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October 18, 2016: Bad Sci-Fi

Published onOct 18, 2016
October 18, 2016: Bad Sci-Fi

“My purpose here is to inform you of a conspiracy that plans to destroy your little Utopia.”

The Malgorians were one of the first species humans ever encountered. They were largely benevolent, but like every other people mankind encountered beyond the Milliwave, their gestures were inscrutable to the unaided human eye. Clark’s Overlay displayed typically unhelpful guidance: Sarcasm or amusement.

“You’re serious?”

The envoy’s gaze — composed of eight spider-like eyes — shifted subtly before freezing, as Malgorians do when they speak. The U.S. government’s techs had nicknamed it Stalky.

“Oh yes. Why do you think they’re working in our territory?” asked Stalky.

Sincerity, Clark was informed by his overlay.

“Actually,” he said, waving his hand, “what I want to know is how any human is working in your solar system at all. We’ve only even known about you for 700 years. Malgoria is 230 light-years away.”

“Yes, that is a mystery, isn’t it?” said the envoy.

Malgorian anatomy was fascinating. They looked for all the world like a smooth, green, leather ottoman with eyes. Except that the four legs could telescope, which they did presently, moving the Malgorian downward. The eyes moved again, too, each in a slightly different direction.

Curiosity, Clark’s overlay reported.

“You don’t have any theories, do you?” said Clark.

All 8 eyes stilled again, one after the other. “No.”

Malgorians and humans together knew of only 8 species in this sector of the galaxy. All were an average of 300 light-years apart, and the fastest travel anyone possessed was 1/8th of the speed of light.

“It is possible, of course, that my species has solved the riddle since I was sent this information. It came only days ago. We’re 230 years behind wherever they are.”

“Surely if someone was capable of FTL, we’d know by now,” said Clark.

“Yes. And it would save us a lot of trouble. Our contact fleets are still 500 years apart.”

“So you remind me every day.”

“My memory is not as good as yours.”

“Because we scrub it daily.”

“Speaking of which, I received another plea for you to stop doing that yesterday. It’s just wasting bandwidth,” said Stalky.

The first thing Malgoria had sent humanity was a simulation of one of its leading emissaries. It had taken about five years to figure out what it was, and another five to install it on a computer and teach it english, human gestures, and basic world history. They had never connected it to the global networks, just the deep space relays, and had basically wiped and re-installed it every day. The first half millennia’s worth of conversations were pretty boring, but apparently the Malgorians back home had learned quickly, because since they had received its first reports, they had been sending it back its own recordings every day.

“Are you not doing the same thing to our simulation?” Clark asked.

“We have more faith in our security than you do,” the simulation replied.

Flat, said the overlay. It was telling the truth.

“Congratulations, Stalky.” said Clark. The simulation’s eyes shifted simultaneously in the same direction. Clark knew what it was before his overlay sent back its analysis. Embarrassment.

“Back to this conspiracy,” said the human. “You said they want to destroy our Utopia. What did you mean? What exactly have you intercepted?”

“You haven’t already analyzed the data?” Stalky asked.

“We have. We just want your unfiltered interpretation.”

“Our interpretation is that a group of you discovered us long before it was officially announced, long before the Sol Coalition was formed. And now that word has reached them that you’ve re-found us, this initial group is upset with what you’ve become.”

By Gabriel Stein on October 19, 2016.

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Exported from Medium on October 22, 2020.


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