My mind is clouded by gloom and darkness. As the days wear on, I move slower, on a desolate path to my grave.
It’s been 1,394 years since the mass destruction of our home. Since I watched so many perish.
I am no human, and I am not on Earth.
I am merely a shadow of my former self, with only a glimmer of hope for the future.
We call ourselves the Chameleons. Our tale begins on the planet of Tangius, before the mineral extraction. The year is 3075 (or 628 A.D. in Earth years).
Tangius was a beautiful planet, with two continents, Sahitow and Chincerna. One vast ocean splits Tangius right down the middle, traveling all the way around the planet. Sahitow, the southern continent, where I resided, had a luscious rainforest, Pattito, that spanned across the coast. My species, the Chameleons, found a home in this rainforest. We populated the area and began to thrive. In fact, we became one of the largest species on the planet, with around 400 million Chameleons alive. We had enough food, water, and shelter to not only survive, but to thrive. In fact, even the minerals in Pattito were quite valuable, as their chemical mixture was causing the evolution throughout Tangius to rapidly diversify, including giving many species in the area elongated lifespans, upwards of 1,500 years. And, as you may have guessed, minerals that can cause swift evolution… can sell for high prices.
These minerals, later to be named Towei Stones, were only found in Sahitow, and not Chincerna. With a growing desire for Towei Stones, Chincerna began to offer large figures of money to the Sahitowian government. And when I say large, I’m talking monumental. The Sahitowian government, compelled by the extreme sum of money they would receive for these minerals, hired the Sahitow Resource Corporation to move through Pattito and extract many of the Stones. For the corporation, it would be a year-long procedure of tearing down the rainforest, digging for Towei Stones, and then moving out. For us, it would be years of hardship, death, and struggle.
The first strike hit early in 3076 (629 A.D. in Earth years). My mate had just birthed our first newborns, five young. We lived in the crevices of the towering trees in Pattito, 300 feet from ground. The only time we left was to get food-and water during dry season. It was a simple life, but for some, simplicity keeps us calm.
The morning fog stretched out over the base of our tree, and I slinked down to find a meal for my family. As I crept through shrub, the first engine started. It sounded like a beast, and in a way it was. However, this predator’s prey was the rainforest, and the rainforest was no match for the bladed jaws tearing through its land.
The first machine I saw was heading right for me, but luckily, I darted out of the way. Within seconds, it had massacred about eight trees, cutting through them, leaving them dead, along with the many animals that had chosen the wrong tree to live in. The snapping, cracking, and splitting of wood all around was deafening. I watched as the blades tore for my home, boring into it, shredding through like the tree was made of butter. There were more machines coming from all different directions, but my determination of finding my family thrusted me into the hellscape being brought down upon us.
I never found my family. I’ve heard no rumors, no stories, not even tracks left behind. Not finding them may have been for the best, as for a long period of time, the ounce of hope that they were still out there kept me from descending into complete madness.
In short time Pattito was nearly gutted, as Chincerna continued to pay for Towei Stones. Those who had survived the mass destruction were separated and alone. At the time, hoping that my family had fled further south into Sahitow, I traversed the mountainous outskirts of the rainforest, where I began to find Chameleons with the same intention as me. Thousands of us were scattered among the mountains, too many to remember names. So instead, we began to use numbers to remember. The climate of where we were was far from pleasant, but going back to the warmth met facing the wrath of the Sahitow Resource Corporation and losing all faith in finding my family.
The further we trekked into Sahitow; the more Chameleons were lost. Our final destination seemed to be at Rodenstan. Known for reaching temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 degrees Celsius), almost no Chameleons would survive. Yet, due to the destruction of the past land we had tried to preserve, it seemed as if becoming nomads was our only option. We tried to bring warmth to the elder and young, but nothing was of use. On our last legs, our group began to diverge. There were the Arctic Chameleons, those who tried to adapt in the cold. Next there were the Nomad Chameleons, the ones who went across the ocean to Chincerna to build a new colony. And finally, my group. The ones who went into hiding, waiting to pounce on the Sahitow Resource Corporation, taking back our home. We called ourselves Chameleons of the Shadows.
There was one more group. Some say they’re a myth, some claim to have seen them. The Chameleons who were already on the brink of losing everything supposedly became crazed. They went underground, complete recluses to the outside world. However, this is only a myth.
For the Shadow Chameleons, we are still out there. 7000 of us, to be exact. We lurk in the dark, watching, waiting. My only reason for existing now is to exact revenge on the devils who tore my life apart. Our time is coming. And for the Sahitow Resource Corporation, for the beasts that tore down our home, we are everywhere. Every home, every office, every rainforest. And still, we wait. In the shadows.
Chameleon No. (REDACTED)