Thank you to everyone for waiting patiently for the next story, and sorry it’s a little late today. Enjoy!
The Governors of the Universe
In the midst of the cold blackness of space, beyond quasars, pulsars, and novae left behind from the poignant Big Bang, stands the Blue Sphere. Half illuminated at all times by its massive star, and with it’s orbit elliptical, and fused with a rotation all its own. Its axes, tilted twenty-odd degrees, shift ever slowly over aeons while its poles magnetically transfer by micrometers with each rotation.
Known to it’s inhabitants as Earth, the planet stands as a silhouetted, blue marble, suspended almost majestically in space. It is the third in-line from its mother-star, eighth in planetary order, and the only inhabitable by its unique form of life.
It seems, one day, hundreds of millions of years ago, life crawled from its seas to stand upon bi-pedal vestiges to harness the land around itself. Shortly after, the warring began. This planet, billions of years in the making, and having graced its inhabitants with a stellar dust all its own, motioned to them. The wars ceased abruptly, though for only a short time. The inhabitants looked skyward, to the stars. They built ships– large and sluggish though they were– and sent them high. Leaving their planet behind, albeit briefly, they stepped forth into the machinations of a cosmic infinity to place their feet firmly upon their revolving satellite.
Too shortly these few men, as they call themselves, left their satellite and returned to their Earth. For a short period, these strange creatures, infatuated as they were with the skies, launched innumerable artificial satellites. Though none were so magnificent as that of their planet’s own, natural one, they had looked deeper into the recesses of nothingness than any of their world’s other inhabitants. For what must have been, even to them, the briefest of periods, they built more machines to thrust themselves upon the blackness; more machines still to rest there outside their fragile atmosphere, and look further from themselves.
Then came a period where, one-by-one, they felt fulfilled in the minute faculty of what they had seen, accomplished. One by one, their eyes turned once more upon their lands. One-by-one, they resumed the in-fighting and warring among themselves. And one by one, and little by little, the artificial satellites filled the skies with nary a “man” to be found. With each new satellite, another was abandoned to the cosmos. Litter and debris filled the orbit of that once majestic blue marble.
So here we sit. The first regiment and invading party of– what to them– is an invisible civilization waiting for their ascension beyond pettiness of their own differences. Their wasting of time and littering of space have angered our leaders. The Federation that would have welcomed them with open arms, now only wishes destruction upon them, and so has thrust my Company and I marble-ward. No doubt our weapons and tactics will be merciless to them. Some will attempt surrender: they will be equally as crushed beneath our might. Once more, My company and I will wipe from the universe, this galaxy, and existence, another of the seemingly infinite plagues.
For you see, there is an unending supply of pests such as these. They are allowed to mature, for either way they stay contained, until they look heavenward. Following there first forays into the inter-spatial voids, they are kept under close watch– For it is much easier to exterminate the hive, than it is to hunt pests individually. This is what my Company and I are; Galactic Exterminators, for someone must keep in check that which is as hell-bound, destructive, and wasteful, as these beings.
With knowledge comes responsibility, and all pests follow the same course in their leanings. Once their flights of fancy begin, it is only a short time before again they look downward, resuming their transgressions, eschewing the responsibility of evolving, maturing, through what they have learned and seen. If the universe is to stay at peace, such aggression must be stamped out at its source. So we will drift down into their atmosphere, lay waste to their settlements where millions dwell in frenzy. We will destroy them en-masse, push them back from the brinks and into the recesses of their habitat. And when it is through, never again will they be capable of mounting ventures outward.
For this is what we do, my Company and I. We are exterminators, carefully keeping in check the parasites that emerge in the universe. We leave civilizations in ruin, imparting to them the utmost profitable of all lessons: Humility.
The signal resounds that their atmosphere has been breached. We shall take our positions upon the ship’s weapons, and above their greatest masses, commence the slaughter. And Slaughter we will, my Company and I.
They came with disinterest, indifferent to all but wiping us from the Earth, in their ship and on a sunny day. Strolling through Central Park, I found myself caught in the fervor of natural beauty around me, unaware of the news that their ship had descended with a fierce predilection. We learned all too soon what I had missed.
They began with the largest cities, laid waste to them one-by-one with terrible weapons like something out of Wells. Invisible heat-rays burst forth with unimaginable speed, left swaths of destruction in their path. I have a mind to say, perhaps Wells saw forward to our own time, or rather was thrust into it by his machine. In either case, his vision was near complete. Though they did not come in tripods, nor cylinders, nor so far as we know, from Mars; the destruction was total all the same. So far as we know, they did not show themselves– that is, there is no account beyond that of the ship.
In itself, it was truly a spectacular sight, if not the most violent and frightening one I might ever lay eyes upon. Wide as a city, tall as Everest, it stretched star-ward with reckless abandon; constructed of several sections, and obliquely spherical. Though we never truly saw its topmost sections, I am inclined to believe it was merely a space-fairing bubble of some strange viscous material. Within, its commander stood, pridefully gazing at the wonton destruction reigned forth. Its lowest sections housed Wells’ heat weapon, though it was far superior to what he had envisioned. Where his Martians held it in their tripod’s arms, our invaders’ weapon encompassed the whole of the bottom of their ship.
They struck without mercy, unhindered by our greatest feats of modern life. They came fast to their position, halted long enough to charge and fire their weapon. From all directions, the heat emitted in a massive dose akin to that of a Sun. It laid waste to cities in mere seconds, sweltering miles of their outskirts.
When I first heard of the attack, I immediately removed myself from New York. The radios were filled with reports from all over China, Russia, and Europe. The attacks, only seconds long, bore a heat and destructive force that has caused a global rise in temperature. It has since thrown our environment into chaos. The invaders hovered overhead for a brief moment, long enough to target their foul weapons (or perhaps, long enough for those below to recognize their defeat), fire, and disappear.
We attempted defense once our eradication was evident. Like Wells’ English cities, we laid massive guns in hiding. Though in the years passed since War of the Worlds, our defensive technology has grown by bounds, still our weapons were useless. Bullets rebounded from the ship like rubber off steel skin. Bombers dropped the highest yields of explosives ever concocted upon the ship’s exterior, yet no damage was done. The ship’s materials, we knew, were immensely strong. Perhaps for a dual purpose: both intergalactic space flight, and defense. I believe, though I can not be sure, that the ship eventually left our atmosphere in the same pristine condition it had entered.
As the beast descended swiftly upon Canada to work its way downward, hope for humanity was lost. True though it was, that many minor cities still remained, there was already unanimous agreement that the human race could never recover. Billions had already been wiped from existence in a small matter of hours; their fates predetermined by a higher intelligence within the ship’s theoretical, viscous bubble, extinguished amid the most formulaic indifference man has seen.
Some argued rigorously– until their own demise– that these invaders were intelligently-minded. Enough even, to recognize a surrender if one were presented. Conversely, others cried to repent, for this was His work; an apparition of a modernized horsemen for our own bemusement. In equal parts they were struck down without regard.
I, for one see it for what it is: we have been systematically eliminated as a species. For what could naturally occur in that short chaos that would so fully hide massive numbers– allow us to survive, rebuild? Nothing. That they knew. They were exterminating us. Our species and its greatest endeavors were as pests to them. They moved swiftly from one nest to another to eliminate our largest swarms before targeting the left-overs.
And that they did. Only mere hours after the attacks began, the largest cities upon Earth had been utterly destroyed. Yet unsatisfied, these intergalactic exterminators reversed their movements, started to lay waste to every remaining city. Attempts were made to contact them. Scientists and mathematicians, soldiers and politicians, radio astronomers, even HAM radio enthusiasts, searched dutifully for the cosmic frequency to raise the white flag. Until their final moments, they fought with valiance. In the dejection afterward, true white flags rose by the thousands. Every Human, feeling threatened, stopped amid the confusion to cast out their pride and surrender without contemplation. Still the invaders plundered us; cosmic bullies in our own yard.
When it was over, the few left were driven into hiding under the ground, and back in caves like the pests we were seen as, treated like. New-found humility has ebbed its way through the survivors; if, in fact there are any. There can be no doubt of it either way. No man, woman, nor child, no matter their arrogance, could miss the point of this event. Though I may be the only human left, and have been wandering for days, I know it to be true. How many days? I cannot count. I have succumbed every night to utter exhaustion, suffered by an insurmountable hunger. In the rising global temperature, I am quite literally dying of thirst, but have yet to come across a clean stream of water– though I would take a dirty one at that.
My bones and muscles grow weak, weary. I fear the end may come before I find another living soul. In a day, our species has been targeted, attacked, left to whither and die painfully. Futile attempts will be made, I’m sure, to rekindle the flame of our species. It is doubtless our numbers will increase to sustainable once more. At that, should we venture anywhere into the near, observable space beyond our great, Blue Marble, we shall likely be smote down once more.
I will attempt to recollect more soon, but am too weary now and require rest. The next days shall be spent in search of food and water. Perhaps the futile nature of pests is among us. We push ourselves so futilely to live on in caves, beneath rocks, and underground in search of simple sustenance. All the while we crave to preserve ourselves, persevere for some primal reason unknown to us. I for one, believe that was the reason for the attack– though belief now seems superfluous. We took more than we gave and someone took notice. The notion of our species as a parasite is not new, and with this development in our history, it is safe to say it is correct enough.
Perhaps, on a rock somewhere in space, or in the great void between rocks, rests a civilization that is always watching. They observe growth until critical mass is reached, then send their envoy to teach the pests of humility by swatting them back from the brinks. When they are done, those left, too fearful of retribution, reconcile themselves to a better way or none. For they are the Invaders, the Galactic Exterminators, and the Governors of the Universe.