This fortnight I thought I’d do something a long time in coming, my first piece of Lyapunov’s Children fiction. I think it would be best if I build the setting piece by piece, one story at a time. It’s a far cry from Gods of Terra, with almost none of the Lovecraftian in it, but better for it still.
Tf. Tk. Tts.
Laksima stood at her watch-station on the old vessel, a sublight colony ship sent out from the sacred mother planet thousands of cycles ago. She was not one of the old humans, but those were few and far between now. No, she was something different, something new. The conditions of deep space had altered the genome of the descendants of the original crew, creating another daughter species of now-archaic Homo sapiens.
Humans, that ancient species whose technological developments led to the full flowering of post-human descent, spreading from beyond sacred Earth to the stars.
Laksima was to keep watch at the monitor for any signs of cometary bodies, chunks of rock and dirty ice that could pulverize the rickety, ancient vessel on impact. The ship had just entered the Oort cloud of the target system, tail-first while decelerating since mid-journey.
There was something wrong with the virtual display, icons dancing across her vision as the ship slipped between distant icy fragments this far out from the system’s stellar primary. There was something wrong because ice fragments were not supposed to move this way. There were laws of orbital mechanics they had to obey, and yet they were not.
A quick scan revealed a dense core to one of the bodies, tens of thousands of kilometers out, and closing quickly. Whatever it was, it was not a chunk of comet, nor did it seem to approach at an attack vector, and it was slowing down. Laksima ran through the checklist of options available, chose to scan it for signs of alien tech.
Humanity’s descendants had encountered the remains of alien civilizations before, at least twice, both in ruins, with one of them reduced to savagery and the other mercifully extinct.
The object, whatever it was, was radiating strongly in terahertz frequencies, and in bursts of shortwave radio, an ancient but workable communications medium. It was some kind of artifact, and it was transmitting. Ship’s dedicated computer systems, optimized for linguistic analysis, were engaged. It was ancient, but human in origin. And this was its message:
We were the colonists of New Hibernia. Whoever you are, if you get this, welcome to what was once our home. May you make it a better one than we did, squandering its bounty in our greed and stupidity.