Never Ending Sunrise - In which a boy becomes a man
I never understood my father. Not when I was a young boy, and certainly not when I became a young man.
When I was a young boy, my father would astound me each and every day. He was a man I believed capable of anything, and everything, and all that I wished was to one day grow up to become just like him. I had other friends with important parents, and many of them seemed to hate it. They disposed being Ruth’s daughter or Paul’s little boy, but not me. No, as far back as I can remember, I was always agog beyond measure to be Johnathon Maverick’s son.
I never had a name. Not one that I was ever properly called by anyways. I was always “Maverick’s boy”, and that was good enough for me.
My father, Johnathon Maverick was a plenipotentiary. His official title was Maven. Maven Maverick.
As Maven Maverick, my father would travel far and wide across the stars, brokering back door deals, negotiating peace treaties, and arbitrating everything from suicide attempts to hostage situations. Of my father, people would often say “If you need a win, always bet on M!”
As you can imagine, all of that idolatry and adoration waned quite considerably in my teenage years.
“Maven Maverick, how excellent it is to see you.”
“You honor me, Legate Anavara. You seem well, and your clutch, radiant.”
“What a flatterer you are, Maven Maverick. We find it well indeed.”
I watched as my father leaned forward at a very precisely calculated thirty four and a half degree angle. He placed his fingertips along the left side of the legate’s stomach, a bit nearer the center, and applied the slightest hint of pressure. My father cocked his head to one side, pursing his lips slightly. He indicated with a turn of his hand that Legate Anavara’s swollen form was beauteous and lustrous, praising her fertility.
For the Siveran’s as they’d come to be called in standard as their chosen name could not be pronounced by most speaking species vocal chords, fertility was a value beyond measure. They were not, however, some chauvinistic society that expected their women to stay swoll and barefoot in the kitchen. Quite the contrary; Siveran physiology granted their females what their people called “The Knowing”.
To possess greater proximity to The Knowing was to tap into a sacred place, wherein they would be visited by grand visions of things to come, and granted superior strength, speed and resilience. The females of their species would form a Grace; a sisterhood wherein they would support one another and share the vast knowledge and resources they gained. They fought on the front lines. They wrote epic poems. They composed enchanting sonnets.
And then, they died.
Legate Anavara had been with child for three of our years. This seemed like a ludicrously protracted period of time to me, however Siveran’s live long. Legate Anavara would form a psychic bond with her young during this time, seven in total, and pass all that she knew of the world on to them. At their birth, they would have to fight to survive crossing beyond the veil. Legate Anavara would press upon them all of her hopes, her dreams, her passions, her life.
Surviving the birth of one to three was difficult enough. Seven almost certainly assured Legate Anavara would perish. However, she seemed at peace.
“Through them my life lives on.” She spoke with a simple, and pleasant smile.
I marveled once more at her beauty.
Tall, very tall, with long flowing gowns of crimson, gold and plum. Her neck was long and slightly curved, her eyes large and almond, rising as wisps to meet intricately tattooed ridges above.
With her slender three fingered hands Legate Anavara reached down to my father, her seven and a half feet short for her species. She simultaneously touched his temples, cheeks and collar bones, and leaned forward as well. Her forehead touched my fathers, a faint navy glow to her dusky bronze skin.
This would be mistaken as a sign of affection by our species, Huma as most other races refer to us. However, what this gesture truly meant was that she accepted my father. The length of time in which she held the pose would measure how well.
Seven seconds passed. More than an associate, not quite a friend, but in many ways an equal.
The two rose in unison, and Legate Anavara turned without addressing me. By her species’ standards, I am little more than a servant. My own mistake; I stood behind my father to the right, showing my obvious lack of importance.
A mistake of my own design; I had been instructed not to speak. We had, after all, a very, very delicate matter to discuss.
“Follow, if you may.” Legate Anavara gestured with a slight nod of her head. We did as we were invited.
I wished to watch my father, to take queue from him on how I ought conduct myself, or if the negotiations were going well. Oh yes, the negotiations were of course well underway. In truth they began from the moment we first made contact, and everything, every touch and every turn was carefully calculated for maximum impression and sway. The Siveran race all but revolved around cordiality, and had we not come prepared our discourse would have perished in damnation and flame before it could even begin.
“I wish you many blessings on your pilgrimage, Legate Anavara. Perhaps you might deign to favor me with your air?” my father inquired, positively radiating lissomeness and propriety.
Legate Anavara tilted her head just so, to the left, with the slightest blue to her bronze cheeks. Flattered, and perhaps a little…intrigued. Increased libido came with the territory in most any species, and I’ve been told that my father is handsome for a huma.
Uncomfortable words to hear from an Elivian officiate, to be sure.
“Maven Maverick, you of course know our pilgrimage is most sacred. However, my air burns brightly, filled with ardor and zeal. My sisters in Grace are given to alacrity and impetuosity, save one who waxes and wanes betwixt avidity and dismay. I pray for her calamity to pass; she is yet young and rose with difficulty. I fear she rebukes the warmth of Grace as much as she craves our bonds. Though she cannot be blamed; tis’ a difficult thing to grow gravid when one’s bond-mate has passed.”
My father goes on. I only understood about half of the words Legate Anavara used, however there was one woefully excruciating concept I could conceive of.
The young girl, parous and parturient, walked this rode alone. True, she was embraced by her Grace, however her mate had passed. To use the word “husband” seems to pay the deep love of the Siveran’s a disservice and taint the emotion. Siveran mate for life. One husband, one wife, for all of eternity until the two pass on.
The poor girl. Her heart would be broken for the rest of her existence. Seven years of pregnancy, all on her own. I could relate in some small way to her immeasurable sorrows; my mother died when I was yet young. I walked this road with Jonathon Maverick, whom I had reconciled as more legend than man at that point in my life.
Legend… I had found his reality to be…lacking.
“Please, relieve your burdens.” Legate Anavara gestured towards the only two Huma accommodating seats in the room.
“Most gracious, Legate Anavara. I shall lay aside my encumbrance.” My father answered as he took his seat.
“Our millstones are joyously loosed.” Legate Anavara beamed as she moved in that ethereal way of hers. She did not so much sit, as she was standing, and then she was not.
I waited a full ten seconds before turning to face my father, and five more after his nod before taking my seat, back and to the right. To show Legate Anavara my complete and total lack of importance was imperative, elsewise I would be expected to participate fully in their discussions. While I clearly had been studying their culture for some time prior to accompanying my father on his mission, the fact still remained that this was not a matter for the likes of me. After all…
The lives of seven thousand four hundred fifty two human beings hung in the balance of that which was to come.
“The present senescence is thus,” my father began, using a word one might find odd, however was truly quite appropriate given the circumstances.
“There is a colony in which many dwell, their numbers meeting seven thousands, four hundreds, fifty tens and two. This colony now dwells within great conflict; the Atavash have grown emboldened and do so make claims of conquest. We face a great cataclysm, Legate Anavara. This colony, which is known by way of McCaffrey 9, cannot survive without aid.
“Long have the Atavash set eyes upon fire and storm. Their hunger grows great, and their avarice and rapacity knows no bounds. We are in need, Legate Anavara. I come that we might entreat upon your grace to grant us pith of valor in our time of tribulation.”
McCaffrey 9, named for a weaver of worlds and wonder true, was simply put under attack. The Atavash, a greedy race that looked the cross of a large lobster and some manner of squid that might make Cthulu question paternity, wanted the colony for its own. In truth, we had been embroiled in a number of sorties with the sage green and royal plum Atavash for some time, though war had not yet been formally declared.
The Atavashian government often hid behind the excuse that these were rogue splinter cells, groups of mercenaries that owed their allegiance to no one. They further elaborated, see: lied through their spiked and segmented teeth, that these outfits were disavowed and as such the allied bodies of Atava had no responsibility to cull their murderous intent.
While it was possible for the HUF, or Huma United Front to send aid, by the time the elite Epheaf, Ephesian Armored Forces, could lay boots to ground it would be far too late. The Atavash are sneaky bastards; they burrow underground and are very patient, and very slow. They chill their bodies such that they won’t show on thermal, and slide along tectonic plates to avoid tripping seismic sensors. Truly, we were only aware of their presence due to good intel, and a healthy dose of paranoia.
The Atavash have many cultural advantages, but they are not without their tells. Atavashians emit a certain electric frequency, and though they can shift and change and hide this frequency quite well, we as a people were quickly adapting our technologies to fight against this form of cloaking that they utilize.
“However, their hunters have confounded our wisdom with their guile.”
Legate Anavara lowered her head, a sign of empathy and shared sorrow.
“The Vibrational Seed.”
Her words were not a question, rather confirmation of understanding.
The Vibrational Seed was a technology the Atavash had butchered, borrowed and stolen from the Kisk not too long ago. The Kisk people were known for their science as much as their art. Kiskans, those of the planet Kiska, were always producing some useful gadget or other. The problem with Kisk, is that they most always ask the question “Can I?” rather than “Should I?” when it comes to their scientific breakthroughs.
The Vibrational Seed was a device that emitted a large number of frequencies that would make radars go berserk. If your approach was seismic, it did seismic. Need to hide energy? It does that too.
The Seed was stolen by another “rogue splinter cell” under mysterious and bloody circumstances. Before long, the Atavash suddenly just happened to make a technological breakthrough. Go figure.
“Legate Anavara, we Huma are not without our fangs. Even now we rally our lions that they might roar and claw and bite, however… We are spread too thin. Our troops deployed in haste and fervor are leagues away from need. A small company fights to defend McCaffrey, yet they are soon to be overwhelmed. And so, it is with great prostration and pain that I beseech your approbation; please Legate Anavara, grant us your valor that we might together grow mighty.”