When the starships all fell from the sky, many people died. But for a few, time merely stood still for a while. You’ll notice I didn’t say “a lucky few.” Some people do; they say, “How lucky you are!” And I suppose it’s true, if you make no strong distinction between good luck and bad. But the people of this time, the ones who talk to me, who tell me with insistence of my luck, they do make a distinction. And they don’t understand at all. So I’m done talking.
I was aboard the Meno Mosso. First starship I’d ever been on, and I don’t expect to see the inside of another. The planet was Peculium. Just a dead name, now, and at the time it was just one of a million worlds. It was a world of shallow oceans the color of midnight beneath a sky of gold. There were thousands of worlds just like it, I’ve been told, but I remain skeptical. I doubt anywhere in this galaxy or any other had Peculium tart fish, or diyadayi music, or Neo Luxor, the city where I was born.
When the crews recovered my waiting body they flew me up to orbit. I remember passing over a dozen cities, but I couldn’t identify any of them, or the matching lands between. Pads of white powder. Towers of white powder. White powder schools and hospitals. Cemeteries of white powder, all of them. I might have looked down over Neo Luxor itself without recognizing it; no way to know.
A million worlds back then—more now, I suppose—but Peculium was the only one I’d ever been to. Most people are that way. The only thing you find off-world is a desire to return. I learned the hard way, and now they call me lucky.
Like I said, I’m done talking. This book will be the only record of the people of Peculium, written by that planet’s only remaining child. I’ve done my best to get it all down, from the details to the ether. But as for me, don’t come looking. Don’t come asking. Everything I have to say is here, and you will not find me.