Light in the darkness. The familiar spiral, just now close enough to no longer be considered a galaxy, and instead become once again the galaxy. Home.
He was Leviathan, and he was alone.
This had not always been the case.
Once his people had been multitudinous. Leviathan’s slender and agile first form was never unaccompanied as it cavorted with his juvenile brothers and sisters amidst the roiling gasses of his Jovian egg planet. Then, after he had reached adolescence and departed from the gravity well of his nest system for the freedom of the in between pastures, he had metamorphosed, and joined with those others of his kind who already called the greater galaxy their home. He had entered the Chorus. Over the following millennia, he grew larger, as was the way of his kind. His thick hide, once smooth and glossy slowly became pitted and scarred from countless impacts, until it was was a dark blur against the darker void of space. Long tendrils protruded from the entirety of his torpedo shaped body, which sampled the many delightful flavors of energy available throughout the vacuum of space to those with the ability to taste them. Broad, manta-like wings, miles across, beat a steady rhythm against the aether as he made his slow, stately way across the galaxy. He was considered handsome. That was in the time before, of course.
Where once he had flown alongside others of his kind, in this age he encountered only loneliness, endlessly seeking the last, faltering echoes of a song that was no longer sung.
Leviathan, his great mind twisted and broken by an eternity of solitude, remembered a time, in a previous epoch, when his dream song was but one among many, and meetings with others of his kind came often, with sometimes as little as a few thousand years in between. He remembered friends, and later mates, and the languorous passion which may possibly have led to clutches of eggs being deposited on the nearest convenient gas planet. He liked to think that he had sired young. Of course, if he had, they’d be dead now. Perhaps better if he hadn’t.
The dream song of his people used to fill the galaxy, as deep and peaceful as the creatures who made it, their melodies in balance with the music of the galaxy itself. The pulse of stars, the whoosh of planets, and the dream song. All in perfect harmony.
Eventually, as with all things, into that harmony crept discord. It began innocently enough, as these things often do. At some point in the previous age, as they made their ponderous way through the vast void between celestial spheres, in the way they always had, the Chorus slowly came to understand that they were no longer alone. Someone else had joined them in their dance between the stars.
The ephemerals, as the Chorus thought of them, with their short lives, fragile bodies and clever minds, had thrust up from their rocky cradles on tails of fire, and had filled the black with beautiful sparks.
To the Chorus, with their lives that spanned millennia, the ephemerals were a lovely curiosity, but nothing more. They could not hear the dream song, their small minds were too alien. Too brief. And so the Chorus enjoyed their lights, and were bemused by their hyperactive activities, but spared little more thought for the little creatures who now shared their home.
They should have paid more attention.
The ephemerals, so short-lived, held in them a burning desire to grow. To expand. To connect. With their fragile bodies, they created machines which were strong and lasting. With their clever minds, they created technologies that bent and twisted the very laws of the universe. In this way they were able to travel vast distances, not in the leisurely way of the Chorus, but quickly, through wrinkles in the fabric of existence. To the short-lived ones, their cleverness had created a golden age, a paradise of wealth and plenty spanning throughout the entire galaxy. They felt themselves gods, masters of their domain.
The Chorus cared little for any of that, but they did continue to enjoy all the new flickering lights and pretty colors. But then, the lights started to go out.
The ephemerals, in their pride, had forgotten or ignored one crucial fact. You can only bend and twist something so much before it tears.
While tinkering with the laws of the universe, they had twisted too far, and something had torn. Beneath the fabric of this reality lay another reality, inimical to everything they knew or thought they knew that lay within creation. This rent was a wound in that adjacent antithetical universe, and through the wound, that universe gave answer. For creation, came negation.
The Chorus had not the concepts to describe what escaped from that rift. Their minds, while vast and deep, operated on more glacial scale than the short-lived species. All they knew is that the ephemerals dying, and that the Chorus were unable to render aid.
The proud ephemerals of course fought with their typical determination to avoid extinction. Great works of technology were produced, multiple solar systems harvested of materials and entire suns chained in servitude to their great weapons. Weapons which failed. Negation spread.
Some species tried to hide. Some tried to flee. Some tried to meet the enemy in hopeless open battle, willing to sacrifice themselves to slow the spread, all so that others might live but a few more years, but all of the ephemerals great efforts were for naught. They could not fight. They could not flee. The could not hide. And so, they died. System after system, species after species, they fell, and the galaxy once again fell dark and quiet.
The Chorus wove the loss of their fragile, short-lived neighbors into their dream song, and so they grieved for them in their slow, patient way.
All too soon, even the echoes of the beautiful flickers which had so briefly lit up their galaxy faded away, leaving behind only the pulse of stars, the whoosh of planets, and the eternal dream song.
And then the dream song started fading too, until it was nearly silent, and then with one last burst proclaimed, “Flee!”.
The intruders who had destroyed the ephemerals had found the Chorus, and so the Chorus too was doomed.
Leviathan, by blind luck and happenstance at that time was located near the edge of one of the trailing spiral arms of the galaxy. He was able to escape notice. He alone escaped. Turning away from everything he had ever known, for the first time since awakening to his adult body, he silenced his dream song, and sailed off into the endless dark.
And so an epoch came and went, with Leviathan grown vast off the strange energies of the unfamiliar dark between galaxies. His once majestic body was now twisted and monstrous, his mind fractured and broken by his sojourn. And yet, he now returned home, with the last of his strength, for he had witnessed the flickering lights heralding the rebirth of the ephemerals, and watched them with growing horror as they spread once again throughout the galaxy, for their spread was too fast. Which meant that their old technologies had been rediscovered, but their old nemesis forgotten.
And so Leviathan sang out his lonely dream song once again, a futile warning to beings who could neither hear nor comprehend. Had the Chorus remained, things perhaps would have turned out differently.
Unfortunately, they did not.
He was Leviathan, and he was alone.
And so his warning fell upon a deaf galaxy, and was ignored.
Flee! They’re coming!