Full Circle by Tom Tinney
Conquest and colonization was in man’s blood.
There were other races and beings that had sprung up across the known universe, following their evolutionary tree. Some were barely out of the primordial ooze that produced the first inklings of life, others were almost as advanced as humankind.
For all of those other races, the die had been cast by the Lazari, mankind’s first encounter with an alien culture. It was also mans first interstellar war and had almost exterminated them as a whole. But mankind had triumphed and the Lazari were now a footnote in history, their home world overrun by men and their species all but extinct. That had been 10,000 years ago.
Mankind did not enslave other races. He did not “slaughter” them either, unless they attacked or refused to yield. Mankind simply moved in, his presence creating so much pressure for resources and space that the other races just died off.
The empire was expanding and following closely behind its conquest of vast sectors of the galaxy came the colonists and explorers. Group 2374B was made up of both.
Their current encampment was on a beautiful world full of life. There were no “higher intelligence” species, so it was a zoologists dream. There were mostly biologists and a few others looking to get away from the over populated worlds and live in a place with some room to run.
“Today, we take a hop over to the eastern coast,” Kildon said, with excitement. “There are some giant migrating herds of quadrupeds and I want to observe them while the satellites track them.”
“Zoologists. Can’t you ever just relax?” his wife replies. “You have an appointment to have that tooth looked at today.”
“It’s fine,” Kildon protested. “Hardly even notice the pain anymore.”
“It’s broken and you need to have it replaced or regenerated before it gets infected. You have no idea about what sort of infection you might get here. And stop trying to eat every native fruit, nut and vegetable you find.”
“Yes, dear, I’ll get it at least filled today, “ Kildon said. “Regen takes too long.”
By the end of the day, Kildon had his tooth filled with the ceramic that would last his lifetime and beyond, heading out into the field to complete his work.He never made it.
The empire had finally met its match, unbeknownst to its the population spread across the stars. The race gave no name, but being Xenophobic, they did not care to know you any longer than it took to make sure your species never bothered them again.
The first encounter with them had been innocent enough. A squadron of human scouts entered their system. The ships lost power immediately. The ships were boarded, the people already dead from suffocation, and the databanks perused. Coordinates and locations of occupied planets were noted and weapons were launched.
Kildon was walking to the jump pad when the bright lights filled the sky. Their mission had been targeted and the EMP’s went off, making their technology useless in an instant. The mutagens rained down for the heavens shortly afterward. The survivors would live on, but they would never leave the remote planet again. They would never learn the fate of the empire. Most could not even remember their name.
In the year 1936, Robert Broom examined the skull of his most recent discovery, a 4 million year old adult Australopithecus Africanus. It was a remarkable find. His only concern was the tooth he found with the ceramic filling.