A Letter to the Children
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I am a Preservationist, and my art is to preserve that of the natural will. Within the galaxy-spanning void, to find the soul of life was a rarity beyond beauty. Though many saw fit to take what seeds were sprinkled over the eons, the Preservations saw fit to challenge such status quo, demanding refuge for the sparks of existence that lingered in the obtuse corners of the galaxy. Life was to be preserved, and even the doomed should be rescued in the sense of their DNA. Cold and calculating, despite its purpose, the preservation of all life was the goal we sought. If asteroids would pelt a planet into ruin, or a disaster would plunge the world back to a barren state, we would intervene. At unfortunate times, even some species had to be eradicated at the pit of their numbers, to prevent an invasive species scenario.

In every environment lays an intrinsic balance of the forces within it, a perfect harmony of climate, temperature, vegetation, and of course the most related to us, the animal. With the foundation of the vegetation and its orbital existence with the animal, they depend on one another in their continuous cohabitation, an endless cycle that feeds within itself the harbor of niche life and strange existence. No single being makes up the quilt of these pockets of existence, no single thread makes these expansive fabrics. Only together, in their endless weave could the quilts of the environment come to fruition.

Though the purpose of plants in their singular drive to survive is simple, and the climate steady in its artful course, the animal is what clouds our mind and absorbs our thoughts. Such foreign and alien thoughts, minds beyond ours that, for the briefest moments, share a single synapse of thought, of purpose. Even further, we saw ourselves in their primitive forms, we saw the foundation of our rise and the blocks of life that built and shifted upward.

But our clairvoyance gave us more than that sweet connection of shared thought: it gave us the bitter realization of the fate shared by the quilt by this single thread. If left to grow, to tangle and weave its way from its stunted home, this thread would undo the cloth, and bring tattered rot to the yarn. We saw the end result, the final threads that would end this quilt would tatter and fray, and all would be undone, all would be lost in the ignorant gluttony of our nepotic connection.

And so our kindred cousins of thought must die. Today their numbers waned, and any scientist worth his salt would declare them doomed if not for the morbid prediction of the machines, no matter how many times they ran the simulation. If left unchecked, they would do more than simply survive, they would dominate, and the world they lived on would lose countless species before they could even be named. Such a fate was many millennia away, but we would never have a better chance. Here, if we stepped onto the soil of the planet, we could solve the issue with zero impact on the surrounding environment. Letting them move unchecked, letting them grow before removing them could prove disastrous, as there was no safe way to eradicate millions of a species, much less if their numbers grew further as projected.

The projection was firm in its stance. They would number billions, and they would cripple their world before they realized it.

Their DNA preserved, samples and individuals frozen and stored for future resuscitation. In this thought, the species was saved to the Preserve, and the death of the others mattered little. But it mattered to the family I tracked, it mattered to the cubs who would starve without their paternal guardians, and it mattered to me, as I pulled the trigger on each dart. The Preserve would have them killed in the name of the whole and would do so uncaringly in the vague thought that it was the greater good.

So I would be the hand of righteous xenocide, and I would carry out each careful act with the regret and morose kindness that these primitive souls deserved. And so it was that I donned the sealed suit of our kind, took the transport to the planet's surface, and wrought death to a world we would never live in. Where I landed was cold, a wasteland to our kind, but to specimen, a vast expanse of opportunity. In the cradle of their species birth, they had launched forth across the land, stretching too thin, too fast, and found themselves unprepared for the world before them. They stood a chance of dying here, without our interference, but projections of cold machines were just as clever as they, and we knew that through the thick and thin they would discover ways to persevere, for both themselves and the endless children that would follow them.

Yet I could not allow such a thing to happen. We were fortunate in this opportunity, to be given a moment in time where we could disrupt them for better or for worse, and to have the tools to quietly send them to peaceful oblivion. Yet as I found tracks that led through the snow, I could not help but find my hesitation growing. In each footprint, a story was told, the hardened trudges of a large specimen that carried direction to his territory, and it seemed so deeply wrong to intrude further. I was not swift, and I took my time through the night as I scanned forth with my rifle slung, the prints of their covered tracks dwarfing mine as I followed like a wayward scavenger.

What would I look like to their primitive minds, I wondered. What bizarre mythology would they concoct if they were to survive the plague that was I? We had been mistaken for deities before, and in some cases, such reverence to the unknown was the only way to save notable specimens. To have the strange formulaic shape of a biped, its body wrapped in the gauze of impossible patterns and countless cultures, the exact colors changing in each world to better hide the strange oblong hood of the septet eyes of the mask that hid my features from the plagues of this world and the world from mine. I was a stranger here, and the beauty of this place bent towards me in that sense. I was the invader, and I was unwelcome.

Nevertheless, I pushed onward in the night, the singular moon overhead lit halfway with the curved shadow of the planet in its way. A curious phenomenon possessed the satellite, as our scans showed it never rotated its face away from its host. If left untreated, it would take them countless generations to truly appreciate such a strange circumstance. I scarcely had time to consider its ramifications further, as in the distance, illuminated by the heat of the specimen, my quarry was found. A genetic anomaly of this kind, that would likely be key in the biological growth of them all towards survival. Not of strength, or keen eye or even of bodily structure, rather a simple shift of pattern recognition. Scarcely present even in this one, but if given chance, would amplify to rival even our own kin.

He stood on two legs, looking up to the moon.

I moved to the ground, the blurring textures of my clothing further hiding my presence against the shrill grass that coated the rolling hills of this place. Here, the dirt was hard, dry and ungiving to fertile desires. Nevertheless, the specimen stood with renowned strength, not just his life reserved, but the strength of muscle held definition impossible alongside starvation. They were not thriving, but they were doing far more than surviving. From further along the hill came three more shapes, one of the female form and two smaller specimens, clearly the offspring of the mates. Together they kneeled on the grass, bound tightly in the hardy quilts of the local beasts. The larger of the children pointed upwards to the flux of stars that peered out across the sky, the knit colors of the cosmo finding path outward in every direction.

The stars had not been that bright in several hundred years back home. I had been around the globe, always gazing upward, and never had I seen the stars so bright, the cosmos so lit with purple and trails of galactic mist from my own home. Long ago they were blotted out by machines and fog, shrapnels of light and emissions tuning out sky-dark, and killing our view of it all. Though my finger rested on the trigger, knowing he would feel nothing more than the rude bite of some insect, dying as he slept within the hour, I could not help but watch them, to place myself among them as a silent guide.

Yes, child, up there sits the cradle of our spawn, far in the distance, by that bright piece that pierces the purple haze. To the right, child, is the expanse of void, empty and dead, full of nothing but the corrupted essence of machines. Never travel there, child, there is no light to find. Further up, along your outstretched finger, is where the grand floral beasts roam with their manes of bronze and blue, perched upon by great birds that blend within that fur. They hide from the hypnotic frills of basilisks, whose troublesome patterns even confuse our own senses. What is your favorite color, child? I will bring you to planets filled with it.

I let out a breath, and my hands shook as the reticle rested faintly on the spine of the patriarch. His body held a faint glint of sweat, an exceedingly rare adaptation, and I saw the soft glint of his eyes in the dim light. The reflection was too dim, despite their intense curiosity of the night sky, their eyes could scarcely wander the twilight hours. They risked safety for this, and I was to interrupt it? I burned with the rage of revolt and felt the pulse of defiance rise, but as minutes passed, and I began to feel the chill of the night, I knew that I must act. Regardless of our attachment to such ideals, to such concepts that we find in species, we must do what is right.

In the name of preservation, I pulled the trigger, and the silent recoil shuttered my soul.

On all reports, the bipedal being was shot at the base of the neck, to which he idly slapped and scratched at the perceived slight of insects. In his sleep within the hour, he faded away as the venom ate away at his brain stem, painlessly severing life from the chance intelligence of this blue orb. Within the following days, his grieving wife was unable to scrounge proper resources for both herself and her children and nobly starved to death days before her children. Their cries and emotions were terribly fully developed, and I could hardly stop myself from helping, only my ethics of the code allowing it to occur. Even in the logistical reports, the expense of one microsyringe was noted and was expected to dissolve in the blood of its foe.

Yet in the following decades, we could scarcely account for the sharp rise in their numbers, and it seemed, despite our precise assumptions, that we had targeted the wrong specimen. Even without that volatile strain, the breed survived and began to thrive, killing off its competing cousins and mixing with a scarce few of them. It was obvious, despite our efforts, that we had missed our opportunity. Any method to eradicate them now would prove hostile to the planet itself, even a crafted bio virus would prove too volatile to the planet at large.

I took my secret to my grave, of how the only thing that died under my hand was a large tree that blocked the nightly sightlines of that family. How, even though one child died three local years later of an as-yet-unnamed disease, they produced many more, and their blood expanded outwards to the local humans, then further, then further, until the species at large held their genes. If you read this, then you know my fate, unknown years later. I can only hope that in the mists of death, I can find those children once more.

I have so much to teach them.

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