Jan. 15th, 2015

jexia: (Me me)
This planet is not our home. We came here thousands of years ago, in a failing ship. The flickering remnants in the reactor core were barely enough for us to fire off a call for help, and guide the ship to earth as best we could.

Though the planet seemed to bask in blues and greens, our scarred ship landed in a brown dustiness. We could not survive here, not in our true forms. The gravitational pull was too fierce, the atmosphere too oxygenated. Our ship was nearly drained, and help was a million light years away. We had no choice; we had to meld.

Melding is an emergency procedure, used only in direst need. If lifeforms are compatible, we can integrate our consciousness to form a shared symbiont, where we can bide our time, passing from host to host with each generation, waiting for assistance to arrive.

Earthbound, we could only scan the nearby area, hoping for a suitable host animal. Should it be those spotted creatures, with claw and tooth and the fearsome speed of our nf'anda at home? Or those small, darting animals in their underground colonies, taking democratic turns to bask in the sun and stand on guard? Or the voiceless, angular beasts that graze on the treetops?

Eventually we settled on an animal with size, intelligence, and strength, with social behaviours that mimicked our own. Its grey, wrinkled skin offered protection from sun and foes, and its faintly ridiculous facial appendage was nimble enough to be useful. We used the last dregs of power to entice a herd closer, broadcasting their own calls back to them.

They came. We shifted, and merged, encoding ourselves into their very cells. They welcomed us, in their basic way, and we learned the rhythm of the seasons, and the way of our new world.

It was brutal.

Life came and went with sudden redness, with fear and pain. It was strange to us, but we persisted through the years, passing from parent to child.

We survived, nothing more, waiting for help. Then, a thousand years ago, we heard it; the faintest signal, getting ever closer. Help was coming.

The realisation struck us hard. We had no way to respond, to show that we were still here. Helplessly, we listened as the signal peaked and then faded again, sliding into an orbit around the sun.

Despair drove some of us mad. Our mental anguish festered in the host animals; they rampaged across the dust, devastating anything that lay before them. The rest of us could only watch in horror; the other hosts learned to flee until the madness had passed.

Every year when the temperature drops, in the period of time they call "winter", the beacon comes around again. We listen powerlessly as it drifts past us. Each year, it is quieter; each year, that knowledge drives some of us mad.

I've never succumbed. Not yet. But if one day, winter comes, and the beacon does not... then, I will truly despair.


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