The Mankind War: Chapter 2

Part One: Generations
Chapter Two: Honor Your Creators

             Kilgo remembered when he first met Galina.  He’d left Deneb, left the farms and fields and family, left the view of three moons and his mother tongue, and replaced it to study on Troas.  He was the first of his family to leave, the first whose intellect and studies made him noticed, in this case by the University of Troas. 

            He spoke the only common language he had with Troas, mathematics.  And he spoke it like few others, wielded it in ways many could not.  He studied it at the University, but his professors soon found there was no problem so challenging he could not uncover the mathematical solution. 

            Despite being the outsider, Kilgo was gracious.  He saw a girl struggling with a problem, a mathematical mystery that clearly eluded her.  He approached her after class, used broken Troas Standard, and introduced himself.

            “I know who you are,” the mystery girl said.  “Kilgo from Deneb.  And I’m Galina Moonshadow.  From Carthage.”

            He shook her hand, and the equation of his life was finished.  He knew it was finished the moment he held that hand, the instant he saw into her eyes.  She had the measure of him, and he knew it.  He taught her math, and she taught him himself.  He loved her, knew his path had taken him here for her. 

            They married six months after meeting, during summer solstice.  The ceremony was yesterday and it was beautiful, his family holo’ed in, hers surrounding them.  She was beautiful, more than when he met her, more than believed he deserved or believed possible. 

            He stared at her now, sipping her chai at the small café in Gallab City, the perfect view from a city perched impossibly on coastal hills overlooking Troas’s setting sun.  It was the ultimate end to their first full day together as husband and wife.  Tomorrow they would bubble off-world, spend a week away before they returned to continue their studies together. 

            Kilgo looked around, noticing for the first time how crowded the café had become.  The town was coming out, gaining their view of the setting sun, beginning their evenings of errands and dinners and entertainment.  Robot waiters gathered up plates and dishes, wiped tables, served desserts and drinks.

            The sun on the horizon disappeared, a figure blocking the view.  A tall Century robot stood just outside the café square looking in, its features in silhouette, edged with the light of the golden sun behind it.  The image didn’t fit, an anomaly that didn’t add up.  The robot looked dispassionately, as dispassionately as any robot without formware. 

            Kilgo realized he was staring, which made Galina look over.  It spoke, hollow and at no one in particular.  “Honor your creators.”

            The sun exploded.  The robot silhouette replaced with bursting light that was once the Century.  A wave of light rushed forward, engulfing them, replacing Galina with searing yellow tendrils, a blast wave shoving Kilgo up, back, away from the table.  Walls crumbled, tables, shoes, bodies, papers, blew everywhere, away from the center. 

            Kilgo lay crumpled, twisted, his mathematical mind lifting one last time to stare at what remained of his new wife.  Her there, and her over there, and over there – it didn’t add up.He struggled to make it up add up, closed his eyes to blink out soot and smoke.  Darkness invaded as he tried desperately to make this add up.He kept the image in his head, as long as he could, trying to solve it as darkness encroached.  The tunnel closed.  The solution never came.