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Beyond the Paradise, part 1 (English)
Posted By: Uriel<robin.kunde@freenet.de>
Date: 01 December 2001, 2:59 pm

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I'd rather rule in hell, than serve in heaven

And the 8th day,
I shall shed chaos,
Upon you,
And those of your kind,
As I have grown tired,
Of your imperfection.

It was one of those days. The air was hot and dusty and the wind burned in my face. I threw a tired glance at the ground. I must have slept for quite a while, because I had to crawl over the dried grass a bit to get back into the cooling shadow of the tree I was sitting at. The wind died down and I had a clear view at the only desert in the periphery of 5000km.
"I hate this place." Ray said.
"Do you always have to be so damn negative?"
"I'm sure you find something good in this hell of a desert." I didn't have to look at him to know how he rolled his eyes. I took my binoculars and adjusted the filters. "Think about it:" I said. "1st there aren't any Covs around, and 2nd this place could change completely in just 2 days." I glanced through the binoculars. "This place could look completely different in 5 minutes, too. And then, we're fucked." Ray said, slowly getting nervous. I observed a hill, about 500 meters to the north. "Aw, c'mon. You can notice that hours before it starts." I tried to calm him down. "And where do you want to run, then?" he objected. I starred at him. Unfortunately, he was right. If, all of a sudden, this mysterious terraforming started, we wouldn't have any place to hide. On top of that, the dropship was more than late. But maybe "late" wasn't the right word.

Ray and I originally belonged to a small scout squad. Five standard days ago, we left our designated route to visit a small camp in the No-man's-land, the area which is neither under human nor covenant control, which was about to be abandoned. When we arrived, we found that already done by the Covenant. They had proceeded carefully, so we noticed nothing when we passed the camp with our dropship. The fact that we'd seen nobody in the camp somehow worried me and fortunately saved at least Ray's and my own life. They'd waited in the tents and struck when we approached. The two of us and a handful of the others managed to flee with the dropship, but a Banshee pursued us, eventually forcing us to crash land. After the following fight, Ray, I, a bunch of scrap and a lot of corpses were all that was left.

Death is part of a soldier's life. That seems to be true. They tell you time and again while you're in the boot camp. Nobody should fight with wrong ideas. But there's a difference between knowing it and dealing with it. Every corpse has a past, a life like your own. Regardless of how merciless your enemy is, you could stand on the other site as well. Every site has more or less the same goal. Victory. But somehow, this war was different. With the blind jump into deep space, we've crossed a turning-point. The immediate threat of destruction was averted for humanity. Nobody had hesitated to make this sacrifice which has been, in far too many cases, the own life.

But for us, the stranded, it wasn't about winning anymore. We struggled for survival. If you consider it carefully, surviving was our own private victory. But success is transitory. That applied here more than at every other place I knew. We were on our own, cut off from every kind of reinforcements. No fallen comrade could ever be replaced. The first who runs out of resources would lose the war. Whether our site was about to lose another two soldiers or not was in the stars.

The stars...

Reach for the stars

For eons of eternity,
We've tried to touch the stars,
Lying beyond our reach,
Like forbidden fruits,
Sunken in black velvet

On some days, and this was one of them, I believe to have an idea of what infinity may mean. It's really not a good thing to see yourself in comparison to the universe. Even trying to assign a determined position to yourself is futile, because the void goes infinitively from every single point into every direction. This is also the same fact which causes most humans to think in these confined, feeble-minded ways about their own existence. Many feel helpless in view of the gigantic distances between the stars. They fear the void between the planets, the blackness between the glowing dots on the firmament. For them, it is similar to some kind of death of mind. The void enclosing them, far away from all points of reference. Points that stabilize their thoughts. New forms of propulsion allow them to visit these twinkling mass centers, whose nameless fascination lets them repress all fears. And when they approach their dreams in their spaceships, they believe to be free. But they are imprisoned. Captive in their own starships, which resemble the world they created to repress the actual voyage, only determined to exchange their native field of gravitation with another. Their thoughts orbit them, never crossing the very threshold they created around themselves. At the edge of the galaxy, their thoughts are held. They aren't aware of the far superior void outside their tiny bunch of stars, their "milky way". There, where there's nothing but blackness, nothing but real freedom, nothing that gives them hope. There, they wouldn't be able to maintain their illusion. Between the stars...

unknown author