I am the last of the Hydrals. One of the oldest races in the solar system, we were first to the stars.
However, we were selfish and predatory -- eager to retain the advantage we had won.
For centuries, we shot down all manned launches from eight rival planets. No one was to join us in the black ocean around our star.
Spy probes arrived every now and then. We knew the others were watching us, but we didn’t much care.
They could launch satellites and probes, yes. But anything larger was bombed into oblivion.
How they must have hated us. But we felt we were wise. For one reason or another, each race was an unsuitable companion.
The Burlusts were at constant war, empires rising and falling. We could not allow them to threaten us.
The Andors constructed a peaceful robotic utopia, and our governors reasoned that it was no hardship to keep them where they were.
And the Peltians -- communal agrarians. Weak, like animals. They had no business with us.
The Skylaxians were intelligent and honorable -- far too much so. Their opinion of us was clear, so they had to be suppressed.
The Thoraxians are something out of a nightmare. No one in their right mind would risk an invasion by them.
The list goes on. You have the Boarines, solitary and territorial. Not a good idea.
Or the Acutians. Cold, robotic capitalists? Absolutely not.
And last there were the Evucks. Quiet, studious, kept to themselves. They never even tried a manned mission. We paid little attention to them.
If we had, we would have seen them learn sciences far beyond our own. We would have seen our death.
You see, we Hydrals were born on a world of oceans. But as the number of Evuck probes increased, we started to notice a change.
Oh yes, we noticed. Our population fell from 40 billion to only a few thousand.
With our planet dying, we began gearing up for conquest and retribution.
I had a different idea -- one I knew my countrymen would never accept. The time was well past for the other races to join us in the stars.
They were already close enough on their own. At this point, an interplanetary federation was the only path to peace.
As the time for war approached, I came to a decision. I filled a pod with technical documents and escaped.
Just in time. We were so distracted with ourselves that we didn’t see the Acutians strap rockets to a moon.
All our ships had been recalled to defend against further probes, and to aid in the ongoing evacuations. Everything we Hydrals had ever built was gone in an instant.
The sole surviving ship, so far as I know, was mine. Damaged by the blast, my pod barely made it to the nearest planet.
The technology I had brought in gift was forcibly taken. I was left in captivity.
I wasn’t a prisoner; I was waiting. Never having met a Hydral, they had no idea of my strength.
I will unite this solar system. I have no intentions of being a leader. I won’t even be the power behind the throne.
I am a nameless mercenary now. But I will leave a legacy to stand the test of time.