"History is important," Glondikia said, "You must know this, to learn from it and to not repeat the same mistakes."
"I know, Mother," Amnika said, "But I want to finish my project." Amnika gestured towards a box full of wires, circuit boards, data crystals, display units, and other miscellaneous parts that her father had given her.
"That's no project," Petreze said, "That's a mess!"
Amnika glared at her brother.
"Come, now," Glondikia said, "The only time Petreze is home is during our half cycle and the full cycle celebrations. He leaves again in a few days. We will be too busy after today."
"But Petreze has heard it before," Amanda protested, "We can wait!"
"It's tradition," Glondikia insisted. "And we keep this tradition to help us to prevent us from making the same mistakes as our ancestors."
Amnika sighed. She put down the tool she was holding and went into the family area. Glondikia followed.
"I know we let you opt out the other times," Glondikia said, "but you are old enough now to follow these traditions," Glondikia said, and she sat down with her husband, Zeth.
"Besides," Zeth said, "The leader has mandated it. He wanted to make sure that everyone knows our history." Then he turned to Glondikia. "Should I tell it or do you want to?"
Glondikia smiled. "I'll do it."
"Of course you will, " Zeth said, "Everyone knows you're the better storyteller anyway." He gives her a knowing smile, leans over and kisses her temple. Glondikia blushes. Amnika looked at them thoughtfully.
"A long time ago," Glondikia began, "an advanced ancient civilization discovered a source of energy that could also be used as a weapon of mass destruction. Unfortunately, the people were divided into many factions and was warring with each other. All of them had this weapon.
"For a long time, this prevented an all-out war as everyone knew that if anyone used this weapon, it could cause the extinction of all the people - let alone scorch the entire planet.
"Soon, One leader of a rather large and influential faction, thought it would be best to unite all of them in one great unit. He wasn't the only one. Two of the other large ones also thought it would be a good idea to do so. But none of the three major factions could agree on how.
"One faction wanted to control all and dictate everything that the citizens did, from what they ate to when they had children. The other thought that they should only control processing, resources, and medical. And finally, the third thought that there should be little intervention by leadership.
"They started a war. At first, it was through ideology and propaganda. The smaller factions teamed up with the large ones. Soon, there were only three sides.
"Soon, it wasn't enough to try to convince people of the 'right way.' The three factions started to war with each other. At first, it was just sabotage and assassinations. Then two factions started a shooting war while the third tried playing one against the other. But the two finally caught on and went against the third.
"What the two factions didn't count on was the leader of the third was willing to use the weapon of mass destruction."
"Why would he do that? Did he care if everyone died?" Amnika asked.
"Well, there are rumors that it didn't happen that way," Glondikia responded. "It is possible that there was a miscommunication somewhere and the leader didn't authorize the release of the weapons."
Glondikia paused and leaned back. She paused for a moment before continuing. "There is a rumor that some believed that the planet would be better without sentient beings, and the fastest way to do this was mass destruction. Other groups felt that they would survive the destruction, somehow through the creator's intervention and found a way to set them off. Whatever happened, it triggered the event that would eventually lead to the founding of our city."
"Go on!" Amnika leaned forward and put her head in her hands.
Glondikia smiled. Children can be so fickle until you get their full attention.
"The missiles launched and everything burned for days. There was a man, named Janoh, with a family, in a small corner of the planet. He always tried to do the right thing. He worked hard, but before the war, no one recognized him as a true problem solver as it did not compare to flattery and good looks. Janoh barely got by."
Petreze piped up. "If you only looked like you were working hard, that was okay, but everyone overlooked the hard workers."
Zeth glanced over at Petrez who shrugged.
"Something to that extent," Glondikia said, "Janoh used his knowledge to escape the great fire that came from these weapons, but now everything was destroyed. They had to look for food, but since war scorched the ground, there was none. They tried to find clean water, but the water ran with blood and other toxins from the weapons. Janoh and his family filtered what they could.
"Until one day, starving and suffering from dehydration, they came across a small stream that seemed to trickle down the mountain. He noticed how clean it was and drank some. He knew that you can't always taste deadly bacteria or viruses, but he was desperate and drank from the stream anyway. Janoh gave some to his family.
"Fueled by hope and now what we believe to be the stream itself, they climbed the mountain. When they got to the top, it was cold, but the air felt clearer.
"They walked a few meters until they came to the cliff. Down below the cliff was an area that was untouched by the war or by any sentient being. It was full of vegetation and fresh water. Janoh took his wife and his kids, who were now showing signs of illness from the weapons, and brought them down to the lush foliage below.
"They drank from the water, ate the fruit, and even killed a small animal for meat. A day later, the symptoms they were all showing were almost gone.
"Janoh, who always did the right thing, decided to leave his family behind to find other survivors.
"At first he couldn't find anyone, but then they started trickling in. All were very ill from the weapons, but because of their perseverance, they all eventually got better. We all know now that the water contained the stabilizer that had healing properties. The long-term effects are what happened to our genetics, creating two different species. We now limit the stabilizer to severe medicinal purposes only. We aren't sure how much more genetic mutations it could cause."
"And," Petreze shifted positions, "It's also used to stabilize our energy that powers everything here. It doesn't require much, but it keeps the radiation to safe levels."
This time, Zeth looked hard at Petrez.
"Well," Petreze shrugged again, "That's what we learned. Sorry for interrupting."
Zeth pointed to his hood on his cape. "That's not the problem."
"Oh, I'm a little excited." Petrez put his hood on.
"Two genetic species," She continued. "Inersiens, who are our engineers, scientists, academics, and mathematicians. We also have our talents. It is what we are."
"The ability to share minds," Amnika said, "to connect."
"And some," Zeth said, "can manipulate energy." He was looking at Amnika. "Those are our highest level inersiens. There's not too many of those, but if there is one, they are assigned higher offices."
"Well, that's what you are," Amnika said. She mistook her father looking at her as an inquiry, but he didn't say anything.
"Yes," Glondikia said, "Your father is an energy engineer supervisor. He is in charge of our energy system here in the city."
Glondikia continued, "Then we have our Natisiens. These grew larger and stronger. They are our builders, our mechanics, and our protectors."
Amnika chuckled, "And entertainers!"
Zeth put up his hand to stop Amnika. She took a deep breath and calmed. She allowed her emotions to overwhelm her, again. Amnika wished she wasn't so easily excitable.
"I apologize," she said, looking down.
"You may need a cape, " Zeth said gently. Amnika was relieved that he wasn't angry after all. After a moment she realized that he picked up on her emotions. She didn't think she projected that much.
"Well," Glondikia said, "The Natisiens do what they do out of loyalty. Loyal Natisiens will do anything for you. Make them angry, and they'll leave."
Both Petreze and Amnika nodded.
"We are very dependant on the Natisiens," Amnika said just above a whisper.
"They're our other half," Petreze said, "Natiz means Strength. Inerz means mind. The words are based off an older language. One of the languages that died in the fire."
The quietness of Petrez's voice caused Amnika to look over. She noticed Petrez's hair was getting dark; he almost looked like an adult.
"Of strength and of the mind," Amnika repeated.