The following is a story I wrote based on the civilization I created and story'd here.
The Kailobb Mercantile Republic: Alone?
About three decades into the Kai’s slow but steady efforts at contracting galactic colonies and business ventures, they found themselves with an existentialism problem.
The Kai had never been ubiquitously religious by any stretch of the imagination. Various faiths with varying numbers of followers had risen and fallen over the years, but no mythology had really managed to capture their imagination as a whole. Especially after the so-called gods failed to save any of their followers who would have died anyway from Volcano 2,200 years ago, the Kai had, as a society, subscribed to the notion that God was either dead or uninterested. Various spiritualities and faiths continued, but these were usually low-key and quite peaceful. Extremists lived as recluses or hermits, their ramblings ignored by anybody who mattered.
Aside from the reclusive lumbering fungoid theatre troupe in the thousands-year-old station in the Golmorran system, there had been nobody. And not only were the troupe so self-absorbed that they couldn’t be bothered to know if there was anyone currently in their area, but they also had no knowledge of where they themselves came from anymore. Backstage drinking, drugging, and other frivolities had left the artisans more or less exactly as they had been found and being exactly what they appeared to be. Odd, a bit funny, and at times utterly annoying to shareholders who tended to receive less-than-promised dividends for their donations; but not very informative. That they had been alone for unremembered millenia before their first dinner theatre performance for the Kai was also disconcerting.
It wasn’t so much the idea of being completely alone with no other sapient life; that was a possibility long-discussed in the years of their first rocket tests and initial orbital missions. That might have actually been a bit better. There had indeed been plenty of galactic civilizations out there, even one in their own region of space. The problem wasn’t one of finding the evidence but rather what the evidence communicated. At every turn, every artifact uncovered, every trace of those-who-were-before, the end punctuation spelled the same message: death. Death floated through the silent debris fields where million-year old plastic tubing drifted forever without coolant. Death existed in the creaking steel beams that shattered like so much confetti in front of an away team’s eyes during a strong gale. Death existed in the corpses, preserved or no, peppered throughout the debris field outside of a moon with not a single data disk or shred of paper to tell anyone their story and what they stood to gain there. Death eerily shone on the face of a doll outside a burned out-bunker forever perched atop a small rock, its face and dress bleached chalk white by centuries of sun.
The Kai had been aware that Volcano could have very well been the end of them, but while not exactly spiritual, many had held a subconscious belief that somehow the Kai deserved to live; that it was to their natural ingenuity and ability to organize themselves that they somehow pulled out of the most climactic event in their history to rebuild their civilization. After seeing ruin upon derelict upon grave time and time again and only some drugged-out eccentric theatre types they came to realise that they were never entitled to their life. There was nobody to entitle them to anything. And the various priests and gurus with their soft-spoken wisdom didn’t do much to assauge the average Kai of the heart-stopping notion that there was nothing 2,000 cycles ago that saved them except for sheer coincidence; in this case the fact that roughly ninety percent of the supply fleet for the Colonial ventures had been on the home continent.Hatchlings were closely monitored until they came of age. Suddenly psyhiatric checkups became closely intertwined with biannual physicals, then became mandatory for entrances to most major academies. Soon entire schools were founded with endowments specifically to help Kai who needed a place in society but just couldn’t bear to lay eyes on the void. It was important to not spare them the truth about mortality, even of the whole species, but it was also becoming important to realise that the sight of a galactic debris field was suicide fuel for many and that some couldn’t handle them. A rigorous psychological examination—so intense that it itself could bring elite soldiers to quivering piles of tears and curled up pincers—became a standard requirement to get on board any long-term science ship and it was more than enough to give even the most adventurous university student pause.
But all the warnings and gentleness in the world were not going to deter a free press corp, and a splash screen warning about viewer suitability wasn’t going to deter the ever-curious Kai children from learning about their reality as a mote of sand or their inevitable fate.
In 2230, The Republican Consumer Index reported that the most financially successful and expansive start-ups founded the previous year had all been based around psychological healthcare and associated pharmaceuticals. This was closely followed by the nightlife and recreational substance industries. The interstellar tourism and pleasure cruise industry, once thought of as one of the greatest revenue stream prospects in existence, was in severe depression.
Time and time again…
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