The colony Matti grew up on was never huge. The planet, Eden, was named in the time honored tradition of naming a planet the exact opposite of what it is. The planet is ninety-eight percent deserts, too close to its star, with only a few oases where life can be lived. Still the dust bowl eventually came to be called home by millions of enterprising colonists. These men and women with backbones of steel took a chance to carve out a life far away from the watchful eyes of the empire. Matti was only seven when his parent brought him here and now, twenty years later, it is home.
A few months had gone by since the news of a war reached the back water world. Someone had invaded the imperial core worlds. The military was fighting tooth and nail to keep these invaders contained. Worlds had been lost and won in bloody conflict but it all seemed so distant. Eden is thousands of light years away from the core worlds. It has no strategic or economic value to anyone who doesn’t live there. Life went on for the colonists and their families. Ships still came and went with supplies and the farms still flourished in their green houses. There was nothing out of the ordinary.
Matti was working as a bartender under the protective dome of the capital city and on a video call with his Father when the first asteroid struck the uninhabited northern continent. That asteroid was considered nothing more than a natural disaster. The bright sun that kept the deserts as hot as an oven was dimmed by the dust and debris that crawled through the atmosphere. Still, life went on and the city’s dome held strong; it kept the citizens of Eden comfortable under its protective shade. It wasn’t until the second hit that people started to ask questions. When the third, the fourth and even fifth asteroid bombarded the surface of the planet people knew that something had to be happening.
A month after the first asteroid hit the sky was always as dark as night from the debris of so many consecutive strikes. Outside the temperatures had spiraled to below freezing without the heat of the sun to warm the desert sands. Still, the dome held strong. Still the greenhouses were keeping the crops growing under the careful care of botanists and engineers. Still Matti worked in his bar. People drank, they danced, they loved and it was hard to believe that an ecological disaster of untold proportions was happening outside of their cocooned city. Matti can still remember the moment it went from ecological disaster to war as if it only just happened. He was walking home after a double shift. The streets were empty as usual for three in the morning and all he could think about was how much his feet hurt. Then a siren went off. For the first time, even since the asteroids hit, the clear panels of the great dome began to darken as armored shutters closed over them. Suddenly the city woke up in panic. People poured out of their homes trying to figure out what was happening.
Matti dashed home but he never quite made it before the first explosion sent him flying to the ground. The sirens were still blaring so loud it hurt his ears. People were running away from the consuming flames in pure panic. Matti looked up to see a hole in the proud dome that had guarded them from so much. He watches as black shapes poured in and started to disappear into the city’s skyline. His world was suddenly filled with explosions, screams, panic, despair, and the illogical need to get home. He never made it. Just as he rounded a corner an explosion devoured the building next to him and the world went dark.
The next thing Matti remembers is waking up in the hospital he hadn’t been far from. His mind was foggy, his muscles ached, his right arm and leg felt too light and his vision was only half of what it should be. It didn’t take him long to realize he’d been catastrophically injured by the explosion. The next week was full of pain and worry but the hospital healed him with cybernetics. Everyone needed to be on their feet and Matti was even outfitted with military grade equipment. The war still raged outside the city and they needed soldiers.
For now they are able to hold the nameless invaders at bay. Matti did become a soldier and no one is more surprised than him that he is a good one. He will fight for what is his and he wouldn’t let the people around him down. The whirring of the enemy ship’s engines was starting to get closer. They knew where he is and they were coming. His eye glowed softly as he scanned the area for possible cover and for the thousandth time since this all began he told himself “I will get you for what you’ve done.” A moment later a bullet ricochets off the crumbling wall he is hiding behind, he takes a deep breath, and with inhuman accuracy points his gun and fires. Another day, another fight, and one world that will always refuse to give up. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________