No other humans aside from Jennings, Hays, and I have been able to say they lived to be thousands of years old. How old exactly? I could not figure a system for keeping track of time. After the day we were pulled through what must have been a hole in the fabric of space and time while on patrol between Nibiru and its moon, time simply passed without a planet and its star to anchor us to the false notion of days and years. There were no meals, sleep, bathroom breaks, or anything really except the journey. Being lost in the vacuum of space without a starship or provisions would have spelled doom for any man without an idgeul. At times I wondered if it was only a different kind of doom.
Idgeul are the fighting machines Nibiru’s ancient inhabitants left behind. Designed to seal its pilot in stasis, it suspends all life function save for the pilot’s consciousness, which controls the machine. Silver dragons stand upright about ten feet high, a total of twenty feet from tail tip to snout. Capable of flight from a planet’s surface to the other worlds within a solar system, a sonic scream that shatters stone and flesh, agile limbs, acute sensors, and a short range communication system, these metal dragons have been our means of travel and our life support. Save for the obscured forms I see through semitransparent belly plates, I had long ago forgotten what we looked like before the journey.
The event felt like a whirlwind. Like old videos we had all seen in school aboard the colonial starship of Earth’s weather phenomenon, the tornado. We had been battered and turned about for what could have been days. Our unit had ten idgeul, but only Jennings, Hays, and I regrouped on the other end. Perhaps the others were destroyed, perhaps they got dumped out elsewhere, but we hoped they never got pulled in. Based on a constellation we recognized from Haran’s sky, we set off for the colony.
In the early stage of our journey we were determined to make it back before our friends and lovers finished their natural lives. Then, countless generations passed. Any populated world was a welcome new home, now that we three are all that exists of our former lives, save for the other machines left by Nibiru’s ancient masters. It stands to reason that since the power systems on our idgeul have not failed under millennia of continuous use, their other devices continue to tick away and serve whoever can access them.
The star we approached looked like any other. Hayes, Jennings, and I had not spoken to one another in hundreds of years. Small talk lost context, not because of a malicious gesture, perhaps after so much time bent on a single purpose we had simply abandoned what sense of individuality we once entertained. When we saw the blue green orb I heard three gasps of simultaneous awe. When we got closer and satellites orbited the world, relieved sobs filled the com link.
Compared to our journey the last twenty years living as a man again seem like the blink of an eye. We never found humanity again, but we did rediscover our own. My children are even half human. I visit with Jennings and Hays about once a month. We’ve actually got things to talk about for a change. Sometimes as we grow old one of us will joke about mounting the dragons and taking to the stars again, but I for one look forward to the rest of my natural life.