The Safe Harbour – A Star Atlas Story

By Published On: 22 December 2023Tags:

The children of Safe Harbour woke to the sound of light bells and the strum of a melodic harp. Morning rise time was always peaceful, but the festive holiday seemed to make the harmony resonating throughout the sleeping room all the sweeter.

There was great excitement and anticipation from the children that morning as they rose from slumber. That evening, they were to perform a reenactment of The Signing of the Peace Treaty in front of the Council of Peace Grand Assembly.

The children had been practicing and rehearsing for weeks, eager for their moment to shine as all children do. Their eager faces and bright sleepy smiles, however, hid a gimmer reality.

It had been less than two years since the Signing of the Peace Treaty. The children of Safe Harbour had all arrived after the war had ended and all of them were parentless or without a family unit. The devastation of The Convergence War and subsequent reconstruction period left worlds shattered, but to the children, their personal worlds had already been long shattered.

Upon opening her eyes, Jaraya, a young MUD girl around the standard age of 9, rushed to the windows of the sleeping room. Mesmerizing tufts of white cotton were lightly falling outside. Jaraya had no words for what she saw. On her home world, rain itself was a rare phenomenon. Their rocky desert planet supported sparse settlements and while the settlements were sustainable, they were no match for the advancing Sogmian armada at the edge of MUD territory. Her parents died defending their village and Jaraya only managed to escape by hiding in nearby caves.

Jaraya, who was set to play Charon Gotti during that evening’s play, beckoned over to Tali, a Sogmian boy slightly younger. Tali was one of Jaraya’s counterparts, playing the role of Bekalu.

Tali, what’s happening? What is going on outside?” Jaraya asked with a hint of excitement mixed with curiosity.

It’s so cold outside that water particles have become frozen as the fall from condensed moisture groupings in the air. I believe the word is ‘snow’ in your language” replied Tali.

Snow”, Jaraya mused.

Tali’s parents had been Sogmian scientists researching artic fauna in Denubla, stationed there by the Oni military. Their research outpost had been hit during a deep strike attack by Ustur forces in the region. The outpost’s deep space radar warning system barely picked up the Ustur long-range missile barrage, giving Tali’s parents mere moments to shove him into the emergency bunker beneath the outpost before missiles reduced the outpost to rubble. It would be a week in a dark solitary emergency habitat before Oni rescue forces arrived and dug him out.

A soft metallic voice soon joined the trio. With a wave of his hand, tiny colorful bulb of light began dancing across the ceiling and windows.

Glo.lrnr bemused, “Ah, much better.” Glo.lrnr was much older than Jaraya and Tali by standard conventions, but still an adolescent in Ustur society. Glo had the distinct honor of playing Armi.eldr that evening.

Glo’s family unit did their best to abstain from the Convergence War. As firm believers in peace, Glo’s family unit were part of a spiritual sect of Usturs that sought greater enlightenment. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to them, their temple-settlement was located on planet in the Hanging Gardens. As resources quickly dwindled during the war and military supply lines cut, a bold MUD corporation made a daring attempt to capture the sector’s unclaimed resources. With little consideration for the planet’s inhabitants, the corporation sought the quickest method towards prosperity…extermination. Glo had been out across the mountain range when the hostile corporation landed. He watched in shock and terror as paid corporate contractors razed his family’s temple to the ground. Glo fled on his single pilot transport and never looked back.

As the three gathered near the window, a company of other children rose from their respective beds, Punaabs, Mierese, Humans, and Ustur children alike quickly scrambled to dress and prepare for the day’s activities. Although the reenactment was later that evening, there was much to prepare in advance.

Once the children had dressed, they gathered outside of Safe Harbour in the main courtyard. Since their arrival, the children had been amazed by the pageantry of their second home. Many of them had never experienced such splendor on their home worlds. With each passing day, the nightmares these children endured during the Convergence War seemed to fade, aided by the comfort of the orphanage.

Beside the main archway that led from the street to the courtyard was a humble but important fixture.

Safe Harbour

Founded 2523 by charitable donation

In thanks to Chior.eldr

Out of the ashes of our past grow the seeds of our future

That evening, the children of Safe Harbour took the stage to the thunderous applause of the Grand Assembly. Gathered were the leaders of the three factions, its councilors, diplomats, statesmen and delegates. In the upper terraces sat thousands of onlookers, races and species intermingled throughout the viewing stands.

As the children took their places on stage, Bekalu provided a warm introductory speech.

“We gather here today to pay solemn remembrance to the history that unites us. These children here before you represent our future, in the hopes that the tragedies of our past may never be repeated.”

Bekalu took his seat and the children began their reenactment. Thanks to their dedicated practice over the past few weeks, Jaraya, Tali, Glo.lrnr, and the other children performed to perfection. As the play entered its final moments with the signing of the Peace Treaty, Jaraya, Tali and Glo acted with such dignity, grace, and serenity that the hall was moved with emotion. Many of the play’s spectators had borne witness to the real event itself and could even further recall the despair that preceded it. As Jaraya, Tali, and Glo each signed the Peace Treaty, the hall erupted in thunderous applause.

Despite the deafening sound, Jaraya, Tali, and Glo looked excitedly to each other.

“That was amazing” yelled Jaraya

“They love us” screamed Tali

“I hope we get to do it again next…”.

But before Glo could finish his sentence, he was cut off by silence. Bekalu had risen from his seat.

“Thank you, children,” he started, “We are fortunate that Safe Harbour has brought you all together. We are even more fortunate, and I am pleased to inform you, that every one of you have been adopted into families seated here in this very front row.”

The children gasped and screamed with joy, many with tears running down their faces.

“I want to welcome you to your new…” Bekalu tried to finish, but by then the children had already rushed from the stage into the arms of their new parents.

Epilogue

Since that day, the orphanage has performed the reenactment of The Signing of the Peace treaty every annual festival holiday, with every child meeting their new parents at the end of the evening every year. As time went on, the orphans continued to come to Safe Harbour, but no longer were they the children of war. To this day, Safe Harbour stands as a testament to the unity of peace.

About the Author: Krigs

An ardent supporter of emerging technologies, Krigs has been covering blockchain games for over two years and believes passionately in their power to revolutionize our collective gaming experience.

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