Changing how I write these. First, pretending I created a male. Second, first person. Third, this is how I’ll continue in the future.
Once upon a time there was a planet called Mercury. It was the closest planet to the sun, the smallest planet in the solar system. Before I died, I remember looking up at it as a child. My grandpa had a telescope. He said, “Kess, when I was your age, I looked at Mercury with my grandpa. And you know what he told me?”
I was nine. I shook my head, though he told me this story a dozen times. There was something about hearing of miracles that made my heart beat faster. He continued, “When he was your age, Mercury was a dead planet. There was no life on it. The Traveler wasn’t here yet, not when he was your age.”
No life on Mercury. No Traveler. We were colonizing Jupiter at the time, and here grandpa was telling me we once only lived on earth, in an age without miracles. People died before a hundred. I would live to three hundred, if the Darkness hadn’t appeared with its vast armies.
But at that time, when I looked up with my grandpa at the heavens and viewed Mercury, it was a garden planet. I wanted to go there for vacation when I was older. Was even saving up for it after academy. Then they appeared.
News reports told of a robot army, though they were nothing like the exo created long ago by man. The Guardians, soldiers sent by the Traveler, could not stop them, and soon Mercury went dark. They said it was being hollowed out, that the material was being turned into something both organic and machine. The Darkness was already approaching. Saturn was cut off, but we could still see it in the sky. Jupiter was evacuating. But what they did to Mercury?
When the news anchors appeared on that fateful day, the worlds paused. Each planet which remained in the Light was a still, dim flame. “It has been confirmed, the planet Mercury has been made into a machine by this unknown threat. We will keep you updated, but as of now, there is only speculation as to the purpose of this giant construct.”
She kept talking. Guardians were going. Why has the Traveler abandoned us? Is this the end of our Golden Age? When the invaders came in from the outskirts of our solar system we should have realized the age was tarnished.
There were murmurs in the tavern I sat in. It started so quiet. Then pleas and phone calls to loved ones. We had not heard from Mercury for months, but everyone wanted to try once more. Within the hour, Guardians took off to Mercury. A day later there was a small explosion in the night sky. It was followed by reports of victory, that Mercury had been destroyed, and this new threat was delivered a major defeat. We had to blow up a world we once inhabited, and then dared to call it a victory.
We had funerals the next two weeks for the dozens of Guardians who never returned from the planet. No one returned from the machine planet.
A few years later, when everyone was rushing for protection in the final defenses of Earth, when the Darkness cut off all planets and even clawed into the Moon, that’s when I died.
“Kess, you okay there?” Dart jumped off his Sparrow, and the speeder bike dematerialized. “Looks like you’re spacing out a little.”
We stopped outside the mouth of a cave on Venus. It led to the Nexus. Centuries later, we believe this is what turned Mercury into a machine. We were just beginning to resettle Venus, and now that threat was all too real once again. “Do you remember the tales of Mercury?”
Dart laughed, “Getting nostalgic? I remember us sending the vex back to hell. I think. May have been dead already.”
I remembered losing what we once called home. I remembered being helpless as I drove to the useless fortifications. I remembered dying.
But I wasn’t helpless anymore. I was a Light in the Darkness. “For Mercury,” I said, before dropping down into the Darkness, guns lighting the way.