Taletober 2: The Lepus Gate

Inspired by @lyfeillustration

The ship woke him just before they emerged from the Lepus Gate. He stood alone on the bridge as they arrived in the heart of the constellation.
Generations earlier, humanity had discovered the first of the gates that stitched paths across the galaxy’s vast distances. Since that time humans had spread out into the stars, joining the great collective of worlds.

Now the gates were threatened and many feared their loss would tear apart the society they had helped to create. He and his crew believed in that society and so they had traveled here to take part in the final effort to save them.

Before humans ever dreamed of travelling among the stars they used them to illustrate their legends, tracing shapes between points in the night sky. Some told the story of a great hunter named Orion who chased a rabbit bounding before him. Later scholars named the rabbit’s constellation Lepus, Latin for rabbit, a translation from the original Arabic, Arneb. Languages that once represented different peoples and nations, now artifacts of a time before humanity united to find its true place in the universe.

It made him smile to think that in a life lived across many worlds, rabbits had somehow become a common theme. He had grown up on Earth in a place called the Conejo Valley, named for the wild rabbits that thrived there. Conejo, Spanish for rabbit. Another linguistic artifact.

As a child he had watched them dart through the brush at dusk and dawn. Rabbits that for thousands of years had lived alongside humans who knew nothing of the stars above. Rabbits that he now thought of as he floated on the far side of the galaxy.

It comforted him to think that the rabbits did not care whether their mission succeeded, that they would go on living in the valley whether the gates survived or not. And with that thought giving him strength for what was to come, he went to wake the rest of the crew.