Networks fell, power dwindled,
Darkness settled, terror kindled.
Together we huddle, our spirits wont lift,
Out in the Black, abandoned we drift.
The engines are silent, silence that smothers.
Most colors are gone, Black ate all the others.
System readings in red, hope airlocked to Black,
We sent it away… but something came back!
Out of the Black, the stars advanced,
Out of the Black, little lights danced.
From heart to heart, light remembers, darkness flees and fear dwindles.
From hearth to hearth, we spread the embers, joined together, life rekindles.
Poem found scrawled on the wall of an abandoned house in the Red Zones of Tau Station.
There is a story from one of the earliest days following the Catastrophe. There are different versions, but all share one common theme. In the days following the Catastrophe, when systems were down and engines were silent, when survivors huddled in the cold and darkness, hope was, understandably, quite bleak. Those that had homes gazed out of their windows, in the ruins of the once great cities within the stations, trying to pierce the darkness without. Days passed, perhaps even tenspans, swallowed up by the gloom and silence, the black beyond their thresholds.
Hope, was scarce, food and water scarcer, warmth and light nonexistent. Then, one day, a glimmer! Small, tiny, glittering motes of light bounced and weaved outside, coming out of the black, moving from house to house. And where they stopped, they created more light, and soon warmth, and not long after that, hope.
These were the first embers. None knew where the first was found; perhaps a malfunctioning plasma coil, or an enterprising citizen with tools, or even something more unknowable. But we knew what they represented. They were hope, they were the spark each of us carries inside, that burns even when all is lost and requires just a little encouragement to grow into a bright flame. They represented our tenacity, our will to survive, and our togetherness. For when the little sparks, the tiny embers, are brought together, then we can build a raging bonfire!
Once a cycle we celebrate the Emberfest. Station lights are dimmed and groups of revelers walk from home to home, carrying burning little embers that they will share and then be joined as they continue on to others, bringing joy and hope and a little cheer. Thus do we celebrate our coming out of the darkness, our survival of the Catastrophe.
More recently the tradition has also been reinforced by a group of freelancers calling themselves the Auld Lang Syne. They, so the story goes, steal supplies and items from the governments of the Consortium and Gaule to distribute among the needy. The group themselves is never seen and the only sign of their passage is a crate of goods marked with an image of a little mote of light in the darkness. It is further purported that, in recent years, the Consortium and Gaule governments actually lean into the tradition, purposefully leaving goods unattended to be ‘stolen’ by the Auld Lang Syne in a once a cycle show of good cheer.
From all of us here on Tau Station and beyond, when the cycles grow cold and dark, we wish that your Embers glow warm and bright and come together to spread cheer and hope!
We wish you a Festive Emberfest!