“The Kaksians only have two languages.” Douglas chirped in his usual excited tone. He beamed at me with that glee that sickened me but I couldn’t help but be infected with.
“How is that special at all? The Earth Empire has at least ten different languages and hundreds of dialects.” We sat on what appeared to be a park bench, surrounded by purple grass. I could see buildings and a mountain off in the distance. But other than the wind pushing around the alien leaves and branches there was no other movement around us.
“It’s they way they use it. See, thousands of years ago the Kaksian’s were split off from their homeland by a great quake. The ones that were left behind created a civilization of great poets and artists. Their language, Yuksi, reflects that by being extremely descriptive and beautiful on ears like theirs and ours.”
“And the other language?” I snapped around to face him pulling out a grass blade that I playing with. I was curious now.
“Kaksi is what they call it, it’s odd that so many races in the galaxy define themselves by language and location…”
“Don’t digress on me, I want to know about this language now.” I interrupted him, my attempts to break his habit of sidetracks have not been fruitful.
“Alright, alright. You can be so bossy some times Lily.” He teased, half-heartedly throwing a handful of purple grass at me. “The main Kaksi language is very contextual and rough, it’s a lot more flexible but the Kaksians that were split off did not have the luxury of poetry and art. They had to tame this harsh wasteland that you see around you.”
“It doesn’t seem that harsh.” I turned my head and body around. Nothing but a lush grassland, a smattering of trees and our VTOL excursion craft. “Plants are growing and everything.”
“None of these trees bear anything eatable. This grass isn’t nutritious especially because Kaksi are like bats where they mainly drink or lick fruit and flowers for sustenance. They couldn’t process this kind of foliage.”
“How did they survive?”
“They were smart enough to. They cut into trees and sucked out sap, they became nomads in a sense. Flocking to the few places that would sustain them. Moving between them, when they ran dry, giving them time to regenerate after they left.”
“Are they still like that?”
“No, of course not. A few hundred years ago they were reconnected with their homeland. They had sanctified it as sort of a heaven for them, I’m sure it was quite an interesting time for them when they came home. I’m sure many of them continued to believe it was heaven afterwards because it was filled with beautiful people who would have sounded like angels.”
“So they reconnected their civilizations. Why do they have two separate languages then?”
“There was almost immediate reintegration. No fighting of any sort, the Yuksi were happy to help their lost brothers and sisters and the Kaksi were beyond ready to come home. They learnt each other’s languages and taught them both in schools within a generation they had already decided the best way to utilize them. Kaksi is used in the every day for almost everything where Yuksi is used in art, stories, poetry and theatre.”
“That sounds too good to be true.”
“Well that is how their history books tell it. I’ve scanned the entire planet several times and never seen anything to refute them, no mass graves or war sites. The word for weapon in Kaksi can be contextually used to mean regret, I don’t think Yuksi even had a word for it until they reconnected.”
“This was all very interesting but why did you tell me about this?”
“The Kaksian’s are all gone now. It was pretty quick when I first came here they had just figured out internal combustion. Once I learned their languages I told their scientists about the atom and the nature of matter and energy.”
“They destroyed themselves with nukes!” I jumped off the bench, my blood boiling.
“No! Lily no they didn’t! They didn’t destroy themselves.”
“You said they were gone!”
“I did, they are, I don’t know where. When I told them about the nature of the universe they instantly got it. Like the information was already there in their heads but they just needed to hear it to be unlocked. I think they took the knowledge and ran it, they build those skyscrapers in a month and spacecraft in a year, I expected to come back in three years and see them already long into intergalactic travel but they weren’t here.”
“Then what happened to them?”
“The last night I spent here the Kaksian that became the ambassador took me the opening show of a new play, the name would translate to something like ‘Affection in the Great Black’. I had gone to several of the shows before as it was the only real way to get accustomed to Yuksi. Normally entire plays were in Yuksi, narrated in Yuksi, dialogue in Yuksi. This one was different, the actors all spoke in Kaksi, only the narrator spoke in Yuksi. It was a romantic tragedy in a science fiction setting influenced by my being there.” Douglas coughed and wiped at his eyes.
“I cried for almost half of it, in no small part because the acting was so real. It wasn’t until I had left that I realised that most of the science they put in the story was from what I had told their scientists. One of their scientists wrote the play. I think the Kaksian’s may have gone way past intergalactic travel, I think they figured out the secrets of the universe and left it behind.”
“Then why are we here?”
“Because I’m the only one left in the universe that knows Kakisi and Yuksi, so who better to find those secrets if they wrote them down.”