Planet 13

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

A Galactic Bio-Investor comes across a raw species that he can put to his species economic advantage in the next galactic quarter, but is their a darker reason for his investments, one darker than
future-economics itself?

Part I: The Sheep

As far as Quinton could tell he had about thirty seconds to live, of course he could heal himself but that would divert precious resources away from defending himself and then his life would get a lot shorter. The fight had been going on for less than five minutes and the fact that it would be over soon meant that it was a good one, long fights are verisimilitude; any fighter who understands the word will tell you. Things had turned against him once the creature had managed to ram through his thorax with one of it's pseudo-tentacles; which was now trying to sever his spinal column with it's sawtooth silicated edge. Fortunately his spine as well as the rest of his body was the latest in human techno-evolution, well for his sub-branch of Homo Galactus, any road.

So decision time, was this species what he needed as his product for the next galactic quarter and if so hurry up and kill it. The answer was yes so he attacked it swiftly at it's biggest weakness which was it's immune system and stabbed it's midsection with his suddenly scalpel sharp and slightly oily hand and the oil based toxin sent it's body in to swift and total shock. The creature froze, then collapsed, quivered violently for a couple of seconds and then was dead. Yes, its failings could be easily fixed as it's core biology was sound and for such a young and inexperienced species it had certainly challenged his survival. But damn if it was ugly, an ugly crab faced, penta-symmetrical high bio-octane killing machine, which seemed capable of hive and solitary survival, yes this is what he needed.

He turned away from the corpse of last hive guard and turned his attention to what it had been trying to protect, a clutch of glistening black eggs. His enhanced perception confirmed they were viable and he already had enough information to ensure their survival so he transferred them to his sample carrier next to the flash frozen sample of the queen brain. Quinton sighed and started back towards the blackened wreak of the crab-face hive and his attack shuttle which had done most of the wreaking on atmospheric entry.

Once sealed within the attack shuttle and heading out of the atmosphere he waited for the bio-sequencer to prep the clean sweep virus from the data he had collected from the crab-face planet. Extinction an unfortunate and increasing reality of the galactic free market. Once in the upper atmosphere he released the Tombstone satellite which would both oversea the killing of the biosphere and announcing to any visitors to the system that this was a quarantine planet and the test area for a highly aggressive planetary bio-weapon.

The company had secured a belt of colonisable systems a couple of light-years from the expanding Wolf territory. If current quarter projections were right he had about 80 years to set up the deal. He spent the next few days overseeing the bio-engineering of the new crab-faces and the preparing of the colony missiles. Then he put the whole operation into the trust of his ship which was basically an engineered copy of himself and stuck himself in suspension/bio-surgery.

As he drifted off he began to think and then dream of the new crab faces; their super advanced biology, the ingrained racial intolerance and there unquenchable desire to colonise. They would be more than a match for the Wolf. His dreams turned darker at the thought of the enemy, humanity hated them and Quinton particularly hated them for knowing why we had named them so. As Quinton fell into a deeper dreamless sleep, the auto-surgeon whirred into life, the colony missiles fired and Quinton's ship self was left with watching over him.


Part II: The Shepherd

Quinton awoke twenty years later in orbit around one the new crab-face planets. He groggily opened his eyes trying to both adjust to his altered body, perceptions and the memory download from the ship mind. Everything had gone according to plan so far, the colonies were established and thriving after an average of 15 years development. The new crab-face design was functioning if possible better than expected and they were ripe for expansion. He released some pain killers into his blood stream to fight off the headache he was sure was a result of dealing with penta-scopic vision for the first time. His on-board nano-surgeon would fine tune bio-functionality with a few minutes but he did not need a headache now.

He checked the ships tidal force generators, the weak points they had picked on the planets crust and then finally looked in a holo-mirror. He was surprised, he didn't find himself ugly, the ship mind had created an artistic blend of human and crab-face anatomy subtlety switching between bi-symmetry and penta-symmetry for the greatest biological effect. He flexed his limbs and tested the various glands that had been designed for the next stage of the deal. He had the ship to back him up but it would be more effective if the custom biology worked as designed. He got into his specially designed manifestation ship and descended to the planetary surface, hopefully he wouldn't have to kill many of them this time.

He emerged into the centre of the hive-village to the utter shock of the crab-faces and as expected the nearest one rushed him. With a sweeping gesture of one of his new serrated forelimbs the crab-face collapsed dead in his tracks about 5 meters short of reaching Quinton. Unknown to the crab-faces he had total read write access to their biology and psychology, the gesture was pure theatre a thought had killed his attacker. Their cries of disquiet were lost on him, his new body was deaf as he had access to their thoughts he did not need to hear them.

About a third of the population rushed him this time, so he threw them to their knees and locked up their musculo-skeletal systems. He then made all of the villagers terrified and it didn't take long for them to all decide to be terrified of him paralysed and free alike. He stepped forward and helped the nearest crab-face to it's feet and then released it and the rest of the villagers from their paralysis and then their terror. Then Quinton engaged the crab-face in an intimacy gesture it had not experienced since it was a hatchling. Then he waited, ready to kill them all if this failed.

It didn't fail, the crab-face bonded to him like it did it's mother, it's hive, it's village, the God gland within it's brain stirred. The other crab-faces did not know what to make of it but the accepted gesture they had just witnessed meant that Quinton was now technically part of the family. The time for earthquakes, plagues and wars would come but for now he wasn't going to have kill for a while. He started to adjust his bonded crab-face to take up it's role as his voice when he had gone to visit the other crab-face planets to orchestrate their meeting and the discovery of their destiny.


Part III: The Wolves

Nearly 70 years later Quinton smirked as he opened the voice only communication channel with the Wolf delegate. The Wolf had requested assistance from Homo Galactus – a victory in itself some would say, not victory enough Quinton would retort.

“The Wolf respectfully request assistance with the Krabbeface incursion into Wolf Space.”
“And why should Homo Galactus be interested in assisting the Wolf? We may not be enemies but we are certainly nothing strong as allies.” Quinton replied, trying to remove the note of terror in his voice which all humans found hard to lock down when meeting the Wolf.

“Substantial economic rewards are available to a species that can help us resolve this conflict, do not over judge your importance, we have several parallel negotiations.”
“Yes but I am sure your cost benefit analysis has coded Homo Galactus as the most likely species to be able to help you, or is my economic forecast incorrect?”
“Yes this is true, are you able to offer assistance?”
“I'm willing to discuss terms and I am sure I can... sway the Krabbeface.” Quinton smirked again “Where shall I meet the senior Wolf delegate?” This might be a reasonable question in a human hierarchy but to a Wolf, which as a species were fairly touchy about being subordinate, it was virtually a request for physical violence.

“Hmm, head to Pack-thrall 2180 and you will be contacted” replied the remarkably self controlled Wolf, probably a eunuch. Quinton mentally punched in the 4D coordinates, lay back into the suspension/bio-surgery capsule and looked forward to closing the deal.

Quinton next became conscious in the descent capsule and took a massive rescue breath and in so doing felt the massive strength of his new stealth body – he grinned. A dull distant thud of his inertial dampened speed landing and the hatch burst open. Quinton emerged on a hill a few hundred meters from the battlefield. The Krabbeface it seemed had smashed Pack-thrall 2180 orbital defences and gained air superiority, they were now “mopping up” with extreme prejudice, something to do with religion apparently.

The Wolf hung predatorially over the brow of the hill huffing in that disturbing way they did when they wanted to kill. How such an aggressive species had survived its formative years, formed a stable society and mastered galactic economics was a mystery. It turned to Quinton as he walked up to it and began to speak without introductions.

“The Krabbeface tolerates and trades with your branch of Homo Galactus yet as you see it does not with the Wolf, this makes no economic sense. The Wolf want their economic cooperation or their extinction, can you assist?”
“The Wolf seems to have met it's match I believe, the Krabbeface having taken 20 of your worlds in the last year alone, since we have a good relationship with them why should we not just let them have their way with you? Our relationship with the Wolf is not so positive.”
“The Wolf offers generous economic -”
“Details please” I interrupted, almost a declaration of war to a Wolf.

“Total development options of the Lower Asymmetric Spiral.” The Wolf conceded.
“That would appear a generous offer to a species who does not have detailed survey information of the Lower Asymmetric Spiral, as I'm sure you thought we didn't. Refused.”
“What do you want?” The Wolf said in a oddly flat tone, presumably suppressed rage.

“A total Wolf retreat from the Eastern Spiral Arm and access to Wolf quantum tunnelling technology. Final offer.” This was a massive request and would be refused.
“Refused, a pointless request, why are you here sheep?”

“You do not seem to understand how important our intervention in this war will be to the economic future of the Wolf. A Krabbeface delegate approaches at my request, let him.”
A Krabbe Air Interceptor rocketed out of the sky in a seemingly suicidal landing manoeuvre which there amazingly advanced technology rescued at the last second. The Krabbeface emerged.
“Quinton, you requested a parley.” The Krabbeface said respectfully.

“Krabbe general you know that I respect your cultural and religious beliefs, can you tell me why you are currently engaged in a war with the Wolf?”
“The first meeting of Krabbe and Wolf was handled in a disrespectful fashion by the Wolf and as a result they mark themselves out as animal and not subject to moral consideration.”
“We extracted knowledge and technology, it is standard Wolf procedure.” The Wolf said.

“Yes you killed the entire colony and stole all it's assets, to the Krabbe that marks you out as non-sentient and so they will kill you all as dangerous animals. They will not negotiate with you , you've blown your chance.” I explained to the Wolf.
“This makes no sense.” said the Wolf simply.

“Not to a species that has no honour and views its own individuals and other species with contempt, a species that sees only economic value and no other. I think I need to talk to your superior, Wolfy old boy.” I said and slapped the Wolf on its back. It flew into a rage and pinned me to the ground. I released my stealth bio-field and by the time I had flung the Wolf 20 meters distant (breaking one of it's legs) I was stood as the Krabbeface/human God. The Krabbe flung itself to all 5 of it's knees and said the fateful words that the Wolf even in agony, having studied all the information it had looted from the Krabbe colony could understand.
“I see now that the Wolf are our eternal enemy. We shall wipe them out as a testament to our faith in you, oh Lord.”

Needless to say the Wolf battle for Pack-thrall 2180 was lost.


Part IV: The Deal

“Come to gloat Krabbe God?” said the wounded Wolf, things must be bad on Wolf Alpha, for them to let me see them wounded, but then anyone in the galaxy with a poly-dimensional hookup could see the entire Wolf civilisation was on it's knees. The Krabbe had been true to their oath and had pushed viciously into Wolf space and now the war was weeks away from Wolf Alpha. And here was I a mere human, asked to speak with a stellar pack general!

“No I've come to deal, are you feeling reasonable this time?”
“Yes we will deal, we will accept the deal proposed at the battle of Pack-thrall 2180.”
“Things have changed a bit since then, Wolfy old boy.”
“Things may have changed, but it was a ludicrous request in the first place and we would rather accept our chances with the Krabbe in a full contact war than accept a more insulting deal.”
“A full contact war?” I asked, wondering what the hell they thought was going on now.

“This war is about territory and as such the territory is preserved. Full contact war is about survival and in it territory can be seen as enemy supplies and so may be destroyed. If the Wolf unleashes it's full war potential it will make a desert of this galaxy and then colonise a new one once it has exterminated it's enemies – we would rather not do this.”
“Were did the Wolf learn self control from?” I asked

“Economics, it is the wisdom of economics that holds our instincts in check.”
“Well that's all very interesting, deal accepted.”
“The Wolf would know why you would do this; why all this effort, all this destruction – it could not just be the possible economic rewards, the chances of success were just too unlikely. The Wolf has never seen this capacity in humans before and we will know why you did it.”

It seemed we had gone up significantly in Wolf estimation.
“Fine. Remind me if you will of the Human/Wolf first contact event.”
“We found a new species on a primitive colony world 2.7 lights from a Wolf research post and initiated a standard contact event for primitive species of possible economic interest. As the colony named “Planet 13” appeared to be just that and not the species home world, the colony was sacrificed. When the Wolf initiated formal relations with Homo Galactus the survivors where handed over; these survivors consisted of five infants.”

“Why were only infants released?” I said containing my rage.
“Infants were of little use to the Wolf researchers and the surviving adults were often deranged and full of negative emotions towards the Wolf. Their influence on Wolf Human relations was seen to have no positive economic value and their continued survival was not tolerated.”

“Well you seem to have neglected the negative emotional response the infants would have in learning their origins.” I said, this time with bio-assisted control of my emotional state, which didn't seem to be worth shit.
“Are you a survivor of Planet 13?” The Wolf finally asked.
“Of course I am.” I let all my rage out in that one sentence.

“Then you did all this for revenge?” It's voice seemed stuck somewhere between respect and confusion. “You intend to destroy us?”
“No, I have channelled my rage into an functional economic success for Homo Galactus. I have learnt from the Wolf and I have bitten them with their own technique and that is my true revenge. Now lets get this fucking treaty signed.”

I felt nothing.

Submitted: October 11, 2009

© Copyright 2022 Richard J Perry. All rights reserved.

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