Awakening in the Anteroom of Heaven

Agm Em, his short tail covered by his post-war, human-style coat, walked facing the breeze up the widest boulevard in Capital. On his first morning in the Tir royal city, the damage remaining from the human bombardment horrified him. Whatever was not leveled had been rebuilt by humans to human specifications. Although he had not expected to see the city he remembered from his childhood eight and a half years earlier, the reflections off the mirrored, imported lex walls made the city alien to him.

Brushing a layer of papery molt from the back of his neck—one should not enter the Palace dirty—Agm reached the Palace grounds. Gods on Heaven. Before him were rubble and sand, with the bottoms of reinforced walls standing here and there. At the Commoners’ Entrance, loose building blocks had been piled into a tall cairn with a sign proclaiming, “Memorial to the Brave Men and Women Killed in the Final Victory.” Agm clamped his jaw, letting the vestigial poison sacs inflate. Tirs had died defending Homeworld, and they had no memorial.