“To your left you will see what is called a painting – an ancient form of art, utilized by humans from pre-history through the late 23rd Earth century. The artist is unknown, but it clearly depicts the first hail of the Alcorian Empire in 2384. The messenger stands with his arms held high, welcoming his kin to their new home. Many believe that this event marked the end of humanity, while Alcorian historians deem it the most important event in our people’s history…”
Tasha stared at the vivid swirl of colors before her as the robotic guide’s voice continued down the hallway. “Daddy, how did they do that?” she asked, pulling on her father’s arm and planting her feet.
His whiskers stirred at the question, and he looked down at his inquisitive daughter’s wide black eyes. “They made the colors soft, and then they transferred them onto something hard.” He wrapped a tentacle around her wrist and yanked her forward.
“I’ve never seen those colors.” She tilted her head to one side as one of her own tentacles whipped out and coiled about the railing. “Why not?”
“Those are colors from above the surface,” he answered gruffly. “Come on.”
“Above the surface?” Tasha wondered aloud. Her grip on the railing slipped, and she trudged behind him.
“When our people first settled here, the humans lived above, on the ground.”
“What happened to the humans that lived on the ground?” she pursued.
His whiskers bristled in annoyance, and he quickened his strides to catch up with the tour. “The ones that did not move underwater with the Alcorians died.”
“Will I ever see those colors?” Tasha asked, looking back over her shoulder at the painting, now burned into her memory, pasted to the back of her double-eyelids.
Her father stopped and knelt down in front of her. “No, sweetheart, you won’t. Those colors don’t exist anymore. The planet has changed.” He clicked his tongue and lifted her chin when she looked down at the floor between them. “But it’s better this way, don’t you think? We have an endless supply of water. Our people will go on forever, and even the humans have a place to live, here with us.”
Tasha looked down again and nodded. She remained silent for the rest of the tour. Even though she was very young, she knew that there was more her father wasn’t telling her. She would solve the mystery on her own, she decided. Because she didn’t think it was better at all.
Those colors were too beautiful not to be missed.