The Kalyars

 

Continued from Holding the Line

On a few spooky occasions, the people of Syoom have known that an era has ended without knowing why.  That is how it happened at the end of the Tantalum Era and the beginning of the Tungsten.

Although it had been over seven hundred lifetimes since the last eomasp, there were some historically-minded people who knew what it signified when the day's rhythm faltered.  The day in question was a mere couple of hours longer than usual, but the event could not be ignored by anyone brave enough to face the truth.  So instead of dating it 17,532,220 Ta, these people realized that in reality there was no 17,532,220 Ta.  Rather, it was 1,W.

Awareness of the change did not spread as fast as such news usually did.  For many days innumerable documents continued to be dated 17,532,221 Ta, 17,532,222 Ta and so on, as if the Tantalum Era still existed.  After all, if nothing big seemed to have happened, why begin the count of days anew?  Eventually, however, the believers in era 74 won out.

This was partly due to persistence, partly due to the scientific fact of the eomasp, and partly due to the gradually increasing rumours that something big had happened after all.

Uranian scientists still argue as to how it happened.  Was it a rare instance of the aerial micro-organisms being affected, not by a wave of intense emotion, but by a gradual process reaching a tipping point?  Or was the emotion present, but concentrated and hidden, among the few kalyars to reach awareness of their condition on 1,W?  For the age of the kalyar - the evolved man - had dawned.

Era 74, the Tungsten Era, lasted 18,934,797 Uranian days, or 771 Uranian years, equivalent to 64,800 Earth years.  It was a time of long-drawn-out reckoning for the flaccid culture inherited from the Tantalum Era.  Mankind found its unity apparently disintegrating into several species.  One of these was a continuation of the Nenns - ordinary Uranian humanity.  The others were called, generically, kalyars, but each referred to themselves, at different times and frequencies, by different names.  It was an age of confusion that is still only partially understood by subsequent historians.  The land of Syoom became a melting-pot of species' cultures. 

Towards the end of the era, during its last two or three million days, a mighty process of Syoomean regeneration began, and at the core of this process was the gradual restoration of the vitality of the sunnoadex.  The Sunnoad, Syoom's living symbol, became once more its focus, its chief citizen and its recourse in times of crisis.  Parallel with this process, was a movement of population, a trend by which the Nenns of Syoom were sifted out of the mass of different kalyar species, and came together to dominate a smaller, tighter Syoom.  The kalyar societies which were left round the edges of this area gradually took on greater definition.

A crisis brewed, and war threatened, between the central Nenn area and the kalyar periphery.  Complex issues were involved.  A revival of one of the teleological guilds of the Zirconium Era had conducted research into the planetary id, suggesting that the Nenns were privileged with regard to destiny, and that they, and not any one of the kalyar species, must carry the principle torch of human civilization down through the ages.  The guild's research team had included kalyars as well as Nenns, and could not be accused of species bias; but for many its conclusions were understandably hard to accept.  If kalyars were so peripheral, why had they evolved?  In answer to this, it was suggested that perhaps they and not the Nenns were the key to the future, but only the very far future - the next Great Cycle, in fact.  In which case, they should wait and be content and learn what they could while waiting for thousands of millions of days till their hour came.  Not many of them were prepared to accept that their species would have to wait that long for a major role in history.

>> The Rhenium Moment

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