Nilus was the first non-human character developed for Lonely Moon, and he set the tone for his entire species, the Aurans. They're technologically superior to all, they've spread across the Milky Way, they're curious, but perhaps worst of all (for us, humans), they're logical. They make sense, dangerously. They lack compassion and emotions the way we feel them, and they can be quite cold, and that spells doom for the people fleeing Earth, seeking shelter in their arms. Nilus is different, though. I won't spoil it for those who haven't read the book, but, he's got his peaks and valleys.
Here he is...
Me: Welcome to Earth, Nilus! It's been a month of firsts for Hane's crew. Leo'd never been to Earth, and I'm gonna' go out on a limb and say that this is your first time, too?
Nilus: Your efforts on this limb would not be misplaced, for you are correct. It is this one's first time upon Earth's surface.
Me: You can take off that mask, your face doesn't bother me.
Nilus: This one is unable to take off this mask, for this one cannot suitably breathe the gases composing your atmosphere. This one's lung sacs would shrivel and certainly collapse.
Me: Okie Dokie, go ahead and leave it on then, sheesh.
Nilus: This one has offended you by not risking its life?
Me: I'm just kidding, relax, Nilus. Before we start talking about you, I'd like to take just a quick sec to talk about your species. Ya know, we don't know a whole lot about you guys. For one, your homeworld, Aurora, humans aren't allowed there, but you let us have a colony on one of its moons. Can I ask why that is?
Nilus: This one read a story from an Earthling Author once, perhaps it could help you to understand why this one, and its species unanimously decided to disavow human passage to the homeworld. It went something like this. 'A flower, beautiful, alone, blossomed beneath Sol, Earth's star, its sun. It drank the rain born from the clouds and laughed, tickled by a bee gobbling up its sugary pollen. It grew, isolated, happy, natural, the way it was meant to, following a path preordained by something else entirely. This was its destiny, uninterrupted life. A human child, a little girl, no more than five, lusted for its beauty as it happened upon the flower before a rolling storm. It plucked the flower from its roots, tore it from the ground, kidnapped it to its home where her mother buried its body in a pot, drowned it with chemical'd water, making it suffer the rest of its days.' The target of a rumor is always the last to know, so allow this one to fill you in on a widely accepted belief outside of Earth's space. Human emotion is a dangerous thing, Andrew. It's unstable, flammable, dangerous. Your species is viewed as somewhat...immature, in a most disrespectful way. Captain Hane has taught this one that is not entirely true for every person on this planet, but it holds its weight with most. The homeworld is a sanctuary, something to be held dear, unlike the way you treat your planet, we wish to preserve ours. That is why you and yours are not allowed.
Me: Well, I can honestly say I don't blame you. But, let's move on. We don't learn a whole lot about your, what we call on Earth, a childhood, in Lonely Moon. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Nilus: This one was 'dropped' ninety-three years ago.
Me: I don't mean to interrupt you, but, a lot of the people reading this aren't from your time, so they don't know what the hell you're talking about when you say dropped.
Nilus: It is what Aurans use to refer to the travelling of a 'fetus' down the hollow, mucus-lined spinal cord. The Auran mother squats over a birthing pool for days, sometimes even weeks, waiting in agony as the fetus travels, wriggling down its spine. Eventually, it slips out, much like a human kidney stone, into a birthing pool. From there, it incubates, submerged for several more weeks, until it emerges. It is then prepped, infused, and given a job which it shall perform until the day it expires.
Me: Again, sorry. Infused?
Nilus: Human children, adolescents, they waste the most crucial period of their life cycles in schools, sitting, without care, listening to someone try to teach them about something they may or may not ever use. This is inefficient. The history of this one's species, in its entirety, is imprinted upon the newly developing brain of the newborn Auran, 'infused' into its being so it simply understands its history, not learning it. This, of course, is optional, and is under intense scrutiny for its impractical purposes. Many members of the Auran Tier-One council wish it removed, replaced with a second job skill instead.
Me: Were you infused?
Nilus: This one chose to be infused, yes. Like humans, Auran base instincts tend to lean toward curiosity, most of which has all but been erased, tailored more toward efficiency, the continuing of the species, its advancement for the next generation.
Me: And, what was your job?
Nilus: (sits quiet for a moment, staring with those big, oily eyes) This one's initial task was to serve as a Pioneer.
Me: So sorry, again, truly. For those who haven't read Lonely Moon, can you give them the breakdown of the Pioneers?
Nilus: A Pioneer is the most exalted of Auran society, akin to an Actor on Earth. It garners vast amounts of attention and clout. But, unlike Hollywood Big Stars, a Pioneer truly risks its life, for they are the charters of the galaxy, and eventually, the universe. They fly, blindly, through dark space, cataloging their route, logging their journey, transmitting all this to the homeworld. All of this is done, of course, knowing full well it will not be coming back home, ever again. Its death will occur in solace, in loneliness, in the void of all that is known.
Me: So, what happened?
Nilus: (sits quiet another moment longer) This one was not prepared to accept such a fate. To deny such a position, to refuse the glory for selfishness is completely unheard of for an Auran. It has never been done, and it will probably never be done again.
Me: There must have been some part of you that wanted to do it?
Nilus: Oh, yes, this one wanted it more than anything. Do you remember, earlier in this interaction, in which this one referred to human emotions as dangerous? This one believes it felt that on some level. Not only can your human emotions by physically destructive, Andrew, but they can also have another undesired effect. There is something your kind refer to as confidence, character. But this one believes it goes deeper than that. This one felt fear, crippling, unresolved, weblike fear. That fear was stronger, more potent than any curiosity could ever compare to. The fear that this one would expire, alone, it could not cope with that. It wouldn't cope with that. That is why it was turned down. It is a regret this one holds close everyday. This one believes, were Aurans not so concerned with strict efficiency, it would have been executed, and yet this one was not swayed by that thought.
Me: Wow. So, they demoted you?
Nilus: This one was placed in the third tier of the council, much like a human mayor who also doubles as a janitor. This one should have been out there, zipping through the universe at faster-than-light speeds.
Me: Thanks for sharing that, and thank you for stopping by. Tune in tomorrow for a new episode of Hell Breaks Loose, and don't forget to follow me on twitter! @andrew8654...link is on the left!