivia with which they had lost all ties.

Still, a ship was sent forth, and it landed without ceremony, for now there was no intelligence left on Earth. Too far away from the main centers of population, it had been completely ignored, gone stagnant and feral. But still, it was Home.

When the explorers stepped out, human feet trod on old Earth once more; after an absence of 560 million years. Mankind was back home.


All Tomorrows

I must conclude my words with a confession. Mankind, the very species which Ive been chronicling from its terrestrial infancy to its domination of the galaxies, is extinct. All of the beings which you saw on the preceding pages; from the lowly Worm to the wind-riding Sail People, from the megalomaniac Gravital to the ultimate Galactic citizens, lie a billion years dead. We are only beginning to piece the story together. What you read was our best approximation of the truth.

Why did they disappear? Perhaps it was a final, unimaginable war of annihilation, one that transcended the very meaning of conflict. Perhaps it was a gradual break-up of the united galaxies, and every race facing their private end slowly afterwards. Or perhaps, the wildest theories suggest, it was a mass migration to another plane of existence. A journey into somewhere, sometime, something else. But the bottom line is; we honestly dont know.

Ultimately, however, what happened to Humanity does not matter. Like every other story, it was a temporary one; indeed long but ultimately ephemeral. It did not have a coherent ending, but then again it did not need to. The tale of Humanity was never its ultimate domination of a thousand galaxies, or its mysterious exit into the unknown. The essence of being human was none of that. Instead, it lay in the radio conversations of the still-human Machines, in the daily lives of the bizarrely twisted Bug Facers, in the endless love-songs of the carefree Hedonists, the rebellious demonstrations of the first true Martians, and in a way, the very life you lead at the moment.

Many throughout history were unaware of this most basic fact. The Qu, in dreams of an ideal future, distorted the worlds they came across. Later on the Gravital, with their insane desire to recreate the past, caused the ugliest massacres in the history of the galaxy. Even now, it is sickeningly easy for beings to get lost in false grand narratives, living out completely driven lives in pursuit of non-existent codes, ideals, climaxes and golden ages. In blindly thinking that their stories serve absolute ends, such creatures almost always end up harming themselves, if not those around them.

To those like the misguided; look at the story of Man, and come to your senses! It is not the destination, but the trip that matters. What you do today influences tomorrow, not the other way around. Love Today, and seize All Tomorrows!

The Author, with a billion-year old human skull.


Contents

To Mars ............................................................................................ 3
The Martian Americans ................................................................. 5
Civil War .......................................................................................... 7
Star People ....................................................................................... 8
Colonization and the Mechanical Oedipi .................................... 10
The Summer of Man ....................................................................... 11
An Early Warning ........................................................................... 13
Qu ...................................................................................................... 15
Man Extinguished ........................................................................... 17
Worms ............................................................................................... 19
Titans ................................................................................................. 21
Predators and Prey ........................................................................... 23
Mantelopes ....................................................................................... 26
Swimmers .......................................................................................... 28
Lizard Herders .................................................................................. 30
Temptor ............................................................................................ 32
Bone Crusher ................................................................................... 34
Colonials ........................................................................................... 36
Flyers ................................................................................................. 38
Hand Flappers .................................................................................. 40
Blind Folk .......................................................................................... 42
Lopsiders .......................................................................................... 44
Striders .............................................................................................. 46
Parasites ............................................................................................ 48
Finger Fishers ................................................................................... 50
Hedonists .......................................................................................... 52
Insectophagi ..................................................................................... 54
Spacers ............................................................................................... 56
Ruin Haunters ................................................................................... 58
Sentience Reborn ............................................................................. 60
Extinction ........................................................................................... 61
Snake People (Descendants of the Worms) ................................. 63
Killer Folk (Descendants of the Human Predators) ..................... 65
Tool Breeders (Descendants of the Swimmers) .......................... 67
Saurosapients (Livestock of the Lizard Herders) ........................ 69
Modular People (Descendants of the Colonials) ........................ 71
Pterosapiens (Descendants of the Flyers) ................................... 73
Asymmetric People (Descendants of the Lopsiders) ................. 75
Symbiotes (Descendants of the Parasites) .................................. 77
Sail People (Descendants of the Finger Fishers) ........................ 79
Satyriacs (Descendants of the Hedonists) .................................. 81
Bug Facers (Descendants of the Insectophagi) .......................... 83
Asteromorphs (Descendants of the Spacers) .............................. 85
Second Galactic Empire ................................................................... 87
Gravital (Descendants of the Ruin Haunters) .............................. 88
Machine Invasion ............................................................................ 90
When Considering the Invasion .................................................... 92
Subjects (Many descendants of the Bug Facers) ....................... 93
The Other Machines ........................................................................ 96
The Fall of the Machines (Return of the Spacers) ...................... 98
The Post-War Galaxy .................................................................... 100
The New Machines ......................................................................... 102
Second Contact ............................................................................... 104
Earth Rediscovered ........................................................................ 106
Return .............................................................................................. 108
All Tomorrows ................................................................................ 110


 

Hosted by uCoz