“Get some Beings.” they said.
“It’ll be fun.” they said.
“You’re at the perfect age for them.” they said.
She knew better. Deep down in her molten core, she knew it was a bad idea. But, she was young then, still is actually, and she thought others knew better than she did. After all, they were older, more evolved, and more experienced than she was. But now, looking back, she realizes that she should have trusted her own core instincts.
She had been happy when she was a fledgling. All the creatures crawling on her surface, and swimming in her hydro, brought her joy. They left pleasant vibrations as they traveled and swam over her. They worked symbiotically, keeping her healthy and glowing in the cosmos. Even as she moved through the awkward stages of shifting, erupting, and the formation of creatures and climate, she gleamed unlike any other Terra in Sol’s Expanse; or any other neighboring Expanse, for that matter.
The Blue One. That’s what the other Celestials called her. All her hydro, and the life force created by the creatures on her surface, made her glow unlike many other Celestials in the Universe. Sure, there were other Terras similar to her, but none nearby, and certainly none in the Expanse of Sol. She was a notable Terra.
Sol knew just how notable Earth was, she bragged about Earth frequently, “Look at Earth, isn’t she beautiful? Teeming with life! Blue unlike any other Terra in this sector! She’s my brilliant one.”
Maybe Sol bragged too much, or too loudly. Other Celestials were jealous.
Suns were tired of their Expanses being overlooked. Not all of them could care for a Terra like Earth. Many of them were caring for Terras with erratic paths. There were Suns who’s were so spread out, keeping them warm was difficult. Some Suns were dying, and they knew it; they mourned the coming death of their own Terras and didn’t like the reminder of happier times that Sol’s bragging stirred up in them.
Terras were tired of being compared to Earth, too; especially since they were all so vastly different. Of course most of them didn’t look like her, each Terra had a unique compositions. Terras glowed in every possible color, each one different. Some Terras wore rings, or were decorated with multiple smaller Terras. Many wore swirling gasses that changed and pulsed with their changing seasons or made rings around them. Terras came in all forms, solid, liquid, ether, or a combination of the three.
Eventually, tired of Sol’s bragging and Earth’s glory beaming forth into the cosmos, one of the Celestials lobbed an ice ball at Earth.
The ice ball didn’t do much damage, at least not as much as the culprit had hoped, or intended. It didn’t knock Earth from her orbit, or even disrupt the tiny Terra that adorned her. It didn’t shatter her, barely even cracking her surface.
It did, however, kill off a large portion of her creatures, messed up her complexion for a time, and left her with a large crater on her underside. But that was all. Earth’s remaining creatures evolved and adapted. Her complexion healed itself over time. New creatures were formed. The crater was covered up.
It wasn’t long before she was her radiant, unmistakable, blue self again. Earth proved to be much stronger than her delicate image would have lead one to believe. And once again, Sol was proud of the little Terra in her Expanse; proud, but upset.
Sol took the matter to the Celestial Council of Code, hoping to uncover the ice ball lobbing culprit. But the Council decided against investigating. Energy, being the commodity of most value to all Celestials, would only be expended for matters of Universal importance, and the short lived pain of one minor Terra simply wasn’t worth the energy expenditure required for the investigation. They simply didn’t care who threw the ice ball, or why.
This upset Sol. Sol’s Terras were good Terras. They were all well behaved; they maintained their orbits, didn’t trade their smaller Terras, were free of anomalies, and none of them had imploded, exploded, or gone dark in a very long time. They were well adjusted and beautiful Terras.
Even though the other Terras in Sol’s Expanse were often jealous of Earth, she was one of them, an attack on her, was an attack on all of them. For that reason, Sol and the other Terras in Sol’s Expanse, felt slighted by the Council’s ruling. They felt overlooked, under appreciated. They felt they were chided for their young age and optimism. The incident left all of them jaded. They no longer trusted in their own judgement. They felt they needed to prove themselves to the older Celestials.
Sol, and her Terras, were still upset about the ice ball incident, still looking for ways to prove themselves, when they started to hear other Celestials whispering and gossiping about Beings. Beings were all the rage. Beings could change a Terra. All the Terras of note had Beings. Beings only made Terras more beautiful, more radiant.
“Look at Icles, with her crystalline structures, clear blue hydro, and Beings that tend to her every pain.”
“How handsome is Sandune now that his Beings have burrowed and live in harmony with his parched surface . Look at the way his aura swirls while his Beings harvest the impurities from it to use for themselves.”
“Have you seen Carbision lately? He positively buzzes with energy since his Beings have harnessed his excess carbon. Look at how they preserve his creatures and treat him.”
“Did you hear about Un and Twa’s, Beings? They learned to migrate between Un and Twa during the pair’s dark and light phases. The Beings are able to monitor their health too and have been tending to Un and Twa’s as they age. Wadt is quite the proud Sun.”
Despite the gossip and wonderful tales of Beings on other Terras, Sol, Earth, and the other Terra’s in Sol’s Expanse had also heard the horror stories. Terras that imploded before their time. Beings draining the life from a Terra. Terras destroyed and left as empty shells of their former self as their Beings migrated to the nearest livable Terra. Beings that created open, festering wounds on their Terras causing the Terra’s long and drawn out demise.
“Those are just old tales meant to scare the immature Celestials.” the older Celestials replied to Sol’s questioning, as they pressed the issue and continued to praise Beings when they knew Sol was listening. Slowly Sol’s misgivings were forgotten.
Eventually, Sol considered getting some Beings for one of the Terras in her Expanse – maybe just a few for Venus or Mars, or even one of the smaller Terras that decorate Jupiter or Saturn. Then she’d have two extra special Terras in her Expanse, Earth with her natural beauty and a second Terra with Beings.
Not that the other Terras in her Expanse weren’t beautiful in their own right. Sol had so many Terras to be proud of, she had 9 larger Terras and countless smaller ones, and each one was glorious. Sol reasoned that since Earth was still upset about the ice ball and didn’t want any Beings, wouldn’t it make sense to ornament at least one of the other Terras with Beings?
On a whim, Sol contacted the Purveyor of Terra Beings. She really just wanted more information. She just wanted to know if it was possible.
There had been a run on ethereal Beings of late, so many gaseous Terras interested in Beings, that only carbon based Beings were currently available.
Sol hesitated, she hadn’t even considered ethereal Beings. Wouldn’t Saturn or Uranus be grand with Beings? After all, ethereal Beings were less common than terrestrial Beings. Maybe she should wait and get some ethereal Beings.
But the Purveyor of Terra Beings was persuasive. They weren’t sure how long the wait would be for the ethereal variety, and she’d be fifth or sixth on the waiting list. Did she really want to wait that long?
Just like that, Sol was talked into terrestrial carbon based Beings. They were all that was available, and she had a Terra that could support them, Earth.
Sol still wonders if it had been a set-up. Had there been ethereal Beings, or even other terrestrial Beings that were not carbon based, available? Had this been another attempt at destroying Earth’s beauty?
At first the Beings were as wonderful as promised in the contract. They lived and prospered on Earth’s surface. They learned to live and work with the creatures and resources available to them on Earth. They took care of her complexion and tended to her surface. They learned to navigate and traveled across her surface. They learned her ways, her habits, and even how to measure time based on her routine.
According to the contract, all these developments were good. The Beings were moving through their stages in the proper order.
Earth was happy. The other Terras in Sol’s Expanse were happy watching the Beings progress and learn about the Celestials they could see, not just the Terra on which they lived; and that made Sol proud. It wouldn’t be long before the Beings would adorn Earth and prove a worthy investment.
The Beings harnessed carbon and other forms of Earth’s energy to create an energy that they could use. They transformed this energy into light. They used the light to illuminate their centers of life when they were unable to receive Sol’s light. Their light created twinkling patterns that dotted across Earth’s surface, adorning her in ways only Beings could. The Beings made cities and built structures on Earth’s surface. Celestials everywhere admired Earth’s new jewelry and praised her Beings.
But that was before the pain became all consuming, before things went terribly wrong, before the Beings started to aggravate Earth
It started as minor, irksome, annoyances. Little itches. Tiny uncomfortable action. But over time, they were using her carbon faster then she could recoup it. They multiplied exponentially and consumed far more than any other living thing on her surface. They striped her surface of nourishment and spoiled her complexion.
Earth became feverish. Her systems started failing and functioning improperly. She felt irritable, angry, and tired.
The Beings were constantly drilling, exploding, burning, using, polluting, building, scraping, and consuming. Unlike Beings on other Terras, and as stated in the contract, Earth’s Beings failed to tend to her wounds. They ignored her illness. They didn’t look for ways to mend her injuries, they neglected her.
There were a few times when she felt a slight tinge of relief. A small effort would heal a small piece of Earth. But it was never enough. The slightest balm applied by the Beings to one hemisphere would be offset by a new injury on the other hemisphere. The majority of Beings were not living as described in the contract. Earth was in constant pain. She ached at her very core.
Sol and the other Terra’s in Sol’s Expanse are worried about Earth. They don’t know if she can survive the Beings. But none of them know how to help her. They can’t take the Beings from her, they can’t (or won’t) send Earth away, and they can’t take their complaint to the Celestial Council of Code. After the ice ball incident, they’d be laughed out of the Council Chambers.
Sol, feeling guilty about the whole situation, and out of options, checks the warranty at the end of the Purveyors of Terra Beings contract. As she suspected, it expired recently. Neither Earth nor Sol were paying close enough attention to the finer details of the contract. If they had, they may have considered returning the Beings when the Beings had discovered ways to harness Earth’s energy – just before the warranty expired.
But it’s so hard to know what one would have done. After all, Beings on other Terras had to go through the discovery of harnessing energy phase too. Most other Terras came through that phase of Being’s development better off than they started, but not Earth. What ever happens next, Earth is going to have to make it through the next phase of Being development, or find a way to rid herself of the Beings.
Earth is tough. After the ice ball incident, she put up with a lot of name calling and harassment. But she didn’t let that bother her then, and she certainly won’t let any Terra call her weak, or lazy, for getting rid of the Beings now.
She just hasn’t figured out the best way to do it. How can she rid herself of these Beings and do the least amount of self-harm? And she knows she wants to rid herself of them. Who wouldn’t?
Earth knows what she needs to do. She needs to burn. She needs to convulse. She needs to explode. She needs to wreak havoc like she’s never done before. She needs to show a fury that no Celestial in her sector has ever shown. Only then, after she’s rid herself of these pesky Beings, can she heal and return to her glorious, glowing, blue self. And when she does, she’ll never doubt her core feelings again.
She might die trying, but to heal herself, Earth needs to rage.