Deshret, the Land of the Dead
“…If we cannot learn to actually enjoy…small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.” Gene Roddenberry
A million years ago, they found her.
Her people, whatever they’d been called, were almost extinct, their past as creatures of flesh and blood, forgotten. Their culture, their history, erased by time and political upheavals, lost. Evolution, natural selection stopped in its tracks by technology, natural birth obsolete.
Even then, their decline continued.
Formerly renowned for erudition and artistry, they continued on the path they had set, becoming dreary, programmed creatures, more machine than animal.
Synthetic organs pumped oils, volatile fuels, and coolants through cybernetic tissues. Artificial hormones prescribed by governments and laws of nations long forgotten, dictated thoughts and feelings. The transposition of corporeal systems was almost complete.
Their home world, the watery moon where they evolved, was abandoned, a neglected orb circling a red giant. In previous ages their home had given birth to billions of creatures. But, by the time her ancestors departed, the oceans were dead, the atmosphere poisoned, glaciers melted. The faint organic life remaining migrated to polar regions to escape blasts of heat and radiation.
Genetic diversity had been ruthlessly oppressed. Conformity ruled all. The oppression of ethnic differences, holocausts, genocides, and philosophies of racial purity, had diminished creativity and inspiration. But, that was all in ancient times.
Only in the final death throes of her race, did they realize the enormity of their sin. Only then, did they see how sterile, what self-serving creatures they had become. Only then, with no hope for rescue, no miracle drugs, no other life from which to draw sustenance, only then did they realize they had sealed their fate.
Self-destruction, extinction - genetic variance gone, the death of their entire species at hand, a self-fulfilling prophecy, a horror – a nightmare become real.
She didn’t remember who she had been, where she had lived, or how long she’d been alive. She only remembered being here, on this lifeless rock, in a system her people conquered centuries ago. She didn’t remember she lived in a palace, that she was rich beyond measure.
She could have stood and walked to the window to view vistas of rocky valleys far below, cool gases rising from the surface, enormous green and violet crystals exposed by storms, glittered in diffuse starlight.
To look upon such an alien scene with wonder would have required curiosity, the ability to feel awe. But she, along with her entire species, were crippled by cynicism.
Unknown to her, she had become the last of her race. She sat there, numb.
It was finished.
She was aware her right hand rested against the side of her head. She had hair once, hair she would brush aside, away from her face with her fingers, a faint memory.
In earlier times, she could have contacted another on this dwarf planet, tumbling around a dead star in a trinary system. But, she no longer remembered them. She was alone.
Not remembering who she had been, she saw a sudden vision of herself as she was now, a cyborg danse-macabre, a partially organic brain sitting atop tubes, carbon fibers, filaments and articulated mechanisms, a marionette suspended by strands of exotic metals hanging from a weakening set of cybernetic processors.
Soon, her species would be gone, all dead, a people of corrupted brains, a collection of dying machines, bred, created, and educated to one end, existing for one purpose - to accumulate wealth.
Their empire crumbled, not from external forces, not from war, but from within, from emotional sickness, from psychological disease, from a plague of apathy.
It was then, sick from riches, suffocating under plundered wealth, it was only then that she questioned, “Who am I?”
She must have sat in sustaining technology, bathed in soups of chemicals, a regenerating throne sparkling with glowing energy, for decades. Having no need for organic food, for fuel, for another’s company, she sat there, not asleep, but not awake.
She didn’t stir when planetary systems alerted to an unknown ship landing above the crumbling edifice where she had retreated.
Even when The Ennead, or the Nine, as they were called, arrived, when they lifted her face and looked into her eyes, even then, she did not awaken.
They called her, Berenib, the last of her people, the Queen.
Had she been awake, she would have heard them whisper, “…she is the last one.” She would have seen them go about their work, taking her into their ship, gathering the corpses of her people still viable.
Chanting, murmuring ancient spells, they burned sacred incense, placing desiccated remains into containers, organic envelopes, bristling with instrumentation and energy, technology beyond understanding. Through scientific and spiritual marvels, Berenib’s people would be transfigured.
She looked down on her wasted cyborg body from above. But, where was she? Who was she? Why could she not remember?
One of The Nine spoke, “You have been transformed. This is your Ka,” she said, “your essense. You can exist, but you cannot feel The Power. You are a lattice of radiated photons. But we will give you flesh.”
Then she awakened again. One moment, she had floated beside one called Hathor, the life giver, and the next moment, she opened her eyes, breathing sweet oxygen. Her lungs filled, her breast heaved. Fresh air, like electric currents slid along her naked body, her heart fluttered. The wetet opened, the lid of the sarcophagus slid away, and she saw, standing above her, the one called Hathor, smiling.
“You are in your Ba. Your essense, your Ka, is housed, as it should be, in your body once more. We have given you the same bodies as us. Your DNA is spliced with ours. You can understand our thoughts, hear unspoken words, feel what is in our hearts.
“You can sense The Power, the greatest power that exists, the only power that can save your people, The Power of Love.”
It was in this manner that she was born, or, born again. From an ancient, withering race of cyborg creatures, she was given new life. Her people, the few that remained, were given physical bodies. The Nine, the Ennead, the First Ones, coming from a Universe away, through a portal, came here, to her. They came to save her people.
In subsequent generations, her people, the Tayamni, would do the same, bring back creatures on the brink of annihilation. Connected to The Power, they would search out species to save.
The Nine gave them a new name, the Tayamni, meaning animal. They were living, breathing, loving, organic creatures, once again.
The Nine gave them a new name and a new language, their own language. With holy words, as if by magic, as if with spells and incantations, her people would think differently. The sacred language of the ancients, of the Ennead, oriented them towards The Power, changing them.
They had metamorphosed.
The Nine took her, and others they awakened, back to their original home world, back to Mussara, to the watery moon where they had evolved. Orbiting within a binary system, circling a red giant and white dwarf. The Nine took them home. The red star, enormously large Inanna, the head of the system, would be, in their new language, Tayamni-Pa, the Head of the Animal.
But, that was a million years ago – a million years.
It was to such worlds that the Tayamni, in turn, came to save species on the brink of extinction, splicing their own DNA, teaching the sacred language.
It was to such a world they came when they came to Earth.