maanantai 17. huhtikuuta 2017

On certain planetary matters

If you’ve got time, let me tell you about a planet somewhere on the edge of the galaxy. It’s a relatively inconspicuous and backward place, not often on the radar even when discussing regional galactic affairs.

It does have one interesting peculiarity; its inhabitants have already some time ago achieved inter-planetary and inter-galactic travel capability, to a great extend through backward engineering as is usually the case, but rather than venturing out into the universe, only a very small percentage of the population is aware of these developments.

And one does not have to be a stargate scientist to figure out the reason. The self-proclaimed authorities, with the help our usual suspects when it comes to most shenanigans in this part of the galaxy, want their subordinates to learn about these new prospects just as much as prison wardens want their inmates to figure out that there is a grand big hole on the prison wall.

The rulers have had a lot going for them, having formulated quite an ingenious operation even on the galactic arm’s scale, but one which hinges on keeping the inhabitants in the dark on the planet’s place among other civilizations. Their reality bubbles, as some have put it, need to comprise solely of planetary matters and even a single message, not to say a widely-publicised visit, would have the same consequences as taking a needle to a balloon.

It’s been understandably imperative for the rulers to hold a monopoly on dispersing information and until lately they’ve had rather a success at this. They’ve spun great many stories on the origin of the planet, why a certain war had to be fought, which god to worship, etcetera. As the people kept figuring out their tales, they rolled out new fables. The latest one quite a silly story of materialism.. one has to wonder how they ever pulled it off. Sitting in their watchtower, they derive satisfaction, as any despot in the galaxy ever, from seeing their subjects scurrying in whatever direction they point.

Although most just passed by the small bluish marble and shrugged their shoulders, there were after all countless other planets in similar predicaments and one could not be expected to help them all, some stopped and observed with concern the arduous circumstances of the inhabitants.

Helping them proved however particularly difficult. The authorities were known for shooting down any craft entering the atmosphere and if you managed to land, you’d be swiftly escorted to an undisclosed location for an undefined amount of time for unspecified treatment. Not exactly the place to consider for a long weekend getaway.

In addition, around the time of the biggest technological jumps, the wardens initiated a creative psychological campaign. Year after year the inhabitants’ minds were fed with fictional tales on how the other lifeforms in the universe were coming to get them. Most of them would be scared out of their wits were they to see just an odd light in the sky, even if it was the most common type of spacecraft in the whole galaxy.

Because it was so particularly difficult to penetrate any message to the planet, much less visit it, some concerned onlookers chose to be born there. Although feeling originally giddy about taking on such a noble cause, many regretted it from the very first breath of the planet’s air. Life in a planetary ghetto is life in a ghetto after all.

Things are looking up however. If you happen to have time, now is really a great time to go and see the show. There’s a lot of talk that the prison walls are about to come down for good. They’ll need a hand in about everything, from exopolitics, to galactic history, to regular old jumpship torsion physics. Oh yeah, the planet is located in the Gould Belt on the Orion Arm. The locals call it Earth.

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