I sit in a dim, cramped, metal-chilled room and gaze out through a small, hazy, circular pane of glass. There is nothing of interest and hardly any movement out in the metallic, subarctic outdoors, except the occasional interjection of pressure release valves, and the ever present surveillance drones which camouflage into the seemingly infinite metal alloy backdrop. It is always cold here and always will be, but 'subarctic' is a term I had brought here with me. Now, it's an archaic artifact word from the time before the Turnover.
We reside on a planet only a few astronomical units beyond the edge of Earth's solar system, previously thought to be a lifeless wasteland dwarf planet. I vaguely recall when Pluto was demoted from planethood; this planet is about twice the size of Pluto, and there's life here. Is this a planet?
The inhabitants have harvested the energy of the Sun for millenia, though it is hardly even noticeable from this distance. There are few stars within a reasonable lightyear distance of this desolate, devoid of color, automated, mechanical hell. The Sun is only one of trillions of stars which the indigenous beings of this planet exploit to make this place habitable.
I know very little of the history of this planet, and I learned even less on my forty-three year journey here during the Turnover. I do know that somehow, long before life had began to evolve on Earth, some sort of life managed to gain dominion over this once completely frozen spherical wasteland. The history of this place stretches far beyond that of the evolution of complex organisms on Earth that eventually made their way onto land, and even further back in time than when man was created. Even up until the Turnover, humanity had not reached a consensus on the Evolution theory. We only took sides during the Eminent End of Days leading up to the Turnover.
Now we know.
Though we do not understand even an infinitesimally small fraction of the technology that is implemented here, I have gathered that they can exploit the radiant energy of unfathomably distant stars and in turn harness the energy of the endothermic and exothermic reactions of vaporizing and freezing water. I have never seen any amount of water larger than the meager portions given to us.
Their history is not documented. All monumental scientific discoveries are merely indexed; they are only seen as basic necessities for this dismal survival. Celebrating these mere observations would be like someone from Earth celebrating the first being that realized air is breathable. There are no holidays. To the inhabitants here, (who do not understand the concept) they serve no purpose. None of the traditions from Earth serves a purpose here. The only thing that has meaning is constant research and technological advancements that only increase the seething mechanics and automation of this uneventful existence.
I can read none of the documents here, and I can not decipher the language they speak. Within a few weeks time of our arrival, though, they had completely understood and could sickenly utter the vast languages of Earth. Even with the differing dialects and colloquialisms sprinkled across our globe.
They began learning and practicing Earth's languages on the journey here. About twenty years into my journey, I overheard some of them using my native tongue. They must have been trying to ascertain the most time efficient way to disseminate our diverse languages across their planet. They were speaking with their all too common scientific jargon. I was startled as I overheard them discussing how they had long ago harnessed the energy of the strong force - the very energy that binds subatomic particles. Humanity, at the time of this advanced particle physics discovery, had only barely moved beyond the notion of there only being five elements. They soon began to speak a tongue I didn't recognize, as if they hated the thought of having someone listen to their discussion.
During the first two weeks here, one could hear random strings of words from every language, which bled together in a manner that one could only imagine by putting himself into a multilingual torture chamber, in which the punishment meted out was a bludgeoning about the ears with nonsensical ramblings. The horrific, robotic broadcast ended with the beings - all of them - able to speak any language.
They separated us all, but left families intact. I have seen no humans outside of my family in the three years I have been here. Humans were placed below the bottom rung in this two level social order. Astrophysicist, as I gather them to be, are at the top of the social hierarchy. They are the cornerstone of survival. All others are contributors to the ongoing research and other contributions that support the higher level of society. There seemed to be no possibility of anything less or anything more for this strange population.
Lost in my ever fading memories of my own planet and realizing the discomfort of the metal bench on which I am sitting, my eyes lazily looked over at some movement that had happened upon my miserably limited field of view. It was a humanoid worker of some sort. I had no idea whether the pragmatic figure was doing repairs, adding enhancements, or configuring a new technology altogether. I only know how much the sight of their repulsive figure spurned me to the deepest extent. I hate the sight of their icily glimmering, pale skin whose color is only matched by newsprint left at the mercy of the outdoors for years. I hate the sight of their naked, seemingly genital-less bodies creeping along, and their ever-inspecting, ever-observing, ever-adjusting-and-modifying, condescending mannerisms. Most of all, it incinerates my internal organs and transforms my blood to searing, slow flowing lava littered with cinders when one of them would turn to me and ask, "Was this technology not known on Erssh?" They stressed the "s" sound that was not present in the word "Earth" and dragged out the sound with their slimy tongue against the roofs of their slimy, toothless mouths through their slimy lips that were exaggeratedly sunken into their visage.
I noticed the figure's prosthetic left extremity which it was taking full advantage of during its work. I turned my attention to the wire-like material protruding from my wrists. It was only a step below the self inflicted assimilation to mechanization that the being I was watching used. They did this to many of us. Many of the beings that I had judged to be common workers had assimilated themselves. Of course, they never tried to assimilate themselves to humanity. They only tried to make humanity more like their all too familiar machine-ridden backdrop. Humans are merely specimens that are constantly poked and prodded and experimented on. Some are mechanized beyond recognition. Months ago, I had already grown sickened by their constant exploration and ensuing adjustments of their alien robotics that they had probed seemingly ninety percent of my body with.
No longer gazing out of the window and my eyes turned away from the disgusting metal that infected my extremities, I unconsciously focused on the dim metal greyness constrasting against the once warm, now cold and ashen, legs of my beloved. Our hearts have grown so distant since the Turnover. We have lost our hope, hearts, and love. We are not intimate anymore. The eternally consuming, metallic, atmosphere around us sucks the life out of our bodies continuously. I recall how they disallowed us to reproduce, or even partake in any actions that may lead to reproduction. No hugs. No kisses. No forms of affection. Even with my meticulous observance of these strange beings, I have yet to gather their ways of procreation. I don't know if they procreate at all.
Humanity is only a transient species on this planet. We will soon die out.
They will continue to perpetuate their existence, however they go about doing that. We will be forgotten.
I don't even feel like I'm actually alive. Or living. Only existing. Here I can not love, hope, or even mourn. Here, I am sick.