The Descent

Cobalt sat alone in this now dark realm. The only light was that which was given off by the souls he had harvested during the Descent. He could feel the warmth from their fear and anger. It nourished him and gave him those few moments of contentment that he lived for.

If this was living. He wasn’t sure anymore if he qualified as something that was living.

He wasn’t even entirely sure who or what he was. From time to time some being would scream “it’s Cobalt! Run!” Or something similar, as if they had heard of him before but never expected to actually encounter him. But in the end, whether there was some vague recognition of him or not, the result was always the same: a civilization brought to its knees and the last bits of energy from every life form drained away. History erased.

He had done this across thousands of planets. Or maybe entire universes. And while there were nearly infinite variables in each one of them, there was always one commonality: a belief that, somewhere, there was a “higher life form” or “enlightened society” which was much more advanced and had evolved past the concept of hatred and war.

Cobalt had never found such a thing.

It didn’t matter if it was a single, solitary planet and all the lifeforms were similar to each other, or multiple civilizations all of different colors, languages, and beliefs traveling back and forth across oceans, whether it be water or space or some other element or chemical. It didn’t matter if it was stones and clubs or tightly focused energy beams.

The fact was, there were always stones and clubs or tightly focused energy beams, and they were always used as weapons. There was always anger, or greed, or superiority which created factions. There were always feathers adorning headdresses or metals pinned on shoulders showing how many victories the individual had to their name.

There are always warriors.

And warriors always endure, even when they are no longer needed. A society which has truly embraced the concept of seeking “enlightenment” will, in most situations, still cling to their warriors, just in case some lower race tries to take something by force or needs to be shown the right way to live or the proper god to follow.

The irony is that in those rare situations where the society focuses itself on attaining a higher, peaceful form of existence, retires it’s warriors and raises it’s philosophers to the positions of control that allow them to guide their people towards this utopia, it is inevitable that some other civilization comes along and deems them weak. Shortly after that, the only thing remaining are empty archways and ruins.

The cycle then repeats ad nauseam. Unless… There is a reset. A cleansing so thorough as to return things to the time when the stars were first born. A time where a planet has a chance to breathe for a few billion years before the concept of consciousness once again invades its surface.

The descent into history being erased.

This was, Cobalt told himself, his purpose. It was what he existed for. It was why the universe had given him this hunger that was only satiated by the completion of the Descent. He didn’t know if he had been born, or if he had been created at the same time as the universe. He had no memory of his parents, family, or society, or if there had ever been one for him.

He had not even understood the concept of “growing up” until the first time he had drained the spark of existence from a young sentient. He still remembered how he had been fascinated on the difference between the energy of the young and the old. How time seemed to inexorably wash away that part of the life force which was referred to as hope or dreams.

For a while Cobalt had believed that perhaps this was the answer and, when he was taking a civilization through the Descent, he would leave the young to recover and rebuild. He had thought that their higher ability to hope and dream would keep them from hating each other and build something that would exist in harmony with the universe.

This was always a disaster.

Those early times were the first and only age when Cobalt believed there could be some sort of balance between these beings and the universe.

But as civilization after civilization disappointed him, he became convinced that he was, to put it simply, the universe’s champion.

Any one of these populations, if left unchecked indefinitely, would ultimately advance to the point where it could discover the base nature of the universe. The very core of existence. And when that happened, there would be no more resets. There would be no Descent. There would be no second chances. They would attempt to manipulate it into something that they could “use” and in so doing would end any reality where the universe existed.

So, as the light from the last lives in this history faded, Cobalt took one last breath before moving on to his next destination. He was certain this next one would be no different than all of the others. The civilizations on this next system had confined themselves to one small, blue orb and had already attempted to exterminate themselves multiple times.

Earth was certain to be one of the more boring Descents.

3 thoughts on “The Descent

  1. I was too late to vote, but this would be my choice! Great “story” and I’d give it five of five stars for playing out the obvious of Earth’s civilizations histories. Brilliant!

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