"First Chronicles"

In the beginning:

Adam would have been the tenth High Lord of Kobol. Instead, he became the Lord of the Migration. Humanity reached for new planets to colonize; their old home rapidly became uninhabitable as their star's radiation levels fluctuated. Kobol's ecology shifted - and the humans chose to abandon their world rather than try to adapt to its changes.

Sagan began the preparations. It took a generation to build the massive ships and plan for the journey. The old lord died on the very eve of departure, and his body was buried among the pyramids of his forbears. Adam was left to take up the task he'd prepared for through the yahrens.

* * * * *

When he took up the dream of Lord Sagan, ninth lord and his father, Adam was still at the height of his strength and glory. Over the journey, he aged, hair growing silver and a bulge growing around his waist; wrinkles lined his face and his previously athletic steps slowed. A young wife kept his eyes turned from ultimate death, and the child she carried was proof that he was still young and virile enough to live and rule.

But the starfaring yahrens told on them all. The bulk of the population dreamed in their sleep compartments, protected by a few fast warships with three generations of Warriors, navigators, and planners. But those Warriors and planners tired, wondering if their mission would ever be concluded, if they would ever walk on worlds they could call their own again. They looked to Adam for leadership. He gave them all they asked for, although their doubts and fears haunted his dreams when he allowed himself to sleep.

Only with Eve, his second wife, who understood his soul, could he let himself relax; she was the only one who saw the man behind the mighty lord. The heritage of centuries of domination of Kobol did not intimidate her.

* * * * *

Lord Adam scanned the star chart made during the past centars. It was his rest period; he should have been sleeping, but he hated to leave the bridge of his flagship for any length of time. The astrophysicists pored over the sheets as well, searching for a star that might have several habitable planets. The twelve tribes, once released on a planet's surface, would soon grow, and would demand much of their world in order to recreate the society they'd known. A system of several worlds would give them room to expand, and resources to exploit.

What was equally important to Adam, even if the others didn't realize it, was that they would have to maintain their starfaring ability if they were to remain united. His greatest fear, and the most haunting terror of his dreams, was that his human descendants would forget what they had been, where they had come from, the glory they had known. He had no desire to lead them to a world they would never leave. Better to become star migrants, never settling more than a generation or two on any world!

At least we've left the blackness of the Void behind. That starless sea sapped our sanity and purpose as if it were created by some cruel being to keep us bound to Kobol, to quarantine us from the rest of the galaxy. We are long and well through that!

Smooth, slender fingers rested on his shoulder. He glanced blearily at the dark-haired woman, and found a smile to answer the concern in her amber eyes. As the long yahrens passed, he'd won himself a young wife to stand beside him.

"Have you found anything?" Eve asked, low-voiced. There were those among the aristocratic crew who disapproved of her status - her family was priestly, not noble. She preferred to avoid them, especially now, when they stared at her growing belly as if outraged that she dared to give the lord a child. Even her loose robes had ceased to conceal the baby.

Her husband shook his head wordlessly, then gestured for one of the men in the room to take the chart. Rising from his seat, he took her hand and led her away from the bustling archival chamber. The men and women buzzed respectfully around them, giving the royal couple privacy.

"Nothing," Adam said restlessly.

"Surely there must be stars with planets...."

"Not for us." He relished her dark beauty and glowing eyes, finding delight in the extra curves pregnancy had given her. "We need more than just one planet; we need space enough to expand as our population grows. I have to plan for the future as well as the present. Not every star has worlds we can use; many of the ones that do are already inhabited, and I won't displace another race, however primitive, because our own sun can no longer support us."

She lowered her gaze. "I was born the day before we left Kobol," she murmured softly. "And now I carry a child of my own. I had hoped she would be born in our new home."

"You are still certain it will be a girl?"

She laughed demurely. "Of course, my lord!" she replied impishly. "But if I had known you so desperately wanted a son...."

"No!" He smiled at her teasing. "I already love our child, male or female, and have no doubt it will be as gifted as its parents. Three sons and a daughter already grown - how will I learn to speak an infant's gibberish again? Such a difficulty you're proving to be!" A shadow passed over his face. One of his sons, his beloved Cain, was already gone, lost somewhere in the Void, engaged in pursuing his own mad dream.

"You had no such complaints when you learned Seth was making you a grandfather!" she retorted quickly, driving away the dark thoughts. "I'm sure you'll relearn how to speak to a child."

"Our child." His pride was evident in the uncontained smile and crinkled eyes. "Well, my Eve, I will do my best to find a suitable planet for this daughter to call home. But I think you should be resting, or did I mishear the physician's orders?"

She made a face and turned to leave, moving as fast as her unwieldy body would allow. He felt fiercely protective of her as she walked; when he caught one of the technicians curling his lip to give her a scornful, disdaining glance, he vowed the young man would find himself pulling extra shifts for the insult.

Eve will be treated as my lady!

"Lord Adam?"

"What is it, navigator?" he demanded with all the arrogant majesty at his command.

"Another chart has been updated, my lord, based on calculations of Lord Seth and Captain Feraia."

"I'll take it." Scowling, he swept up the armful of star charts and tapes and stalked to the entrance portal. "Send more to my cabin as they're updated," he ordered the hapless officer. "I concentrate better without constant interruptions and the din of ceaseless chatter!"

The crewman, barely more than a boy, quaked in his boots. "Yes, my lord. I'll bring them to you personally, if you wish it...."

"I do," he snapped curtly, and left.

* * * * *

Sectons passed, and still Adam found no system suitable for the humans to colonize. Considering the long voyage they'd already endured, he began to wonder if he'd failed his father's dream. Sagan had seemed so sure the last time they spoke, before he died, that the children of Kobol would find a new home....

Even Cain - the grief still struck deeply - even Cain had shared the dream. In the words he'd left his father, hidden among Sagan's memoirs, histories, and perceptions, he'd told of traveling his own path, of seeking another world and destiny for the thirteenth tribe. But he foresaw that the twelve, too, would find worlds of promise for many yahrens.

Adam wished he could be as sure. But he doubted himself, and the doubts grew as the days passed. Where would he find what his people so desperately needed? How long would they be content to follow him, when no end to their journey manifested itself?

The lord shook his head and looked away from his fruitless study. Eve was already asleep, and he considered joining her, abandoning the quest for the night. But he knew his dreams would be haunted by his failure.

He sighed, and chose to spend a few moments in meditation first.

* * * * *

"Ummm ... Adam?" Eve stirred uneasily and maneuvered herself to her feet. "You've spent the night at work again!" she reproved as she turned off the lamp and gathered the scattered charts.

The man sitting so stiffly on the mat made no response.

"Adam?" With careful grace, she sat next to him, nudged his shoulder, and called his name again with growing concern. "Adam?"

His green eyes were closed, and his face was slack, expressionless. His skin was cool, too cool to her fingers, and she could scarcely detect breathing.

"My lord!" she wailed. "Adam!"

He slumped to the floor.

* * * * *

Light gleamed everywhere, with no discernible source or variation of luminosity. The man stared at the shimmering visions walking through that light; they nodded at him as they passed, those that appeared to notice him at all. Their faces were veiled in gossamer; only their Void-dark eyes showed, blazing with somber purpose. What little expression he could detect in them was not cruel, or even disturbed at his sudden presence; they simply accepted his being there, and moved tranquilly about him.

"Adam of Kobol."

He turned in wonder at the voice calling his name. It sounded gentle; its image was as gleaming as the others. Unlike those others, it didn't hurry smoothly from his sight toward some unknown destination. Its attention focused solely on him. The being extended a hand; he reached for that hand, but touched nothing.

"What...?" he gaped in shock and awe.

"I am sorry. I meant merely to gesture you on, not to frighten you, Adam. Come. This is the way you must follow." The voice was rich, kind, and left a sweet impression in his mind that he yearned to hear always. It echoed through his soul, reassuring him, but raising a deep fear as well.

"Who are you?" His own voice sounded strange, somehow ... younger. In the brilliant sheen of something around him, he caught a glimpse of his reflection. "That...!"

"Yes, it is you, Adam. It is the expression of your spirit in our dimension. Come, the chosen one of us waits to speak to you."

"Your dimension?"

"We have come to help our brothers in their quest. We know of your need. We wish to help, and we have much to tell you, Adam of Kobol."

He followed mutely as the glowing being flowed before him.

"Have I died, then?" he finally found the courage to ask. They'd walked a long way, he thought, and it was strange that he wasn't out of breath, as he should have been from such a distance. "Are you creatures of the dead, angels or demons? Is this a heaven, or hades? I know I am old, but I had hoped to finish the dream, to see my daughter's birth...."

He felt strangely calm at the thought of death, regretting things he'd left undone, but accepting that the best of any man's plans could be upset by the very fact of his race's mortality. And truly, this was not so terrible a place to come to.

"Your spirit is strong," the being told him. "You are not dead yet, Adam. You have much time before you pass to that other plane. We are not angels, as you think of them, nor are we demons. We are ... like you, but of another time and place."

"Why do you wish to help us? Why do you care about humans?"

"You will see, in time. He is here."

"He?"

"One of us. You will come to know him well, and your descendants also. We have aided you before, young one, and we will continue to help you until we stand together."

A second form of living fire flared gloriously into existence before him. Adam felt its touch reach into his soul and almost wept for that transcendent beauty and majesty. A sudden urge to kneel was gently shunted aside as comprehension of its being enveloped him.

"Do not kneel to me. Our kind are far from gods. We merely offer our knowledge and aid to those who freely accept it, who choose a certain path, and reject the ways that have seduced even some of our own kind...."

The man nodded silently. I accept, for myself and for my people. Let me be worthy. Let us all be worthy.

* * * * *

Seth stood rigidly on the command deck of Adam's warship. His father should have been there, but he lay in the medical bay, silent and unmoving. His stepmother Eve, heavy and near term, waited beside his bed, hollow-eyed from two sleepless nights.

Are the people of Kobol mine now? The responsibility was awesome. He was fifty-one, old enough for the task, but uncertain.... Watching the flow of people through the cramped and crowded chamber, he wondered again if he had what was necessary to be a leader, to save these refugees from a dying world and give them new hope.

What choice is there? I must assume the responsibility, and lead them.

Adam might not survive. Though he blunder blindly without the vision of the elder lords, he knew his duty - somehow he must fulfill his people's hopes.

He heard a sound of disbelief, and turned, then gasped in shock.

Adam stood before him, staring with some wild fire flickering in his eyes. Eve was beside her husband, smiling almost insanely. There was no tremor to the old man, no sign of weakness or illness.

"I'll take over here now, Seth. Thank you for your stewardship of the tribes." The lord's voice was strong, much too strong for a man who'd been unconscious for over two days.

"Father...!" Seth stammered.

Fanaticism gleamed anew in Adam's eyes, reaching out to touch the young man's soul. Seth drew back in awe. What happened to you, Father? You look as though you've spoken with the gods themselves, and survived to tell of it!

Then Adam smiled. "We have a new course. Forty, twenty-five, eighty-two on the galactic center. The planets we seek are there, perhaps two sectons travel away. We will find our new home among the stars of that sector."

The young heir stiffened at his father's certainty, afraid to come near or ask questions. The bridge personnel, suddenly more alive, moved to obey their master. Only Seth's stepmother remained near him, following her husband with a worshipful, submissive gaze.

"What happened ... Lady Eve?" Adam's son demanded. Like many others, he had never really accepted her as his father's wife.

"He has seen a vision, a gift of the gods. He knows where we will go." What gave such conviction to her voice? How could she be so certain of madness?

"Are you sure Father isn't ill? These last few days...." Is he insane? Are you?

"He's fine, Seth. We must hurry. Our worlds are waiting." Her voice trailed dreamily, and the young man felt sudden dread.

That gift! And he shares it with her, the old knowledge of our clan. He shares it with her, and not with me! Not with his son and heir! Father!

Mere disdain for the woman flared into hatred and envy, and passed alike to the child she carried. He thought of his own wife's pregnancy, and wondered bitterly if his heir would matter when the lord had another child, perhaps more gifted then he was - it was rumored there was strange blood in Eve's veins, from some ancestor whose siring had never been known. The burning anger and resentment grew - was this a slur on Lilith, the lord's first wife, Seth's mother, that he demanded a young wife and second family?

That imagined or real slight, and the subconscious fear that his father found him somehow unacceptable, would stay with him all his life.

He waited while Lord Adam gave further orders to the bridge crew, expecting his father would explain his decisions, and his supposed "visions," to his son. But no explanation seemed forthcoming; the old man simply studied the star chart with his burning eyes, while his wife whispered beside him.

Seth was further enraged. In angry silence, knowing his presence wouldn't be missed, he stalked from the bridge.

* * * * *

A day short of two sectons later, they first detect-ed the binary star system. It contained a full dozen planets in the life zone; more than a score of moons were shared among those gleaming worlds; a handful of other celestial bodies filled the heavens - asteroids and comets, potential bases and suppliers of resources. After a brief survey, numerous tests to determine the habitability of the worlds, and a search for hidden dangers, Adam thankfully pronounced them open for colonization.

With his gleaming eyes and newly-enlivened stride, no one questioned when he proclaimed a lottery among the twelve major families, with each minor clan assigned to one of the larger dozen, splitting and reforming the population into new divisions. A representative from each tribe thus formed drew a random lot assigned to each of the planets. That done, the great fleet that had traversed the stars for so many yahrens finally disbanded, each group steering to a new home, each with many new responsibilities and a world of its own to build.

On the world which would henceforth be known as Caprica, Lord Adam and his family were among the first to walk on springy green grass and breathe fresh, unfiltered air. Seth drank from a spring, and proclaimed the water sweet. The ruling family, together, planted the first small rows of vegetables and flowers brought from Kobol, and dug the holes for the shrubs, trees, and flowers that they knew from home. They ceremonially set out the first of the sacred Edenflowers, the ancient, holy tree whose flowers carried the sign of life, and so often grew in close proximity to a dozen healing herbs.

No one noticed, in the depths of their feelings at the time, that Seth, the heir, had set a coolly polite distance between himself and his father, and never crossed that unseen line. He and the rest of his generation joined in the unloading and building of temporary shelters until a city could be planned, land distributed for farms, boats constructed and sent out on the small seas, and the population scattered.

Eve remained with her husband.

"It is a beautiful world," she gasped, tired and breathless from the short walk from the landing site to the hill.

"Yes...." Adam was preoccupied. His gaze fixed on the rounded bay far below. Dusk slowly spread over their vantage point; the valley was already wreathed in shadows, and there was much to do before they could sleep that night.

"It will be a good place to build a home," his wife continued. "Your alien friends are kind to us."

He nodded slowly. "Not alien, dear love. And I will never forget the help they offered freely. Neither must our children, Eve."

She glanced at him oddly. "What is it you fear, husband?"

"Nothing." He laughed, a full-throated roar. "I have many yahrens ahead of me, wife, and this place will be home to us forever. I am happy."

"Forever is a long time," she murmured.

"We are human. We must always think in terms of forever - and in terms of the day, as well, whether we think of ourselves or our people. When we have passed on, our love and laughter will still echo among the worlds here, and glow in the light of our double sun. And I will write what I know, of our past and our destiny, and the tales the beings of light told me. We must remember them, and that they will be here when we need their help or advice, in any way. That knowledge will be my legacy to our daughter, along with everything else we can give our own flesh and blood. We give her a great deal, a great and joyous hope. Be happy, my Eve."

"With you, always," she replied with simple honesty.

He reached for her, drawing her ungainly figure into his arms. "The future is very bright for us...."

"Oh!"

"What...?" He was alarmed.

She began to smile. "I think our daughter knows we are home!"

And it was so. It was duly recorded that Eve, the last child born on old Kobol, was the first to give birth on the new world of Caprica, to a daughter, named Sarai, of the House of Sagan. And as she grew, the Colonies grew with her.

* * * * *

Epilogue:

Starbuck glared at the old text, a mutinous twist to his mouth, wishing he hadn't heeded his friend's suggestion to read the Book of the Word.

"Nah!" he insisted aloud. "Apollo was just having a laugh at my expense, to see how I'd react. Why'd I come to look at these, anyway? Besides, I don't care if some of the old lords did have young wives. That's just old myth, probably not even true. They probably called you old before you hit a century!

"Cassiopeia won't marry Cain. She won't. She can't...."


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