Forgetting the Moral
Our species’ cultural history has varied greatly through the passage of time, as have our ideologies. Geography has determined this, and as the human race has evolved over time, brought upon us poorly-divided arguments. The truth of this bears repeating, for in our own time we have learned to meld technology with dangerously conflicting ideologies. We have harvested the atom, the wave-particle, and the quantum particle; perfected nuclear dispersal, implementation, and eradication, all whilst forgetting the value of peace.
The severity of this has led humanity to the situation it is in. Our leaders, though meant to speak for us, willfully fought against our cries. But perhaps it would be best explain what led humanity to this predicament first.
Somewhere nearer or farther than two-hundred years ago, we discovered the atom. That is; we were able to see it with immaculate instruments, scrutinized and perfected since the time of the great Galileo. Where he wished to view the vastness outward, we wished to turn inward. To look upon that which has so gracefully eluded us, and is beyond the ranges of the most powerful microscopes.
And so we devised a quantum-nuclear microscope. Fusion powered and capable of reaching views in the billions of times, we looked down upon the minutiae with an awe found anew. But Our devious nature was bound to catch up with us. With this newly discovered subatomic sight, we began to experiment with the basic building blocks of all reality. And licking quantum physics by discerning the state of the universe at the Big Bang, created new technologies, elements, and a number of other fascinating advances. We agonized upon the most crucial of subjects, then perfected particle transportation.
This transportation, though limited in its range at first, went into wide-spread use. The first of the travelers through this strangeness, a feline aptly named Schrodinger, (or perhaps ironically, as this test made obsolete the man’s theories) was transported from one laboratory in Massachusetts, to another thousands of miles away in Berkeley, California. The trip itself lasted only six seconds; from the transporter firing at M.I.T to the other powering down at U.C.L.A.
But what of those who felt the machine might tear the fabric of time, sundering particles, and thus the universe itself? Naysayers, they were called. And the others, worried there were far too many, unpredictable circumstances might disrupt the transport? They were wrong. As were those that said the poor animal would be turned outside-in upon arrival– they and their riled activist groups.
Science moves ever forward, yet again a day had come for it to show that eternal persistence. It was magnificent, marvelous. Though the public’s lack of knowledge into new physics does not permit a proper explanation, it was perfect in its function, and after an overhaul, in its form.
The transporters were manufactured with swiftness. New industries sprang up to accommodate them, others died out. The automobile was obsolete, as were planes, trains, and all other manner of transportation. So it went that particle physics became the aspiration for many, new minds. From cooks, to welders, and all in between, the sole occupation became programming assorted machines to the specifics of the clientele ordering it. The new technology became as common as the television, more so even through it boundless applications.
It was a beautiful time, it seemed. Science had clutched so tightly on the consciousness of man. As expected, it caused many an outcry from the faithful. However, in time each renounced their apprehension, in danger of being left behind in a new golden age.
Such great detail of this achievement has been imparted, but only because it was through this that we humans lost our true sense of right and wrong. In truth, none saw it that way– it is the folly of man that we become myopic in the sense of great pains and pleasures. We played with the fabric of our reality, and in turn were so fascinated with it, we wished to stretch it to our will– morph it into some facade of a canvas with which to paint.
Much of what came next has been lost, but enough is known to relay the effects.
Two decades after the wondrous new transporters were constructed, distributed, and subsequently marveled upon; a new imperceptibility was encountered. Fields became stagnant, industries threatened. Most of the learned were satisfied to begin research, (and not long after, production) of quantum multiprocessors. Once again these inventions were hailed as a venturous step forward, a great marveling of humankind. True to effect, they were bought and sold unscrupulously.
But it was in the first new industry that pioneers had been born. These pioneers, having made unimaginable fortunes in transporter technologies, saw the new computational industry as merely a footnote. In keeping with human behavior, they sought other, more profitable applications. There they found the epitaph to Earth’s story.
Several, major manufacturers and military organizations, under the false pretense that someday we would fear militant invasion by extraterrestrials, developed the Particle Bomb. The specifics of its construction were kept secret– unlike the transporter machines, a renowned story of mankind. But it was later tested upon a plot of land in Nevada. It was immediately apparent that something was terribly wrong with this new technology.
Worldwide organizations of peace lobbied for its destruction, pled for disarmament with our allies, whom vowed immediate conflict were the weapons not destroyed. Still the tests continued unabated, and soon their disastrous effects were seen by all.
It seemed an impossible thing to hide from the public’s eye: a portion of the Mojave desert, inhabited only by those few beasts that can live comfortably in such a clime, simply disappeared. The bombs differed so completely from our other weapons as to make Nuclear Fission primitive by comparison. Where an atomic or nuclear weapon exploded, leaving behind radiation, these bombs achieved critical mass. There, their vibrations triggered isolated, earthquake-like tremors. But what was there in place of cracking earth? The horrifying ripping of the seams that held together the fabric of space and time. Whole swaths of reality disappeared, the spans varied by yield.
It was not destruction. It was eradication. To see the Mojave afterward would leave one as empty as it is. The land rises and falls with normality. Then, isolated nothingness– a veritable black hole in the desert without the physical gravity to tear the shattered heart asunder. What a dreadful sight!
Once revealed to the other countries, they offered us an ultimatum; destruction of the bombs, or war. It was challenged, cast aside by the shortsighted leaders whom fought against us. Chaos ensued. The coming wars were swift, bloodshed a given. Those against their enemies equally offered their citizens safe-haven. But a coalition was formed, nuclear weapons of old reintroduced. By war’s end, the whole of North America had become incurably irradiated– but not without a moment’s revenge.
The particle bombs were dropped in clusters, disintegrating masses of Europe and Asia. Beautiful, timeless, mountains; serene brooks and fields; even the occasional, drab beauty of human habitation was cut-clean from existence as though that particular part of the universe had never fully formed. When the dust settled, all were eerily silent.
To tell of the rest would introduce far too many uncertainties, opinions, and speculation. Most of us, the Survivors, have wandered out and around the voids and radiation zones for so long our minds have left sanity behind. Those few who’ve retained that precious commodity have devised new aims for the particle technology: We shall leave this hallowed world, find a place to start anew. Cunningly devised ships, in only a few years time, will transport us to a new world to Terra-form it. One, perhaps, where we may finally learn to co-exist peacefully. Only one thing is certain now; where we go from here, only time may tell.
Then Came We
Our new world was once a cold and barren place. Isolated from the stars in its system, and cut off from any means of life-bearing warmth, its seasons were violent. Storms of ice and lightning ravaged its face, lasted years in our measure of time. What little atmosphere existed was comprised primarily of ammonia and arsenic gasses that spewed from vents of an equally volatile core.
Then came we; with our probes and our Terra-forming ships, and still later our manned crews, breathing apparati, and our zeal and enthusiasm. Then our masses– after, that is, we ignored the condemnations of the deadly atmosphere, and the exultation of a planetary voice that cried, “Stop! Come no further!” All were silenced, laid way by our science and faith in ourselves to start anew.
Our home was in shambles, chaotic after years of warring and utterly devastated by our human ravages. Its last survivors– men and women of great virtue– had looked star-ward for a safe-haven and built our ships, instruments and apparati. With security in their minds, they ventured forth in search of revitalization.
Then came we; with our cultures, forbearing thoughts, and histories of pride and achievement. Oh our shortsightedness! In the cataclysm of rebirth, we could not hear the planet that only cried, “No more. Go now! I am not the one to choose!” Thus we built cities, industries, and a new identity for our species. We paired old-world thought with new-world hope, returned ourselves to pass-times of relaxation, wit, and vitality.
And it was, as it has always been, our downfall.
For we came to this planet with a fixed way of thought; that all would be better as we re-begin. Though it was not this notion in itself that doomed us, it was surely a factor.
Through our technology, and lust for something better, we lost sight of the responsibility we had to our new world. Our Terra-forming and star-making (for that was the only way to warm this desolate place), probes and ships, transports and livelihoods, rational minds, zeal and enthusiasm, all contained our fatal flaw: an ingrained myopia.
All knew the story of our planetary migration, its cause and reasons therein. Every man and woman that has grown and lived since has been told the story thousands of times. But something was lost in the transference. Perhaps we told the story too often, or perhaps the flaw was so ingrained in ourselves that we pushed past the moral to stride onward with the plot.
In any case, it was our severest mistake.
For then came we with our anger; when our technologies and ideologies differed too greatly, adversary became a word found anew. Our aggression, greed, and trickery of words forced us once more to take from one another, demolish our veritable utopia with our fighting machines, wars, and death-bringers.
We returned to the ways of old, forgetting where we’d come from and why, lost sight of our common name: Humanity.
The fighting machines rose in scores, hitherto un-produced. These towering, mechanical beasts slayed cities without equal opposition, wandered in search of only one another as matched foe. Then, as our leaders once again drew imaginary lines in the sand, said “This side is yours and that mine.” But so ingrained was our damnable flaw that they were discontented to keep only what they’d assigned themselves.
So we plunged headlong into another global war. Death came to many whom only wished for peace and life, their only stake that of Humanity’s. Once again, we let fly atoms, let drop bombs, and let run sickly, Human masochism. With them burned cities, technology, and the wisdom of newfound ages.
Then went the particles of our positions in space-time, for our particle bombs ate them up as though ravaged by an insurmountable hunger. And our fighting machines, collapsing in on one another, left but rubble beneath, while Humanity’s dream of redemption was crushed under their weight.
Then went our atmosphere, no longer supplied its microbial stabilization by our great technology, spat upon and thrown into chaos by our destruction. Then, our core; no longer subdued by our artificial umbilical. And our Sun, for in order to keep its fuel sufficient, we surely must have paid more attention.
Then went all that came after the great migration. All of our strides forward. All of our looks back. All of the masterful cunning at the challenge of a lifeless rock that cried out, “Stop! For your own sakes! I am too great, and you are too few!” Then, once more, went our colony-ships to scour the void for a suitable vastness of rock. Once more came sorrow and remorse, for we had tread where we’d always feared to, and once more let greed, corruption, and anger rule us.
So here we sit, passing generations upon ships that traverse immeasurable darkness, scanning incalculable rocks and stars, searching– not only for a home, but also the end to our species’ long and pitiful history. We ask countless questions in search of guidance, forgiveness, and validation, again seeking an answer outward. We tell ourselves, teach our children, hear from our elders, “We shall never again make this mistake!”
But even now we suffer our myopia. Evermore we look outward, ahead. Even now, and evermore we live the story, forgetting the moral.