Title: Unsafe Havens

Rating: K+

Summary: The future is now the past...all that remains is myth of a time long before, when there was hope. My lame attempt at a Post-Colonization fic.

Disclaimer: Nope, nothing.

Author's Note: This stupid idea chewed at my brain until I wrote it down. Please forgive me in advance for its bizarreness.


The girl stared out the window, seeing the dark night encroaching. The world was bleak and barren, but it had been for as long as she could remember, and she had nothing at all to compare it to. Her hair was long and ragged, and her clothes were dirty. She had been living in this small community for most of her life; it was an ever-moving group of nomads who spoke very little, and carried many weapons. They were always on alert, for they were being tracked and hunted. They had fought back, they had resisted Colonization, and many had died. The girl did not know why they fought, she did not know much of anything. She had only heard stories of the World Before, before the sky was always whitish-gray, before the ground looked burnt and stripped. When there were cities, not charcoal skeletons of buildings slicing up into the horizon; when there was green grass and blue sky and schools and shopping malls.

The window was dirty; the girl was in the backseat of a car. The car once moved, but now it didn't go anywhere. It just always sat there. When the band of nomads she traveled with had stumbled across this, they decided to make camp there for the night. She got to sleep in the car, while everyone else lay on the ground. People were always being unusually nice to her, and she didn't understand why. They were always going out of there way to make sure she was safe and comfortable.

Perhaps it was because she was the youngest. Or because of her hair. Noone had ever seen hair that colour before, and everywhere she went, people stared and wanted to touch her. It annerved the girl, and she started to feel oddly about her fire-colored hair.

People here were dirty. Covered in dirt all the time, it was nearly impossible to see what they looked like, but the girl's red hair shone like a torch. When they traveled through other nomad communities, people from the nearby camps would come over just to see her, and some would smile, and some would cry, and some would even bow or kneel, and that upset the girl greatly, because she did not understand why anyone would kneel at her dirty feet.

There was an old woman in the camp who everyone called ''Mother''. She was born in the early years after Colonization. There was nobody left who had actually seen the World Before, or lived in it. Those people were all gone. Mother always told the girl to talk to the stars. The stars were barely visible at all anymore, through the haze of smog that always blanketed the sky, but when they were, the girl always talked to them. And she would pray.

Mother taught her about the Star Man and the Star Woman who were always listening, and watching over the people who fought and stood against the Greys. She liked to think of them as being very kind, very strong, beautiful shining people who lived in a safe place way far up in the sky.

The girl leaned against the battered upholstry of the car and gazed out of the dirty window. She wasn't sure if she was seeing stars or just watermarks on the glass. Still, she wrapped her thin arms around herself and hummed a song that she had heard once, but where she heard it, or when, she did not know. It had just always been with her, part of memory long dead and forgotten.

''Joy to the world, all the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me''. The girl hummed herself into sleep, a light wind ruffling her hair through the slightly open window, almost like someone kissing her goodnight.


In the morning, there was very little food to eat, as it always was. The girl ate some peaches out of a can, and then stretched out on the sandy dirt to trace pictures with a small stone as she always did. It was the way she occupied herself, because there was nothing else to do. She drew some symbols that she had seen in her dreams, as well as some letters that she didn't know. Soon the letters formed words, and the girl couldn't read them and she didn't know what they meant, she was just writing them in the dirt.

Karl, a tall, thin man who led the group, was walking by with another, Ben, who was very good with weapons, and could fight like a maniac if provoked. Ben spotted the girl and moved over to her. When he saw what she was writing in the dirt, he nearly went mad. His face held something like a blank, naked terror, as he yanked the girl with a forcefullness that seemed oddly reverant to her feet, and tried to kick away what she had written, to stomp it out.

Karl soundlessly shoved him out of the way, and off of the girl. He looked at what she had written. Aside from the ancient symbols, there were words. ''FIGHT THE FUTURE. FIGHT THE FUTURE.''


Karl never spoke much, but his silence was his greatest ally, and also his greatest weapon, because he could observe more that way. He kept his expression always fairly blank and neutral, and selected words very carefully. People respected Karl because of his lineage. That was also why he was the leader. He was one of the few among his group who had two names, both a first and a last. His last name was Doggett. It was the name of his ancestors. He was descended from two freedom fighters, John and Monica. They were famous, but most of the tales about them had been obscured by myth; they had become a fairy-tale, nobody knew what really happened. He knew that they served alongside the Star Man and the Star Woman. Like all oppressed people, Karl's wandering group of nomads clung to the idea that one day, the Star Man and Woman would return and save them. He didn't know if he believed that.

He was a holy man, or so his people thought. His semi-divine ancestry alone made him appear larger than life, and the fact that he seemed to have certain gifts made him even more valuable. He was a kind of shaman among this group; he was their liason to the Star People. But now...Karl gave a wistful glance at the young girl who was standing beside him, nervously yanking on a strand of her red hair. It appeared that they had another valuable asset.

Karl had suspected it for some time. They found the girl when she was about five years old, crouched behind a magnetite rock, hiding. There was no family in sight. She was dressed in rags, as most everyone was, but she had red hair, a color that none of his people had seen before. It was a color that signified holiness, because the legends all said that the Star Woman had fire-colored hair. As if that were not enough, the girl was also wearing a necklace; a very old piece of gold jewelry bearing a symbol that had not been seen since...since the time of the Star People. That did it. Karl took the girl with them, he held her next to him as the group moved through the dusk across the barren plain, praying to his ancestors that he had done the right thing.


''Little One'', Karl began, and the girl raised her head and stared at him. He shook his head, and a tiny ghost of a smile curled around his lips. ''Do not be worried, you haven't done anything wrong''. She blinked. ''I haven't?''

''No, child, you haven't. You have been blessed.''

The girl cocked her head and stared at Karl. ''I do not feel blessed. I feel cursed.''

His eyes urged her to continue, and so she did. ''I feel as though people are frightened of me. And I feel frightened of myself at times. I dream strange things; I see faces, I hear voices yelling and speaking and calling. Some times it all blends together and is foggy like the sky, but other times it is so clear. There is emotion; there is pain and loss and sadness, but also laughter and love. I think...at times I have glimpsed the World Before, but I cannot be certain. It is as though I am seeing someone's memory. And I do not understand why people are so kind to me, why they are afraid to upset me; even though it upsets me when I look into their eyes as they look at me with fear. I am nobody, why should they think of me as anything more. I do not have two names, or three, like Mari Alexii. I don't even have one name. I don't know what to call myself.''

The girl stared at the ground and tears fell from her eyes and wetted the dry dirt. Karl put a hand on her thin shoulder, and she raised her head again to look into his eyes. ''My dear, do you trust me?'' He asked, and she nodded.

''Then believe me when I say, do not be frightened. When I was a young man, only a little older than you, I also saw memories, as you did. I saw the World Before, I saw people and felt their emotions. And somehow, I recognized these people, their faces. I felt I was a part of them, even though we had never met in this life. People in the tribe where I lived were afraid of me also. One night, there was an attack where we were sleeping. I heard a voice in my dream telling me to wake up and run. And so I did. The same voice was echoing in my head, telling me not to look back, to just keep running. I felt as though there were arms around me, protecting me. I ran until nearly morning, when I collapsed on the ground. Hours later, I awoke in a caravan of a group of nomads. One of them was Mother.''

''And that's how you came to be here?'' The girl asked. Karl nodded. ''Most of us do not have many memories of our own, at least not ones that we really like, or want to have. We rely on the stories of those who came before us, of the World Before, to give us hope. We pray, because, well, because we want to believe that there is hope; that someone out there is listening. That we have not been forgotten. That the great ones who lived before still live on, whether out there in the distance, or within us. People here look to us, to you and I, and even Mari Alexii, because they see the Old Ones in us. Whether we really are descended from them, or whether they really were who legend says that they were is unimportant. People see what they want to see, they see what will give them hope. And that they have us here, to touch, as a kind of living reminder that there WAS once hope...well, that makes them feel stronger.''

The girl smiled at Karl. He never usually said so much, but when he did speak, he always had great wisdom, and always cheered her a bit. ''Thank you.'' She turned to walk away from him, but then looked over her shoulder and asked, ''Do you believe...that we are, you know...?'' She trailed off. Karl looked at her, thought for a moment, then said, ''Yes, I believe''. And then the girl walked away, her long red hair falling over her shoulders like fire dancing.