The Ahme were a peaceful, happy people. Tonight, on the fullness of three moons, their music swirled over the forest.
“Everybody step, forward now, left foot out. Backward now, left foot in. That’s it, everybody dance.” The Ahme had taken the first opportunity to go into space, rough-colonizing instead of waiting for the full terraforming, accepting the steps backwards in technology, embracing them.
“Everybody back, bow to the fire, bow to your partner. All lovers dance. All lovers, swirl.” They were, as a culture, very happy, and very relaxed.
“That’s it, beloveds, twist around. Grab your partners, swing them down. All lovers dance, all lovers sing. Ah-neee-ah-ne. Ah-neeee-ah-ne.”
They never saw the Tovane coming.
“All the mothers dance, one foot, two feet. Spin around now, bow left, bow right. All moth…”
They were captured while they danced, chained, bound, and dragged off into the woods. They had not known there was another settlement on their planet.
They were horrified to find the train tracks, so close to their settlement that they could have walked to them, had they been inclined.
They sang on the train, because the Ahme would be happy. Ah-neee, ah-ja-neee, they sang, all are loved, all are under the moons.
They had assumed they had the planet to themselves. That they had companions was unexpected, but they would be happy. Ah-neee, ah-ja-neee. Ah-neee, jes-nur-nee. Even the insect that bites you is loved.
The Torvane locked them into concrete cells. “You will work, or you will starve.”
“Such is life,” the elder of the Ahme told them. “We will work. And we will sing.”
They sang while they toiled in the Torvane fields and factories. “Work, now, all lovers work. Press die down, press die up. Left hand out, all lovers work.”
They sang while they were locked into cells at night. “Sleep now, all children sleep. Ah-nee. Jes-nur-nee.”
“They sing love songs to their own shit,” the Torvane mocked. But the Ahme were good workers, strong workers. If they sang, well, they had fewer workplace injuries than Torvane workers.
“Ah-nee, les-aru-neee.” Even our enemy is loved. That was a song they had not sung in a very long time, but they remembered it. Ah-nee, les-aru-neee. They whispered it between the cracks in the walls. They sang it in refrains while they worked. Under the three moons, do we love out enemy. Under the three moons, do we love our children.
Under the three moons, they took back their freedom. Ah-nee, ah-es-tek-esh. All is loved, but all must die. Ah-nee, jur-nur-tek-esh. The insect that bites you, being loved, still must die.
The Torvane never saw them coming.
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