The Sunder of Lainium

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


species meet and mix cultures

Submitted: September 03, 2018

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Submitted: September 03, 2018

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The Sunder of Lainium

“Popi, our family’s name for Grandpa ya, see took me to the trashed out Earth Culture Advocates city, now a ruin, when I was little. What an adventure! Ya, see? Both of us wore heavy boots, the area being covered in broken cement, glass, wire cables and wood shards. It was a terrible mess, truly unbelievable how people can generate such filth. How they absorb nature’s beauty than are the perpetrators of nature’s destruction. ‘Course we never had this behavior before the influence of the Humans. Our people would never think to trash the planet in such a way. Most people believe in Gaea now, ‘course we got that from the Humans too, that the biosphere is sacred and should be treated accordingly. That Gaea concept fits so well with our thinking anyhow. Some wood, paper, and cloth lay around, mostly rotted; a person could almost see it dissolving back into the dirt. The dirt was black due to the organic matter that had already rotted and formed a humus layer on the soil; you know dogs, cats, rats, possum various plants things of that sort. Grasses and brambles grew scattered amongst the trash. Here and there a tree gained purchase. Only the plastic survived, cups, bags, fast food containers, that sort of thing. The plastic is able to withstand the onslaught of nature, nature that’s able to reduce a mountain and fill a sea but not dissolve a plastic bag. Ya, see? ‘Course the people of Lainium hadn’t used anything like plastic for eons but with the assumption of the Earth Culture, it was reintroduced. Ya, see?”

*

While this dry commentary drones on the Cub Reporter makes meaningless gestures such as repositioning her recording device to create the illusion she doesn’t want to miss a word of the discourse then periodically making notations as though something extraordinarily important is being conveyed and she wishes to preserve it especially.

In truth, she struggles for how to get the interview back on track politely without risking affronting me. This interview is the result of weeks of back and forth communication and negotiations between me and her Editor. Should she in some manner give offense to me which results in my cutting the interview short, I’m sure, the Cub Reporter is loath to think of the consequences.

*

I return smugly to the reminisces of my youth and the outing with my Grandfather while the Cub Reporter taps at her forehead with a paper napkin to absorb the sweat responsive to the heat generated by the reflected sunlight blasting up from the lawn on this late summer’s day while conniving, I’m sure, as to how she might steer this conversation onto interesting territory.

*

“Come’ere Alex, I’ll cut ya a stick. To help ya keep your balance if ya slip.”

“Popi always is a step ahead of everyone else always thinking of what is needed or will be needed,” says I acting as though apparently oblivious to the anxiety being expressed by the Cub Reporter in the frenetic ticking of her foot and the constant squirming about in her chair while the summer top she has chosen apparently with some care for the occasion is beginning to show rounds of sweat at her armpits something she is powerless to control and can only address by keeping her arms down by way of accommodation.

*

“Ok Popi,” I run over to where he sits on a cement block, hacking at a limb. I put my arm round his neck; touching him makes me feel good. He smells of old-fashioned wool and cotton clothes, the balm he rubs on his face after he shaves and coffee breath. When I’m close enough to touch him I’m on the inside of the smell’s bubble. Ya, see?”

“Here ya go Alex, that’ll steady you,” says Popi handing me the stick while he radiates a wide, gentle smile shaping across his whole face inclusive to finally igniting a sparkle to the eyes. To me, at that age, he presented as a great, warm, generous always watchful bear who constantly assured me he loved me without bounds. With him, I always felt exceptional. Ya, see? Were you close to your Grandparents? Wonderful feeling, simply wonderful, something quite special, different than what you have with your parents somehow, not better I’d say, but different more tender maybe, not even a favorite aunt and uncle’s benignity can match it. Did you have something of that sort, when you’re younger?”

“Yes, I believe you could say I’d a special relationship with my Grandparents, quite apart from the supportive and loving relationship I still have with my Parents,” reveals the Cub Reporter trying desperately to build a rapport with me so that she can return me to the storyline she seeks and wrap this interminable interview up before she makes some misstep and the whole thing goes tumbling away pate over derriere. She wonders, I’m sure, at my reluctance to do the interview with all the cajoling and persuading required to bring the thing to fruition only so I can ramble on and on incoherently.

“What did your Grandfather say about the world he found on Earth, was it substantially different in his mind than the world that existed here on Lainium?” I perceive the Cub Reporter struggles to get me on a new tact.

The focus of my mind is on long past days hence I’m lost in reminiscing. I continue to reflect on the cherished long ago idyllic day, at least as I recall it, from my position these many years later.

*

“Stabbing my stick in the ground then using it to prod and poke interesting wreckage I climbed about in the rubble pile. That debris field stretched out for miles about. Ya, see? The horrible destruction those Advocates for the Conversion to Earth Culture wrought is breathtaking. Hard to understand, really, why people thought such unimaginable destruction would create a better world for people to live in. Ya, see? Of course, under our strong concepts of self-will, people must be allowed to pursue whatever interests intrigue them as long as they harm no one else. The Advocates didn’t harm people just Gaea. You familiar with Gaea the Goddess of the Earth in the Human Greek mythology, some people, use it to define the biosphere? Ya, see? The constructors of the buildings in this city of Earth Culture did not follow the techniques our people have used from time immemorial. They didn’t compress dirt to make building blocks. They made blocks from cement, a much more expensive and wasteful material than dirt. The cement production requires mines, gravel pits, large bulldozers, power shovels, roads, factories, storage facilities, a lot of waste and pollution. Our people compress the dirt, which is a completely renewable resource something that’s greatest cost is sweat equity. A newly married couple and their friends and family can gather together to build a building. There’s fellowship, good food, fruit juice, wine and beer, good times for all, reinforcing the bonds of family and friends. The kids run about and play. Neighbors come over and join in motivated just by kindness. Ya, see? What I observed here were cement blocks, metal and mortar and plate glass. These were strange and wonderful things to see. Popi lit a fire, opened his pack of sandwiches, crisps, and fruit drinks then regaled me with beautifully fashioned stories explaining the events of the times that created these ruins. In all, there was an exhilarating joy for a youngster to spend the better part of a day climbing and cavorting amongst such bizarre surroundings. Ya, see?”

These remembrances are flavored with the slightest amount of enjoyment for me who indulges in this farce as I’m quite aware of the Cub Reporter’s desire to move this interview along and these long ago scenes contain nothing, I suppose to her mind, of value for her or her editor. Still, there is amusement for me in stringing her along so. And too, I desire to create a context from which the Cub Reporter will be able to observe the story she seeks enabling her to understand the story she seeks and perceive more deeply its implications. Of course, she may not grasp any of it, in which case the obvious need for her to move to another profession will be exposed.

“May we focus on the time your Grandfather spent on the voyage that revealed the Humans to him?” The young reporter asks, gently refocusing the interview on the elements of interest to her imagined story flow and especially what she has convinced herself will impress her editor.

At her insistence I give over to beginning the meat of the tale, hoping that her exposure so far will illumine the setting placing the tale in time and space for the Cub Reporter.

“The whole thing only lasted sixty-nine years from beginning to end, so it happened all within my Popi’s lifetime. When he stepped on the ore cruiser he was twenty-four years old. He had just finished his coursework at the Academy of Quantum Technology, Mathematics, and Physics. Now he had to finish his thesis to obtain his degree. In actuality, he visited the Academy only once that was in his freshman year. After that, he was never any closer to the Academy then the distance from himself to his computer screen. He decided to take a voyage as a basic Tech on an ore cruiser to have a quiet time, undisturbed without distractions to write his graduate thesis during the two-year voyage. Of course, he also wanted the wages for the two years to bankroll his next endeavor. Just out to a mining operation on an asteroid and back rather common for that kind of inner solar system travel. The reason it took two years was that in order to save fuel and consequently to cheapen the ore, cruisers use the Lagrange points. Are you familiar with Lagrange points? I apologize I don’t know the extent of your technical knowledge.

The Cub Reporter shakes her head in resignation while she whispers, “No.” Realizing with this admission she will once again loosen the story’s thread as it careens off into the ether.

“Well, never mind simply put these points are intersections of gravitational pull which creates an interplanetary superhighway as the Humans call it. An additional appeal for the trip was the fact the other members of the crew were not educated and so it was an opportunity for Popi to interact with people he had not had much exposure to in his lifetime up to that point as he was of the educated class and spent most of his time in schools reading and studying. Popi has a deep interest in other people and is always seeking ways to have intercourse with them so that he can learn more about different people. Ya, see?  When next he put his foot on Lainium he was fifty-three, twenty-nine years had passed. Ya, see? The greater part of his whole life was consumed in this one journey. Then we had the Advocates for Conversion to Earth Culture. That lasted for forty years. So from the time Popi got on the cruiser to the time, it was all over sixty-nine years passed. Ya, see? Of course, Popi is past making such an arduous trip now. I mean both an ore cruise and a trip to the ruins. He quietly tends his vegetables and flowers, mows the grass with a self-guided mower once a week and putters in his woodwork shop in the garage. He’s pushing one hundred and nine now. Long ago, occasionally, very occasionally, a delegation from some governmental agency or university used to call. They only came in ones or twos, very infrequently, a group of four but never more than that. Nana used to settle them at a table on the lawn that she would have Cirus bring out from the solarium along with the lawn chairs. Poor old Cirus had to lug all that out, then back again. Cirus would erect an aluminum frame with a canvas cover, he’d hang curtains of bug screen on all four sides, you could hardly see in. For what? So strangers could enjoy the breeze of a summer’s day? But of course, this was the gentility of the elderly. They were raised in a time when such attention to the comfort of a guest was commonplace. At least I thought that at the time. Later I became aware Cirus was a government agent sent to protect my Grandfather and also to spy on him to make sure he did not expose information he was not supposed to. Not because he would knowingly violate his Oath of Conservation but because of his advanced age he might slip up unintentionally. Ya, see? So I became aware of the possibility of the sunshade out on the lawn with the bug screen sides that one could not see through were a devious way of avoiding the possibility of microphones and lip readers being able to become aware of what was being discussed. Nowadays we’re visited occasionally by young journalists such as you. Young people assigned to see if you can dig something up that all the journalists who have proceeded you have failed to expose. Oh, we don’t mind, we like helping you out but of course, you understand Popi can’t say more than hello to you, maybe he’ll come out later we’ll have to wait and see.”

I involuntarily turned his head, at this point, half expecting Popi to appear so that he could say hello. Well anyhow no one appeared.

“Even now some of what he knows is still under classification. If he spoke to you the government might call him in for interrogation. He hasn’t the strength for such an ordeal. So I talk to you and your colleagues. I don’t know anything first hand, everything I know is hearsay, so nobody can get hurt. There can’t be any violation of classification either. Would you care for a refill on lemonade?” I ask the young lady as I lift the pitcher ready to pour lemonade into the bemused Cub Reporter’s glass.

“No, thank you I’m fine,” responds the Cub Reporter. I almost can see, speculation that soon proves prescient, the Cub Reporter preparing in her spinning mind a longer more involved request to bring the conversation on point. She begins with niceties. “Mr. Pardugh, I appreciate you meeting with me and being so generous with your time. Also, I appreciate you speaking to me in English, I know from the files that you speak Lamoda as your first language but of course we are not taught any language but English due to the Reynolds-Collins Act prohibiting the use or teaching of any language other than English.”

“No problem, it’s as easy to use one as the other, although our English is somewhat stilted since we only have the Human textbooks from which to learn it. There are not enough Human instructors to teach all the people of Lainium. In reality, I don’t know if you’re aware we actually speak what the Humans call American not what they call strictly British English but nobody here on Lainium really cares to be accurate about the distinction. Here is another example of government interference with natural processes. The powers that be have decreed that the language cannot evolve, that it must remain static thus they have destroyed the very characteristic that made the language so plastic and therefore adaptable which was its primary value. Of course, I speak of the American version as to flexibility the British variety is not quite as flexible. Ya, see?”

“I hope you will understand that some of your pronouncements are inconsistent with the guidelines for allowable journalism, so when I write-up the article based on this interview I will have to redact some of your avowals out. I just say this so you will understand why I have edited the conversation when you read the article.” Her disclaimer was somewhat clumsy but I suppose she thought it best to have it out there and on the recording.

“Oh, I completely understand the prevailing censorship. You have your career to think of. That’s the intelligent approach, no sense in causing yourself trouble for someone else’s rantings. In the far past, when I was young we had no censorship or at least we pretended we didn’t have any, although there was always a little. Ya, see?”

“Again some of your assertions are outside the bounds.” The Cub Reporter said this I suppose to put a pin in it on the record not believing for a second it would affect me. A fact I’m sure she had become convinced of over the past little while.

“Thanks for understanding. Moving along I’ve had a chance to read through all the old news blurbs, the transcripts of the governmental hearings and I’ve read both of your Grandfather’s books. I applied for and got special permission since they are censored material now and no longer available to the general public. Throughout my review of the literature, I sought to find my new angle, my unique perspective. Because all aspects of the matter were covered in such great detail already finding a different point of view is quite difficult. However, I believe I may have stumbled on one. In all the literature on the subject, one area not explored is why did your Grandfather understand the implications so much more clearly than anyone else? I must say when I read the material I was struck by the clarity of his presaging. It’s as though he knew exactly what would happen. I mean other people had a view but not as clairvoyant. The many reporters, historians, and pundits who wrote about it said he had a clear, even view but never seem to delve into the reason the view was so crystalline and precise.  Prior reporters noted his ability to predict the future but what struck me was how utterly precise his predictions turned out to be, almost as though he had a vision of the future or something of the sort. I noticed that in some of the investigative reports the clairvoyance your Grandfather exhibited suggested sinister meanings to some of the authorities however they were unable to articulate exactly what your Grandfather would have gained or how he would have carried off such a subterfuge. I hesitate to say it but there were even suggestions that he was a time traveler from the future. I’m sure you’ve heard such reports and speculation. Has he ever spoken to you explaining as to how he saw his forecasts so clearly and did he marvel when they unfolded almost exactly in the way he predicted?” Amused, I fancied that I understood the Cub Reporter believed she had at last put a case that would lead me to delve into areas of the matter heretofore unexamined finally adding a tinge of sizzle to the interview and subsequently her piece describing the interview.

“My Grandfather being rational relied solely on empirical analysis for his findings, his judgments if you will. He stuck closely to what the evidence told him without embellishment, opinion or speculation.”

“You’re saying he had no Faith, no Beliefs beyond what he could see or prove no Higher Power to guide him?”

“You see my Grandfather understood we are but chemical reactions which can replicate. Replication is our sole purpose. If we observe the simplest life forms, one-celled organisms, they process resources into energy and waste and replicate, nothing else. Although we are evolved multicelled creatures this protocol has not changed. We are here to procreate with absolutely no other reason for being. Many people are unable to accept this concept, many others are not even aware that scientists have discovered this is our purpose. There are many philosophers who write books and articles with fantastical convoluted thinking supposedly demonstrating insight and intelligence to explain the purpose of life. People that read such swill believe they are intelligent because they profess to understand the drivel but in truth, there is nothing substantial in anything the philosophers say. Interestingly, Humans had persons who spoke and wrote similarly. But my Grandfather understood the fact of procreation. Therefore, he understood that everything beyond the basic purpose was so much hokum as he would say. You know there is a good example. Have you ever watched the old nature television shows they used to show on Earth? Hours and hours people watched those nature shows. Those shows contained two activities killing and mating, that’s it. Those animals did nothing else. And still, people could not see it.”

“I hardly believe you would call our deepest Beliefs hokum, why they have helped us fashion the wonderful, plentiful world we all enjoy. Just look at what we’ve achieved.”

“Yes, I understand your view, the same view so many people hold today, however, we had a culture long before the one we imported, some of us much prefer the ancient culture to what we have now. And I suggest to you the world we live in is a result of the forces and processes of nature and has little to nothing to do with our efforts.  Ya, see? People believe they invented what we view as our technology, however, they did not invent it, they stumbled upon it. It always existed, had one known what they were doing they could have created it at any time since Lainium settled in the present state. Think of us wandering about in a darkened room and the room is strewn with marvels. We stumble onto some of the marvels and we miss others. So the marvels we stumble onto we believe are breathtaking advances in culture however, we are unaware of what marvels we have missed. Ya, see?”

“Some might construe what you say as heresy,” said the Cub Reporter with the slightest hint of trepidation edging into her voice. She made the statement, I believe, more for the record that might be examined by the authorities rather than for any effect on her conversation with me.

“Yes, some of your predecessors chose to relay those facts to the authorities. Investigations were conducted; I was subjected to grueling interviews, however, in the end beyond having to take some supplemental education and sometimes pay a small fine nothing much came of any of it. Today if someone reports me, the authorities don’t even bother. It’s all ancient history now; the new ideas are so ingrained there is no fear amongst the officials that they can be blown off course. Ya, see?”

“So you don’t think the reason the “A Way for Our Future” program is so strong is not that it is right but because people have become used to it and they are so inert that they wouldn’t want to bother to turn back even if they thought the previous approach was more advantageous?”

“You’ve got it. You asked how my Grandfather could have been so accurate in his predictions, remember he was observing a planet that had already adopted these concepts and put them into practice, so he was able to observe the results. Since he believed applying the same laws to the same circumstances will produce similar results there was no reason for him to believe that adopting the same philosophies would produce any other result on our Planet. Ya, see? This is part and parcel to the idea people used to have that when they discovered another evolved life form it might be completely different from us. Exactly like the old maps Humans used to have that said of an area they had not explored, ‘here be dragons’.” No matter the level of education people achieve they still think that beyond what they understand there will be great magical phenomenon. For example, amongst the Humans, there was a great mind in the form of Steven Hawkins. He believed that possibly there were multiple universes which contained all the potential possible variations of events. A completely irrational notion when you consider everything that has been discovered since the dawn of rational thought has been inconsistent with any magical outcome. There is absolutely no logical reason to believe that an advanced species would develop any differently on another planet given that the same forces would apply and the same basic material that is stardust would form observable matter and that dark matter and dark energy would control the formation and fill the voids. Even so, some very smart people hold the view that beyond what we have discovered and understand ‘there be dragons’. Our observations inform our understanding that the four forces of nature electro-magnetism, gravity, the strong force and weak force applied to stardust will produce approximately the same result. When Earth collided with Theia, the Earth’s twin, and spewed debris not only around the Earth, as the Humans surmised, but also around the Sun it formed into a moon for Earth and coalesced into Lainium and a moon on the other side of the Sun. The almost unimaginable aspects are that the size of Lainium and its moon correspond rather closely with the size of the Earth and its moon. They fall within statistical expectation boundaries. Demonstrating similar forces acting on similar material generates similar results. The fact that we evolved in a manner quite similar to Humans although we did not have dinosaurs or the same geological events, for example, we did have Lainium’s Tectonic plate experience and we did have an iron-nickel core, with water embedded in our formation material and a water-laden asteroid bombardment carrying organic molecules. Apparently, life formed about the same time and developed at about the same pace on both planets. We believe, although at this time more study is required, this may be attributable to the rather constant mutation rate, about thirty-seven mutations in each generation, which we believe propelled the progress of life forms. Now, of course, we did not have a history the same as the Human history but similar enough to get us to a slightly advanced technological point in about the same time it took the Humans to reach a slightly lesser technological level. Still, we evolved out of primates and our species ventured through a historical maze of discovery that allowed us to develop the technology we employ today. An irrefutable biological law is an absolute necessity in the development of multicelled beings that is the necessity of a process similar to that produced by mitochondria in the cells of multi-celled forms. On Lainium it took billions of years to develop, later we learned that it took billions of years on Earth too. Now there would have to be some operative like mitochondria in order for multicell beings to function. The cellular organelles convert food to energy, without this process multicellular life cannot exist. Maybe there is another way for it to happen but observation suggests there is only one way and it is absolutely necessary. The fact that the process developed in exactly the same manner on Earth and Lainium suggests there is only one way. So this suggests any being will develop in a similar way to reach a similar state. The Humans had a concept some of them adhered to called Occam’s razor which basically maintained the simplest solution is probably the right one, one should always select the solution with the fewest assumptions. Ya, see? We know that on Lainium all life forms follow the same architecture from the single-celled to the multicelled. Whether the organism lives off sunlight or consuming other animals or plants or consumes dissolved rock in a deep cave or lives at the bottom of the sea and gathers energy from volcanic vents, every one of those creatures is based on the same architecture. Even so, some believe that out in space creatures could have a different form, even though everything we see or know about shows us all are the same. When we came into contact with the Humans we found the same is true on Earth. All animals and plants may be different cosmetically but exactly the same when it comes to basic organic chemistry. Further, the animals on Lainium and the animals on Earth share the same architecture. Ya, see? Popi reasonably perceived that the people of Lainium would react to the Earth Culture in the same negative way the Humans reacted to it. They became the only species on Earth or that had ever been on the Earth that is destructive to the biosphere. Every other organism makes a contribution to the ecosystem accept the Homo sapiens sapiens. The accumulated influence of their activity is detrimental to the natural order. Interestingly, the influence is also detrimental to the majority of the Humans. I always thought that was an interesting concept. Ya, see? It’s also interesting to note not only geological similarities, and biological similarities developed but social similarities also. It seems the same forces produce the same results. This is the strongest argument against some magical discoveries on other worlds in other galaxies or multiple universes. The evidence shows quite conclusively everywhere in the universe we will find the same basic chemistry and architecture. Ya, see?”

“Mr. Pardugh, your Grandfather saw the future so clearly, why was he not able to see the confluence of the Solar flare and the Pulsar radiation which fried the cruisers electronics?” The Cub Reporter took a hard shot at a specific question hoping, I’m sure, to bring the conversation into the realm of specificity and possibly spark a contentious retort.

“My Grandfather is not a seer, he can only make extrapolations from the observations he makes. No one at the time thought there were any circumstances that could disable all the redundant computer systems on the cruiser, all four of them. The crew was lucky they were able to reconfigure the manual controls and limp into an orbit around the Earth utilizing the Lagrange points, and then be able to carefully ration their stores for the three years it took them to learn English before they could land and make contact with the Humans. They had to listen to communications traffic on Earth and untangle how the language worked from there. Ya, see?”

“Yes, Mr. Pardugh I understand. May we return to the question of cross cultures and what the Assimilators were trying to achieve by adopting Earth Culture?”

The directness of this question suggested to me the Cub Reporter was becoming increasingly skeptical of being able, to her mind, to wrench any useful information from this interview. However, I must say she maintained a gracious cast as well as a graceful pose.

“Is there nothing that we’ve absorbed from the Earth culture that you believe is beneficial?”

I thought the Cub Reporter put the question as bluntly as she might without appearing to interrogate me as would an authority figure. I perceived in the Cub Reporter’s questioning an increasing frustration. I was able to discern this reality having been through similar interviews. I found the process amusing as I supposed I had an ability to discern those who would have a successful career in journalism because they would have the wit and imagination to find a path to the information they desired and those that would fail and would have to pursue some other career because they became exasperated and could not clear the hurdles. I truly believed I am able to assist the profession by helping young Cub Reporters find their true calling by winnowing out the weaklings. I now felt it was time to toss out a truly controversial postulation allowing for an evaluation of the reaction. “Well, let’s consider. Can we agree we have only one purpose? That is to procreate.”

“No, I don’t know that I can agree with that. There are so many wonderful accomplishments our people have been able to achieve. It doesn’t seem plausible that there is no reason for our proficiencies and that they occur only by chance.”

Responded the Cub Reporter with a stock answer, however, it was also an answer, I sensed, to which she fully subscribed.

“Can we agree that in some way every one of those accomplishments that you refer to will be destroyed?” I liked her first comeback so I needled her for more.

“Well, no, we have ships that are scouring the galaxy and maybe beyond looking for a new planet for our people. We are very encouraged because we stumbled on Earth, so if we found one, we might find another. Then too we don’t have to find one that has an advanced life form, just one that is conducive to our living on it.”

“Ok, do you have any idea how many years we have been searching for an inhabitable planet?”

“I can’t recall an exact number, but I grant you a long time.”

“Over one hundred years. Now by that I mean almost a hundred years we’ve had ships that could cruise space, we were searching before that with terra firma based telescopes and eventually telescopes in orbit. Granted that was relatively only a few years but it does make us over one hundred years we have been searching for another inhabitable planet and the only one we have ever found has been one we stumbled on because one of our ore cruisers experienced a catastrophic malfunction beyond anything imagined by our engineers. Ya, see?”

“But given the great number of exploratory missions we have launched anyone of them might produce a hospitable planet at any time.”

“Well now, that is not exactly correct. We have various devices that are able to search well beyond the reach of our exploratory missions. In fact, one of the main purposes of our exploratory missions is to carry our devices out into deep space to increase their range of search. So, even should one of our missions discover a potentially habitable planet it is going to be kiloparsecs away, possibly megaparsecs. It would take thousands of years to cover that distance. Even if we could put people into suspended animation and have the ship controlled by robots and computers only a relatively small percentage of the population would be able to make the trip. It’s a survival mechanism for the species, not individuals.” I hoped this analysis would set the Cub Reporter back on her heels, getter her thinking. Have her look at the thing from a different perspective.

“What if we just put people on the ships, like we do our transports and they could live out their lives generation after generation until they reach a habitable planet?” I must say this line of reasoning was disappointing; the Cub Reporter should know the shortcomings of this response even with a limited technical background. The Cub Reporter’s face showed she was a bit ashamed of this lame proposition, a subliminal admission which delighted me.

“The issue here is the people would mutate and evolve over that period of time. So the people we put on the ship would be different from the people who got to the planet. Also, you have to consider that the biological characteristics that would be selected by evolution on the ship might cause the species to be ill-equipped for life on the planet.” I wanted to come down hard enough on this thinking to discourage it but not so hard as to discourage the Cub Reporter.

“Consider if you will biology, ninety-nine percent of all the species that have ever lived have gone extinct, on Lainium and on Earth, therefore, it is reasonable to believe we will go extinct. Ya, see? Of course, there is a contingent of Lainiumians who do not accept the government’s explanation that the Earth was on an exactly replicating orbit with Lainium that prevented us from seeing the Earth and the Humans from seeing Lainium. They believe that the government officials kept Earth a secret so that if there were a planet-wide cataclysm the leaders and their families could escape Lainium and voyage to Earth. Others accept the mathematics and astrophysics that explain the exactly replicating orbit that kept the two planets hidden from each other on opposite sides of the Sun and why our instruments were unable to detect the Earth and vice versa. However, this is not exactly true; it is just a convenient shorthand way of explaining the situation. The two orbits are not exactly replicating they are just extremely close. So the two planets are moving towards each other extremely slowly so it will be hundreds of thousands of years before they will be observable from each other. Ya, see? The most plausible explanation to my mind is the collision theory developed by the Humans to explain the creation of their moon. They have named the twin planet to the Earth that collided with the Earth Theia. Now some of us believe the collision was much greater than the Humans surmised and that it created a gargantuan debris field that not only circled the Earth and coalesced into their moon but also encircled the Sun and coalesced into Lainium and its moon. That is how we came to be positioned on opposite sides of the Sun and in approximately the same orbit and approximately the exact same orbit speed. Oh, the two planets will eventually conjoin however it will take so long the Lainiumians and the Humans will have long since become extinct. Ya, see? Our astrophysicists believe that eventually if we are able to survive a major collision with an asteroid or comet, a major volcanic eruption or some other cataclysmic calamity our Sun will expand into a Red Giant which will engulf both the Earth and Lainium so in any event our worlds will be destroyed. All the materials we have generated in our learning will be destroyed, nothing will remain. So considered in that light all the searching for the truth, all the pursuit of discovery all the seeking of knowledge is futile. It makes absolutely no difference if people understand what is happening mathematically, geologically, astronomically or any other way. No more than the importance of a cow understanding or a mule. As the purpose of all life forms is to procreate any activity beyond that is a waste of effort. Oh, it’s fine for people to pursue knowledge if they are so inclined, one can do as one pleases as long as they hurt no one else. Ya, see? However, when you prevent people from obtaining such a vital necessity as potable water, or food, or cause them to be vagabonds at the mercy of religion or the weather or war or criminals or corrupt government officials, that has consequences. When you turn the whole planet into a sewer and then are so irresponsible as to turn the near space into a junkyard, you have violated the implied tenets of your free choice. This is what happened on Earth. Are you aware that Homo sapiens sapiens is the only species on Earth that is detrimental to the biosphere?  Hard to believe what should be the smartest species turns out to be the most destructive. Ya, see?”

“You’ve mentioned that.” The Cub Reporter mumbled which indicated she was becoming glum realizing as she did, I supposed, that the conversation was becoming increasingly erudite and repetitive which caused the interplay to spiral out of the possibility of her dominance.

“So when my Grandfather observed the pollution, the abuse of members of the Human species, the murderous impulse of religion and the levy on everyone from the legal profession he knew bringing these concepts to Lainium would have the same results. For these matters have great appeal to people. When people believe that they can amass great quantities of wealth without obligation to the rest of mankind, they want it. When people believe they have no obligation to be charitable, they like it. People superficially want to live decadent lifestyle. When they realize the cost, then they have regrets. Ya, see?”

“But would not our economy thrive, would we not be better off, live a better life?” So questions the Cub Reporter from her position early in life that is lacking an experience base which will provide the foundational knowledge from which to formulate her arguments in the future.

“We have before us the facts. We know what happened on those ore cruisers when they took the Humans aboard and started for Lainium.”

“Well, we know what happened. We don’t know that what happened was inevitable. We only know that your Grandfather’s predictions were accurate. Possibly with other Humans, the outcome would have been otherwise. Is that not possible?” The Cub Reporter posed the query trying to pry loose a scintillating tidbit that would bring an interesting spark to her article describing the interview.

“Of course you have me there. I, unlike my Grandfather, am unable to foretell events. Maybe with carefully selected Humans, events would have transpired differently. Maybe, allowing the Humans to self-select we assured we would have aggressive sorts aboard causing the catastrophe that ensued. I don’t know. It is rank speculation to postulate. Maybe if the Lainiums would have been more circumspect in what they adopted and what they rejected of the Earth Culture we would have avoided the rending of our population and splitting of our world, but that did not happen and what did happen was exactly what happened on Earth except that it happened on a limited scale and was unsustainable in the face of corruption, devastation, and violence and so died out. Ya, see?”

“I understand from your statements and my research that the cruisers waited three years before making direct contact. During that time there was evidence that the cruisers presence caused great consternation on Earth, even though our crew members in futility attempted to communicate our peaceful intent. There were riots, people committed suicide, and they murdered their children, spent all their treasure in debauchery and sank into oblivion with drugs or alcohol. The events were catastrophic.” Maybe, the Cub Reporter thought this angle of approach would develop into some stimulating speculation.

“Exactly, the reaction one would expect from people who lived in the Earth Culture, extreme, negative, destructive impulses. Ya, see? Then after the three years, our people were able to master English and after that communication proceeded apace. Once communication was established our crew members descended to the surface and interfaced with the Humans, explaining the fault in our guidance system and requesting the Humans assist our crew members in repair so that the cruisers could return to Lainium. At this time the Lainiumians and Humans had no idea where Lainium was located. The only clue they had was the short period of time necessary for the ore cruisers to gain the Earth orbit, from this information they were able to deduce that Lainium was close by and if so then it must be behind the Sun, the only logical location. The only location based on reason and not magical speculation. Such as the ore cruisers passed through a wormhole or a fold in the space-time continuum. The Humans had no technology sufficiently sophisticate to repair the guidance system, so our crew members and the Humans had to work together to develop the technology necessary. This process took a period of twenty-four years as none of the cruiser crew members were technically proficient as they were not selected for such skills. So after twenty-seven years, the cruisers were able to start back to Lainium. The humans requested to be allowed to join the crew, even though there would be no guarantee of their ability to return to Earth once they were on Lainium. The cruiser captains agreed to allow the passage as a way of thanking the Humans for their assistance in restoring the guidance systems. It was mainly the Human tech rats that had helped the Lainiums repair their guidance systems that wanted to venture to Lainium. Of course, the Humans gained tremendous advances in their technology from what they were able to glean from the cruisers as they worked on the guidance systems. And our crew members were able to assimilate English which streamlined our communication exponentially. However, the positive outcomes for the people of Lainium came very close to being destroyed by the horrible excesses that occurred on three of the cruisers. Of course, you know the fourth cruiser had no Humans aboard. Ya, see? On the three cruisers in question, the Humans eventually wrestled control and thereafter fought amongst themselves. Some of our crew members tried to oppose the Humans and were dispatched while others joined one force or the other and participated in the fighting. They, of course, were savaged along with Humans. (These events were recorded by the various cameras and recording devices placed about the ship and transmitted back to mission control on Lainium[1]) The three cruisers decided to sail off into deep space since the communication they received from Lainium control indicated they would not receive a warm welcome but were likely to be prosecuted for their crimes. The only question with respect to prosecution was as to their mental state since there was the chance that their faculties had failed them, in which case they would spend their lives under care in an appropriate facility. Ya, see?”

“And your Grandfather was able to foretell all that transpired but was unable to prevent it?” The Cub Reporter must have realized the question was a dig but, I presume, ventured it in the hopes of spicing the interview and possibly generating an electrifying response.

“Well, my Grandfather did play a role in preventing some of it. In his, clandestine way, he was able to assemble a group of confederates who believed his prognosis and worked with him to manipulate the passage berthing assignments so that one cruiser had no Humans aboard. Ya, see? Of course, many of our fellow Lainiumians came to believe this truly was my Grandfather’s greatest achievement, for, without it, we would not know the cause of the conflict on the three lost cruisers.”

“Why that and not that he saved Lainium from a terrible fate?”

“People do not like to believe they are so easily duped. They prefer to believe that the Human Culture would not have been able to overcome the institutions of our Planet. Whether or not that is true is unknown to us. Our only basis for evaluation is the hunks of Human Culture that were adopted by the peoples of Lainium, such as the English language you mentioned, being a primary one. An examination of that example reveals that the law prohibiting the use of any other language is the only such law we have on the planet. So you might say the adoption of what some of us believed was a positive for our planet in that we would have a much more functional language than Lamoda brought with it the draconian law to enforce the decree something we have never found necessary to do prior or since for any other issue. Ya, see? Finally, there are the ruins I spoke of at the beginning of the interview. The remains of the experimental outpost established by Lainiumians who believed they understood some of the precepts of the Humans and who thought that a better way of life could be achieved by pursuing them. They skyrocketed to success and had ceased to exist within forty years’ time. Having achieved much in the way of capital accumulation and having demolished everything they created utterly through violence. Ya, see? I’m afraid I’ve jumped around here a little, it’s difficult for me to stay on one thought thread.”

“Oh, no, it’s no problem at all. I have my recording device and I have taken notes so I should have plenty to base my article on. I only wonder will my editor accept that there is nothing more to this terribly important occurrence in our Planet’s history, it just seems there should be more.”

“I understand, many of the young reporters who have come before you say the same thing. For the foundation of this thinking is that we are only here to procreate and for no other purpose so everything we do beyond that is useless. Ya, see? People certainly do not like to hear that what they have spent their lives pursuing is useless. People get an education for no reason. Oh, its fine to pursue understanding because you are curious and want to know, but you must realize that the probability is that it will be all destroyed. Then people get a job and perform tasks that have no meaning. They sacrifice to build houses and furnish them, they go into debt to buy cars for no purpose, then they struggle to get their kids to achieve in school so that they can get a good education and follow the same life pattern as their parents. Ya, see?”

“With all due respect, I can’t accede to your point of view. On its face, the concept is irrational that we should have so much intellect, talent, energy, inquisitiveness beyond what is necessary to procreate and to have all that for no purpose. The thinking is inconsistent with evolution which suggests that we acquire characteristics that are beneficial and reject those that are detrimental. There would be no reason for our species to pick up characteristics that are of no benefit. No, I’m afraid I must leave here with the belief that there is a reason for us to pursue knowledge, to pursue discovery and to create. There has to be a reason.”

“Well, young lady certainly you’re entitled to your opinion.”

“Mr. Pardugh I want to thank you for being so lavish with your time.”

“You’re quite welcome.”

With that, the young lady moved away without having been shaken in her convictions for as I read her article her skepticism of what I told her is evident as well as her conviction in the truth of common knowledge. That truth was, is and will continue to be that the brief encounter with the culture of the Humans was incapable of overcoming the strength of the much-advanced culture of Lainium, even though the evidence of just such a cleaving lies about our Planet as a reminder for all those who wish to see and be forewarned.
 

 


[1] Interviewer’s note


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