It’s the greatest irony that the universe contains infinite worlds and possibilities yet the History of its civilizations often follows the same predictable pattern of planets orbiting around a star.
Kargarath flew through debris, his azure aether wings and body the only contrast inside the orange nebula created by the massive supernova.Two populated systems were here. Now nothing. Accursed Zenobians.
Kargarath had great plans for that species. In a few million years he would have returned here. To think they would destroy themselves…
He sighed. He should’ve known better by now. All gone and not a single soul to keep Zenobian science, technology or experiences. A waste.
A wave of gravitational distortion rippled through his ethereal body. He sensed a metal structure and… three living beings.
Except for Kargarath himself, nothing could have survived multiple detonations of ragnamite devices followed by a cosmic supernova. That meant the Zenobians unintentionally altered a portion of time-space, something he desperately hungered for more information. He clenched his ghostly claws and went to check the anomaly.
They were tiny, no taller than six feet, inside space suits. Two standing. Their reaction was obvious when Kargarath, over twenty feet of energy, aether and light towered over them: they shot him.
Heated red beams. Primitive technology. Their mouths moved frenetically, as if they whatever they were shouting could be heard in space. A third lied immobile. Kargarath almost didn’t notice the faint light hovering over it, slowly disintegrating. He absorbed it.
In a second the man’s name, physiology, family, language… everything he knew, saw or experienced in life was now Kargarath’s.
“Greetings, earthlings,” Kargarath said telephetically.
“Did you hear that, Sara? It’s inside
“Shut up, Lukas. Hear it…him.”
“A wise choice. Your uniforms and ship won’t resist the radiation spreading this way. If you wish to live… enter.” Kargarath opened his massive mouth.
Sara checked her instruments. “It’s true.”
“You’re not really considering this…” said Lukas.
She stared at Kargarath’s eyes. “What’s the worse that could happen there that won’t happen here?” She approached. “I feel like Aladdin.” She threw herself inside.
Lukas entered. Very slowly.
“You can remove your suits if you wish.”
“No way,” said Lukas.
Sara removed her helmet. She was blonde, with various tones of blue, green and pink mixed in, the effect of watercolor, the hair merely a canvas. Lukas removed his helmet. Bald, half his face was robotic, both eyes electronic.
“You’re crazy,” he said.
are. The first contact with an intelligent extraterrestrial lifeform, and you’re worried about petty things like oxygen or giant teeth.” She floated away. “Who are you?”
“Sara. Astronaut, scientist and tech-savvy. This doofus here is my husband Lukas. He does the same things, except worse.”
“I personally believe you only win in hairstyle.”
“Speaking of it, you looked so magnificent at distance. The little dots ressembling stars in your skin, these energy rays looking like veins connecting them… you looked like a ghost tattooed with constellations. I like your style, Kargarath.”
is what you tell to our first extraterrestrial contact?”
Kargarath interrupted them. “What are you doing in space?”
“Our planet is dying,” said Lukas. “A desperate mission to find resources in our nearby systems that could help. But we entered something along the way. Zhou died in the crash.”
, Kargarath’s small, but powerful and fast ship arrived. For the earthlings it was colossal; their biggest structures paled in comparison.
“Your civilization must be amazing,” said Sara.
“It’s gone. I’m the last.”
“I can help yours, though.”
“Really?” Asked Lucas. “How?”
“See the universe through my eyes, a universe so vast as to be immeasurable and incomprehensible even to the greatest minds that have ever existed.”
Their minds merged. Sara and Lukas saw civilizations beyond their imagining. Domed cities orbiting around a planet. Galactic commercial hubs. Creatures even bigger than Kargarath.
They saw the fury of the cosmos. Supernovas and black holes. The horrors. They saw planets hatching from within, revealing an insectoid race that devoured unhabited planets. Civilizations destroying planets or systems with massive weapons.
“This is amazing. And terrifying. Does History always repeat itself? Is destruction a law in the universe?” Asked Lukas.
“Whether by their own creations or by the natural fury and horrors of the cosmos, I have seen entire systems vanish into cosmic dust faster than the time it takes for your mortal hearts to beat once; civilizations and their denizens erased of existence without so much as a whimper.”
“What’s out there?” Asked Sara.
“The Swarm feeds on planets and use their crusts and cores like parasites replicating inside an egg, moving from planet to planet, impermeable and uncaring to the harshest conditions of space.
“The Devourer sleeps in his whirling house made of void, and will remain so for a few more million years, when it will wake once again to sate its hunger and bring upon the final darkness to countless worlds.
“The Chronokeeper knows the secrets of time-space, risking the entire fabric of the universe as she keeps creating her own pocket parallel dimensions with different possible futures with her Hourglass.”
“You can help us,” said Lukas.
“It’s in my interests. But you won’t live to see it.”
“The nearest place with food and water apropriated for your biological composition is forty-two days from here.”
“C-cant you put us in stasis or something?” asked Sara.
“I don’t have such primitive technologies here. I’m ethereal. Thus I can merge your consciousness into mine. I can offer you that.”
The next day, defeated by hunger and thirst, Sara and Lukas held hands and agreed.
And Kargarath took their souls.A car trip.“Damn, Sara, changed hair color again. Red, black and… green? Jesus. Why do you love so much color?”“Haha, I don’t know. Maybe mom ate a rainbow during pregnancy. But don’t worry, the wedding dress will be white.”Darkness. A moving bed.“Lukas? Lukas? Is he alive?”“Yes, miss, please back off. Something went wrong with the systems and he was without protection. Sun rose at that time. He lost his sight, and half his body froze.”“Oh my God…”“We can save him. Now please back off or I’ll have to call security, miss.”
More than seven decades of existence assimilated in less than seven seconds. Kargarath let their bodies float together in space.
He found Earth four months later, after searching systems and galaxies with limited information of the Solar system. Tiny as the earthlings. Their Sun grew and the orbit of the planet was too close. That combined with their own neglects and lack of technological advancement only worsened the scenario.
They never reached the next stage of advanced civilizations: interspecies cultural and technological contact. The next planet with intelligent life was hundreds of systems away. Equally lacking advancement.
Kargarath selected a few technological plans between millions of civilizations, choosing the ones Earth would be able to reproduce to save themselves and to make their souls stronger. He made holograms of Sara and Lukas, explaining those plans. Nevermind no one would be able to explain how they came across or knew so much about them. They would, ironically, be hailed as saviors and heroes.
Then Kargarath returned to his preferred galaxy and his ship entered the black hole in its center. Event horizons were a problem long solved by him. And the best place to hide when most vulnerable.
The Swarm surrounded the ship, waiting.
“Come, my children, gather to me.”
And they obeyed their master. The insects landed around the ship, feeding it the energy of consumed planets. All places, all things have souls. All souls can be devoured.
Despite billions of years of evolution and learning, above everything else he was a dragon. A hunter. A predator. A devourer
. No amount of science, culture or technology from any civilization would change that essential, primordial definition of himself. It could, at best, only alter what
he hunted; the means, but not the ends.
One day he would catch Seleniarath and her Hourglass. How he wished to retain immortal life with a simple time change. Kargarath didn’t even care for being unable to alter the present or the future. He just wanted to get rid of the tedious process of harvesting souls of entire worlds then sleep for million of years so his own wouldn’t shatter under the weight of trillions and trillions of souls merging into his own being.
Sometimes a civilization tried to fight him back. But a dragon doesn’t feel ants biting at his scales.
Hopefully after a few million years sleeping he would find Earth in much better conditions than they currently were, thanks to their cosmic isolation.
That’s what Earth was now, a little lamb lost and alone in the dark woods, alive only because it wandered this far unnoticed, and now lies at the wolf’s mercy.
Or more precisely, at the dragon’s.