|Followed by|| Private Collection
Fire and Ash (original French title: À feu et à cendres) is the first album in the Sillage series, first released in 1998.
Nävis, a lone human girl, is hunting for birds on her jungle home planet with a slingshot when she accidentally brings down a probe, apparently killing the small alien aboard. Her best friend Houyo, a giant talking wild cat, saves her from the explosion of the craft. Nävis examines the remains and tries to eat the creature, but it tastes terrible, so they disappear into the forest together.
During the following night, an enormous spacecraft lowers itself down to the surface. After burning a large clearing into the forest, the vessel lands and hundreds of Migreurs disembark. Madjestœt Heiliig orders them to begin the construction of a settlement. He and his robotic assistant Snivel decide to search for the missing probe in the morning. While Nävis and Houyo sleep, Nävis briefly wakes to see the small creature from the probe emerging from her stomach, but it disappears and she dismisses it as a nightmare.
The next morning, Nävis and Houyo wake to find it is hotter than usual and the trees are wilting, but shrug and go fishing. Heiliig, Snivel, and a group of Migreurs arrive. To their confusion, they detect their scout's psychic signature coming from Nävis. Heiliig orders the Migreurs to capture her. Nävis and Houyo fight them off, but Heiliig grabs Nävis. Houyo attacks him, but when she bites his containment suit, the escaping hot gases burn and kill her. Nävis is devastated by her death, but escapes with the Migreurs in hot pursuit.
Because his suit has been damaged, Heiliig must return to his ship because his species requires extremely high temperatures to survive. Snivel finds one of Nävis' discarded knives and is fascinated because it is factory made in spite of her primitive appearance. In his heated ship, while his suit is being repaired, Heiliig receives a transmission from his mate Saahre, who reports that their people are dying and must have a new home soon, and he promises to turn the planet into their new home.
Snivel finds out that Nävis lives inside a crashed spaceship with technology unfamiliar to them. He attempts to contact Sillage so that they can send reinforcements to capture Nävis for study and to salvage the ship, excited about discovering a new species and new technology, but Heiliig smashes him to pieces, not wanting his people's salvation to be interrupted by anything.
Nävis retreats to her spaceship and manages to trap three of the Migreurs. She attempts to kill them to avenge Houyo, but the small creature emerges from her stomach like a ghost and asks her not to. After she calms down, he explains that he is harmlessly using her as a host body to heal from his injuries. He is a Gardonnian, a scout for Sillage who scans planets for intelligent life. He is unable to read her mind or detect her, so before he was brought down, he mistakenly declared the planet uninhabited and led Heiliig here. Heiliig is using a huge device called the Diverter to move the planet closer to the sun to increase the temperature and make it a paradise for his people. Nävis resolves to stop him and protect her home.
Nävis frees the three Migreurs and convinces them to stop being slaves to Heiliig and follow their own path. After she names them Leaf, Stone, and Bobo, they agree to help her. As they navigate the ship, they find human remains and broken down robots. She explains that the other humans have been dead as long as she can remember and one of the robots raised and fed her until it shut down. More Migreurs come and say Heiliig changed their orders from "capture Nävis" to "kill Nävis", but the three on her side convince them to turn against him as well and she starts giving them names. Despite the unfamiliar technology, Gardonnian manages to instruct Nävis to use the ship to send a distress call to Sillage, but it may take a while to be received and decoded.
Heiliig sends a message to Sillage claiming the planet is completely uninhabited, so he receives authorization to set the Diverter to full power. The Diverter's efforts cause the sky to turn red and the jungle to burn. Nävis and her army march to the Diverter and she and the Gardonnian ask Heiliig to stop destroying her world, but he refuses. He commands the Migreurs still loyal to him to attack, so the Migreurs loyal to her fight them off. Despite the red hot metal burning her bare hands and feet, Nävis climbs the Diverter and charges Heiliig, but he catches and strangles her until she passes out. Before he can finish her off, authorities from Sillage arrive and paralyze his suit. They had received Nävis' message and arrest Heiliig. Disappointed by the now disobedient Migreurs, they give them a "reward", which is really a pill that makes them dissolve into a puddle when ingested. To their surprise, Bobo doesn't eat his pill and survives.
On board a Sillage ship, the Constituante puts Heiliig on trial for lying to them about the planet's inhabitants and attempted genocide. They point out if he had just told them about Nävis, they would have quickly relocated her and this could have been avoided. He refuses to apologize, saying he cares more about saving his people than about some primitive alien. They sentence him to be used as a spaceship's psychic battery.
The Constituante then discusses what to do with Nävis. Because she has no psychic signature, some think that she is not a sapient being. A repaired Snivel argues that she and her ship are worthy of study and he would like to know where she came from. He's deduced that the projectiles of her slingshot are really data modules, but it will take time to figure out how to access them. The Gardonnian, fully healed and separated from her, argues that he's observed her and that her various traits like her compassion for the Migreurs means that she is a sapient being. Rib'Wund decides that with training and discipline, she could be useful, but he brings out Bobo, who now thoroughly expresses his independence, and says corrupting the Migreurs cannot be overlooked.
Nävis wakes up to find the jungle intact and green. She assumes her whole adventure was just a dream and joyfully tries to locate Houyo, but smacks into a clear wall. It turns out that she is actually on a Sillage ship, inside a glass enclosure with a simulated jungle environment. As various alien species on the other side of the glass stare at her like she is a zoo exhibit, she screams. Below the fleet, her jungle planet has been burned down and turned into a heated paradise for Heiliig's people. Saahre kneels before a statue of Heiliig and sheds a tear that quickly turns to steam.
Censorship EditIn this first volume of the series, the adolescent Nävis was depicted topless. As a prerequisite for publication in the United States, the American publisher covered her breasts with a black felt marker in the American edition.
- Á feu et á cendres on sillage.bd.free.fr
|— Sillage Albums —|
Maximum (In)Security • Human Nature • Infiltration • Return of Flames • The Floating World • Free Zone
Skid Control • Total Liquidation • Private Hunt • Bloodline