The Actinium Fulfilment

 

Continued from Tu Rim

The Actinium Era - era 89 - lasted 11,176,884 Uranian days, or 456 Uranian years; equivalent to 38,319 Earth years.

In character and outlook it was the last great "pure" Uranian era, before our present era of space travel and interplanetary contact caused that subtle change of atmosphere brought about by the immigration of even small numbers of off-worlders.

To a remarkable degree, era 89 was also the epitome, the summing up, the fulfilment of all earlier eras.  Just as the blood of fourteen thousand lifetimes of humanity flowed in the veins of the Actinium Era Nenns, so did glimmers from their past light up their present culture with some of the brilliance of the Phosphorus and the Osmium, the daring of the Vanadium and the Praesodymium, the mystic glow of the Argon and the Cobalt, the heroism of the Rubidium and the Francium, the wisdom of the Zinc and the Gold, the moral, mental and physical hues of 88 ages in all their variety of length and experience. 

Blending with these were some new ingredients, as follows:

Firstly, the approach of Uranian Year Zero.  (See Systems of historical dating in use on Ooranye .)  At the start of era 89, the UTU countdown stood at -456 Uranian years.  This meant that the Year Zero was still so many lifetimes in the future (remember, one Uranian year, at 84 of Earth's years, is a longish lifetime) that it was hard to relate to it personally.  Yet, as the number gradually crept down, it became food for thought in idle moments, especially as the lengthening Actinium Era began to seem the probable last great era before the Zero.  Reflective minds began to wonder what the final shape of society might be like, as Zero approached, and how that might affect the outcome of whatever stupendous event was destined to happen in that year; and what one's own self might personally do to contribute one's own little push to that outcome.

Secondly, during UTU-8 towards the end of the era, there occurred an event so striking that, had it not been for the UTU countdown being so close to its end, would surely have caused an eomasp.  This event was none other than First Contact with the Terrestrials.  From Day 11,002,739 of the Actinium Era, the scientists from Earth in their orbiting ships began to survey Ooranye and converse with its inhabitants.  As days went by and they did not land, nor offer to bring any Uranian aloft in their ships, it became apparent that they were enforcing some sort of blockade of the planet.  This, in turn, gave Uranians a clue to what Year Zero, when it came, might bring: their breaking of the blockade, their achievement of space travel, their challenge to Earth.  Meanwhile Earth history, language and ways of thought began to tinge the culture of Ooranye (and vice versa).

The crisis which did cause the eomasp which brought era 89 to its end, occurred when UTU-0 arrived and nothing seemed to happen.  People had been waiting with bated breath for something world-changing and perhaps cataclysmic, yet life went on as before.  Sunnoad Iyen Noom 80525 and his advisors knew that matters could not be allowed to rest like this.  Fate, evidently, was waiting for the Nenns to act; the Year Zero event would have to be caused deliberately.  The people of Syoom must do something so big that it could not have been dared at any other time.  Thus it would fittingly mark Year Zero.

By this reasoning, the decision was made to try to succeed where Fiarr Fosn 723 and the Great Fleet of the Phosphorus Era had failed.

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