Eden against the Colossus: Prologue

G. Stolyarov II
 
Issue XX - March 19, 2004
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From the Archives of the Ministry of Exploration and Colonization of the Intergalactic Protectorate, dated June 24, 2753:

Most esteemed Lord Orthog,

          As this is a closely confidential message, I am hoping that you will comprehend the enormous difficulties and time delays I have experienced in arranging that it bypass conventional sortings and border inspections. The droid ship which carried this within its confines needed to be outfitted with my final hyper-condenser to avoid a necessary landing at a refueling outpost. As I am a paid agent of the Protectorate government, this message would have otherwise been apprehended by the administrators of whichever base Clipper R45361 happened to visit. Apparently the old days of solidarity behind the Lord Protector's initiatives and secure reliance upon even a fellow soldier are past. We old space dogs can still comprehend the genuine wisdom behind the designs of Mauricius, Protector Intergalacticus, (and he pays us handsomely besides), but it is evident now that a throng of the new grounded eco-locusts with which this department had been infested will likely through sheer blunt pressure of majority recall me back to Legardium to be confined to my estate and never again allowed near a scientific endeavor if they received word of my findings and of their implications. Why do such anachronisms yet exist, in our marvelous age when cities spring up overnight and planets become terraformed within mere years? And how in the universe have they managed to consolidate themselves into such a potent clique of bureaucracy? Never mind that, though. I have already delved into the controversy too recklessly. Another step, and I shall be forced to mention a name of the Protector’s family whose involvement you, from commendable loyalty I admit, vehemently refuse to acknowledge. In any case, this will be the final of my messages to you, and I hope that you do not repair that hyper-condenser within any nearby time period, just in the event Rustain or Conford spot any references to my discovery during their routine rummagings through your files (which, knowing their inclinations and their capacity to deftly evade notice, is not unlikely). If they vote in the politically-correct committee to expel me from the Perifery-32 Theater, I would not be pleased to lay eyes upon their verdict... and to incur criminal penalties for deliberate disobedience of their edicts besides. Thankfully, I am not even given the capacity to contact you electronically or via visual transmitter, the distance between your outfitted headquarters and this rugged wilderness being too immense. The temptation to reveal more would have otherwise clouded my common sense. I long to share the knowledge and the thrill of my experience with at least another competent and sympathetic soul.

          Whatever the scheming at home may entail, my labors here have proceeded unhampered by my associates. All of them are automatons and none, thankfully, have been trained by the Collegium of Frontier Conservation. They have been my primary recorders of measurements that I deem too dangerous to be attached to this letter of notification. Five of them had accompanied me on a routine sortie from Hermes Base, which, thus far, as you may be disappointed to realize and I am outright enraged, is still the westernmost tip of the Intergalactic Protectorate. If I were one of the revived impulse cultists, I would have said it was premonition or whim that caused me to, for the first time, employ my fresh gravitimeter droid aboard the scout pod, but it was a simple logistical concern with space that was genuinely responsible for the outcome of events. My storage bins at Hermes Base have been overburdened to the point of near collapse with gadgetry (What do you expect from thirty-year-old titanium cubby holes without even a strip of promethium to act as reinforcement?), and a removal of all A.I. entities was required to keep them capable of containing lighter, more mundane utensils. The cause set aside, it was quite an astonishment to me when the particle streams under the screen of the mechanism began to slightly approach each other, as if intending to coincide at a distant location. Well, my friend, you comprehend as well as I had comprehended then, as a result of our superb performance in second-grade cosmometry, that such a phenomenon can only be triggered by the attractive pull of a massive celestial sfere (judging by the rate at which the blips neared each other, I exclude the possibility of it possessing enough size to be a star, or of its identity as a lightweight much like our planet Earth.) Following some deliberation I resolved that the sheer expanse of its gravitational field implied dimensions somewhat larger than the gas giants of our own solar system; either that, or, which is by far more impressive, it is significantly heavier, composed of hard, solid elements!

          This conclusion alone was sufficient to transform a regular experimental flight into a journey into the abyss of the unexplored. I urged myself onward, remembering with sour disappointment that no attempts to expand man's domain within the area had been undertaken since your expedition in 2731. I was not about to remain a passive victim of the suffocating veil of stagnation which had been gradually enveloping me during all those prior months in which I had concerned myself with mere minutiae, of significance only to a sub-specialist in the field. Here was the opportunity to examine a vast new world in a literal sense, with signs pointing to an unprecedented structure meriting detailed study in itself. Now you comprehend the reason behind my supposedly abnormal shortage of hyper-condensers, all of which but one had been crammed into the pod's engine compartment in order to furnish a wormhole heading toward what my formulator droid had calculated to be the origin of the attraction. I did not wish for the endeavor of glancing upon this cosmic giant to expend three million centuries of Earthly time as it would have under regular near-light-speed travel, nor would a year in a conventional wormhole be a satisfactory wait. This passageway of vacuum would need to be, I realized, folded upon itself ten  times, a hundred times, three hundred times, until navigation through it would require but a day at most, a speedy unhampered glide with plenty of data analysis to be performed in the meantime. Most of the "state of the art" machinery that the soft groundling committees designate for us field scientists, however, possesses nowhere near the endurance required to survive such a complex and energy-depleting operation. Thankfully, at least, the hyper-condensers had established an avenue sufficiently stable to persist for a week if not more, permitting me ample time for ventures on the other side. Afterward they became mere molten, amorfous chunks of metal, as you have likely encountered in your experience with such less than reliable transformations. Nevertheless, the route ahead was not marred by any external obstacle or an unanticipated malfunction in any of my gadgets.

          I entered the planet's orbit while glancing with my own eyes upon the mountainous surface of sudden and crude contrasts below me. Ravines bordered highlands, and fields of ice neighbored craters of wind-worn sediments. An occasional carpet of green caught my eye, pressed to the seemingly uncultivated ground yet, if my judgment of proportions had been correct, not exceeding a centimeter in height. Nevertheless, they were a fenomenon meriting a detailed examination by means of my most potent magniscope. They were the first signs of uniquely alien life on this globe, and their structure differed from any manner of plant life forms with which men are familiar. Instead of existing as blades or stems, in the manner of common greenery, their shapes bulged outward, more substantially in regions of greater proximity to the ground. They seemed to sprawl across the landscape in an almost continuous layout, each of them frequently displacing its neighbors and fluctuating to-and-fro, it seems, not directly pinned to the rock (and they had no reason to be, either. The surface was as devoid of nutrients as the side of a cliff). This, of course, excluded the question of roots or any sort of permanent grounding. Gravity had warped their forms to resemble inverted mushrooms, but their locations were mere perching spots where they possessed significantly greater mobility than the Earth's plant forms. A minor scan of their atomic composition revealed a fotosynthetic method of food intake much similar to the conventional, except that receptacles near the tip instead of the foundation served to absorb moisture from the surrounding air except for the non-existent soil. Nevertheless, I could spot neither organs of cognition nor any miscellaneous sign of sentience. These forms reminded me of colonies of bacteria packed together and bustling with a mindless clumsiness in each other's vicinities so as to even intrude upon each other's living space. I nevertheless could not resist in my journals forever creating an association between my name and theirs. I fittingly placed them under the proper genus of Plantae Alienae Secundae, presenting the particular species with the designation nachtreiterus, at last solidifying my scientific legacy enough to have the address which is mine uttered even if it does refer to a dumb fotosynthetic organism. I have collected over thirty-five pages of thoroughly descriptive data, sketches, and film regarding Secundus nachtreiterus, which I cannot share with you at the moment, although in any decent condition of things my findings would have been welcomed with gratitude and reward. Alas, what dreadful double bind our committees have locked us in! We must either act in the interests of science and risk an expulsion from the scientific community or pander to their bromide-riddled "conservation" agendas and entail a definite expulsion from the scientific truth. This alone would have caused them to designate my new discovery a "Wildlife Refuge" and suspend in perpetuity the utility of all outposts from Hermes Base to Fort Righteous and Beacon Valley besides just to satisfy their bloated bellies subsisting on the knowledge that somewhere in the Perifery a farmer has lost his last meal because his land was designated a Wilderness Preserve as a result of sluggish green bulbs existing ten million light years from his property.  You understand me, Lord Minister, old comrade, partner in the exploration endeavor. Let us hope that those who do not have no knowledge of what to quarrel about.

          Nevertheless, I would not have expended my final hyper-condenser on a report of a new planet, however massive, or of Lilliputian plants, however fascinating. That in itself is sufficient to incriminate me and force me to stutter in futile defense before the hypocritically self-righteous fysiognomy of the Viscount Conford. What I had subsequently laid eyes upon, however, is grounds on the statists' premise for me to be hanged, quartered, and then forced to gobble down a chunk of raw meat in the manner of those Barren savages. The manifold wilderness prevalent on the planet had suddenly, following an hour of its chaotic consistency, receded before my eyes to make way for a uniform, glimmering plain, seemingly crafted of smooth glass and producing impressive sights of specular reflection atop a similarly even surface microscopically. What roamed this terrain was an aimlessly stumbling multitude of critters to whom I can draw no earthly parallel. Of a light magenta color and nearly flat with forms just about plastered atop the ground, they transport themselves by means of eight stubby tentacles on which their stretched, quasi-rectangular organisms balance. It seems, at least from the close-up shots, that their limbs are coated with a particularly rubbery adhesive substance which can firmly assure their stance when they choose to remain immobile, but acts as a propellant when they happen to prefer leaping. I have witnessed their massive hops, as a result of which they tumble through the air at altitudes of three meters if not higher and, which is ludicrously perplexing, land some ten centimeters from their original position! Their jumps are not even, nor do they maintain any rational form while in the act. Their movements seem a factor of impulsive whim disregarding any such conception as ideal projectile motion or efficacy in distance. Like non-Euclidean mathematicians, they flutter about, tracing curves, loops, and waves neglecting perhaps the very notion of flat space which is all around them. They are not acrobats, and they do not perform these escapades for aesthetic effect; it is as if they did not consciously select their outlandish meandering, as if it were second nature to them. I had, at that time, linked the magniscope with one of my superior sound amplifiers and heard what could not be anything except... voices! Gloomy, monotonous, extraordinarily low-pitched voices emanated from the critters below, with discernible sounds and variations thereof that cannot be a faculty of an automatically bleating animal, the source of the vibration being a certain basin at their anterior, the opening of which possessed a fluctuating tongue as well as three peculiar orbs with a glint of magenta in them. I pondered over the utility of the latter. I suspected that they were visual receptors, and, as a surface molecular scan demonstrated, extraordinarily alike in structure to the human iris, appearing magenta only as a result of large amounts of semi-oxidized blood circulating through them. But one puzzling detail places a formidable doubt upon my hypothesis. These creatures possess no pupils or anything analogous to an opening for the admission of light! How can they view the world, and why would an eye-like structure exist for them in the event that they cannot? Are these the products of a malevolent mutation in an environment where, as my observations thus far have led me to presume, no serious competition exists even for blind organisms if they happen to be the sole animals on the planet? Nevertheless, they are sentient beings, as their communication between members of their kind verifies. I could not, despite some five hours of recordings, decrypt the actual meaning of their emanations. I attempted to discover parallels between their sentence structure and ours, but those possess varieties even with Earthly tongues. How could one expect an extraterrestrial species to come to accord with our rules of grammar? I searched for repetitions and common combinations, but the only word which frequented the recording (or its subsequent computerized transcript) was the peculiar sound combination which I can only reproduce as "quisly". What is a quisly, you ask? You are as good a judge as I on that matter.

          I continued to guide the scout pod over the territory of the Glassy Plain, inhabited with these intriguing critters throughout its some thirty kilometers' expanse. I possessed the opportunity to observe their various routines of life, most importantly, their sustenance, which, as was no surprise, is Secundus nachtreiterus. What is perplexing, however, is the fact that they form no gathering parties or organized planting efforts to assure a plentiful harvest. I have seen swarms of them atop nachtreiterus patches where the plants happen to perch, moving, nevertheless, as they do on the un-vegetated sections of the plain, their organs drawing in the greenery without any manner of alteration to their positions, as if this were not an intended activity but rather an involuntary impulse. I then realized that the very adhesive by means of which they were capable of hopping or standing also possessed the attribute of drawing nachtreiterus upward into their systems. The food not being firmly entrenched in the ground due to its lack of roots, this is not a difficult task. The limbs of the critters emit this substance, but they must also absorb, recycle, and re-eject it once it hardens sufficiently to no longer serve its intended purpose. During the process of intake, which I managed to observe on six instances, whatever food happens to remain lodged within the sap enters the organism and does not return with a fresh release of adhesive. A most peculiar food chain this is indeed, and the more astounding portion of my investigation was that I had seen not a single specimen among these creatures which is dead. They possess an enormous population for a living space their size, numbering in the hundreds of thousands perhaps, yet I have witnessed no corpses. Assuming that they are sentient, it is a possibility that they may bury their deceased, although I had not observed any manner of artificial structure erected by the aliens. Even living quarters are non-existent for them, not to mention graves. They employ no technology, they are aimless, their voices are on the verge of collapse, they are not directly concerned with sustenance... yet somehow they manage to survive! Or is this last assertion merely a first impression to be refuted by a more detailed study? This study, alas, I had not the time for due to the constraints presented by the wormhole's duration. My most recent act in relation to the aforementioned species was to grant them a proper classification, which, in this situation, I chose not to endow with my own name, but rather with its own primary characteristics. These critters shall henceforth be known as Planus nonvisualis, the unseeing flat ones. It was also then that I had officially designated the globe itself to be Magnetica, due to the sheer allure of its surface to me, due to its beckoning that I conduct further explorations for which I have not the time nor the material capacity. 

          I circumnavigated the planet along its orbit and subsequently visited the polar regions, all of which had occupied five days of my time. Echolocation cartografy utensils had aided my own sight in the drafting of a map which accounts for the major geographic features of the gargantuan sphere. Lengthy segments of film will serve me in coming days to refine my sketches and store them in the archives at Hermes. Unfortunately they will not be traveling any further into Protectorate territory for any time in the near future. Despite my fair confidence that I had laid eyes upon every possible stretch of terrain, I had not again encountered a glassy plain nor had I observed another colony of Planus nonvisualis, although the nachtreiterus seemed frequent enough in every one of the regions I had visited. I have no reasonable grounds for speculation as to the reasons for this one-time fenomenon of sentient life, or, especially, of the landscape which it inhabits. However, I advise with the utmost sincerity that further studies of this object, the outermost of a yet undiscovered star system (although I hypothesize that the star is itself of colossal proportions compared even to the giants of the Milky Way, for it presents the planet with adequate amounts of light), be undertaken by fresh scientific expeditions sent here with additional supplies. Perhaps a detailed investigation should be launched into the question of sentient life and the mystery of its uniqueness. I would be more than willing to journey into this world once again, provided that our materiel are not so flimsy and inclined to break down as they are at present. The only time at which the Intergalactic Protectorate will be able to incorporate this fenomenal land into its domain will be when its entrepreneurs become willing to invest in a permanent settlement and research base. I will attempt, in the meantime, to journey to places as distant as are now within my handicapped reach and determine whether my instruments spot signs suggesting the presence of an asteroid or minor planet in between Hermes and the prospective expansion ground for the establishment of a refueling station. Do not rely on my success, and do not rely on the approval of any committee in regard to the proposed venture. They will respond with their vehement indignation and their clichés of "sustainable development" and whatever other twentieth-century relics they have infested their slang with.  The only means by which there is any hope for the pursuit of knowledge, truth, and our Universal Manifest Destiny is the Protector's own eyes examining this letter and granting his personal commission for an exploratory venture, the purpose of which does not necessarily need to be defined before the public.

           You, Lord Minister Orthog, are my sole hope of success and the last remaining anchor of my turbulent career. Please, in the meantime, do not give in to those whining groundhogs' demands for your retirement. Their warped twentieth-century standards may dub you senile, but you should consider that an affront. Just think about it: old at eighty? The very idea causes me to laugh and remember dreary times, my friend. You are not yet past a third of the present life expectancy, and I expect you to remain in office for that long at least. Retirement is for cowards without ambition. Life in this day and age offers opportunities for personal development undreamed of during the dreary pre-colonization era, and I suggest that we all exploit our years, and our yet unclaimed resources, to their fullest.

Best Regards,

Helmut Wolfgang Nachtreiter,

Exploratory Supervisor of the Perifery-32 Intragalactic Theater. 

           

Posted June 28, 2753, on "Friends of Anne-Marie Legard" Intergalnet Discussion Forum by Alaric R. Rammings, 23rd Viscount Conford.

Subject: Time for Some Changes

          I have put this little tidbit to text for two reasons. First, I seek to expand our base of disciples and thus wish to gather as many open minds as possible behind our movement. Second, and which is more important and applicable to the matter at hand, I hold a fundamental opposition to the gadgetry of new-fangled live instant-response visual speaker/recorders with thirteen short-range teleporters attached, constantly leaping deeper into the abysmal sea of perks, complications, and confusing operating procedures learning which entangles our already faster-than-lightspeed lives in a whole new web of unnecessary skills and distractions which sweep over us like a whirlwind. I ask that you do not cancel this out with another one of your neuron-accelerating medications (drugs, if you are prepared to accept the full implications of the term) and view an hour's worth of ultra-superior resolution film books within the length of a second. I instead request that we communicate without the snobbery, that we become more personal and willing to go out of our way to reach our neighbors and our friends, to show them that our message is not one by-the-way stunt among six thousand they receive on the virtual reality projectors nested in their hair and little plastic circles that hop onto their eyes like contact lenses to focus them on the images. This trend is what I endeavor to write about today. I ask that you read it at normal speed, just as I had written it, with the same principle in mind.

          They tell me on the streets, "What is it I seek that my condition cannot offer?" In the Age of Stone man dreamed of leaving his cave to get to the berry bush and gather himself some fruit. During the Neolithic Revolution he wished to leave his village to travel to another and trade some goods. During the Renaissance he sought to leave his country to journey across the ocean for "Gold, God, and Glory". At the dawn of the twenty-first century, when the Earth was his and its resources succumbed to him one by one, he ventured outward to settle nearby planets to obtain "habitation and raw materials for the improvement of living conditions among the populace". At the turn of the twenty-second, by mercy of the first condensers and the man you call Magnus, who was your first colonist outside the Milky Way, resolved all of a sudden that his galaxy was insufficient for him, that he could not stand being policed by its government and the society of "too many neighbors", that he would not cooperate with its expectations but rather form his own and let his followers form theirs for the sake of a settlement where communication with the Solar System was impossible.  Then, four centuries later, our first Protector figured that the Universe possessed so many unexploited planets, galaxies, and materials that to claim it necessitated the revival of the Victorian doctrine of Manifest Destiny, from which the policy of Accelerative Settlement was derived. And they, the people, the public, the collective spirit, still ask me, "When is enough? Why are we not complete? What more do we want?" And they can't answer themselves. So I have taken it upon my shoulders to give them the resolution to their perplexing dilemma.

          We live in an age where we can be on Sirius City one hour to purchase a month's dose of nutrition pills, then fly to Arcturusburg for a Calorie-free pastry and a diet Cosmic Beverage of thirty-three flavors rotating every three seconds, all of them furnished from who knows what chemical slime, but containing not a single bit of natural stuff in it. Afterward we take a three-hour shuttle to an asteroid in the Andromeda where our place of employment happens to be located and where we perform in four hours what would have consumed four months of an ancient's time, still having ample time to gape at that grand interplanetary railway Ferdinand Winmer, Inc. is building in the Beta Centauri system so that it rotates in the opposite direction of the planets' motion (with how many different speeds in how many different sectors expending how much energy?) merely to stand in place, and to wander through the halls of a museum in Marsopolis, and to witness a spectacle of the fine arts at the renovated Athenian Amphitheater, then teleport a mere tenth of the way across the Earth and walk alongside the thousand-story spires of a palace crafted by means of the Protector's "self-made" funds. Even the most menial of us can afford a lifestyle with far more than the basic necessities, perhaps beyond the description "luxurious" even, depending on your definition of the term. Yet we are not content. At least, I am not content, and neither are the people I talk to. I am forty-seven years old. When I look ahead I see a stretch of time beyond visible end for me. A century ago the average life expectancy was one hundred thirty years. Today it is a hundred years longer. What will it be in another century when we will still be alive and probably having food pills teleported to all our vital organs to save us the "trouble" of extracting them from their canisters and swallowing? How many more hundred trillion tons of steel will be manufactured from the metal of how many more thousand assimilated planets? How many new alloys of promethium and herculeum will be discovered? How much faster and harder will we work and how many millions more credits will be added to our daily wages? And how much more boredom and repulsion will I (and, hopefully, you) accumulate? Do you want to know why you are not content? You seek escape from a value that the ancients accepted. You seek to dominate the universe while separating yourself from the universe's plans for you and your society.

          A sage named Daniel Quinn from the onset of the Space Age had warned man that he was destroying his world by placing himself at war with it, by expanding beyond the functioning capacity of an animal and expending enough resources to turn the world into the battlefield for a pursuit of his values and his alone. In his maniacal desire to control his surroundings, to shape the Earth to suit his needs, he forgot that there existed creatures outside himself. Those whom he consumed he maintained. Those whom he deemed "useless" were left at the mercy of whatever environmental impacts his transformations possessed. He neglected the fact that he had before shared the Earth with creatures outside his own species and refused to compete with them on their terms. He thought himself exempt from the ecosystem structures which bound and dictated the routines of all other creatures. And what happened? His lifestyle and theirs diverged to the point where we can no longer recognize our common genetic heritage and the instinctive urges which define us as living beings. We consciously think we desire to control, while our primeval roots, struggling outward through the elaborate veneer we have placed over them to hide them from our sight, impel us to submit, to live not as pleasure-seeking individuals but as united tribes that work together to hunt, to cook, to migrate, to sacrifice petty pursuits of comfort to a gentle, cautious care toward one's neighbors, human and animal, and to rival other tribes for territory and food so as to check disastrous population growth. During Mr. Quinn's time the Earth was overflowing with six billion human beings. The 2753 Protectorate Census notes that the amount of inhabitants within our borders has soared beyond an unprecedented fifty trillion. Add to that the ninety trillion denizens of Allied nations and you will realize that, as ecological pioneers like Thomas Malthus have known for eight hundred years, we are on the brink of a major disaster. Mr. Quinn has predicted even this: what do we seek as our population continues to climb? Why what else but land to put these people on? And where do we get this land? By expanding our borders. That is how the wilderness and the beauty that is the ecosystem became weeded out of the Earth, and how they receded with every blow by the hammer of man to planet after planet, galaxy after galaxy. You are running a race against a hamster orb which contains you, scrambling upward to safety only to be pushed down by the consequences of your motion, and forced to accelerate lest the sfere knock you off balance and splatter you against its sides.

          That is why you constantly want more, more, more. Subsistence is not enough for you. A fulfilled stomach via the spoils of the hunt does not please you, and neither does a pill custom-designed for your needs and the infinity of delicacies to indulge yourself in without worry of obesity. You feast, you breed, you build machines to help you mend the consequences of your breeding. Your children are all glamorously handsome and intelligent (because you had sent in your own custom design of their genomes in the mail to the local fertilization center), yearning to work and yearning to shape their would-be habitat so that their children can assist them in doing the same. You are likely to see two hundred direct descendants of yours during your lifetime, and all of them want a comfortable little planet with a nice estate and plenty of roboservants. In the old days tribal infant mortality rates were high enough to check population growth. We do not have that today. We have no checks today. You have forgotten your instincts. You think of yourselves as gods instead of mere links in an ecological chain, or mere cells on a superb organism which is the wilderness in its untainted essence. You think your prosperity should be your sole concern. Your instincts give you a suppressed but still occasionally felt hunch that this is not the case. As Mr. Quinn had wisely remarked, "In order to save the world, man must renounce his knowledge of the power over life and death." This was the wisdom of fools that got Adam expelled from the Garden of Eden, literally. It removed man from the paradise that could have been his, that was the Wilderness, in which he could have fulfilled his predetermined role as an animal, as an intermediate link in the magnificent evolutionary progression which does not end with him and which he has no right to terminate. Now he is blinded from his destiny by the arrogant superstition that he is omnipotent, in the sense that he possesses the right to designate particular creatures as worthy or unworthy of living. He condemns animals to servitude or to slaughter and renders himself immune, as if he is exempt from the laws of Nature, as if his position is somehow unique and that presents him with some arbitrarily inalienable right of life. There is only a right of evolution, of species refinement by the natural process of mutations, and it stops where technological innovations secure the genetic status quo by expanding its dominance. And it is being proliferated as we speak. The crucial emotion which is ever farther pushed back beyond your reach is the desire to evolve, to submit to the scheme which will carry future generations there. It is being promoted by our own government, our own Ministry of Exploration and Colonization.

          This is the dilemma that I wanted you to concentrate upon. You are still unhappy, despite the fact that I had identified for you the reason behind your dissatisfaction and continuing aspiration for that, which you do not possess. We need a concrete solution to the problem, and we must take every step back to Eden that is within our access capacity. Lord General Alan Orthog, Minister of Exploration and Colonization has occupied his post for twenty-two years now, appointed there after (what do you know?) leading an expedition with intent to colonize the lands beyond the Western Perifery. He has shown to be a ruthless and relentless advocate of the Taker notion of Accelerative Settlement. His administration has seen the shackling of thirty six thousand three hundred twelve planets in twenty-two various galaxies, sferes which previously had been barren, which had not been accessible to humans and permitted nature to take its course upon their surfaces, which have now become terraformed and are housing your always surviving excesses of offspring. His governance had seen the deregulation of border patrols and a virtual open avenue for colonists seeking to migrate outside already assimilated territory. An opposition effort scrambled together by means of all the support it could muster had managed to halt further prospecting in the West, but the new mercury mining projects in the North and their adjacent worker towns had spread to encompass another tenth of Protectorate territory. Loyal Ishmaelites (a following gathered from Mr. Quinn's most influential filosofical treatise) could only keep track of so much. We attempted to make our voices heard in the committees, to persuade and encourage other open minds in the Ministry to look back for a moment and see whether this rapid spreading was truly desirable, but that sly old fox always managed to deceive and circumvent us, or distract a majority of our attention upon a trivial matter while seizing yet another asteroid, or overruling another major industrial limitation. He is a military man with thirty years of service in his past, yet he has never so much as lifted a finger against blatant trespassers into Wilderness Refuges. However, he carries his soldierly mettle into the most improper of places, the discussion chamber! He argues his point without compromise, hearing the other side without interrupting, but not doing what is truly called listening. Afterward he responds with a pitiless tirade pinpointing all the so-called "flaws" in his opponents' reasoning, and continues to plead his case without a minute alteration or any attempt to meet at the middle of the road. Would you trust this man with your exterior policy?

          This is not, of course, to disregard the enormous military valor and tactical cunning displayed by General Orthog during his years of service in the Fourth and Fifth Intergalactic Wars, but this man has yielded as much merit as his condition permits him. He is in his eighty-first year, a length reaching which the ancients could never have dreamed. We cannot conclusively state what alterations within the brain result from such an unnatural age. In the pristine condition, human organisms are not designed to weather the stern conditions of their environments for such a long time, and we do not know what form the conflict between instinctive atrofy and the elongating artificialities of our technologically-obsessed society assumes. Already his un-pliable character and uncompromising stances suggest an elderly stubbornness, a lack of the open mind necessary to adapt oneself to the conditions of one's surroundings. This may be the symptom of a maniacal tendency of his ego to usurp control over his impulses in order to fulfill the survival desire of an artificially-maintained organism. What will show externally, however, is an autocrat who cares no more for what others think than he does for a maggot or a dung beetle (and it was he who had ten years ago given the rash and blunt command to exterminate their presence on Earth and succeeded). Who knows how far he had lapsed into his lunatic delusions of autonomy and how greatly his burden will worsen in the coming years? Especially with the enormous and excruciating amounts of work contained in a position such as his, it is prudent to suggest that the veteran be given a reprieve, to recover from his potentially threatening condition in a calm setting where the manifestations of his egotistical interest will never have the capacity to affect matters on so large a scale.  Let someone younger, someone better geared up to the times, assume his position and discover a genuine cure to the disease of expansion that is a plague infesting our Tower of Babel.        

          This is a crusade that all readers can undertake if they care about their environment, the stability of their species, and the slow but steady march of natural evolution. Write petitions to remove Alan Orthog from his office and in his place nominate an informed ecologist, a man like Dr. Dirk Rustain, Professor at the Collegium of Frontier Conservation, renowned theoretical researcher on environmental disasters, and recently appointed member of the Ministry of Exploration and Colonization. He not merely has the experience in affairs of government, but he can offer a genuinely scientific background, well versed in the writings of twentieth-century profets as well as the sage Dortkampf's illustrious 2571 Theory of Imminent Anthropogenic Universal Collapse. It seems, as Dr. Rustain will tell you quoting from twenty-five distinguished sources, human development efforts on such a wide scale have so augmented the density of the universe that it is under threat of caving in under its own weight. There are many daily dangers that you do not notice, but Dr. Rustain has studied a majority of them and will reveal to you their consequences. But do not panic. His research also suggests to him numerous economical and eco-friendly solutions to the menace of Universal Collapse as well as the also significant phenomena of Permanent Space-Warp, the three Spontaneous Planetary Explosions projected over the next decade, Atmosferic Thinning caused by the construction of especially tall skyscrapers, and the chemical hazard which may be present in Food Pills. Why are you not content? Because your government tells you to grab more and more of the universe, not knowing where to stop, not retaining a destination in mind but rather continuing to proliferate you like viruses. We are aware of the desirable limits, and Dr. Rustain is the man to implement them. Perhaps in the near future, with some luck, we will witness our borders closed, our industry nationalized and placed under scientific guidance provided by the Collegium, and corridors of deterraformed wilderness sprouting to begin reclaiming the land which was not meant for us. Are you ready to save the universe?

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This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA Statement of Policy.

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.