They Came from the Stars

Ufe Baavi’s claws tapped sharply on the polished composite floor beneath him as he scurried for his destination. He was never much of a runner, despite his species being adapted for just that – then again, dropping down on all fours and galloping the rest of the way would have been unbecoming of his rank. And he was in no position to skimp on formalities. Not today.

Following the AR overlay path laid out for him by his implants, he weaved swiftly through the dense crowd of commuters barring his path. He could sense the multitude of sidelong glances he was receiving as he passed, but that was the least of his concerns. If they truly cared enough, they could check his public ID to confirm that he was not some escaped convict trying to masquerade as an ITA diplomat.

Thankfully, getting through security was a relatively quick affair. This spaceport had been equipped with the latest bio-scanner barriers, a massive improvement over older methods. The device consisted of a two-layered forcefield – walking through the first would initiate a remote scan of your electronic ID and genome, which were cross-referenced against a database while the machine scanned for any contraband. If everything checked out, you would be allowed to pass through the second forcefield. If not, then both fields would instantly solidify, trapping you inside. From there, the system AI would select the appropriate subduing response, depending on the nature of the threat.

Ufe hissed a sigh of relief as he passed, thankful that the council office had made good on its promise to route his data to the appropriate channels. The security drones standing guard on either side of the threshold did not even bother to look at him as he raced through the checkpoint.

The terminal beyond was about as packed as the station’s rotunda, though at least now there was a more linear flow to the crowd. Still, navigating the myriad array of lifeforms was an unwanted challenge given his current time constraints. He had nearly tripped over a juvenile donici that had dropped to the ground in front of him, sealing up tight within its bivalved shell. The parents did not bother to apologize, but at least they had enough decency to clear their immobilized child from the path. Further along, the body-vibrating cacophony of three ubbwoom assaulted his hearing, as they conversed in their native tongue that sounded like someone had tried composing a tune using a set of concussion drives and a salvo of plasma mortar fire. To the relief of those in range (most of the terminal), a security drone did eventually show up to remind them of the noise regulations enforced on the station.

Despite these obstacles he managed to make it through, his short stature serving him well as he weaved his way through the crowd. He reached another security gate, this one separating the civilian sector of the terminal from the restricted-access sector beyond. This threshold was more heavily guarded than the last, and the two rhacodan guards on duty were certainly not oblivious to him; but once again, his credentials were enough to justify his presence.

This end of the terminal was not nearly as crowded as the main area, but it was bustling with a crowd that Ufe needed to be even more cautious around. Military officers and government workers of various rank and paygrade hurried to and fro about the terminal. Though he did receive a few suspicious glances, for the most part everyone was far too concerned with their own affairs to pay the skittering reptilian any mind.

Sidestepping a large grav-cart full of sentry drones, he finally spotted his gate near the end of the terminal. Rearing up to an uncomfortably upright stance, he casually smoothed out the wrinkles in his coat one last time before approaching the tall rhacodan officer waiting for him.

“Ambassador Bavii, I was almost afraid you wouldn’t show” Commander Neodonias commented officially, looming over Ufe with all the commanding aura of his rank and stature. He was an imposing example of his species; almost three meters tall, with two pillar-like legs supporting a stocky body. His distinctly saurian face was mantled by a luxurious mane of golden, fur-like quills that poured out from the top of his head down to his chest. The end of his long, swishing tail also featured a puffy shock of the same fibers; the remaining parts of his anatomy not shrouded by his uniform were wrapped tightly in a scaly, almost jet-black hide.

“My apologies sir, by the time I was informed of the schedule change I had already missed the 120 lift” Ufe replied, bowing his head slightly to show obedience. The deep, throaty gurgle that counted as a rhacodan chuckle briefly punctuated the air.

“Well you’re in luck, we’ve had some delays with our pre-launch inspection. It’ll be another hour at least before we’re ready for pulse-off. Come on, I’ll show you to your quarters so you can get situated before briefing.” With a practiced about-face he turned towards the gate, his bushy tail swishing to follow on a slight delay. Ufe feigned back briefly to avoid being swiped, before trailing the Commander through the portal.

Ufe had never personally been aboard the Go’anth, but for the most part it was just as impressive as his former mentor had described. She was a top-of-the line exploratory corvette, custom built specifically for long-duration survey missions deep in uncharted space. Every part of the vessel was designed to ensure the comfort and safety of the crew over the course of missions that could last as long as two cycles in extreme cases – food and breathable atmosphere were one matter, but ensuring the crew did not go mad from confinement was often a much larger concern.

The hallways were spacious and well-lit, with luxuriously carpeted floors, and walls that shifted color based on the time of day – both features designed to break the monotony of the otherwise barren space. Continuing past rows of doors, they passed by the small garden park that took up a decent portion of the center of the ship. It was not much larger than a standard hangar bay, but it was better than nothing in terms of giving the crew a small taste of home away from home; the open space was inhabited by a variety of reasonably compatible plants and small animals from the various alliance worlds, a decent compromise given available space constraints. Granted, all atmosphere within alliance ships and structures was already equalized to the ‘75/24/1’ standard – the ratio of nitrogen to oxygen to trace gasses that was considered tolerable for most alliance species. Special breathing masks and/or respiratory implants aided those who hailed from radically different atmospheric conditions.

“So, you must be from the Zrikkat, right?” Neodonias quipped, still looking straight forward as they walked. Ufe perked up slightly at the name of his former home vessel. The crew of the Zikkrat had been the first to officially give up the traditional urax lifestyle of nomadic piracy almost 18 cycles prior; in exchange for a full pardoning, the Zikkrat and her crew had officially enlisted in the ITA Merchant Navy, and tasked with shipping valuable goods through the most dangerous contested trade routes. As their captain had figured, it was a small price to pay for legitimacy and full rights under an interplanetary government. Many had, and still did see it as a slap in the face to their proud tradition of independence; but the captain’s decision was law in urax society – and many did eventually come around once they realized the benefits of sailing the starways under government sanction. Perhaps not as independent, but at least the paycheck was guaranteed.

Of course, Ufe had been a mere hatchling at the time of this monumental change; as such, he was one of the first to fully embrace the transition into civilized society. Hence why he was here now, serving as the representative of the galaxy’s largest trade alliance. All the more reason not to mess this up.

“I only lived on the Zikkrat for a year, once we were accepted into the alliance most of the women and children of the crew were moved to a government settlement on Prosperon. I’ve lived there ever since.”

“I see. Not much experience with deep space travel then?”

“No sir, I’ve only left Prosperon a few times, mostly as part of my apprenticeship under Ambassador Skrehias. This will be my first journey outside of the core worlds.”

“No kidding? Well, Skrehias must have quite a bit of faith in you if he thought this was a good first long-haul mission. I can’t say I’d put that kind of faith in any of my own rookies. Not for this run.”

“Right… that reminds me, what exactly is our mission objective here?” Skrehias sent me the case file, but I was called in on such short notice that I haven’t had time to go over it.” Neodonias halted, casting a look upon Ufe that seemed all too fatigued.

“Briefing is in an hour, but until then I’d advise you to read up on that case file. I’m sure Skrehias has done a better job of explaining things I ever could. Let’s just say you’ve just gotten mixed up in something that only a few congressional committees know about.” Neodonias continued onward, leaving Ufe to follow in confused silence. They passed by several more doors, before stopping at one right before the next turn in the hallway.

“Here are your quarters, the bio-lock and internal controls should already be calibrated to your code” Neodonias announced, gesturing to the appropriate door. Ufe experimentally reached up to the manipulator-reader to the right of the door – a brief contact was all that was needed for the system to recognize him, prompting the barrier to slide open with a metallic hiss.

“All the rooms are equipped with auto-service, so if you need anything just use the interface in the dining area” Nedonias added as Ufe stepped tentatively into the room, marveling at what would be his personal space for the duration of the trip. It was far more luxurious than he was used to; At least three times as large as his room back home, and four times as large as the sparse habitation unit he had been forced to share with several other students during his few previous trips. A large, circular nest-style bed graced the far corner, while much of the center of the room was occupied by lavish seating area, adjoined by an equally lavish dining area. The elaborate paintings hung on the walls made Ufe vaguely aware that this must have been Ambassador Skrehias’ personal quarters – but in the moment he was much more interested in the most impressive feature of the room. A massive window of thick polymer glass took up most of the rear wall, giving him an unimpeded view of the vast, starry void beyond. A sizable desk was posted in the middle, utterly dwarfed by the sparkling blackness.

“You really lucked out on this one, this kind of space is usually reserved for Commanders and above” Neodonias commented, noting Ufe’s speechlessness. “Skrehias had a lot of pull when designing the Go’anth, so of course he’d make sure the ambassador quarters were up to his standards.”

“Well, he did always enjoy the finer things in life” Ufe commented duly, still in disbelief. Neodonius huffed out another amused chuckle, before an urgent message in his AR feed caught his attention.

“Well, looks like I’m needed back on the bridge for pre-launch procedures. Your luggage should be he shortly, the system is still loading the cargo hold.”

“Thank you, sir, I believe I can handle things from here” Ufe replied cordially. “I’ll be sure to be on time for briefing.”

“No trouble there, you should receive an all-call warning over the network beforehand. I’ll see you in an hour” he added, before turning and striding gracefully out of the room. The door slid shut in his wake, leaving Ufe alone with his thoughts. He was still a bit uncomfortable at being granted such privilege, but he quickly shook the doubt from his mind. This was what he had studied all those years for – he was an ITA ambassador, and his title afforded him these benefits. As it afforded him responsibility – responsibility that he could not dawdle on. There was work to be done.

Confidently he strode over to the work desk, eager to see what kind of setup he was going to be working with. To his delight, he found the seat had also been swapped out for a model more appropriate for his physiology; a modified lounge chair that allowed him to rest on his stomach in front of the console.

Linking into the ship’s network, the holo-AR screen instantly filled his vision, and he set to work sorting out his affairs. His first course of action was to darken the window – beautiful as the view was, he could not afford to have his attention wander. Next, he opened his communication app, quickly locating the message Ambassador Skrehias had sent him earlier.

Ambassador Bavii, Once again, I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to you for accepting this assignment on such short notice. In my rush to get my affair squared away, I may have left you with little time to prepare for such an important assignment. As such, I have attached all of the relevant files to this message. I urge you to study these thoroughly, as the insight I have provided may be invaluable to your success. This assignment may be the toughest you have faced yet; however, I trust that you are well equipped to handle it.

Ambassador Hadvizx Objes Skrehias, Interstellar Trade Alliance Central Council, Department of Diplomatic Affairs

Ufe scanned over the attached files, choosing the first from the list to start with. It was a Universe Map entry, which filled his vision with holographic stars as an AR overlay of the galaxy was projected in front of him. The image zoomed in rapidly, focusing in first on the arm of the galaxy that contained the majority of ITA controlled space. The projection zoomed in again, shifting to an offshoot arm about halfway down the main one. Further magnification rapidly brought him to a single star system near the center of that arm. At first glance, the system seemed rather unassuming. Nine planets, two asteroid belts, one yellow-phase main sequence star. The third planet was slightly wetter than average, but beyond that it seemed little different than most other habitable worlds. Save for the biodiversity rating, which was hovering at an astounding 5 on the Dirwilb scale. Ufe’s dorsal quills bristled in surprise; Such a high rating was usually reserved for pristine primeval worlds, which this world was not.

Ufe pulled up the information on the native sentient species, an acceleration-stage race on the cusp of achieving FTL and consciousness transfer. These ‘Humans’ were not much to look at. Standard plantigrade biped configuration, though there was something distinctly odd about them. They almost looked fake, for lack of a better term. No claws, no scales or armor, no obvious display features beyond the fur growing from the tops of their heads. Their sensory organs were unimpressive, and none seemed to dominate. Their coloration was equally dull, ranging from very pale cream to charcoal, with most of the population falling around the middle of the spectrum.

To Ufe, it almost seemed as though this species was the result of someone asking ‘what is the most basic body plan we can get away with while still making a functional sentient?’ He was starting to wonder if the Captain’s ominous remark was just meant to work him up.

Not finding much of interest in the public records, Ufe turned his attention to the notes Ambassador Skrehias had provided. The document was surprisingly large, suggesting that Skrehias had spent quite a bit of time working with this species. Ufe did not recall ever hearing anything about such work during his time spent as an apprentice; but then again, there was much that he had only just become privy to within his first cycle on the job. He began reading, hoping his former teacher’s words would provide some insight.

“Out of all the sentient species I have encountered in my travels, humans are easily the most intriguing. They are a species of contradictions; at least that it how they first appear to the uninformed, but closer analysis reveals a truly unexpected order to the chaos – I will expound upon this point once all pieces of the puzzle have been laid out for assembly. Physically they are unassuming, and possess no obvious characteristics that define their species against others. Their stature, senses, and survival adaptations can be aptly described as ‘average’ on essentially all fronts. Admittedly, this claim is difficult to assess, given the difficulty of defining ‘average’ against the wildly varied forms that life takes. Yet, I make this claim not as an insult, but as a compliment – humankind’s supposed mediocrity gives way to the first of their defining strengths.

Every race has its strengths and weaknesses. Grandu are physically powerful, but ponderous and clumsy. The hardened shells of the donici provide invaluable defense, but also greatly restrict their flexibility. The thaum are masters of mimicry and theater, but are often confined to wetter environs by their constant need for water. The xieez are natural-born geniuses and inventors, yet their defensive spines are often a hazard to everything around them, themselves included. The urax are swift and cunning, but all too often stifle their own potential through loyalty to archaic systems of hierarchy.”

Ufe bristled slightly at the last statement, though he knew his mentor well enough to understand that it was merely observation – an uncomfortably accurate one, nonetheless.

“By contrast, humans are unprecedentedly well balanced. They are not always the brightest, yet dedication to study can hone their minds into instruments of innovation. They are not always the strongest, yet less than a cycle of rigorous strength training can turn even the weakest among them into something ferocious – and what they lack in brute strength, they make up for with a plethora of unique and deadly fighting techniques. They are neither strictly cursorial nor semi-aquatic, yet they keep a decent pace both on land and in water. They are far more omnivorous than most, allowing them to exploit whatever sustenance comes their way.

Their unarmored, uncomplicated physique would seem a disadvantage, until one realizes that it simply allows for more versatility. Artificial clothing and armor can be a chore for some species; but for humans it is second nature, in part because their smoothness allows for the easy application and removal of such things. No claws or plates to snag on fabric, no quills to be crushed under heavy armor. Thus, they can easily augment their form with a wide variety of tools, weapons, armor, or fashionable coverings as they see fit.

Though the ability to adapt to varied environmental demands can hardly be considered unique (indeed, no species would get far without it), humans seem particularly geared towards such behavior. While most races live by the motto ‘play to one’s strengths’, humans seem to prefer ‘strength is relative’. However, it would be shortsighted to claim that human strength lies merely in modular design. Human behavior is something else to take heed of, because in proper context it leads naturally to the conclusions I will draw later in this report.

The first of several behavioral quirks that I wish to expound upon is the human propensity for warfare. Indeed, the concept of war is one that all sentient life is in some way privy to – with the possible exception of the grandu, most races have encountered their fair share of mass-bloodshed along the path of civilization.

Yet, humans seem to have a very different relationship with this bloody curse than the rest of us. Even for the rhacodans, a species with an early history marred by infighting, war was only ever a means to an end. War has always seemed to be a mere extension of our primal survival urges. He who wields credit can only acquire what he is worth, while he who wields the sword can take as much as he can hold – even if he is worth less than the blood staining his blade. Not to be the exception, humans are no strangers to wars for resources and territory. Yet, something else often guides their bloodlust, something deeper than mere primal greed.

In a most bitter irony, many of humanity’s most devastating conflicts have been fought over the concept of justice. Whether to spread or defend a particular belief systems, or to exact retribution for some perceived harm, humans are obsessed with the idea of ‘fighting for right’. More astounding still, they seem to find honor and purpose not just in the outcome of battle, but in heat of battle as well. The idea of ‘the honorable warrior’ is one that can be found in almost every human culture – often depicted as a champion of righteousness and justice (at least in terms of what each culture deems right and just).

Another monomyth that seems rather pervasive throughout human culture is, as humans say ‘the underdog story’. A hero finds themselves up against seemingly insurmountable odds, but nonetheless manages to win the day (often through the same human adaptability I mentioned earlier). In fact, many humans seem to prefer a good challenge over an easy victory. Even better if that challenge comes at the risk of discomfort, injury, or even death. To this end, humans are particularly fond of simulated warfare, both abstract and realistic. One of their most popular sports involves teams of heavily armored combatants clashing over an ovoid ball. There are even more violent variations of this game, in which the armor is abandoned, yet the amount of damage one can inflict upon opponents is increased.

It would be easy to view this behavior as nothing greater than deeply rooted denial; perhaps an evolutionary coping mechanism, allowing humans to reconcile the cognitive dissonance that stems from committing atrocities in the name of survival. Indeed, human morality is a wickedly complex affair. Even the most forward thinking human cultures often cling to at least a handful of moral dogmas that are not only repugnant to every logical concept of natural rights, but also inherently illogical and antithetical to the rest of their zeitgeist. Such blatant, widespread doublethink is to be expected from primitive races that rely on warfare and tribal kinship hierarchies for survival. But what of a species that is already on the cusp of their technological revolution?

Perhaps I am being unfair – as of recent, human society has been progressing towards an idea of universal morality that is more compatible with logical sensibilities. Yet, this progression is still fraught with inequities, often along boundaries of nationality and identity politics. Acceleration-age civilizations are naturally the most vulnerable to existential threats, and human indecisiveness is yet another catalyst in this volatile mix.

It is tempting to dismiss all of this as evidence that humanity is merely a fluke of evolution, a race doomed to failure due to lack of internal cohesion, like so many others before them. That they have managed to get this far is merely luck, a consequence of their extreme adaptability holding them together where their lack of humility and self-awareness has sought to tear them apart.

I do not believe this is the case. There is another piece of the puzzle, one which some of you reading this may already be privy too through other, unofficial lines of communication. I intend to set the record straight here, and I hope that the previous lines of observation I have presented will serve to provide context upon which I may draw my final conclusions. What I am about to share may be shocking, unbelievable even – But I assure you that it is completely true, despite the damage it may do to our perceptions of where we stand in the universe.

As may already be known to many, the circumstances surrounding our first contact with humanity were less than ideal. We had been surveying a region of uncharted space approximately 23 standard units from the edge of ITA territory, when we detected an unknown burst-wave signal emanating from a nearby star system. We were unable to identify the language, however the seeming urgency of the message, and the strength of the signal led us to believe that it was a distress beacon. A last ditch one at that, as such subluminal signals are only useful for very short-range communications. In accordance with our mission objectives we promptly set a course for the triangulated source of the signal, a main-sequence system only a two day jump from our location. Since this meant that the signal would have been sent out nearly two weeks prior, we were concerned that we would find only a ghost vessel for our troubles, if anything at all.

As luck would have it, we did not immediately locate the source, but we did encounter the first responders – two large vessels of unknown origin, holding position between Earth and the orbit of its moon. It was immediately clear that this was some form of standoff, however the implications of this confrontation would not become clear until much later. Immediately we were hailed by both vessels; though their language was unknown, both were utilizing adequate first-contact A.I systems to aid the translation process.

Unfortunately, while these tense formalities were underway, the third party in the engagement saw fit to make itself known – with considerably less tact, to be honest. Our comms were assaulted by every conceivable means of communication the human military forces could think to muster; at least 30 different languages, mathematical equations, fractal patterns, hexadecimal code… It was very evident that this was a species that had not yet sorted out the complexities of proper first contact protocol. As one might imagine, this put considerable load on our translator A.I as it tried to deal with what was essentially three first contacts at once. It was truly a wonder that the situation did not devolve into violence; but as we would learn later, we had the tremendous luck of having level-headed individuals on all sides ensuring that it did not come to that.

Once clear lines of communication had been established, we were able to sort out the details of who was who. Both vessels belonged to the Ara’, a nomadic race that is currently split into two warring factions, the Empire and the New Guardians, respectively. The details of this ongoing confrontation, and the other aspects of this race’s history and biology will be expounded upon in my next report; however I must mention here that this split is a direct result of conflict with humanity. Specifically, a unified Ara’ empire attempted an invasion of Earth roughly 54 cycles prior to this incident; a major schism within the ranks, stemming from disagreement over the morality of the invasion, contributed to its subsequent failure.

As we would come to find out however, the humans had not sat by helplessly as the gods above squabbled over compunctions. Quite the contrary, it was they who had played the biggest role in sending the invaders running – despite at the time possessing only the most basic of post-industrialization technology, and having just concluded the second of the two largest wars in their history.

Moreover, the confrontation at hand had been sparked over yet another apparent reversal of the expected power hierarchy – the humans had successfully disabled and raided an Empire light cruiser that had intruded on their space; the vessel had been sent to disrupt a New Guardian diplomatic envoy, which was on its way to negotiate a potential trade alliance with the Human government organization known as ‘The United Nations’. How they had accomplished this was at first a mystery, as their only means of orbital defense was a single, primitive weapons platform commanded by the human military faction known as ‘The United States Angel Corps’. As it would turn out, the circumstances that led to this impasse were largely a product of luck, human tenacity, and an overzealous opponent.

Nonetheless, we would soon learn that the Ara’ had very real reason to fear this seemingly outmatched race.

Our delegation team encountered the source of humanity’s might during the signing of the Terran Noninvolvement Treaty. However, only through previously classified video files provided to us by New Guardian military officials have we had an opportunity to witness these veritable gods among mortals in action. If you are perceiving my last sentence as artful exaggeration, I encourage you to review the attached video files for yourself. I admit, had it not been for the dogged insistence of the Ara’ as to their validity, I would have assumed these recordings to be completely fabricated. Rightfully so.

Probing of the primitive global communication system humans refer to as ‘the internet’ has revealed some of the details needed to understand this egregious violation of the laws of physics and biology (though even they have not managed to unlock all the secrets of their own hidden power). Within the genome of every human there is a particular code sequence, notably long, but usually dormant. In very rare cases, certain external stress factors will trigger the activation of this sequence. In turn, this will trigger the production of a peculiar form of virus particle, one far more complex than anything that should have reasonably evolved via natural processes. Though the exact mechanism by which these particles function is still shrouded in mystery, the results are plain to see – wildly increased strength and agility, matter and energy manipulation, telepathy and telekinesis, partial or complete alteration of physiology to cope with changing environmental factors– all of these traits and more may manifest in those rare individuals who have been blessed with this impossible gift.

As of yet, the terms of the TNT have stymied future efforts to research this ‘demigod virus’ – the humans understandably have no interest in sharing such powerful secrets with us, and certainly not with their former tormenters. Even offers of induction into the ITA during negotiations did little to sway their resolve on this issue – having been the unfortunate victims of a violent first contact, the humans are presently unwilling to cede any sort of authority to outside forces, no matter how mutually beneficial such a union would be. For the time being, they look out upon the galaxy and see not potential allies, but potential threats plotting to enslave and destroy them – I admit, I can hardly blame them. Yet I do wonder if they understand that such seclusion may be putting them at even greater risk – many may find it safer to glass the planet outright, rather than risk humans charging unopposed onto the galactic stage. Indeed, there is no telling what may happen once they develop the technology to fully unlock the untold power hidden within themselves. As such, I have submitted a proposal to the Alliance Congress to set aside funds for a delegation dedicated solely to Earth-Alliance relations. In lieu of the preemptive genocide option forwarded by some of the more… overzealous members of the Go’anth’s security force, I believe that continuing attempts to bring humanity into the fold of the alliance (or at the very least remaining on good terms with them) will be far more beneficial to us over the long run.

Politics and military strategy aside, this all brings me to my final conclusions regarding the significance of humanity on the galactic stage. Firstly, it should go without saying that their unique mutation is quite obviously artificial – it would be nigh unthinkable to assume that natural evolution alone would produce a symbiosis resulting in such power. What environmental factors could conceivably prompt the evolution of such ludicrous and seemingly impossible abilities? And abilities geared not towards hunting, gathering, or mating, but towards devastating entire armies and armadas as though they were made of glass?

When viewed in the light of a manufactured origin, it all comes together. The simplified anatomy, the unprecedented versatility, the active pursuit of challenge as a way of life. These beings do not simply revel in combat, they were built for it. That they seem so odd to the uninformed is no accident; they appear incomplete, because by and large they are incomplete. Unadorned they are mere larvae, and the chosen few of their number represent the next stage in their metamorphosis. A metamorphosis that may be as terrifying as it is astounding.

To guess as to who, or what may have created them, and for what specific purpose, may be a matter of speculation – or at least a matter of investigative inquiry far beyond what any one mind can hope to achieve. Nonetheless, my overall claim appears to rest on a far sturdier foundation.

There is a particular sort of monomyth that is pervasive among the ancient mythology of many species across known space. The myth I refer to is that of the god-slayers – beings of immense power and knowledge, arriving from the stars to defeat the corrupt, malicious deities that once ruled over these societies with iron claws. The god-slayer myth is present in the ancient traditions (in some form or another) of nearly every sentient race known to the alliance.

Two main points of note connect this seemingly unrelated observation with my primary argument. Firstly, only two species encountered thus far seem to lack the god-slayer myth in any significant capacity – Humans, and Ara’. Secondly, and this is perhaps the most critical point; for the few instances in which we have more fleshed-out versions of this myth to analyze, those races whose ancient societies utilized accurate star-charts always point to one very specific region of their respective night sky when referencing the origin of the god-slayers – that region is the one in which the Sol system lies.

The claim that we have inexplicably stumbled upon some long-forgotten race of bio engineered super-soldiers is not one I make lightly, or even with any significant degree of confidence; indeed, there are certainly many other potential explanations for these preliminary patterns that have been pointed out by the Go’anth’s protocol A.I. – more data may reveal these patterns to be far less tenable than they appear. To be sure, if we were still living in the galaxy we knew prior to contact with humanity, I myself would be among the ranks of the incredulous. But this discovery has, and must, change our outlook.

We have stumbled upon a grand mystery, one which may have monumental implications for the course of history from here onward. Do understand, I am not suggesting we immediately turn to archaic notions of divine beings, or magic, or forces of nature given conscious form. I am suggesting that we re-evaluate what we thought we knew about our universe in light of this new discovery, and that we pursue any and all lines of questioning that may lead us closer to finding answers. If we are dealing with forces beyond our comprehension, then we have no choice but to seek comprehension – Just as humanity has been seeking comprehension of themselves since the dawn of their civilization. As I see it, their dogged pursuit of justice and righteousness in conflict is no accident; they know they were made for a purpose, and they have torn themselves asunder time and time again in search of it. I believe it is in our best interest to guide that purpose, however indirectly, towards positive ends. If not, we risk them treading down a path that will inevitably end in their destruction – or ours, if I have gravely underestimated the danger they pose. Whether humanity turns out to be a gift, or an anathema upon the universe may be entirely their own prerogative – but for our sake and theirs, it is the least we can do to offer a guiding hand in the dark.

Ufe was dumbstruck – instinct told him that this had to be some sort of cruel prank. He stole a brief glance around the room, wondering if his mentor would crawl out from some hidden compartment at any moment. To think that there existed a planet full of super-warriors left behind by some long-gone creator race – well, it was beyond ludicrous, to say the least. Yet Ufe new Skrehias well enough; his mentor was always serious in his work, never one to compromise professionalism. If Skrehias had indeed written this report, then there must be truth to it – but Ufe had to see for himself. He moved onto the aforementioned video files; there were far more than he had anticipated, representing almost 300 hours of recordings – that was in addition to the numerous written reports that would likely take him the better part of a period to get through.

He tentatively selected the first video file in the playlist, nervously shifting in his seat as he watched it play through unblinking eyes. Even if he had eyelids, he likely would not have been able to shut them.

continued in part 2

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