From "Deshret, the Land of the Dead,"

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The Genesis of the Tayamni

Millions of years ago, epochs, in fact – eras — their history living as creatures of flesh and blood, almost forgotten, natural evolution arrested, stopped in its tracks by technology, warfare, and eugenics, they had fallen. From creatures of erudition and artistry, they had become dreary, programmed, automated creatures, more machine than animal.

Synthetic organs, oils, volatile fuels, acids — coolants surged through cybernetic tissue. Fabricated hormones manipulated emotions, attitudes, and responses, as prescribed by governments and laws of nations long forgotten. The transposition of corporeal systems almost complete — endocrine, nervous, circulatory, all became artificial.

Even their home world, the watery moon where they evolved, now forgotten, a neglected orb circling a red giant. In previous ages, their home had given birth to billions of creatures. But, by the time they left, the oceans were dead, the atmosphere poisoned, glaciers melted. The faint organic life remaining, migrated to polar regions to escape blasts of heat and radiation.

And racial traits — in ancient times, diversity was prized. But for the last few millennia, conformity ruled all. The oppression of differences enabled greater ruthlessness. Holocausts, genocides — death to all who dared to be different. Minorities of all kinds, wiped out.

Only when, in final death throes, did her people realise the enormity of their error. Only then, did they see how sterile, what self serving creatures they had become. Only then, with no hope for rescue, no miracle drugs, no other life from which to draw sustenence, only then did they realize they had sealed their fate.

Self destruction, extinction — genetic variance gone, the death of their entire species at hand, a self-fulfilling prophecy, a horror – the foretold nightmare had become real.

She didn’t remember who she had been, where she had lived, or the number of years she’d been alive. She only remembered being here, on this lifeless rock, in a system her people conquered millenia ago. She didn’t remember she lived in a palace, that she was rich beyond measure. She could have stood and walked to the window to view vistas of rocky valleys far below, cool gases rising from the surface, enormous green and violet crystals exposed by powerful storms, glittered in diffused starlight. But, to look upon such an alien scene with wonder would have required curiosity, the ability to feel awe.

Crippled by cynicism, and now, the last of her race, she simply sat there, numb.

She was finished.

She was aware her right hand rested against the side of her head. She had hair once, hair she would brush aside, away from her face with her fingers, a faint memory.

She could have contacted another on this dwarf planet, tumbling around a gas giant in a trinary star system. But, had she known them? How many of her people were left? Was she alone? Not remembering who she had been, she saw a sudden vision of herself now, a cyborg danse-macabre, a partially organic brain sitting atop tubes, carbon fibers, filaments and articulated mechanisms.

Within a century, her people would be gone, all dead, a species of corrupted brains, a collection of dying machines, bred, created, and educated to one end, existing for one purpose — to accumulate wealth.

Their empire crumbled, not from external forces, not from war, but from within, from emotional sickness, from psychological disease, from a plague of apathy.

It was then, sick from riches, suffocating under plundered wealth, it was only then that she questioned, “Why am I still here?”

She must have sat there in life sustaining technology, bathed in a soup of chemicals, a regenerating throne sparkling with glowing blue energy, for decades. Having no need for organic food, for fuel, for another’s company, she simply sat there. She was not asleep, but not awake. She didn’t notice when systems alerted her to an alien ship landing on the pad above the crumbling edifice where she retreated to die.

Even when the Nine arrived, when they lifted her face and looked into her eyes, even then, she did not awaken.

They called her, “Berenib,” Queen.

Had she been awake, she would have heard them whisper, “She is the only one left.” She would have seen them go about their work, taking her into their ship, gathering the corpses of her people, those still viable. But to what end?

She would have seen them place desiccated remains into containers bristling with technology. She would have seen instrumentation, technology beyond understanding. She would have witnessed her own transfiguration.

She looked down on her wasted cyborg body from above. But, where was she? Why could she no longer feel, no longer remember?

One of the Nine spoke, “You have been transformed. This is your Ka,” she said. “You can exist this way, but you cannot feel the Power. You are simply a lattice of radiated photons. But we will give you flesh.”

Then she awakened again. One moment, she floated beside one called Hathor, the life giver, the nurturer, and the next moment, she opened her eyes, breathing sweet oxygen. Her lungs filled, her breast heaved. Fresh air, like electric currents slid along her naked body, her heart fluttered. The wetet opened, the lid of the sarcophagus slid away, and she saw, standing above her, the Hathor, smiling.

“You are in your Ba. Your spirit, your Ka, is housed, as it should be, in your body once more, in your Ba. We have given you the same bodies as us. Your DNA spliced with ours. You are able to feel the Power, the greatest power that exists, the only power that can save your people, the power of Love.”

It was in this manner that she was born, or, born again. From an ancient, withering race of cyborg creatures, she was given new life. Her people, the few that remained, were given new physical bodies. The Nine, the Ennead, the First Ones, coming from a Universe away, through another dimension, coming here, to her. They had come to save her people.

In subsequent generations, her people, the Tayamni, would do the same. Connected to the Power, they would search out species to save. Tayamni, meaning animal, living, breathing, loving, organic creatures.

The Nine gave them a new name and a new language, their own language. With holy words, as if by magic, as if with spells and incantations, her people would think differently. The sacred language of the ancients oriented them towards the Power, changing them. They had metamorphosed.

The Nine took her, and others they reawakened, back to their home world, back to Mussara, to the watery moon where they were born. Orbiting within a binary system, circling a red giant and white dwarf. The Nine took them home. The red star, enormously large, Aldebaran, the head of the system, in their new language, Tayamni-Pa, meaning the Head of the Animal. But, that was millions of years ago, millions of years.

It was to such a world the Tayamni came to work with another candidate species, splicing DNA, teaching the sacred language. The new species would also feel the Power. They would save themselves, they would love each other.

Berenib, the Queen, the first of the Tayamni, aboard the Ennead ship, the ship belonging to The Nine

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