Even in a position to continue exploiting those we’d conquered and enslaved forever, we had too much heart for that. Some of us looked looked at the rest in growing disgust, able to see ourselves as those conquered people did, and because of it we now live mostly peaceful lives alongside them.
These fucking monstrosities of genomically sculpted flesh had, for reasons unfathomable to me, decided to go as far in the other direction as they could. Not to grow closer with other hominids but to press their momentary advantage and accelerate as far away from the rest of the species as possible.
It steeled my resolve to see them fall, insofar as it was even possible to further reinforce that feeling. To see everything that they built, everything they still hoped to build crumble into the same mess of debris and half-forgotten memories that Tlalo, Drena and the others emerged from.
That’s when I heard the sound of rushing air from the passage behind us. Like when you’re in a subway station and the train draws near, though I could feel no similar vibrations through my feet. I ducked behind the truncated base of a stalagmite the top of which had fractured and toppled over.
I glanced around the edge for any sign of Tlalo at the cavern opening, only for feel his big, warm hand on my shoulder as he silently slid up beside me. He held a single finger to his lips, and I nodded. With the press of a button my Vril staff, having telescopically compacted itself due to protracted disuse, once again resumed its full dimensions.
The saucer which approached from the distant blackness of the passage looked entirely unlike the one I recalled our two would-be assassins climbing out of back in the cavern of antiquated machinery. Clearly made to resemble it, like ours, but with tell-tale signs of patchwork construction by mechanics working with inadequate parts and tools.
When it landed and the hatch opened, it was not Nordics which emerged from within. Instead, seven arns and four gy-ei clad in tattered, fading uniforms from what must have been their military prior to the occupations.
Tlalo called out that we were hiding here, and after standing up from behind the stalagmite base to the weary but happy faces of these new strangers, I stood up as well. All of them stared, with undisguised suspicion and hostility in their eyes. Two even drew their staffs, but Tlalo intervened.
“A covert operative. In training anyway, though none of our training has stopped until this day. It should suffice to say she is a comrade in the struggle. Despite how she looks, she is not one of theirs. Deeply and thoroughly, she is disconnected from all of that evil and is just as dedicated as any of you to seeing it brought to ruin.”
I glanced at their faces, now studying me with new interest but still apparent unease. There was a tense silence to be filled, so I filled it. “I know that when you all look at me, you see the faces of the barbarians who destroyed your loved ones. Your past, your history and culture. You must look at me, at these eyes, and see the same eyes which hunted for you all those years ago among the ruins of your beloved homes.
I understand why that is, and what my features represent to you. But I am not my features. I love nothing about them, because they aren’t what makes me a real person. That’s my heart, which I swear to you all, is now the heart of a gy-ei.
It pumps the blood of the Vril-ya through it, made that way by seeing firsthand what’s left of your great civilization. Seeing the charred bones of what might’ve been your mothers, your fathers, siblings or children still frozen in positions of terror and agony. Knowing that the only reason there are even still bones is that they survived long enough to be burnt alive when the occupying forces set fire to everything.
This heart of mine throbs for what you have been forced to endure! For the ones taken from you, who could not be here today to look upon us with hope in their eyes. It burns! It turns over on itself and gushes blood, threatening to escape my chest, as if infused with Vril itself!
My heart seethes and smolders before you. Outrageously! Audaciously, with a radiant golden fire which can only ever be quenched by the blood of the enemy. You can see it, can’t you? Even in these cold blue eyes of mine, don’t you see past their color? Don’t you see they are in fact your very own eyes, filled with the rising fire of righteous rage which will soon consume the cities below?”
They were looking at each other now, some quietly murmuring. If I was going to reach them, now was the time to make my big, final push. “I knew what I believed in before I came down here” I said to them, more loudly and clearly than I ever knew I could before, “…but not the depths to which I believe it. The battle we will soon fight is not just between indigenous people and invaders.
It is between eternal principles. Whether to ruthlessly self-improve and reinforce, indifferent to whoever is destroyed or left to die in the process, or to let feeling in. To let the tender warmth of the All-Good into our hearts. The love which defies expression by speech or writing, which I have been told is part of why you have for so long avoided trying to.
It is the love which forgives when met with regret and the desire to reconcile. Which looks upon all living things of this universe and sees itself reflected in their faces. The love which critically self-examines, which doubts and re-evaluates its own reasoning to the greatest possible degree before concluding violence is necessary.
That’s what we’re fighting for. A future for tenderness, for those who do not need to be told to cherish one another. Space for them to live and grow, to raise little ones in safety from those who would destroy them out of single minded hatred for anything less capable.
Though we are few, do not doubt that we have within us what it takes to emerge victorious upon this day. Even as an outsider, drawn into all of this against all understanding of what is possible, I can see it. It’s in your eyes, and in your hearts.
Your bodies are strong! Your wits are sharp, your principles are wholesome and true. There never was such a wildly outnumbered group in the history of my own people, or yours I’d wager, which were so uniquely and perfectly poised to triumph in spite of it all.
That’s exactly what we’re going to do. Just as they brutalized you where you felt safe, we will now take the fight to where they feel safest. That feeling will be torn away, shredded and burnt to ashes as they look on, unbelieving.
So it is that the depraved history of their civilization will come to an end on this very day, because you and I are the ones who will put an end to it. Not some unspecified force for justice that we wait for the miraculous appearance of. That has to be us. You! Me! The bristling, wild-eyed arns and gy-ei next to you! Can you feel it? Resonating together as one, united in purpose?
They will not have the mercy of vaporization. Not most of them. Besides the fact that we just don’t have the staffs for it. Vril will run out in short order once the black sun is disabled. After that the bulk of the fighting will take place with whatever’s left, including blades and rocks if need be.
Because of this, they will die screaming. They will look each of you in the eyes as you take them, and in that moment, understand the meaning of it. They will not see the faces of inferior animals, but instead see you as I do now. A noble people. A wise and strong people. A just people, laying waste to an enemy which deserves nothing less.
If it is within you, I invite you to see me that way. Because I’m here today to lay down my life with the rest of you, and if I should die because of it, by my very bones and all the blood in my body, it will have been the greatest honor to which I could ever have aspired.”
Silence. Smiles though, and tears in some of their eyes. Tlalo began clapping, which visibly confused them until they worked out what it was meant to signify. Then they began clapping with him, until the applause was thunderous. Over it all the staff picked up one of them asking another “Why does she think fighting will continue after the black sun is shut down?” I puzzled over that but did not belabor it, instead simply becoming lost in the sea of applause and smiling, tearful faces.
Stay Tuned for Part 29!