The two friends smoked in silence. Mara had discreetly refilled their beer glasses as if she sensed that it was going to be a long night.
Yssantis opened his robe and pulled out a notebook from an inside pocket. He leafed through it quietly as the thick smoke from the water pipes settled over the table.
“So much technological progress and we’re back to paper,” said Konstantin huffily as he shifted impatiently in his armchair.
“You should be happy that we don’t have to resort to cave paintings, dear Konstantin.” Yssantis found the entries that he was looking for and started reading:
“The ‘New Seed’ was used in the galaxy for the first time 60,000 years ago, in the 167th cycle. It was introduced as an airborne mutagen here on Earth, where many very promising life forms had already evolved. Other planets were similarly transformed, including a planet that humans discovered in 2017 and named ‘Luyten b.’ This swamp planet is about 12 light years away, and the ‘New Seed’ was distributed there through the water – and that is where the civilization of the Lhon’Dar formed.
“On Earth, the various hominid species seemed best suited to being converted into usable material, and the mutagen thus brought about the transformation and advancement of the Homo sapiens, which lead to them becoming the dominant species on the planet.”
“Until now I’d assumed that Homo sapiens had been the dominant species on Earth before then. That was obviously a fallacy?”
“Homo sapiens had already evolved 300,000 years ago but was far from being the dominant species, and there were in fact several human species at the time. The modern human would barely stand a chance in a one-on-one fight with a Neanderthal, for instance. They were more robust and much stronger than the modern human, and they were nowhere near as primitive as you might think. They cared for each other, made tools and early adhesives, and even communicated through spoken language.”
Even though Konstantin had said he was interested in how the mutagen worked, he suddenly felt as if he was back at school and said to Yssantis with a grin, “What is this, my dear friend, a lecture in biology?”
“Don’t you find it unsettling that I seem to know more about your species than many humans do? I am trying to explain to you why it is that you can lounge here in your armchair today and smoke in comfort.” Yssantis paused briefly, only to add one last edifying comment: “And it’s called anthropology, not biology.”
Konstantin rolled his eyes – his old friend’s tendency to lecture was what he liked least about him. But he raised his hand and made a circular movement to indicate that Yssantis should continue, which he did.
“The Angels probably chose Homo sapiens purely and simply because of the size of the population at the time they visited. The Neanderthal population was smaller and more sparsely distributed across the large glacial regions of Europe and the Middle East.
“From a human perspective, you were simply lucky. Aside from your sheer numbers, which had increased in the warm African climate, there wasn’t much in your favor. I could just as easily be having a wonderful conversation with the descendant of a Neanderthal right now.”
“And yet you’re not. I personally prefer it that way.”
“I’m sure you do. The Angels released the mutagen into the atmosphere to benefit you, and it did what it was supposed to. The Homo sapiens experienced a surge in their development and intelligence, which led them to become more adventurous, to leave Africa, and to settle all over the world.”
“Curiosity as the impetus for the expansion of an entire species,” added Konstantin.
“It went far beyond mere curiosity. The mutagen resulted in the cultural revolution that changed the course of human history. The modern human could talk about the future and was able to develop an imagination and artistic sensibility that became the foundation of societies and towns. The Neanderthals existed for more than 200,000 years without making any significant progress. What humans achieved in a quarter of the time was undeniably more impressive than sitting around the campfire making wooden spears with glued-on tips.”
Yssantis paused for a moment and looked at Konstantin before making a joke, which was very out of character for him: “Without the gods you would still be living in caves with the Neanderthals and fighting a cougar over the entrails of a mammoth.”
Konstantin grinned at the image. “I guess I’ll have to thank these gods, if I should ever meet them one day.”
“For that to happen you’d have to first deal with the Angels.” Yssantis hadn’t fully grasped his friend’s sarcastic tone. “The Neanderthals ultimately disappeared from the planet 37,000 years ago, and for about 30,000 years now there has only been one human species on Earth. Through the Angels, the gods had successfully created a dominant species here and ensured that no one else could endanger your survival.”
“Let’s hear it for the gods!” cried Konstantin, with a sneer still in his voice but this time raising his glass boisterously as well. Some drops of beer spilled onto the table as he swung his arm, landing dangerously close to Yssantis’s notebook.
After a moment of shock, Konstantin visibly reined in his euphoria and reverted to the tried-and-tested tactic of guiding Yssantis’s focus back to the story and thus away from the narrowly avoided obliteration of his precious records. “How can it be that a civilization would still need medicine after so many thousands of years?”
“At times humans can be extremely arrogant in their presumption that they’ve already learned everything there is to know about the universe. Do you think you can even conceive of the horrors that are lurking out there? Diseases that attack your own genome cannot be cured with a few days’ bed rest. Not to mention the fact that, so far, humans haven’t been able to find cures for many of the illnesses that plague them, either. How many tens of thousands or millions of years do you think it will take until evolution blesses us with an immunity that allows us to enjoy the hookah without worrying about the possible consequences?”
“Hopefully not too long. Perhaps we should steal some of the mutagen from the Angels,” laughed Konstantin.
“I’d assume that the gods’ medicine acts like a suppressor, and that’s why it has to be taken regularly. Maybe they’ve even discovered totally different uses for the harvested materials - we can only speculate here. After all, biomass can be invaluable to a civilization after all – for the production of new organs or whole body parts, armies of artificial organisms and workers that don’t have their own consciousness. Or think of the Harvesting Sphere. It’s even possible that the gods lost the battle, but the automatism is continuing unchecked. Whatever the situation, the fact is that the Harvesting Sphere has the majority of the human population on its conscience and almost completely wiped out my ancestors on Nibiru.”
Konstantin was visibly upset by Yssantis’s words. He knew little about his friend’s home planet and its inhabitants as he almost never mentioned them. He decided it was better to say nothing than risk opening any old wounds.
Seeing Konstantin’s awkward expression, Yssantis quickly changed the subject: “But let me return to the history of the Lhon’Dar.
“In the year 11,512 before Christ, the population density on their home planet had reached the point where it met the conditions required for harvest, and the gods’ machinery did its job. The survivors were treated with the mutagen as planned so that the population would recover in a few thousand years and be ready to harvest again.”
“From your tone of voice, I think I can guess that it never came to that? And why are you giving the dates in years before Christ?” Konstantin tried to work out the total number of years since then.
“I am basing it on your calendar, Konstantin. It would seem that everyone picks up a few bad habits over time. And anyway, your calendar was not only important for the course of human history, but played a significant role in the history of my own species too. And no, the Lhon’Dar weren’t ever harvested again. The advantages of a civilization that can develop independently is simultaneously a disadvantage: they tend to start thinking for themselves sooner or later. Around 10,500 years before Christ, the population of the Lhon’Dar had recovered somewhat. Even though they couldn’t possibly know exactly what had happened to them a thousand years earlier, they remembered that an alien species from deep space had come to them and was responsible for their ill fate. Motivated by thoughts of vengeance and the determination to find this alien species and destroy it, they channeled all of their energy into technological advancement and the development of interstellar travel.”
“Interstellar travel … you mean, light speed?” asked Konstantin, fascinated that the science fiction stories from this childhood seemed to be coming to life.
“Considering the size of a galaxy, the speed of light is still unbearably slow. Just to cross our solar system, in which the Earth and Nibiru are located, from the borders of the Oort cloud would take over two years at the speed of light. The Lhon’Dar can travel at immense speeds, but they haven’t yet managed to reach the speed of light. The Lhon’Dar took a different approach and adjusted their biology to long interstellar journeys. Luyten b is not far from the Earth in astronomical terms, and a few years here or there won’t prevent the Lhon’Dar from taking action in this part of the galaxy. But they’re not able to cover really vast distances.”
“Clearly, the gods must have developed other strategies for space travel, then, if they were able to make it to the Andromeda galaxy?” Konstantin suggested.
“We can’t even imagine what energy and forces prevail in the center of our galaxy. What we have been able to observe to date is that the Angels’ spaceships and the Harvesting Spheres are able to materialize in space in areas with high gravitation and afterwards only make short journeys with conventional aeronautics. It’s conceivable that the gods knew how to make use of the curvature of space that’s created by objects with a large mass.”
“So, they had to materialize directly beside the sun, then?”
“It doesn’t have to be the largest mass in a solar system or even a star. The mass of Jupiter was evidently enough for the Angels - that’s where we noticed the Harvesting Sphere in the solar system for the first time. But I’m straying too far from the point, my dear friend,” Yssantis said with obvious irritation - he hadn’t actually intended to go into such detail.
“I did ask,” said Konstantin apologetically. “And, anyway, we have the whole night ahead of us! The beer isn’t going to run out any time soon.”
“I’m sure it won´t, Konstantin.”
Konstantin knew his guest’s snippy comments only too well and didn’t allow himself to be put off. “If the Lhon’Dar didn’t manage to develop technologies for space travel equal to that of the Angels, what chance of success did their plans for vengeance have?”
“Although they couldn’t pursue the Angels, they were determined to find out more about their attackers. They initiated a guerrilla war with the fleets of Angels that were deployed closer to them.
“The Lhon’Dar attacked the ships of the Angels that were looking after the planets and through these attacks they gathered an increasing amount of data on them. That’s how they found out about the existence of the gods, the Angels’ purpose, and the genetic composition of the matter needed for harvesting. They weren’t, however, able to discover the coordinates of the gods’ planets. And even if they’d managed to, those systems would’ve been located so far into the inner regions of our galaxy that the Lhon’Dar wouldn’t have been able to get there. To help them track down the Angels, they developed a means of searching habitable planets for organisms suitable for harvesting. In doing so, the Lhon’Dar came across a planet that was supposed to have been harvested around 10,238 before Christ. When they arrived at the planet, the Harvesting Sphere and the archangel’s ship were already in orbit. The Lhon’Dar were able to take out the Harvesting Sphere, but it still managed to escape, together with the Angels’ ship. Thanks to the new data, however, the Lhon’Dar learned how to change their own DNA so that they would no longer fulfill the criteria required by the gods for the harvest.”
“How did they achieve that? And the Lhon’Dar actually prevented the harvest on that planet? Then why didn’t they do it on Earth as well?” Konstantin wanted to know.
“I’ll explain the ‘how’ when I tell you more about the Lhon’Dar.” Yssantis turned a few pages in his notebook and continued: “The harvest procedures took longer at that time. It was only after the Lhon’Dar’s sabotage that the gods saw the need to accelerate the process. Whereas it once took them about a day to harvest a planet, it only took six hours to harvest Earth. Another change that the gods introduced in response to the Lhon’Dar’s opposition was to further develop the Angels into the military units that they are today. These deadly Angels first appeared after the Lhon’Dar’s attack on the Harvesting Sphere.”
“Why did the Angels have to be developed for that purpose at all?” wondered Konstantin. “Could the gods not just have dispatched whatever armies they already had to protect the harvesting machinery?”
“No doubt that could have been possible, but we can do nothing but speculate because in all this time the Lhon’Dar have never encountered any other military troops associated with the gods. Moreover, it contradicts the very idea of automatism to deploy armies of one’s own kind to protect harvesting processes that were designed to coordinate themselves. It makes a lot more sense to use their custom-made Angels for this purpose, who were already familiar with the processes and close by. But back to the historical facts: about 23 years later, 10,215 before Christ, the Angels attacked the home planet of the Lhon’Dar. With Samael’s help, the Lhon’Dar were able to win the first battle and the Angels were forced to withdraw from the planet’s orbit.”
Konstantin frowned - he was sure he’d heard the name Samael many times before, in the theological texts of his own world. “Samael? I associate that name with Lucifer.”
“Lucifer is the name that he gave himself.”
“Ah, I see … And how were the Lhon’Dar able to win?”
“They were only able to withstand the attack with Samael’s help,” Yssantis repeated, not giving much else away. “And even though the Angels had been developed for combat, the technology had barely been tested in practice at that time. The Angels reach their full potential the closer they get to the center of the galaxy, where radiation and light deliver significantly more energy. Earlier, you described the Angel as absorbing all of the light around it. Your observation is indeed quite accurate. According to what the Lhon’Dar have been able to learn, radiation and light are the Angels’ main sources of energy. The gods had to keep extending their search for new inhabited planets ever farther into the outer regions of the galaxy. If Earth and Luyten b weren’t located here in the outermost region of the Milky Way, that one Angel would have been able to wipe out all human life within a radius of hundreds of kilometers at once.”