Peace, Mixed and Different

Scott W
5 min readDec 24, 2023

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The little puri purred sleepily as Jodnik scratched his head and tugged gently on his ears. Jodnik looked at her little friend, wondering about the biological pairing that must have occurred to create such a strange and unique pet. In her class that morning, the teacher had begun to talk about genetics and mutations and evolution and what it meant for a species to have been ‘naturally created’ versus one that had been artificially created. It was a complex subject for such a young girl as Jodnik, but it was mandatory education begun at a young age. The COP’s mandate imparted the necessity to have a civilized and educated population base, individuals that could conceptualize and think for themselves, and to strive to never again let the public be swayed by manipulation and mistruths, vectored to potent levels of disinformation and evilness by black cloak groups intent on social discord and of which many today believe helped fuel the atrocities of the The Convergence Wars. “Education is the antidote to ignorance, fear and xenophobia” the billboards displayed. It was common this time of year to start frequently seeing this message on the plethora of 3D message screens spread around the Oni CSS, but especially during this year, the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace.

Celebration was everywhere, in the energy of the inhabitants, in the paired excitement felt by their companion animals, in the colors on the trees tinged with little bulbs that were the strange gift of culture from the MUD human minority that also lived now on the Oni station with their Oni and Ustur compatriots.

Jodnik loved the light displays and endeavored every year to get her father to hang more and more on the house until it began to look like an overly decorated cookie. But she also thought it criminal that anyone would suggest a cookie could ever possibly be overly decorated.

A century earlier, Jodnik would have been a crime. Rather, her existence would have been a crime. And depending on how fate and luck had determined her place of birth, she either would have been immediately ejected out of a pressure lock, her parents forced to watch, or subjected to years of public humiliation and avoidance in the more ‘forgiving’ of social circles. As for her parents, well they would have likely lived the rest of their days in the miserable conditions of the subterranean penal colonies on the ice planet, Boreas.

The solar system’s sun, Helios, now hung in the early afternoon and warmed and soaked the greenish blue skin of young Jodnik as she and her puri lay on the grass in front of their home. It was a quaint house, nestled deep in the Tier 1 section of abodes on what was called the ‘black hole’ side of the station because of the gargantuan gravity well two light years away that broadc21ast an open invitation for new visitors.

The puri purred and her father’s Lowbie purred as it cooled after a long morning on the local racetrack. Dad had kicked butt apparently and was now in the house celebrating a bit as he chronicled the story to his patient wife of his racetrack brilliance and she nodded and smiled as she tugged at one of the long protuberances from her head and tried to feign interest while instead feeling rather preoccupied with how to get him out of the house again in order to set up his fully immersive gimbaled couch game system so that he wouldn’t be risking his health and vehicle on the tracks but rather in a meta experience.

Jodnik smirked as she listened to her father’s excited repartee. A large shadow approached her, and she looked up at the sky, setting her eyes on a C9 as it drifted serenely across her field of vision, its imposing bulk disappearing behind her father’s pepto bismol pink lowbie. That color seemed to be all the rage these days. The joke was, if you saw a Lowbie you’d also see a human sitting behind the wheel with a dumb wide grin spreading across their face as they gleefully gunned the throttle and shook the neighborhood with a voluminous reverberation. Her mother’s car was much more sophisticated, the Niruch’s sleek lines and sharpness suggesting a deadliness to its visage that seemed so counter to her mother’s charming and loveable demeanor.

Jodnik had always loved the look of the Calico Scud, and when she was old enough she was going to get one she reflected thoughtfully. She felt that if you took a Lowbie and paired it with a Niruch, you would get a Scud. Powerful, but sleek. But she often thought of things that way, how they would be if mixed, because she was a mix, a result of a Human and Oni love and only possible because of the xenoalien genetic engineering developed before the start of The Convergence War. In some ways, the technology that had allowed for her existence was also the symbolic fountainhead of so much hate and fear that had led to the war. Onis, Usturs, MUD alike were all afraid of losing their heritage, their cultural identity, perhaps the ‘strength of their homogeneity’, if one could call it that, or what they believed to be that strength, in the face of the intangible threat becoming ‘mixed and different’ insinuated. Two simple and yet such uncomfortable words for groups comfortable in their monochromatic history, it seemed. For these words suggested a lack of uniformity and threatened social norms that had been guiding principles for generations. But staleness within a society often leads to frailty and failure, as the three threatened societies leading up to The Convergence Wars had personified. And although only a hundred years had passed since the signing for peace, one could feel the vibrancy that ‘mixed and different’ now created.

Jodnik looked at her little puri and felt a wide grin emerge. “What an adorable creature you are” she thought, “so much more pleasant than an annoying Tigu, constantly shedding its colored hair all over the white carpets and purring incessantly for attention.” The little puri farted peacefully in its approval and Jodnik laughed as they both lay back on the grass and watched the panoply of ships float across the sky, most of them visitors from surrounding systems, here to celebrate the festivities for the 100th anniversary in the name of Peace, Mixed and Different.

# Star Atlas

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Scott W

Sci-fi junkie, adventurer, start-up companies, crypto