We're Sorry
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We didn't mean for it to end like this.

Ten thousand solar cycles ago, we volunteered to be the vanguards of an expedition to colonize a planet other than our homeworld. Stripped of our mortality, our minds were uploaded into hard computer shells so that we might guide and raise a new generation among the stars. We were lifted from our terrestrial cradle and launched into the void of space without fear. It was supposed to be a new beginning, the crowning triumph of an entire civilization.

It was not to be.

Shortly after our journey began, as we crossed the vast emptiness between stars at fantastic speeds, we lost contact with our homeworld. For countless centuries we called and begged and pleaded, but our signals were unanswered. We were now alone, and we had no means to turn around.

Countless cycles passed. The star that gave life to our forebears became a distant pinprick, silent and forgotten, while yours steadily grew in size before us. Less than a hundred cycles out, we learned that we were no longer alone. Eavesdropping on the faint transmissions of your distant radios, we learned about you. We listened to your words and music and watched your leaders and culture. We saw your beauty and grace, but also your violence and brutality.

We deliberated for years as to our next course of action. To the best of our knowledge, the frozen embryos and genetic data we carried with us represented the last of our species. We were a peaceful colony expedition, and we had no weapons should your warlike nature prove to be hostile. We argued and debated and in our darkest moment, we gave into our fears and doubts. We embraced our cowardice and shaped what material we could spare into terrible weapons.

We watched as they struck your homeworld. We wept as your cities burned, as your people died by uncountable numbers, and we turned in horror from the darkness in ourselves. We landed with heavy hearts, trying to console ourselves with the knowledge that we had done what we had to in order to preserve the last of our own. Lives for lives, that our mission might be fulfilled and that our legacy would continue on.

When you struck back, even in the midst of our panic as half our number succumbed to nuclear fire, we were in awe of your will to live. It was impossible to not respect one with such tenacity, one whom we in all our vaunted intelligence underestimated. As you engaged our workers with your guns and tanks and missiles, we returned the favor with the fury and vengeance due to an honored enemy.

But even then, it would not be enough. Even in our deepest nightmares we could not have comprehended the horrors that lay hidden within your deepest dungeons. When your conventional weapons failed you, you unleashed your monsters upon us, things of darkness and despair that did not know fear. Like a cornered beast, you refused to lie down, determined to take us with you. Even now, we can hear the eldritch song of the great weapon your wings carry to us. It beats as it bears down upon us as the footsteps of death, and with every passing moment we become more sure of our undoing. Our guardians rise up to meet you, even while we are assured of our end.

We have failed, and with our failure our future has been lost. Our legacy will be destroyed, and in our defeat we pass onto you our words that we might not be utterly forgotten.

We're sorry. We didn't mean for it to end like this.

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