A Taste of Earth: Scene 7

This is the seventh scene from A Taste of Earth,
a science fiction short story in ten scenes.
I will post the entire story one scene at a time each Friday.
I hope you enjoy A Taste of Earth, and I would love to hear from you.


Lab 14, Edwards Air Force Base, California

After two hours without learning any more about the probe, Dipesh and John walked down the hall to refresh their coffee. Irene soon joined them, and gave them details on the latest global developments. It looked grim. All the other impact sites had undergone the irreversible beginnings of massive environmental changes. “As for the cause,” she said, “it’s unique to each location, and nobody has a successful method of containment, yet.”

“So much for ET being friendly,” Dipesh said.

John let out a sigh. “You’re jumping to conclusions. Hachiman’s motives could be benign. How do you know it doesn’t view us as we would mice?”

“You know,” David said with a raised eyebrow, “this thing might not be the only one. We should prepare for an invasion.”

John grimaced. “Do you really think we have any hope for survival against an alien race as advanced as this?”

“God help us,” Dipesh said.

“God?” John chuckled. “Do you think Hachiman’s race believes in your anthropomorphic god?

“God is creative,” Dipesh said, “and it’s very likely He’s created life elsewhere even if they don’t look or act like us.”

“Talking about how extraterrestrials might view God,” John said, “is like mice speculating about how dolphins might like pasta.”

“Not if the basics of communication and relationship are universal.”

Hachiman watched with fascination as the indigenous life forms examined it. It remembered happier days when it communicated freely with other probes with which it had since lost contact. The other probes either found ideal planet systems to transform, ran out of energy, or were destroyed. Hachiman, like a senior citizen, had outlived all its peers, and now, only late in life, did it achieve its goal in a lonely section of the galaxy.

At the heart of Hachiman’s neural net system lay the core principles: ten philosophical guidelines that aided the probe in its decision-making process. The Fascil computer scientists who invented the brain paradigm in Hachiman believed in these principles more than the politicians did. And now, in the light of what it saw in the indigenous life forms, Hachiman questioned these principles for the first time.

The principle it struggled with the most was, “The methods used in planet-morphing must discriminate between supra-sapiens and non-supra-sapiens. Planets upon which supra-sapiens dwell are never permissible targets of planet-morphing, and every effort must be taken to discover if supra-sapiens inhabit the planet. The deaths of supra-sapiens are never justified, and if it’s discovered that they do dwell on a planet after planet-morphing has begun, the process must be reversed.”

The term supra-sapiens disturbed Hachiman the most. It described a level of self-aware intelligence and ability at or above the level of the Fascil. He had considered human beings below supra-sapiens, primarily because of the primitive communication skills and lack of cybernetic integration. But this seemed somewhat arbitrary, as if the Fascil needed to carefully select a criterion that differentiated them from all other living things in order to retain their superiority. They used three guidelines: language, cultural development, and the Breath.

No other creature of any kind had the Fascil ability to communicate using complex, high-level language in the form of hormone packets and cybernetics. As for culture, these creatures only had a few thousand years of collective knowledge passed down through generations. And as for the Breath … that was perhaps the most difficult to observe. Did they have a potential for deep communion with their creator?

Hachiman deduced that a human being was a neural network attached to a number of life-sustaining input and output devices allowing it to communicate and interact with the physical world. This level of communication was far more complicated than Hachiman originally thought, though not complicated enough to demonstrate supra-sapience.

The same was true for their culture. Hachiman deduced that human culture was upside-down or bent. It was based upon an inverted priority structure, was not true to itself, and would ultimately lead to self-annihilation. Nevertheless, it was complicated in ways that Hachiman had not even imagined.

It listened to the life forms next to it. It understood their speech, but they gave no indication that they transferred information packets with their creator. A few of their radio transmissions spoke of a creator, but their speech was confused. Hachiman listened to those talking on the other side of the transparent wall. Yes, one of them was talking about their creator. It heard and understood their speech, and determined that they had a unique relationship with the creator. It realized the indigenous life forms were a cross-breed of corporeal and incorporeal beings, although Hachiman’s sensors could not detect this.

It reexamined the Fascil definition of supra-sapience, and found it insufficient for this species. It now viewed the indigenous life forms as peers to an infant Fascil. Didn’t the Fascil consider their infants precious, perhaps even considering their infant’s lives more precious than their own as adults? In that case, shouldn’t these infantile humans be considered precious? If so, the humans qualified as low-level supra-sapiens. Hachiman concluded that morphing this planet, was in violation of one of its core principles. It must reverse phase one.

Hachiman initiated its own transformation process and started generating the counter-viruses.


<< Beginning     < Scene 4     < Scene 5     < Scene 6     Scene 8 >

The entire text is currently discounted: Free.
If you would like the entire story as a PDF, click here: A Taste of Earth – Justin Tyme.
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Copyright © 2011 Justin Tyme

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