Intercosmic - Chapter 28 - The Enka Solution

 

I purposely chose a hotel with minimum foot traffic, away from tourist attractions. Yet, tonight, there’s a crowd of people preventing me from getting through. Is there some kind of celebrity or something? Everyone seems eager to get a look at whatever is happening near the doors. After waiting for so long I manage to push my way to the front. I’m greeted by three police officers locking arms like children and trying to keep the crowd back. Crimes, terrible when they happen, but everyone always wants to be witness to the aftermath or get a part in the inevitable documentary. Everyone cries about how the world is ending yet never wants to look at what caused the crime.

I give up on trying to get through the front door without any fight, it’s pointless. They aren’t letting anyone in but reporters maybe. Around back, the scene is much quieter. Nothing but police officers and medics. They don’t even have a drone out to keep people from crossing the line. I’m able to walk through the backdoor without being stopped. Only once I’m inside do I know what happened.

There’s a dead Enkan couple motionless in the middle of the lobby. Their shirts are burned away in large circles, the fur beneath has either been signed or completely burned away in spots revealing the grey flesh beneath. The man has a additional hole burned through one of his batlike wings. It lets me know it was probably an electronic blaster. I suppose those are the common model here on Mars. Not as effective, but I suppose close range will work fine. With a few modifications some serious damage can be dealt like what I’m seeing.

“Sir, you can’t be here,” an officer reaches out and gently pushes me back.

“Sorry, I was just trying to get to my hotel room.”

“As you can see there’s been a murder. We can’t have any contamination of the crime scene.”

“You think you could let me up the service elevator then?”

“There’s a bar around the corner, go have a drink. We should be finished in about two hours.”

“Alright,” I don’t argue, no use in becoming a suspect.

Even if they just call this a murder, it’s a hate crime. The Enkan species are truly a tragic case. They were farmers who survived on fruits, vegetables and bugs. Didn’t bother anyone, and were probably furthest behind in technology outside of agriculture. The galaxy gained a lot from their agricultural ability and culinary ingenuity. I’m not a person who enjoys eating bugs, but they could, and still can, make bugs taste like five-star meals. A good portion of humanity actually has gone on to replace the meat in their diets with bugs.

In an attempt to conquer them, the Draconian Empire made their home world unlivable. Unfortunately, the Enka were in a system with a single livable planet. The Enkan people were completely nonviolent as far as I could tell. They weren’t prepared for a war when the Draconian Empire came to take their planet. The planet was quickly ruined, barely hospitable. The Draconians no longer saw any value in the planet. Most of the Enka were forced to leave, there simply weren’t enough resources. The Revrell are supposed to be helping restore the planet, but I haven’t personally seen any update on that. The entire species was forced to spread throughout the galaxy with little to no notice.

With the Enkan people spreading out, millions of them have settled onto the worlds of other species as refugees. It isn’t uncommon for other species to feel as if they’re invaders. Enkans are seen as pests or rodents, the same way as humans are. The key difference being humans are violent by design. Sure, Enka have claws and large incisor teeth, but those are for vegetables, they aren’t dangerous. They fly away from trouble, humans build guns, swords or whatever else. We fight back and sometimes, a lot of the time we can escalate. Unfortunately, instead of seeing our common standing in the galaxy, humans don’t seem to care about the Enkan troubles. This crime was probably committed by humans, it’s Mars, their clothes look pretty high class. Someone who feels as if they’ve taken what was owed to them; a story as old as humanity.

Word must spread quickly amongst the Enka. The bar is full of them by the time I arrive. I watch as a few humans exit and make some snide remarks. I take a seat at the bar and order a drink. I watch as they celebrate the lives of those who had died. Many don’t know them personally, but they know the pain friends and family must feel all too well. As I sip away at glass after glass I listen as they mourn not just the two who died this evening but the many more. It’s a phenomenon all too common for them. Enkan flees to make a better life, works themselves up from poverty and becomes a target for it; each story seems the same.

“Are you mourning as well,” a gruff voice belonging to an Enkan man asks.

“I suppose so.”

“Mourning the loss of your arm,” he jokes, slurs his words and is obviously drunk.

“My arm, my brother, my friends. I got a lot to mourn.”

“Well, it’s good that you know what you lost. Now you can figure out what’s replaceable.”

“What if you’ve lost yourself? How can you replace that?”

“I’ll tell you if you replace my drink,” he laughs.

I wave my hand to the bartender. He pours another drink for the extroverted Enka who just adopted me. I place my hand over my glass, I’ve had enough to drink. I listen to the piano play a song that’s Enkan in composition. It’s a human instrument being played, but it’s clear it follows and Enkan song structure. Well, it’s not human structure, and an Enkan is playing it, so it is safe to assume.

“When you’ve lost yourself, the only option is to keep going. There’s no use in mourning yourself if you’re still alive. There’s a new you born every day.”

“You know that makes no sense, right?”

“If you drink a little more, it might,” his boisterous laugh returns.

I envy the Enka, they’re placed in terrible situations, and they just adapt. Most people couldn’t just pick up and leave everything they’ve ever known, but they do it. I suppose the thing that makes it possible is that they’re a community. They rely on each other. I don’t have that, I can’t help but envy it.

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