As she sat on the porch of her House on Mount Perdition, Annaperennaepsilonomnicrex vol-Xianthellipse stared at the sight of the setting sun.
Yes, anybody can take comfort in the colors of the sky as they dim into darkness. Though in this case, the comfort came less often than most. There were two suns near Gallifrey. One was the natural sun: the one that saw the land as it was in the start with primitive people and matriarchy rule before concepts like “logic” and “bettering one’s self” began to poke through, the fall the Pythia, the rise of Rassilon, and the beginning of the split between those who lived in the domes and the failures that lived in the wilds. This sun watched over the last capital-W War, the one in myth in the time before time. Saw as the Yssgaroth came through and the Neo-Technologians trembled in their presence and all the moments after that including the stagnation of the culture.
The other sun was supposed to be temporary: a response to the Yssgaroth’s dislike of the daytime, manufactured, man-made, an attempt of everlasting sunshine that they could never quite bring to fruit. They couldn’t do it then because time did not exist then. As such, the days are long and the nights are brief. To see the stars with the naked eye, one must endure a tiresome wait. And sure, they could’ve changed it once time came into their grasp. Yet for whatever reason, they did not. Perhaps after dealing with their foes, the prospect was deemed no longer worth the energy to tinker with. And so it goes.
The young girl was the only one looking out into the scenery. The rest of her kin (if one wishes to call them such) were elsewhere, most likely inside or running about until their night came due. Even the briefness of the dark has become a part of the culture. Groups of loomlings at the tender age of eight are gathered and one by one, they stare into the very hole the Great Vampires flew in from Someplace Else and develop their first vortex thought. Some may even know the groups they are usually placed in: the inspired, the runaways, and the absolute mad.
Except this particular part of House Xianthellipse were not loomlings.
It could’ve been a curse from the former matriarch in ages past or an artificial virus created by Rassilon himself. The cause itself made no difference. On the threshold from one Era to the next–and through one shade of the universe to the next–the Gallifreyians became sterile. And though they could live much longer than previous through multiple lives, they had yet to encounter true unyielding immortality. Progeny was still a thing they had to have, you know? Thus there was the invention of the looms. Breeding machines. DNA weavers. Turn ’em on? In a few hours, you have a child. And that was the way it was for generations upon generations.
Until a whisper was delivered to the ears of the head of the House.
It said maybe you should diversify. Delivered with a wink and a nod.
The “fathers”: Some of Gallifrey’s finest. Or at least, that’s what they told the other Houses when the plan was met in disgust. In reality, they were cowards. Despite that three of the six Houses were military Houses hellbent on finding ways to create the best warriors possible, they still needed bodies. Once again, we hit into another blind spot that upon reflection might’ve helped matters. They had the looms but never thought about programming even one to make big boy bodies. Instead, whatever experimentation was destined to be done ended up on the lower end of the totem poles of each and every House.
Make no mistake. It doesn’t matter how accomplished your family tree is. There are always stragglers at the base. People they’d never miss. And when it comes down to being an experimental soldier who gets closer to being a cold unfeeling robot every time they regenerate? Yeah, you know damn well who gets forced into that role.
Those are the ones House Xianthellipse shilled this idea to. Do you want to live as yourself or die as kindred to the Daleks? For the low, low donation of a small sample of your biodata, we will provide you escape from the War. Put you in some low-level planet that (probably) won’t even get touched by this struggle. Sure. You lose your family name and you’ll be on your own. But isn’t your lives worth more than that?!
Enough of them said yes.
The “mothers”: Or to put it more correctly, the broodmares. Specimens of the lesser species. The poor, the downtrodden, the missing, and the meaningless. There are those that go missing and leave a trace of a body somewhere even if it’s never found by the living. There are also those who leave no trace because they were abducted by something not like themselves. For all the jokes you humans make about alien abductions and anal probes, there’s an element of truth to it. Thing is we don’t exactly drop them off where they came from after a one night stand so that they look crazy.
We take them, use them for our goals, and then we dispose of them. Nobody sees them again. Unlike the “fathers”, they didn’t really have a choice. Unless that choice is die now or die later.
Now imagine being a byproduct of such a concept. The majority of the children didn’t really care. It was what it was. They were what they were. They would indulge in both sides of the fence on the regular and the ease in which they did so! There would be a certain pride in the fact that they were the mongrels of Gallifrey, the bastard children of time, the first wombborns since the time before this. This sick twisted pride would be the thing to carry them through slurs and insults, being spat on and fistfights with those cunts from House Mirraflex.
And then…there’s Annaperennaepsilonomnicrex vol-Xianthellipse.
She would breathe slowly and feel the cells in her in an eternal fight. She wouldn’t take the same pride that her kin would keep close to their hearts. Nor would she take any shame in the fact. For all her flaws, however, she was self-aware enough to know that something was unmistakably off though she could never pinpoint exactly what that offness was, what it meant, and how to fix it. The offness would spill to the outside world too as the square peg in the midst of several round holes. Not just here but everywhere. Never quite fitting anywhere, always out of the box.
How do you like that? An alien stricken with alienation.
As the uppermost part of the setting sun begins to lapse and the first star shows itself in the sky, she makes a connection between the dueling suns and herself which if said out loud would be rather unbecoming. It would be a recurring thought throughout the years every time she saw it happen.
Which of the suns are setting and which are rising? The real one or the fake?