The air density is different today. Movements meeting resistance in flotation facilitate travelling speeds of barely more than a few kilometres per second rather than the two to three hundred Taa’thek is accustomed to during this particular time in the solar cycle.
As is common within the constantly evolving matrices of Taa’thek’s mind, flights of fancy return to the early origin of its species.
Lacking reference for what exists elsewhere in the universe, Taa’thek imagines the earliest variation and all that led to the current physical form the species it belongs to now possess.
Taa’thek is without gender; like the rest of its kind, it is not designed by, or for reproduction, but rather generated by means of spontaneous, combustive genesis at the heart of a gigantic electrical maelstrom, relentlessly spinning at the planet’s core.
It considers the notion, widely shared among the planet’s inhabitants, that they were created for a purpose: reseeding the planet’s heart’s storm; their supersonic blasts violently extracting precious elements from the air; feeding the centre its fuel.
Taa’thek is semi-translucent and, in human terms, an arachnid crossed with a jellyfish.
This combination between skin-sails and exoskeleton armour is necessary for life on this world: The planet is entirely sky.
Imagine, if you will, a magnetic resonance pattern. From the source positively charged ions leading up while their antithesis point down.
Now consider this pattern changing so frenetically that everything is both negatively and positively charged, in every direction (since the impact on what little remains of gravity on this planet is that there is no up, no down; and how…), so intensely, that air constantly alternates between noble, liquid and solid, semi-putrefied states, at willful random: the outbursts of a planet with many minds of its own.
Into this are thrown a population of trillions, their number having little impact on the planet’s capacity for population growth and these trillions both mellifluously and jarringly circumvent one another in a rhythm that overlays so many high-velocity breaks of the sound barrier, that their collected reverberation is one deep, long, undulating groan.
Born into this life, there exists a natural order that is at odds with the seeming chaos.
The planet feeds the airborne species with minerals that it exudes during its continuous outpouring.
These are, in turn, extracted, by their bodies at the molecular level collected in manifold filters naturally occurring beneath their mammoth wingspans.
An interstellar observer might presume this to be a leisurely existence.
The quasi-dialogue between the entities and their planet is not one based on mutual appreciation.
Living consistently at such speeds, even thoughts occur more rapidly, culminating in thinking every thought that can be thought, affecting a deduction, shared among the species, that they know too much to really know anything at all.
With this knowledge, at war with self-awareness, the concept of leisure or even pleasure ceases to exist, if it ever existed for this species in the first place.
Taa’thek has always lived with the knowledge that at any moment the sky could fall, collapsing, as the sky is prone to do, crushing everything, including it, in its path.
This regular occurrence has occurred since it was a newborn.
Taa’thek’s species lives with the knowledge that the planet kills all, eventually.
There is telling of those individuals that tried to break free with the oldest telling of one that nearly succeeded yet flew too close to the Dark.
It never made it, consigned to freezing over, superheating and dissolving. Nature ordained this planet to be both home and prison.
What motivated that creature still remains: the broadcasts that the planet’s atmospheres amplify have always convinced Taa’thek of a complex, single truth: there are others out there, incalculably more, all secretly looking for a planet of their own.
Their distant presence tells Taa’thek that the telling of the one who flew too close to the Dark is and always was unreliable.
Taa’thek deduced that their presence beyond the Dark meant that somewhere, somehow, survival out in the murky space was possible.
Taa’thek decided that the only course of action remaining open to it was to fly out and escape this world.
Others, were they to know its intentions in advance, would expect it to be a futile, short, sharp, suicidal flight into the Dark.
But things are different today: on these winds, Taa’thek remained convinced that the most successful direction would be in line with the Light and the fire, along a trajectory on course with the Sun.