Last chapter name: The Hive
What Abe would never know, could never know, was the true future. A destiny that held great glory for himself and the new society he fathered. And eventually great decadence. For Abe had not changed the nature of people, and in the centuries to come, the religion he founded would become an instrument of oppression. Discounting his teachings of acceptance and peace, this religion would be the cause for which brutal wars were to be fought.
The northern burdochs would be discovered and absorbed, their murdochs exploited and enslaved. Homeland would next be dominated. Although their redeemer himself had a tail, the desert burdochs would never accept Homelanders as equals. In time, most would come to believe the redeemer’s tail to be an insidious myth created by the dark-furs. When occasionally a pup of the royal family was born with a tail, she was considered deformed.
The prohibition against fire-eating machines would be used as an excuse to master and exploit Westland as it had once been used in Homeland to subjugate and oppress the Northern Pocket.
This culture of desert burdochs was inevitably to come to a violent end before their science approached that of the angels. The prohibition against fire-eating machines would stunt its development, and The Key would never be revealed. The sacred trust failed amidst the ensuing chaos, and The Key was lost.
Over the millennia to come, great rodent civilizations would rise and fall. The cult of Hillary would be forgotten, just another ancient religion to be discarded by an enlightened people.
Eventually, rodents would begin to develop fire-eating machines and go down the same path as the angels, the course that leads from utilizing to exhausting the earth’s resources. And as with the angels, after the inevitable collapse, there would not be enough resources to try again. Each species got only one shot. The rodents would waste theirs, just as the angels did. It would be millions of years before the planet would be replenished, and nature does not grant any organism geologic time.
A purple fog rose from the cracks of a tired earth and evaporated into its nonexistent atmosphere. The planet’s venerable mother, an elderly star named Sol was huge red ball encompassing much of earth’s firmament. After their red giant sun mercifully set, the arachnids gathered in the more temperate darkness.
The moonless sky, having been thrown from orbit long ago, made telling how many had swarmed difficult, as the multitude gathered in a tangle of legs, wings, and torsos. All were drawn to the Hive for the adults to initiate their larva into the race’s unimind. Communicating in unison, they were more a chorus than a conversation, but one without voices. Instead they danced one atop the other waggling, their data into synchronization.
As always, the Empathic faction expressed themselves first. “The primitives have done well for us and for our species, though not for theirs. The rodents’ potential descendants – The Rectifiers – nearly influenced the one named Dweeble with the prophecy dreams they sent. Almost to the point of manifesting themselves. However, he was unstable, and the adjustments they sent drove him mad – with our help.”
“For this iteration,” the Elder faction added.
Other sires now imbued the ritual, the Hyper-rational faction now wiggling, “If the Rectifiers had succeeded, the book History would have been suppressed long enough for the rodents to accept the sacred library as scripture. Then when History was mused, the cult of Dubya would be overthrown and oil-based technology exploited. But they didn’t, and our prophecy dreams held sway. So we exist and they do not.”
“At least within the current dimension,” the Elder faction noted.
“Our ancestors,” the Neophyte faction danced in, “not theirs will now have used The Key. The knowledge of the angels was preserved by a species that would never come to know it. To be found over a billion years after it was lost again. Our people, not theirs, will have built upon it. Our ancestors will now have sufficient advantage and a technology advanced enough to adapt to the depletion of their resources.”
“For this permutation,” the Elder faction reminded all.
“The past determines a future that can change the past,” the Larva twitched.
“Potential realities manifest themselves through will,” the Guider faction related. “Our manipulation of a human’s dream convinced him to preserve The Life and The Key, without which we would not exist. We then convinced a rodent to believe the prophecies, save the library, and unite it with The Key.”
“Inside this cycle,” the Elder faction specified.
“The Rectifiers,” the Hyper-rational faction repeated, “almost succeeded in manifesting by influencing one of their ancestor’s dreams and convincing him to save the sacred library. But, the dreams we sent Abe persuaded him to hide The Key where only our ancestors would find it.”
“Contingent to this reality,” the Elder faction reiterated.
“So we now exist, and the Rectifies do not,” the larva shook on cue.
All now vibrated together, “The loop of time has fluctuations all along its edges. Events past and future occur in tandem, not randomly, but as driven by the Will To Exist. Our determination, our Will reigns supreme, for our folding of time has collapsed its countless dimensions into a single reality.”
“At least for this manifestation,” the Elder faction summarized.
All were now assembled for the trip. Earth had been depleted for the last time. In the final spasm of her fiery death, the exhausted sun would vaporize and consume this little rock. The mother, who for so long had nurtured life on this oasis, was to take her child with her into extinction. But one species would escape and travel to a new home; the first step in the Great Journey of Life.
Of all the intelligent creatures earth produced, they alone, the very last, had the tools to escape: a technology a single species could never have enough time to develop. Climbing onto the backs of others, they could now see far enough to view a future of limitless resources.
Countless terrestrial planets beckoned, inhabited and uninhabited. Their past was now secure, at least in this, the only surviving dimension of the multiverse left in this cycle.
“But, Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew.”
– Robert Burns