There are stories of a time when all of mankind was united. A time when there were no wars between peoples. But that was before my time. War is what I prepare for now as I adjust my helmet, shrug my chest armor into a more comfortable position, and heft my sword.
Legend says that mankind was once, long ago, beyond war fought face to face, man to man. Beyond hand forged steel weapons and armor. There are tales of weapons that propelled steel at incredible speeds, like a bow and arrow, but the projectile was smaller, faster, more lethal…more accurate.
Though I am no slouch with a bow.
This was many, many years ago, according to the legends.
Before the change.
The Change, that is yet another legend.
I am rambling. I think it is the nerves of battle.
The first legend, the legend of mankind being much more advanced. A period called the industrial age, followed by the computer age, that was before the Change. There are skins with drawings of the marvels of that age. Machines that flew men across the sky faster than any arrow. Horseless carriages that had the power of hundreds of horses. Machines that fit in your hand and could think for you.
I have not seen these pictures. They are guarded by the elders, but the elders never lie.
The Change, that was caused by a species that is not man. These beings, they came from the star’s legend says. The stories talk of them winking into existence, far above the planet. The light of our sun reflecting off them with more brilliance than the moon.
The elders say they sent beams of energy down into our cities, our industrial complexes, space ports. I don’t understand what all those words mean. Well, beside cities, but the cities legend talks of had more people than one man can count in his lifetime.
Sometimes, these legends are hard to believe. Our biggest city is four days travel by horse, and it only has five thousand people. That is what the Kings official census taker says.
There was no warning for the attacks from those beings from space. Legend says the attack was unprovoked. When the last craft winked out of existence, scores and scores of humans were dead. There was no power, roads and bridges lay in ruins, and all industry lay smoldering.
When the attack was over, skins called paper fell from the sky. Upon these skins was written something about giving humanity another chance. Re-establishing the principle of, survival of the fittest.
The elders say that the Change was four generations ago. Man banded together, worked as one for survival. Rediscovered metal forging, ship building, and fishing. Learned how to make weapons from the materials the earth provided. Weapons meant for hunting and fighting off the mightiest of beasts.
Then our chiefs and kings became possessive, and jealous, and we rediscovered war.
I am big, strong, smart. I have been fighting in wars since my sixteenth season. I am one of my kings most trusted generals. But many of my friends have died in all this fighting. Does that mean I am the fittest?
I don’t question my kings’ orders, but I do question the need for war.
* * * * *
Zauzz watched his holographic displays for a little longer before tapping out a series of commands with his long slender fingers. Silently they danced over the holographic controls splayed out before him.
He was not yet of age to serve in the Galactic Imperial Navy, when the humans were bombed into the stone age. Now that he was of age, he was stuck in this listening post, monitoring the lowly humans. Making sure their evolution takes a different path.
Watching the humans fight enhanced Zauzz’s yearning for action. Desperately he wanted to escape his isolation. He was almost tempted to join in the human’s wars. Pick a side and fight with their primitive weapons.
Yet, the consequences of leaving his post kept him alone in the orbiting space station around the blue planet. The human’s satellites long since wiped from the sky.
It saddened him that mankind resorted to its long establish pattern of war.
Why must they always fight? He wonders to himself. Zauzz acknowledges that his species used to be very warlike, but towards others. They gave up infighting centuries ago. Long before expanding into the stars. More recently, as his species expands across the galaxy, his leaders seek peaceful resolution to conflicts whenever possible. The merciless bombardment of humans into the stone age was for their own good, not as an act of war.
He sent the report and waited. Wondering how the Council would take the news about the humans returning to their warlike nature.