Those that left Earth heading to Europa, Jupiter’s moon, were lucky to be given a chance for a new future, but their spirits were heavily laden with worry. Their destination was remote, cold and full of challenges. They spent the few years it took to reach Europa to meticulously plan their strategy for colonization. Their ship, the Artemis Proxima, was specifically designed to withstand the torrent of radiation on Europa’s surface. Upon landing, from the center of its enormous hull, the ship drilled down deep into the seemingly endless layer of ice, to where radiation was no threat and temperatures were more survivable. They carved out massive caverns within the ice and slowly the viscera of the Artemis Proxima descended into Europa to grow new life. The ship’s gravity field generators were used to anchor the colony, and enormous lights would shine against the mirrored ice surfaces to simulate day with a silvery blue “sky.” They drilled deeper still, creating vertical highways to the great ocean that lay beneath the ice. That is where they harnessed the energy of the flowing water to power their way of life. Along the way, they discovered geological bodies within the ice, providing them with the materials needed to expand and grow their colony. They found that silver is uniquely abundant on Europa.
Nevertheless, life was still difficult. Cold temperatures and the hardness of ice ceaselessly around them was taxing for the mental wellbeing of the community. Many struggled, and some festered in their misery. Misery became desperation, desperation became anger, and anger spawned fanaticism. A group of radical terrorists emerged within the colony with the belief that humans should not suffer such a cruel future. Their strength was limited, so they struck strategically and destroyed the colony’s ability to grow and harvest the organic foods they needed to live. The blow was devastating. The terrorists gloated that they had saved everyone from their suffering, even in their final moments as they were executed. An incident that would be forever etched into the fabric of their culture. Food stores were depleting rapidly, and so the leadership resorted to the only solution they could see; using what technology they had at their disposal to genetically modify and artificially replicate the little food they had left. They were saved.
They did not know, however, at what cost. Over time, the mass produced sustenance had the heartbreaking side effect of making the entire populous infertile. Natural births declined every year, and it did not take long until the last child born of a womb drew its first breath. They cursed the memory of the fanatics that caused their plight once again, and turned to those that saved them once before. The only way to continue life was through cloning.
At first, it was just that, making exact copies of themselves to raise as their own pseudo-children. However, from this era of their history, creating new life was a matter of scientific knowledge and skill. Those that possessed it transcended to an exalted status amongst the population, and their glory for saving their people twice over gave them influence. Pride took hold, and merely cloning was no longer enough to satiate their egos. They believed it was their deistic right to seek perfection in the human genome, and so they began to genetically modify the clones. Generation after generation they iterated, creating a version of humans optimized in every way they could. Increased strength, endurance, reflexes, heightened senses, resistance to extreme temperatures and so on. They even began to influence the growth of the fetuses in the incubation chambers, infusing the silver of Europa into their supply of blood and nutrients to increase their resistance to bacteria. The silver turned their skin grey and would help shield them from radiation so that they could one day return to Europa’s surface without fear.
After thousands of years, the Archivists, those that created and maintain their genetic code, created a civilization of perfected humans and ruled the people with theistic intensity. Predicated by the terrorist fanatics of their history that nearly extinguished them all, they instituted a spartan culture that idealized uniform synchronous behaviour and encouraged stoic personality. For those that have never celebrated joy, cannot lament its absence.
Yet even in their forcefully “purified” nation they call Kathar, behind closed doors the people yearned for more. In secret, they told tales of how life once was; Earth and its chaotic splendour, individuality, and what “family” meant in the past. Still unable to have children naturally, they wondered if the answer to their heartache lies beyond Europa, and towards their past. The news of the Priming of Earth had spread like wildfire, and there were finally enough that dared to utter the word, “rebellion.” Chaos was imminent. They are the Kathari.
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