Chapter 1 – Death Has A New Beginning

Possibly the only jipsa still alive and thinking, Ameidjin stood alone on her rock, and hopelessly wished for a reset function she knew didn’t exist. The stress-induced adrenaline was causing her blood pressure to spike, and she closed her eyes as jumbled thoughts flashed behind her lids at nauseating speeds. The mess of reels culminated into a burst of colour, followed by nothing but static… Black… White… Grey… Continuously rolling, never ending… Static. She brought her hands to her head, shook it, and opened her eyes again. It didn’t help. Nothing about her surroundings had changed. Ameidjin still stood on her rock overlooking what had become a mass grave. From her vantage point, she had a round, unobstructed view of the Mad Maestro’s extermination of her kind in all of its twisted, rotting beauty. An ironic display of morbid grotesqueries rendered live, and in high definition, under the cruel glare of their planets’ sun. Here, within a jipsa sanctuary… Except a sanctuary it was no longer.

“It was a massacre,” didn’t begin to describe the true horror that had happened here. It was genocide; “Complete and utter annihilation.” It had Ameidjin nearly convinced she was losing her mind. Yet, it was impossible to miss, or misunderstand, how much death there had been here in what appeared to be a ridiculously short time frame; blood still pooled from the piles and piles of putrefied, mummifying carcasses littering the ground. All of her brothers, and sisters. All of them butchered, mangled, mutilated. They had been shot, skewered, crucified to the stone beneath them, stuffed into every crack, crag, and crevice. They had all manner of weapon jutting out of ripped skin and broken bones… All of them… She could even see the warmth of their collective bodies slowly rising into the atmosphere, dissipating into nothingness.

And the smell… The fetid scent of death and decay was threatening to engulf her whole. It had assaulted her senses long before she had made landfall. As she had moved up the shore, her bare feet landing ankle deep in puddles of guts and gore, it had become all the more intolerable. Now, it was nothing short of overwhelming. It made her eyes well up with tears. It made her nose and throat burn. It made her skin itch until her entire body felt wrapped up in dull, tingling sensations. It went along well with the fire searing a hole in her stomach. She could barely find her words, let alone put them in any which order, forced as she was to take it all in. She could feel what her family had felt; the desperation, the fear, the pain. She allowed all of it in, let it crawl under her skin, let it climb its way through her nervous system until all she could register anymore was her unbearable, insurmountable anger. At “THEM”.

It was all their fault, she knew. Those life sucking leeches… insufferable, unkillable insects. Rumours had circulated of their arrival, but there had been no warning. No indication whatsoever of what was to happen.

“Here”… On Cirxci… The small blue and yellow marble planet with one sun and two moons, Ameidjin and her people called home. Left to its own devices, alone in a distant corner of the backwards universe, it had developed, matured and flourished. Separated into three major continents, and surrounded by countless islands, cradled by clear, emerald green waters, it had been primordial, exotic, and teeming with life; a gentle nature befitting an equally gentle balance.

But then, that ‘THING’ had appeared.

Even on their distant island, they had heard the whispers floating back from the mainland. ‘ITS’ arrival had coincided with one of their festivals, and their otherwise inexplicable guest had been received as a Greater Deity, finally returned from some far gone pilgrimage… Alien naivety at its finest. Ameidjin pursed her lips.

No one knew exactly what had happened. One day, the jipsa had woken up to thick, black smoke instead of clouds; their ‘Deity,’ had been badly damaged. Its systems had overloaded, and a chunk of its hull had been blown clear off. ‘IT’ hadn’t survived… Jolted, tilted precariously to its side, and with dying engines,

‘IT’ had exploded, ripped apart, and crashed to the ground. A passive people, unaccustomed to confrontation and war, they had let their guard down. They had let their friendly curiosity get the best of them, and they had gotten too close. They hadn’t known how angry their ‘Deity’ truly was. Not until it was far too late, and now this… This… This was the inevitable result of their doing that.

Ameidjin balled her hands into tight fists, her claws drawing blood from her palms. The stories they had told… The rumours that had spread… The tales of how the downed, mountain-sized craft, had suddenly opened ‘ITS’ doors, and unleashed armageddon on doomed, defenceless Cirxci. Stories of mutated insects having suddenly appeared, swarming out by the millions. Stories of how they had spread out like a plague, destroying everything in their path. Thanks to their ,’Deity,’ infected, and mindless drones had run over their villages and cities. They had tortured who they could, and killed who they couldn’t. They had taken everything they were able to get their hands on until there was nothing left for them to take, and had kept on going. They had contaminated their waters, and decimated their ports. Their wildlife had been nearly eradicated while their lush forests had burned down, and been reduced to dry, barren deserts. Their once great cities were left smouldering rubbles of their former selves; spewing out more black smoke so thick, it had joined all the other smoke, and blotted out all the lights in the universe. It had turned even their brightest days into pitch black nights, and rendered their journey here all the more miserable.

Of course, she had found survivors, but the older generations, and those who hadn’t fallen to diseases, had suffered shock and trauma at the overbearing sight of the newly warped landscape. Others had died traversing the rough seas, and most had extinguished from heat and starvation. To add to their paranoia, there hadn’t bee a single bird in the sky, not a single movement on the ground or even a quiet breeze to keep them company for what had seemed like an eternity-long voyage. As their numbers had dropped off, all she’d had left on her increasingly lonely journey here was silence… And more silence was what had greeted her when she had finally gotten here… To what she was painfully discovering was not shelter, but her kind’s final resting place.

Ameidjin sucked in a breath. Every moment gone was a moment closer to her inevitable death. They were done, she believed. Her species had been rendered all but extinct, and she knew, “IT,” would come back to finish what it had started. She knew their, ‘Deity,’ wasn’t far from here. It rested, looming into the background among their sacred mountains, waiting for what remained of them to arrive. She could practically hear ‘ITS’ engines; the menacing, low mechanical sounds of technological torture. The, “Black Machine of Death.”

And she could feel it… All of it. The pain… The suffering… All that misery and anguish. It was positively excruciating. It felt like hell. Or as close to hell as they could get, all the way out on their distant planet.

The insects were coming ever closer. She could hear them chittering nearby. It wouldn’t be much longer now.

With nothing left to look at but the same, morbidly red white and black, never-ending static, and the dry, death-filled landscape frozen in space and time, Ameidjin closed her eyes once more. It couldn’t be over… This couldn’t be the…

She closed her eyes tighter.

Flash. White. Blank.

“The End?”

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