|The Hell Yet To Pass|
|Created on||December 23rd, 2019|
The Chronosapien race has an aversion to travelling forwards in time. It is unspoken among them and unobservable from the outside, but they seldom dare travel into the future. They will only ever travel backwards along the timestream, and if they ever travel ahead it is only to return to the present they had left.
This is not instinctual, nor is it without reason.
Chronosapien legend tells us of Retrival's Sanctuary.
Retrival was born over 30'000 Earth Years ago (two-and-a-half Chronosapien Millenia ago) into the Temporus House of the Brassworkers. This was from a time long before his race called themselves Chronosapiens.
For the first few centuries of his life worked as a prospector for his family's forges and mining industry. His job was to find a planet with a high brass content and ensure that the world would never become home to a race dependant on the brass for their evolution or industrial development. The job was easy and extremely well-respected, but left Retrival totally unfulfilled.
For all his future travel he never got to see anything worth his time. His focus was only to the planets he was observing. Dangerous, sometimes, but never interesting. His ability to travel forwards and backwards at will made any dangers null.
So one day, he just left. Though disappearances are common in a race of time travellers, an operation as well run as the House of Brassworkers knows when someone is missing and keeps a good eye on its workers. After a week, a search party was formed. They set about across all of time, using Sotobro detectors to tell them when they crossed the same time zone as Retrival.
And eventually he was found. On a dark, blackened world of dust and rock, Tiberius- Forge-Father of Retrival- found the lost youth catatonic. His half-melted face cast a sunken gaze unto the starless sky. Try as he might, Tiberius could neither break his son's gaze nor garner a response from him.
Tiberius brought Retrival back to the then-present era, and sought help for his broken child among the Steel Towers in the Glistening Hills by the ocean. Whatever had scorched him had fused some of his internal gears, but this was not enough to cause paralysis. The doctors were left confused and unable to help. With no other options, they turned to outside help to find a Mind Speaker to reach Retrival and bring him back.
The Mind Speaker Zarados was sought out and brought to the Moon of Providence. Here, Retrival's mind was opened and from it spilled the dark truths that he had learned.
Visions of the Dead
The future was not to be kind. Full of holes, torn from the expansion of space, journey beyond where Retrival had been found was impossible. He had, himself, fallen through time and been made spectator to the entire history of the universe.
In the beginning there was only fire. Energy flowed through all space- all space WAS energy. This was life in its purest form.
From these virgin fires were born the first races- entities of great power and will. These creatures- gods as they were- could bend space and time in its malleable state to create as they desired. These beings were known in legend as the To'Sensai, a name that all cosmic entities know of instinctively. Their reign lasted for only 100 years, and in this time they- across all of creation- began to work the universe into their image. They made a playground that would forever be able to harbour life in their more focused form, but they knew that their own time was finite. They took the last of their energy and placed it inside nebulae, to incubate into their successor race.
And before even the first nebula could hatch, progeny of the newly formed galaxies began to rise. The Ironites of the Attracia Pull were a vast imperial race billions of years prior to Retrival's native time, a race he had never heard of before. They were creatures of iron oxide, golems of rock animated by the energy that flowed through their conductive veins. They marched across the earliest semblance of the Sagittarius and Messier Galaxies, and beneath them extinguished the sparks of life on over a thousand worlds. Their reign was unchallengable, but death is a promise to all who live. The march ended as the Ironites turned to stone, their own life simply fading out. The Ironites of the Attracia Pull became unable to move and were buried under thousands of years of geological movement over a million different planets.
Over billions of years Retrival watched the evolution of species across a million billion worlds. So many of them faded to time, finding and smashing into a thousand different great filters. Some planets would grow life, but fail to evolve multi-cellular life. Many would never pass the sapience barrier. Countless species drove themselves to extinction. But more common than any cause was that life was simply not fast enough to save itself, as cruel and random acts of nature left the planets sterile or drove life back to a far more primitive state. One in a million would see their creatures grow into mighty space-faring civilisations. One such world was Teslavorr Prime, the homeworld of a primitive race of quadrupedal leeches known at the time as the Lampiri. They were a dangerous race of blooddrinkers who fed off of the life energy of their prey. But Teslavorr Prime was a violent world of lightning storms, and more often than not these storms would be the death of the Lampiri. For this, they evolved a new source of life energy and became a strong empire of lightning-drinkers.
Pain of the Present
Time marched on, and the past became present. Yet still, begging for his release, Retrival watched with impotence as his past self left his present time for what he had come to believe was the very last time. He watched his friends and family live on, going to and fro about their lives as though he had never left. Of course they would. They had to. They cannot mourn forever. But still it hurt to see.
There was someone he could share his pain with now, though. A strange Hominid creature, far more intelligent than the rest of his kind, had wondered beyond the grasps of continuity to join Retrival in the space without time. The alien called himself a scholar of a university Retrival didn't recognise on a world he had never heard of. Apparently the alien had fallen to the same fate as him, except through a hole he himself punched in time. He had outlived eternity and so too would Retrival. The alien told him to look for the good in all things, because history was not kind and Retrival could not see the good then he would be driven to madness in the terror he would come to face.
The Hell Yet to Pass
The most harrowing of what Retrival had seen was what waited for the Chronosapiens in their imminent future. They would, as the next stage in their evolution, turn their bodies into the brass they relied so heavily upon. Their flesh made metal and their organs made clockwork, the Chronosapiens would live unto eternity. Fused with their own time machines and forever at their fingertips, they would become a race of legend.
But this paled in comparison to what came after. Even seeing all of time play out before him, Retrival missed the first strike. He looked across Sagittarius and saw fire everywhere. All races with the power to fight had begun to. When Retrival would meet the Hominid again, he would come to learn that these were the Heaven Wars. He watched in horror as a nameless race from a backwater planet set fire to the Hydrogen Reefs. Across the Galaxy another stole ancient technology and forged it into a Perpetuum Blade, evolved themselves into mighty pillars of light and took the name of the Ascendant Armies. With their new power they marched into the realms of the Trembling Worlds never to return.
He saw the resolve of the desperate and the ingenuity of those with nothing left to lose. The Shianusapiens needed soldiers and deployed Sapience Bombs across the galaxy to create them. Pattersonea, Vulpin, Flors Verdance, Corus Prime, and so many others suddenly found themselves either sprouting with life, or with that life gaining new intellect. But the Shianusapiens were never able to claim their new warriors, taming them proved too draining on resources and the plans were abandoned. The Techadons created evil cyborgs from the prisoners they captured. The Vladats evolved into existence and crushed the Anur System beneath their might before the other races rose up to meet them, and sent them to oblivion. The Faratin were nearly driven to extinction. Even the Celestialsapiens were forced into combat.
Through all he saw, Retrival's attention was still firmly set on his own kind. Now metal-clad, they dived head-first into the fight. He could only watch on in terror as they echoed the efforts of the Techadons and created their own Time Breakers. They built mighty Crucibles to burn across the galaxy, and Time Bombs to erase their opponents from existence. Retrival could only spectate as they wiped themselves out and fled in the one remaining Crucible. For once he felt like he could move, and he followed them into the Prime Dimension.
As he was told to, Retrival waited and looked. And he found the good in the universe. A young Hominid, clearly the same species as the scholar, and a skilled shapeshifter. The child was unique among his kind and wore the faces of other races, and with this ability he saved so many lives. For all the hatred Retrival had seen, this heroism lit the spark of hope left deep in his heart.
The Infinite End of the Universe
All ages come to pass. The Age of War passed. The Golden Age of Peace passed. The Age of Primus passed. The Age of the Technomimi passed. All Ages passed into the Age of Decay. At the end of everything life became the last bastion of order against the entropy of all things. In this most darkest of times, even the perpetual motion machines of old now failed. All sources of power that had once seemingly conjured power from nowhere ceased to function. The stars themselves evaporated as the rules that held them together broke down.
The Empire of Man fractured and divided simply because there was no longer enough resources to hold it together. Entire sectors of the galaxies fled to single outposts and hid awaiting the end of forever.
Stars died. Planets froze. Cities starved. All people suffered. Heat Death approached. There was no longer anything left in the universe to bring joy or happiness. All things now awaited the end. And so too did Retrival. He fell out of his prison through one of the holes in time that had trapped him in the first place. And he stood waiting for the end. He didn't even realise he was free until Tiberius had found him.
Not many tell of what happened after this tale. The legend of Retrival spread like memetic wildfire across Chronosapien culture, and almost overnight fear of the future drove them to cease their mining operations. The prospectors refused to do their job, and law prevented any mining from taking place without doing so.
The solution to this was to make sure that they would need no more brass ever. By turning themselves into their own time machines, they would remove to need for mining entirely.
With horror, Retrival realised the nightmare he had lived through would come to be true.
He took his own life in the basement of his family's manor.
Characters and Species
- To'kustar (alluded to)
- Ironites of the Attracia Pull
- Conductoids (alluded to)
- Ascendant Armies
- The planet name Temporus is taken from the series Ben 10: Milky Way Race by, and with permission from, CaT.
- Providence has much greater relevance later in its history.
- This story is, for the first half, set in Eon's Dimension.
- "The Age of Primus" does not refer to the period after Primus was created. This age is far in our future.