It began with fire. And pain. That is what he remembered. The bright fire and the pain. He remembered feeling the flames eating away at him, his skin falling away. The pain was unbearable and he could not get away. His legs would not work and his voice could not call out for help. How he had ended up in this fire, so near death, was the one thing he could not remember, despite how badly he needed to.
There was so much pain. It was not until his world began to go black that he knew he was going to die. He did not want to die, but if this was how it was to end, he was glad to have died defending his world. If he had the choice of how his life were to end, he would have chosen this fate, rather than having he and his team fall into the hands of the Druids. A terrible fate that would have been, filled with darkness and agony.
His team and the survivors had gotten away. That was what truly mattered in his mind. They had the chance to escape, at the cost of his own life. That was a price he was willing to pay, and would pay again if he had been given the chance. As his eyes finally closed, a voice reached his ears over the crackling of the flames.
“Jerrad!” It called out. He cracked his eyes open a bit, unsure if his mind was playing tricks on him, or he had actually heard a voice. “Jerrad, where are you?” the voice called again. Through the cracks in his eyes, he saw a familiar face. Emily. She had come back for him. A new found hope filled him, as well as anger. He had told her to leave. To run, in fact, and never return. But as usual, Emily followed her own orders. A hand reached out through the fire and grabbed his arm, pulling him away from the wreckage. With one final smile, Jerrad’s eyes closed. He was safe.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They had been defending Earth for years. Attack after attack, victory after victory, loss after loss, they had defended Earth. They had been so ill prepared. No, ill-prepared was not the right word. Naive. That was it. Earth had been too naive.
The year had been 2127 when the aliens had descended from the sky. Druids, Earth had called them. Being over six feet tall, they stood out among us, but other than their height and the bluish hue to their skin, they looked and talked like us. That was what convinced us to trust them. Our first mistake in a long line of mistakes. The Druids showed us a great kindness by helping us erect our first warships, allowing us to take bigger and bigger steps into space. In return, it was asked that we make the promise to come to their aid, if ever they needed us. We accepted quickly, allowing our first alliance to be formed.
These ships we built were a spectacular sight to behold. Hundreds of feet in length, these ships possessed all the most recent technologies, both human and Druid. Armed with defensive shields, plasma rays, hyperdrive, and beaming technology, we took to the stars with the innocence of a child in a candy store. There was not one place we did not want to go; not one place we did not want to leave unexplored.
Everything seemed to be within our reach. It all seemed so blissful; so perfect. But that would not last for long. It was early on a March morning when the Druids turned on us. They came in waves and began to bomb our cities. The first attack was on Boston. Than Philadelphia. In quick succession, they demolished our biggest cities, moving from city to city, state to state, and eventually, country to country. But they did not kill us. No; in fact, they harvested us like a flock.
As it turned out, the Druids left out one tiny detail when our alliance was made. They did not want us as allies. They wanted us as a food source. The very essence of our beings fuelled them. We were fed upon and left as dry husks of bone and skin once they had drained us dry. Those lucky enough to get away spent their days hiding, and their nights hunting and preparing for the next wave of attacks. It was a terrible way to live. But to fall into their hands was an even worse fate. In their eyes, we were only answering for our side of the alliance. They needed our help, it was just not in the way we had first expected. They were running out of food, and as it so happened, we were their source of nourishment.From day one we had known we were on the losing side of a war that would forever change our history. When most people thought of the first encounter with the third kind, being drained of life was not what had crossed their mind first. But the War was over now and there was nothing that could be done. The future of the human race stood on the edge of a knife. Tilt one way, and we wouldn't have a future. Many preferred to disregard that outcome in the hopes that, if we could escape the reaches of the Druid, a future could be obtained. But for now, the human race had to contend with fighting for their lives every minute of every day. That was our life until the day the ultimate decision was made: the Milky Way could no longer be our home. The nearest Galaxy of our choosing was just over three million light years from Earth. As those in power saw it, just far enough away so we were out of the reach of Druids, yet close enough to keep an eye on things. And so, with our minds set on leaving the Galaxy, coordinates for the Pegasus Galaxy, a Dwarf Galaxy on the edge of the Andromeda, and we were gone an instant later, never to return.
We had lost the war. Was there any real reason to return to to someplace so hopeless?