Fortune Among The Stars (Chapter 5 updated on Sept '22)

A novel written by Simuxiao
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Fortune Among the Stars

Simu Xiao Somtaaw

Chapter 1: Preface

Hello, readers. As you already know from the cover when you bought this memoir, I am Simu Xiao, the author of this book and the one who has experienced every event in this book.

I know that some of you respect me as the 11th Wing-Star Marshal, comparing me with 8 marshals who have made great achievements in the Homeworld War and Marshal Tang Yong and Marshal Ma Yuechen who have saved our homeworld in times of danger after returning to Hiigara. The brochure of famous generals repeatedly reprinted by the New Daimid Publishing House seems to call me “Gladiator of the Beast”, makes me can’t help imagining myself wearing knee pads, shoulder pads, with fishing forks and nets in my hands. - These all show how much people love me, and I am extremely grateful. But I know I’m not a man of ability. If it hadn’t been for that unplanned and hotheaded support action and the subsequent reckless picking-up, not only me but even my kiith - Somtaaw would not have been as well known as it is now. And even in the various military forums on the Internet, the so-called “heroic acts” in the Beast War used by many fans of mine to maintain my reputation can never, in my opinion, reflect the “superb military talent” and “unparalleled strategic courage”, because I do not have these excellent qualities at all. The only good thing I can claim is that the belief of “one should answer for what he does” and “never give up”. It was on them that I built our mining flotilla into an interstellar fleet and wiped out the beasts together with my workmates in the cataclysm. Of course, there’s no need for reticence that my good luck plays a big role to have my life saved and even let me to make great contributions in that war, so I was glad to accept it when somebody jokingly called me “the lucky dog among the stars”.

People say that me as a marshal has always kept a low profile thus believe that I am modest. Actually, no. I am not modest, I just don’t go after those things. From a miners’ leader to a fleet commander, and then the representative of our kiith at the Daimid Council, when people were even speculating that the new Somtaaw-Sa would definitely be me in the future; it seemed that I was riding high. At that time, however, I was not at ease. I don’t know if anyone can really get happiness from those heavy and totally involuntary things, I can’t anyway. I wish I could still be a miner, even in obscurity. My fellow workers are also glorious soldiers now, but they are not so happy too in my opinion. I have been complained to many times that they want to go back to work as a miner. Don’t I want to? At that time, however, my post of a commander did not allow me to say such things to my soldiers. I had to console them with a forced smile. Nevertheless, every time I see children from Somtaaw playing with children from Naabal and S’jet without being discriminated against as it was when we just returned to Hiigara, I can’t help but feel that what we have done is still valuable. So, I guess it doesn’t matter how hard we adults work.

Because of some unexpected events in the Homeworld War, our population is suffering age gaps. Every person is either an old people in their sixties or seventies, or a young people in their early twenties. This made it impossible for us to retire at the normal retirement age, and I had to stay in the position of Commander of the Somtaaw Independent Fleet (Battle Sequence 8) for a few more years in order to give new people enough time to accumulate experience. Fortunately, when I reached the age of 85, the young men were finally fully fledged, so I retired with joy. If I will be lucky enough to live to the average age of 100, I would have 15 good years to live. I really appreciate that.

I’m going to spend my remaining days with my wife. We are going to take a six-month rest first, do nothing every day except eating and sleeping.

But things always change faster than plan. The New Khontala Press wanted us to write memoirs - yes, it was "us." Me and my wife, Kong Xiu, my industry/operations planning officer, tactical intelligence officer and chief of staff, she retired with me.

I’m not very happy. I know that many famous generals have written memoirs and summed up their lives after they retired from the army. I love reading all their books. But I’m not really interested in writing a book myself – I’m not good at writing, and I never kept a diary and almost forget those old things. Now, the abrupt visit disturbed my comfortable life, disrupted all the arrangements, and made me thoroughly disgusted to write the memoir.

But my wife seems more interested. I recall that two years ago she said she was going to write a book and sort out her life after she left the army. At that time, she also asked me if I would write a book. I said, “I won’t. I’ll be enough if you write more about me.” Now there is a publishing house contacting us, she must be very happy. Sure enough, she not only happily accepted to write her book, but also tried to persuade me with the president of the publishing house.

“Don’t you think it’s meaningful to sum up your life, dear?” My wife said.

But I’ve forgotten almost all my life.

"When we get older, even the things we still remember now will be forgotten, too."

It’s a pity that my head is empty when I’m dying, as if I’ve lived my whole life in vain.

So I reluctantly agreed under my wife’s coaxing and pestering. Besides, the president of the publishing house himself came to beg me grovelingly, who pretended to slip out the fact that the old and new Somtaaw-Sa also want me to write a memoir.

“Well, you will get the manuscripts in ten years.” I said, feeling like a donkey forced to dance. But the publishing house seems to rush to get the manuscript. They can’t wait ten years. “But I can’t help it. My life is rich and colorful. It has to take that long for me to write down everything.” Finally, the president had no choice but to decide that my memoir would be separated into several volumes. Each volume will be published as soon as I finished, so I can take my time and write the remaining volumes. The advice of the publishing house is to write the “most brilliant” part first, that is, the experience of the “the Beast War”. “Readers will be very, very interested.” The president said. Well, I don’t care anymore. I’ll take your order.

So, here is this memoir.

Chapter 2: Ancient history of Kiith Somtaaw

The Beast War, or so called Beast Cataclysm, lasted for three years. Although this book only need to write about that three years, but before that, some things still need to be mentioned roughly, otherwise a lot of things can not be explained. There may have many stories about how brilliant the Somtaaw used to be, which seem to have been boasted so many times in all Somtaaw publications that people feel nauseated when see it again. But believe me, I am not writing these things because of narrow nationalism or compromise with the Somtaaw Publishing Review Agency, but because I can’t bring out the things and opinions I want to say without writing them, and the narrative organization will also be damaged.

Let’s talk about my origin first. I was born in an ordinary family in Hameln, Kharak. My father Simu Tie, and my mother Simu Tan are all miners works in an underground mine of the Red Creek Valley Mineral Group.

“Simu” is a big family in Somtaaw, comparable to the old ones like “Kong” and “Fumen”, but both of them have served as Sa (Sa, or Kiith-Sa, is the first family of Kiith. For readers from Taiidan, the word “royalty” can be used to replace it equally. As for Kiith, well, this is the basic group of our society, which is somewhat similar to the concepts of “nation” and “state” of other civilizations. Our whole society is based on it; One Kiith is theoretically one big family, shares a common surname, which is Kiith’s name), but “Simu” hasn’t, at least not in Kharak. So it is not well known outside Kiith Somtaaw. That’s why when my name was widely publicized as a hero 40 years ago, many people can’t help to laugh when listened to such a strange words combination.

Hameln was a beautiful city with a history almost as long as Kiith Somtaaw existed on Kharak. She and Gydeo are two supercities of Somtaaw. Our historians would say that they were also the largest, busiest and most civilized city in the second and third centuries. Many people from other kiithid would scoff at such comments, but that’s true. In fact, until the Heresy Wars, Gydeo and Hameln were the top two trade and cultural exchange centers in Kharak, and if there was not because of the Heresy Wars, they would have always been. Unfortunately, the war destroyed everything of Somtaaw and forced us to close ourselves. As a result, the prejudices and misunderstandings people had about us since the Time of Reason, never dispelled until the Beast War was about to end. These prejudices and misunderstandings include all aspects of culture, politics, economy and even daily life. I don’t want to comment on the unnecessary and foolish of them, after I have described our kiith’s history and situation in a language as objective as possible, everyone will have new insights in addition to the extreme anti-Somtaawnists. At least I hope so.

I won’t say Somtaaw is the oldest Kiith, but it surely is one of the oldest. Our history can be traced back more than a thousand years without interruption. Young readers were born in Hiigara and had no direct perceptual knowledge of Kharak, but it should be known from history and geography books that Kharak is a planet nearing the end of its geological activities. She is 6.7 billion years old. Most major terrain features have been weathered down and vast deserts cover most of the land surface except for the polar regions. These are shielded from the encroaching sands by the three northern seas and the Great Majiirian Ocean in the south. Temperatures along the equator can approach the boiling point of water, and only the polar region is the best place for people to live; since no one had successfully crossed the desert to discover the Antarctic plain before the Heresy Wars, at first everyone lived in the oasis of the Arctic. There is a well-known weathered mountain range, the Kontala Mountains, which has the highest peak in Kharak, the Lungma Jiin, and a fairly complete vertical climate zone, with vast and gentle hills on lowlands and lush plateau grasslands on highlands. This mountain range is where Kiith Somtaaw lived in. We believe that our ancestors originated there, so we stayed on the land of our ancestors and worked hard.

Forty years ago, when people mentioned Somtaaw, they consciously or unconsciously reflected images of laziness, ignorance, viciousness and weirdness in their minds. Actually, all kinds of evil and weird are derived from laziness. No one would think that a diligent person would be evil and weird. In fact, Somtaaw are precisely this kind of person. Our ancestors transformed the lowland hills into terraces, and laid cattle and sheep on the plateau grasslands. They worked at sunrise and rested at sunset every day, producing an extremely rich supply of food, meat and hides, so rich that they wanted to keep them for their own use, but the barns and warehouses could not hold them, so they began to trade with other kiithid. Many Kiithid historical records show that from the second half of the first century to the end of the second, the two cities mentioned above, Gydeo and Hameln, are the only two trading cities in Kharak and the distribution centre of goods and wealth of the whole Kharak, 70% of which are from kiith Somtaaw.

Food and meat are the necessities for some poor land kiithid, and hides are the necessities of writing to spread culture in the ancient, so they made a lot of money for the Somtaaw. But the Somtaaw were not tainted by the bronze stink of these wealth. On the contrary, extensive exchanges with other kiithid enabled them to acquire an advanced culture, the religion.

After the Time of Reason, “religion” has become synonymous with “ignorance” and “backwardness”, but we can’t see things separately from the historical conditions at that time. In the first and second centuries, religion was the most civilized and explosive thing. It also made indelible contributions to the formation of many kiith’sid cultures, including Kiith Naabal, who later became famous for opposing religious rituals and starting the Time of Reason. However, after all, religion itself had inherent deficiencies that could not be corrected, so its cultural system began to collapse in the sixth century, KDS 520.

Okay, let’s not go off topic. In KDS 178, the leader of Somtaaw, Teigor Somtaaw (This great Kiith-sa, whose full name is Kong Teigor Somtaaw, is a prominent figure of Family Kong. Readers of other races may not understand that this is an ancient tradition of the Kharakians, who only address Kiith-sa or other well-known characters by name and surname, but omit their family names to show respect for them. As for the Family Tai in modern Somtaaw, the classical view of naming is that it is differentiated from the Family Kong; as for whether it is because of Teigor Somtaaw or not, it remains unknown) has gathered part of kiith’s wealth, employed hundreds of skilled masons, painters, architects and weavers from various Kiithid, and began to build a series of temples on the slope of mountain Lungma Jiin, “The Roof of the World”. There were 33 magnificent temples in all, leading from the sands of the Kasaar to the very summit of what was, at that time, the world’s highest known mountain. These temples have stone and wood structures, murals, exquisite stone carvings and paintings that embody all the achievements of architectural mechanics at that time. Somtaaw employed the most famous monks of that time to preside over these temples, and sent many apprentices to study in famous seminaries.

Since then, Kiith Somtaaw has become one of the three major religious kiithid (the other two are Gaalsien and Ferriil), which meant "one of the three civilized kiithid" at that time. This is the first turning point in the history of Kiith Somtaaw.

The 33 temples of the Somtaaw were known as “The Shimmering Path”. For nearly 400 years, it was considered the height of spiritual devotion for a religiously inclined Kharakian to walk the Shimmering Path; Mount Lungma Jiin became a holy place in the hearts of all Kharakians, they attempted the trip at least once a lifetime. Beginning at the first temple, the Oracle of Tala, the distance that a pilgrim was able to travel on his or her own feet was considered a watermark for the strength of the Faith that burned within.

The vast majority of Kharakians finished the pilgrimage at the Seventh Temple, the famous “Dome of Heaven”, which lay within the city walls of Gydeo. Those stubborn few who felt the need to move closer to god, went on to the 26 temples in front of them, towards the highest goal in the distance, Temple of the Mysteries.

Nevertheless, you must not think it is easy because of its beautiful name. In fact, it is very, very difficult. As the famous poet Fumen Bai wrote in ancient times, “Alas! How dangerous heights these are! The Shimmering Path is harder than scaling the sky afar!” You see, it has more than enough difficulty to test the pilgrim’s faith and devotion, and thus even if a pilgrim only goes to the Dome of Heaven, he or she can be regarded as a devout believer. The rest 26 temples, each more inaccessible than the last. the upper slopes of Lungma Jiin were a blasted ladder of crumbling granite and thin ice, and constantly buffeted by freezing gale force winds. Of course, there is also altitude sickness.

However, for devout believers, it is worthwhile to toil. Because any pilgrim who made the journey on foot was permitted to touch the most sacred relics of the Somtaaw, the Star-Metal Scrolls.

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Chapter 3: The Heresy Wars

But it’s all over in KDS 520. The Heresy wars began. These fanatical religious elements of Gaalsien and Siidim, set off a bloody storm in the whole north, and the vast majority of the Kharakians were living in an abyss of misery. Every kiith, big or small, belonged either to Gaalsien or to Siidim. Those who belong to Gaalsien will be attacked and slaughtered by Siidim, those who belong to Siidim will be attacked and slaughtered by Gaalsien, and those who do not belong to either side will be attacked and slaughtered by both. Of course, there are also many struggling kiithid, and many of the main types of development of modern kiithid were determined at that time. For example, independent Kiith Paktu, whose entire kiith ventured across the boundless Great Banded Desert to find the Antarctic plain; Kiith Manaan, who had always been regarded as a “cunning and light-minded vagrant”, took up their swords after the massacre at Ferin Sha made by kiith Siidim, and became one of the best fighting Kiithid; and there are even Kiith Soban, who was born out of the strong dissatisfaction with the dependence of their original kiith on the aggressors. Sobanii are the true sons of the God of war. In a short time after their birth, they have built great reputation on Kharakid plains and deserts with their skills as soldiers and commanders; even Kiith Nabaal, the strongest kiith at present, has cut a brilliant figure under that historical condition.

Unfortunately, the Khontala Mountains are sandwiched just between Siddim and Gaalsien’s border, provided a natural barrier for both sides to defend each other, and the one who controls the Khontala Mountains, will have the initiative to attack the other at any time. Therefore, both sides struggled urgently to subdue or seduce Somtaaw. They exhausted all kinds of methods, soft, hard, luring and intimidating. However, although Somtaaw is a well-known religious kiith, she remains as sober as Kiith S’jet, never lost in religious fanaticism. Or you can say that Kiith Somtaaw is a real religious kiith, unlike the pseudo-religions who actually kill for their own interests under the banner of the God Sajuuk. Well, let’s not say these anachronistic things. In short, the Somtaaw did not belong to either side. As I said before, this is a very dangerous choice, which will bring double hostilities.

It’s nonsense to say that the Somtaaw is relying on its strong military strength to disapprove of the hostility of Gaalsi and Siid. The traditional job of the Somtaaw are farmers, herdsmen and businessmen. Since the construction of the shimmering path and the 33 temples, there have also been many clergymen dedicated to the temples. But the military personnel, if the supervisor of the market and temples counts, then there wasn’t none. Since the Somtaaw was so prosperous at that time and had a lot of communication with other kiithid, some people may doubt that we did not held even a policeman to maintain order. In fact, that’s the case. Because of their great wealth of goods, the people of Somtaaw had no impulse or necessity to commit crimes. While the foreign merchants were totally afraid to stain the pure land of the temple. Isn’t this a sharp contrast with some of the self-proclaimed civilized kiithid, thousands of polices and soldiers of whom are deployed to maintain order whenever a large-scale event is held? In short, there has been no regular army of Somtaaw until forty years ago, when my fleet appeared.

Hoes, whips and sceptres could not defeat the enemy’s heavy infantry in any case, so people decided to abandon the large terraces and grasslands outside the mountains, retreat to the valleys, guard the narrow mountain passes with all their strength, and set up observation posts on dangerous peaks in an attempt to use weak forces and backward weapons to cooperate with mountain ravines to stop the enemy. It turns out that this strategy is militarily successful, and tens of thousands of troops of Gaalsien and Siidim can’t defeat us in any way. Caesar Gaalsien, a famous ancient general, said this sentence: “Since ancient times, a road in Khontala can only be taken wisely and not attacked by force.” It was a portrayal of the situation at that time. Only they never came up with a wise way.

Soon, however, the drawbacks of this approach emerged. Since the fifth century, farmland has been declining due to years of farming, and there is no great prospect for development; so is animal husbandry. In fact, at that time, half of the Somtaaw’s economic resources had depended on the pilgrimage procession and the accompanying caravans. When war broke out, no one dared to come out and run around. The pilgrimage was becoming scarcer and scarcer, and eventually there was no pilgrimage at all. Somtaaw’s economy has been hit hard. Later, when retreated to the valley, Somtaaw lost a large amount of farmland and pasture outside the mountains. Thirty thousand people (all the population of Somtaaw back then) depended entirely on the limited fields and pastures in the mountains to support their livelihoods. And, moreover! The strategy of mountain pass blockade can, of course, rely on two market supervisor to block 10,000 enemies armed to the teeth, but it is easier to block all caravans at the same time.

So Somtaaw was sealed up in the Khontala Mountains.

In Kharakid ancient times, as in modern times, there was a tradition that people was easy to submit to the necessity of survival and seek refuge in power, even if that means to abandon their surname of Kiith, who they had been proud of. But according to the historical records, during the period when the material of the Somtaaw was extremely scarce, no one had ever thought of surrendering at all!

Although people’s will can not collapse, the objective lack of money is undeniable. At that time, the treasury was so empty that even the basic daily operation of the temples could not be maintained. In fact, it was not necessary, because no one came except Somtaaw themselves. Thus, in KDS 675, all 33 of the Somtaaw temples were closed to outsiders, except for the Oracle of Tala and the Dome of Heaven. We closed them for 500 years, until Kharak was destroyed.

Faced with the fact of war, we began to doubt the truth and necessity of religion. At least through the bloodshed outside the mountains, we know that religion is not omnipotent or even safe. Sa (still from Family Kong) began to explore whether religion should no longer be regarded as a national policy, but be devolved to the level of people’s personal beliefs.

The situation is getting worse and worse. The shortage of materials is increasing day by day. Contact with the outside was sporadic throughout the seventh and eighth centuries. In fact, even if no garrison blocked the caravan, the Somtaaw held no goods sufficiently inviting to keep the Kasaar Road open.

The turning point was in the latter part of the war, KDS 789 to be exact. It was the Kuura Somtaaw (Whose full name is Kong Kuura Somtaaw. It is said that the Family Ku of the modern Somtaaw was separated from Family Kong) at this time as the leader of Kiith-Sa. One night, she had a strange dream that the god Sajuuk driving a great red sword into the earth in the Khontala mountains, in a seldom-visited region, far from the main roads. Red Creek valley. Though named valley, its water has already dried up, revealing the red sandstone of the river bed, a barren land. For the first day, there was always the scene of that dream in front of her eyes, and it became more and more real. Finally she spoke at the Kiith-Sa conference. The other elders of Sa were amazed at how troubled she was by her dreams, but because she was descended from the temple women of Tala, people showed due respect. Several smaller families were sent to Red Creek valley.

Then there’s the second turning point in the history of Kiith Somtaaw.

What the Somtaaw found at Red Creek was a deposit of the richest iron ore ever seen on Kharak, which lay just six feet below the soft sediments of the valley floor, and can be dug out almost by hand. Those who return to report were so excited that they couldn’t say a whole word. When they finally finished describing their unexpected discoveries, Sa unanimously decided to develop the minerals on a large scale. And almost at the same time, through all possible channels, they announce their find to the world outside the mountains, which was dying from years of war. The reason they did this is to tell those who have lost the hope and motivation of life: let’s end the war, let’s cast new iron stove, and use these minerals to rebuild our homes, build iron bars to stop desert erosion, pour out iron beams to build tall buildings, pull out new iron flowers to decorate the gates wealthy, beautiful, grand, splendid and imposing. What a naive idea! Gaalsien and Siidim are red-eyed and their resources have been exhausted. The first reflection of the Somtaaw’s treasure in their minds is weapons! New weapons! Weapons they scarce most! Weapons to kill each other!

Although both Siid and Gaalsi offered ruinous sums to buy the mine, or the ore that it produced, Kuura Somtaaw refused to trade with either side. In her own words, “Why should I sell these madmen a knife to cut my throat with?” But iron ore cannot fed people, so we decided to smelt them ourselves. We have no ready-made experience, only heard a little knowledge about iron smelting from the previous caravans. But after experimenting and summarizing, we soon had our own experience. So we built our own smelter, Red River Valley Metallurgical Bureau (the predecessor of Red River Valley Mineral Group), and began mixing the iron with carbon, producing a very high grade steel, which was a commodity far more precious than gold, especially during those dangerous times. Although we do not want these steels to be used in casting swords, we can not think of any other thing that we could sell in that environment, so we have to do so.

An arrangement that eventually sustained Kuura Somtaaw was made with the Sobanii, who had already become famous as mercenaries, and immediately saw the use for Somtaaw steel and the superior weapons that could be forged from it. In exchange for a yearly tribute from the smelters at Hameln, the Soban signed an unheard-of contract; they agreed to keep the Kasaar open and clear of marauders for a period of no less than one hundred years! You know, at that time, Kiith Soban had grown to the point where even Gaalsien and Siidim would think twice to provoke, so if they wanted the Kassar open, nobody dared to say anything. Besides, Gaalsien and Siidim had declined so badly then that they could not control there at all.

Chapter 4 Time of Reason

The economic situation of Kiith Somtaaw has turned around. Moreover, with the improvement of the economy, some ideologies of the society began to change. The most important one is about the status of religion. As we have said before, in the face of cruel religious wars when resources were extremely scarce, the Somtaaws have begun to doubt the status of religion. Later, the life-saving iron ore was discovered. Although that seemed to be guided by God, the red ore and stove fire were still much more exciting than the illusory myth, and the whole society was gradually developing in a direction away from religious dogma.

This seems to be different from the general understanding of Kiith Somtaaw. People seem to think that we still cling to religious doctrines even after we get back to Hiigara. People wear old pointed caps all day and go to the dark worship room to read bizarre sutras. They use ancient kneeling rituals and always quote classics while speaking. In fact, as early as KDS 805, our Kiith-Sa promulgated a new national policy. Since then, religious belief has been a matter of personal freedom of belief instead of a national one. Although there were still many elderly people who lived in their sincere beliefs, such as those rumored by other kiithid, more people had paid more attention to mines and minerals than to the doctrines that had fallen behind the times. As far as I know, Kiith Somtaaw is the second Kiith on the whole Kharak to remove religion from national policy. The first one is Kiith Nabaal.

The Time of Reason has begun. And Nabaal representatives and experts have come to Khontala. The Valley closed for two to three hundred years has reopened! Like other kiithid, we embraced Nabaal technology and science, as well as their world outlook based on science and logic. It’s reasonable for us to go to the open world like other kiithid, but maybe too long isolation had made us forget each other, people rush to the city of Tiir, the representative of the new world, and forget Hameln and Gydeo. Maybe they thought Somtaaw was still full of clouds of the Heresy Wars. The lessons of blood made them hate everything that had anything to do with religion, even if they could have wronged good people. I think they probably confused the religious temperament of Somtaaw with the extreme religious dogma. At that time those temperament had been transformed into moral norms - modesty, tolerance and persistence.

But we didn’t go back to our closed self-world just because others didn’t accept us very much. We took full advantage of this great opportunity. We have expanded the scale of our industry and are actively engaged in new technologies and knowledge. Although we never developed any significant technological advances on our own, we were always quick to buy, copy, or outright steal any new tools or technique, and then use them into our own production. Thus the Somtaaw profited greatly from the introduction of steam-powered drills, narrow-gauge railroads and chemical explosives. So nowadays, some people call us thieves. I can’t say anything about this. Although there was no intellectual property right at that time, it was indeed inappropriate to use other people’s technology without their consent. And there were several incidents of intentionally sending spies into other kiith’sid scientific research bureau to steal design drawings, which made it impossible for me to explain. But more often than not, it was a Somtaaw who accidentally just glanced at other people’s machines and made an identical replica with just a little thought after coming home. I know this is somewhat unbelievable, but it’s not bragging. Every generation of Somtaaw has some genius of imitation. For example, Simu Dison, vice-president of Daiamid Academy of Sciences, academician of both academies, who is now familiar to us all, has always been inspired by what he has seen and put forward imitation plans since the mothership. Later, on the Kuun-Lan, he has been imitating things almost every two or three days. Although most of them have not been implemented because of political sensitiveness, many achievements have been made still. For example, the minelayer corvette is a replica of a similar Taiidan ship.

In the 1120s, Nabaal launched the first satellite into space, which marked the beginning of the space age. And the great era of space-flight begun fifty years later, space technology and space activities began to spread. Somtaaw took the opportunity to expand its mineral business to asteroids. We have mixed the spacecraft and mining technology from various channels with the characteristics of Somtaaw and built quite advanced spacecrafts. Since then, mines of Somtaaw has covered both underground, surface and sky of Kharak. At this time, it can be said that the function of Kiith Somtaaw has transformed from a primary religious kiith to a hard-working miner’s kiith.

Since the discovery of the first iron ore in Red Creek Valley, Somtaaw has devoted great enthusiasm to this new business, and this enthusiasm has been brought into space after more than 200 years without any reduction. I think this can be regarded as a kind of precious kiith spirit, down-to-earth, hard-working, perseverance, not as exaggerated as some people. However, it seems that people always look at us with colored glasses and regard our qualities that are clearly good as eccentric religious acts, because in their opinion, people are driven by interests, and can not do things only by enthusiasm or other noble moral qualities; and such facts, once seen by them, will be classified as “eccentric”, and fall into the weirdness that lags behind the times.

You know, Somtaaw made their Kiith rise through hard work, made her the third largest industrial Kiith after Nabaal and LiirHra in the whole Kharak, ranked third in the Kiith GNP ranking by Daiamid, with a population of 500,000, and made various positive gestures to participate in international cooperation and activities. But I don’t know whether it’s out of misunderstanding or hostility, people of other kiithid refuse to give us the same kind of open-minded attitude as they give others. In their view, an upstart religious fanatic with pockets of banknotes, large gold watches, gold teeth, gold rings, blinking eyes, liking darkness and humidity, hunched through narrow and dark airship cabins is a normal image of a Somtaaw.

Since the reopening of the Khontala Mountains in KDS 823, our kiith has been working to establish contacts with others, not only economically, but also culturally, in all other subjective worlds. But other kiithid are very reluctant to have anything to do with us, always intentionally or unintentionally avoiding us; Later, our mining industry is really developed, they have to inevitably have economic exchanges with us, but still try to avoid too much contact, they left immediately after we recieved their payments and delivered the goods. But we did not blame them, and still took the initiative to chat with them, hoping to learn more about each other. In fact, we know them very well, and understand them objectively, but they do not know us at all, our purpose is to let them know us. Sometimes, in order to achieve this goal, we were even a little slavery. We always know people’s prejudices and misunderstandings about us, but we try our best to make friends with them. We have been striving to enter the chamber of the Daiamid Council, which is fully qualified according to our history and economic strength. But people just don’t accept us. We would not have said anything if our proposal is vetoed in a formal manner; but the representatives of Daiamid always avoided our proposal, as if they were hiding from the venomous snakes and beasts. There was one or two other kiith’sid representatives who inadvertently made a statement: Daiamid served the people of Kharak through rational logical discussions. There was no need for a witch holding a crystal ball and a priest wielding a magic wand here!

Two years before the advent of Time of Reason, we had separated the word “religion” from our national policy, earlier than all the people in Kharak except Kiith Nabaal. Since then, we have moved towards modern civilization step by step, but we have not completely denied the past because of the benefits of modern civilization, we have tried to retain some of the traditional virtues of the past, we think these virtues remain the same in different times. We believe that we are no less rational than any kiithid at that time. It would be sad if we were convicted due to our virtues and official dresses that preserve the traditional form of our nation and to kneeling to Kiith-Sa - we mourn for them! We know that the Heresy Wars of 300 years ago made people totally disgusted with religion, but please don’t wronged us, and don’t confuse the Somtaaw with the Gaalsien who destroyed the Saju-ka Temple and started the Silumiin riots.

After three hundred years of trying to put up with misunderstandings and to smile and eager to communicate, the Somtaaw finally became unbearable. We began to express our discontent frankly. So the relationship between Somtaaw and the whole Kharak turned stiff. This eventually evolved into the “Hundred Years’ Quarrel of Star Metal Scrolls”, which caused the great historian Mevath Sagald to openly abuse us.

Chapter 5 Star Metal Scrolls

As mentioned earlier, some temples at the top of the shimmering path contain the ancient relics “Star Metal Scrolls”. which were alleged to have been written by the hand of Jakuul Himself, in a language which no living man could read. Throughout ancient times, these scrolls were the holiest and most mysterious things in the minds of almost all Kharakians. Since Time of Reason, the modern world outlook has transformed people’s minds, they begin to re-examine some things with new eyes, including, of course, the Star Metal Scrolls. At that time, even the most serious or imaginative Kharakian scholars had assumed that the Somtaaw’s Star Metal Scrolls were just a myth, very much like their Chalice of Life or any other mystical refuse from Kharakian legend. the Star Metal Scrolls were put into the same category as Soban’s sword Caaliburnos, or the Burning Spear of Gaalsi. Because of this, people generally lose interest in those metal sheets. Yet we Somtaaws still treasure them as ancient relics in those temples. This situation continued until the discovery of the Khar Toba.

Since ancient times, we Kharakians have begun to doubt whether we are aborigine of Kharak. Confusion is easy to produce. According to some religious doctrines, we had once been a great race living in paradise but had been punished by the Gods for our hubris and cast down to Kharak, or we had been created to suffer from the beginning and Kharak was all we could hope for. In the Time of Reason, oldest myths and the newest theories wedded into a XenoGenesis Theory, that our ansestors came from the universe or simply from another space. Later on, with the development of biology, Kiith S’jet finally confirmed that we bore little biological similarity to

the vast majority of Kharakid life. We are aliens to this world. We are only customers of Kharak, not masters!

In KDS 1024, eliminating the effects of the Silumiin riots, Kiith Nabaal’s rocket launched into low Kharak orbit. Kharakians entered the pre-space era, also known as the age of orbital exploration. When we had enough technology to manpower the spacecrafts into high orbit, we were surprised to find unusual pieces of metallic debris there. Although small, the shock they bring to people is very big. Samples were retrieved from orbit and preliminary analysis confirmed that they were pieces of advanced manufactured and machined structures. Detailed atomic analysis revealed trace elements and isotope combinations unknown on Kharak or, as it was eventually discovered, anywhere else in the stellar system. But it did not truly confirm anything except that some kind of alien device or ship had once orbited our world.

In 1106 a powerful radar satellite was launched in the hopes of detecting larger debris belts elsewhere in our star-system. A malfunction in its maneuvering jets caused the satellite to turn

towards Kharak and scan the surface. Leykab Jaraci, a technician on the project, noticed a strong return where there should be none. A quick analysis showed the powerful radar had penetrated the equatorial desert sand to a depth of 75 meters and there was strong evidence of an ancient city centered around a large metallic structure.

By 1110 enough science Ministers had been convinced, by repeated radar scans, to allocate resources to an expedition into the Great Desert. These first brave excavators managed to uncover what has come to be known as the First City, Khar-Toba. Its central metallic structure was revealed to be the skeletal chassis of an advanced vessel. With further investigation in the next few years, more and more things have been found, some traces that made us undoubtedly link this old spaceship with this ancient city. Finally, one day, Archaeologist Mevath Sagald discovered the Guidestone that people can now see in the New Daiamid Museum of History.

It was a startled gathering of High Ministers that found their debate disrupted by a sand-covered young woman carrying an ancient stone. By nightfall of the following day some of the greatest minds in the Daiamid had examined the Guidestone and confirmed not only its validity but also

its implications. With this knowledge in hand the High Ministers returned to their home clans to bring the word that we were not indigenous to this planet. From the most powerful cross-territory industrial Clans to the smallest agricultural villages, the word was unanimous: The entire industrial and scientific might of all Kharak would be put to the task of following the path laid by the Guidestone. For the first time since we came to this world, we were one Clan.

The Daiamid Council, a loose body with no executive power, was disbanded and replaced by the powerful United Kiithid of Kharak. Each Kiith-sa submitted its leadership over its people to the United Kiithid for free.

Things happened just after that.

After the discovery of the Guidestone, people began to take a new look at some legendary and those sacred objects among them. People have invested a great deal of new interest in the Star Metal Scrolls. Because a member of the expedition copied some of the symbols inside Khar-Toba that might have been characters and was ready to take them back for linguists to study. His book was so dilapidated by the rush outside that his grandmother threw it into the basket as garbage. When he was anxious to turn out his book from the basket, he also turned out the book his grandmother had thrown away when she cleaned the old attic. That’s his grand-grand-grand-grand…grandfather’s diary. In it, he found that when this ansestor of his was young, he arrived at the eighth temple in Lungma Jiin, the Fal-Corum Temple, stroked a star metal scroll there, and wrote down “Jaku’s handwriting” based on his memory after he returned. This explorer found that the symbols in these two books were exactly the same! This prompted many prominent anthrocists and historians, including the famous Mevath Sagald, to decide to form an expedition to Lungma Jiin. They asked the Somtaaw-sa to reopen the temples in the northern highlands to modern scholars after 300 years of closure to outsiders. (After entering the age of reason, All somtaaw was busy mining, but forgot to reopen those temples… Although not necessarily anybody will go there again.)

At this time, Family Fumen were the Sa of Somtaaw. They are very radical people who are easily impulsive and angry with others. The long-term neglect of our near-humble demonstrations has gradually aroused the disgust of Somtaaw. When the scholars’ requests were conveyed to Somtaaw, the tangible discrimination and silent humiliation suffered over the past 300 years came to mind in an instant. In addition, the inappropriate wording of the inspection team aroused general disgust among Kiith Sa, and the request was rejected face to face.

The team was very angry and submitted the request to Daiamid for discussion. As a result of persistent prejudice and contempt, other Kiith’sid representatives denounced the representatives of Somtaaw. It happened that many Kiith’sid representatives were as hot-tempered as Family Fumen at that time. They spoke in defiance of diplomatic etiquette, and they even made rude remarks. This brought temper to the original slightly regretful Somtaaw representative. You think only you are cruel? So everybody was tit-for-tat and got into a big quarrel. At last, everyone have come to a deadlock, and the representative of Somtaaw, who was in high anger, said, “Okay! We can open those temples. But you (archaeologists) have to walk on your feet, dressed in traditional pilgrim’s clothes!” One sentence made the quarrel white-hot. Fortunately, they did not start to fight with each other immediately, giving several peacemakers the chance to announce the temporary adjournment.

When they emerged from the Daiamid Round Court, Sagald and her coalition declared to reporters that this notion is “ridiculous”, and openly referred to the Somtaaw as “backward barbarians”. As a result, the headlines of all newspapers in Kharak were these words the next day. Many Sagald supporters pointed out that the Daiamid was founded to hear sound logical debates, not to listen to superstitious nonsense!

But it was too late. The Somtaaw was already angry with the whole Kharak. So the whole controversy, which is basically a dispute, lasted until the hyperspace test of the mothership in 1208 and the beginning of the Great Return. After Daiamid’s dissolution, the quarrel continued in his successor, United Kiithid.

This incident, regardless of who is responsible for it, has had a tremendous negative impact on Somtaaw participating in the overall return plan. The construction plan of the Mothership and her entire fleet did not accept any direct involvement of Somtaaw. (Actually, the Preparatory Committee kept on tactfully purchasing large quantities of ore mined by Somtaaw, by using small kiithid as transits, who often had no obvious political orientation. Somtaaw was worried that there is no way to make its own contribution to the national event of building the Mothership, so she was willing to make a fortune this way. Somtaaw also did not actively participate in the low temperature test of cryo trays. (Somtaaw has only 15,000 places, one of the lowest participation rates of all kiithid, compared to her 500,000 people at that time.) From the present point of view, it is because of these measures that did not feel great at that time, that only six Somtaaw served on the Mothership soberly during the whole war, and all they served were low-level medical treatment, resource collector maintenance, or battlefield clearence. Thus, Somtaaw lost a great opportunity to expand its influence to the whole community, making Somtaaw a victim of the radical changes in kiith structure when our people arrived on Hiigara. (Some kiithid, who was sparsely populated on Kharak, became big kiithid on Hiigara because of the large number of people who participated in the cryo tray test, while some others, who was originally big kiithid, became little and poor on Hiigara because most of them stayed on Kharak. Somtaaw is the most miserable among them, 15,000 people is less than one-thirtieth of the original population.

In any case, we will never know what we might have learned from the Somtaaw Scrolls; they were lost with the rest of Kharak, and among the Somtaaw survivors who awoke on Hiigara 15 years ago, there were none who could claim to have seen them, or have brought any sort of record.