Warnings: anywhere in the AJ 'Verse really. It works as a really good prequel, I think.
Summary: Pale Blue Dot
Notes: So, it seems I'm unable to write anything not "heavy" lately. And as much as I love this - I wrote it across 2 notebooks and on my evil phone's evil screen yesterday, that's how much I needed to get it down - I don't think it's appropriate as the beginning to the S3 finale. Too heavy, maybe? I really don't know, but I adore this, so...
An Ancient!John Drabble
"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot
When Iohannes is ten years old, he sees the sunrise for the first time. Created as he edged his jumper closer and closer to the cold, inky void that cradled his world, it was the most amazing sight he had ever seen. The pale blue sky purpled as he rose then blackened completely, until his universe was nothing but darkness for a handful of terrible seconds before his orbit brought the sun hurtling over the arc of the world below.
For ten years, that world – indeed, that city, not even visible behind him – was the only thing he'd ever known. He had not even seen the sky until scant seconds before his ascent had delivered him into darkness.
Looking down on his world, it was difficult to see it as anything other than a gravity well – something to be fought against and overcome, but something requiring protection as well. Lantea was only the most recent world his people had settled on (back then, Tirianus still stood, and even Terra was a not-so-distant memory) but it was the only planet Iohannes had ever known.
It was home.
He remembers thinking it strange that a world his people had occupied for scarcely a hundred years could be home. It was such a small stage in the cosmic arena, utterly insignificant except in that it had been chosen to be the caravanserai of one of the great Alteran urbes-naves for a time – nothing but another stopover on their seventy million year journey across the stars. Any number of worlds could have chosen in its stead. Any number of worlds could replace it in the future.
And yet how much blood had been spilt over it? How many lives in Iohannes' lifetime had been lost in its defense?
Tens of thousands?
All that blood couldn't add up to the worth of one little world. The only way it could possibly counterbalance was if the stakes were higher than Lantea alone. Maybe if all the habitable worlds were held in balance, it could all even out. Maybe it would take the entire galaxy before the scales began to shift towards something more reasonable.
Maybe it would take the universe itself.