OF MAN AND GODS
SEEDS OF THE ALLIANCE
Greg J Miller
Continued from: OF MAN AND GODS - BOOK ONE - ALLIANCE AND EMPIRE
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CHAPTER ONE – A NEW BEGINNING
A new beginning. The opportunity to begin over. To put the past behind. Looking forward and moving toward a new future. Such a thing truly sounds so fresh and inspirational. However, such a thing often proves to be far more challenge than blessing when properly viewed in the harsh light of day.
It is perhaps more sobering to consider what comes before such a fresh start. A new beginning tends to only come about after an ending. In the case of the new beginning that lay ahead of Zeus, the ending that preceded it was sobering in the extreme.
That ending that he had left behind was far more than some minor turning point or personal milestone. Nevertheless, he could not have considered anything more personal than that ending. He had lost his home. Lost his birthworld. Lost his people. His entire civilisation was gone. Destroyed from within by its own doing. An ending to surpass all his greatest fears and anxieties.
Though hardly forgotten, even his identity seemed behind him. He had been Zeus, son of Althorus and Hebetia. Zeus of Petralacus. Zeus of Terragodaea. Zeus of the Order of Locus and Zeus of the Alliance Union in various differing roles. All of that a part of his identity, but each of those places and peoples were gone.
From that terrible ending, the chance of some small hope had emerged and a heavy burden had been placed upon his shoulders. It was not something that he might have chosen on his own or something that he might have even thought necessary, but it was something that he willingly accepted when it was asked of him. It would fall to Zeus to guide and shape the growth of a new beginning upon a new world. The future of the seeds of old Alliance Union would be fashioned by his hands.
Three years is usually a relatively short period of time. Even for those of a comparatively short lifespan, the time normally passes quite quickly. By the time of his arrival at the new world, Zeus had reached the age of one thousand, one hundred and eighty seven years. Oddly, those three years that it took to reach the new world were perhaps the longest in his experience.
Those three years had provided him with much time to consider the recent events leading up to his current circumstances. Although he worked with the ship's Oracle to prepare for the monumental task that lay ahead of him, such Oracles were not typically renowned for their great skills as sociable conversationalists.
The ship's Oracle was an artificial lifeform, but not nearly as personable or relatable as a single-faceted Terrinagi android, or the like. As a multi-faceted artificial organism, the Oracle was possessed of the equivalent of hundreds of individual consciousnesses. However, it was outwardly nothing more than a relatively compact device able to communicate with the outside world via its integrated Orator module. Those mechanised Servorum aboard the vessel, which served the function of 'arms and legs' for the Oracle, were nothing more than non-sentient robotic devices.
Effectively being a sentient colony of minds, it wasn't as though the ship's Oracle was incapable of companionable conversation, it just seemed far more focussed upon the details of the mission and maintenance of the vessel, ensuring that they arrived safely at their destination with their precious cargo intact.
As Zeus took the time to cast his thoughts back toward the past, many things played upon his mind. Since he'd carried his primary journal with him when he'd been spirited way and then subsequently despatched on his current mission, he'd made the effort to add further to that record as thoughts remained fresh in mind.
During his lifetime to date, Zeus had witnessed a great many things. He began his life as the child of Terragodaean Traditionalist parents, the shorter-lived of their world. After more than forty years living as a low-level Telepath, he eventually chose to undergo The Great Change and become a member of the genetically enhanced high-level Thelemists, which by that time, comprised about ninety eight percent of Terragodaea's overall populace.
Around that same time, after a glancing encounter with a god-like non-corporeal alien entity, the Terragodaeans' astral travelling 'astronauts-by-proxy' made contact with the Titannian civilisation. Together they forged a technological alliance. One that eventually led to the development of a practical means of inter-stellar travel for both civilisations. Those two cultures went on to discover other civilisations of humanoids upon other worlds in that region of the galaxy. That exploration soon led to the building of the first Alliance of planets.
After early internal difficulties, the Alliance Union became further consolidated and expanded to encompass an ever-growing number of new colony worlds. Zeus had visited many of those established civilisations and their cultures in his capacity as an official historian attached to the diplomatic corps of the Alliance.
When that Alliance of worlds first encountered the reptilian species of the civilisation of the Sa'La'Ra'Heaa, great turmoil precipitated. Eventually, the tension was resolved and the new Alliance Union came to eventually include all the known civilisations within their local region of space.
When Zeus befriended Locus the Titannian, a fellow diplomat, the chain of events that followed would again change his life forever. Together, they founded the Order of Locus on Urania. In his youth, Locus had spent time among the monks of a Selki order upon Meltys. He had learned their methods, which espoused the values of inner peace and the development of non-lethal martial arts, making use of carefully honed Telekinetic and Telepathic skills.
The Order of Locus had eventually inspired the Order of Nygallah, which taught similar skills and values to non-Thelemists, commonly making use of technological devices to emulate the abilities of Thelemists. Zeus had been directly involved in bringing together the many similar Orders, which had eventually emerged, to loosely form the Allied Orders.
Both Zeus and Locus had become renowned as prominent citizens of the Alliance Union for their labours, both within the Allied Orders and in the mechanics of Alliance politics. Both Zeus and Locus had, at times, held key diplomatic positions within the governing bodies of the Alliance Union.
Throughout all of his long life and even before, a covert group who called themselves the Guardians of the Future had existed. From their secluded location upon Terragodaea, they had subtly manipulated the political landscape of the Alliance Union from its very inception to its ultimate end. Zeus had found it difficult to comprehend how such a body had existed for so long, and had remained such a well kept secret.
Even more astounding to Zeus, was that Locus had been long associated with those Guardians of the Future without his knowledge. He had at times, suspected that Locus was privy to certain knowledge, which he withheld. Still, he could never have easily imagined the full truth of it.
Even with his passing, Locus' influence continued to be felt in Zeus' life. Locus had been responsible for his being chosen to execute the mission which lay ahead of him. A task of monumental importance.
When those Guardians of the Future had previously explored the requirements necessary for the undertaking of seeding a distant world with the sentient races of the Alliance, many considerations were taken into account.
For such a project to achieve any level of success, in the eyes of the Guardians of the Future, a fresh start would be necessary. It would not be enough to merely transplant the inhabitants from Alliance worlds to that new world. The people of the new world would need to be from that world, and of that world. At least as far they understood.
Aside from Zeus and the Oracles, none of the living sentients of the old worlds would be transported to the new world, but their genetic seed would be planted in fresh soil. Though the people of the Alliance Union had perished, the races of that civilisation would live on.
In that manner, the many races upon that new world would have to eventually learn to share that world and build a single civilisation. They believed that such an idealistic perspective was not totally unreasonable. Though surely a far more complicated prospect than a matter of simplicity, they felt that, as in nature, the balance between those many species would in time be achieved.
In order to maximise a positive outcome, the Guardians of the Future believed that a humanoid agent should be involved in the project to work with the Master Oracles. Together, working from the sub-orbital platform above the new world, they would be expected to work toward achieving the introduction of the many races of the old worlds upon the surface of the new. Once that world-seeding was completed, the humanoid agent would become responsible for providing some limited influence or guidance to the peoples of the emerging civilisations of the new world. Given the measure of complexity and unpredictability of such a thing, a great deal of it would fall to judgement. No measure of advanced planning could truly account for the shifting currents of sentient behaviour.
Some time before his death, Locus had recommended Zeus as a primary candidate for the role of that humanoid agent, if such a mission were to take place. Locus had all but said that Zeus would accept the responsibility, if asked. In due course, Zeus found himself introduced to the Guardians of the Future and their secretive world. When called to accept the task of building a new world, he was unable to refuse.
Upon the shores of a distant planet, the many races of the old worlds would come to live side by side. The legacy of the Guardians of the Future, and in effect, the future of all the sentient races of the former Alliance Union, rested in Zeus' hands as he left behind the ashes of the old worlds for the promise of the new.
After nearly three years of travelling at incredible relative velocities through Resonant Time-Space, the vessel that carried Zeus away from the ashes of old Alliance territories eventually approached its ultimate destination.
If that vessel had been able to focus telescopic sensors back toward where they'd journeyed from, some of the stars of the Alliance Union would likely still be detectable. Even though a number of those stars had been destroyed by then, with the great distance between locations, the light from those stars would continue to be observable for many thousands of years to come.
Despite that vast distance, the vessel had traversed that abyss in a relatively brief period of time. The design of that vessel was highly revolutionary. It was capable of travelling through Resonant Time-space more than twenty times faster than any other vessel previously created by Alliance technology. Its development and construction had been covertly commissioned by the Guardians of the Future specifically for that purpose.
The ship was crewed only by a Master Oracle and a small contingent of Servorum automatons. Aside from the facilities provided for Zeus and the valuable cargo of genetic samples, that vessel was mostly one large displacement engine designed to complete that single one way journey in the best possible timeframe. Although somewhat cramped, it was sufficient for that purpose. Once that journey was complete, the vessel would be dismantled and cannibalised for its materials and parts.
Zeus recalled feeling somewhat struck with awe, as he considered the vast distance he had travelled. The voyage had carried him more than a third of the way around the circumference of the spiralling galaxy to the inner edge of an adjacent galactic arm.
He began to feel a sense of great anticipation as the vessel finally swept toward the location of the new star. Entering that new star system from above the sparsely populated outer debris field of the system, the ship passed close to some of the outer worlds. In the distance, he observed the passive scans of a typical gaseous planet of some apparent large size. The light from the distant star reflected from its surface. It was too far away to clearly observe anything distinctive.
His attention was soon caught as the vessel approached more closely to a colourful gas giant with several small orbs obstructing its brightly marked surface. That planet appeared to be much larger than the previous one, though it may well have been the illusion of distance. At the time, he did not examine the comparison any further. As the ship's approach neared the right angle, he observed scans of shining rings of debris encircling the enormous body of the gaseous planet. He'd described it as quite an impressive sight to behold.
Shortly after leaving that giant world in its wake, the ship approached a second such planetary body. The orbits of those two worlds were in relatively close alignment at that time, making for an impressive flyby as the vessel traversed the planetary system.
That second giant planet seemed even more massive than the previous. Many small planetoids were held in its grip. Zeus was somewhat surprised that an enormous gas giant of such great mass had not become a secondary star. It appeared possibly as large as a brown-dwarf star, in volume, if not mass. Perhaps the composition of the planetary mass was wrong for such a thing. His knowledge of those related sciences was still rather limited, so he easily dismissed such passing speculation. He was content to revel in the amazing visual feast laid out before him.
After passing that gaseous giant, the vessel veered slightly above the orbital plane again to avoid to the space occupied by a broad region of planetoids and irregular bodies. Even in Resonant Time-space, it was normal to avoid any region occupied by any substantial gravitation or mass.
As the ship returned to the orbital plane, Zeus observed a smaller and apparently barren rocky planet in the distance as the final approach to the new world was executed. By his estimate, that planet appeared larger than typically lifeless moons, but perhaps only just a little smaller than many living worlds he'd visited. In fact, he'd visited a few moons of similar size with living ecosystems. Given its relative proximity to its star, he wasn't yet sure of why that planet appeared outwardly lifeless.
As the vessel drew near to the new world, it transitioned to normal space. Deceleration brought the ship within clear view of the planet that Zeus would soon come to call his new home.
At first glance, the planet's appearance appeared much like that of any other world of its type. It was not a particularly large planet. It appeared of a similar size to that of his homeworld, but certainly nowhere near the greater size of Titannia. Below the atmospheric cloud, oceans covered much of its surface, with significant ice caps at both of the poles. Large continental masses could be observed through the scattered cloud of the atmosphere.
At a relatively broad distance, a comparatively large spherical moon orbited the world. At a glance, it appeared to hold little or no atmosphere. It certainly did not appear capable of supporting any known life. In any event, a planet of that more moderate size would be unlikely to possess a living moon at such proximity. Both of the lifeless moons that orbited Terragodaea were much smaller. One was positioned much closer to the planet, and the other much further out.
From his recollection, most living moons were generally larger in size than the moon of the new world, or else of a higher specific density, and in many cases typically orbited much larger planets.
With the descent toward the upper reaches of the outermost layer of atmosphere, the sub-orbital platform came into view, as it ascended above the outer stratosphere to dock with the smaller vessel.
It would have been late in the year 1138AE by the calendar of the Alliance Union as Zeus arrived above the new world. That was approximately the middle of 5110BCE by the modern Gregorian calendar. That world would one day come to be commonly known by most of its inhabitants as the "Earth".