It’s no surprise that Sictory Mills was one of the worlds which inspired me as a young child to become a Traveler. Of course there are many who have walked the world and we are still no closer to understanding its great mysteries from then to now.
In terms of size and temperature and natural topography, it is quite run-of-the-mill. Average. Neither boring nor standing out. In many ways, it is reminiscent of ancient Terra, with its deserts and mountains and oceans and jungles. The sky glows a bright deep purple-blue and the sunsets are spectacular. There are two minor satellites, one of which reflects a bright red and the other a dull grey, which orbit the world creating the most interesting tidal patterns. Sometimes extreme and others barely perceptible, depending on the synchronicity.
No, it is not the planet itself which lends the real draw. What enticed myself and many like me are its inhabitants… or at least, the remains of said inhabitants.
Sictory Mills was once a thriving, bustling metropolis. Indeed nearly a third of the planet’s surface is covered in sprawling cities, coated in some sort of natural asphalt and towering skyscrapers. The people of Sictory Mills, who we call the Engineers, were adept at building and manufacturing unique yet functional creations. Point in case, there are no animals upon the planet, though there must have been at some time previous, for there are cybernetic copies of them everywhere.
As best as we can ascertain, it appears as if the Engineers simply vanished. How or why or where, we have no ideas. They didn’t pack their bags, so to speak. They just disappeared. We know this because there are houses full of tables still set with food, beds unmade, vehicles appear to be in traffic but they never move. Grocers full of desiccated food stores. Pets on leashes, standing upon the sidewalk, forever waiting for their creators to return. Most of the artificial light sources have long since burned through their fuel sources, yet the power still surges through intact lines when tripped by motion or lack of daylight.
It is eerie, wandering these once-crowded streets, as one constantly expects to see a face in the window or a door to open.
I made my way to the historical museums of these creatures, to learn what I could. The spinning door creaking to allow passage. Judging by the speed with which it moved, I surmise the Engineers were a slower moving species. I walked through the entrance at a mere crawl. Everything here appeared to be activated by movement, as I was accosted by a high-pitched screeching sound, intermixed with warbling whistles. Finally tapering off, I believe because I did not respond in kind, though the lights remained halfway active.
There within those hallowed halls I made my way through the planet’s long history from its humble beginnings until some point previous to the Engineer’s disappearance. It followed their arrival to the world (without reference to their previous habitation), learning the particulars of the planet’s outer and inner workings, and then using organic material with which to build up this new planet in their image. First they eradicated the local fauna and replaced them all with cybernetic copies. The plant life they gently modified and mixed to create hybrids with which to use in their massive structures and cities. The species is prolific and reproduces at an incredible rate, and armed with such self-knowledge, they built the world up in anticipation of future generations. Indeed, it appears as if the cities were at ninety percent capacity when they disappeared.
The outrageous skyscrapers and buildings and immense artistic statues and structures were all grown from an organic and natural crystal found in the planet’s shallow crust. The people were able to learn how to manipulate and engineer it to grow to enormous proportions able to hold the immense weight and pressure. It defies the optical mind.
They paved their cities and byways with a mix of the crystal and crushed flora compost under tremendous pressure. The pavement seems to have stood the test of time, along with all their productions and handiworks. These people flourished and molded the planet to suit their needs. Their intelligence and technological advances are mind boggling.
This, of course, begs the question. How? Where did they go? Why did they leave? What has become of them? The longer I look about myself at their cities and creations, the more questions I have. There are by far more questions than answers here. If I spent a lifetime in these archival halls, would I be any closer to solving the mystery of Sictory Mills? Somehow, I think not, yet I hold on to the day when perhaps we will find the answers to the questions the Engineers left behind.
tara caribou | ©️2019
This is part of my ongoing collection of Explorations of the galaxy.