As we pass over the ruins of a thousand shattered civilizations, I begin to experience an odd lucidity, the likes of which I have not experienced before in my life. What is Septimus? It most surely is not the refuge we humans hope it is. I am certain the worldsphere builders are not counted among the broken empires below. No, it was never their intent to live within their creation, yet clearly they intended for others to inhabit it. Given their advanced technology, they certainly could have kept out anyone they chose. They made it possible for many interstellar civilizations to find a way in. Yet, we have never seen any evidence of any of these civilizations on other worlds, even worlds only a few tens of light years from Septimus. It could be coincidence, it's a big galaxy and we humans have only seen a tiny speck of it. Still, it doesn't seem right. Even if we are new on the galactic scene, many of the ruins in Septimus appear to be thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of years old. Surely, some of these races would have colonized planets within our region of explored space. No, they came to Septimus. The entirety of their civilizations, drawn like moths to a flame. One after another, whole interstellar civilizations swallowed up by the worldsphere. But why? Why would whole empires allow themselves to be consumed? Because they never knew what lay inside. There was no warning. No one warned them. No one ever got out.
No one has ever escaped from Septimus.
Septimus is a trap, a trap for entire civilizations. But that's not the whole story. Of that, I'm certain. No matter how advanced they were, constructing the worldsphere had to be a monumental effort for its builders. Was their hatred of all intelligent life in the galaxy so powerful that it compelled them to build such a trap? It's possible, I suppose, but it still feels wrong to me. What destroyed all these civilizations? Did they make war upon each other? Perhaps, but what of the victors? Was it a case of mutual destruction, repeated again and again? No, too much of a coincidence. Eventually, a race would emerge with the technological edge to wipe out all comers. They should still be around. Maybe they are and maybe they're watching us right now. Still, that doesn't really explain why Septimus was built in the first place. Was all this destruction arranged for the amusement of the builders? Maybe, they are still here. Or maybe something else? Something very ancient and very powerful. Are we intended to be sacrifices to some primordial god? Are we the latest victims to be slaughtered upon some primeval altar?
"Pelham, we're landing in 10 minutes."
"Huh? Oh right." It was Ramos. "Any word from the colony?"
"Nothing yet, but we've got a visual. Everything looks ok. Come take a look."
Sure enough, the colony looked fine. At this range, we couldn't see any colonists, but they clearly had lights and power.
"Ok people, strap in and prepare for descent," Chevsky said.
Just then, the ship exploded.