Meanwhile, post #2 of today’s Carina Press doubleheader on Boosting the Signal is for the SF/F lovers among you! T.D. Wilson’s second book in his Empherium Chronicles series has dropped, and with it, he offers up this piece on how one of his alien characters rises to a noble goal: opposing the destruction of new human friends and their civilization. Check it out.
Humans. They are a fascinating species whose lives are entangled in unexplainable drama and contradictions. The ones who arrived on this planet they call Cygni 4 are full of passion and the desire for adventure, often at great risk. Yet they are fragile creatures. Much like the delicate crystals fashioned for each new life in a Cilik’ti birthing, their bodies cannot sustain their structure under great physical stress.
The great invasion against the humans initiated by the Chi’tan, the leaders of the Shi Council, and their allies was a testament to how little the Shi understand humans. This one has studied much of that conflict. Human death tolls were in the multitudes beyond egregious and still they found the will to fight on. Despite the lauding of great victories by the Chi’tan, those lives were extinguished without honor. The trophies of conquest brought home to display in front of the Shi council were hollow and worthless.
The N’lan, this one’s Shi, was not a part of the conflict and stood opposed to the idea that any Shi should annihilate a species based on presumption of a threat. The human colonists on this planet knew nothing of the Shi, until Captain Hood and his ship arrived. Even after the colonists’ accidental discovery of this one’s observation cave in the canyon, this one was not feared or shunned. The colonists embraced the opportunity to study and learn. This one’s mission on this world was the same—to listen, to observe and to understand.
In the quiet darkness of the cave, this one could hear the thoughts of the colonists nearby. Through concentration, their feelings and surface thoughts became clear, especially those from Commander Jillian Howard. This one has spent much time with this female. The humans speak of a bond called friendship, a sense of mutual trust and admiration. This one has finally understood, but it has already been put to the test. This one does not blame Captain Hood. His revelation of her younger sibling’s death during the invasion of the human’s system was harsh, but she would have discovered soon anyway. This one can sense her anger and her fear. Even now, this one’s presence reminds her of his death. Her pain is strong and it echoes through this one’s body. It is odd. Cilik’ti do not share their feelings in this way. This one did not know it was possible.
It no longer matters now. The Chi’tan are coming. They will bathe this world in destruction and the humans here will be no more. It is their way. This one has done what was necessary to warn them, but there is little hope. The N’lan can stop this. They have chosen not to. Their inaction is shrouded in the same shame from years past when the Chi’tan and their allies had annihilated other species in the false search for worlds to satisfy their lust for destruction. They have lost their way.
The N’lan will not act, so this one must. This one will remain here and face what end may come. This one is not afraid to face the end of life, but this one fears for those humans—those new friends—who stand against the Chi’tan. The N’lan must be reminded of who they are. To stop the bloodshed, there is no other way.
~Kree O’ta N’lan
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