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Friday, 6 February 2015

Miscalibration

Hello, here is another science fiction short story for you. Enjoy!

The Earth has been destroyed.

Please do not lament over this.

There are more places to be pleased by
Than you could possibly imagine.

            A bottle containing liquid voice was spilt in a library in a war-torn underground complex that burrowed deep into the only populated moon of Pulchra, called Minaar. A riot had broken out four, maybe five days ago, a small one, in the underground complex, arising because of tensions between the two race-lineages; Blakk, and Doorzien. Every single person on the moon was of one of the two families. Cross-breeders were denied a surname; their first name was repeated to create a surname of sorts, but more for humiliation, and were branded colloquially as “name-namers.” The residing Pulchran army forces usually present on the moon were absent, having been absorbed into the Ironworld crisis, which had been resolved, although not entirely cleanly. As a result, an arm of the Pulchran fleet had to be sent to Minaar. The week it took to assemble, pass paperwork, medically examine personnel, psychologically examine personnel and finally embark on the journey was enough time for Minaar to be engulfed in a civil war between the Blakk and Doorzien clan militias. Name-namers were promised pay and used as cannon fodder. The spilt liquid voice bottle was a documentary of the Ironworld crisis, and sang its beautiful information as follows;
            “Picco was a relatively small natural satellite of the recently discovered star SS929, on the edge of the unchartable “nothing zone.” The large planet Mawr, which was largely uninhabitable, with just one nation amid endless ocean and desert, claimed ownership and immediately began documenting and chartering Picco. It was entirely desert.
            “However, the engineers had hoped for this. They were to implement the infamous metalEarth experiment. As part of this experiment, every inch of Picco was to be coated in the miracle metal known as “Allknow.” This metal extreme features of Artificial intelligence wherein elemental misbalances could be detected on a molecular level and be evened out for the greatest probability of fertile land. This was an expansion on the previous creation of “Disperse,” the fertiliser that, once applied to the land, recognised alkaline and acidic misbalances and operated its functions to balance either.
            “The historian Derik Blakk reports on the handling of the Allknow invention and implementation;” (here the liquid voice shudders, and assumes the deeper tones of Derik Blakk’s original recording documenting the Ironworld crisis from start to finish, entitled “Early Rust.”)
            “The handling of Allknow was propaganda on a massive scale. The government of Mawr almost immediately set about hiring staff to manage the Allknow metal in its takeover stages of Picco, and even started hiring farmers to work the to-be fertile land. Much of the staff hired were migrants from nations of Pulchra, seemingly in an attempt to patch up relations after Mawr failed to properly negotiate with the ‘Big Seven’ nations of Pulchra about the launch of Mawr’s new planetary immigration policies. This backfired for the Mawrans as members of the Blakk and Doorzien families immediately protested at having to work at such close quarters of each other.” Here the liquid paused, shuddering as if someone had touched the pale blue pool, and continued in its previous pleasing tone.
            “Once the planet was covered in Allknow, some developments were seen. Desert slowly started to turn into soil. The hopes that were already high remained ever doubtless that this experiment would be a success for the Mawran colonisation program.
            “A huge problem arose, however. No one is quite sure how, whether it was loose command programming, a human error in the maintenance, or an unexpected virus, (many Mawrans maintain that it was dabbling from other hostile governments, sore from the spread of rebellion from Mawr a thousand years hence,) but Allknow started to unearth and solidify metal from the ground it was supposed to be making fertile. The entire planet became coated in metal in a few weeks. The staff hired by the metalEarth project were starving, having migrated to Picco expecting to be able to farm quickly, and so only bringing with them a stunted supply. Violence quickly broke out as food and water was ever sought after.
            “The Pulchran military was dispatched, intending a rescue mission, but on arriving on the now rebranded “Ironworld,” they were attacked by the brutalised, starving, dehumanised inhabitants. A soldier in shock opened fire at the approaching crowd, resulting in a massacre of the staff of the metalEarth project. Relations between Pulchra and Mawr broke down as the united nations of Pulchra and the solitary force of Mawr demanded each other to make concessions to the families of the lost, and reimbursement for the expenses of the project and the dispatched fleet.”
            The liquid trembled, and its soft blue light ebbed, until it resembled dirty rainwater. It crawled into the upturned bottle, like a stream suddenly forcing itself backwards. It couldn’t hold form for long, and it eventually spilled from the bottle again, reiterating the tale of the Ironworld crisis.
            The historian Derik Blakk doesn’t know about the riots of Minaar. He no longer uses the surname “Blakk,” instead introducing himself as “Derik willemson,” largely out of spite for the tensions between the two family-races. On a voyage from the station now occupying Old Earth’s gravitational spot to his home on Minaar, the ship got caught in a strong gravitational field around a planet, and crashed. Derik was the only survivor, out of him and thirty other flight staff. The ship had been a cargo ship, carrying forty thousand tonnes of T-shirts printed with a line from a famous TV show. Derik was wearing one now, and had one wrapped around his middle as a loincloth of sorts, as he stood in a turquoise and purple jungle overlooking the heavy blue sea. Derik made clothes, tents, and many things from the T-shirts.
            He had found the emergency device, which would simultaneously tell you your whereabouts and what you should do to survive there and also contact an AI operated rescue vessel.
            Derik buried the device. He could live here, for a while, he thought. One day he’d unearth the device and return home to his wives, husbands and children.
            Derik lived out the rest of his life on the planet he crashed on, in utter harmony with the nature he had found, and the solitude he had longed for. He raised the last preserved T-shirt as a flag, should anyone ever find him.
            The device would’ve been utterly useless anyway. The planet Derik lived and died on was undiscovered, and had apparently materialised in the flight path of the cargo craft from nothing. In reality the cargo ships map was horrendously miscalibrated, but nobody would know this. The planet might never be discovered again.

Maybe it was the garden of Eden.

Maybe Earth was.

But it isn’t there anymore.

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