By James Lafond
Seeds of The Deceiver
Circa, 73,000 B.C.
Biology had such severe limits, not the least of which was dependence upon void breaching technology to span the unthinkably vast space between the stars and the gravity wells which played host to orbital habitats. As a biologist he knew this oh so keenly, sensed, quantified, and qualified this soul shivering dictum in his every gross part, as if his being, down to the very individual cell, understood its dependence on the Others and their gracious gift, the greatest of which surrounded him in this poignant instance.
He and his mate were in actuality twin symbiots born of Green, and hence ultimately her children. But so were they the children of this void spanning conveyance, a womb which had nurtured them as surrogate mother for the mind-numbing term of their journey, a journey which had ended when this body was young; a body that should be replaced before final approach.
After the seeming infinity of life within the Void Spanner this last brief sojourn in the gravity well of Blue had been close to perfect and endlessly fascinating. There was however, things missing, things missing within. Biology replicates along an evolutionary arc and the autonomous matrix in which he now planned had suffered magnetically. Even the plasma core had suffered corruption due to radiation.
The well itself posed hazards. Six orbits around the small violent star—so he was informed by his mate, she being the astronomic functionary—was all the Void Spanner could tolerate, ancient now as it was. Currently they had been languishing in a deteriorating micro-orbit about Blue for 72 or its orbits about the star, shielded somewhat by it and its moon. Being the meteorologist she understood these things and dutifully recorded them upon her portable codex.
As the final orbit remorselessly deteriorated he clustered all the closer to his twin, his symbiot, his soon to be mate; the mother of their colony; their world. The layers of her wonderfully gelatinous membranes caressed one another as they slid together beneath his gross touch, made tolerable for her by the amniotic plasma in which they nestled.
She gurgled her soothing acceptance as they prepared for their final reproduction and he, as the male, began the sloughing dance, the sensual flaying of his consort. As willing as she was there was hesitation. This would be their last dance in the amniosphere. Future reproduction would have to occur in some like medium on Blue, which they knew to be non-saline water. As the spawning symbiot it was his duty to make certain they avoided entry into the vast saline aquariaspheres that bathed Blue so furiously.
Such was her concern with the lethal unknown as the astronomical, chronological, and soon to be meteorological half of their union, a union infinitely more vast than any known to have been extant within Green at the time of their departure.
He was the spawning partner.
Breach of habitat was his responsibility, her sacred trust in him. This gross kinetic duty was made the more worrisome by two factors.
First was her damage. As the larger of the two she had—in her enveloping posture within the amnioshpere—suffered more from the radioactive hull breech. The Void Spanner had cleansed the plasma but not before replicable damage had occurred. As the biologist it would be his duty as her mate, once a suitable reproductive medium was accessed within Blue, to minimize, erode, and ultimately erase these replicable corruptions in her design.
Most worrisome of the two factors that concerned them was the volcanic ignition below. It was not known, only extrapolated as a possibility, that Blue might be geologically active. Green had not been, was old; fertile yet old and in need of escaping for a younger habitat if sentient life was to be preserved in the silently hostile void.
The orbit was no long tenable. Debris cloaked Blue in a refractive cloud. According to his projections, wonderful, welcoming, temperate Blue was about to be plunged into a constant state of shrouded winter. The best habitation zones were in the immediate vicinity of the destructive eruption.
Furthermore, the codex and amniotic functions of the primary insertion capsule were even now being retarded by the debris as their close orbit degraded further.
He wiggled free of her membranous embrace, her grasping slough of desire rejected as he took charge of their deteriorating situation.
What is it my active half? came her worry through the amniosphere.
He tried not to exude too much worry, but failed, and the amniosphere quavered with his emission, We must board the contingency capsules and seek linkage according to available means.
The precincts of their womb quavered with her shrill emission, No Spawner, no! I require you, I do.
The amniosphere was draining and a break in their communicative emissions was imminent as the Void Spanner prepped them for separate insertion. The Planners on Green, those on intimate terms with the Others, rated their separate survival at an unremembered fraction of their likely joint insertion. But in the case of a disaster of this magnetiude, the slight possibility that one of them might survive through reproduction according to indigenous means, had been considered preferable to certain extinguishment of the light-years old hope that they represented.
He released his hooks from her docks and caressed her membrane with his. He barely had time remaining to impart his final instructions to her, and was therefore overcome with a sense of profound loss as he resisted the temptation to reduce her summary pre-marooning brief by a single thought, We are to enter separately into tropical and sub-polar regions in the hemisphere occupied by the only near-sentient life. They are mammalian according to the surface probes— bipeds. We must put aside our distaste for such a form. I am the biological symbiot and will seek the shelter of the long valley of the southern land mass. You, being our chronologist, are to seek shelter in the farthest corner of the northern mass which is already glaciated to an extent. The indigenous forms should be the most resilient in the face of what comes. Blue is being plunged into a glaciating state.
Her anguish could be felt as a chill of a depth that he had never experienced, even in the void, as their amniosphere drained and they were parted forever by their mechanical surrogate and plunged separately into an alien world…
…The atmosphere billowed and roiled, the light of the angry dwarf star barely admitted to witness their painfully separate descents…