“There are a handful of dates every child knows by heart. They know their birthday. Maybe, if they come from a family still clinging to one of the old religions, they know Nirvana or Diwali, Christmas or Eid; but there are two dates we all know, every one of us.
The 20th of October 2056. Masters Day. The day they came riding black monoliths like toppled gravestones hanging in the sky. They changed the Earth and transplanted mankind to thirty six other worlds. They never spoke. There was no communication. No one ever saw what they looked like. They did as they pleased. Billions died. They were monsters. Demons. We remember that day. We carry on about our business but we remember nonetheless whether we want to or not. Perhaps that’s why, of all the come-and-go festivals of human civilisation, Halloween survives.
But the other day we celebrate. The 14th of March 2061. Liberation Day, resonant with the narrative of plucky humanity throwing off the shackles of their alien oppressors, abundant with stories of struggle and courage and heroic victory.
Every such story is a fiction. The Masters were not thrown off or defeated. They simply left. The real truth is that might have been gone for weeks or even months maybe even a year before we realised they’d withdrawn from everything they’d built. A century and a half later and here we are. No one understands who they were or why they did what they did. No one knows where they went. No one can promise they will not return..
Now abandoned starships carry the bewildered humans they left behind. In them we race to the future, our fearful eyes fixed firmly on the stars lest they do.”
-Nikita Svernoi addressing the 41st October conference in 2216