The only signs intelligent life had populated this world, were the ruins of three cities. Discovered during an era of Imperial Expansion, the Atmehytu had spotted the moon, classified it, and sent colonists. It was also during this time that they conquered Anuria, harvesting, as they called it, the most valuable cultural artifacts. They claimed it was necessary to remove these cultural treasures in order to preserve them from a society in deep decline.
It was not necessary to make such excuses at Kaimanu, since it was, as far as they knew, uninhabited.
The moon, like most worlds of Kaspum, or The Milky Way, was situated within a binary star system. Like the Tayamni home world of Mussara, Kaimanu was a moon orbiting around a gas giant. The moon was tidally locked, making day and night cycles appear, to the casual observer, wildly unpredictable.
The new colony had been located so far away from the Atmehytu home system that few colonists could be found. In fact, a draft was instituted. Colonists were brought to the moon against their will. In addition, the new world, teeming with alien life, was infested with insect-like creatures who found Atmehytu flesh irresistible. Colonists were tormented by them. Dubbed, kuliliki, the insects attacked in early morning as the sun rose. They had evolved the instinct to know when inconsistent days began and nights fell. They only came out to feed in daylight hours.
Consequently, the new colonists remained safely sealed in their lodgings until evening shadows cleansed the air. A tradition that continued to the present day. Most activity took place in early evening shadows.
It was on such an evening that the Kataru vessel transporting Etana7 and Agu arrived.
The landing pad was far enough away from the Viceroy’s residence that the noise of vessels and the odor of spent fuels was minimized.
It was a small colony with the same name as the moon on which it was built. Kaimanu City sat in a jungle near the coastline. As the three new arrivals sat in the shuttle transporting them to the palace, they looked out onto a vast ocean to the east, and thick jungle to the west. The weak sunlight of the more distant of the two suns, shone upon objects around them with a dim silver light, not much brighter than Earth’s moon.
Within a quarter of an hour, disoriented, fatigued, and hungry, the trio found themselves deposited at the base of a great stairway leading up to the palace. Standing at the top, just outside the shadow of the portico was the Viceroy himself. Behind him, draped in yellow damask, stood his consort, Armida.
Weakened by the long voyage, Sagmir looked at the intervening steps with dread.
Viceroy Puabi stepped down to greet them, cutting the distance on the stairway in half. It was a calculated gesture, one the Atmehytu understood. It was as if he said, “I will meet you halfway, but you must also make the equal effort to meet me.” It was an older form of communication, a gesture from the last century. “Welcome to Kaimanu,” he said solemnly. “You have made a long voyage.”
“They need medical attention,” Sagmir said gesturing towards Agu and Etana. “They suffer from...” she paused searching for the words, “...dislocation.”
“My consort, Amrita,” the Viceroy said gesturing to his companion. “She will see to their needs.”
“Have others arrived?” Sagmir asked.
“You are the first. We expect more. We are the only Atmeyhtu world remaining.”
“You are the only home we have left,” Sagmir said
“I wanted to tell you in person,” Kirashi said.
Namazu nodded. “Agreed, but I don’t understand.”
“It is a bit cryptic,” Kirashi responded.
“Can we contact them?” Namazu asked.
Kirashi shook her head. “Maybe through the Ormarr. The Si’lat are their Gods.”
Namazu shook her head. “…hard to believe…at Titan and Tamtu?”
Kirashi nodded, “What could she mean by Gateway? …another dimension?” She paused, noticing a blinking indicator on the console. “We have to get a DNA sample. It’s the only way to verify. The ancient records say nothing about the original species, or rather, our original species,” Kirashi said. “They found us at an asteroid called Dugnamtar. That’s all we know.”
“How will this show us how to defeat them?” Namazu asked. “This knowledge..how?”
“At least we know their species is real, the Si’lat, I mean. She told me her name was Eshe,” Kirashi added.
“Maybe this is the tie-in to the timeline problem,” Namazu said. “I mean, the reason why we have to be here at the Transit to maintain the timeline, to save humanity.”
Kirashi nodded. Looking at the blinking indicator, she continued, “Are you going to answer that?”
Namazu sighed, shook her head, and pressed the indicator.
The image of a woman wearing a golden mask appeared. She was a Hathor.
“Namazu of the Uanna?” she asked.
“You are summoned to Mussara,” she continued. “There is a matter of property to be resolved, a family compound, your family compound.”
“But we don’t own property,” Namazu said to the image. The face of the woman hovered, shimmering in the air over the desk. The holo-image was about 15 inches tall.
“The property is not yours. According to our records it has been managed by your family since before the Earth mission,” the image said. The woman’s voice was that of an elderly woman.
“Does anyone live there?” Namazu asked.
“It has been maintained by bots. It was scheduled to be torn down, but on closer inspection, we found it was in perfect condition. The council has asked you, your brother and sister to decide what to do with the property,” the masked woman said.
Namazu looked aside, remembering images of Mussara from downloads. “None of us has ever been to Mussara. We don’t remember it.”
“A perfect time for you to become acquainted with your home world,” the woman said. “Your sister is completing her second mission at Earth and your brother is missing. When they return, they will join you at Mussara.”
“Missing?” Namazu asked.
“Yes,” she nodded. “In Sinai…working with a team to prevent an assassination. He was discovered by hybrids.”
“Hybrids?” Namazu asked.
The woman nodded again. “Human hybrids. There are no Potacas with pure DNA at Earth anymore.”
“How…” Namazu began.
“We suspect the Potacas have a leader, but we cannot find her. She is running the show, as it were,” the woman continued. “The Tlalocs work for the Potacas now, rather than the other way round.” She paused, looking at another display. “Here are the coordinates for your family compound.”
“Compound?” Namazu asked.
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