Jaymen smiled in greeting as Aronon entered the room, his large lizard-like form moving with grace as he crossed to where Jaymen was standing near the projector table in the center of the library.
Aronon nodded back in greeting to his good friend. “Time has seen fit to cross our paths again! How are you Jaymen!” called Aronon in his lisping, deep voice.
Jaymen reached out and clasped Aronon’s hand firmly. The days have been good to me.”
Aronon tilted his head. “That is excellent. Trade with the inner colonies has been growing as of late, and I have a few shipments that you will love. I dare ask what has called us together again, though, as my trips out here are not frequent and your message was most strange.”
“Right to the heart of the matter as always I see,” said Jaymen the skin around his eyes tightening as he is expression changed. “I will have to take a look at what you have brought. But… regarding my message. We can speak here freely.”
Aronon fixed him with a hard stare. “You said you had some information that you believed placed you in danger.”
Jaymen nodded, resting his hands on the projector table. “That’s true. I fear I have overstepped my bounds in the eyes of some. I have to ask that I may place the burden of this information on your shoulders as I cannot risk it being lost and forgotten once again.”
“We arilians have watched and kept safe information millennia old of our own history. This is just the mere peak of knowledge held within the arilian archive. I am not one of the few charged with keeping and protecting this knowledge, but I will do my best to shoulder this burden.”
Jaymen nodded again. “You’re one of the only people I can trust with this. Thank you. I’m also creating a back up of all the data related to this where it will be safe until it is needed.”
“I am ready,” said Aronon.
Jaymen tapped the projector table with one hand, bringing up a series of controls. The projectors lit and a hologram of the galaxy formed, floating above the surface of the table. Pinpoints of light dotted the map, marking coordinates across the spiral arms all the way to the center.
“As you know, I’ve been working on uncovering ruins, artifacts, here on this planet for some time. I recently came across a large information databank encased in what I can only determine is a quantum time field. A technology yet to be achieved by anyone. It took some effort, but we were able to access it. Only a trickle of information was gleaned from it before it shut itself down and sealed all outside access.
“What was extracted from it was a only broken, fragmented information. A puzzle in it’s own right, but it told a history I have only heard mere mention of in legends older than I. The arilian knowledge core might have a recollection of this history but I’m not sure if even they would know of this.”
Jaymen pointed to the projection as it slowly rotated. “What we found was that, scattered throughout the galaxy, are a series of installations. Interconnecting portals. This is only an extrapolation as to their specific location gained from information pieced together from the database.”
Jaymen manipulated the controls and the hologram changed to display a large construct sunken deep into the crust of planet. “Seismic scans show an installation of similar size and shape buried here on this planet. My belief is that they are a series of portals connecting the regions of the galaxy together. We’ve only explored a small section of our own spiral arm, but if my calculations are correct, these portals were seeded nearly throughout the entire galaxy.
He switched the view back to the image of the galaxy. Each of the pinpoints of light connected together, tracing each arm of the galaxy.
“The database showed us that these portals were all active at one time. That a galaxy-spanning civilization existed before any of ours, for nearly a millennia or more. Then, something happened. One by one the portals were shut down or destroyed, I don’t know which, or what happened to cause this, but the information was recorded in that database. A collapse of civilization on a galactic scale.
Jaymen looked Aronon in the eye. “This is just the small amount of information we were able to piece together. The rest is still unsolved as to what it means. More context is needed, but what I am worried about is the reason for this collapse.”
The hard look in Jaymen’s eyes spoke volumes to the arilian. The information he’d come into contact with had affected him deeply.
Looking back to the controls, Jaymen highlighted one of the pinpoints. “This was the first point of the collapse. All that we gained from the database was that something at these specific coordinates was the start of the entire thing. What troubles me most is that this portal lies on the adjacent spiral arm to our own region of the galaxy. There was no record that we could discern of what caused this collapse.”
Aronon examined the hologram for a moment. “Knowledge set in the stone of the past can affect the future,” mumbled Aronon, reciting a piece of arilian wisdom.
“Exactly,” responded Jaymen. “Whatever is still locked in that database may give us the full picture. But I’m afraid that knowledge may also bring our own civilizations to the same conclusion as what happened over a millennia ago. The small bit of information we gleaned from it may have been meant as a warning.”
“A warning to what?”
Jaymen shook his head. “That’s what I would like to know. There is more to the puzzle that we have not solved. If you would like to take a look at it, I have a copy of the data ready.”
Aronon shook his head. “This knowledge is a burden unto itself. What do you plan to do with it.”
“I plan to finish solving the puzzle.”
“And in this…”
“In doing this, the people that I was working with feel I have overstepped my bounds out here. The information that was taken from the database is to be given to them and all other copies destroyed.”
“What do they plan to do with it?”
“Seal it, bury it away,” said Jaymen with a frustrated sigh. “We must learn from this history so that we may not repeat it. Once these portals are discovered. Once we have explored more of the galaxy, I fear what happened, will again come to pass once more.”
“And if this information, this warning, is lost. So will our hope,” finished Aronon.
“I refuse to take a look at the rest of the information. But I will accept the burden of it.”
Jaymen sighed in relief, satisfied with his answer. “You’re young. Arilians live for nearly a thousand years. I myself have lived longer than the average human and I do not know how many years I have left.”
“When the time is right, the warning will need to be heeded. When you have completed the puzzle…”
Jaymen nodded. “I will forward you what I have found. I fear that I will not be able to though. Everything that I have achieved on this planet, in this city, puts us farther ahead of the rest of the galaxy and the people I was working with on this also fear that as well. I was wrong to trust them. If this single human colony outside of the borders of known space is lost again…”
“It will not be forgotten,” reassured Aronon putting a scaled hand on his friends shoulder.
“The safeguard that I spoke of…” Jaymen made a move to the controls to switch the image on the projector.
Aronon shook his head. “No. It will be better that I not have knowledge of it. It will be safer that way.”
“Alright,” said Jaymen.
Aronon let his hand slip from his friend’s shoulder and folded his arms. “I must consider what you have told me. I will accept the burden of this knowledge, but it must remain safe until it is needed.”
“I’ll leave you a way to find it when the time comes. I’m close to solving it. I just need a little more time. I believe it has ties to the planet that I’ve been searching for since I discovered this colony. I’m so close and yet so far.
Aronon nodded and turned. “When you are ready, I will be overseeing trade down at the dock. The cargo that I have for you is there.”
Jaymen nodded, with a sigh, smiling at his friend. “I’ll meet you there in a bit. And Aronon, thank you.”
Aronon briefly bowed his head, an arilian gesture of respect, and then left the room, the door swishing closed as he exited the library.
Jaymen tapped the controls, switching the image over to that of the schematics for where he would safeguard this information. The small insect like robot floated over the table. It’s head was rounded, wing-like hover jets and stubby arms protruding from it’s body. A small drone capable of flight and of many other feats. It would protect the data, the warning. And his son.