I could hold a note when needed, learning to dance took much more effort. My bread and butter? What kept people believing I was the next big thing? I could tickle the ivories. I could play any Earth Standard, jump straight into Universal pop music, jazz and gospel. And I was acting in a good number of theater productions of the galaxy as well. I helped write some lyrics and music for the shows I participated in.
I grew up on music. Nat King Cole, Stax “Saxophone” Jackson, Sam Cooke, Yedda Peal, and my great grandmother, Jinah Carter. My gospel and jazz influence. All before my time of course. There were more, but not many. I was five and well on my way to be a working musician. At least I liked to believe. And then the wars broke out. My name...Maceo Carter.
I was what was known as a prodigy when the fight for supremacy among the beings exploded on Earth. Or what was better known as the Genisis War. Humans had always known they weren’t the only beings in the universe. And most knew we weren’t the first to inhabit Earth. Many beings had come to Earth and moved to other parts of the universe. Others decided to stay. They continued to live among us and little by little reveal their history and existence to us from the previous centuries. Some was exploration on the part of ancestors. The other knowledge was gained due to being led to it.
The Mars Conflict, The Purging War on Saturn’s moons, The Andromeda Insurgency. The destruction and loss of lives had not come to the point that I was fighting in the Genesis War or in any conflicts at age five or six. To lie about my age to go fight like my father, my uncle and his friends did when they were younger was pointless. I would have never passed for ten or twelve. I wanted to fight. I didn’t know what the fight for titanium, supremacy, calcium, and land was about.
I had heard tell of these things being fought over long before any planet in the Milky Way was settled. But the full scope of hate, greed, and evil brought about a fear I couldn’t process. My parents, aunts, uncles and my teachers would argue the points. There was enough universe to go around. While others would argue some beings can’t be trusted to honor partnerships,
“This is more than about business Rinz,” my mother pointed out to my stepfather during a community meeting in our home. “I’m starting to believe you don’t want these other species included in the AHP simply because of who they are. It scares me because you’re willing to eradicate a whole species for what might be true of a certain few. What you forget, Rinz is Maceo and I are those other beings.” I didn’t believe Rinz wouldn’t do anything to harm me or mom. At the same time, the subject matter was too exhausting and paralyzing to dwell on.
So I immersed myself in the music. I played to sold-out shows at the Apollo in New York, the acoustics were great at the underground Symphony Orchestra on Mercury, I worked with the Saturn Theatre Company during their run at the Fox Theatre on Mars, I played at the Music Hall on Saturn’s moon, Titan. The wars came and went. The Genesis War and The Mars Conflict started and were quickly resolved. The wars kept spinning up though.
The Purging War. Just as we⎯we being the Milky Way galaxy⎯began to put our differences aside and progress into the Triangulum galaxy, the Blackeye galaxy, and the Whirpool galaxy found something new to commit mass destruction. The Purging War throughout the galaxy was a symptom of the Genesis War on Earth. The desire of beings to eradicate one another just on a bigger scale. A quadrant-wide scale. Some factions among beings believed others were not worthy to take part in the Andromeda Horizon Project (AHP).
Earth was low on resources. Mars and Earth continue to fight like siblings and heavily tax exports and imports. The gradual increase in the sun’s solar flares over the last century has made it difficult to live, build or mine on Mercury. They’ve had to stop mining and start using the tunnels they’d dug as new homes. And Saturn with its rings rich resources is a monopoly⎯a superpower. At one time Titan, Enceladus, Tethys, and Mimas, Saturn’s moons were where I and almost five thousand prodigies of all types of skills trained at the Saturn Academy.
“The land, resources and wealth that were to come about in the new galaxy should be reserved for the intelligent with a strong work ethic,” The leaders of some factions would shout at the rallies. “Only those willing to work the land and earn wealth should have a piece of the pie,” some running for office would say. Problem was certain factions had their own definition of what was worthy. A different definition of intelligence and a strong work ethic. The majority of the time that definition was a being’s appearance. Talents or skills many times were not taken into consideration.
Before the wars began we could travel anywhere. Perform everywhere. If asked all we needed to do was say “yes” and show up. The time between the end of the Genesis War, the Mars Conflict and the beginning of the Purging War was just over a decade. It gave us time to enjoy some modicum of peace before the travel restrictions hindered us. It gave us time to enjoy and learn our craft. The places we visited. The memories we made. The stories we tell and will continue to tell.
On occasion, I run into friends from the academy whom the angels haven’t carried home. We believed the gigs we enjoyed from the top of the Milky Way to the bottom, or Mercury to Pluto would last forever. They did not. We prayed those fueling the Purging War would, like the Genesis War and the Mars Conflict, would see the error of their ways. If we understood nothing we understood nothing was being resolved. We were dying due to propaganda. And with us the opportunity to bring to the Milky Way and other galaxies the talents God had blessed us with.