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The Future is Gray

Novel By: teedeebee50
Science fiction



This is the first 7 chapters of a short/medium length story set about 200 years in the future. Some things have changed, but then a lot is pretty recognizable still. That's when the beings that we always suspected were here finally show themselves. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1

Submitted:Aug 8, 2012    Reads: 18    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


Chapter One

The Beginning of it all

Date: August 17th, 2232

Place: Washington DC

Situation: A devastated population copes with occupation, lack of meaningful work, food shortages, reduced personal freedom, and clinical depression on a wide spread scale

Begin:

I was of the generation that lived through the change. I remember when things were different. Not necessarily better, but certainly not the same as after. Life was very regimented in certain ways. It was hard to argue with some of the results though. We all had our jobs, determined by our genetic predisposition, and mostly we were pretty satisfied. Some of us were even ecstatically so. When your genetic map shows general things like "you will be happy working with your hands", it's really pretty right on the mark. Myself, I was purposed (that's the term that was used "purposed") as a journalist, and even though I had secret aspirations of being an entertainment icon, I was so good at being a journalist I soon lost all thought of anything else. There's nothing like being successful at something to make you want to do it and feel good about it. That was me for sure. I quickly excelled at my task of combining writing, pictures, animations, and historical associations to make really well received vignettes of news. I know that in the past journalists had simply written articles, or taken pictures. That, or show video while they talked about it on the screen. In those days they still called it "television". Simple and to the point was the rule of the day. Now though, we had to give the whole story, present, past, history of the subject, any pictures or videos that were germane, all of it. People want to be able know EVERYTHING about something if they are going to invest time into reading/seeing about it. At the very least, everyone wanted the option to do so. There was an initial story, a much deeper story with the full back story, projected possible outcomes etc. Then there was all of that plus any academic opinions rendered, as well as a bibliography that cited pretty much every source that ever did so much as write a sentence about it. There had to be an end at some point though. Let's face it, ultimately any subject can be expanded to literally include everything else. Information is holographic in a very real sense.

So I was everywhere looking at everything, talking to everyone. My body cam kept an ongoing video account of everything. My real talent was to put myself in the right place at the right time, and then to edit what I had. I was getting good at it too. Then the biggest break of my career fell in my lap. That's why I'm a well known "person of power"* to you. I know more than what you saw on the video and read/hear in the netspeak though. There were times when I saw things, and participated in situations that weren't recorded. That's why I want to tell you. There's more to this than you think. There's more to this than ANYONE thinks. Here's the real story, start to finish I swear…

Chapter Two

How it was

I'll start with the back story. I know that you know it if you're contemporary, but you never know who may be reading and seeing this sometime in the future. I'm sure that they'll want to know the whole story-start to finish-to make sense out of it. After all, you never know what may happen, and we may still "wander" with them.

In 2200 life on planet Earth was at a stagnation point. The incredible technological advances of the last three centuries kind of petered out, much to the expert's loss of explanation, and everyone else's inability to imagine. They said that "technology will advance in an exponential fashion".

*A "person of power" is anyone that has enough media exposure to make them well known enough to never have to work again.

They were right-for a while. Then our technology was held back by our lack of raw materials, as well as the lack of demand due to the chronically depressed economy. Though we knew how to make things better and faster, the demand just wasn't there because, in truth, most people were having a hard time just putting food on the table. Global population had reached ten billion. Although the difference between "first world" and "third world" countries was largely erased then, nobody was eating all that well. Every nation had the ability to cause massive destruction too, so the places that could produce excess food were compelled to share it. No one was better off than anyone else. We were all just barely getting along.

Meanwhile, technology did advance, albeit at a snail's pace.

Most people had some kind of personal connection to the web. All commerce, information, and regulation took place via the "internet"* at that point. Want to vote? Do it on the internet. Need to order groceries? Do it on the internet. Re-instate your driver's license, meet your life mate, network with others in your field? Everyone's first move was to the net. Taxes, payments to utilities, everything and all things took place there. An unexpected bonus was that people cut way down on their driving. We all stayed home more because shopping, going to church, visiting friends, researching ANYTHING, and all forms of inquiry and hence, education, took place on-line. When people had groceries delivered, they soon had the little gasoline or diesel fuel they needed delivered at the same time. There was just no reason for anyone to go anywhere except for the rare face-to-face interaction.

The exceptions were of course those that did physical labor, had to transport things, explore the deep ocean. If you need your roof replaced, it's not going to happen via the internet of course. But even those things slowly went away by 2170 or so. Robot workers had largely replaced humans for most building and repairing tasks. Don't get me wrong, they didn't look humanoid. They were strictly made for the particular task they were performing. Most looked like housecat sized crabs that had arms with multitool attachments. Like little spiders they frittered about performing their assigned tasks with efficiency and cool detachment. Their direction was all controlled by the contractors that owned them. They were all available to be controlled on different microwave frequencies though. That fact would come to cause us great harm, though we couldn't have known it then.

Later we learned that we had made ourselves ridiculously vulnerable through our insistence on the impossibility of the galaxy harboring other life forms having the ability to come and dominate us. We were disabused of that notion in a quick and painful way. I guess we deserved it. Our insistence on believing in our aloneness in the galaxy was a sadly provincial outlook. As my brother used to say: "stupidity is its own reward". Man was he right. Nothing makes people feel dumber than when something is right in front of them and they don't see it. They say that the Arawak natives that lived in the Caribbean islands when Chris Columbus invaded couldn't see the ships that were right in front of them. It seems that they (the ships) were so far out of the Arawak's reality that they couldn't conceive of something so bizarre, so their minds simply rejected it. I guess we were the same way. We had long ago gotten over the "aliens are abducting us" scares of the 20th and 21st centuries. Whatever you believed, they were a non-factor in everyone's day to day existence. Until they weren't. Then all hell broke loose.

Chapter Three

How it Started

You see they HAD been among us for about 300 years. I guess that when you belong to a race that has a recorded history in excess of half a million years it makes sense to do things slowly and deliberately. The other thing was that they lived here too! After all, in that amount of time it was the 25th generation of those that originally came. To them, earth was as familiar, and they considered it as much their home, as we did. Their planet of origin held no special meaning to them. Like many indigenous earth cultures from hundreds and thousands of years ago, they were simply comfortable being nomadic. Traveling was in their nature. It wasn't just a response to dwindling resources at this point in their evolution. It was how they defined themselves to themselves. They had great pride in their ability to find and…okay, CONQUER other worlds.

Don't get me wrong, they didn't just up and start a war with us or enslave us exactly. It was more subtle than that. I think that, to them, we were mostly just annoying and in the way, except that we were also very useful. They didn't go out of their way to hurt us…well MOST of them didn't, but they didn't go out of their way to help us either. When, by fulfilling their own needs we WERE harmed, they just frankly didn't give a shit. We were like cows I guess. They didn't consider our suffering to be particularly meaningful, at least MOST of them MOST of the time.

They didn't come through any "worm-hole" either. To the best that they, and hence we, know, there aren't any such things that have been identified yet. No, they came in a very conventional way. A big ship with renewable resources and artificial gravity, that was capable of a pretty big fraction of light speed. Part of their nature was that they didn't seem capable of feeling claustrophobia. They LIKED being close to each other for long periods. Seeing one by itself was…well, you just didn't!

You probably know what they look like, but I'll describe them anyway. Like the reports from the late 20th century all agreed on they had big heads with no hair and big black eyes with almost no visible pupil. Long three fingered hands with the obligatory opposable thumb. Skinny arms and legs and about 4 feet tall, they were an elephant grey. There was very little visual difference in them from one to the other at all. They were all within a centimeter of the same height, and everything else was remarkably cookie-cutter alike. Their skin was so oily that they wouldn't remain wet for more than a minute even if they were immersed in water. They had little delicate ears and straight line, delicate little mouths. Their 4-toed feet were short but splayed wide. They had nipples on their chest, both genders, but some of their other parts were weird to us.

They were kind of like birds. You couldn't tell male from female just by looking. They all had an almost hidden slit between their legs. When aroused, the males slit opened to allow a fairly long, slender, cadaver white, pointed penis to protrude. The females slit opened up to allow a mucus-membrane, white tube-like orifice, that remarkably also protruded! The act of sex was the opposite of us in a way. After the penis was inserted in the tube, they both became very still, as though they were in deep meditation. This could go on for up to 3 or 4 hours. After, they were compelled to stay in one another's close physical presence for at least a period of a few days. If they were forcibly split apart (if one or, more likely both, were to be punished for some "crime" they were separated, that's why I know) they would both start a high pitched keening that sounded pitiful. If they couldn't get back together within an hour or so they would then get very quiet, refuse food, and about 50% of the time they would die.

Speaking of dying, their life span was only about 20-25 years anyway. Again, it was hard to tell the young from the old because there were very few discernible visual signs of ageing.

Finally, when you interacted with one you didn't know if it was male or female, young or old, or even if you'd ever seen it before!

Now if you remember the accounts from 200-300 years ago, you're probably asking "what about the tall ones?" Where were they indeed? When inquiries were made, they became very closed mouthed and quickly changed the subject. After a while I guess everyone just stopped asking.

CHAPTER 4

More Back Story

Mankind was depressed. We had come so far yet we weren't any further ahead on so many fundamental things. We still had little idea of what happens after death. The fundamental "reason for existence" continued to be debated, speculated, and preached upon. Christianity was a hard sell now, and the numbers were way down from the 20th and even 21st centuries. Islam still had the most adherents, and was concurrently the most vociferously opposed. There were still those in all facets that claimed to have the absolute, brook no arguments, how can you not see it, single perfect truth. They were largely ignored. Those that were unable to bring themselves to respect other's right to their own views were held in contempt by the vast majority. Dogma from any corner was considered to be a form of mental illness. If you couldn't accept the fact that NOBODY knew for sure, you were considered to be so lacking in the ability to cope with reality that your own psyche compelled you to latch on to something so that you could feel safe enough to not kill yourself.

There were still those that were rabid about their beliefs. In the Middle East, Japan, Africa, and even the USA acts of terror were common. Access to devastating technology that would kill, maim and cripple thousands of people at a time was so ubiquitous that new precedents in punishment evolved. I think we all knew down deep that it was stretching things to claim, but studies were put forth and hugely embraced that claimed that anyone remotely genetically connected to an individual that committed an act of such fundamental violence and depravity was at risk of committing that act, or one like it, themselves. Laws were passed. Henceforth, when someone was found guilty (usually posthumously) of one of these acts of terror, their whole family, mother/father/siblings/nieces/nephews/aunts/uncles/ grandparents/cousins, were executed. Whole families were wiped out. The thing is, it worked. Not only were crimes of terror much less frequent, more profoundly they were much more limited in scope. No longer were people setting off explosive devices that took out multiple city blocks. In most jurisdictions there was a connection between how many people were harmed and the reach of the "whole family" statutes. Put simply, harm less than say 25 people and they would only execute your spouse and children. How could the fundamentalist argue? "An eye for an eye" in the Hebrew tradition, cutting off the hand of a thief in the Islamist tradition, hell, they had invented the concept. When it was embraced and used against them it stopped a lot of them in their tracks. The tragedy was when those that committed the act not out of adherence to an ideology, but because they were truly batshit, there was no provision in the law for that. Getting executed because you have a distant cousin that's crazy was stretching the point. Eventually the lawyers argued their way out of those situations, and provisions were written, albeit with very stringent guidelines, that made a hard to prove, but available, legal argument.

On the other hand, fundamentalist religiosity, like a dirty cockroach, was still hiding in the cracks, on the fringes, and had reached new heights in absolutism. People that were hungry, out of work, lacking health care, and every other stressor connected to overpopulation and poverty were ripe to be taken in by unscrupulous fear mongers. It was ironic, even though the larger culture had finally come to grips with those fundamentalist ideas, those that stubbornly clung to them were more angry, more willing to commit violence, and had more access to powerful ways to hurt people than ever before. Politicians made speeches, but no one had actually come up with a functional approach to curtailing the spread of such sociopathic ideas. Simply put; things were getting worse, not better.

Science had "made up" with psychic research and the need for reasonable spiritual meanderings. The field of psychology had made a very good case for the need in many human beings for searching out some kind of connection to things that were beyond what could be grasped and explained by our five senses. Recognition of things like beginners luck, premonition, déjà vu, and experiences with poltergeists was met with a scientific recognition, despite a scientific explanation. To put it succinctly, science had come to recognize its own limitations were that it couldn't measure or explain things that existed outside of "normal waking experience", but that there were things that did in fact truly exist in that realm. A whole lot of research was being done in the field of theoretical physics that was focused on other dimensions as being the conduit for such phenomena. The fact that they were not measurable or reproducible in the classic sense of scientific inquiry, while simultaneously being universally recognized as known phenomena, was now viewed as the hallmark of being "real" in the realm of the "immeasurable, unknowable, and *unsensible".

Meanwhile promising research in the fields of physics, biology, neurobiology, organic chemistry, applied **histopsycho-sociology, planetary astronomy, and limbic system stimulation and manipulation were all screaming for grant money that simply wasn't there. Looking back just this situation alone is enough to account for humankind's blindness when it came to recognizing, much less coming up with any kind of consistent strategy for, the fact that we were slowly being infiltrated and manipulated.

*Any phenomena in the physical realm that can only be marginally sensed, and then only by one of the five senses.

**The hybrid science combining history, sociology, and psychology to explain and predict major cultural or political trends.

CHAPTER 5

THE YEAR THEY MADE THEMSELVES KNOWN

In February of 2201, on a Tuesday evening that was, until that moment, unremarkable in every other way, they simply took over every digital media outlet on the planet. The screen that was so omnipresent in all our lives, entertainment, web interaction, all of it, simply stopped wherever it was at, whatever it was doing on billions of wall screens, phone screens, personal touch screens, vehicle screens, and any other no matter how secret or encrypted, and went black. THAT got everyone's attention all right. People quickly checked the house or office next door to find out if everyone's was black. It was. Now I want to be clear. They didn't go off or lose power. They simply all went to a screen so black that it was startling. A deep ebony, shiny, velvety blackness that had three dimensional depths to it. After about 10 minutes, a single point of light in the upper middle of the screens began to slowly grow in size and brightness. In just a few seconds it resolved into what appeared to be a real time image of the president of the USA, and the EU, together with the Far East Union Premier, The Middle Eastern Sheik-al-Allah, the South American El Presidente', and numerous lesser premiers and presidents of independent countries. They were seated across the table from eleven Greys. In the background were the windows that showed why they were sitting in a circle. In the windows was the blue and white visage of the curvature of the earth underneath a velvet blackness punctuated with stars that didn't have a twinkle. The looks on the faces of the Greys were unreadable (we learned that they were always unreadable no matter the subject at hand. They had the ultimate "poker face") while the countenance of the humans ran the gamut from scorn to fearful resolve, to naked horror.

Slowly the Grey sitting in the middle raised one elongated three fingered hand. The until-then soft murmurings of the humans quickly resolved into pregnant silence. An electronic voice then began:

"We have lived among you, observed and studied you now for several hundred years". "Because of our technology which enables us to (now a short pause as if searching for the correct word) disturb the short term memory of your species, as well as a number of other factors which you have yourselves provided, the full and common knowledge of our being here has always been (again, fumbling for words) ignored." "Still, many of you have had suspicions, personally held proof, and hard facts that have made this day one that, again to some of you, proves without doubt that what you had believed is indeed true". Allowing and even nurturing this dis-awareness has always been our aim…until now". "Now, the day has come because your kind is ready, and because we are ready, to take responsibility for your (another, longer pause) VALUE in the galaxy that we share". "Until now, we did not believe that you could, as a species, withstand the shock of an awareness of other sentient beings existing, such has been your predilection for an egocentric, ethnocentric belief system". "There will be many more communications in the days to come, so we will not be overly taxing with this one". We will leave you with some information however which will, we believe, help you to assimilate this new situation and the new and changed reality which now confronts you".

  1. "There are many worlds which have spawned sentient beings in this galaxy." "According to our science and experience, and based upon what you know as mathematical probability, we estimate the galaxy to hold as few as 97,000, and as many as 117,000 +/- 3%. The science behind this, and literally as much information as your scientists and technology can assimilate will be freely given to you as quickly as possible".
  2. "Compared to many, you are a young species. Because of that, and because of your placement near the outer part of the galaxy, you have not had contact, in your awareness, until now. This is simply a function of circumstance and nothing more".
  3. "Our reasons for coming here, and the reasons for what we are about to do, are not so dissimilar to what you yourselves would do in another few millennia. We are a curious race, with a history of an awareness of our own power and belief in our own worth and the rightness of our dominance"
  4. "Our final communication is a warning". There was an ominous pause after this last declaration, and those that were there would swear that we could feel the whole of mankind holding our collective breath. "Make no attempts to harm or deceive us". "Benevolence is a trait newly cultivated in our species, and it is not in perfect harmony with our older traits yet". Then finally, "test us at your peril".

CHAPTER 6

How We Took it

"ARhhhhggghhh! They're going to make us slaves!" That pronouncement and many similar were voiced immediately after the communication. People were crying, sobbing in the streets. Fathers were searching for children in the park, couples held tearful embraces on street corners. Others fell into serious, calm discussion of the events and what they could mean. Authorities extolled calm and encouraged everyone to go home and pray with their loved ones. Speculation was rampant. The next morning the real chaos began. I guess both they and the authorities that kept information from the populace over the decades preceding were right all along. We were, as a populace, simply unable to digest such world changing information without going crazy.

The first news reads on the web told the story. "Hospitals and morgues have been inundated with the suicides and suicide attempts throughout the night". In a city of a million souls, it wasn't extraordinary for as many as 3,000 dead and another 2,000 attempts through the night. That first year over 20 million people worldwide were judged to have committed some form of suicide. The worst were the suicide/fratricide/matricide/patricide/infanticide cases. Grown men killed their whole family and then themselves. Considering that, it could be said that the murder rate that first year was a record in the history of mankind. Conservative estimates were in the hundred and fifty million range. Couples died in lover pacts. Clergy had whole parishes commit mass murder/suicide. The most compelling was when the pope, all of the cardinals, hundreds of bishops, thousands of priests, and more than 2 million parishioners all died within hours of each other in and around the Vatican. 4 square miles around Vatican square was cordoned off and declared a biological/medical disaster area. 10,000 workers labored in shifts around the clock for 6 weeks to clear away and dispose of the dead. Vatican square became the site of the single biggest funeral pyre in the history of the world. What an end to the Catholic Church!

In the Middle East, where Islamic law still ruled, the suicides were higher than normal just like the rest of the world. Compared to the rest of the world though, the numbers were low. The people there presented a stoic face to the world, while they plotted Jihad. "This abomination will never stand" declared the great Imam of the Saudi/Egyptian/Syrian triumvirate. "Allah will not allow it!" He was very, very careful to avoid a direct threat to the Greys in a public forum though. The news that came out of the triumvirate was very carefully spun and the real cards were being held close to the vest indeed. Deep thinking people the world over could clearly see that they were plotting, and were frankly curious to see how it would play out. So far the Greys had only responded to freely obtainable overt information. No one knew how much they understood of human responses, ingenuity, capacity for and ability for deception, or any of a hundred other human traits and responses.

Three days later the second communication came. Screens went black just as before. The interval was shorter though, and this time, only 3 Greys were present on the screen. Then the words both spoken and written on the screen came.

"In the next weeks, and for a year or more, information will be disseminated through a group of human representatives picked by ourselves. As time goes on, the individuals in this committee may be changing, based on beliefs and experience gained by both ourselves and your representatives. In fact, the first representatives that we picked quickly made us aware of, and advanced to us, their own nominations for further representatives. We have agreed with and accepted many of those put forth. We are obviously an intelligent species, as are you. It would run counter to our aims to foist upon mankind what you would perceive as a dictatorship. You would simply fight us at every turn, wasting valuable energy and resources. Please understand that we do have the technological superiority to enforce our will through violence as well as more subtle means. However resorting to these means is, to quote a human phrase, "the last refuge of the incompetent". "

"Nevertheless, there are certain things which will be changed by whatever means are necessary. The reasons we have to make these changes range from the strictly pragmatic ones of conserving wasted energy, to the altruistic ones of ending needless suffering. Some of you will view some of these changes as a horrible loss of the right to self-determination. Others will immediately be of the opinion that, whatever the driving force, the changes are necessary and just, and as so view them as fundamentally good. These opinions/beliefs will be held by individuals, groups of all sizes, and even sovereign nations. Of one thing you can be sure however. The outcome of the changes, judged by objective science, will be proven to be better for humankind and for our species sharing this planet with you as well. This will become more and more apparent in the fullness of time."

The changes will be implemented in such a way as to minimize disruption of commerce, education and socialization. A tremendous amount of study and thought, as well as experience with other sentient species has gone into what will be changed and how each change will be brought about. Still, there will be some trial and error apparent. Do not interpret this as failure or lack of resolve. The changes WILL work and they WILL be implemented. The speed and nature of how each will be brought about may undergo some evolution even as it is taking place."

"Before we list the changes, we will leave you with this:

How difficult it is to bring about the changes, and how much influence humankind will have on how the changes are brought about is dependent upon human willingness to cooperate. More resistance will cause more loss of energy, more emotional and physical pain, and more loss of human life. That is the simple equation which you must all accept because it is a fact."

The first ten changes will be:

  1. The production of weapons for war between humans will cease. The humans currently involved in that production will continue to work, albeit in a new endeavor. They will be tasked with gathering and destroying the weapons that exist.
  2. The use of fossil fuels and of atomic fission will cease. The humans currently involved in their production will be tasked with implementing technologies for energy production that have as their end product non-CO2 and non-radiation producing elements. There may be a limited number of vehicles only that will continue to use some form of fossil fuel for a limited period of time. Personal ground vehicles will be retro-fitted to a new technology which we will provide. Like most of the changes, this will be accomplished as quickly as possible.
  3. It will be a crime to use any form of media to promote any ideology, religion, philosophy, or belief system that does not teach that; "That which cannot be proven, cannot be taught as an exclusive truth". Hereinafter that statement will be referred to as Rule #1. Anything that cannot be proven MUST be promulgated ONLY with the caveat that it is a BELIEF and nothing more, and as such BELIEFS can be considered neither better nor worse than other BELIEFS. No government, authority, law or restriction can be placed on any individual's right to BELIEVE and espouse whatever they choose anywhere, to any other individual. Any person, group, authority, or government that attempts to impose their BELIEFS through any type of coercion, with the exception of an appeal to thought, will be guilty of a crime. Any publicly stated attempt to convert any person to any BELIEF system MUST, as part of its message, include prominently in any message, through any form of media, including simply speaking in a public place, Rule #1. This change will be policed, amplified, judged, and punished by a duly selected panel of both your species and our own. Local panels may be installed as necessary by the primary panel.

This change is necessary to enforce the criminality of insane human behavior. To wit: It must be considered insane to incite others to hatred and acts of violence based upon a BELIEF in any inherent superiority or worth of any person or group of persons over any others.

  1. It shall be deemed the inherent right of all persons everywhere to have adequate housing, medical care, access to education, and sustenance. Everyone will also be given a suitable task to accomplish. Children will be educated. Adults that want to can receive further education. Everyone will be expected to do their "share of work", for which they will be fairly compensated with credits-a form of money-to use as they see fit. Anyone that chooses not to do their share of work, when it has been established that they have no physical or mental infirmity that would prevent them, will still have their basic needs met as previously stated. Refusal to contribute will however result in the following: Those individuals will not be allowed to procreate. They will not be allowed to participate in any form of management of the community, including but not limited to the right to vote. They will not be allowed to consume any form of entertainment that is available to the public. Any individual that would endeavor to help them, whether in the form of giving them credits, or doing any tasks for them which they could do for themselves, will be guilty of a crime. They will not be allowed to travel except by walking. If, at any point they choose to abandon their refusal, they will first be given tasks that are by consensus, the least desirable. For this they will not be compensated for the first six months of having returned to a contributory role in the culture. After that, they will be given the same opportunities and remuneration as befits their contribution.
  2. Any individual that chooses to proselytize any BELIEF will do so during their leisure time, and it will be done without any remuneration. Despite any "followers" that may choose to reward such individuals with credits or donations of any kind, the giving or receiving of such will be deemed a crime. Let it be recognized that any individual that represents themselves as having such strong BELIEFS can only be considered to have any veracity if they choose to proselytize for no compensation.
  3. The practice of "purposing" has been reviewed. It has been determined to be a fact that it is largely successful. Statistics generated from millions of individuals reports of satisfaction are the reason that it can be considered as such. There are however instances of individual dissatisfaction. Therefore, it shall be the right of any individual to apply to be re-purposed. The specifics of how that may be accomplished will continue to be by the means already established.
  4. Any individual judged to be an adult shall have the right to end their own life, subject to a reasonable period of waiting and intensive treatment for any physical, emotional, or mental infirmities that may exist. Ending their existence will be done in a clinical, pain free, controlled fashion as a medical procedure.
  5. Any individual charged and convicted of a serious crime for the third time shall have the choice to either A) End their life or, B) Have a neurosurgical procedure performed which will, in 99.8% of cases render the individual incapable of criminal activity in the future. The procedure will not cause a lack of intellect or functionality, it will however, to some greater or lesser extent cause a change in "personality".
  6. Any person that endeavors to accumulate great wealth or power will be considered as suffering from a form of mental illness causing them to behave as a sociopath. They will be offered treatment, and if the behavior continues they will be forced to have treatment. While it is recognized that there will be some that are more talented or productive than others, and that they should justly be better compensated for it, extreme disparities of wealth are not to be considered reasonable or healthy, and will not be allowed. The exact amounts of credits any particular purpose will generate will be constantly reviewed and adjusted. In general, the most difficult or inventive purposes will not be compensated more than ten times greater than the least. In simple terms, the richest will not be more than ten times as wealthy as the poorest of those that work. Children, young adults, and the elderly will be allowed more leisure time and still be considered to be working, in recognition of the different needs in different stages of life.
  7. Procreation will be considered a sacred privilege. While any may apply to be parents, only those that are willing to be educated in proper healthy parenting, and willing to make a sacred vow, a "contract" with each other and society, and pass through basic health examinations will be given dispensation to conceive children.

These edicts were met by a crush of protestations from every corner. The churches, the governments, the academic institutions, theorists, philosophers, and politicians all had their say. Yet as time passed, the "laws" were set up and enforced, and we all got used to them, the furor slowly wound down. The fact was that mankind entered a new age that none could easily make a very defensible argument against. People were taken care of. We were healthier, safer, had more faith in our institutions functioning fairly and effectively than ever before. In one generation the population and food availability stabilized. There were still too many people, but it could clearly be seen that the population would be at an easily sustainable level within a few generations. The environment was cleaner. Resources were being consumed in a sustainable manner.

Other things changed too. Religion was taking a smaller and smaller role in most people's lives. Technological innovation, while initially taking a big jump from the input of the Grey's, was subtly being de-emphasized. There were "committees" looking into a new space program based upon the Grey's technology, but they never seemed to get past the planning stages. I guess everyone was too content to complain much. Most people didn't see much use in looking beyond their own immediate needs and surroundings, having finally found a broad measure of security and contentment.

CHAPTER 7

As it Goes On

The Gray's input and control over human affairs continued relentlessly. Governments that indulged in saber rattling and bellicosity were quickly reminded who had the power, and just how much power they had. The microwave signals to the worker bots were commandeered and the bots were used to completely control the politicians and, if need be, the militaries of the offending governments. To suddenly have half a million mobile gizmos with all sorts of natural ability to cause harm and damage was one thing. Bots that welded, bots that cut metal, bots that created super hot focused flame, and bots that made other bots were enough to keep any military busy. That, coupled with the fact that they were reprogrammed with software that made them work together in amazing ways, and the fact that the whole economy of the offending country was immediately totally stopped because they had no worker bots was a dose of double trouble that no one could stand against for more than a week. It only took a few examples of the same scenario being played out for everyone to get with the program. An ancient science fiction series called Star Trek had created a race of characters that were able to almost immediately take over the mind of any species they encountered. They had a phrase, "resistance is futile". Well, resistance was futile. They beat us with our own technology.

Meanwhile, crime was way down, everyone's standard of living was way up, and the production of everything was setting new records. That's when somebody started looking at the books though, and realized that we couldn't account for more than half of the surplus being produced. This was especially true for precious metals and some other raw elements.

The Grays had "encouraged" a whole lot more mining operations. Old mines were re-opened. New, exceptionally useful and thorough methods of extraction were implemented. Old landfills were being mined as well. Recycling was instituted on a grand scale, and the technology they gave us to accomplish it was amazing, elegant, and very efficient.

Scientists were slowly being given access to not only new technology, but also learning what some of the more basic science of the Grays entailed. They had almost no artistic tradition for instance. According to their history, innovation was, by our own standards, ploddingly slow. Although they were clearly ahead of us, it had taken them 50 times (or more!) as long to get there.

It was becoming more and more apparent that, with the exception of novelty value, they were an altogether boring species. When some of them were present at various social occasions, state dinners, meeting with various types of human rich and/or powerful, they rarely spoke unless spoken to. I have personal experience with that due to my journalist credentials. If they did speak, it was only to answer a question or, rarely, to ask one. It was well within their own social mores to simply ignore anyone at any time if they chose to, and they chose to quite often. It took our linguists a while to figure out that a certain kind of croaking sound they made was the equivalent of our laughter. They laughed at us rather a lot. Like I think I already said, most people's impression was that they viewed us as particularly intelligent animals. They would be seen certain places simply observing (and probably laughing quite a bit) humans in our "natural environment.

The scientists did start to gain some valuable information too. The most disturbing was that, the Grays were unable to create elements "out of whole cloth" so to speak. The other thing was that, in the other places they had been, naturally occurring gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and carbon in the form of oil and coal, were very rare. According to their archives, there was less than half a metric ton of each that had even ever been found on their home planet. Apparently these things that we took for granted were much more precious to them than we would have known. I was the one that actually did the research and put all of this together. That is why I had such an "in" with the movers and shakers from that day forward. That's why I was officially recognized as a "person of power" as I mentioned before.

Official protests were made when my story came out. They were taking all of our rare elements pretty much as fast as they thought could be gotten away with while still controlling the populace. Why they were so lax about us figuring that out was a mystery at first. Then some of the "*talking heads" began to espouse the idea that it was simply because they knew we would find out sooner or later, and that actively trying to hide it from us would only make us more angry when we did find out!

*"Experts" put on the netspeak or vid screen to render an opinion on something.





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