I remember little of my early childhood. Just scattered images. Flashes of events melding one into the other, leaving me quite unsure as to which are real and in which order they occurred. I do remember some things of course, most people do.
I remember my brothers and my sisters; back then we were not so different from each other at all. We were always squabbling over every little thing. There was plenty to go around; we certainly weren't a poor family. But nonetheless we fought for every scrap.
Only with age did the differences between girls and boys begin to become ever more apparent as the boys raced off trying to match up to father. As much as they hate me saying it, they never got anywhere close to matching up despite their best efforts.
We girls meanwhile went our own way. We knew there could never be another father. As I became older and more worldly I of course learned better but back then father was the world, he was everything, the mightiest of the mighty, a lone indestructible beacon standing against the abyss. Despite what he later became I still love him. Without him I would be nothing. The day I left his side was the saddest in my life.
I remember receiving my loving pet, to whom I owe so much. She was a handful at first, she took quite some training, my sisters laughed at me for taking on such a task, but in time, as my pet settled down, they realised quite how much they were missing out.
I had four sisters back then, whilst the boys were off trying to be the centre of their own universe we formed our own little close nit club, hidden away from the boisterous boys to concentrate on the things that interested us.
My eldest sister was very conservative even as a youngster, a true daddy's girl; she stayed by his side until his dying days. Many a time I tried to crack her out of her shell but she would have none of it, she was content to be a dour little thing. She never really had many interests in common with me even at that early age. She just sort of…tagged along. Why is beyond me. Maybe dad asked her to keep an eye on us.
My twin sister and my kid sister now, that's a different story. Back when we were kids we all loved the same things, we were like three peas in a pod all working towards the same ends. Our competition was friendly and with the aid of father and my eldest brother we looked set for success, all three of us, oh how proud father was.
But…the happiness didn't last.
With my twin sister our interests simply diverged, I remained interested in much the same things as I always had been, building on them, and working towards my dream. She though…I don't know what happened. She just lost interest, dropped all her hard work and decided to follow another path; A strange and scary path. She became ever more insular and private. She abused herself; we could all see it, all except her. She continued messing with substances which did her nothing but harm. For eons we never so much as spoke to each other, it was only well into our adult years that we finally made up.
My kid sister meanwhile I feel much more pity for. Whilst my twin simply threw it all away and took the easy road of addiction my kid sister simply didn't have what it took to play in the top leagues so to speak.
She tried and she tried to follow my lead but she just couldn't do it. Perhaps with a little bit of luck things could have went better for her but as it was whilst I enjoyed great success, accomplishing everything I could ever have dreamed of, she fell ever more behind, failing to accomplish even the very basics of what came so naturally to me. She was always a rather small and weak child; many say that was the big reason for her failing. She just could not keep up with me.
Despite her disadvantages she kept trying to match me, I tried my best to urge her on. Eventually however, her spark simply died. She realised she would never succeed and gave up entirely.
I never forgot her though. I always kept one eye on her, I wanted to help her but I couldn't change the way we were made. She just couldn't do it alone.
So there I was, alone with my great hobby. It was slow going and many a time I was tempted to stop. Perhaps follow the lead of my twin and take the easy way out.
But I persevered.
Father's support was constant, it is perhaps only due to this that I kept at my path, I couldn't fail him, not with him looking over me like that.
My eldest brother helped a lot too in his own small way. He was busy with his own things of course, trying to come out of father's shadow and make something of himself but whenever he had a free moment he would be sure to get some supplies for me and he always tried to make sure I stayed out of bother.
There were times when I felt very out of place, a true square peg in a round hole.
The teenage years are strange ones. People strive simultaneously both for individuality and to belong. I was one of those kids who listed to the advice of not caring what others think about you and being myself a little too much, I was always alone, I knew of nobody else with my passion for my hobby.
Later on in life I learned that there were a few girls in our town who dabbled in my hobby, it turned out I wasn't too weird after all, it was just one of those things that girls do.
There were even a few boys with my hobby, as odd as that first seemed to me when I found out; both me and my kids had a hell of a time trying to wrap our heads around that when they first came across it…but I get ahead of myself.
Back in those days as far as I knew I was all alone in the universe. All I knew was my family. All I had was my hobby.
My development was very slow at first. I just couldn't get the hang of things. I was a clumsy kid, uncomfortable in my own skin, everything was new to me.
There wasn't exactly a manual for this sort of thing back in those days. I had to figure everything out as I went along.
Despite my trials, as time went by I steadily became ever better at my hobby. There were setbacks of course, but nothing too devastating in those early days. Time moved on and I became ever more different from my sisters, I was truly becoming the freak in the family, my little hobby was beginning to take over, it wasn't just the little childhood game of me and my sisters; it was my lifestyle.
But then, one night, disaster struck.
As mentioned I'd had setbacks before. Minor mistakes which meant I had to trace back a few steps. But at the beginning rebuilding is a simple matter. I had little to lose. It was as simple as picking something up off the floor and putting it back on a shelf.
That night though…
I don't know what happened. My eldest brother was as ever nearby, he should have been able to help me, yet still, someone managed to get at me. And they hit me hard.
I don't know why they did it. I'd never done anything bad to anybody. Yet still, they hit me and they trashed all my equipment.
I was not badly hurt. I escaped with little more than a scratch.
My possessions though…ruined, utterly ruined. So much of my work so callously destroyed. It had taken so much time to build it all and there it was, gone in an instant.
I was distraught; I lost my temper and actually destroyed some work which might yet have been salvageable. This one brief little event set me back years.
I got over it, eventually, I persevered, I had no choice really. I couldn't let dad down.
I picked myself up and began to work from what I had left.
In time I gradually fought my way back where I had been before, I was finally back on track. With a little more work I had surpassed my previous best. Things were looking great for me again. I was on top of the world.
Until that is, once more, without reason, someone attacked me and trashed my work. And again.
Several times it happened. These setbacks were rarely as disastrous as that first attack but still, they hurt, and each time I found myself having lost years of work and needing to rebuild.
Who was doing this to me? Why? What had I ever done to them?
I simply couldn't understand. It kept happening again and again, and like an idiot I kept just trudging on, putting in enormous time and energy fine polishing my work only for someone to come along and in an instant wipe it out.
Finally, I cracked.
This could not continue. I had to do something about it.
I had a plan, a very risky plan.
I'd never tried anything like it before.
The ground theory was there, the first few stages had been done before. The theory I'd dabbled with but usually dismissed as a dangerous absurdity. I worked on the idea long and hard in my free time as I sub-consciously repeated the early stages of the rebuilding process; I'd done this so many times now that I could pretty much do it in my sleep. As my plan of action became ever clearer the doubts about the plan became louder and louder in the back of my mind.
This plan…potentially it could be great. It could finally stop the pointless cycle of destruction and rebuilding. It could fulfil all my dreams and more. It could…be the greatest thing in creation. Or so it seemed to me at the time.
On the other hand, there was also a strong probability the plan could result in just the opposite. Blow up in my face and not just destroy my latest creative iteration but potentially even seriously injure me. If worst came to worst (and the odds of this were not small), I could leave myself in such a state I would never be able to create again.
Someone does not idly embark upon such a literal life or death plan. The decision to follow it through was not one I took lightly.
The plan went slowly at first. The new strain proved little different to various creations I'd came up with in the past.
As time went by and the pieces of the plan began to fall into place the fear within me grew ever greater.
Was this plan a mistake?
It was early enough yet that I could easily pull the plug. I wouldn't even have to flush the rest of my work, it would be pretty easy to weed out the early stages of the plan and leave the rest of my creations untouched.
Perhaps the constant attacks were over by now?
Maybe my attacker had finally been caught? The neighbourhood certainly did seem to be becoming an ever calmer place as time went by. Maybe my attacker had been caught as he assaulted some other poor innocent victim?
At one point I even pressed the abort switch and the destruction of the plan began. It was only at the last moment that I relented and pressed the switch again, halting the destruction.
You only live once. What did I have to lose?
Even if I were not attacked again I knew I wouldn't live forever. I was already entering middle age. My biological clock was ticking and if the plan succeeded…my work could continue long after I was dead and gone.
Their thinking was strange and alien, very unlike that of myself. Yet 'think' they did. Though I had planned for this, created it in them, it still scared me.
At first I barely noticed it. They seemed little different to anything I'd created before. Much as I worked on my creations, the things I had created somehow had the ability to develop their own little projects.
Their projects were ridiculous little novelties at first. Below the level you would expect even of a child. Unless you were an expert in such matters and were actively looking for original thought with a fine-toothed comb you would never have noticed what they were doing.
At first their pace of development was slow; I could easily keep track of everything they were doing. But they were ever improving. Their rate of development increased exponentially and before I knew it keeping track of them was practically a full time job all in itself.
Everything was going great. These creations were truly amazing. From one day to the next they surprised and delighted me with what they would do next.
My family weren't impressed of course, they looked down at them and saw nothing but destructive monsters and they warned that my new creations would be the death of me.
I brushed aside these warnings as ridiculous. When put next to most of my previous creations these ones were actually amongst the more peaceful. Sure, they were prone to bouts of violence, but then practically everything I made tended towards that on occasion. Violence is a fundamental part of life afterall.
As time went on the plan continued to develop and the creatures became ever stronger. Most of them showed little respect for me or any of my other creations, they lived and they died, all the while ruthlessly pursuing what they thought in their best interest, even if this came at my expense.
My family became ever more horrified, what was I becoming?
There were times when I considered myself to have made a mistake. Several times I would find myself poised to press the abort switch, but then a flash of brilliance would appear somewhere amongst the creatures, and I knew the plan was working.
These creatures…at first they were ignorant, though little different to all my other creations they somehow saw themselves as far above them, given divine right to rule. As they developed, not only did their creative skills become ever more honed but they also grew aware of my previous work. Work I'd thought long since dead and gone. They recreated images of it in rather impressive detail. And they burned its remains.
I was used to them creating, tearing up the surface of the land to extract materials to build their tools. This was expected of them. Why I knew them to be so dangerous and had only dared to dabble with them after heavy consideration.
They were little more than animals I kept telling myself; more sure, but not to any significant degree.
When they began to actively dig up and burn my long dead creations however…I knew they had became something else. Here was where my theoretical calculations became hazy, I was approaching the point of no return, no longer would it be so easy to pull the plug on the plan and leave the rest of my work unscathed. It was do or die.
With the remains of my long dead creations they accomplished both amazing and horrifying feats in equal measure. Their rate of progress growing ever faster as they unconsciously followed the plan.
As the warnings from my family became ever louder I ceased to even pay attention to them. I couldn't stop even if I wanted to. This was it. What I'd been waiting for all my life.
The grisly caricature burned for only an instant, but for that instant my family stood awestruck, a mixture of horror and fascination painted upon their faces. My creations had managed to do in seconds what my brothers had been trying and fail to do for their whole lives. They had created a father.
This scared me deeply. I knew the power father possessed.
It was only a matter of time before the creatures ruined everything. They were out of control, using and abusing, thinking ever more short term.
I grew ill, I was dying. I had unwittingly poisoned myself with these creatures. Yet still they persisted. I cursed my foolishness, begged for the chance to go back to before. Never to attempt this silly plan at all. But I couldn't turn back time, even father wasn't capable of that.
Had I made the gravest of mistakes and created a creature which actively sought to destroy its creator?
I was stuck.
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad? My twin had lived so much of her life in a drug fuelled haze…Though I could no longer create perhaps it wouldn't truly be my death, maybe the pain would go away eventually, perhaps I could continue like her….
With the state I was in at that time I was scarcely aware of what was going on around me. I was powerless to do anything. It seemed the creatures were endlessly destroying for their own selfish purposes, soon they would kill me and with it themselves. Perhaps it would come as the creatures unleashed a thousand mock fathers against each other, perhaps it would be the choking poison they released from burning my long dead creations which would kill me and take them down too, it could be anything. One thing seemed certain to me however; they were on the path to destruction.
Except…this wasn't so. What they were doing…I had programmed it in them in their earliest days; they were working towards fulfilment of the plan.
From my sickbed I looked on in horror as the fist drew ever closer to me.
In times past it had happened quickly, my attacker was here and gone before I knew it. This time though it was different, it approached slowly, taunting me. Was this the final death blow? Had my attacker finally tired of the constant cycle of destroy and create and came to finish me off once and for all? Perhaps he was aware of my weakened state, he knew I was powerless to resist, he wanted to see me suffer before I died.
As the fist came near to me it steadily slowed, almost to a halt, before coming into step behind me. It was then that I noticed it, the creatures; they were swarming all over the fist.
From the fist a ribbon extended down towards me. The creatures tied it to me.
That they could suddenly command such power…And yet have so little wisdom to bring the thing so near to their home… I was truly terrified; I had no idea what they were doing.
Things were looking grim. Not only was I slowly dying, the creatures steadily poisoning me, but now I had the fist hanging over me threatening to drop at any moment. Just when things were at their worst however it finally happened. The plan came to fulfilment. With little forewarning…I gave birth.
The creatures climbed up the ribbon en masse and threw themselves into the void.
It wasn't the first time any of them had left me behind to voyage elsewhere; they had already long since visited my pet and my kid sister. They made a regular habit of launching their creations towards the rest of my family.
Now though, with the aid of their harnessed fist...they just exploded across the house.
No longer were they exclusively just one of my creatures. Their voyages were no longer restricted to short visits to their closest neighbours. They journeyed far and wide, settling down and creating new homes for themselves amongst my family. None went untouched by my children.
My little sister began to awaken from her long depression. Long after she had given up on her dreams she was finally given a second chance. With ever increasing speed life took hold in her desolate garden. It wasn't just my children, nor even the creations they had enslaved, but so many of my other creations too. After all these years it seemed as though in an instant my kid sister blossomed, she had become a beauty beyond measure.
With my twin they took their time, at first they ignored her. The substances she dabbled in were far too dangerous for my children to handle. But eventually, in time, even my twin was tamed. With truly amazing skill, far beyond anything I myself could ever be capable of, my children cured my twin of her long held afflictions and began to introduce life to her surface.
It was not just the creations which were currently in existence that my children spread. Somehow they even had the ability to raise the dead. Creations I had thought long since destroyed suddenly began to appear on my sisters.
My kid sister was first, new versions of creatures I had created earlier in my current cycle began to walk her chilly surface. Many of these creatures had vanished in no small part due to my children in their more ignorant days. Now though, here they were, trying to undo the damage they had wrought.
With my twin, things were even stranger. Huge, scaly creatures from long ago walked her surface. Creatures my children had never known beyond their bones yet somehow held a strange fascination for. Though my twin was shown what she was missing and brought to life it seems somehow my children still respected her personality with these creatures. They allowed her wild ways to remain intact.
My children were relentless. They never stopped. Even the boundaries of father's influence were no wall for them. They left my house and voyaged far from my eye into the darkest abyss itself, towards the other fathers.
At first they travelled slowly; at least as far as my children could act slowly. They would take the majority of one of their little lifetimes to get anywhere. One night however, just beyond where my youngest brother lay, they somehow…cracked existence. They ripped a hole in eternity.
My family looked on in horror, even father stirred at the creation of the hole. He had once, long ago told us of other fathers who had grown so powerful they had destroyed themselves and all around them, continuing to exist for eternity as undead entities hungrily seeking to devour all in existence.
Father clearly saw some of that legend in this hole. Yet…it didn't destroy. Instead my children merely passed through it. This legend. This… thing, so capable of great untold destruction and horror. My children used it, bent it to their will.
They created such holes again and again each time without incident, harnessing the holes to travel enormous distances in moments.
The plan had worked.
Even if I were to die my creations would live on, they were beyond me now. The abyss was their home.
Many of them still lived with me of course. But…they were different.
No longer did they poison me and selfishly fight for resources. There was no need. Out there in the abyss they could get everything they could ever want.
They respected me; they knew me for what I was. They undid the damage they had caused and returned much of my garden to a pristine state. Restoring long dead ecosystems, repairing the scars they had gouged into my surface.
In some cities they remained; guardians, artists and thinkers. And from the fathers visited more of them in their droves. All came with stories of forever to pay homage to their mother.
There were so many stories, so much to think about.
New gardens, my creations scattered far and wide, barren wastelands tamed and altered to become a place where life could flourish
Images of strange, alien gardens created by girls I did not know; daughters of other fathers. A wide variety of creations, some strangely familiar, others like nothing I had ever imagined.
My children…though they had everything they could ever want they did not seem satisfied. They seemed somehow… lonely.
They tried to fix this loneliness themselves.
They had grown accustomed to this over their existence. Many a problem had been encountered and fixed. Nothing was beyond their power. Lesser creations they deemed suitable were selected and changed.
Chief amongst them were the beings which decided to name themselves the 'Betas', long time kindred spirits and stoic companions of my children now given the gift of higher thought and free will. Despite the best efforts of my children however the Betas remained eternally loyal to their creators. Somehow, deep down in their most ancient mental wiring they had developed a devotion to my children which could not be broken. It was all my children could do to convince the Betas that they were not (entirely) gods.
My children didn't stop with the Betas. Others were created. Many strange and wonderful creatures came into existence from the hands of my children. Even my children themselves changed in amazing ways, taking on an enormous variety of different forms, some of them almost unrecognisable as having once been created by me.
Even despite the life rich universe they had created however they remained unhappy. They clearly thought they were missing something.
She was an ugly girl.
Covered in scars and pock mocks. Misshapen and with the stench of death emanating from her very soul.
Yet the moment my children found her they became more excited than I had ever known them to be.
Despite first appearances it seemed this girl was not so different to me.
She had been the odd child in her family, always dabbling with her creative hobby, accomplishing great feats only for them to be wiped out in an instant by circumstances beyond her control. Just like me she had constantly repaired and rebuilt only for her work to be destroyed time and time again.
This was not so strange so far.
My children had found many other girls and even a few boys who had taken to gardening. Many of those had suffered great setbacks only to recover again.
This girl however…She was more like me than anything ever seen before.
She had grown sick of the endless cycle of death and rebirth. She had thought of a plan; a very risky plan.
Here the similarities ended.
Her children were not too unlike mine. At least as far as other girl's creations went. My children called them the Ghaar. They had two arms, two legs, a head; their skin was considerably harder than that of my children in their natural state. Their eye was a single slit across the centre of their head, their mouth more akin to a beak than the fleshy orifice of my children; though even 'beak' is a highly imprecise comparison. Smell was a strange activity for the Ghaar; they literally 'felt' the air and the particles within it.
Their history however…it was the great example of what might have been.
These creatures had advanced much like mine. Slowly at first, growing ever faster as time went by. Whilst my children were just beginning to figure out the bare rudiments of farming they had been burning long dead creations to create mighty poison spewing machines. On a timeline similar to that of my children they had harnessed the power of fathers. They had avoided the temptation to destroy themselves with the father bombs and peace had reigned.
That is until their mother began to grow ill.
Weather patterns changed. Resources grew scarce. War broke out.
The Ghaar devastated their mother. Most of her creations succumbed, only a hardy few such as the Ghaar themselves clung to life. But it was over, she would never give birth. The chance was gone.
When my children found the girl who had created the Ghaar the war was long in the past. Reduced to legend amongst the Ghaar who lived a primitive lifestyle, worshipping what remained of the ruins of their former civilization.
Contact was slow. My children at first chose to merely observe the Ghaar. In time however it was decided they could not continue to let them suffer. Contact had to be made; the Ghaar had to be helped.
The Ghaar were shown the abyss and all who dwelled within it, given new, fertile lands to call their own and slowly, over time, taught the knowledge my children had amassed.
In time the girl's garden was slowly returned to its once beautiful pristine state of vast bright blue oceans and purple jungles. She was thankful.
Ever since my sister's awakening similar thank you notes had been coming in from all around the town, many girls dealt a cruel hand by nature finally given an equal chance. The Ghaar's mother however was different; somehow her thank you meant more. Perhaps it was because I could share in the joy of my children.
The Ghaar were the first but not the last of the other children to be discovered.
One particularly interesting discovery they made was of a young girl who had also created something similar to my children, apparently though she had done this without planning. She was considerably younger than me; this was only her second piece of work. Her children had come into being purely down to beginner's luck, a pure fluke.
They were different to mine of course, all creations, even those by the same artist tend to be different; yet the core principals were the same. My children named them the Jaquin. They thought and they fought. They dominated all around them in the relentless pursuit of their own selfish goals.
Yet…nothing had come of them. She had had these creations of hers for quite some time now, yet still they had not reached the level of mine.
Why? They were amongst her first works.
It seemed that these poor children just didn't have the resources available to be able to build to the stage where they could leave their mother. She was just too young. She had yet to build up the masses of long dead creatures deep beneath her surface. Without these her children had proved unable to advance their civilization beyond a certain point.
It made for a very depressing image. These children, capable of so much, forever imprisoned with no escape.
That was of course until my children arrived.
At the first approach of my children the girl had been terrified of the fists they wielded, thinking they would surely destroy her. Instead, much as they had done with me many years before, they merely came into step behind her…and observed. Over time she began to notice increasing numbers of her children leaving her surface, heading to the fists hanging above her and beyond. They were few at first, and not all of them returned. Those that did however…they set in place a revolution amongst her children. In time my children began to land on the girl in ever greater numbers, and then, she gave birth. Huge numbers of her children leaving their mother behind to join mine in the vastness of the abyss.
The wonders never ceased.
Around every corner my children discovered something new and exciting. Where once there had been nought but a few isolated specks, now near quarter of the town was now teeming with life
The good times seemed like they would go on forever.
Barren wastes were gardened; young children were eased into adulthood, and greater feats besides: my children had discovered how to create new girls out of the mess of debris which litters so many homes.
All was good with the universe. I knew now that if I died tomorrow I would do so knowing my life had meaning.
It seemed the good times would never end; until they did.
One day, the lights began to go out.
Fathers die. It happens. At first I thought nothing of it. But then I noticed the frequency with which this was happening was simply too quick to be natural. Something horrible was happening.
The darkening lights drew ever closer to me. I lost contact with several friends as their father's ceased to exist.
I could sense the sheer panic amongst my children. I watched as they dug deep into the darker days of their history and combined the ancient knowledge they had thought best left forgotten with the superior skills they now possessed.
Then they appeared. Innumerable holes were torn in eternity at the edge of my home and from them emerged an armada of fists; manned by tools.
I had long known tools could think. My children had created such tools even before they had begun to leave my surface. My children's tools though had always been friendly, never wishing any harm upon their creators. These new arrivals though…they were different.
It all happened so fast. They drew ever closer, devouring everything in sight.
My youngest brother suffered terribly at their hands and they kept coming. They were heading right for father.
Things looked grim. Would father be extinguished just like all those other lights in the sky? If that happened…what would become of me?
The tools descended on dear eldest brother, just as they opened their savage 'jaws' ready to devour him something amazing happened. All of creation fought back.
They came from far and wide to aid my children in their struggle.
The Ghaar, formerly the terrifying example of what might have gone wrong, destroyers of their home, come to repay the second chance they had been given.
The Jaquin, accidental children of a young maiden. Left unable to develop beyond swords and ploughs they had been left mother bound for millennia upon millennia; until my children found them. They had come here today in vast numbers to honour their debt as their ancient warrior tradition demanded.
The impatient Pesh, unwilling to develop at a natural pace now they knew what awaited beyond. Leaving their kin and their mother behind they had risen to join my children in the abyss. The patient Persh would never see the destroyers coming. The tools had to be stopped.
The Tuf, amphibious beings from a girl so damp and covered with clouds they had never even so much as seen the lights in the sky until my children had given them the gift of eternity.
The Kor-Per, the Figorians, the Aa, the Zon. I could not think of one mother whose children did not come to aid their benefactors.
It was not just the children of distant girls who came to my family's aid. Alongside my children came vast numbers of beings whose ancestry lay firmly in my hands.
The Betas. Still struggling to see my children as little more than gods, they stood ready for battle alongside their masters just as their ancestors had since time immemorial.
The Tursians. Playful ocean creatures of old unleashed onto the endless ocean of the void. Today forced to put aside their frivolity for the grim purpose at hand.
The Rajahs. Though they had still yet to forget the slavery my children had forced upon their ancestors they knew what was at stake and stood ready to fight and die for the sake of the 'sacred mother womb'.
My children in their simpler days had been fond of making stories to explain the universe around them which they did not understand. A startlingly large number of these stories had culminated in an epic battle at the end of time itself when good and evil would finally clash to determine the fate of all existence.
It seemed now that day had come.
The house was torn asunder. No one in the family got by without suffering at least minor hits. Much was destroyed on that darkest of days and if it were not for my children and the countermeasures they had set in place I would have been killed a thousand times over.
Many died. Somehow, though sound does not pass through the abyss I could still hear their screams. The tools pressed ever onwards, caring little for their losses; they could always create more, they were just tools.
It seemed the day was lost, the lines of the living parted for just a moment and the tools began to swarm through, taking advantage of the temporary weakness.
The forces of creation began to withdraw, holes were torn in eternity and through them they fled.
My home was open to the tools to do with as they would. Soon they would be upon me. This was the end. Things looked bad, this was it, not only would I die but my creations would not survive me as I had thought they would. Every father would go out leaving the town a cold, dead place where only the tools would survive.
It was then that I noticed that not every life-bearing ship had escaped. Some still remained, floating close to father. They looked like nothing special to me, I had seen a million different varieties of ship today, I had thought these nothing to be excited about. As per usual my children proved me wrong.
The tool armada advanced, eating its way towards the centre of my home.
A tentacle of father's being shot away from him, surging past my sisters and myself at enormous speed, heading straight for the tools. Obliterating all it touched.
Several more beams followed; wherever the ships floating near father went a beam would erupt.
The tools were thrown back. Much of their number destroyed by this new wonder weapon they retreated into tears. In the years that followed I continued to sit in fear. Even as my children repaired the damage the attack had caused I stood ready for it to happen again, it was only a matter of time. The tools were built for war; my children were built for peace. There was no contest.
Things however were not to be so grim. Over the long years that followed I steadily watched as my children and their allies marched off to war. Generation after generation fought and died in that great conflict. A billion girls and boys were devastated by the constant fighting. Over time however the rate of father death began to slow. It slowed and it slowed and then it stopped.
Eternity was saved.
The children's civilization once more returned to its peaceful ways. Ever exploring, ever learning, and ever developing.
Strange things happened in the sky above me as fathers came into existence seemingly out of nowhere only for some of them to then vanish out of sight.
My children were accomplishing great things. Not only could they now create fathers but they could also make…I do not know what to call it. It was somewhere between a girl and an enormous ship. It enclosed the father and all across its inner surface life flourished.
My children had grown truly mighty; they had taken to accomplishing great feats of creation purely because they could.
As time went by and the war moved into the past almost half of the town fell under the sway of the "Dance", as its members called it.
As my children had expanded the vast majority of girls they found were dead and barren, to a startlingly huge number of these my children granted the gift of a garden. These gardens came in many varieties, whether it just be a replication of the creations of another girl, combinations of creations, modifications of creations, or even scratch built creations of the children.
Though the majority of boys and girls are barren the town is vast. A large number of fertile gardens were found in the vastness of the abyss, hugging close to kindly fathers. These my children respected, often taking samples to transplant on other girls and granting the gift of thought to those creations worthy of it.
Most important to the children however were those girls with children of their own. These were few and far between, each one a gift to eternity. The discovery of new children was always an exciting event, it opened up entirely new ways of thinking, it promised works of art never before seen; it was a miracle.
These new children continued to be discovered. The Dance grew ever more magnificent as its diversity multiplied
Yet, as time went by my children began to feel ever more out of place.
They were no longer alone in the vastness of the abyss. They had created, they had discovered, around every corner lay new and exciting life.
But it was not enough. Something was missing.
Ever onwards danced the Dancers, new children joining its ranks at an exponential rate. At each however my children became ever more disappointed. These new Dancers offered great things, nonetheless when first found they were always millennia behind the Dance at best.
The most advanced children of another girl to ever be found were the Zon, and they were only just beginning to develop the rudiments of dead creation burning civilization when my children's scout ships first stumbled into the domain of their father. A long way off leaving their mother's surface let alone leaving their father's domain.
So far the only town spanning creations to have been discovered were the tools; the destroyers, the father killers. And they had only been living off the knowledge of their creators; long since dead and gone, all evidence of their ever having existed wiped out by their creations. Not even a minute trace of what they had once been was ever found,
My children knew they were not alone. Life teemed around them. Nonetheless it only did so because they had willed it be so. They wanted to find something different.
They wanted true, natural born equals.
The Dance extended ever onwards, more than half of the town was now held in its sway but this was never enough, it seemed to be something inherent in most children that they would always press on, always seek to discover what is around the next corner.
Onwards danced the Dance…until it suddenly stopped.
I could see little reason for this halt. Nearly half of the town was still to be discovered and gardened. I could sense the uncertainty and excitement in my children. They had clearly discovered something. Was this to be a repeat of the tools?
It was not long before they came.
Their ship was huge, almost the size of me. But then by this time many of the Dancers were also fond of such mammoth "world ships" as they called them.
The ship popped into existence amongst my brothers and then converged upon me. Despite its enormous size I felt nothing from it; by rights it should have thrown me completely off my natural course yet…somehow it emanated no mass whatsoever. It came into step behind me like a ghost, only its sheer size showing any evidence for its existence.
I was quite worried at the world ship's approach to put things mildly. I had no idea what to expect. There was no defence fleet awaiting the world ship. Even the ancient automated defences from the tool invasion remained silent at its approach.
On the surface of the world ship I could see a myriad of smaller vessels. Drop ships for the coming invasion?...
I recognised them instantly.
They belong to the Dancers; my children, the Jaquin, the Isoutai (the Betas having long since gotten over their master-worship by this point), the Nin, the Aa….too many to list. All were present.
I didn't realise it at the time but I was witnessing quite a monumental day.
Something had been discovered at the far end of the galaxy, something my children has been looking for all along.
It seemed that somewhere out on the far side of town there had been a strange, lonely little blue-green girl. Grown tired with her creations constantly being destroyed she had decided upon a plan, a dangerous, risky plan. A plan which, if successful…could be the greatest thing ever to happen.
Things had gone badly at first. Her children were violent, they were selfish. They had threatened to destroy her in a myriad of ways. Somehow however they had managed to walk the delicate tight rope of the birth pains. They had pressed ever onwards…and they had flung themselves into the abyss taking seeds of their mother everywhere they went.
They had adventured far and wide. Discovering and aiding less fortunate children, creating children of their own. Bringing life to the darkness everywhere they went. Until that is they discovered an interesting pair of fertile girls locked in a never ending embrace as they circled their father. Travelling in step behind these girls were ships of the like they had never seen before inhabited by a plethora of strange, new children.
The two sides had been shocked at first, frightened even. This was unknown territory for them. From the side of my children's Dance things were the worst, they had seen abyssal war before, they knew how dangerous it could be.
The Din in particular urged a pre-emptive strike on this new inter-stellar empire, their mother having been destroyed by the tools, Rajah ships only barely managing to evacuate a hundred thousand of the billion who dwelled there. Their entire race was descended from these few lucky evacuees.
My children's Dance was bigger, it was stronger. They had seen no evidence of this alien empire creating and harnessing fathers. There would be no doubt who would win should it come down to a conflict.
Thankfully these voices were few and far between on both sides of the discovery.
On that day high above me the two Dances were joined.
Life went on. The entire town, once so large and foreboding, was now tamed and peaceful. The endless Dance continued, constructing new feats of mega engineering purely because they could, sending ever more expeditions to other towns.
But this was none of my concern. I was getting older, I had played my role and now it was long since done. They no longer needed me at all. Soon I would die in peace.
Father had grown old. He was no longer the kindly nurturing figure of the past. He was becoming a liability, a rather dangerous one at that.
My children had cared for him, had made sure he kept all his faculties for as long as possible, but now even they were starting to see the writing on the wall.
They had kept him stable for longer than he would naturally have been able but it seemed due to their meddling he would die sooner than he would have otherwise. It was only a matter of time before their technology would fail and father would swell in size to engulf my older sisters and possibly even myself.
The end was near. The tourists came in greater numbers than they had before. "Roll up, roll up" they shouted "Come and see the last days of the first mother of the Dance".
But it wasn't to be.
Unceremoniously a fleet arrived, popping into existence around me. The tourists were cleared entirely, down to a single consciousness, chased back to their ships and into the abyss.
The fleet arrayed around me, chattering excitedly. Then they attacked.
From the ships beams engulfed me, I screamed in horror as the darkness cleared to reveal the brilliant white truth of things.
Just as I thought the attack would reach its crescendo, right at the moment I feared I would imminently be torn asunder, it all ceased. Things were dark again…The only light was the calm nurturing light of father.
It was him…yet it wasn't.
No, it certainly was not him.
Yet for all intents and purposes it looked and felt exactly as I remembered him in earlier days.
I was all alone with him, but not for long, my pet followed immediately after me, some small ships adjusting her into her correct place.
My sisters came next, again right where I remembered them.
Even my brothers somehow followed after a while. Their enormous mass being man-handled through a tear in existence to come to this new strange place.
The lights above me were much as I remembered them. All except for one particularly bright and nearby father, but he was not there for long, he shone with a brilliant light greater than any I had known for the briefest of instances by my reckoning and then he was gone. My father was dead yet I lived on. This was impossible, it should not have been, yet it was.
We all did; Me, my siblings and my children. He was their grandfather afterall.
Part of me wishes I had died with him, as it was went to be. My children however had thought differently.
That they would have risen so much to be capable of doing this…And if they could do it once might they not do it again a few billion years down the line?
No longer could I think of dying. It seems as though I am destined to live as long as they are…
How long will that be?
See you at the end of the universe.